With all the new shoe technology coming out in the last few years, it’s interesting to look at which ones actually give you what you need: A comfortable walking platform for every purpose. There are comfortable walkers, sneakers, tennis shoes, loafers, and work shoes out there. You just need to find them.
The first shoes were simple sandals, but feet have come a long way since then.
Here are out picks for the 20 most comfortable shoes of all-time:
20. Kuai Lu Yoga Mat Flip-Flops
Using the TPE material of yoga mats as the filler for its soles, these shoes turn the classic “shower shoe” flip-flop sandal on its head, making it into a truly comfortable shoe and not just to put a layer of protection between your feet and the shower at the gym.
With a high-bounceback sole with a cushioning layer made of resilient TPE rubber, these shoes are something more: A sleek and elegant piece of podiatric engineering as well as a supportive shoe for shower or beach.
19. Birkenstock Milanos
The classic hippie shoe, these open-toed sandals eschew workmanlike practicality for a more bohemian sensibility. Sturdy and classic, the Birkenstock looks as at home on a corporate campus as it does playing hacky sack.
And with its sturdy cork sole, these classic shoes aren’t just for looks, they’re a real, useful shoe for all sorts of everyday activities.
18. Teva Hurricane XLT2
The classic river sandal, these are made with no leather anywhere in their design, because leather can shrink and pinch when it gets wet. Because the Teva Hurricane is such a classic water sandal, it can be found nearly everywhere, and the company has spent decades figuring out the best platform.
The modern Teva sandal is smoother and more able to shed gravel and sand back into the river than its ancestor of 20 years ago, making it more comfortable to wear in wet conditions because you won’t have to take it off to clean gravel and sand out of your foot on nearly the same frequency.
It doesn’t eliminate these inconveniences entirely but stretches them out over a longer period of time.
17. Chacos Classic Sandal
One of the best shoes out there for wear in wet environments, and a classic competitor to the Teva river sandal, the Chacos have a different strap system that some wearers swear by, and some wearers swear at.
But once you get past the basics of the design, the Chacos Classic is a truly comfortable shoe, with a simple gripping sole that will keep you moving on the river with a minimum of fuss. A pair of Chacos, because of how simple and durable they are, will last the average wearer many years.
16. Orthofeet Cobalt Work Shoe
These superior air cushioned work shoes are a great option with multiple insole spacers offered to make sure every shoe has the right fit.
They’re not a conventional street shoe, but having a sleek, attractively modern design and lacking many of the standard cues of work boots, such as strict leather sides and uppers, they could easily be worn for occasions out; they look nice in all the right ways and even a bit high-end.
One of the best work shoe designs.
15. Doc Martens 1460 Work Boot
The classic Doctor Martens Air Wair needs little introduction as a shoe of the people. One of the most popular boots of all time, this classic work boot and its air-cushioned sole have one purpose: To get working people through a day of work in as little pain as possible, by keeping their feet as comfortable as possible.
Designed in the late 1940s by Dr. Klaus Maertens, the Air Wair sole was the ancestor of every air-chamber sneaker on the market today.
14. Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger
Another steel-toed work boot design stemming from the same basic heritage as the Doctor Marten. Every Red Wing Iron Ranger is made with pride in Red Wing Shoes’ factory in Red Wing, Minnesota.
With natural colors ranging from harness brown to a vivid Hawthorne blonde, this durable basic work boot design takes the best and makes it even better.
Built to support the feet of the men of northern Minnesota who delve deep beneath the earth to bring back the iron that won the Second World War and beyond, the Iron Ranger celebrates those workers.
13. Hey Dude Wally
These comfortable synthetic canvas loafers first appeared in Italy in 2008 and have become a worldwide phenomenon since then. Ignoring all of the conventional wisdom of how a shoe should be constructed, the Hey Dude Wally is renowned for its casual good looks and practical, comfy insole.
These men’s shoes are equally at home in the boardroom and on a yacht, letting the casual onlooker know by their deceptively simple construction how good they really are. But the place they best perform is on your feet.
12. Nike Air Force 1
These versatile athleisure shoes started out on the basketball court. The inspiration for Nike’s later Air Jordan line (see below), the Air Force was the shoe Jordan wore when he was in college at UNC.
The iconic Air Force silhouette was part of Jordan’s life before he became an official sponsored athlete of Nike, at which point he switched to the purpose-designed Air Jordans.
The Air Force is a fine shoe, a simple, low-topped basketball shoe. Its low-cut style means that the lower legs are free for maximal flexibility under stress.
11. Nike Air Jordan 11
Jordan. The name carries a connotation of excellence to this very day. Michael Jordan remains renowned as the greatest basketball player of all time, and the shoes that bear his name are marvels as well.
Comfortable, sturdy, and functional in leather and suede, these classic shoes are the newest iteration of the shoe named for the man who defines excellence in his sport.
Michael Jordan never settled for anything less than the best during his playing days, and neither should anyone wearing the shoes that carry his name. Fortunately, you don’t have to.
10. New Balance RC30
Based on the iconic running shoe, the New Balance RC30 has a wide, exposed tread that makes sure that the foot is cradled by rubber and kept in proper alignment by the shoe, from side to side and toe to heel.
These shoes are more concerned with daily wear than with performance athletics, but that’s ok. So are most of its wearers and as a woman-focused, comfort-forward sneaker, this one is amazing.
9. Adidas Samba Classic Sneaker
One of the true classics of the sportswear world, Adidas’s classic all-leather sneaker is here to remind you that comfort often doesn’t need additional features to be a true icon.
An indoor soccer shoe featuring synthetic leather uppers and an EVA foam sole, the Samba is a perfect shoe whether on the pitch or on the street, and its gum rubber sole is impossible to beat for a great grip on all surfaces.
The Adidas shoe will get you anywhere, and the company’s distinctive three stripes will get you there in style. A highly affordable, stylish sneaker.
8. Reebok Club C 85 Vintage Sneakers
Another sneaker in the “classics are classics for a reason” category. These unspeakably cozy retro kicks are the last word in classic comfort for their natural leather uppers and abrasion-resistant rubber outsole.
The minimalist 1985 Reebok design reminds us that under all the Pump hype from the 1990s and 2000s, and all the many design variations that Reebok has used since then, they got their start by making cleanly-designed, comfortable shoes for functional use on the tennis court.
It just doesn’t get any more classic or vintage than this.
7. Hoka Bondi 7 Running Shoe
Introduced in France in 2009, and named after a Maori phrase translating roughly as, “Fly Over The Earth,” the Hoka shoe company has been notable for using a thick-soled design that rocks with the natural movement of the foot at the bottom of a stride. With the Bondi running shoe, Hoka’s design has reached its natural apex.
The thick cushion of the soles makes it an unusual choice, especially for taller runners. I was introduced to this shoe to even out my stride after a broken leg in 2015, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
6. Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe
Another classic runner by Hoka One One, these have one of the thickest soles yet in a Hoka shoe. Sturdy and simple, the Clifton 8’s sole is a bit thinner than the more traditional Hoka Bondi, giving the Hoka company a lighter, more flexible offering than their basic shoe.
The extended heel crash pad helps reduce plantar fasciitis, a foot injury that once picked up can be nearly impossible to lose. The Hoka Clifton 8 is a fantastic player in the world of running shoes.
5. Fitville Wide Pickleball Shoe
With interest in pickleball ticking up hard following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, these simple, straightforward shoes use a unique honeycomb interior to support their microfiber and mesh uppers and give the pickleballer a unique foot platform that will protect and cradle the foot.
Pickleball has some unique requirements even for a court sport, with the sport demanding strong ankles and aggressive lateral movements – a pickleballer may do well to pick up roller skating to practice lateral moves as well as forward/back ones.
In either event, the sport has some unique footwork requirements, and the Fitville pickleball shoe not only fulfills them, it excels, and makes a great general-purpose shoe in the bargain.
4. K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoe
A sturdy and durable imported pickleball shoe, the Express Light is one of the best shoes out there for such a unique sport. Its wraparound sole and plantar support chassis protects feet, strong or weak, from unnecessary wear and tear in the mid-foot region, setting it apart from other shoes in the market for the same wearers.
Its strength and durability are only matched by the comfort of its ride, giving players the confidence to lunge for difficult serves and returns, in and out of the kitchen and off the court as well as on.
3. Atoms Shoes Unisex Shoe
A classic shoe in a brand-new design, the Atoms Unisex Model 000 is, as the design name says, a shoe for all genders, regardless of need.
The simple stark monocolor design cuts a surprisingly distinctive profile, with viewers surprised to see the sole material match the upper.
These ideal everyday shoes kill bacteria before they can cause foot funk, making them an ideal shoe for work wear as well as casual. They are a shoe that, in the words of the designers, are a shoe you want to wear every day. A difficult design goal, for how deceptively simple it is.
2. Allbirds Wool Runner
Made of soft, cozy, thermoregulating wool, the Allbirds Runner is a unique treat of a shoe. With a sole made out of sugarcane-based EVA foam and laces made from recycled soda bottles, the Allbirds ethos is to make their shoes as close to carbon neutral as possible, giving back to the planet.
Their shoes are also comfortable, regulating the temperature of the feet inside of them with the excellent thermal properties of wool. Like other wool garments, these remain warm even when wet, giving them an advantage over other fabric upper materials.
1. Adidas Ultra Boosts
These sleek street-ready sneakers are also popular runners, and made of minimal material, which both reduces their energy requirement to ship and means that they can be made with less waste.
A great shoe, and also environmentally conscious, the Ultra Boost has a very clean and sleek style that makes it a great option with a dressier casual outfit. They’re a great option for someone who wants the support of an athletic shoe but the style of a dressier shoe. While sneakers are not going to be part of business dress any time soon, these shoes look as good as they feel.
You can also read:
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson