Walking shoes that last

If you’re like me and walk a lot you need shoes that are…

comfortable,

don’t wear out quickly,

reasonably priced, and

ethically & sustainably made.

Most of my shoes have required some sort of break in period before they become comfortable, but these ones have been good from day oneπŸ‘‡

Warm weather

Birkenstock

Arizona sandal in black suede

Thick sole, moulded footbed, iconic design. A shoe designed to support your foot when you walk.

Go for the suede and soft footbed if you want to skip the break in period.

A pair will last for years with proper care. Don’t leave them out in sunlight (because it will damage the cork) and also, don’t get the cork wet.

USD$99.95+ depending on the style

Toms

Cream canvas alpargatas with navy polka dots

Lightweight alpargatas (slip ons) available in a variety of colours and patterns. A solid casual walking shoe. The footbed isn’t as supportive as the Birkenstock but they are also half the price.

A pair lasts for about 6 months with daily use, after which the sole gets too thin to be comfortable. Lighter colours attract dirt and darker colours fade over time. However, they can be hand-washed.

USD$49.95+ but seasonal styles occasionally go on sale

Cold weather

Allbirds

Wool Runners in French Fry (pink beige colour)

Wool sneakers you don’t need to wear socks with. Comfortable from the get go. They do get a little hot in warm weather. However, these are slightly slimmer, and therefore better looking, than their Tree counterpart.

Their 30 day return policy is fantastic if you’re a little unsure and want to test them out.

A pair lasts for 6 months or so with daily use. The insoles will wear out (you can buy replacements) and the sole will wear down (which cannot be replaced).

USD$95

How can you increase your chances of buying a good shoe?

Number one is obvious, sizing. Both the length and width need to be comfortable. If you are buying online and the store doesn’t offer free returns & exchanges, then perhaps take your dollars elsewhere.

For a shoe that you plan to spend hours walking in, foot support is also critical. The shoe should come with a moulded footbed or you should add your own insoles.

Unless you want to feel every bump on the ground, a thick sole is a must. If shoes come with leather soles, consider getting your cobbler to add a rubber sole.

Do your research and your feet (and your wallet) will thank you for it!