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Ultimate Guide to the Best Walking Shoes

Designed with built-in arch support, shock-absorbing foam, and patented heel protection to align your foot and cushion every step.

Updated on May 31, 2024

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Are you tired of enduring foot pain every time you go for a walk? Whether you suffer from plantar fasciitis, bunions, or any other foot condition, finding the right pair of shoes can make a world of difference.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from understanding the causes of foot pain to identifying the key features to look for in walking shoes. We will delve into the different types of walking shoes available, including those specifically designed for various foot conditions.

We will also explore the importance of proper fit and support in alleviating foot pain. By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to select the perfect pair of walking shoes that will provide you with the utmost comfort and relief, allowing you to enjoy your walks pain-free.

What are Walking Shoes?

Walking shoes are a form of footwear uniquely suited to work with your movement while walking.

Distinct from running shoes, the best shoes for walking should offer a wide toe box for easy movement and circulation, consistent whole-foot cushion, contoured arch support, and flexibility. While running shoes are made to withstand high impact on the forefoot and heel bone, walkers don’t need this level of cushion. So running shoes may not be the best shoes for walking all day.

When selecting walking shoes, it’s important to consider individual preferences, foot shape, and specific needs. By understanding the key features and benefits of walking shoes, individuals can make informed choices to ensure optimal comfort, support, and foot health while enjoying their walking routines.

  • Woman walking through a park wearing KURU QUANTUM shoes for walking.

Understanding Foot Pain and Its Causes

Foot pain can be debilitating and can significantly impact your everyday life, especially if you enjoy walking or engaging in physical activities. To find the perfect walking shoes for foot pain relief, it is crucial to understand the causes of foot pain. There are various factors that can contribute to foot pain, including:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
    This condition occurs when the tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed. It can cause stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot, typically felt upon taking your first steps in the morning.
    Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bunions
    Bunions are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can cause pain and discomfort, making it challenging to find shoes that fit properly.
    Bunions
  • Metatarsalgia
    Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot. It is often associated with activities that involve running or jumping.
    Metatarsalgia
  • Flat Feet
    Flat feet occur when the arches of your feet have collapsed, causing the soles of your feet to touch the ground entirely. This can lead to foot pain and discomfort, especially during physical activities like walking.
    Flat Feet
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Foot Care and Pain Relief Measures to Complement Walking Shoes

While finding the perfect walking shoes is crucial for foot pain relief, there are additional measures you can take to complement their effectiveness. Here are some recommendations:

  • Stretching exercises
    Perform regular stretching exercises to improve flexibility and relieve tension in your feet and calves. Consult with a physical therapist or podiatrist for specific exercises tailored to your foot condition.
    Stretching exercises
  • Foot massages
    Treat yourself to regular foot massages to promote circulation and relaxation. You can use a tennis ball or a foot roller to massage your feet at home.
    Foot massages
  • Ice therapy
    If you experience inflammation or swelling, apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day. This can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
    Ice therapy
  • Maintain a health weight
    Excess weight can put additional strain on your feet and exacerbate foot pain. Maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise to reduce the burden on your feet.
    Maintain a health weight
  • Orthotic inserts
    Consider using over-the-counter or custom orthotic inserts to provide additional support and alignment correction. These can enhance the effectiveness of your walking shoes in alleviating foot pain.
    Orthotic inserts

Walking Shoes Care Tips

Proper care for your walking shoes is essential to keeping them in good condition and preventing foot pain down the road. Here are some tips from KURU on how to best take care of your walking shoes.

  • Protect your walking shoes from wet conditions with a preventive spritz of KURU Shield, our proprietary blend of shoe protector spray. This water-repellent layer works on all shoe materials and helps safeguard your footwear from the elements.
  • Refresh an extra-loved pair of walking shoes with our KURU Shoe Cleaning Kit. Equipped with an all-material shoe cleaner, cleaning brush and microfiber cloth, this kit helps your shoes last.
  • Allow your walking shoes to dry out between uses, away from sunlight. Sweat and sunlight can prematurely break down materials. Giving your outdoor footwear some breathing room after each use can help your shoes last longer and stay fresh.
  • Always wear socks with your walking shoes. Socks will help reduce your risk of blisters and create a barrier against sweat and bacteria. Keeping bacteria and sweat at bay can help extend the life of your outdoor shoes and reduce the risk of odor over time.

FAQs

  • What are the best shoes for walking?

    The best shoes for walking and standing all day feature a wide toe box, excellent arch support, flexibility, and consistent cushioning along the length of the foot.

  • Is it okay to wear running shoes for walking?

    You can wear running shoes for walking but they may not offer the level of support and comfort you need for all day wear. Running shoes offer a concentrated amount of cushion in the heel and forefoot and can offer more heel height and cushion than necessary. This can lead to discomfort over time while walking.

  • How often should I replace my walking shoes?

    Podiatrists recommend replacing walking shoes every 300–500 miles or every six months to a year. The rubber and support starts to wear down over time, which can lead to an increased risk for injury.

  • What are the benefits of walking shoes?

    There are many benefits to wearing high-quality supportive walking shoes! Walking shoes deliver shock-absorbing cushion, superior arch support, and flexibility to help protect your feet, relieve pain, and give you a better chance at lasting all day.

    High-quality shoes for standing and walking can also help shield your bones, joints, and ligaments from the stress of hard surfaces. KURU offers some of the best walking shoes with arch support and best shoes for walking on concrete with our triple-layer technology built into every pair.

  • Can I wear orthotic inserts in any walking shoes?

    Orthotic inserts can be used in many walking shoes, but it’s important to ensure that the shoes have enough room to accommodate the inserts without causing discomfort or altering the fit.

    These are just a few frequently asked questions about walking shoes and foot pain relief. If you have specific concerns or questions, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or specialist.

  • Can walking shoes cure foot pain?

    While walking shoes can provide relief and alleviate foot pain, they may not necessarily cure underlying foot conditions. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Foot pain significantly impacts daily activities and independence, diminishing physical function, mobility, and overall quality of life, thus limiting routine tasks such as walking, standing, and exercising and increasing dependence on others.

 

In fact, 66% of study respondents reported foot pain impacting their ability to walk.

Explore the latest foot pain trends, common causes of pain, treatment and prevention plans for maintained foot health in our 2024 Foot Pain Trends Report!

Features of Walking Shoes & Finding the Best Fit

Explore the process of selecting and fitting the most comfortable walking shoe for your feet, walking style, and walking preferences.

  • Sturdy base with a wide toe box
    Walking shoes can be a bit heavier than running shoes to help provide stability for each step. A wide toe box allows the toes to lay flat and grounded with each step and promotes a healthy flow of circulation.
    Sturdy base with a wide toe box
  • Quality arch support
    Supportive shoes that hug and support the contours of your foot can help treat plantar fasciitis and keep you walking for long hours.
    Quality arch support
  • EVA midsoles
    Whole-foot cushion is best for walking shoes. While running shoes offer a concentrated amount of cushion in the heel and forefoot, shoes for walking work best when cushion is more evenly distributed.
    EVA midsoles
  • Shock absorption
    Though walking has a lower impact than running, it can still put at least 2.5 times your body weight in pressure! Shock-absorbing foam can help absorb impact to protect your bones, joints, and ligaments.
    Shock absorption
  • Deep heel cup
    A deep heel cup can help support a more healthy alignment in your feet and ankles, which can relieve pressure across the several main joints of your body.
    Deep heel cup

Three Layers of Support

At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.

 

Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.

  • 1

    KURUSOLE

  • 2

    KURUCLOUD

  • 3

    ULTIMATE INSOLE

  • How KURU brings relief

    KURUSOLE

    Our patented KURUSOLE plate features a unique design that cups the heel and allows for dynamic flexion with each step. This superior support helps protect and preserve the heel’s fat pad and guide your body to a more natural alignment.

Our Secret

Animated GIF showing KURUSOLE tech in KURU shoes vs. typical flat interiors for plantar fasciitis pain.
Why Others Love KURU

Why Others Love KURU

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ratings.

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Great for walking 6+ hours! I’m a hotel housekeeper, so I’m on my feet, moving almost constantly up to eight hours a day, sometimes less. I suffer with plantar fasciitis, and these sneakers have really proven to be comfortable and have reduced my foot pain to where I can walk comfortably for long periods of time. Great sneakers, I would definitely buy from this company again.

Olivia M.

Feels Great. Break in period started out ruff at first but after 4 to 5 days wearing them around the house . I went to wildlife museum with my grandkids. Was really nervous I was making a mistake wearing them but after 6 hours walking around on concrete floor my feet still felt great. I’m very happy with these shoes haven’t had a shoe this comfortable in years I will definitely be a return costumer.

James Monnahan

Great walking/standing shoe. I am on my feet all day and average 4-5 miles of walking every day. These are very comfortable and supportive. I.broke both big toes and my right foot a few years ago, so I’m always hurting. I have arthritis and heel spurs and my feet aren’t screaming at the end of the day anymore.

Hillary H

Great shoe, fantastic support. I bought the Atom 3 weeks ago hoping they would reduce the pain of Achilles tendinitis and they have made a significant improvement. I can walk pain free for the first time in months!

Steven D.

Perfect fit right out of the box. This is my second pair of Quantum sneakers. I now have a pair for work and one for walking with my dogs. They have really helped with plantar fasciitis symptoms and are great for working 12 hour shifts.

Goren

Shop KURU shoes today!
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