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No matter how many chic pairs of booties or sandals we may have in our closets, we always find ourselves returning to sneakers whenever we want to prioritize comfort. Your favorite sneakers might be showing some signs of wear by now though, which is why fall is the perfect time to make an investment in your footwear.
Whether your plans include heading out for walks or simply stepping out of the house in style (and comfort), the right pair of sneakers can make all of the difference in how you feel. Thankfully, Self magazine just announced the winners of its 2021 Self Certified Sneaker Awards to help make selecting your next favorite sneaker a breeze.
Editor-in-Chief Leta Shy gave TODAY a breakdown of some of their favorites, so keep reading to see the award-winning sneakers for walking, running, hiking and more.
Best athletic sneaker
The Adidas Ultraboost collection was already a customer-favorite, but the Ultraboost 21 just took it to the next level. Shy says they're "perfectly cushioned, responsive and up for any task," so you can take them from an outdoor warm-up to a training session at the gym without wreaking havoc on your feet. They're not meant for racing, but if you plan on hitting the pavement, they'll provide the support you need.
Best running sneaker
Whether you're just starting a running routine or have been training for quite some time, this sturdy style is one you can count on. It features an adaptable sole and a roomy toe box and feels good on your feet. Shy even said that you can take them right out of the box and get to running — you might not even notice you're wearing them.
Best sneaker for all-day wear
Whether you're working out or not, you'll want a pair of sneakers that can stand up to whatever the day brings. That's why Shy says this pair are worthy of becoming your next go-to. They have a plush cushioned footbed but still are stylish enough to wear just about anywhere. Sleek, stylish and durable, they check all of the boxes.
Best trail sneaker
Merrell's a well-known brand, and Shy says that's for good reason. These sneakers will take you from the trail to a rocky hill, through the woods and back, all while remaining secure. They're stable and comfortable, which is all you can ask for when making an outdoor trek.
Best walking sneakers
Looking to log a few walks before the temperatures drop? These comfortable sneakers are easy to slip on, since they're laceless. According to the shoe testers, they feature a lot of cushion (which might take a little getting used to) but it pays off — they noted they had no blisters or hot spots after wearing them.
Best hiking boot
Self magazine testers also loved this boot for hours-long hikes. They also held up in wet, swampy and slippery terrain. Although they have sturdy build, the cushion on the inside of the boot is responsive, which means they'll keep you comfortable on the trails. Testers also noted that they didn't experience any pressure areas, hot spots or blisters while wearing them.
Best trendy sneaker
Y2K fashion and chunky sneakers are in right now. So you might have seen this pair on your social media feeds — or on someone's feet this summer. It combines sporty with style, effortlessly. “This is definitely a supportive, responsive shoe,” wrote one tester. “Not too cushiony, but my feet felt comfortable standing in them for long periods of time."
Best slip-on sneaker
Rothy's is known for their beloved flats, but these sneakers are worthy of praise, too. They're sleek, stylish and come in a bunch of different colors that you can wear way beyond fall. For anyone who doesn't want to rock a chunky "dad" sneaker right now, this pair is definitely worth considering for both comfort and style.
Best platform sneaker
This classic style is in right now — one scroll on Instagram can confirm that. Platforms can take any outfit to the next level, regardless of whether you're wearing a dress or leggings. Although Shy notes canvas sneakers have a break-in period, this pair from Everlane is quite comfortable and are worth wearing all day long.
For more stories like this, check out:
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- 6 summer finds the whole family will love starting at $15
- A complete guide to fall exercises, from hiking to walking and more