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 sneakers on the market that you should consider picking up right now. Scroll on for a selection your feet will thank you for.
New Balance 990v4
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’s 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 under $100, you can’t ask for much more.
Nike Epic React Flyknit
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. The result is a pair that feels equally comfortable whether you’re setting records on the track or running errands on a weekend.
Nike Zoom Fly SP
While Nike’s Vaporfly series was engineered to break the two-hour marathon mark, the 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 ripstop upper and hefty Lunarlon sole make for a casual shoe that looks fast.
Nike Air Max 270
The Air Max, first unveiled in 1987, was the first sneaker to feature visible air chambers, which made Nike’s sneakers more comfortable than ever. Now, Nike’s latest Air Max 720 comes with a new Air unit that’s 6mm taller than any before it. Thanks to the extra height, the sneaker comes with even more air underfoot, providing the wearer with all-day comfort, as well as a never-before-seen design.
adidas Running Ultra Boost
At this point, adidas’ enormously successful crossover hit is more known for its everyday comfort than the promise of better running when it debuted in 2013. The sneaker really speaks for itself: a full-length Boost midsole with durable rubber treads and a tight Primeknit upper that ensures a secure, but breathable ride, making the Ultra Boost a more than reliable choice.
adidas Originals YEEZY Boost 700
Kanye’s adidas line may seem like it’s all about the hype, but as the name suggests, the YEEZY Boost 700 comes with comfy adidas Boost tech. The midsole includes a Boost layer for some much-needed comfort with your flex, while the various overlays of the upper all contribute to a snug fit.
Few trail sneakers boast quite the same comfort tech spec as Danish brand ECCO”s Exostrike. Coming in an aesthetic that looks just as good in urban climes as it does on off-road hikes. Its PHORENE midsole makes for a super light, all-conditions shoe with next level bounce-back and cushioning, while added support and a snug fit comes care of an innovative PROSOMA heel cup.
adidas Pure Boost
For a less sporty, but still springy sneaker, look to the Pure Boost. The low-profile shape and knit upper has a double-folded tongue that doesn’t shift and the beefy Boost sole is as comfortable as advertised.
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 Slip-ons 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
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 huge RMAT foam midsole and beveled heel help with everyday activity for serious runners or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet.
Converse One Star Pro
There’s a reason the One Stars have become so popular among skateboarders. The suede upper stands up to most wear and conforms to your feet, the hard rubber soles break in quickly and the Lunarlon liners are worth any extra price of admission, and (pro tip) can be swapped into pretty much any other pair you’d like.
Saucony Grid 9000
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 more comfortable tennis racket wires. Paired with a built-in bootie (and an agreeable price point) the Grid 9000 is budget- and foot-friendly.
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 oaired with a no-frills sole unit show that the ‘80s classic has 2019 comfort.
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