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For men, walking is a totally underrated form of exercise. Sure, if you’re taking a leisurely stroll, you may not be getting the adrenaline rush of running. But walking is still movement, and your body reaps the benefits of it, from heart health to diabetes prevention, and especially weight loss.
You burn as many calories if you walk at 5 mph than someone who’s jogging at that pace, walking coach Michele Stanten, founder of MyWalkingCoach.com and author of The Walking Solution, previously told Men’s Health. The results can be undeniable—for example, YouTuber Mario Tomic used walking to lower his body fat percentage by making a focused stroll part of his daily routine outside the gym.
“If you want to improve your recovery, this is the way to do that. All these little things do add up,” he said. “That’s essentially what a healthy lifestyle is, it’s a set of small habits, it’s the small decisions you make over time that then become a part of your lifestyle.”
Adding to your daily step count—which is important because of the extra activity you’re taking on, not just for the purpose of walking in and of itself—should be the ultimate goal.
“If you’re only getting 3,000 steps on a typical day, don’t try to get 10,000 steps the next day. That can be really discouraging. Aim for 5,000 every day for a week. Then go up to 7,000 the next week,” Stanten says.
Walking can also help get you back into running, if that’s your ultimate goal.
But if you’re going to be ramping up your activity, you’re going to need some supportive, comfortable shoes. If you’re feet don’t feel good, you’re not going to be able to keep up your cadence. To help you get going, we rounded up 12 of the best walking shoes to help get you motivated and make your feet feel supported with every step.
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New Balance 990v5
The classic silhouette from New Balance has been updated with a sleeker, more modern profile, but the focus is still on quality. Your wearing the best, whether you’re using the 990 to run or walk. Bonus points if you’re willing to splurge on the USA made version for even better craftsmanship.
Columbia SH/FT OutDry Mid Shoe
Get off the beaten path with these kicks, which were made by outdoor stalwart Columbia to bridge the gap between urban and adventure wear. The waterproof, breathable upper makes them a solid choice in any weather, while the high energy return cushioning and lugged rubber outsole help you to drive forward with every step.
Nike Air Monarch IV
The Air Monarch IV is THE dad shoe—but over the past few years, its cultural cachet has swelled as chunky soles gained popularity. Whether you’re rocking them because you have three kids and love to do yard work or you’re trying to stand out on the streets, the shoes are great for walking.
New Balance Fresh Foam More v2
Adidas’s Fresh Foam is notorious for its glorious cushioning. This shoe has it in the midsole for an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride. It also has a substantial Ultra Heel that adapts to your foot to deliver a supportive fit.
adidas Solarboost 19
While not designed specifically for walking, these runners from Adidas are more than fit for the job. The Boost foam gives top-line energy return, while the upper provides more structure than other styles, like the knit Ultraboost line.
Saucony Grid Omni Walker
This no-frills walker from Saucony boasts leather construction and maximum cushioning. The forefoot and rearfoot both have technologies to amplify the cushion and stability through the gait cycle.
Addiction Walker 2
Walk hard with these high quality leather shoes from Brooks. The soles are slip resistant, and the midsole cushioning is the same that the company uses in its running shoes for a smooth ride.
Hoka One One Bondi 7
These chunky midsoles might look outlandish, but once you slip them on the comfort will win you over. The heel is beveled to promote propulsion and decrease fatigue. And they have a molded Ortholite® footbed for extra cushioning and an internal heel counter that provides “a locked-in fit and support”.
ASICS GEL-Contend 5 Walker
These shoes are designed to be comfortable, dependable walkers, with breathable materials and plenty of cushion. The sockliner is even built to provide moisture management, for everyone with sweaty feet.
Reebok Ridgerider 5
This pair from Reebok is meant for the woods—or at least the trail in the park. The durable soles can still handle the roads and sidewalks you’ll walk to get outside, though, so feel confident wearing them anywhere.
Lane-Eight Trainer AD 1
These trainers from indie company Lane-Eight were made to handle a little of everything, from HIIT workouts to nights out. You’ll be well-served walking from place to place wearing these shoes.
Asics GEL-NIMBUS 22 Knit
This Asics shoe has maximum cushioning thanks to its GEL® technology in both the forefoot and rearfoot, as well as FLYTEFOAM® Propel technology that helps propel you with each step. Plus, the knit fabric offers great airflow.
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