Consumer Reports gave their best buy for men to the Champion Amp 2 from Payless ($45), which is a running shoe. Their women's top ratings went to the Ryka Core Strength XT (Compare Prices) and the Avia A104W (Compare Prices). Neither of these are running or walking shoes. I haven't had the chance to see them in person, but as crosstraining shoes they are likely to be heavier and less flexible than needed for fitness walking. The Ryka shoe gets raves from buyers on Zappos, but in general they aren't walkers. Browsing over to Payless ShoeSource online, the Champion AMP appears to be a lightweight running shoe that may be appropriate for walkers who don't need motion control.
I don't recommend buying crosstraining shoes for walking. I recommend going to the best serious running shoe store in your area and getting fit there by their experts. They will probably put you into a good quality running shoe that is flexible and has a low heel profile. They will be able to tell whether you need a motion control shoe, a stability shoe, or a neutral shoe.
Walking and Running Shoe Types
To their credit, Consumer Reports agrees. "Buying the right shoe is really an individual decision," says Gayle Williams, deputy health editor of Consumer Reports in a press release. "You have to pay attention to how the shoe fits your foot, no matter what you’re going to be doing." They go on to recommend "Get expert advice. Consumers will probably pay more at an athletic footwear store than they would at a discount store, but they’re more likely to find a seasoned salesperson who can help them get the best shoe for their needs."
Running Shoes for Walkers
How to Choose Walking Shoes
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber - Avia A104w
Source: Consumer Reports press release 6/29/09