Home Beauty tools The 2023 SELF Sneaker Awards: 25 Pairs Perfect for Walking, Running, and Bopping Around

The 2023 SELF Sneaker Awards: 25 Pairs Perfect for Walking, Running, and Bopping Around

The 2023 SELF Sneaker Awards: 25 Pairs Perfect for Walking, Running, and Bopping Around

One tester said: “I really liked the feel of these shoes, and next to Hoka, Asics makes some of the most comfortable sneakers in my opinion—at least for people with plantar fasciitis. These are very light, breathable, and springy, and mold to your foot effortlessly. My finicky arches loved them.”

Best Athleisure Sneaker: Saysh One Ballerina

What it does: Decorated track-and-field Olympian Allyson Felix launched Saysh in 2021 as an activewear brand and community “by and for women”—meaning that, like Lululemon, Saysh designs sneakers specifically for the female foot. The One is a clean and simple lifestyle sneaker with a mesh upper that’s soft, flexible, and not constricting.

Who it’s for: The person who wears workout clothes all day, every day—regardless of whether they have plans to actually make it to the gym.

How we tested: Out running errands; for long walks in the city, suburbs, and on trails; and when going out to meet with friends and clients.

One tester said: “This sneaker almost feels more like a really lightweight slipper: The cushion creates a soft-step feel, the arch is supportive, and yet the shoe still feels so natural on the foot. The Saysh One is light, comfy, and easy to walk in. It truly feels like walking on a cloud…light and easy!”

Good to know: The brand recommends going up a half size from what you usually wear.

Best Sneakers for People on Their Feet All Day: Skechers Max Cushioning Elite 2.0

What it does: With a wide toe box, secure heel, and plush cushioning, this Skechers shoe won the hearts of our testers, who were in awe at how comfortable they were after a full day on the move. One tester, whose ankles tend to roll easily, was nervous about the high sole—but found that she felt more supported in these than she does in any other pair.

Who it’s for: Healthcare workers, teachers, post office and food service workers… pretty much anyone who spends their days upright will feel soothed in these.

How we tested: While standing for several hours, in addition to going on long walks, commuting, running errands, and exercising.

One tester said: “They have outstanding arch support that keeps my arthritic knees cushioned and feeling amazing all day. I had started to wear special insoles in all my shoes to help with my arthritis, but because of how cushioned these shoes are, the insoles aren’t necessary. I don’t know if I will ever be able to find a better shoe for me.”

Best Skate Sneaker: Converse: AS-1 Pro

What it does: Taking inspiration from Converse styles from the ’80s and ’90s, the AS-1 Pro was made to please skaters and sneakerheads alike. The shoe was designed by Alexis Sablone, a multi-hyphenate pro who holds seven X-Games titles, earned a spot on the first USA Skateboarding National Team, and is the women’s head coach for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games. Sablone is one of the first women skaters with a signature shoe, according to GQ—and simply put, she nailed it.

Who it’s for: The casual skater—or simply anyone who likes the look and enjoys a comfortable lifestyle sneaker.

How we tested: On walks, during days out and about, and for 30-minute skates.

One tester said: “You really don’t want to worry about skating sneakers after you put them on: You want to be able to forget about them, and this is an instance where your shoes REALLY need to suit your feet and purposes. These did that. They’re cushioned, but not like a Hoka where you can’t feel super-connected to your board. I also started styling them with wide pants and tiny tops, or with summer dresses. No blisters or other discomfort either.”

Best Recovery Shoes: Merrell Women’s Hut Ultra Wrap

What it does: The Hut Ultra Wrap feels like a deep breath for your feet after a workout, providing soothing comfort and support. It has a thick foam sole, breathable mesh upper, and traction for extra stability in wet or slippery areas. We’d be remiss not to mention the adjustable buckle strap, which gives the sandal a trendy, utilitarian look while keeping them functional too.

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