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 are the most comfortable shoes 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 React Presto
Nike’s response — or reaction? — to the success of adidas’ Boost was React foam, which debuted in early 2018. The new cushioning technology is firm but responsive and has been used on a number of silhouettes — all of which could have found a place on this list. However, the new Nike Presto React was too good (and comfortable) to ignore. It’s the culmination of one of the most comfortable Nike sneakers in history (have you hugged your foot, anyone?) being combined with the latest and greatest in cushioning technology. Need we say more? The Nike Presto React is one of the most comfortable shoes around.
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.
Bally Grody sneaker
Bally’s Grody sneaker may seem out of place on this list due to it being from a high-end brand and not featuring any of the sportswear brands’ patented cushioning technology. Still, the Grody is as comfortable as leather sneakers come thanks to a inner bootie that secures the foot, and the option to remove the laces and instead zip up the throat of the shoe. A Vibram sole ensures your feet are in good hands.
adidas Ultraboost 20
The adidas Ultraboost was already one of the most comfortable sneakers on the market when it first dropped in 2014. In 2019 the silhouette got an update, impossibly making it even more comfortable. And, just when we thought adidas wouldn’t — no, couldn’t go any further — the German sportswear giant unveiled the Ultraboost 20. This year’s iteration features an advanced Primeknit upper with Tailored Fiber Placement technology, as well as an optimized Boost midsole for ultimate comfort. It’s hard to believe, but you wouldn’t be making a mistake swapping your OG Ultraboosts for a pair of 20s.
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 380 “Mist”
One of the few sneakers on this list that are sold out and can only be bought through resell platforms, the adidas YEEZY Boost 380 “Mist” is one of Kanye West and the Three Stripes’ newest silhouettes. At the same time, it’s also one of the most comfortable shoes YEEZY has to offer, thanks to its new perforated Primeknit upper for improved breathability, and full-length Boost midsole (with a beefier build at the heel). Sometimes YEEZYs aren’t just all about the hype.
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.
Acne Studios Bolzter Bryz
Acne Studios’ Bolzter Bryz — like most sandals — is best reserved for warmer weather. Thanks to its open design along the forefoot, your feet will get plenty of air, while the light-weight mesh construction adds to the comfortability of the shoe. Faux suede finishes add some much-needed structure to the design, while the heavy-treaded outsole ensures enough grip on whatever surface you’re traversing.
HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
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 Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 has met (most of) their rigorous demands. The model was built to offer support and cushioning even in the most technical terrains. A Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole means you’ll never have to worry about being caught slipping, which can only be a good thing, whether you’re running cross country or simply walking the streets.
Converse One Star Pro
Converse’s Chuck Taylor is arguably its most popular and stylish silhouette, however, it’s not one of the brand’s most comfortable shoes. That spot is reserved for the One Star Pro, created with skaters and high-impact activities in mind. Not only does the sneaker look good, it features durable materials and a surprisingly cushioned ride. Just like the Chuck Taylor, it arrives in an array of colorways.
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.
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.
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi B
The HOKA ONE ONE Bondi B boasts a huge, full-length midsole that emanates comfortability. The was collaborated on by Engineered Garments, who released the shoe in three distinct colorways, proving that the Bondi B is fit for both the streets and the track. If you’re searching for a list of the most comfortable shoes, you’d be hard-pressed to find any that leave the Bondi B off.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 5 360
The GEL-Kayano 5 360 was one of ASICS’ biggest successes in 2019, as it showed the brand’s ability to mix past and present to create something fresh. The OG Kayano 5 upper was paired with 360 degrees of GEL technology, giving the once-iconic runner a new lease of life and much, much, more comfortability.
Mizuno Wave Rider 23 WaveKnit
Mizuno is often unfairly overlooked in favor of more hyped brands and collaborations but the Japanese brand has a deservedly great reputation when it comes to performance running sneakers. The Wave Rider 23 WaveKnit is the one of brand’s most comfortable shoes thanks to its fully-knitted upper and dual compound midsole, which combines two different kinds of foams with a stiff, plastic “Wave Plate,” that provides responsive cushioning. If you’re going for a sporty, yet stylish look and if comfort is important to you, you’re in good hands with Mizuno.
This entry might seem a little out of place and admittedly, in the colder months it most definitely is. However, Birkenstock is a brand that has been around since the 1700’s and for good reason: they’re incredibly good for your feet. The sandals come in many different shapes and colors and take a while to break in but — once broken in — there’s nothing that fits or feels better than a pair of trusty ’ol Birks.
In case you were wondering why we wear different sizes across different models and brands, watch the video below.
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- Curator: Rhianna Matthews