Top 10 Walking Shoes for 2011

Bulky, stiff sneakers are out—and comfort is in.

The latest research shows that athletic shoes that over restrict foot motion may contribute to injuries, and so can flimsy flats. We asked 33 walkers to test more than 100 pairs for the right balance of support and flexibility for any occasion to come up with this top 10 list.

To keep your feet feeling good mile after mile, try a bunch on and go with the shoe that feels best on your feet.

ATHLETIC

BEST FOR...

HIKING
Ahnu Rockridge II

$100, also available in green, brown; ahnufootwear.com

These lightweight hikers perform as well as bulkier high-top versions. "They're much more flexible," reports tester Jess Lee, 30, of Brooklyn, NY.

The rugged sole grips as you go up and down hills but is bendable enough that you can keep up a smooth, rolling stride on level terrain. And the reinforced toe area protects your feet from bumps against rocks and roots, as you workout outdoors.


BEST FOR...

FAST WALKING
New Balance 860

$90, also available in blue; shopnewbalance.com

This shoe has a superflexible toe that makes it easy to push off and quicken your pace. But no matter how fast you go, the ankle padding will keep your heel snugly in place. "My foot didn't budge, even in thin socks," reports tester Jessica Branch, 45, of New York City. A mesh upper is lined to buffer cold and wind.

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