You’ve probably heard the saying, “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world.” Even though it’s been misattributed to Marilyn Monroe and no one really knows where it originated, it definitely rings true.

And if your world is full of walking, you’re gonna need the right pair of comfy, supportive, and stylish shoes to help you in your quest to conquer it.

So, let’s make like Ms. Pac-Man and “walka walka walka” — here are our fave walking shoes for women.

We spoke with a pod of podiatrists to make sure we really understood which qualities to look for in a walking shoe. We’ve included all their specifically recommended brands and styles below. But in general, here’s what they say are MUSTS for a good pair of walking shoes.

Breathable material

“You want to make sure you’re selecting walking shoes with a material that’s breathable to avoid excessive sweat and smells,” says William Spielfogel, podiatrist and specialist at The Good Feet Store.

Fortunately, most shoes that are made for walking are made with this in mind.

Nelya Lobkova, podiatrist at Step Up Footcare in Tribeca, NYC, says to consider your climate too. “In a climate that is always warm,” she says, “the optimal walking shoe will have a mesh or breathable upper, whereas a wet and cold climate needs a leather or weatherproof upper.”

Traction

Traction is a HUGE consideration, and your needs will vary based on where you normally walk. If you’re an avid hiker, for example, you’ll want hiking shoes that provide lots of traction for the various types of terrain you’ll encounter.

“The outersole should possess grip or traction appropriate for the intended activity,” says Bruce Pinker, podiatrist and foot surgeon at Progressive Foot Care NY.

Toe box

Patrick McEneaney, podiatrist and owner of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, says walking shoes shouldn’t be too narrow in the toe area (aka the “toe box”). “Make sure there’s enough height and width for your toes,” he says.

Give those little piggies room to breathe!

Support and stability

Pinker says a supportive shoe is key. “The heel counter should be firm to provide adequate support,” he explains. A good shoe needs arch support, too, and he adds that “the midsole should provide cushioning to add comfort.”

He also notes that the shoe should be flexible, but not overly so. If you can fold it in half, it’s probably not great for walking in.

Another thing to consider is ankle stability: Higher ankles on shoes help stabilize the ankle a bit more, so this is a common feature in hiking shoes.

We’ve chosen shoes that meet these recommendations, including options for a variety of activities — like hiking, walking for exercise, and casual walking.

Best overall: Saucony Women’s Integrity Walker 3

  • Price: $$
  • Size range: 5–12 in narrow, regular, wide, or extra wide
  • Color options: white, black, or gray
  • Weight: 10.3 ounces (oz.)
  • Notable features: leather upper, responsive cushioning

Not only do these shoes have excellent reviews, the brand also receives McEneaney’s seal of approval for women’s walking shoes. “This brand’s shoes tend to be a little wider in the forefoot,” he explains.

They have a cushioned midsole; an easy-to-clean, durable leather upper; and responsive cushioning to give your foot a little bit of bounce when it hits the ground.

These shoes are affordable, too, with a price point under $100 for quality that’s comparable to many $100+ styles.

Highly rated: Brooks Addiction Walker Suede

  • Price: $$
  • Size range: 5–12 in medium, wide, or extra wide
  • Color options: alloy/oyster/peach or shark/alloy/oyster
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Notable features: slip-resistant, responsive cushioning

Brooks, maker of many popular and beloved running shoes, makes walking shoes, too, and they come personally recommended by both Spielfogel and McEneaney.

These suede walkers are stylish and supportive, although you may not want to go traipsing through the mud in them (because suede). They’re also slip-resistant and offer responsive cushioning and maximum support.

They’ve got great reviews, too, but reviewers do say these shoes tend to run small. You may want to order a half size up!

Podiatrist recommended: Hoka Women’s Bondi SR

  • Price: $$$
  • Size range: 6.5–15
  • Color options: black
  • Weight: 10 oz.
  • Notable features: leather upper, rocker sole

According to Lobkova, this model is “an example of a balanced walking shoe for all kinds of city walking.” Just looking at the shoe, you can tell it’s got lots of midsole cushioning and a rocker-style sole — which Lobkova says is ideal for walking.

The shoe offers maximum cushioning and has reinforcement in areas of the sole that are prone to wear down quickly with rubber.

However, the reviews are hit or miss. The people who love these shoes LOVE them, but some reviewers say they found them a little uncomfortable.

Best for walks and workouts: New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11

  • Price: $$
  • Size range: 5–13 in standard, wide, or x-wide
  • Color options: 10 different options
  • Weight: 8.7 oz.
  • Notable features: mesh upper, lightweight

According to Pinker, New Balance is one of the best brands for walking shoes. And Lobkova recommends the Fresh Foam line in particular. These are actually running shoes, but according to the podiatrists we spoke with, running shoes can make excellent walking shoes because they provide so much support and cushioning.

These NBs are made with a breathable mesh outer layer and feature plenty of midsole cushioning. They’re also super lightweight, so they won’t hinder a workout.

However, like many other shoes that offer lots of cushioning, they tend to run small. Try them on before buying, if you can, or order a half size up and be prepared to return them for another size if needed.

Best for hiking: Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

  • Price: $$$
  • Size range: 5–11
  • Color options: weiss/boysenberry (brown/pink) or magnet/Atlantic blue (gray/blue)
  • Weight: not disclosed on website
  • Notable features: waterproof, ankle support, leather mud shield, rubber outsole, removable footbed

Ready to take a hike? Don’t take another step without these hiking shoes from Keen. These are Lobkova’s pick for trail walking and hiking. “They have an elevated heel for maximum support and excellent ankle support for tougher terrain,” she explains, “although they are a bit heavier than other shoes.”

Most of the reviews are absolutely glowing. But if you need wide shoes, these may not be right for you — they come in only a standard width.

Best sandal: Birkenstock Arizona

  • Price: $$
  • Size range: 4–12.5
  • Color options: several color and material options (prices may vary between materials)
  • Weight: not disclosed on website
  • Notable features: anatomical footbed, durable synthetic upper

While sandals aren’t normally recommended for doing a lot of walking, Spielfogel says Birkenstocks or other thick-strapped sandals are the way to go if you MUST walk in sandals. “They will treat your feet well,” he explains, “due to their arch supports and roomy toe box.”

These shoes have also rocketed back into style (we love reemerging ’90s trends), and they’re the perfect complement to any casual style. And you can read page after page of reviews online about Birks Arizonas being the most comfy sandals ever.

Best for professional attire: Revere Osaka Mary Jane

  • Price: $$
  • Size range: 5–12 in medium or wide
  • Color options: white, navy, red, black, leopard
  • Weight: not disclosed on website
  • Notable features: removable footbed, adjustable straps, leather upper, forefoot cushioning, slip-resistant, custom filler

Need something a bit more professional-looking than the athletic or casual styles of most walking shoes? Meet the office-friendly shoe brand Revere Shoes, recommended by Spielfogel.

These adorable mary janes have a low wedge heel to add a bit of height, but they’re also made with comfort in mind. They have a removable footbed with built-in arch support, forefoot cushioning, and slip-resistant soles. They also come with a custom filler pack, which you can place under the footbed to provide a more snug fit if needed.

Best high end: Asics Metaride

  • Price: $$$
  • Size range: 6–12
  • Color options: red/black, black, white/gold, blue/white/black
  • Weight: 8.8 oz.
  • Notable features: GEL technology for shock absorption on hard surfaces

For a lightweight walking shoe, Lobkova recommends these foam running shoes from Asics. They’re pricey but extremely lightweight and made to endure road running — so they’ll definitely provide plenty of support for walking. The rocker-style sole is a bonus too, offering maximum cushioning for your whole foot.

The reviews are mixed, because running in a rocker-style shoe like this is a bit different from walking on one. But several positive reviews say the Metarides feel like running on a cloud. Note that you may need to size up, and these shoes are really only for walking or running on flat, paved surfaces.

Best budget option: Skechers GOwalk Joy

  • Price: $
  • Size range: 5.5–9.5
  • Color options: black/hot pink or navy/coral
  • Weight: not disclosed on website
  • Notable features: breathable insole, machine washable

We love our Skechers GOwalk shoes. They’re cute and comfy, and the slip-on styles don’t even need socks — a definite win. These sneaker-style GOwalks feature a breathable insole and midsole cushioning for a comfy walk at a fraction of the price of many other name-brand walking shoes. They’re also machine washable.

Reviewers adore these shoes too — they’re great for keeping your feet comfy and supported during casual walking or hours-long walking sprees. And they fit true to size, according to reviews. However, the size range is pretty limited.

Best casual: Sanuk Donna Aerokush

  • Price: $
  • Size range: 5–11
  • Color options: vetiver (green) or natural (white)
  • Weight: not disclosed on website
  • Notable features: incorporates hemp, BLOOM Foam, re-ground foam waste, and recycled rubber to help lighten the environmental impact

This is the one we’ve been waiting for: the walking shoe with boho vibes — and of course it’s a Sanuk. As the name suggests, the sole is made from literal *kush*ioning, containing hemp, foam, and recycled rubber. It’s the perfect shoe for errands on foot in the city, long walks on vacation, and laid-back strolls around your neighborhood.

While we couldn’t find reviews for this particular shoe, the Sanuk Donna is a beloved casual walking shoe with tons of positive reviews across its many different iterations.

If you do a lot of walking for exercise, for transportation, or at work, then you definitely need a good pair of walking shoes. And obvs, if you’re a hiker, you’re gonna need some that can withstand trails of all kinds.

Even if you stand for long periods at your job without walking, you can benefit from the support of these shoes rather than less supportive styles.

“Walking shoes should really be the shoe of choice for those planning on commuting, hiking, or just casually walking for exercise,” explains Lobkova.

Also, allow us to speak from personal experience: Even if you don’t typically walk from place to place, walking shoes are a must-buy for a walk-heavy vacay. Strappy sandals in Vegas are cute and all, but you’re really gonna resent them when you’re hoofing it several blocks up and down the Strip multiple times a day.

Here’s a tip too: There’s a consensus among the experts we spoke with that, while running shoes tend to be more lightweight, they make great walking shoes too. So if you’ve already got a good pair of running shoes, they can pull double duty — just know they’ll rack up miles more quickly and may need to be replaced sooner.

Here’s where shopping for walking shoes online gets really tough. If you can, try on shoes in person, and be sure to read all the reviews you can find before you drop massive moolah on a pair.

Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

Fit and comfort

McEneaney explains that you do NOT have to break in walking shoes: “I recommend finding a shoe that is comfortable from the start. When you buy a pair of [walking] shoes, you really shouldn’t have to break them in.”

How do you know they fit? Pinker explains, “The shoes should be snug, but not tight, in width. There should be 3/8 of an inch from the longest toe to the end of the shoe.”

So here’s your new shoe shopping mantra: “Try before you buy!”

Cushioning

Spielfogel explains responsive cushioning as “the bounce back or rebound you feel when you are actively hitting your shoe to the ground.” He says, “It provides energy back rather than pulling you to the ground, which can be beneficial when selecting shoes for frequent walkers.”

Again, it can be helpful to get to a store to try these shoes on if possible.

Functionality

Think about where you do the most walking and use that to guide your shopping decisions.

If you log most of your miles on the trail, go with shoes designed for hiking — like the Keens.

For work, you may want a shoe with more of a dressy appearance that’s still cushiony and supportive, like Revere’s offerings.

For casual outings or vacations, or if walking is your usual mode of transportation, try a more casual style like the Birks, Sanuks, or Skechers.

Accessories

If you do whole lot of walking, you may want to consider custom orthotic inserts (and make sure you buy shoes that can accommodate them).

Spielfogel also recommends compression socks “to provide increased support and relief to any previous foot and ankle injuries by enhancing blood flow to the legs.”

And a final word of advice from Lobkova on the type of shoe you want to avoid for heavy walking: minimalist shoes. Although they have their place, she explains, “There is minimal stability in the sole, no cushioning under the heel, and maximum stress on the heel bone.”

If you walk a lot, you NEED a good pair of walking shoes. Make sure to choose some that are made for the type of activity you’re doing, whether that’s hiking, exercise, traversing city blocks, or walking at work.

If you can, try them on in person before you buy so you can actually feel how they fit, whether they’re comfortable, and whether they provide the right level of cushioning. Walk on!