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.
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 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.
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.
adidas ZX 2k 4D
The adidas ZX 2k 4D is the German brand’s latest 4D-equipped sneaker. The midsole is highly responsive and adidas’ best-in-class when it comes to comfort. The synthetic material upper also adds to the overall comfort of the shoe.
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.
Swiss sportswear brand, On, is known in running circles for its CloudTec cushioning, which is heralded as one of the best on the market. The CloudNova is the brand’s latest lifestyle-focused shoe but — true to the company’s ethos — includes track-ready technology. On has paired its tooling with a sock-like bootie, ensuring you’re comfortable from all angles when you slip into the CloudNova.
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.
Saucony Liberty ISO 2
When it comes to sportswear labels, running shoe specialist Saucony is often overlooked. However, having been in the game since 1898, it certainly shouldn’t be. As runners first and foremost, Saucony models like the Liberty ISO 2 are designed and built to keep your feet happy. Mesh keeps things ultra-light, while the engineered knit upper offers a sense of security without being bulky. Saucony’s ISOFIT tech works dynamically, adapting to the shape and movement of your foot for a personalized fit. The Liberty ISO 2 is also built to help runners who suffer from mild to severe pronation, so if you’re only using it for everyday use, comfort is guaranteed.
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 992
New Balance relaunched the 992 this year — to the joy of sneakerheads the world over. In addition to being Steve Jobs’ favorite New Balance sneaker and a bonafide classic, it’s also one of the brand’s most comfortable models to date. The ENCAP and ABZORB dual-midsole was comfortable enough to make the sneaker a top runner when it first launched, and that level of comfort hasn’t gotten worse over time.
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.
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-Quantum 360 5
As the name suggests, the new design makes use of ASICS’ ultra comfortable 360° GEL Cushioning Technology, guaranteeing the wearer a smooth heel-to-toe transition whether they’re walking or running. The technical qualities carry through to the upper, which is constructed in mesh and jacquard using a progressive vacuuming method that requires no stitching.
Mizuno Wave Rider 23
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 is the one of brand’s most comfortable shoes thanks to its 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.
The Jordan Delta features a super futuristic design that has been crafted with comfort in mind. React cushioning is paired with a glove-like fit, whilst lightweight material on the upper ensure you’re comfortable in the shoes all day long.
Reebok Zig Kinetica
The name of the sneaker comes from its distinctive zigzag silhouette, which is intentional. The shape and the sole optimize energy return and uses a three-part system to elevate performance. Floatride Fuel provides an everyday cushiony feel, the Zig Energy Shell uses and returns kinetic energy, while the Zig Energy Bands make the outsole expand and contract in a super responsive way.
ASICS Nova Blast
Everything about the ASICS NOVABLAST has been created with comfort in mind. The shoe’s tooling features Flytefoam, which creates a trampoline effect and propels the runner forward. It is also higher off the ground — a characteristic shared by many HOKA ONE ONE shoes — which increases the comfort, whether you’re running in these or not. An engineered mesh upper ensures the shoe is lightweight and breathable, further adding to the comfortability.
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