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18 best walking, running & hiking shoes for women in 2024 — tried & tested by Yahoo editors

Upgrade your shoe wardrobe in 2024 with these editor-approved shoes from Hoka, New Balance, On and more.

collage of pink brooks running shoes, adidas pink gazelle shoes, Arc'Teryx purple hiking boots, black merrell hiking boots, white hoka sneakers, white new balance sneakers
We tried a bunch of walking shoes, runners and hiking boots — these are the best ones in 2024 (photos via Hoka, Adidas, Sport Chek, New Balance, Arc'Teryx and Brooks).

Walking is often ranked among the best and easiest forms of exercise —just 4,000 steps a day can significantly lower a person's risk of dying from any cause. While you can mosey around the block in just about anything, there are benefits to investing in a supportive and comfortable pair of shoes, especially if you're adding running and hiking to the mix.

If you're shopping for walking shoes, comfort and style might top your must-have list. For recreational and competitive runners, "heel-toe drop" and "energy-return materials" will mean something to you. And for hikers, factors like stability, weatherproofing and shock absorption will rank highly on your wish list.

Below, we've gathered the 18 best women's shoes in 2024, including those intended for walking, running and hiking, that our editors are excited about. Beyond customer reviews, we have put foot-to-pavement (and trail) for many of these shoes, so when we say they're worth your dollar, we mean it. We've included picks for everything from recreational walks to marathon training and mountain-side hikes — even a full day at Disney was included in our testing. To shop the edit and see our list of the best walking, running and hiking shoes, sneakers and boots in 2024, check out our picks below.

If Yahoo Lifestyle Canada writer Alex Cyr had to choose the best training shoe of the year, it would be the New Balance 1080 V13. "It’s as though the company created a shoe with all of its classic perks and then made them bigger and better," he writes. "Long-time wearers will notice that this shoe is more cushioned than its predecessor, the V12; first-timers will like how lightweight it is despite its plush construction. It has a thick layer of Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning that makes mid-foot landing and push-off feel comfortable and natural, and around it comes a Ndurance runner outsole to prevent wear and tear. It’s everything that New Balance does well in a shoe — just more of it." 

  • Soft landing
  • Light for size
  • Could be bouncier
  • Fits wider than previous 1080 models
$210 at New Balance
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$210 at Sport Chek$210 at Running Room

When I say I run, I mean I go for a handful of runs once a quarter after watching too many TED talks about exercise and longevity. However, when those runs take place, these are the running shoes I wear. I'm a fan of almost every On shoe I have ever tried, and the Cloudmonster sneakers are no exception. They feature forward-rolling cushioning to help propel you and have a super foam insole for soft landings. They're great for recreational, everyday runners and come in men's and women's sizing and styles.

  • Maximum cushioning
  • Forward-rolling design
  • Super-soft landings
  • Can get dirty easily
  • Design is definitely for running — walkers might not enjoy the forward momentum
$220 at MEC

According to Yahoo Lifestyle Canada writer Alex Cyr, Brooks' "version 21 is not an immense departure from previous models (it has two extra millimeters of foam and overall is three ounces lighter), but [the brand] understands that it’s best not to fix what isn’t broken. 

Over the last few years, the shoe game has trended towards maximalism, with racing and training shoes alike becoming larger and increasingly cushioned. The Glycerin, with their high heel-to-toe drop and reasonably cushioned DNA LOFT foam, will feel more like training shoes of old. And old doesn’t mean bad: if you aren’t a fan of marshmallow-like sneakers, and prefer more fitted kicks, these are a surefire pick for you."

  • Lighter and more cushioned than previous version
  • Comfortable
  • Limited specs and fanfare
  • Does not double as a workout shoe
$200 at Sporting Life

If you're a fan of Lululemon's other shoes — Kate Middleton's Chargefeel sneakers, for instance — the newly released Beyondfeel running shoes are not to be missed. The $198 sneakers offer maximum cushioning for a softer heel-to-toe glide. They have a flexible, high-traction outsole and a breathable mesh upper. Shop them in eight colourways and both men's and women's sizes.

$198 at Lululemon

If you have a need for speed, reviewers recommend checking out these unisex Superblast Centennial of Speed shoes from ASICS. The shoe's responsive properties make it functional for long runs, tempo runs, and everything in between. They're super lightweight, super bouncy and super stacked for a standout running experience. 

$280 at ASICS

No sneaker brand has had more of a hold on 2024 than Adidas. Finding a pair of Adidas' Handball Spezial, Samba OG and Gazelle shoes — especially in unique colourways — has been this summer's version of Pokémon GO — 'gotta collect them all!

My own Gazelles are still available at some retailers and have earned me almost daily compliments whenever I wear them. Lightweight, immediately comfortable, and cool-girl-approved, they've easily become one of my most-grabbed-for pairs of shoes. However, they're super squeaky, even after months of use — an FYI to all!

  • Super cute
  • Comfortable from first wear
  • Versatile
  • Squeaky
  • Not that supportive
From $130 at Adidas

I am a huge fan of New Balance shoes, and the WRPD sneakers are no exception. The WRPD shoes come in three styles and are, without exaggeration, one of the most comfortable out-of-the-box sneakers I have tried in recent memory. They require zero break-in time and your feet feel supported on long walks. My only note: I wouldn't wear these running. While they are technically a runner, they're on the clunkier side, which some may find cumbersome if aiming for speed. 

  • No break-in period
  • Supportive on long walks
  • Unbelievably comfortable
  • Fits wide
  • Clunky for running
$190 at New Balance

After a solid year of use, one Yahoo Lifestyle Canada writer is a HOKA convert, pairing the brand's famous Bondi 8 sneakers with "everything" in her wardrobe. They're "super light," "functional," and "go with just about everything," she writes. Shop the brand's "hardest working" shoes in 16 colourways.

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Can be worn with a variety of outfits
  • Very lightweight
  • Well suited for light runs/exercise
  • Expensive
  • Get dirty quickly
  • Chunkier than a traditional running shoe
$200 at Hoka

If, like me, you grew up wearing Aldo shoes, you may not remember them to be the most comfortable. However, the Aldo shoes of my adolescence are not the same Aldo shoes of my adulthood. Aldo's "Pillow Walk" soles put their money where their mouth is — they're comfortable right out of the box. The first time I wore these Mayana sneakers, I walked for several hours on end (a daring feat for brand-new shoes) and came out on the other side with no blisters or bleeding. One thing to note: they fit a bit wide, so narrow-footed folks may not share the sneaker love. 

  • No break-in period needed
  • Good traction on slippery sidewalks
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Fits slightly wide
  • Comfortable but not the most supportive
$50 at Aldo

Dr. Bruce Pinker, a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon, told Yahoo Lifestyle Canada that Keen's WK450 Walking Shoes were one of his top picks of the year.

He says they're "good all-terrain sneakers composed of recycled materials." Thanks to their high-traction, all-terrain rubber outsole, you can comfortably (and confidently) wear them whether walking, running or hiking.

$150 at Keen

According to reviewers, the Wool Runners from Allbirds are all that and then some. The shoes have a cushioned midsole for all-day support and are machine-washable, making them great for anyone trekking to work or out on the playground with their kids. They're made from an incredibly soft and cozy superfine Merino wool material that's naturally thermoregulating. Shop them in eight colours.

$145 at Allbirds

One Yahoo Canada Style writer is "all about a cushioned slip-on sneaker," and these $59 walking shoes are her slip-ons of choice. They deliver the arch support "I love," and their thick soles make "miles of walking a breeze," she says. Shop them in six colours.

  • Comfortable & breathable
  • Easy on, easy off
  • Not a ton of support
  • Not weather-proof
$70 at Amazon

Saucony's Integrity Walker 3 shoes are approved by the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association). They are designed for those who need responsive cushioning from a neutral walker—in layman's terms, they're great for everyone. You can shop them in three colours.

$128 at Saucony

A cross between a hiking boot and a shoe, I wore Merrell's Moab Speed boots on a recent 500km hike through Portugal and Spain.

The good: once broken in, these lightweight shoes are comfortable and supportive, even on 30km+ days on cobblestone, dirt and boardwalks. They are reliably waterproof (I never had any issues during the several days of rain we hiked in) and provide a lot of stability around your ankles and on uneven terrain.

The bad: you really need to break them in first, especially if you're hiking long distances and prone to blisters.

  • Exceptional waterproofing
  • Shields feet from uneven surfaces
  • Lightweight & durable
  • Break-in period needed
  • Wish they had a wider toe box
$132 at Sporting Life
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$220 at SportChek$180 at Cabela's

I walked the Camino de Santiago recently and, as a result, spent a lot of the last year researching, trying on, and walking in different hiking boots. Among those I've added to my collection are the On Cloudrock 2 boots. These waterproof hiking boots are made to withstand all types of trail conditions in all kinds of weather. They have added heel stability and a reinforced collar, delivering a secure fit and comfortable ride, whether you're on kilometre two or 12. They come in both men's and women's sizes.

  • Great for mucky weather: Waterproof & warm
  • All-day comfort: Feet won't tire
  • FlexLock lacing system is sturdy & feels high quality
  • Not as comfortable as other On shoes
  • Requires break-in time: Fabric around the ankle can rub and cause discomfort
$210 at Sporting Life
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$280 at Altitude Sports

Aesthetically speaking, these Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX shoes are by far my favourite on this list. They come in two incredibly cute colourways, lavender and light pink, and a classic black for those wanting something less colourful. Like everything else from Arc'teryx, they look and feel high-quality.

Now, while I'd suggest these shoes for shorter trails and non-technical terrain, I don't know if I would recommend them for longer distances. I recently hiked 500km of the Camino de Santiago and opted not to bring the Aerios FL 2 GTX shoes for two reasons: they lack ankle and underfoot support. For shorter distances, it's not a huge deal, but for longer distances, you might find them lacking.

All in all, if you're looking for something for shorter hikes on well-maintained trails, the Aerios FL 2 GTX shoes are stylish and well-made. But if you're doing a lot of technical hiking on longer trails, these wouldn't be my pick.

  • Great for shorter distances
  • Unique colourways available
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Requires a break-in period
  • Minimal ankle support
  • Lack of underfoot support
$230 at Arc'teryx
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$230 at Sporting Life

Backed by hundreds of five-star reviews, Merrell's Moab 3 hikers regularly top the internet's lists of best hiking shoes. The shoes have a waterproof membrane that simultaneously seals out water and lets moisture escape. Famous for its out-of-the-box comfort, the Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability. Shop them in four colourways and men's sizes.

$190 at Merrell

These iconic hikers are best-sellers for a reason. They feature a classic mountaineering style that's both waterproof and breathable with an all-terrain outsole. They've earned thousands of five-star reviews across the web and top marks for out-of-the-box comfort and unmatched durability. 

$160 at Columbia
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$92 at Amazon

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