These are so dang comfortable.
Walking - yes, plain old walking - is considered one of the best forms of exercise. In fact, a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that strolling at a brisk pace, which is defined as a speed that makes you sweaty and slightly out of breath, was associated with a 20% reduced risk of mortality.
But if your sneaker isn't comfortable, it can cut your mileage short faster than you can say, "Are we done yet?" To help you find your best fit, Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City, says you should shop for walking shoes after the sun goes down. "Your feet are most swollen at the end of the day, so if the sneakers feel comfortable at night, they should be comfortable any time during the day," he says.
Another tip: Try on at least three different models, as sizing differs across brands (not to mention the length and width of your foot changes over time), to see what feels best. And no matter what, you should always, always perform the toe test. "Make sure the tip of your thumb fits between the end of the shoe and the end of your longest toe," Dr. Cunha explains. "There should be enough room to slightly wiggle your toes."
To narrow down your search, Jacqueline Sutera, a board-certified foot surgeon and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), says to steer clear of trendy sneakers that are labeled as free, super lightweight, air, or minimal. “These shoes may not have enough support and could lead to injury if using them for long periods of standing and walking,” she explains. Instead, look for a walking shoe that provides plenty of shock absorption, arch support, and cushioning.
Now that you're in the know, these are podiatrists' picks for best walking shoes for women. Grab 'em before you hit the track, treadmill, or sidewalk for a sweaty workout.