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FITNESS 2009 Sneaker Guide: The Best Walking Shoes

Our picks for the best shoes for walking, whether you're hitting the road, treadmill, or trails.

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Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Keen Genoa Peak sneakers
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
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Winner: Best Road Walking Shoe

Asics GEL-Fluent LV

This flowery, well-cushioned shoe adds a spring to your step. Plus, its supportive heel and flexible outsole point your foot in the right direction as you stride, helping to prevent injury.

"They felt as comfortable as my running shoes," says one tester, a racewalking coach who has competed in an Olympic trial for the sport. "They're supportive, athletic, and light."

($85, asics.com for stores)

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Runner-Up: Best Road Walking Shoe

New Balance 1200

The sturdy midsole on these shoes packs stability and cushioning from heel to forefoot, and the flexible outsole smoothes every stride. They are lightweight and durable and fit close to your foot, thanks to special cinch-it-in lacing.

"They felt like butt-ah," says one 20-miles-a-week walker. "I was propelled forward with each step and felt as though I could go forever."

($120, newbalance.com for stores)

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Winner: Best Trail Walking Shoe

Keen Genoa Peak

This hiker has a roomy toe box, giving you extra space to stabilize on uneven trails, and an upper made of both durable leather and breathable mesh to prevent overheating.

"These are my new go-to shoes," says one tester whose feet remained dry after trekking through a snowfield in Colorado. "Light and comfortable yet solid. I ditched my usual boots and took these on a 30-mile trip."

($100, keenfootwear.com)

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Runner-Up: Best Trail Walking Shoe

Columbia Ashlane Low

More supportive than your average trail runner, these lightweight hikers are rigid enough to keep you stable on loose surfaces and supercomfy. The gusseted tongue shuts out pebbles, and the front rubber guard helps stop toe stubbing.

"Hooray for solid arch support!" proclaims one tester who wore the Columbias through soggy trails on an eight-mile hike. "These shoes are sturdy and versatile -- they kept my feet dry over river crossings, but didn't lock sweat in."

($75, columbia.com)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.

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FITNESS Magazine October 2009
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