July 15, 2024

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Best walking shoes for everyday and travel in 2024

6 min read

Comfy shoes that don’t kick fashion to the curb

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Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.

I feel bad for the walking shoe. A running shoe can be a walking shoe, but a walking shoe can’t be a running shoe. Sticking up for the walking shoe, I argue that it has its distinguished features and no running shoe can take its place. 

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Whenever I travel or traipse around Manhattan for a weekend, I do a lot of walking and I test out walking shoes. And not only because I’m intimidated by foreign public transit systems, but because I’m bad at them and will end up not at my destination.

I distinguish a walking and running shoe by its look (and function). A running shoe was built for running, and it looks like that. If you’re not running, and you’re wearing a running shoe, you look like a tourist. My abominable transit skills should let others know I’m a tourist, not my shoes.

Here are five shoes that are comfy, easy to take on and off at airports and, best of all, don’t look horrible. Some of them are more stylish than others.

Summary of best walking shoes

Most comfortable: Allbirds Tree Runners | Shop women’s, shop men’s
Best waterproof: On Cloud 5 | Shop women’s, shop men’s
Best leather: Ecco Gruuv | Shop women’s, shop men’s
Best affordable option: New Balance 608 V5 | Shop women’s, shop men’s
Best everyday: lululemon Cityverse | Shop women’s, shop men’s
Best for wide feet: Hoka Bondi 8 | Shop women’s, shop men’s

Best walking shoes explained

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Tree Runners by Allbirds ($140)

Why I love them: They’re the most comfortable shoes; they’re made from eco-friendly materials like eucalyptus tree fibre, sugarcane and recycled plastic bottles, and they can be tossed into the washing machine when dirty (remember to remove the insole). Try them and tell me I’m wrong.

Details to note: I have the white ones and they’re no longer white, even after washing them multiple times. No regret, but I may consider getting a black pair next time.

Where to buy: Allbirds (Women’s) | Allbirds (Men’s)

Tree Runners
Tree Runners. Photo by Allbirds

Cloud 5 by On ($135 – $200)

Why I love them: The On shoes that I’ve tried have the brand’s signature sole — the interesting loop-looking design. The sole adds a lot of cushion to each step, making them great travel destinations that include a lot of walking. The Cloud 5s come in many colours, so there should be an option to fit your preference. The Cloud 5s also come in a waterproof option ($199.99).

Details to note: On shoes run small. I went up a half-size.

Where to buy: On, On – waterproof  (Women’s) | On, On – waterproof (Men’s)

Cloud 5 white shoes women
Cloud 5 Shoes. Photo by On

Gruuv Sneaker by ECCO ($250)

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Why I love them: ECCO does comfy things. These shoes are on the more expensive end, but they’re leather and built to last. They have elastic lacing so they’re easy to pull on and slip off. They’re nice and lightweight.

Details to note: Considering they’re leather, you can’t just toss them in the wash. ECCO recommends a foam cleanser.

Where to buy: ECCO (Women’s) | ECCO (Men’s)

Gruuv sneaker.
Gruuv sneaker. Photo by Ecco

608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer by New Balance ($99.99)

Why I love them: I like New Balance shoes because they generally have very cushioned soles, perfect for my imperfect knees. I often run in New Balance running shoes, but these walking shoes are much more trendy for everyday use. This chunky-style sneaker is called a “dad shoe.” The style started picking up popularity again in 2019 and is still going strong.

Where to buy: Amazon (Women’s) | Amazon (Men’s)

608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer.
608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer. Photo by Amazon

Cityverse by lululemon ($178)

Why I love them: lululemon officially launched its shoe collection in March 2022. The Canadian brand started with some technical running shoes but has expanded its collection to include these everyday sneakers. The Cityverse are designed for everyday wear, making them perfect for commuting and travelling. The shoes have 3D-moulded support and cushioning to cushion feet, and they happen to look great and fairly neutral. 

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Details to note: Those with a wider foot should consider going up a half size in these shoes. 

Where to buy: lululemon (Women’s) | lululemon (Men’s)

lululemon Cityverse Men's Sneaker white
Cityverse Sneaker. Photo by lululemon

Hoka Bondi 8 ($200)

Why I love them: While they might not be the most sleek shoe around, these Hokas live up to their hype as a comfortable walking and running shoe. They perform well through long days on my feet while travelling thanks to lightweight foam midsoles and cushioned support. 

Details to note: The Hoka Bondi 8 are available in both wide and standard widths. 

Where to buy: Hoka (Women’s) | Hoka (Men’s)

hoka Bondi 8 black
Bondi 8. Photo by Hoka

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