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FITNESS 2009 Sneaker Guide: The Best Walking Shoes

  • Brian Maranan Pineda

    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, for stores)

  • Brian Maranan Pineda

    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, for stores)

  • Brian Maranan Pineda

    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."


  • Brian Maranan Pineda

    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."


    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.