Sneakers are many things to many people — from professional athletes who need the latest tech to the sneakerhead who stacks boxes high just to have a few pairs on ice. But one defining aspect is that they represent comfort in a field full of uncomfortable footwear.
But finding a sneaker that stays secure without being overly tight, offers all-day support that won’t fade, and doesn’t feel like a sweatbox is not an easy task. Not to mention, our feet contain about one-quarter of all the bones in the human body, and arch height, foot width, and pressure points vary wildly. Point being: not every sneaker will be comfortable for every person.
With that in mind, however, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most comfortable shoes on the market that you should consider picking up right now. From New Balance and adidas to the most comfortable Nike shoes on the market. Scroll on for a selection your feet will thank you for.
New Balance 990v5
New Balance, in general, is at the crest of the dad sneaker trend, but its reputation for comfort is not a passing fad. The 990’s firm rubber midsole is supportive and props your heels up. A soft encapsulated EVA insert provides cushioning and the mesh panels on the upper keep things breathable. They might look like they were made for chubby white guys, but that’s worth the sacrifice.
Nike Air Force 1
The Nike Air Force 1 is one of the most recognizable sneakers in the game and, thankfully, one of the most comfortable Nike shoes as well. The comfort fresh out of the box is questionable, but after a couple of wears, it’s undeniable. The substantial sole doesn’t degrade and contains a hidden Air pocket for all-day comfort. While they’re a bit on the heavier side, they aren’t so clunky they become obstructive. For close to $100, you can’t ask for much more.
Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit “Air Cody Hudson”
Nike’s response — or reaction? — to the success of adidas’ Boost, the Epic React Flyknit comes from the brand’s extensive running legacy. The new React foam is firm, but responsive, and the Flyknit upper is sock-like without being too flimsy. And while the original Epic React Flyknit was already one of the most comfortable sneakers in the game, Nike stepped it up a gear with the Epic Phantom React. The Phantom React gets rid of the laces for a slip-on, sock-like upper that is impossibly even more comfortable than the OG version. This is a pair that feels just as good whether you’re setting records on the track or running errands on a weekend.
Nike Zoom Fly 3
Nike’s Vaporfly series was engineered to break the two-hour marathon mark and the Zoom Fly 3 is one of the best bang-for-buck purchases from the series. Available at just $120 (a steal considering the recent record-breaking ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% retailers for $275), the Zoom Fly 3 is much more performance-focused than some of the other sneakers on this list but, thanks to a sleek design and eye-catching colorway, can easily be worn casually. Zoom Fly leans more toward lifestyle. It still has the signature pointed heel and built-in carbon fiber-nylon plate to spring you forward, but the crazy lightweight VaporWeave upper and hefty React sole make for a casual shoe that looks fast.
Nike Air Max 270 React
The Nike Air Max 270 React was released not too long ago, making it one of the freshest kicks on our list. As well as being ultra-eye-catching due to its colorful presence, it is also ultra-comfortable. The React tooling takes the comfort of this shoe to a new level. Energy-returning React foam is combined with an Air unit for optimal wearability.
adidas Ultraboost 19
The adidas Ultraboost was already one of the most comfortable sneakers on the market when it first dropped in 2014. This year, adidas has given one of its most popular contemporary sneakers an update that has made it even more comfortable than before. The Ultraboost 19 features a Primeknit 360 upper, offering a superior fit that expands and moves with you as you run or walk, as well as 20 percent more Boost in the heel area of the midsole. It’s hard to believe, but you wouldn’t be making a mistake swapping your OG Ultraboosts for a pair of 2019s.
Nike Shox TL
The history of Nike’s Shox technology is an interesting one. It was developed by legendary Air Force 1 designer Bruce Kilgore in the early ’80s but, due to durability issues, lay dormant for nearly 20 years. When it finally debuted in the ’00s it was highly popular but quickly phased out by the success story that is Nike Free. Now, it has been reintroduced as a lifestyle shoe, however, many of the defining characteristics, namely the comfort and futuristic design, have remained the same. The Shox TL features toe toe heel Shox pistons (inspired by a car engine), and breathable, big-hole mesh on the upper for all-day comfort.
adidas Originals YEEZY Boost 700 V1 “Teal Blue”
At first glance, Kanye’s adidas line may seem like it’s all about the hype, but as its name suggests, the YEEZY Boost 700 comes with a bulky sole unit stacked with comfy adidas Boost tech. In addition, the various overlays of the upper and thick padding around the collar and tongue contribute to a snug fit.
New Balance 997 Made in US
Released to celebrate New Balance’s annual “Grey Day,” this all-grey version of the popular 997 silhouette is not only pleasant to the eye, but it’s very comfortable too. Featuring New Balance’s ENCAP REVEAL midsole and EVA foam technology, this “Made in US” 997 may be one of the brand’s most comfortable sneakers yet.
adidas Alphaedge 4D
adidas’ Alphaedge is the perfect option for athletes. It’s created to support movement during cross-training and comes with a Primeknit upper that’s super flexible and supportive, along with a highly responsive midsole.
Slip-ons come equipped with 40 years of history behind them. The canvas construction is light, the lack of laces means no undue stress on your feet’s pressure points and the signature waffle soles can take a beating. But the most important element here is the Ultracush sockliner, which builds a strong case for wearing the comfortable sneakers every single day when the weather is warm enough.
ASICS Gel Venture 6
There’s a reason ASICS uses its signature GEL technology on so many of its sneakers. For the casual set, there are few better choices than the Gel Venture. The built-in neoprene sock liner, thoroughly cushioned soles and layers of material that don’t pinch any joints or nerves make these a go-to.
HOKA ONE ONE Mafate Speed 2
Runners can be a hard crowd to satisfy. Small differences in gait, arch and foot width can quickly mean different experiences from the same shoe, but the Mafate Speed 2 has met (most of) their rigorous demands. The model was built to offer support and cushioning even in the most technical terrains. A deep Active Foot Frame offers support, while the Meta-Rocker midsole facilitates smooth transitions through the gait cycle, which can only be a good thing, whether you’re running cross country or simply walking the streets.
Converse Chuck ’70 High
There’s a reason the Converse Chuck ’70 High is as popular as it is. From its dominance on basketball courts in the ’20s to its popularity on the streets stretching back as far as the ’80s, the Chuck Taylor is an icon, in part, because of its no-frills design and comfort. While those with wider feet can run into a little trouble with the Chuck (the sneaker runs quite narrow), most Chuck Taylor All Star owners swear by them, which is why you’ll see so many beat pairs on the streets.
Saucony Grid Web
Most sneaker brands have their own cushioning tech and for Saucony, it’s GRID (Ground Reaction Inertia Device), which acts as a hidden matrix of strings layered into the midsole. Think of it like comfortable tennis racket wires weaved into one of the most comfortable shoes around. Released this month, the Grid Web is a masterclass in the combination of technical comfort and eye-catching colorways.
Clarks Trigenic Flex
The Trigenic Flex is one hybrid-style shoe we can get behind. The upper doesn’t scream sneaker, but the paneled Vibram sole moves with the intricacies our feet demand. Like most Clarks models, they take a bit of break-in, but the second-skin nature of the upper and “barefoot” structure should keep your feet feeling good.
Reebok Club C 85
Reebok may be the brand of choice for avid Crossfit athletes, but the Classics are where to find comfort designed for everyday wear. The Workout Plus doesn’t boast any game-changing foam or cushioning technology, but the padded collar paired with a no-frills sole unit show that the ‘80s classic has 2019 comfort. The colorway below also has a pre-aged, vintage feel to it. This extends to the leather, which has a worn-in feel to it straight out of the box.
In case you were wondering why we wear different sizes across different models and brands, watch the video below.
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- Curator: Yulia Pankova