Best Shoes for Walking on Concrete, by Nike

Buying Guide

Hard surfaces call for soft cushioning.

Last updated: May 7, 2024
4 min read
Best Shoes for Walking on Concrete, by Nike

If you spend a lot of time strolling on sidewalks, you might develop foot issues and pain. That’s because concrete—the world’s most popular building material—is very hard and rigid. Since it doesn’t give, navigating this surface can put a lot of pressure on joints. Making matters worse, the smooth surface can become slick when wet or icy, upping the risk for falls. The fix? Wear supportive shoes that offer ample cushioning and help with traction and stability.

What qualities should I look for in shoes for walking on concrete?

For comfort and protection, seek a pair with a thick stack of foam cushioning in the midsole. Ideally spanning from heel to toes, this layer should absorb and buffer shock from repetitive landings on hard surfaces. Complementing the midsole, the outsole should be thick (for more shock absorption), relatively stiff (for stability), and waffled (for traction). Meanwhile, the upper should feature mesh for breathability and offer a balance between structure and flexibility. Some structure or rigidity will help your feet and ankles stay in place, but you need enough flexibility for your feet to still move naturally and comfortably.

Which shoes does Nike recommend?

For the best shoes for concrete, check out these recommendations from Ashley Campbell, lead product line manager, Global Footwear, Nike.

Nike Pegasus 40 Women's Road Running Shoes

If speed walking is your go-to, consider this pair of running shoes. The Nike React foam in the midsole offers responsive cushioning to help enhance comfort and cut down on injuries. Nike’s Zoom Air units support speed and assist with energy return. The secret to their effectiveness? A combination of pressurized air and tightly stretched fibers, which absorb impact and then snap back. A mesh upper brings breathability, while a flexible, waffle-patterned rubber outsole boosts traction on slick surfaces.

Nike Vomero 17 Men's Road Running Shoes

High in supportive cushioning, this running shoe features a stacked foam midsole, including the lightweight Nike ZoomX foam. The upper is engineered mesh to help promote airflow and guard against overheating. Meanwhile, a plush tongue and lining deliver a snug fit.

Nike Structure 25 Women's Road Running Shoes

Ultra-cushioned and supportive, this running shoe offers a thick foam midsole with arch support. It also helps to enhance speed via a Zoom Air unit and grip and stability thanks to a waffle-patterned outsole. For breathability, the upper features mesh.

Nike InfinityRN 4 Men's Road Running Shoes

Get the reactive cushioning you need thanks to a rocker-shaped platform made with Nike ReactX foam. A waffle-patterned outsole assists with traction, a wide toe box enables your toes to splay comfortably, and a water-resistant membrane helps you stay dry even on wet concrete.

Nike Motiva Women's Walking Shoes

These fitness shoes offer ample cushioning, says Campbell, who recommends them for long distances. The wide toe box works to prevent compression and pain. Meanwhile, the foam outsole is thick and rocker-shaped to help absorb shock, while the patterned outsole assists with grip on slick surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is concrete so hard on the feet?

This rigid surface can impose a lot of pressure on the feet, leading to pain and conditions like plantar fasciitis. Long-term, this shock and stress to the joints can also result in knee, hip and back pain.

Which quality is most important in shoes for walking on concrete?

Comfort and cushioning come first, says Campbell. Ample support is nonnegotiable when navigating hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt.

What are the best shoes for walking long distances on concrete from Nike?

Campbell recommends the Structure, Vomero, Infinity, and Motiva. “These sneakers are all higher in cushioning for more overall support and comfort,” she says.

Words by Dina Cheney

Originally published: May 6, 2024

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