Walking seems simple, right? You move, then you move quickly, you sweat, your heart rate increases, the world keeps on spinning.
But the thing is, there are actually a lot of intricate details that go into selecting the right walking shoes, from pronation to shock resistance, heel height to breathable fabrics, and more.
Whether you’re walking, jogging, running, or even cycling, there’s some level of impact that takes place on your shins, your knees, and your joints.
Having the best long distance walking shoes for men can make all the difference in how your body responds to shock and strain, so let’s take a look at the cream of the crop, some awesome alternative recommendations, and tell you why they’re so important.
As the best shoes for long distance walking, you’ll get about two years of use out of these shoes, with an average of 9 to 15 months if you jog or run in them, which is still great by any standard.
Thanks to the impact-resistant synthetic sole, these shoes cushion the blow from walking on overly hard surfaces, and gives a bit of bounce in your step (without it being too much).
Available in over a dozen colors, there’s a way to unite the look of your Skechers with whatever your current running attire is. If you walk on freshly paved asphalt or pavement, however, the soles are known to stick a little bit, so be wary of those new roads before you decide on your running path.
This isn’t an issue that everyone has run into, but there are enough anecdotal incidents about this that it’s worth keeping in mind when you purchase these shoes.
The lace-up system is nice and neat, so you won’t feel more resistance against the top of your feet than is necessary.
The only major flaw here is the slightly oblong shape to the back of the outsole, however it’s nothing that you won’t get used to after two or three walks.
With excellent breathability, a double-stitched pull-on loop, and a budget-friendly price that any fitness enthusiast would do double backflips for, Skechers takes the cake. If you’re going to start anywhere, this is the pair to beat.
Runner-Up: Under Armour Charged
Speaking of the outsole, it’s probably one of the greatest parts of these shoes. With EVA foam to help cushion every step you take, it’s one of the best pairs of walking shoes for long distances.
However, some users did report some issues with their heel feeling a bit sore after extended use. It’s difficult to know if that’s just a lack of time to break the shoes in, or if they were the wrong size, but it seems to be a recurring issue.
In our test, the back felt fine, though the pull-on loop did feel very tough and a little abrasive on your skin when you lace up in the morning.
Under Armour offers over ten different color combinations for these shoes, and has a fair mix of USA-made shoes and some that are imported.
Rubber on the outsole helps you prevent shock from every step you take, regardless of what trail you’re on. This shoe has a sleek design, so the tongue is a bit shorter than you may be used to. It’ll have to be tied down tight with the laces to prevent any slippage.
Last but not least, speaking of slippage, you’ll notice a rather deep tread along the bottom of the shoe that grants you excellent traction on just about any surface. Overall, it’s a comfortable and constructive walking experience with Under Armour.
Alternative: Saucony Echelon 7
With an entirely synthetic design and rubber outsole, you get top-tier shock resistance, and two separate treads along the bottom of the shoe, separated by color. This mixes a healthy blend of traction and control without feeling like you’re sticking to the ground.
Working your way up, you’ll notice plenty of double-stitch lines over the toe box, and breathable holes in the front section of and along the sides of the Saucony.
Everything here is designed to give you a breathable and comfortable walk or run from start to finish, which is why this is one of the best long-distance walking shoes for overweight walkers. If you’re working hard to shed the pounds, having this level of support on your walk will be extremely helpful.
When it comes to support, the heel cup has a comfortable and soft lining along the collar, but a firm and sturdy backside that helps prevent shoe buckling during your walks.
You’ll notice one issue here, though: there are no eyelets for your laces. This can lead to the laces digging into the synthetic material fairly easily, and it makes it a hassle when you eventually have to swap the laces out.
The only other downside here is that for everything you pay, the interior lining doesn’t have the strongest adhesive.
It’s been known to pop up a bit and try to come out. It’s still entirely intact, but this is an issue that we (and many of other users) have endured that’s worth taking into account. The liner, collar, and tongue are soft, and the comfort is superb—Saucony Echelon 7 is a shoe you’ll remember.
Besr for Women: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure
You’ll notice that the heel cup has a sort of peak at the top, and the tongue emulates this. It doesn’t get in the way of the pull-on loop, but it is definitely noticeable while wearing these shoes.
Thankfully, the collar design is knit and super soft, so it just feels like support more than anything else.
The only problem is that for Cloudfoam shoes, the Cloudfoam runs out fairly quickly. If you walk for about eight to nine months in these shoes, the Cloudfoam deteriorates before anything else, so you can feel a little more shock and a little more of the ground with each step.
While the design is unisex, it was made with women in mind, so it may feel a bit off if you have wide feet (as many men do). While some users reported a bit of snugness near the heel, these shoes are a decent fit for many, and breaking them in a bit will go a long way (thank you, knit fit!).
These are marketed as both running and walking shoes, but if you’ve ever worn running shoes before then you’ll notice that it feels a bit slippery once you have them on.
The treads on the bottom are good, but will endure noticeable wear and tear over your first six months of use.
Runner-Up: Lamincoa Slip On Walking Shoes
Apart from the color schemes and marketing, this really would be one of the best men’s shoes for long distance walking as well, it’s just not proposed that way.
These foam tennis sneakers are great for running in and out of the gym, and tend to last for 18 months up to two full years depending on use.
The entire shoe has a breathable and easily maneuverable design thanks to the knitted construction. You’ll feel like you’re walking on air, however be warned of the foam in the insoles and their shorter life span.
You might end up replacing the insoles in about nine to twelve months using these shoes.
The MD sole has excellent traction and anti-collision padding along the front of the toe cap, although the pull-on loop in the front does little other than mess with the lacing.
Overall, the lacing system is a bit of a mess that you’ll have to work out each time you get ready to go on a walk or a run.
With over a dozen colors available and an extremely flexible design, you get a mix of protection and maneuverability that few other shoes in this price range offer.
Men’s Shoes for Long Distances FAQ
Is It Okay to Wear Running Shoes for Walking?
Yes, running shoes are perfectly fine to wear for walking. They have similar constructions and feel almost the same on asphalt, pavement, and dirt trails.
However, you do have to think about one thing regarding both types of shoes: pronation.
Pronation can most easily be described as the part of your foot that touches the ground first, which will alter how shock and weight distribute through each step. Your shoes can correct pronation while you wear them, but pronation starts with the shape of your feet.
If you naturally have a neutral pronation, but you buy a running/walking shoe that has a design for those with a supination pronation, then you’re going to clash. Your shoes and feet aren’t applying pressure at the same time, so you risk injury.
You can have a dedicated running shoe and a dedicated walking shoe (one will obviously be burned through faster than the other, so it’s not a bad idea), but just keep in mind that you need to have the right pronation in your shoes for it to matter.
What is the Difference Between a Hiking Shoe and a Walking Shoe?
Hiking shoes are not something you want to take on a brisk walk on level, paved road. Walking shoes are the opposite: you want to use those on flat ground.
So what are the main differences that make up the different profiles of these shoes?
- Weight: We go into detail about shoe weight later on, but suffice to say, hiking shoes are much heavier than walking shoes for the sake of traction and leveraging.
- Protection: Walking shoes are lightweight, meaning they offer less protection. Hiking shoes are thicker, because they need to protect you from the elements, rocky trails, and temperature changes when you ascend a certain height on a hiking trail. Plain and simple, a walking shoe should be light, but don’t expect a lot of protection. Then again, there’s not much that you need protection from on a paved road.
How Do I Choose a Walking Shoe?
If it fits, wear it, right? Nope! Nothing could be further from the truth. You want it to fit, but not too well. Let’s explain.
- Half-Inch Rule: The tip of your longest toe should have about a half-inch of space between itself and the tip of your shoe. Any less room means you don’t have stretching room for the motions of your feet when you walk, and any more means that it’s likely loose in other places as well, and your shoe will shift and slide while you try to walk. It’s distracting, and it’s also dangerous.
- Good Traction: Nobody is going on two-mile walks in Vans skate shoes. Your walking shoes need to have plenty of traction available, because this will make up for shifts in your weight while you walk, and any leverage you accidentally provide when walking on uneven trails.
- Solid Collar: The collar of the shoe should be cushioned enough that it prevents your ankles from rolling, but does not restrict their movement. Shoes that are too short on the sidewalls are not supportive enough, but you also don’t want shoes that do all the supporting for you (you lose balance and muscle this way). Get a solid collar that supports you without being too rigid, or covering your entire ankle.
Nearly everyone possesses the ability to walk, which is why there’s so much subjective preference when it comes to walking shoes.
You can find numerous stances and points of view, but when we look at the science and listen to practiced professionals, we know that lightweight is better, traction is better, and that your support should compliment your strength, not do the work for it.
Is Heavy Shoes Good for Walking?
No, heavy shoes are not good for walking. You may seem some advertised as being designed for walkers, but the truth is, weighted shoes can actually cause problems.
We all have different weights, but at the end of the day, a shoe isn’t going to lift the pressure from your knees and joints (specifically if you’re trying to go on walks to trim your waist or lose weight).
Weighted shoes are something you’ll see in hiking, because you’re on elevated ground and need a bit more assistance with traction. There are even some steel-toed hiking shoes. However, these don’t transition well to walking shoes that you use on flat terrain and pavement. It’s entirely different.
Your shoes should be:
- Lightweight: The less drag on your feet, the better. You want to be able to move swiftly and easily over the trails you walk on without much issue.
- Breathable: Heavier fabrics aren’t breathable, so one of the best signatures of a lightweight shoe is a breathable fabric. This also helps to prevent excessive foot sweat buildup, which can result in fungal infections. Basically, lightweight and breathable is the best.
- Flexible: You’d think that you’d want a sturdy, firm shoe, right? The way that your feet move while you walk is anything but sturdy: it bends, stretches, and moves in so many different ways while you walk. You need a flexible shoe that can reflect those movements.
The heavier the shoe, the less viable it is for walking. If you have to be conscious of the weight of your shoe when you’re on a recreational walk, then it’s too heavy. It’s time to upgrade.
Is It Okay to Wear Running Shoes for Walking?
There’s more to corrective walking than meets the eye, and now that you know about pronation, shoe materials, and the difference between walking shoes and hiking shoes, you’re ready to make a decision and get out on the trail.
It’s time to walk the walk, and boost your health in the process. It’s good to know what you’re looking for when you begin shopping for the right walking shoes, but everyone is going to run into some hurdles here and there.
Do your best to pinpoint your perfect pair on this list, but just in case you wear through them quickly, be sure to bookmark this page and come back when it’s time to replace them.