The journey to better health starts with one small step, so make sure it’s a comfortable one.
Here’s one more reason to get off the couch and lace up your sneakers: Researchers from the University of Birmingham found that walking consistently for at least four weeks significantly improved both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Study participants also saw a reduction in overall body fat and waist circumference to boot.
Walking for better health is a no-brainer, but as anyone with a busy lifestyle knows, finding the motivation to start isn’t always easy. Nothing kills your fledgling enthusiasm more than a pair of smelly, worn-out sneakers sneering at you near the door.
A new pair of shiny kicks can be the perfect incentive. Whether you want shoes so comfortable they could double as slippers (although we wouldn’t recommend that) or trailblazers with super traction, here are the best walking shoes you can buy in 2018. Go ahead, treat yourself—you’ve earned it.
Best Shoes for Trail Walking
The North Face Litewave Flow Lace
These light sneakers have breathable mesh on top that makes them extremely quick to dry, which is good news if you accidentally stumble through a puddle. The Vibram XS Trek sole offers substantial traction, allowing you to safely navigate unstable terrain when hiking on trails or in other wooded areas.
thenorthface.com; $85 for men and women
Best Shoes for Comfort
Saucony Integrity ST 2
If sizing tends to be an issue, Saucony has you covered. The shoe features stretchy fabric in the toe box area, allowing for a more forgiving fit (should you have a particularly long or wide feet). Need even more room? It comes in wide and extra wide fits, too. Plus, the shoe’s cushioning system helps absorb shock and impact, and gives you a softer base.
saucony.com; $75 for women
New Balance 840v3
The 840v3 is designed with a fuller fit—perfect for wider feet—and can even accommodate an orthotic insert. It’s made with New Balance’s proprietary foam-based Abzorb cushioning, which helps disperse force from its impact point and reduces the shock transferred to your body.
newbalance.com; $100 for men
Best Shoes for Arch Support
Brooks Dyad Walker
Those with flat or medium arches can get a boost of support with the Dyad Walker. Its dual arch pods, along with a wider platform, help provide stability for a neutral stride. Factor in its durable full-grain leather upper and proprietary cushioning and you have a shoe that will last—and feel good the whole time.
brooksrunning.com; $120 for men and women
Best Shoes for Style
Reebok Cloudride DMX 3.0
If finding a shoe that can seamlessly transfer from the pavement to the public (and maybe even your social media) is the goal, the Cloudride DMX 3.0 has you covered. It’s equipped with a low-cut design that’s a bit more transitional than the traditional bulky walking shoe. Plus, it has a memory foam sock liner and soft foam midsole that provides comfort and style.
reebok.com; $80 for men and women