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These Shoes Were Made For Walkin’… [Your Official Sneaker Guide]

April 30, 2019


Erin Schrader

It’s a question we get asked over and over and over again [while simultaneously asking ourselves the very same question] of “what are the most comfortable pair of walking shoes that you’d recommend?!” After speculating what we thought was the best we thought it was time to turn speculations into facts [or at least informed opinions after testing ;)] Today – we’re here to finally answer the question. Whether you’re traveling to Europe this summer [umm hi, take me with you] or you’re going to be standing on the sidelines of your kiddos soccer game or you just need a trusty pair of sneakers that you know you can count on time and time again, this post is here to help. Bonus: We have a slip-on shoe comparison post coming soon as well [think Rothy’s, Dr. Scholl’s, Converse and so much more] so stay tuned for that!

For all of our other helpful comparison posts [we’re talkin’ white jeans, sunless tanners, mascara, and MORE] see our entire lineup here!

Meet The Sneakers We Compared & Tested:

How We Tested And Rated The Shoes:

Three of the girls on the team thankfully share the same shoe size and have varying arch levels [from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows – spoiler alert: I’m the lowest of the low, absolutely no arch here]. We each wore every pair for at least 24 hours on a day of higher levels of activity to get a true sense of just how comfortable they are for all day wear. These are the categories that we gave a 1-5 score on [5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest].

  • Arch Support
  • Overall Comfort
  • Overall Appearance

We also made notes if no-show socks were required, if they caused blisters or not and if we would actually purchase the shoe. After gathering all of the data in our trusty little spreadsheet, we were able to bring you a calculated score of just how the sneakers ranked up and compared against one another, in turn allowing us to bring YOU the BEST sneaker for all day wear below! Ready to find out the results? Keep reading….

The Results:The overall winner — Allbirds Tree Runners! These sneakers were a brand that nobody on the team had tried prior to this blog post comparison, however, we were hearing the rave reviews from our tribe loud and proud so we knew we had to give them a shot. It turns out, we love them just as much as you do. Read more below why.

Sizing Tip: These sneakers aren’t available in half sizes, so if you are a half size we recommend sizing down! Otherwise, order your normal size!

What We Liked:

  • Incredible comfort! They are like little clouds on your feet, all day long.
  • So easy to slip on and off! While they do have laces, we didn’t find them necessary to use if you wanted to quickly slip on and off!
  • One of us who have wider feet noted that they were very flattering on a wider foot!
  • For those of you who need arch support, Steph on the team noted “They have enough arch support to get me through LOTS of walking without sore knees!”

What We Didn’t Like:

  • They are wool lined which scared us a little bit from a heat perspective [although wow, I think the wool lining adds to the overall comfort]. While we haven’t worn them in the heat of the summer, they weren’t too warm for us at all this spring. This would just be something to watch for.

Were These Our Favorite? 2/3 deemed this pair our absolute favorite!

Would We Buy These? 3/3 of us would purchase and wear these.

None of us received blisters from wearing these shoes and we could go both ways on wearing no-show socks with these [all a preference level]. Whether you rock the sock or go barefoot, you are guaranteed to have a great experience in these sneaks!

Next up coming in at a close second, were these New Balance 696 Sneakers. Several of us on the team already owned and wear these sneakers regularly [they are just so stinkin’ cute!] so we were stoked these ranked so high on the list!

Sizing Tip: We found these to run true to size and would recommend purchase your traditional size.

What We Liked:

  • The overall appearance! We all felt that these shoes were the most stylish of the group and could be styled so many different ways!
  • Arch support: If you need arch support, these are a great option for you!
  • Comfortable enough for all day wear!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • They are a little bulkier / heavier then a few pairs of the shoes we tested.

Were These Our Favorite? 1/3 deemed this pair their absolute favorite.

Would We Buy These? 3/3 would purchase these.Next towards the top, these Adidas Cloudfoam Pure Sneaker. This pair was a surprise to all of us as none of us had owned this style before. Here’s what we thought!

Sizing Tip: Size up .5 size!

What We Liked:

  • These are quite lightweight and very comfortable [living up to their cloud name]!
  • For wide feet, they are super slimming on!
  • Breathable material making them perfect for summer!
  • Easy to slip on and off!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • This pair didn’t strike us as the most visually appealing of the group!

Were These Our Favorite? 0/3 said that while we liked them, none of us said they were our absolute favorite!

Would We Buy These? 2/3 of us would buy these!Next up, time for one of my personal favorites, the UGG(R) Willows Sneakers. I purchased these several months ago and fell in love immediately. Here’s what everybody thought..

Sizing Tip: True to size

What We Liked:

  • These shoes are SO lightweight! It almost feels like you would be barefoot due to how little you can feel them on your feet!
  • Super easy to slip on and off!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The appearance of these weren’t the crowd favorite as they do have a little bit different look to them.
  • The back of the shoe did rub some on our ankles which by the end of the day became somewhat uncomfortable.
  • If you need arch support, these aren’t going to give you much!

Were These Our Favorite? 1/3 deemed these their favorite!

Would We Buy These? 1/3 of us would purchase these!

Second from the bottom, we have these Nike Free RN 2018. These are a style that have been around for awhile and I am sure aren’t going anywhere real fast. While they are a tried and true pair I’ve worn over and over again, they didn’t rank quite as high as the ones above.

Sizing Tip: Size up one!

What We Liked:

  • Overall, we do like the look of these sneakers. Pretty classic and work with jeans or leggings!
  • They are quite lightweight!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • They didn’t stand out from a comfort perspective. They aren’t uncomfortable, but after all day wear you could feel that you had been on your feet more than what we could in some of the others.

Were These Our Favorite? 0/3 said that these were our favorite.

Would We Buy These? 1/3 would purchase these.

Last but certainly [okay certainly] least, the Vionic Alaina Sock Sneaker. This brand is known for their arch support so it’s no surprise that the two of us on the team who don’t need arch support didn’t love them, however, even the one who does need it didn’t L-O-V-E these. Here’s why.

Fit Tip: True to size

What We Liked:

  • For the one who needs a lot of arch support noted how great her feet felt in this pair as they offer a ton of overall support!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • For those who don’t need arch support, they felt highly uncomfortable in the arch department.
  • One of us noted that they didn’t love the “sock” portion of the shoe.
  • The visual appearance wasn’t a fan favorite between any of us!

Were These Our Favorite? 0/3 considered these our favorite.

Would We Buy These? 1/3 would purchase these for arch support.

And that’s a wrap! Did these results surprise you at all? What is your go-to sneaker for all day comfort?

share this with your best girlfriends:

  1. Janet Newhall says:

    Just got my very first pair of Allbirds in the mail yesterday! I told my husband at bed time that I wished I could sleep in them, they are so comfortable. Also, my feet get hot and sweat like crazy pretty easily, and I wore these without socks for about 3 hours and was perfectly comfortable.

  2. Jaime says:

    Thank you for this comparison post! I’ve been looking at sneakers for awhile and this has helped narrow down what I want!

  3. Sarah says:

    I have a couple pairs of Allbirds and they are amazing! I walked around Disney World for 2 days in these and my feet didn’t hurt one single bit. Love them!!

  4. Wendy says:

    This is interesting because I just got the adidas cloud foam sneakers but had to size down .5 which I rarely do in a sneaker!

  5. Kim says:

    I’m an avid walker (minimum of 4 miles daily and often 10-16 miles daily when frequently visiting our son and his family that live in a more favorable year-round climate ????). The best walking shoes I’ve owned have been ASICS and Merrell (and I’ve “walked” thru many shoes). There’s a huge difference between walking shoes and shoes one casually walks in throughout their day. And as far as shoes to wear when traveling the world, Birkenstock and Naot are my go-to shoes. Sometimes comfort and health of one’s foot/body takes precedence over fashion. ????

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