Best Walking Shoes for Men

Looking for the best walking shoes (for the office or travel)? We break things down by brand and give you all the details. We'll tell you what we like, but which ones will you choose?
Photo by Mag Pole on Unsplash

No matter where your journeys take you, a good pair of walking shoes is essential. You don’t want sore and aching feet when you take long walking treks in Tokyo or go on a short stroll around your neighborhood or stand and move all day at work.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE BEST WALKING SHOES FOR WOMEN, CLICK HERE.

A good rule of thumb for a good pair of walking shoes is that your legs get sore before your feet do.

There are a ton of walking shoes out there and we’ve done our best to narrow it down to the best.

We’ve organized our list by brand name. Otherwise, our list might be dominated by only a few brands, and we wanted to make sure that you were aware of all your options.

Also, keep in mind that there are different types of walking shoes.  Some emphasize the barefoot feel.  Others are more about cushion or their light weight.  Before you choose a shoe, think about what it is you want from it.

Here are some major characteristics of walking shoes:

  • Stylish (when you want the shoe to look as good as it feels)
  • Cushioned Comfort (good for overweight walker or if you just want a little more “cush” in your step)
  • Barefoot Feel (sometimes the most comfortable feel is the feeling of not wearing shoes at all)
  • Office Ready (when you want to make your feet happy but you got to be office appropriate)
  • Waterproof (for the rainy season or when you might be stepping in creeks)
  • Lightweight (because what good is a heavy walking shoe?)

For this list, we looked at brands that are well-known for style, comfort, class, and reliability.

Without further ado, here’s what we found.

 

Nike

Formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon and is the world’s largest athletic shoe and apparel company.  So, yeah, they know what they’re doing when it comes to quality shoes.

Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018 (barefoot / lightweight / stylish)

I’ve been a Nike Free wearer since they were introduced in 2005. Nike Free was designed for the barefoot experience, so if you’re not used to that, it might take some time for your feet to adjust. If that’s the case, it might be good to walk around town in them before taking a long trek.

Originally, there was a numbering system for Nike Free shoes:  3.0 (little cushioning), 5.0 (more cushioning), 7.0 (most cushioning).  Nike dropped the numbering system and found the perfect balance between “barefoot” and “cushion”.

The latest model is the Nike Free RN Flyknit, which is the lightest in the Free RN family. It really hugs your foot for great comfort.  The upper almost feels like a sock (so, no, it’s not waterproof).

If you’re not going to wear these on the airplane (why wouldn’t you, though?), they’re quite compact and easily fit into a number of different sizes and shapes of bags.

The RN Flyknit is available in many different colorways to suit your own personal style.

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 Nike Epic React Flyknit (cushion / stylish / lightweight)

When the React line of Nike shoes was introduced less than a year ago, they went flying off the shelves.  Nike has finally caught up with demand, so you can grab yours now.  I haven’t tried on a pair of these babies yet, but the customer reaction and reviews tell me this is a great and comfortable shoe.

This shoes emphasizes cushion, so no matter where you wear these, your feet are sure to be happy. Of course, Nike didn’t stop there.  These shoes are extremely lightweight and durable as well.

Customers say they’re “weightless” and “beautiful” and that it’s “like walking on air.” How can you resist a pair of shoes like that?

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Merrell

Founded in 1981 as a maker of high-performance hiking boots, Merrell knows what they’re doing in making shoes comfortable for hiking and walking.

Whenever I take a significant trip, I like to buy a pair of shoes to fit the environment that I’m going to.  The last two trips I took, I bought a pair of Merrells. They did not disappoint.  They’re well-made, look good, and are great for walking significant distances.

Men’s Trail Glove 4 Knit (barefoot / lightweight)

I bought a pair of these for my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.  I really liked them.

These have the barefoot feel, which I prefer.  And similar to the Nike Flyknit, the 3D knit on these shoes hug your feet for great comfort and maximum flexibility.

You don’t have to bother with tying laces, either. They have a quick lock lacing system and a “stretch collar” for easy on and off.  In other words, these shoes are great going through airport security and other travel situations.

The shoes have a sturdy toe and sturdy heel, so that sock-like upper doesn’t get out of control flimsy.

And although these shoes are for the barefoot experience, there is a nice cushioning layer as well.

These shoes come with great traction, so you can wear them on sidewalks and trails.

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Men’s Moab 2 GTX Hiking Shoe (waterproof / cushioned)

This is an athletic-looking, popular hiking shoe, and the only waterproof shoe on the list.

The Moab style is known for its extreme comfort, so your feet will be pleased no matter where they go.  This particular shoe also features an athletic-style look and extra arch and heel support.

The GoreTex construction means that it’s waterproof and breathable, so your feet shouldn’t get too sweaty during long walks in humid environments.

Like most Merrell shoes, this model has great traction and is built with durability in mind.

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Ecco

Ecco is a Danish shoe maker founded in 1963. Their products are now sold in 88 countries around the world.  I’ve never owned a pair, but I can’t escape their reputation of being some of the most comfortable shoes around.

Men’s Helsinki Slip-On (office ready / durable)

We looked for a shoe that was more office ready and found this popular model.

The sole of the shoe is a synthetic material for grip and durability.  Reviews on the Internet have people loving this shoe for how long it lasts.  One person exclaiming it lasted a two-year period.  Another person saying that he’s had his pair for over 5 years. Its durability makes this shoe worth the price alone.

The upper is 100% leather, so it looks for for the office and a night on the town.

And comfort?  These, like many other Ecco shoes, feature what Ecco calls a comfort fibre system.  What that means to you is they’re soft, moisture-absorbent, have effective control of bacteria and odor, and give your feet a cushion of foam.

We don’t recommend running a marathon in these, but if you’re on your feet all day in an office setting, you’ll definitely want to take a look at them.

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Men’s Soft 7 Fashion Sneaker (stylish/durable)

More sneaker style.  More traditional look for a walking shoe.

The upper is a soft leather and has a stylish-casual look to it. This shoes is light, flexible, and of course comfortable.

Another stand out feature of this shoe is its durability. Its outsoles are made of polyurethane which is the longest lasting material for outsoles.  In other words, you won’t have to replace these shoes for a long time.

Like the shoe above, it features the comfort fibre system for cushion, odor-control, and more. Lightweight and flexible, this shoe truly has it all.

Although people who bought this shoe rave about its comfort and style, a few say that it’s not the best for really long treks. (If your plan is for such a long trek, Nike and Merrell would probably be better for you.)

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Rockport

A worldwide brand that is based in Marlborough Massachusetts, Rockport was established in the early 1970s.  They’ve been bought and sold numerous times, but are still around.

Rockport is credited with inventing the walking shoe and popularizing walking as a form of exercise as a healthy alternative to running. The company has invested much in research into the biomechanics of walking to design its shoes.

Rockport makes shoes that are more office friendly and stylish rather than pure athletic or hiking shoes. They are comfortable, but they do sacrifice some comfort for looks.

Quick story about me and Rockports:

I’ve always had my eye on this brand and wanted to try them.  Back when I had my office / teaching job, I could have really used a pair.  I liked their look and knew they were comfortable, but I skimped and bought a cheap pair of no-name shoes instead.  My feet suffered.  Let that be a lesson to you, don’t skimp when it comes to buying shoes.

So now my only regret is that I didn’t have a pair of Rockports.

Men’s Dressports 2 Go Plain Toe Oxford (office ready / stylish)

These are office ready and stylish with just a touch of casual. The upper is 100% leather for style and class.  The white trim gives this shoe a bit of a casual feel.

If you’re on your feet all day at the office, these might be the shoes you’re looking for.  They have separate cushioning for the forefoot and heel.  In addition to cushioning, the collar of the shoe is padded, so your ankle won’t get sore.

Like all Rockport shoes, these are more stylish than most other brands, so you’ll look good and feel good.  Durability is also a part of this shoe’s design, so you know they should last a long time. The textile lining also creates great breathability.

People rave about their fit and comfort. One wearer goes on about their professional look and the terrific comfort for a 12-hour day on his feet.

Seems like the perfect office walking shoe.

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Men’s Zaden Plain Toe Ox Oxford (office ready / cushioned)

Rockport does have other shoes that are more “athletic” looking, but they were also ugly.  These, on the other hand, are what Rockport is known for: stylish, comfortable walking shoes. These are good for a casual office or if you want to dress up your travels. (They’re also currently available in black.)

This one has a removable EVA footbed for support and cushion.

Like the other Rockport shoe on our list, the upper is made of 100% leather.  Sorry, vegans, this is not the shoe for you. And the rubberized EVA outsoles make for great traction–so you don’t have to worry about slipping as you stride to the next meeting–and great comfort.

These and most other Rockport models aren’t really made for all-day treks, so it’s probably best to not put these on to walk the Appalachian Trail.  However, if you’re walking and standing all day in the office, it’s going to be hard to top these. They’re also great for urban travels when you’ll be able to take a seat every now and then.

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Skechers

I admit that when I think of Skechers (yes, that really how you spell it, without the “t”), I think of 90s style and looks for women, but when I researched them for this article, I was surprised to see that they have a great modern look to much of their apparel and shoes.

And after even more research, I found that people rave about Skechers like no other walking shoe brand.  People love their Skechers.

Men’s Classic Fit-Delson-Camden Sneaker (cushion / lightweight)

This one took me off guard.  This is actually a great looking casual shoe with a variety of colors available.

These shoes have air cooled memory foam for great comfort and to keep your feet from sweating on those long walks in Tokyo or Paris or New York or wherever you go.

The laces are “bungee”, so you can slip these babies on and off with ease.  This will make it great for going through airport security or changing to slippers on the airplane or in your hotel.

The uppers are a lightweight knit mesh fabric for breathability and a light as air feel.

People who reviewed this shoe around the Internet tend to love their comfort and lightweight feel.  Didn’t I already mention that?

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Men’s Equalizer Double Play Slip-On Loafer (cushion / lightweight)

When I talk about Skechers’ great reputation and overwhelming positive feedback from people who wear these shoes, this is what I’m talking about.

People buy multiple pairs.  People talk about this being their most comfortable shoe ever.

I could repeat much about what I said about the other Skechers shoe on this list: lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.

These shoes are slip-on, so once again great for the airport and other travel situations.

Not the greatest looking shoe, but not ugly either.  There are a few color choices for this one, so check them out.

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New Balance

Never known for their fashion appeal, New Balance has built their business and reputation on comfort and quality. Oh, yeah and they’re over 100 years old (founded in 1906) so they have more experience than many of the other brands on this list combined. They have great technical expertise and are known for offering a variety of widths.

Long story short:  New Balance knows what they’re doing.

Men’s Lazr V1 Fresh Foam Running Shoe  (cushion / lightweight / stylish)

Okay, I admit: this one surprised me.  It doesn’t look like the typical New Balance shoe.  Besides looking good, (there are multiple colors to choose from), it also has a textile upper and rubber sole, which means lightweight and durable.

The stretch around the collar make these another good shoe for slipping on and off (once again, great for travel), but they when you lace and tie them up, they’ll stay securely to your feet.

People rave about their light weight and comfort.

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Men’s 510v4 Cushioning Trail Running Shoe (cushion)

These might not look as stylish as the other New Balance shoe on this list, but they are made for cushion.  They are superb if you’re doing a lot of walking, and if you’re looking at this list, that means you probably are doing (or will do) a lot of walking.

These are trail shoes, so they’re tougher and more durable than some other choices on this list.

There’s extra protection for your toe (if you’re one who stubs your toe a lot or maybe just kicks into things). But really it’s there to prevent holes with your big toe sticking out.

The all-terrain tread will keep you from slipping, and the cushioning is where this shoe really shines.  It’s in the name of the shoe! And in addition to the standard cushioning in the heel, New Balance also provides a “Ultra Soft” comfort insert. Your feet will be happy all day.

Like some of the other shoes on this list (Skechers, for instance), people who love this shoe are buying multiple pairs.  Other wearers also note the shoes’ support and stability for their feet.

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Asics

Asics, founded in 1949, is headquartered in Kobe, Japan. (A nice little town, if I do say so myself; I lived there for about a year.

From Wikipedia, “ASICS (アシックス Ashikkusu) (stylized as asics) is a Japanese multinational corporation which produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports, generally in the upper price range. The name is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which translates as “Healthy soul in a healthy body”. In recent years their running shoes have often been ranked among the top performance footwear in the market.”

Besides that, there was a time when Nike wanted to buy them out.  Asics refused and now there’s a bit of a rivalry between the two companies.

Noosa FF 2 Running Shoe (cushion / lightweight )

Asics tout these as “triathlon-ready shoes”, so anything less than a triathlon should be a cakewalk in these puppies, right? They feature responsive cushioning; you won’t feel the concrete beneath your feet.

They also have a super lightweight design, so your feet won’t be aching from lifting heavy clodhoppers all day.  Like most of the other shoes on this list, they were also made with flexibility in mind to lessen the chance of foot aches and heighten the feeling of freedom.

The uppers have breathable mesh to help keep your feet cool, too.  And Asics claim these shoes can be worn comfortably without socks if that’s your thing.

The footbed is removable and has Asics’s patented FlyteFoam technology for superb comfort.

There is also gel cushioning in the heel.  The rubber outsole is great for grip even in wet conditions.

So is there any down side to this shoe?  A few who bought this shoe say that the material is a little on the thin side and a hole developed for them.  I don’t know what percentage of wearers experienced this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning to be rough with these shoes.

Still many others rave about this shoe.  One person describes wearing these shoes like having nothing on his feet at all. For me that’s the ultimate in shoes.

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Bonus:  Adidas Adissage

If you’ve ever had a pair of Adidas Adissages, I don’t have to convince how great these slides are.

The reason that they’re a bonus item rather than being on the main list is that they’re not for a full day of walking.  However, after you’ve spent all day on your feet, no matter how great your shoes are, you need something like these.

They have multiple points that literally massage your feet and get the blood circulating. They also have great arch support.  If, after a long day of travel, you make it back to the hotel, but want to go down to the corner restaurant, wear these.

And it might be a fashion faux pas, but if you wear these with socks, it’s the ultimate experience. That soft layer of sock between the bottom of your feet and the plastic points of the Addisages, just feels so good.  And it is better to feel good than look good, right?

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Verdict

The truth is that you can’t go wrong with anything on this list.  The reason we listed so many was so that you could find the right pair for YOU.  Here’s a few final suggestions though:

Nike

I’ve never heard anyone say that they regret buying a pair of Nike shoes.  The Flyknit Frees are awesome for a more barefoot feel.  And the Epic React Flyknits will give you fantastic cushion and be light on your feet.

Merrell

Like I said in the body of the article, I’ve bought Merrell shoes for my last two big trips (one to Seattle and one to the Big Island of Hawaii).  My feet didn’t complain once.  They provided me great comfort, support, and looks. I’m sure I’ll keep buying Merrells in the future. Here we like the Trail Glove 4 and the Moab 2 Hiking Shoe.

Rockport

If you need comfort for the workplace (or just want to look good on your urban travels), this would be my choice.  I haven’t personally tested them out, but their reputation, their creation of the “walking shoe”, and the great customer reviews are all enough to make me buy with confidence. By all means, explore all their styles, but we’re partial to the Oxford look: here and here.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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