The best shoes for all day walking 2023
How to choose your perfect pair
It doesn’t matter how cushioned, grippy or beautiful a shoe is if it’s too narrow in the forefoot or rubs at the heel. So be prepared to try a few on before you commit.
When trying on shoes, bear in mind your feet are likely to swell during longer walks and allow a little extra space, especially if you’re shopping early on in the day. It’s also a good idea to take your favourite walking socks and any insoles or orthotics along with you.
Once you’ve found the perfect fit, it’s time to move onto features. Choose a shoe that suits the conditions and terrain you’ll encounter on your walks. Waterproof shoes are great for keeping your feet dry in mud and wet grass but may feel hot and sweaty on summer days. Aggressive grip is perfect in mud but may lack cushioning if you’ll be walking on roads or hard-packed trails. Whichever shoes you go for, team them up with some good walking socks to add a comfortable, breathable, naturally antimicrobial barrier between your foot and shoe.
Merrell Speed Eco RRP £110
Merrell's aim for its brand-new Speed Eco is to create a sustainably produced hiking shoe that still delivers on performance. It includes recycled material in the laces, Jacquard upper, lining, footbed and outsole. As with its predecessors, the Moab Speed and Speed Strike, they’re lightweight but well cushioned throughout, with a grippy outsole and good durability. Also available in a waterproof version for RRP £120.
Vasque Breeze LT Low NTX RRP £140
These casual-looking walking shoes combine a waterproof suede and recycled mesh upper with a Vibram outsole. The fit is narrow through the forefoot, which may not suit those with wider feet, but fairly roomy at the heel, which we found slips a little during walking. There’s a substantial arch support and the cushioning and grip is good, but overall they’re probably better suited to travel and everyday wear rather than serious walking.
Salewa Alp Trainer 2 GTX RRP £160
Designed in the Italian Dolomites for all-day walking on technical trails, these super comfortable hiking shoes are ideal for routes involving rocky terrain and easy scrambles. The upper is a hardwearing high-quality suede with a waterproof Gore-Tex lining and 360˚ rubber rand to protect both the shoe and your foot. Salewa’s climbing lacing system enables a secure, supportive fit throughout, with fine adjustment in the toe area for extra precision when required. Underfoot, the Vibram Alpine Hiking outsole features dedicated climbing, traction and braking zones and an aggressive lug pattern for all-round outstanding grip.
La Sportiva TX Hike GTX RRP £160
Combining La Sportiva’s extensive heritage in both mountain walking boots and trail running shoes, the TX Hike is an impressive shoe that copes with a range of underfoot conditions with ease. The upper, Gore-Tex membrane, laces and straps are made from recycled material, while the super grippy and protective Vibram Eco Step Evo outsole utilises components deriving from the processing cycle. The midsole offers excellent stability and cushioning for all-day, or even multi-day wear. With a comfortably roomy fit designed specifically for the female foot, these are also available in mid- and full boot versions.
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX RRP £200
A different take on a hiking shoe from the traditional models derived from walking boots, the Free Hiker takes its inspiration from trail running, with a lightweight, bouncy feel, plush cushioning and a smooth ride through the midsole, and a grippy Continental rubber outsole. The mid-height, which is somewhere between a shoe and a boot, gives a nice amount of ankle support and wading depth. The Gore-Tex version is ideal for walks and even gentle running on wet ground, keeping your feet warm, dry and comfortable all day long.
Jack Wolfskin Terrashelter Low RRP £120
These lightweight walking shoes have a rocker built into the sole for efficient all-day walking. They’re instantly comfortable, with a padded, water repellent softshell upper, cushioned sole and a standard length and width. The Vibram Ecostep outsole includes at least 30% recycled content and provides pretty good grip on most surfaces, although it does struggle in mud. Light and breathable, they’re best suited to routes on lower level trails and everyday use in drier weather. Products from Fair Wear Foundation members Jack Wolfskin are 100% PFC-free.
Vasque Talus AT Low UltraDry RRP £130
The Talus Low is a traditional style hiking shoe that should last for years thanks to a hardwearing leather upper and double thickness reinforcement around the heel and toe. The fit is slightly wider than average through the mid-foot and toe, leaving room for thicker socks or simply extra toe space. They’re also available in a wide fit. The Vibram Mega Nuasi sole has a deep tread and pronounced heel which offers good traction on slippery mud and grass, while the UltraDry membrane keeps your feet warm and dry. Good everyday walking shoes, capable on most terrain, grippy and durable. There is a mid-height version for those who want a bit of extra support or wading depth.
Berghaus Trailway Active GTX Shoe RRP £135
Designed as lightweight trail walking shoes, these are an ideal choice for long trails and walking all day thanks to a soft, lightweight polyester upper reinforced with durable overlays around the toe and heel. A Gore-Tex membrane keeps your feet dry and adds protection in cooler weather. The sole unit is nicely cushioned with a grippy studded Vibram outsole that performs well across a variety of terrains and conditions. Overall, best suited to fast and light travel on less technical trails.
Craghoppers Adflex Low RRP £140
Designed to be light and breathable for warmer climates, these comfy shoes also work well for less technical trail walking all year-round. The sizing comes up very small length wise – you may need to go up a whole size for a good fit – but they are otherwise quite roomy, good for higher volume feet or to accommodate an insert. The partly recycled upper is nicely padded and features TPU toe and heel bumpers for extra durability. They’re waterproof with an Aquadry membrane, and also have an anti-insect treatment built in. Underfoot, the partially recycled foam midsole and Vibram Litebase outsole are protective and well cushioned, well suited to long days of walking. The overall feel is a bit chunky, so they’re best for less technical trails.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 RRP £140
Described as a ‘workhorse’ of a technical trail shoe, the Speedgoat is designed for trail running but works very well as a lightweight, cushioned and grippy walking shoe. It’s particularly good for fast and light travel on long, dry trails, with a studded, Vibram Megagrip outsole that grips well on all surfaces. The synthetic upper is breathable and well padded, holding the foot securely for all day comfort. The fit is designed with a roomy toe box to accommodate swelling associated with long days on your feet. The heel to toe drop is only 4mm, which may not suit those with Achilles tendon issues. The waterproof Gore-Tex lined version (RRP £150) is probably more versatile, although not as breathable. Overall, while not as durable or protective as traditional walking shoes, they do feel great on your feet.
**Recommended retail prices correct at the time of writing. Please refer to manufacturer or retailer websites for the very latest pricing information.
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