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When it comes to walking shoes, comfort is key, but you need to pay attention to the type of shoes you buy. If you enjoy walking on light trails, there are shoes designed specifically for that. something more intense? There’s a pair of shoes for that, too. No matter what you need it for, the best walking shoes should be comfortable. Support is also one of the most important things to consider. Everything on our list of the best men’s walking shoes of 2023 ticks the necessary boxes.
Some shoes offer waterproof linings—often Gore-Tex fabrics—making them better suited for trekking in wet or rainy conditions. Others will eschew liners to remain as lightweight and breathable as possible, making them better for hot conditions.
I’ve compiled my picks for the best walk andshoes. Every product on this list has been hand picked and rigorously tested to ensure it works as it should. If it wasn’t impressive, it wouldn’t be on the list. This guide focuses specifically on walking shoes, but if you’re covering more ground and want more durable and supportive shoes, skip to our guide to .
NB: All shoes shown here are mannequin tested.
The best walking shoes for men
The Salewa Dropline GTX shoes have already been some of my favorite speed-walking shoes, thanks to their exceptionally comfortable footbed that allows you to walk quickly without feeling weighed down. The Dropline Mid takes the same formula and adds a mid-rise ankle, providing increased support on more challenging terrain.
They lack a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, which is a shame, but the snug fit ensures that stones or other bits of loose debris won’t find their way inside your shoes.
UK shopping? Buy the Salewa Dropline Mid here.
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The Continental’s deep, rugged lugs and sturdy footbed make the Terrex AX4 a solid choice for everyday hiking, especially if you don’t need the ankle support—and added weight—of a regular shoe. They’re comfortable to walk for several hours, and the Gore-Tex lining means that a sudden rain shower won’t have you coming home with wet feet.
UK shopping? Buy the adidas Terrex AX4 shoes here.
Columbia Peakfreak shoes are lightweight but with a relatively firm sole that provides excellent support for longer distances. They are comfortable to wear while the ergonomic sole copes well with both wet grass and rain-soaked city streets and cobblestones. While they don’t have the ankle support of a full boot, I felt confident walking in these shoes on mixed terrain in poor conditions.
It’s waterproof too (Columbia uses their own waterproof membrane) which has done a decent job of keeping the Scottish weather at bay. If you’re after a sturdy hiking boot, the Columbia offering is a solid option to consider.
These comfortable trail shoes are made with recycled materials including reused plastic bottles and recycled yarn so you can be confident your actual feet have a smaller carbon footprint. The shoes are comfortable to wear, with enough support through the arch to keep you going on longer rides.
They don’t have a waterproof lining, so if you’re looking for a wet-weather walking shoe it’s worth looking elsewhere, but the Roclite 310 offers a secure, comfortable fit for casual walking in dry conditions.
UK shopping? Buy the Inov-8 Roclite Recycled 310 here.
These sneaker-like shoes are meant more for running than regular walking, and are excellent for those of you who like to stroll the woods trails at a faster pace. The shock-absorbing midsole is extremely comfortable on mixed terrain, while the deep lugs of the Vibram outsole provide plenty of traction, even in wet conditions.
They’re also light, which means you can wear them for a full day’s walk without having to spend days tending to your aching feet afterwards.
UK shopping? Buy the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6 here.
I love the look of these adventure shoes, with their deep nubs protruding from the footbed and the white, brown, and blue color combination on my test pair. They look great with jeans and are perfect for days of urban exploration when you know you’ll end up at a bar with your friends. The sole – as I’ve found with others in the On Range – is exceptionally supportive and provides a rocking motion while walking that seems to effectively propel you forward making it great for faster hikes.
What I don’t like is the elastic band that comes with them which seemed a bit too loose to me and made my feet slip, especially when I walked at a faster speed. I traded them in for a set of regular laces for only a few bucks which I found made these shoes feel more secure and comfortable all round.
UK shopping? Buy the On Shoes Cloud Hi Waterproof shoes here.
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APL shoes come with a price tag that is out of the reach of many, but it has put the company on the radar of fashionistas and outdoor enthusiasts alike. ZipLine features a one-piece knit upper that can stretch in all areas providing a completely snug fit and exceptional levels of comfort out of the box.
While they’re meant for running more than walking, the deep, springy foam soles propel you forward as you walk, making them great for putting the miles into your outings to explore the city.
With a durable textile upper and a more durable and sturdy sole, Trail shoes are better equipped for life in the hills than the soft Allbirds Mizzle shoe. But the merino wool lining and cushioned footbed make them incredibly comfortable to wear, even on long trail runs (or brisk hikes, in my case). They’re great on woodland trails and lakeside trails but just as good on city streets.
They’re made from eco-friendly materials including merino wool, eucalyptus fibers, natural rubber, sugar cane, and castor seed oil, while the shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles.
UK shopping? Buy Allbirds Trail Runners here.
Deep cushioning and flexible outer materials make the Dropline GTX the most comfortable hiking shoe you’ve ever worn. They tackled mile after mile of dirt trails, downtown asphalt and paving, and never failed to feel bolstered. They’re also light and water-resistant, thanks to a Gore-Tex lining.
It’s an exceptional shoe for everything from Sunday afternoons through the park to weekends in the hills.
UK shopping? Buy the Salewa Dropline GTX here.
The Allbirds Runner-up Mizzle shoes are among the softest things I’ve ever had the pleasure to put on my feet. This is thanks to its merino wool construction, which has the added benefit of making this lightweight shoe an environmentally friendly choice. The soft foam sole means these aren’t shoes for trekking up mountains, or even woodland trails, but they make a great walking shoe for urban exploration, and hopping between cafes and museums.
This hiking boot option is waterproof, so an impromptu rain shower won’t slow you down, while the shoe’s extremely light weight means you’d be forgiven for thinking you accidentally stepped out in slippers.
UK shopping? Buy Allbirds’ Runner-up Mizzles here.
Although these light and comfortable shoes were designed primarily for trail running, they can make for a quick, brisk hike both in and out of town. I loved the comfort of the deep footbed, and the trail-running sole meant I felt stable and stable on asphalt and gravel as well as grass, dirt trails, and lakeside trails.
UK shopping? Buy On Shoes Cloudultra shoes here.
Like the Cloudrock shoes, the Cloudventure shoes feature a unique curved sole with deep lugs, making the shoes as supportive, stable, and comfortable as their in-shoe siblings. They have a more modern design and style than many of the other hiking shoes on the market, making them perfect for those of you who want an all-day sneaker that you won’t feel the need to change out of that hiking boot when you hit the bar at the end of your trek – as long as they’re not soaked with mud.
They’re completely waterproof and their light weight means they’re just as suitable for the trail runner as they are for the fast-paced hiker.
Note: The female version of this model was tested.
UK shopping? Buy the Cloudventure Men’s Waterproof Boots here.
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How we test our walking shoes
We test all of our shoes in real-world conditions. It actually means putting our feet in it, tying it in leather, and hitting the lanes, streets, or hills. Nothing based on press releases or other marketing promises – each pair is evaluated on its own merits and if all our boxes don’t tick, it won’t be finished.
We tested these shoes in Scotland, where some pairs were used on the rugged cobblestone streets of Edinburgh, while others were used in the woods and hills outside the city. Not all shoes are made for the same tasks, so we try to test each pair in its most appropriate environment. Each pair gets a minimum of 15 miles of use (but usually much more) and Scotland’s notoriously wet weather means any waterproofing claims are easy to test.
We validate comfort, ensuring they can be worn all day without causing blisters or other pains and that they have enough grip to handle the miles. We also look for build quality – especially any loose stitching or gaps in the glue – that may indicate they won’t last as long on the tracks.
What to look for in a walking shoe
Although buying a pair of walking shoes may seem simple, there are a lot of options out there, so finding your perfect pair isn’t necessarily easy. It is therefore important that you consider what you need from your shoes. Here are some factors to take into consideration:
- The kind of terrain you’ll be walking in – city streets, flat unpaved trails, and swinging trails.
- Climate – Do you need your shoes to be waterproof, or grippy for slippery conditions?
- INDIVIDUAL NEEDS OF YOUR FOOT – Need a wide shoe? The one with extra ankle support?
If you’ll be walking mostly on gentle country trails or carefully laid out woodland trails, an all-around hiking shoe like the Adidas Terrex AX4 will suit you well. Those looking for a faster hike will appreciate the support and cushioning from more running-focused models like the Allbirds Trailer Runner SWT or New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro.
If you plan to hit more rocky or loose terrain, it’s worth considering whether the shoe is right for you—the shoe’s added ankle support may give you more stability in the foot and reduce your risk of falling. A happy medium could be a mid-height shoe like the Columbia Facet 60 or Salewa Dropline Mid, which are still basically flat, but with a bit more ankle support.
If you are likely to be hiking in wet conditions, look for Gore-Tex liners, or the “special brand” type waterproof liners the manufacturer may use. Keep in mind that “waterproof” in shoes rarely means “submersible,” so don’t expect to stand in the river all day doing some fishing, and expect to keep the water out.
Finally, make sure you have the right size. While most shoes are designed to fit a “standard” shoe shape, if you have particularly wide feet and are struggling to find a shoe that fits, look for models that offer wider sizes. Most manufacturers tend to offer sizing guidelines (“fits true to size” or “fits small”) on their websites, so keep that in mind when considering fit.
More for people who hit the trails
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.