Walking is the simplest form of a full-body workout that almost everyone can do.
Getting the right walking shoes is the key to getting all these benefits without causing any harm to your feet.
Today, I am here to help you with just that. Keep reading as I discuss some of the best vegan walking shoes on the market to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Why are Walking Shoes Important?
The feet are the foundation of our body. You must provide them with the support and comfort they need to continue to put their best foot out there (pun intended).
Wearing ill-fitted and poor-quality shoes does not just cause discomfort but can have serious and far-ranging impacts on your health.
The right walking shoes can help improve posture and performance by providing the necessary support and cushioning, reducing the impact on the joints, and preventing injuries.
Are Walking Shoes Different from Running Shoes?
Walking and running may seem like similar activities, but they are significantly different in terms of their impact on the body. Your feet are also used differently in both. Therefore, both require different types of shoes.
Walking shoes are different from running shoes in several ways. Here are some of them:
- Running shoes tend to have heavy cushioning but are lighter in weight. Walking shoes, on the other hand, are a little heavier in comparison but (should) always come with good arch support. In terms of cushioning, walkers do not need a lot of it. Therefore, walking shoes generally have less cushioning than running shoes. There’s also a difference in the zones of cushioning.
- Walking shoes are more flexible than running shoes. The latter have much stiffer soles.
- Running shoes have thicker heels, whereas walking shoes have more leveled heels. Moreover, running shoes often come with flared heels to provide extra stability. This, however, can impede a walker’s performance, which is why walking shoes do not have flared heels.
- Running shoes offer higher stability than walking shoes.
All in all, running shoes are more focused on motion control, stability, functionality, and improved performance, whereas walking shoes are designed more to provide enhanced comfort and flexibility.
Want to know more about the difference between different types of activity shoes? Check out the following video…
What to Look for When Buying Vegan Walking Shoes?
While seasoned vegans may already know the drill, for those who may be new to the community, let’s quickly take a look at the factors to consider when buying vegan walking shoes (or any type of shoes, for that matter):
· Animal Ingredients
This is common knowledge. The first thing you should look for when buying anything vegan is ‘animal ingredients.’
The animal ingredients walking shoes may have include leather, dyes, animal glue, and gelatin.
· Vegan Label
If there’s anything I have learned in my now about a decade’s experience as a vegan, it’s that labels are misleading.
Therefore, look for walking shoes that are certified vegan or carry the vegan label. Be wary of the products marketed as leather-free, for they may contain other animal-based ingredients like gelatin or animal glue and dyes.
The Best Vegan Walking Shoes
My picks for the best vegan-friendly walking shoes include:
1. Slow Man Women’s Walking Shoes Sock Sneakers (LINK)
Walking shoes are infamous for not being as breathable as running shoes. But Slow Man proves it wrong with this specially crafted vegan walking shoe design.
Featuring a mesh fabric upper body with an MD+ Air Cushion outsole and a perforated arch, these women’s walking shoes from Slow Man guarantee high breathability, ventilation, and flexibility.
The air-cushioning feature, together with its lightweight, makes this pair of shoes perfect for long walks.
The mesh fabric and inner lining are super smooth, ensuring superior comfort and the absence of animal ingredients makes them 100% vegan-friendly.
These vegan walking shoes for women come in 23 color options and 11 sizes, so you’ll find a perfect fit and color for yourself.
According to the company, the shoes fit true to size, so you don’t need to size up or down; order your usual size and enjoy noticeably more comfortable walks every day.
2. Skechers Men’s Delson – Camden Sneaker (LINK)
With 31 size options in classic and wide fit varieties, Men’s Delson-Camden from Skechers is one of the most versatile and inclusive walking shoe options on the market. It’s vegan-friendly and made with 100% synthetic materials.
The top is made with textile, and the sole is of rubber, lined with air-cooled and moisture-wicking memory foam insole to keep your feet dry.
The memory foam insole is prized for its ability to contour most foot shapes, providing unparalleled comfort. The perforated footbed of the shoes improves breathability, preventing sweat and overheating.
3. STQ Slip-On Breathe Mesh Walking Shoes for Women (LINK)
Children aren’t the only ones to struggle with tying shoelaces; many adults struggle with it, too. Whether you’re one of them or just don’t like the lace-up design, STQ’s Slip-On Walking Shoes are a perfect option for you.
Not only do they have a no-lace design, but they also feature an elastic, stretchable cuff, making it easier to put them on and take off.
The upper body of these women’s vegan walking shoes is made of a knitted material lined with breathable mesh on the outside, ensuring good airflow and high breathability.
The bottom of the shoes features thick air-cushioned soles, with a rebound design and high shock-absorbing properties, and contoured zero-grind heels.
Another prominent feature of this vegan-friendly pair of walking shoes for women is its wide, round-toe box that makes it highly comfortable. You won’t feel a hint of pain or discomfort even when wearing these shoes for extended hours. STQ’s Vegan Slip-On Walking Shoes for women are also very lightweight.
4. BRONAX Men’s Walking Sneakers (LINK)
If you like fun, vibrant shoes, you’ll love this pair from BRONAX. It features an interesting abstract graffiti pattern on the upper body and comes in six interesting colors.
In terms of design, the shoes feature padding on the collar and tongue for enhanced comfort. While it’s a slip-on shoe, it also has laces on top for an extra secure, snug fit. The rubber sole provides good traction, enhanced cushioning, and great stability.
Pair these fun vegan men’s walking shoes with any outfit to instantly elevate the look and add a fun element to it.
5. Lugz Clipper Sneaker (LINK)
These lightweight vegan walking shoes feature a body made of canvas and an outer sole of rubber, making them highly durable and perfect for everyday wear.
Apart from their strength, durability, and comfort, what makes this pair of vegan sneakers from Lugz stand out and popular among vegans is that it comes in a wide range of sizes and colors.
The sizes include both classic fit and wide fit options. The slip-on design makes them easy to wear and take off, and the extra padding at the back improves comfort, allowing you to wear them for long hours.
6. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio (LINK)
Vivobarefoot is a company that aims to replicate the comfort of walking barefoot with its shoes.
Its Primus Lite II Bio is a pair of super light and breathable vegan walking shoes for men that features the company’s signature Barefoot sole, providing supreme comfort.
The upper body is made with recycled PET mesh to ensure good ventilation that helps keep your feet cool and dry.
The shoe conforms to the natural shape of the foot and is designed in such a way that there is minimal possible interference in natural movement.
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio comes in both classic and wide-fit sizes. But there are only two color options. On the bright side, it’s only vegan but also eco-friendly.
How Often Should You Replace Walking Shoes?
Replacing your walking shoes when necessary is as important as buying the right shoes for the activity. But when it becomes necessary is a question that many people don’t know the right answer to.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Sports Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a pair of walking or running shoes should be replaced every 350 to 500 miles.
This makes six months for those who walk for 30 minutes per day or an average of 3 to 4 hours per week, and three months for people whose fitness routine includes walking 60 minutes a day or about 7 hours a week.
What Happens if You Don’t Replace Walking Shoes as Recommended?
No shoes are made to last forever. With regular use, the walking shoes lose their shock absorption capability. The support they offer to the feet also diminishes over time, and so does the utility of the midsole.
Continuing to use your walking shoes beyond the recommended time (distance) not only compromises comfort but can also leave you more prone to injuries.
How to Know It’s Time to Replace Your Walking Shoes?
While miles are the most significant determinant of whether it’s time to retire your shoes or not, there are some more signs that can tell it’s time to replace your walking shoes. Here’s what to look for if you haven’t kept track of the distance covered:
- Heels stretched out or unevenly worn out, i.e., worn out more on one side.
- Soles worn-out on pressure points.
- Broken uppers around the ankle area
- Uneven sole; noticeable when placed on an even, flat surface.
- Noticeable creasing on the bottom and sides of the sole.
- The insoles have molded feet imprints.
Sudden pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, legs, and/or back, for no other reason, can also be a sign that it’s time to replace your walking shoes.
Can You Use Running Shoes for Walking?
Ideally, you shouldn’t do it because of the significant differences in how your feet move during the two activities.
However, if there’s an issue of availability or you feel more comfortable walking in your running shoes, you may use them while walking.
Don’t do the opposite, though. Don’t ever use your walking shoes for running because they are not made to provide adequate support and cushioning for the rigorous activity that running is.
Walking shoes are a must-have for everyone regardless of how frequently (or infrequently) they do the walking.
However, finding the right pair of walking shoes is often difficult for vegans, as many varieties on the market tend to have animal ingredients in them.
Fortunately, many brands are recognizing the gap in the market and filling it with vegan-friendly options. I have listed some of them above.
Choose from them to get fit without bearing the guilt of contributing to animal cruelty.
If you want to know about other vegan shoe options, check out my article Best Vegan Sandals to have your summer shoe collection sorted without compromising your animal-free lifestyle.