Best Cheap Walking Shoes
Published on By Raechel Conover
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There's no cheaper exercise out there than old-fashioned walking. Plus it's easy on your bones and muscles. Check out a few more tips for aging well on a budget.
New Balance 760 Walking Shoe Review
From $60 Best
Rated the top walking shoe of 2010 by Fitness Magazine, the New Balance 760 impresses consumers -- it's supportive, light, breathable, and comfortable. Available in men's and women's versions, this shoe incorporates lots of proprietary technology for walking comfort, and the removable insole accommodates orthotics.
Users at Amazon praise the New Balance 760 Walking Shoe women's shoe for being immediately comfortable, lightweight and supportive, while a user at FootSmart.com agrees saying they were comfortable from day one and calling them a solid purchase. The Men's version of the shoe doesn't get as high of ratings at Amazon however New Balance 760 Walking Shoe reviewers agree that the shoe is of very high quality and very comfortable, but the size runs a bit small.
The New Balance 760 Walking Shoe (starting at $60, Amazon) comes in both men's and women's styles and weighs in at 8.5 to 10.5 ounces depending on gender and size. It has extreme flexibility in the forefoot, has special technology to stabilize the foot throughout the whole stride and specifically the arch, and has extra cushioning in the heel for support and stability.
We love this shoe for many reasons. First, it was rated as the top walking shoe of the year by Fitness Magazine - not bad! We also like that it is extremely lightweight - the lightest that we reviewed yet still highly supportive. User reviews are great making us truly believe this is a comfortable low cost walking shoe.
Avia A333 Walking Shoe Review
From $38 Good
Walkers really like the comfort of the Avia A333 and say it provides excellent arch support and wears well for extended periods. It features a cushioned insole, padded collar, and comes in men's and women's versions.
The Avia A333 Walking Shoe men's style is a big hit with users at ShoeBuy.com who report that the shoe is lightweight, comfortable and very supportive especially in the heel and arches. Users of the women's style at Amazon agree saying that the shoes fit perfectly from the first minute of wearing them and there is no breaking in period with them - they are instantly comfortable. They are so comfortable in fact that one user bought two pairs to be able to wear them at work and at home.
In both women's and men's styles, the Avia A333 Walking Shoe (starting at $38, Amazon) has a foreflex system making it very flexible in the forefoot and a special arch support technology to provide extra support where it's needed. There is no note on how much the shoes weigh or if there is extra heel support, but users claim they are both supportive in the heel and lightweight.
We love the special arch support in this shoe. Often walking shoes don't have the proper arch support, so we have a feeling this shoe is comfortable for extended periods of time with the arch technology. Avia A333 Walking Shoe reviews support our theory as users rave about the comfort and support of this shoe. Our bottom line - this is an excellent choice in affordable walking shoes for both men and women.
Ryka Radiant Review
From $60 Good
The Ryka Radiant, a women's walking shoe, runs true to size and works equally well for walking, running errands, and spending long hours on your feet, say consumers. It's flexible, well-cushioned, and has an infused heel clip for stability.
Users love the comfort of the Ryka Radiant walking shoes at Zappos.com where reviewers say they are very comfortable for working, hiking, exercising and everyday wear. Reviewers at ShoeBuy.com agree with one user saying that the insole actually seemed to mold to her feet making them super cushy and comfortable, while other reviewers on the site call them lightweight and flexible.
As a women's only shoe, the Ryka Radiant shoe (starting at $60, Amazon) weighs in at a mere nine ounces. It comes equipped with flexibility in the forefoot, extra cushioning and support in the arch area, and added stability in the heel. Plus this shoe has added traction in the forefoot which is needed when walking.
We love all the combined features this walking shoe has such as extra cushion in the arches, heel stability and flexibility plus traction. In fact it's the only walking shoe we reviewed that addresses traction. Ryka Radiant reviews of this shoe are very positive with many reviewers saying they stand or "pound pavement" walking in this shoe for long periods of time and the shoe is always comfortable. For women, we believe that this is a good cheap walking shoe to try.
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. So if you plan on walking, cheap walking shoes are your best buy.
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.
Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
New Balance 760 Walking Shoe Review
Weight 8.5-10.5 ounces depending on gender and size
Flexibility forefoot flex grooves
Support Walking Strike Path to stabilize foot ; Stability Web for arch support
Heel Abzorb for added cushion
|60||Both||8.5-10.5 ounces depending on gender and size||forefoot flex grooves||Walking Strike Path to stabilize foot ; Stability Web for arch support||Abzorb for added cushion|
Avia A333 Walking Shoe Review
Flexibility foreflex system
Support Archrocker technology
|38||Both||N/A||foreflex system||Archrocker technology||N/A|
Ryka Radiant Review
Weight 9 ounces
Flexibility balanced flex grooves
Support Archrocker technology
Heel Infused heel clip for stability
|60||Women’s||9 ounces||balanced flex grooves||Archrocker technology||Infused heel clip for stability|
Walking Shoe Features
Walking Shoe Weight.Like running shoes, cheap walking shoes should be lightweight so they don't weigh you down as you walk. And, like running shoes, the lighter the better. The lightest cheap walking shoe we found is the New Balance 760 Walking Shoe, which weighs between 8.5 and 10.5 ounces, depending on the size. Specifications for the women's Ryka Radiant put its weight at nine ounces and the stated weight for the Propet 6027 Exo Walker Fashion Shoe is 11 ounces, but note that actual weight may vary with the size. We were not able to find a weight for the Avia A333.
Walking Shoe Flexibility.Any cheap walking shoe should let the ball of your foot bend with each step. Without this kind of flexibility your ankles and shins fight the shoe, resulting in tired feet and legs as well as potential injury. Experts advise that you perform a flex test on cheap walking shoes you're interested in: twist and bend them to be sure they fold at the ball of the foot and not in the middle. No one particular design or build technology is considered tops for flexibility, but the best cheap walking shoes do trumpet this feature. Specs for the New Balance 760 note the forefoot flex grooves and the arch support that keeps the midfoot from flexing; the Avia A333 Walking Shoe and Ryka Radiant sport flex grooves and molded insoles. The Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo features gel cushioning in the forefoot that allows movement in multiple planes. The description of the Propet 6027 Exo Walker and ProSpirit Jacorey and ProSpirit Rene doesn't mention flexibility.
Walking Shoe Support.You need good support in cheap walking shoes to help prevent over-pronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot that can cause pain and injury). Experts say to look for inside cushioning and arches that are high enough to touch the bottom of your foot's natural arch when walking or standing still. Some cheap walking shoes feature specific and proprietary arch support systems, like the Stability Web in the New Balance 760 and the Archrocker in the Avia A333, both of which are specifically mentioned in user reviews. Other cheap walking shoes don't say much about arch support but do stress the overall support the shoe provides. The Ryka Radiant, for example, uses special foam for lightweight cushioning and support, which users say wears comfortably for long stretches. The Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo sports a proprietary technology for support and stability, and the Propet 6027 Exo Walker features a rigid stability brace for additional overall support.
Walking Shoe Heels.The heel on cheap walking shoes is one of the most defining features that distinguish walking shoes from running shoes. Experts say the heel on cheap walking shoes should be low (maximum one inch higher than the sole under the ball of the foot), and should not flare out (running shoes have a flared heel for more stability). Another good design feature is a heel that tapers slightly in the back for efficient forward stepping. A supportive heel cup provides stability and minimizes excess sideways movement as you walk. The Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo leads the cheap walking shoes pack for heel technology; this model boasts two layers of memory foam inside the heel collar that mold to your foot. The New Balance 760 has a special heel cushion for added support and the Ryka Radiant also has heel cushioning and heel stability technology. The Propet 6027 Exo Walker has some unspecified internal heel control system, and specs for the ProSpirit models don't mention the heel at all.
Walking Shoe Reviews
Walking shoe reviews by consumers are a good source of information about overall comfort, which includes factors like stability, support, and fit. However, frugal shoppers shouldn't rely exclusively on reviews because the best cheap walking shoe for you depends on how it feels on your foot. With that in mind, as we read walking shoe reviews we considered the number and type of negative comments relative to the number and type of positive comments and concluded that if most people seemed satisfied, then that cheap walking shoe is likely a good choice.
Walking Shoe Comfort and Support.For the most part, walking shoe reviews indicate the shoes on our list pass the test for comfort and support. Named the best walking shoe in 2010 by Fitness Magazine, the New Balance 760 (starting at $60) earns particular praise for its support and flexibility. One consumer writes in a walking shoe review on Amazon that the New Balance 760 provides all the comfort and support she needs while walking 14 miles at a stretch to train for a three-day walking event. The New Balance 760 also provides another user sufficient support following ankle surgery, according to a review on Sports Authority. Consumers posting walking shoe reviews on ShoeBuy.com are high on the Avia A333 (starting at $38), noting that the cushioning and arch support keep their feet comfortable for hours at a time, and one wearer comments on Shoemall.com about the springy feel to the heel. Cushy, flexible, and comfortable are the terms consumers use in walking shoe reviews on ShoeBuy.com to describe the Ryka Radiant (starting at $60). Three-quarters of the 40 user reviews on Zappos laud its arch support; one 81-year old claims to walk two miles daily and arrive home dancing.
The slightly pricey Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo (starting at $75) gets the runner-up nod for 2010 from Fitness Magazine, which commends its gel cushioning and arch support. Male and female consumers concur, with walking shoe reviews on Amazon saying these shoes are more comfortable than other top-rated brands and suit people with foot problems. The men's ProSpirit Jacorey (starting at $20) and the women's ProSpirit Rene (starting at $20) are likewise valued for comfort and flexibility, according to walking shoe reviews on the Target website, although there's little technical information about these shoes to back up reviewers' reports.
We didn't find many reviews for the Propet 6027 Exo Walker, but we did read a couple on Zappos and Endless.com that gripe about insufficient cushioning and inadequate arch support. Consumers do say, however, that these cheap walking shoes breathe well and keep their feet cool, and one highlights the comfort they provide his flat feet.
Walking Shoes Fit.The best and good cheap walking shoes generally get high marks in reviews for fit. But remember, everyone's feet are different, so use reviews as a rough guide and let your feet be the final arbiters. One thread running through many walking shoe reviews, however, concerns sizing -- many consumers suggest that you buy at least a half size larger than your regular shoes. Reviews of the New Balance 760 are mostly positive in terms of fit. Women posting walking shoe reviews on Zappos have good things to say about the width, especially for narrow feet; one writes that there's plenty of room for her bunions although a few comment that the toe box seems a bit too snug. Men also like their version of the New Balance 760 even though reviews on Shoebuy.com caution that the shoe is not true to size and runs at least a half size smaller than the label states.
Another shoe that may require a bigger size than what you'd expect is the men's Avia A333. Several consumers posting walking shoe reviews on Amazon report needing a whole size larger, although one says the shoes fit perfectly in the walker's usual size. By contrast, fit doesn't seem to be a problem with the women's Avia A333. Users posting walking shoe reviews on Amazon assert that the shoes are true to size and fit like a glove.
The women's Ryka Radiant likewise wins praise for accurate sizing, with one review on Zappos noting the shoes need no breaking in. Both the women's and men's Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo score high for fit, as well. Women like the roomy toe box and width that works for narrow or slightly wider feet, say walking shoe reviews on Zappos, and one male reviewer writes on RoadRunner Sports that the fit is perfect if you go up a half size.
Width seems to be an issue with the Propet 6027 Exo Walker. Although some reviews on Zappos say this model accommodates wide feet, other consumers posting walking shoe reviews on Amazon and Endless.com complain that the width isn't close to true, and thus causes pinching and discomfort.
Additional Products We Considered
Asics Gel Tech Walker Neo Review
Several users at Zappos say they walk upwards of five or six miles four or five days a week in pure comfort in the Asics Gel Tech Walker Neo shoe. Asics Gel Tech Walker Neo reviews at RoadRunnerSports.com call the shoe high quality and of good construction as well as report extreme comfort even on hot days. Additionally, the shoe is rated the runner up walking shoe of the year by Fitness Magazine.
Coming in both men's and women's styles, the Asics Gel Tech Walker Neo walking shoe (starting at $75, Amazon) weighs 10 to 12 ounces depending on the size purchased. It al so has flexibility and extra cushioning technology. However, the best thing about this shoe is the heel which is actually made out of memory foam and molds to the wearer's foot for superior comfort.
Although this shoe is a little bit above the Cheapism price niche, we are big fans of this shoe. We love the memory foam heel and based on reviews, users do too. Additionally we didn't see any complaints about the shoe and Fitness Magazine even gives it a nod for runner up walking shoe of the year. The bottom line is if you are willing to spend a little more, you can't go wrong with this shoe.
Where to buy
ProSpirit Jacorey and Rene Review
These are the cheapest walking shoes we found. Users posting on Amazon call the men's ProSpirit Jacorey (starting at $20) lightweight, flexible, and comfortable. On Target.com, reviewers rave about the women's ProSpirit Rene (starting at $20), expressing surprise at how comfortable it is given the low price.
Very little information is available on the make of these shoes. No weight is provided on the product pages, nor is there any mention of flexibility, support, or heel cushioning from the manufacturer. The shoes do claim to have a cushioned insole, and one Target customer notes that the arch support is excellent on the Rene women's shoe.
With so little to go on, we worry about the build and technology of these shoes. There also aren't a ton of reviews, but those that are out there take a favorable view of the shoes' comfort and support. The ProSpirit Jacorey and Rene shoes are a tossup. Despite the lack of information, positive user reviews and a $20 price tag suggest they may be worth a try.