This FootJoy Flex XP review is part of our 2022 SELF Certified Sneaker Awards, where the shoe won Best Walking Shoe. You can see the rest of our award winners here.
Reader, I must confess: I haven’t been the most active person since COVID shut down my favorite boxing classes. I never got into working out at home because I like activities that have a beginning, middle, and end, as opposed to gym sessions where I linger for three hours doing weights at my own (slow) pace.
I eventually got into taking walks around the lake in the park across the street from my house, but often the weather can be too hot or too cold for me (just call me the Goldilocks of excuses!). On top of that, I injured my foot when I went off the rails riding a bike last summer. Since then, the soles of my feet hurt when I stand for long periods of time, like when I’m waiting for the train during my commute. Enter the FootJoy Flex XP ($90, footjoy.com), a golfing shoe that anyone can wear for walking.
How I Tested
I wore these shoes for a two-mile walk in the park, taking my usual route around the lake. Although it’s a walking and golf sneaker, I decided to put these to the test during a workout class too.
When I found out that Outbox Gym—a trans-owned, trans-operated gym in Brooklyn—was having an LGBTQ+ boxing class while we were testing for these awards, I jumped at the chance to try the sneakers there. During the class, and to a soundtrack of only Beyonce’s Renaissance, we did a circuit of shadowboxing, squats, toe taps, sit-ups, and drills with heavy bags.
Being flat-footed, I put up with knee pain for years before I discovered orthotic sneakers that gave me extra cushion and arch support. I also have wide feet, so I typically opt for sneakers that adapt to the shape of my foot. In that sense, I appreciated the lightweight performance mesh of this shoe, which—with the slip-on style of the sneaker—made the shoe easy to put on. The knit collar enveloped my foot without feeling restricted.
These shoes run big, so the sneakers didn’t feel as secure on my foot, even when I tightened the laces. If you’re between sizes, consider going a half size down in these sneakers, as they seem to run really big. My heel felt secure enough for walking—but when it came time to run in place during the boxing workout, my feel didn’t slip out all the way, but I could feel my heel lifting out of the shoe anytime I had to do something that involved pointing my toes.
Shape of the Shoe
The shoe has a sleek shape, and it’s less chunky than sneakers I normally wear. Instead of a more snug toe, the shoe has a full, rounded toe character. The sneakers have a toe spring and a slightly narrow heel, which hugs my heels while giving my wide feet space.
Feel of the Shoe
When I first walked out the house, my feet felt more exposed and lower to the ground than what I’m used to. I didn’t feel that these shoes provided as much arch support as the orthotic Asics sneakers I usually work out in. But because these were less chunky than the other sneakers I wear, the lightweight mesh felt like a second skin. When I was doing squats, my knees felt supported. I wore these for a workout, but they’re really intended to be walking shoes only.