Best Cheap Walking Shoes
Walking is a low-impact way to improve your health and fitness, and the right pair of cheap walking shoes will add enjoyment to your walking workouts. Even if you don't walk for exercise per se, good cheap walking shoes can make all the difference in your next sightseeing trip, your morning stroll to the coffee shop, and any other activities that require time on your feet. New Balance, Asics, Nike, Saucony, and Ryka are the big names in walking shoes. Some models made by these companies fall within the Cheapism range, as do walking shoes produced by companies with less brand recognition. We found several of the cheapest walking shoes worthy of note.
Cheap Walking Shoes Buying Guide
During our research into cheap walking shoes, we came across many e-commerce sites trying to sell us running shoes that were "perfect for walking, too." Don't fall for this trap. As NewBalance.com explains, the two activities put different demands on your feet and therefore require different kinds of shoes.
High-end walking shoes cost upward of $325 and the mid-range falls around $80 to $200, according to some experts. About.com's Walking Shoe Guide says good cheap walking shoes cost $60 to $90, but we found that you can get a good pair of cheap walking shoes for $30 to $65. This price range may seem a little high for the Cheapism niche, but experts at WalkingShoeReviews.com stress that the health of your feet trumps price. Although there are some exceptions to the rule, going much lower than $30 may mean sacrificing comfort and risking injury. Walking shoes that sell for rock bottom prices don't provide much information about cushioning and support, which is the primary reason we don't include any super-cheap walking shoes among our top picks.
Choosing a pair of walking shoes is a personal thing. Everyone's foot is different, so a cheap walking shoe that feels comfortable on one person may not feel right on another. That said, there are several features any good cheap walking shoe must have. Flexibility in the forefoot is important because that's where the foot naturally bends when you walk. A lightweight walking shoe won't drag you down as you walk. Arch support and heel support help prevent injury to your feet, legs, and back, and a firm grip in the heel avoids rubbing and blisters. And finally, you want a cheap walking shoe with a heel that's not too thick and slants in slightly at the back, which lets your heel roll forward as you walk.
Under the banner of "best cheap walking shoe," we've placed the New Balance 760 Walking Shoe (starting at $60), which Fitness Magazine considers the "best walking shoe" for 2010. Available in both men's and women's versions, these cheap walking shoes garner strong reviews for comfort and stability -- they're lightweight and incorporate excellent arch support technology. The Avia A333 (starting at $38), also available in men's and women's styles, is a good cheap walking shoe that offers commendable arch support and impresses users with its comfort even after extended wear. Ditto for the Ryka Radiant (starting at $60), a cheap women's walking shoe that boasts good flexibility and traction in the forefoot and cushioning and stability in the heel. One budget walking shoe we're not sold on is the Propet 6027 Exo Walker Fashion Shoe, which garners some poor reviews for comfort and complaints that the fit seems way off in the width.
There are two other options to consider, both just outside our suggested price range. The Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo (starting at $75) comes in men's and women's sizes, sports a memory foam heel that molds to your foot, and gets a hearty thumbs up from users for comfort. At the opposite end of the price spectrum is the men's ProSpirit Jacorey Athletic Shoe (starting at $20) and the women's ProSpirit Rene Athletic Shoe (starting at $20), both of which find favor with walkers for comfort. Although the $20 price tag certainly seems enticing, the limited number of reviews and scant information about build technology was enough to keep these two ProSpirit models from being top choices.
A few final words of advice: Always try on cheap walking shoes before you buy. Check them out with the type of socks you'll be wearing when you go walking. Shop near the end of the day because feet are often a bit swollen by then. Make sure the heel is snug and isn't slipping around. The sides of your feet should have a bit of wiggle room and your longest toe should be about a half inch from the front of the shoe. Last but not least -- the shoes should be comfortable from the moment you put them on; if they feel tight, don't count on them stretching out.