Best walking shoes for women in 2021


This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Just as essential to buying the right running shoe if you’re a jogger or runner, finding a good pair of walking shoes is a must — especially if you are typically on your feet in the same shoes for the majority of the day. If you know someone who walks a lot for work or for fun, they’d probably love a new pair of walking shoes for the holidays this year, but only if you get them a pair that’s actually comfortable. 

If you’re looking for a pair of walking shoes to gift someone this year, take a look at these podiatrist-recommended pairs that won’t cause blisters, calluses or discomfort. This list is specifically about finding the best women’s walking shoe — if you’re looking for the best men’s walking shoe, we have you covered here.

With help from a podiatrist and lots of time spent analyzing customer reviews on Amazon, I bring to you the five best walking shoes for specific foot problems, including flat feet, high arches, plantar fasciitis, narrow feet and wide feet. I also took into consideration things like cushioning, ankle support, breathable mesh, shock absorption, a removable insole and all of the other factors that separate good shoes from bad ones. You might like these so much you snag a pair for yourself and one to give as a gift. 

Read more: How to tell if you need new running shoes


Dr. Zohreh Mancil, a podiatrist at Slidell Memorial Hospital in Louisiana, says she recommends the Brooks Addiction Walker, a walking sneaker available in both men’s and women’s sizes, for low arches or flat feet because they “provide great arch support and shock absorption.”

“The midsole is designed to keep the foot straight to prevent over-pronation,” she explains of the walking shoe, and the “extra bonus is they have a slip-resistant outsole for improved traction.”

With more than 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon and an expert’s recommendation, this comfortable shoe is worth looking into if you have low arches or struggle with overpronation — especially since one happy buyer raved that a single pair of Brooks Addiction Walker shoes lasted over three years of daily wear.


Dr. Mancil likes the Asics Gel-Nimbus as a walking shoe for high arches because not only are they “comfortable with excellent arch support,” but they feature a heel counter to stabilize the heel. The heel counter is the stiff part of the shoe surrounding your heel, and it serves as a barrier to excessive heel rotation. This can help prevent soreness or complications in people who have high arches. These shoes also have a padded collar, so they’re soft and don’t rub around the ankles. The mesh upper of these shoes also allows your feet to breathe. You really don’t have to worry about comfort with this sneaker.

These walking shoes pretty consistently receive four- and five-star reviews on Amazon. Although some buyers recommend ordering a half-size up in the newer models of the Asics Gel-Nimbus (models 19, 20 and 21), many buyers report that their usual size fits correctly. 

One buyer who says they have “a high arch and a wide foot” has dubbed the Asics Gel-Nimbus the “best shoes ever” after 10 years of wearing the various models and taking them, without fail, through four half-marathons, the Great Ocean Walk of Australia and more.

Vionic Shoes

Plantar fasciitis is a painful orthopedic condition that involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes. One of the most common causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis typically causes a sharp pain in the heel. 

One way to minimize the pain of plantar fasciitis is to wear a walking shoe with adequate support. Dr. Mancil recommends the Vionic Walker Classic shoes, which come from a brand founded by a podiatrist in 1979. Many buyers on Amazon have reviewed these walking shoes as helpful for plantar fasciitis. 

These shoes come with a removable orthotic, which provides extra arch support, Dr. Mancil explains, and they feature a firm heel counter for extra stability. The midsole design has a 5-degree built-in elevation allowing for smooth heel strike to toe off, she says. 

New Balance

If you have narrow feet, you know all too well the struggle of constantly slipping out of your shoes. With these New Balance walking shoes, you have the option of choosing a narrow width in what reviewers call “awesomesauce!” and “comfortable and perfect for walking.”

One buyer who has a self-proclaimed “stupid narrow heel” and “can never find shoes that fit” apparently (finally) found her fit with the New Balance WW411v2 shoes. “I’m usually stuck ordering shoes that are either too small so my heel can fit, but then my toes are pinched, or I buy a shoe that fits my toes, but my heels pop out when I walk,” the buyer writes of the walking shoe. “New Balance is the first company I’ve found that will offer narrow shoes!”

Other buyers dote on these New Balance shoes as a “wonderful walking shoe at a great price” and love all of these qualities: “not bulky, comfortable, supportive, absorbs impact during walking, good base, neutral arch.”

These shoes also come in regular and narrow options — don’t forget to select the narrow option before checking out!


Narrow-footed people aren’t the only ones who have problems finding a walking shoe that fits correctly. I personally have a wide foot and can attest to the fact that few things are worse than walking around in shoes that squeeze all of your toes together and pinch your heels (I demand a bigger toe box for bigger toes!). It’s not worth it, even if they’re the cutest dang shoes you’ve ever seen. 

The Skechers Skech-Air Element 2.0 walking shoes are both functional and fashionable — or, as fashionable as you can get when function is your utmost priority. Buyers on Amazon say the “memory foam is like walking on a cloud” and “because of the comfort I’d wear everyday if I could.”

One buyer notes that although the Skech-Air Element 2.0 shoes weren’t the best for her plantar fasciitis, she still likes to wear them, just not all day at work. 

Ready for your walk? 

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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