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Top Picks for Comfort Shoes


Updated May 16, 2014

These comfort shoes are designed to provide cushioning and support for those who are on their feet all day, or are designed to relieve various kinds of foot pain. Some comfort shoes use patented technology and rely more on testimonials than research. Some of these shoes have won the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Because the causes of foot discomfort vary, no one design can relieve all problems. If you have foot pain, it is wise to consult a foot health expert to get a recommendation for your specific problem.

1. ABEO SmartSystem Shoes

ABEO 3510 Mary Jane
Courtesy of The Walking Company

This line of shoes from The Walking Company earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance. The SmartSystem shoes were designed to relieve knee stress and knee pain. You can get a free digital foot analysis at The Walking Company stores to help select the right shoe and insole. I wear the 3510 mary jane as my casual shoe.

2. ECCO Shoes

Courtesy of Pricegrabber

I am a big fan of ECCO shoes and boots for comfort at work. This model, the Sky, is a lightweight, flexible leather shoe with an anatomic footbed and moisture-wicking lining. These shoes would be great for going from standing to taking a few laps during your lunch or breaks.

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3. Clarks Wave Collection

Clarks Wave Wheel Shoe
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Talk to walkers about what comfort shoes they wear for work, and you'll probably hear about Clarks. The Wave collection from Clarks earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance. The Wave collection has a slight rocker sole, but nothing extreme like a toning shoe. Instead, it lets you move forward with ease. They have a removable cushioned footbed.

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4. Dansko Shoes

Dansko Elise Shoe
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Many designs of Dansko shoes have earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance. I like the oxford design of the Elise, which is flexible for good walking comfort. They have boots, clogs, and sandals as well.

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ABEO Aubrey R.O.C.S. Shoe
Courtesy of The Walking Company

While toning shoe companies got into trouble making health claims about rocker-bottom shoes, and many stopped production, many walkers found them to be comfortable. The Walking Company makes no health claims for the ABEO R.O.C.S. line, which debuted in 2013. Instead, they offer them for those who loved other rocker-bottom designs for their comfort. The shoes have no heel, forcing you to really roll through each step from heel to toe, enforcing good walking technique. They are lightweight despite their thick soles. If you have problem feet and have tried many different solutions, rocker-bottom shoes are one more option. They come in both athletic and casual styles.

6. SAS Shoes

SAS Shoes
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner

For many years, volkssport walkers throughout the USA swore by SAS shoes. These were in fact the only shoes I could wear at work to prevent aching, tired feet when my job required constant standing and moving short distances. SAS Shoes are not sold on the internet. They are best found at SAS Factory Outlet stores at factory outlet malls, or at comfort shoe stores. They are well-cushioned and flexible, great for walking but a bit hot.

7. Nike Free 5.0

Nike Free 5.0 Run and Zen
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner

Nike Free shoes mimic walking barefoot and fits like a glove. The extreme flexibility from the grooved sole allows your foot to move as it wishes, not how the shoe wishes. The shoes come with a recommended training schedule to slowly build your time in them, as your feet and body adjust to the extreme freedom. Unlike the other comfort shoes listed, these have minimal cushioning and are extremely lightweight. Oprah Winfrey named these as one of her favorite things in winter, 2010.

8. Birkenstock Arizona Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona Sandal
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Many of my friends with problem feet finally found comfort when switching to Birkenstock sandals with their negative heelbed. While I take testimonials with a grain of salt, I can point to many people who will only wear Birkenstocks due to their great experiences.

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9. Balance Walking Shoe - Dr. Weil Integrative Footwear

Balance Walking Shoe - Dr. Weil Integrative Footwear
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

This comfort shoe is a great lightweight walking shoe that you can also wear for everyday lifestyle walking. It comes with the Orthaheel podiatrist-designed tri-planar footbed. The footbed provides arch support and motion control. The shoes come with a regular footbed to interchange if you prefer. The shoe is flexible in the forefoot for a good walking stride. They are flat with a low heel, perfect for walking.

10. Z-CoiL

Z-CoiL Freedom Shoe
Photo courtesy of Z-CoiL

Z-Coil shoes are super-cushioned by a spring in the heel and major cushioning in the forefoot, plus a stiff orthotic. Testimonials abound for them helping conditions such as plantar fasciitis. They also have a big market among those who must walk and stand all day on concrete surfaces - such as nurses, store clerks, etc. They are individually fit by a distributor to ensure proper fit. The drawbacks are that they are heavy and rather odd looking - but you can get them with an enclosed heel. They have styles for comfort walking as well as fitness walking and trail walking.

11. Earth Shoes

Orion Earth Shoe
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Earth Shoes feature the KALSO® Negative Heel™ Technology, which they claim promotes the natural way of walking, like you are walking barefoot in sand. Some walkers prefer this for comfort.

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What Comfort Shoes Work Best for You for Foot Pain or Fatigue?

Come write a short review of what shoes worked best for your foot pain, fatique or discomfort. Read the reviews from other walkers.
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