Looking to lace-up your trainers and get active in the new year? It doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s easy to think of exercise as high impact sports, running, or classes at the gym. Such activities are great for keeping fit – but they’re not for everyone. Classes can be expensive and are scheduled for specific times, which might not fit in with your lifestyle. Plus, not everybody’s body is geared towards running or high impact sports.
Rejoice! There is an alternative activity that’s suited to almost everyone, and you do it every day without thinking. Walking comes with a myriad of benefits that you might not even notice as you’re pottering around the garden, browsing the shops, or walking the dog across a muddy field. If you’re wondering how to get fit in 2023 – but are seeking a low impact activity that can be worked into your everyday lifestyle – walking is the way to go!
As with running, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a decent pair of trainers for days when you want to make a conscious effort to incorporate walking into your routine.
Unlike running however, there’s no need to invest in a wildly expensive pair of trainers, as long as you choose your walking trainers and their features with care.
Not sure what you’re looking for? Don’t worry – we’ve made it easy. By breaking down our best men’s and women’s trainers, from lightweight soles to slip-on styles, memory foam footbeds, and hiking trainers, this guide will help you find the right fitness footwear for your needs.
While we’ve included a couple examples of shoes for light trail walking – if you’re aiming a bit higher (up the mountain!) we recommend looking at walking boots which will provide better overall support for your ankles while tackling tougher terrain. Don’t forget to check out our absolute favourite walks and trails in the U.K.
This guide covers everyday walking. If you’re looking for footwear designed for pounding the pavement, traversing muddy fields with Fido, or zipping around the shops on a Saturday afternoon then this is the guide for you.
Does Walking Get You Fit?
In short, yes! Walking comes with a whole host of benefits for your body. Studies show a brisk walk is good for the heart, helps with weight loss, and helps to lower the risk of developing serious conditions such as type two diabetes and heart disease.
Depending on where you walk, walking is a relatively low-impact activity. This means that, unlike running or sports, it doesn’t take a serious toll on your body. In other words, after a good walk you might find that your legs are tired, but you’re unlikely to experience the aches and pains associated with recovering from high-impact sports and running.
In fact, doctors often recommend walking to those who suffer from joint pain, particularly in the knees or hips. This is because walking helps to lubricate the joints and strengthen the surrounding muscles, easing overall strains and pains. That said, if you’re experiencing severe pain and walking proves difficult for you, it’s important to speak to your doctor who will know how best to help you.
Aside from physical benefits, walking is also good for our minds. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere near a park, woods, or other wild landscape, walking through nature helps to clear our minds and put us back in touch with the world around us. Next time you’re out and about, take a moment to pause and breathe in the fresh air, notice the sounds around you, and the ground beneath your trainer treads.
How to Walk More Often
If you’re looking to walk a little more every day, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. For example, you could hop off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home or take the scenic route when popping to the local shop or posting a letter. Or you can simply pull on some trainers and head out the door to see what your neighbourhood has to offer whenever the mood takes you.
Need motivation? take some time to establish your goals. Are you looking for a way to boost your energy levels, lose weight and shake off the sluggish winter? Are you looking to increase muscle strength so you can walk further and faster? Striving for a goal will help keep your motivation up – but it’s also important to keep your walking within the realms of what you’re capable of. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
Instead, see your walks as valuable me-time and use it wisely. You could listen to music, or a favourite podcast or radio show, go bird spotting or use the time to simply enjoy what nature has to offer. Alternatively, you could walk with a friend or friends and have a catch up as you go. Many of us adopted this form of bonding during lockdown as a way, not only to keep in touch with nature, but also with each other. Not to mention, you can support and motivate your walking buddy (or buddies), and they can do the same for you - encouraging you both to get up, get active and keep up the hard work.
Without Further Ado…
Here are our top picks for everyday trainers to help you get active!
Best Lightweight Trainers for Walking
Lightweight trainers are great for pottering around the shops or the garden centre. They provide comfort and support, while keeping an eye on style, all without slowing you down.
Best Lightweight Trainers for Men
Lightweight doesn’t mean lacking in the comfort department – with lightweight soles and cushioned insoles these everyday trainers are worth wearing all day long.
- Wide fitting so there’s lots of room, preventing uncomfortable squashing or rubbing.
- Cushioned leather insoles for support and added comfort.
- Soft padded lining and cuff to prevent rubbing.
- Sturdy grip outsoles to minimise chance of slipping.
- Easy slip-on design, with flexible bungee laces that won’t restrict your movement.
Best Lightweight Trainers for Women
These may look like chunky fashion trainers, but they come with lots of amazing lightweight comfort features to make walking an easy breeze.
- Extra lightweight – you won’t eve know you’re wearing them!
- Classic lace-up style for easy fastening.
- Cushioned insole to support the foot.
- Massaging footbed to knead away pains in the feet.
- Shock absorbing mid-sole to reduce the impact of each step, preventing foot fatigue.
Best Slip-On Trainers for Walking
The main appeal of slip-on trainers is their simplicity. The perfect style for busier days or for just nipping to the shops, slip-on trainers can be stored beside the front door – so you can be ready to get those steps in at a moment’s notice.
Best Slip-On Trainers for Men
These no-nonsense slip-on trainers can take you from the sofa to the sunny outdoors in an instant.
- Slip-on design makes for easy put-on.
- Lightweight – they won’t slow down your stride.
- Memory foam insole which moulds to the shape of your foot, lending comfort and support.
- Breathable upper in a stretch fit to accommodate the movement of the foot as you walk.
- Flexible traction outsole to minimise the risk of slipping.
Best Slip-On Trainers for Women
Making every step enjoyable, these sleek slip-on trainers are the perfect excuse to get up and go.
- Slip-on style for easy put on.
- Stretchy bungee laces for a flexible fit that moves with you.
- Self-moulding memory foam footbed to provide support and cushion your foot as you walk.
- Extra lightweight with flexible soles so they won’t weigh you down.
Best Memory Foam Trainers for Walking
Memory foam footbeds are a must-have if you’re seeking excellent comfort and support. Self-moulding memory foam footbeds moulds over time to fit the shape of the wearer’s foot, meaning the more you wear them the comfier they become! Memory foam trainers are great for reliable comfort whether you’re tackling the pavement, park, or hills.
Memory Foam Trainers for Men
Providing custom comfort, tailored to the wearer’s foot over time, these memory foam trainers are the ones to reach for if you’re looking to go the distance.
- Memory foam footbed moulds to the foot to provide excellent overall support.
- Traditional lace-up fastening for a secure fit.
- Breathable upper means that even if you pick up the pace, your feet will stay cool.
- Flexible traction outsole for greater grip, minimising the chance of slipping.
- Shock-absorbing properties reduce overall foot fatigue.
Memory Foam Trainers for Women
Pavements meet your match! The memory foam footbeds in these quick little trainers offer support and comfort wherever you roam.
- Memory foam insole moulds to the shape of the foot to provide custom support and comfort.
- Lace-up fastening ensures a secure fit.
- Shock absorbing properties reduce the impact of each step, preventing aches and pains in your feet and legs.
- Breathable upper means your feet will stay cool throughout your walk.
- Lightweight flexible traction outsole that will bend and flex with the movement of the foot and provide greater grip.
Best Trail Trainers for Walking Light Trails
Particularly good for spring and summer when heavy boots can get uncomfortably hot, these walking shoes are designed for paths that require a little more grip. Reach for these when you’re looking to tackle dusty trails, country lanes, and muddy fields.
Best Light Trail Trainers for Men
Ideal for walking and hiking alike, these trail trainers are less bulky than walking boots: making it a smooth transition between the pavement and the great outdoors.
- Protective leather upper with breathable mesh inserts to keep your feet cool as you walk.
- Padded lining and cuff to prevent rubbing.
- Cushioned footbed for added support and comfort.
- Thick outdoor-equipped traction sole to provide better grip.
- Water resistant to help keep your feet warm and dry.
- Well-suited to walks in the woods, muddy fields, and light trails.
Best Light Trail Trainers for Women
Don’t be fooled by their slim silhouette, these light trail trainers by trusted footwear brand Sketchers – designed exclusively for Pavers – are made for walking.
- Slip-on style with bungee laces makes for exceptionally easy put-on and flexible wear.
- Gripped rubber sole allows for greater traction on dusty trails.
- Shock absorbing properties reduce the impact of each step, preventing foot fatigue.
- Low-cut, lightweight profile these trainers are easily stowed away in a rucksack or luggage. In other words, these trainers can travel!
Now you know how to put your best foot forward – what are you waiting for?