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Best sneakers for walking long distances

Any recommendations for sneakers for travel days that involve lots of walking (5-8 miles)? I’ve found my feet start to really ache on museum days especially. I’ve ordered a pair of Vessi sneakers for wet weather (will be good for travel and at home) but I’m not sure about their comfort level for days with a long time on my feet. When not traveling I usually walk home from work, about 2.5 miles so looking for something that will work for that too, though I’m certainly not too proud to rock the full Working Girl look…black tights + white sneakers? Why not!

Before my last trip, I got Allbirds…I like the look of them, but they didn't really hold up on those days with lots of walking (fortunately I was in Paris without much of an agenda so it just resulted in more cafe time…not exactly the end of the world). They’re definitely on their last legs now, so need something new before Amsterdam in May…recs welcome!

Posted by
14098 posts

Well, what works for me may not work for you. I wear Altra zero-drop athletic shoes. I generally get the Lone Peak model if there is a color that is not too jarring to me. I've walked as much as 8-10 miles in these and they are perfect for my feet. You may not want the zero-drop minimalist platform. IF you decide to try them out you need to work your way into them well before your vacation.

I also recommend exploring MELT Method balls - I have the hand and foot kit. These are soft and hard balls, 2 different sizes that you roll or press into your feet in a specific sequence. The developer, Sue Hitzman, says they rehydrate the fascia of the feet. I bring them with me every trip and do use them at night after a long day of walking even if my feet aren't stiff.

Posted by
162 posts

You may receive as many replies as there are brands of footwear. Read the replies and pay attention to the reason why a poster prefers a brand and match your priorities. I need a narrow heel, adequate toe box, laces, good support, and grip on wet surfaces. I prefer a shoe that does not scream that I just ran a race or came from the gym. I want to walk/stand all day then dine at a nice restaurant without looking too touristy. My Munro Traveler is my only pair without laces that I am certain will not come off my feet if I trip/fall. My Ecco and Vionic sneakers have taken me on many long miles/hours of standing and walking on uneven surfaces and hard museum floors and stairs. To make them less sporty/casual I swap out the white laces for a color that matches the sneaker. Make your purchase well in advance to allow yourself time to break in the new shoes.

Posted by
848 posts

I agree with you on the Allbirds and I’m glad I walked in mine first instead of just taking them with me. I like my Brooks Ghost which I walk in a lot at home. I’m more concerned about comfort for long distances on my feet than looking touristy in Athletic shoes. You might go into some place like REI and try several types of walking shoes to find what best fits your feet.

Posted by
2108 posts

Every foot is different, so try on ass many as you can. For me, Saucony and OnCloud are both great for many miles of walking. I have worn Saucony for half and full marathons (walking) and they always serve me well. The OnClouds have gone on various trips with me and they are very comfy as well. I like the OC's as they are water resistant vs the Saucony's that I have.

Posted by
576 posts

I agree that you are going to get many many suggestions and every one of them will be different from each poster.
The shoes you have mentioned aren’t really known for being extra supportive, at least from what I have read. For long walking trips I take Brooks Ghost model # whichever one is most current, I think they just came out with #16. I always buy the black one with white sole. These shoes accommodate orthotics well, have a roomy enough toe box and can take the 20,000 + steps a day that tours throw at you.
Happy hunting!

Posted by
1593 posts

I walk 10 miles a day and wear New Balance shoes. They have shoes specifically designed for walking, not running. They have several versions of their walking shoes at a variety of price points. They are so comfortable that even when I complete my 10 miles I sometimes keep them on.

Posted by
1500 posts

I have worn running shoes made by Asics and Mizuno. Both are great. Now, it's hard for me to go back to other shoes.

Posted by
195 posts

I have wide feet and wear Rykas for daily 2-3 mile walks on a mix of concrete and dirt paths. For a comfortable pair of hiking shoes I love Nortive 8 light weight hiking shoes available on Amazon. I sized up to 7 from 6.5. I found them comfortable for both urban and trail hikes since they have extra padding in the inside as well as lug soles. I've worn them on 5-7 mile hikes without foot pain.

Posted by
98 posts

Another vote for checking out OnCloud, which are even considered stylish right now! I am also an Allbirds fan so maybe our tastes align. I have terrible old buniony feet, a huge walker wherever I am and average 15,000 daily steps, often more.
The sizing is consistent in OnCloud and the toe box wide enough for my needs. I use the bouncier thicker sole version for running and their "everyday" styles otherwise.

Posted by
5609 posts

Look at Trail Runners. They are a cross between a running shoe and a hiking shoe and they work really well on wet pavement and cobblestones.

I currently wear On trail runners. I liked this pair of On Cloudventure trail runners so much that I bought a second pair.

https://www.on.com/en-us/products/cloudventure-32/womens/black-cobble-shoes-32.99257

Regardless, you need to try shoes on. Do you have an REI near you? I bought some AllBirds over the internet during the pandemic and found them so incredibly uncomfortable that I gave them to Goodwill. I know some people love them, but they didn’t work for me. I won’t buy shoes I haven’t tried on anymore.

Posted by
14098 posts

"I won’t buy shoes I haven’t tried on anymore."

I SO understand this, which is why I'm a devoted Zappos fan. I can get free shipping and free returns with them. I've not found a local place who stocks shoes in Size 11 (-->mentally insert eye roll emoji here!). Men's shoe lasts are too wide in the heel if they fit in the forefoot. If I'm ordering a new brand I order 2 sizes at the same time so I can compare as you would in a brick and mortar store.

Posted by
85 posts

I am currently on a trip in Spain walking 8-10 miles a day. I have been wearing Brooks and am not having any issues.
Last year in London I was wearing Nikes also walking 8-10 miles and developed plantar fasciitis.

Posted by
328 posts

Hi Maggie…I just want to comment on the Vessi sneakers. I bought some for an Ireland trip last fall…I wanted them to serve a dual purpose of walking long days with possible wet weather. They felt wonderful trying them on, and were super supportive on our trip…but…I wish I had worn them longer at home. The upper heel area is very high, really rubbed on the back of my ankle (waaay up there!) and I had to use multiple layers of bandaids to get through the day. Not sure if all Vessi shoes are similar or maybe just that particular style. And I don’t ever have issues with shoes….just a reminder to really test things out at home.
On the other hand, my Allbirds ballet flats got me through some very long days in Dublin and are coming with me to Italy next month. Go figure!

Posted by
4927 posts

Hokas! They have so many styles but I'm on my fourth pair of Hoka Kawanna. Good luck!

Posted by
344 posts

Also an Allbirds fan, but they just don't last, which is an issue I am finding with "sustainable" shoes and socks. The soles of the wool and tree runners are also pretty bad on slick surfaces, although the trail runners are an exception (and seem to last better, both for the uppers and the soles). I bring wool runners just for lower mileage days, shorter walks to dinner, etc. I also usually bring my Remonte Liv hightops - they are a leather sneaker, water-resistant, and look a little dressier than trail shoes. Great tread for cobbles too. I now have a pair of Merrell Morphlite sneakers to add to the mix, which are surprisingly comfy - Merrell's don't normally fit me well, but these are nice and cushy. Not a big tread, but should be OK for cobbles, I think. Also have a pair of Saucony Peregrines, a trail shoe which I am really liking for hikes but probably would not pack for city walking.

Posted by
3800 posts

As Pam said upthread..."what works for me may not work for you." So I won't make any assumptions.

New Balance is what I wear and have been delighted with. They were recommended by my podiatrist after he diagnosed me with various foot problems. He suggested I wear nothing but New Balance, so I have several pairs.
My podiatrist only wears New Balance so that tells you how much he believes in them.

They have been great for pounding the pavement walking around London and the English countryside and standing for long periods of time in museums. My feet never hurt and are never tired.
So I do suggest you try a pair of New Balance.

Posted by
677 posts

I have found that my Dansko Paisley shoes (lace up) are more comfortable on museum days than sneakers. I think the firmer sole provides more support on the concrete or marble floors. I wore them all around Rome on our RS Rome Tour last year and my feet and legs held up well.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks for all the suggestions! I don’t know why I forgot about brooks…have had good luck with those in the past. Will definitely look into the OnClouds too. The melt method balls sound like they would absolutely help.

I’m so curious about the Vessi’s…seems like they would be great for wet days, but I wish I could have tried them on before spending the money! It’s free returns, but that’s still a pain. They’ll be here in a week…I’ll let you all know what I think & if I keep them.

Posted by
2 posts

I have a heel spur and have had surgery on my toe joint (where a bunion would be)...so shoes really matter for me. I bought two pairs of Hoka Bondi 8s after doing a lot of research. So far they are good for me.

Posted by
112 posts

I recommend going to a running shoe store for a fitting. They will analyze your gait and recommend the best shoes for your feet. I've been doing this the past couple years and it's made all the difference.

Posted by
74 posts

Skechers Arch Fit Citi Drive sneakers have seen me through 2 years of intense walking . Last year 6 to 14 miles a day in Italy. No break in needed! At least not for me. They not the most long lasting but the arch fit support is great and it has good shock absorption which really protected my back and an ankle that can b cranky. I have a narrow foot and was surprised how well they fit. Never a blister. Also they are leather (more or less) which is helpful on rainy days. I spray waterproofing on new leather walking shoes before I wear them also. Keeps feet dry in rain and they stay cleaner. Might want to give them a look.

Posted by
8754 posts

Look at the Keen brand of shoes.

Not cheap but cured me of plantar fasciitis so I swear by the brand. See if either the Explore or the waterproof Terradora ll are of any interest.

Posted by
3 posts

For long-distance walking and travel days, consider brands like Brooks, Nike, or New Balance. Models like the Brooks Ghost, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, or New Balance Fresh Foam series are known for their comfort and support. Look for features like cushioning, arch support, and breathability. Additionally, consider adding gel insoles for extra comfort. As for style, black tights paired with white sneakers can definitely work for a chic yet practical look!

Posted by
9 posts

MaggieD, if you're in Boston I can recommend getting sized and checking out walking shoes at Marathon Sports. They've been incredibly kind and patient with me even though I am very clearly not a marathon runner, and the pairs of Brooks sneakers I've bought from them have kept me comfortable for hours of walking in Spain and on domestic trips.

Posted by
29 posts

@Naomi, that is exactly what I did! And should have just done from the start. Wound up with saucony’s this time. Of course when I was first looking it was the actual marathon so you couldn’t get near there, but once again they were super helpful & I got to use the fancy new foot measuring machine for the first time.

For anyone wondering, the first pair of Vessi’s were too big, replacement should arrive tomorrow, hopefully before I have to head to the airport. But I don’t love the idea of breaking in new shoes while traveling, so I’ll probably just bring my ratty old sneakers for rainy days.

Posted by
371 posts

Just back from 3 weeks in France, Belgium and the Netherlands and I wore my Hoka Clifton 9’s everyday (miles of walking everyday) and never gave my feet one thought the entire time. Hoka’s never require break in time and they have great cushioning for all the cobblestones and are lightweight. I took backup waterproof Merrells, and never wore them. Lots of people on our tour had on Hokas.

I just got back from a Paris and the Heart of France. We did 5 days pre tour in Paris. On one day I did 23000+ steps in my Easy Spirit Romy waking shoes with Dr. Scholls inserts. My feet were in great shape. I love these shoes. I have tendonitis in my left foot, and these shoes provide support and cushioning. However, there is one caveat, they are leather, and in summer they are much too warm. For fall through spring they are great. The price is nice too. Macys often has them on sale.

Posted by
7 posts

Adding my experience with Hokas. I regularly wear a Clifton, 2 pairs mint green and purple! So for Italy last summer I bought Hoka Transport, slimmer design, nicer looking, neutral eggshell color. I was happy to have the Vibram sole since we had a couple of downpours. But the cushioning did not match my Cliftons. We generally walk 5-8 mile days. My feet felt it at the end of the day. I found myself missing the higher level of cushioning. Uncertain on what the take to Spain this year!

Posted by
1 posts

As a runner of many years, I will add the advice of going to a running store to be properly fitted. Everyone's foot is different and what works for me may not work for you for various reasons. I wear either Asics Gel Kayano (until they recently completely changed them and now they are awful), Muzino Wave Inspire, or On Clouds. I will also add to invest in good socks as well. I really like Feetures and have run numerous long distance races with no blisters. With the right fitting shoes and socks you can walk for miles without tired feet or blisters.

Posted by
5805 posts

Upthread, Pam mentions Zappos. I do love their return policy. I have wide feet so I can have difficulty finding what I need in a store, and its very frustrating to order and go through a return process. Zappos makes it quite easy. Another similar option is DSW. I have one a couple miles from me so what I do fairly often is order a bunch of shoes from DSW online and then I can jump in the car and easily return what doesn't work.

Regarding Allbirds, I agree they aren't the optimal shoe for walking long distances. However, when I'm going on a trip with the possibility of a fair amount of rain, I'll bring my mizzles for the rainy days. I also like my mizzles when the weather gets chilly where I live. Likewise, I purchased Mizzles for my Seattle son, and he likes them so much for the Seattle weather he has since purchased a couple more pairs.

Posted by
992 posts

For Jogging I use Altra running shoes. Currently I have a pair of Altra Torun 6. They are zero-drop or completely flat. But I am trying to land on my forefoot instead of my heel when jogging. I got used to the zero-drop immediately. I wouldn't buy any shoe that isn't totally flat or very close to totally flat. For normal walking I still strike first with my heel. Yeah its possible to re-teach yourself how to jog or walk if necessary. Its fine that I am a man because they make women's variations of the shoes I own or very similar models for women. My running shoes are the opposite of water resistant. My current preference for major trips is a water-resistant outdoor shoe. In the last 5 years on major trips I have worn Sketchers "outdoor" shoes or Columbia Fairbanks hiking shoes. They both did the job fine except that the water-resistance of both shoes wore off soon after I first wore them and I had to treat them with water-proofing spray. Just breath out the whole time you are spraying and don't inhale the spray.