Step Up Your Health: Exploring the Top 6 Walking Apps of 2023


Walking apps help you improve your fitness and track your walking progress. They offer features like setting goals, connecting with others, and earning rewards. These apps are a great way to enhance your workout routine and manage your health effectively. In this article, we’ll introduce you to six amazing walking apps.

Great for beginners: MapMyWalk

MapMyWalk, part of the MapMyFitness apps, provides users with a real-time map of their workout, marking their walking route in red. It feeds you various data such as elapsed time, walking distance, pace, speed, elevation, and calories burned, primarily relying on GPS data. Users can upload and save their data at the end of their workout, which can also be viewed on the MapMyWalk official website.

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Premium version at $5.99/month or $29.99/year*
*All prices are as of the time of writing

MapMyWalk updates data such as distance, pace, calories burned, etc., at regular intervals. The app is compatible with other apps and wearable devices like Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and MyFitnessPal, allowing users to view step counts recorded by these devices or their phones.

MapMyWalk isn’t just limited to walking. It also supports tracking for running, cycling, and other workout activities. The app allows users to set goals, view walking routes and history, and it also provides videos of non-walking workouts like strength training, yoga, and interval training. If your friends use the app, you can share walking activities with each other or in the MapMyWalk community.

  • User-friendly and easy to use.
  • Syncs seamlessly with other devices.
  • Walking routes are marked in red for easy viewing.
  • Audio feedback during walks.
  • Easy-to-read charts.
  • Supports community interaction and connection with friends.
  • Create and save custom routes.
  • Free version still offers additional workout content.
  • Upgrade required for advanced features such as real-time location sharing for safety.
  • May experience lag during use.
  • No option to set “favorites,” and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of extra workout content.

Perfect for hiking: AllTrails Pro

AllTrails Pro is a robust and comprehensive hiking and outdoor adventure app, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. When you’re out in the wilderness, you need a reliable map and a stable-running app. AllTrails Pro fits the bill, with tens of thousands of trails worldwide to choose from, precisely displaying your current location.

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Premium version at $1.75/month or $21.00/year

The free version of this app is more than enough for hiking within areas with cell coverage. However, if your hiking adventures take you out of cell range, upgrading to Pro is a must. The Pro version allows you to download offline maps, which are vital for outdoor activities. If you’re unsure which trail to tackle, AllTrails Pro also offers numerous user trip reports and ratings, allowing you to learn from others’ experiences and choose the route that suits you best.

  • Massive library of routes with new ones constantly added.
  • Explore hiking trails near you.
  • Reliable offline capabilities.
  • Large map downloads, better to download when connected to WiFi.
  • With a vast database, navigation might be a bit tricky.

Ideal for weight loss: Argus

Argus is a comprehensive lifestyle app designed to help users gain a deeper understanding and track their daily habits for health management. Besides basic walking tracking, Argus also features a nutrition database supporting barcodes, brand names, dining history, and AI food recognition. The app not only tracks daily step count, water intake, coffee intake, and sleep, but also displays these data on one screen.

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Premium version at $9.99/month or $29.99/year

Argus uses the phone’s motion sensor for all-day step tracking and GPS for workout tracking. The workout tracker displays time, distance, and route map, and after the workout, you can view calories burned, steps, elevation gain, pace, etc.

Additionally, Argus includes a built-in heart rate measuring tool. You just need to place your index finger on the phone camera to measure your heart rate. Users can also record water intake, food diaries, and sleep times, etc. Paid users can enjoy more fitness and diet plans.

  • Easily track various activities and lifestyle habits.
  • Track activity time, distance, and steps in hourly charts.
  • Simple and direct walking tracking.
  • Free macro counting and food database.
  • Multiple free device workouts.
  • Diet plans and basic recipes require premium membership.
  • Some comments mentioned that it does not run well on Android systems.
  • The accuracy can sometimes be problematic.
  • The learning curve is steeper than pure walking apps, beginners might find it hard to stick with.

Best for treadmill workouts: Virtual Walk

Treadmill workouts can be a bit dull, but the very unique app, Virtual Walk – Walk the Distance, can turn monotonous treadmill workouts into scenic walks in the mountains, popular tourist spots, and national parks. By simulating walking experiences around the world, it adds fun to treadmill or outdoor walking.

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Premium version at $0.99 per walk

Each step of the user will be displayed on the map in beautiful or historically significant places around the world, from New York, Barcelona, to well-known hiking routes like the Appalachian Trail, and so on. Once a specific checkpoint on the route is reached, users can view related scenic photos and information. Some routes on this app are free, some need to be purchased. After completing the walk, users can also get virtual medals as encouragement.

  • Track with the same precision using GPS or the step count on the treadmill.
  • You can virtually walk routes such as national parks, the Appalachian Trail, Central Park, and the Boston Marathon.
  • Built-in competition feature allows users to compete with other walkers;
  • Despite the need to pay for additional walking routes, more options are provided at a reasonable price.
  • Tracking is limited to distance, activity tracking features are relatively limited.
  • Currently, the available virtual walking routes are relatively limited.

Best for for community-oriented walker: Strava

Strava not only tracks various activities such as walking and running, but it’s also the largest sports community in the world. Almost all other fitness apps have a “share to Strava” feature. On Strava, users can see the exercise records of friends, family, and other community members, and also participate in challenges, encouraging and supporting each other.

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Premium version at $11.99/month or $79.99/year

Although the free version of Strava is enough to meet the daily walking tracking needs, the paid version provides many advanced features, including planning and discovering new hiking and walking routes, creating personalized group challenges, and using Strava’s “Relative Effort” standard to measure one’s own exercise performance, and so on.

  • Simple, direct walking tracker.
  • Global sportsman social network.
  • Convenient to connect and follow friends, family, and sports celebrities.
  • Share location for free with 3 “safety contacts”.
  • Strava’s learning curve is steeper, newcomers may find it difficult to stick with.
  • You may need to spend more time getting familiar with all features.
  • The free version frequently prompts for an upgrade to the premium version.

Completely free: Nike Run Club

Compared to other walking and running apps, the advantage of Nike Run Club lies in the fact that all its features are free. The app includes tracking, full training plans, clubs, and challenges, all without any extra cost.

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The activity tracker of Nike Run Club is as simple and intuitive as MapMyWalk or Strava. If you are an iPhone user, it may be even more convenient to use. Additionally, this app can integrate your Apple Music and Spotify accounts, seamlessly syncing with iOS’s health and activity tracker.

However, Nike Run Club has one clear downside, that is, the app is designed for runners. The app prompts users to “start running” when initiating tracking and does not provide a walking option. Its training plans are also designed for running races. Of course, it is fine to use it to record walking data; for the app, you’re just a “very slow runner”.

  • User-friendly, allows for easy initiation of tracking and viewing of activities.
  • Can integrate Apple Music and Spotify.
  • Offers free training plans and running knowledge, as well as training plans for both beginner and advanced athletes.
  • Does not support selecting “walking” as an activity.
  • The integration with Android devices is not as seamless as with Apple devices.

How many calories does walking burn?

The following table from Harvard Medical School provides some reference data.

Comparison of walking speed, duration, body type, and calories burned
( Harvard Medical School )

Walking Speed / Duration 120-140 LB
(54-64 kg)
140-160 LB
(64-73 kg)
160-180 LB
(73-82 kg)
Medium Speed (3 mph)

15 minutes 50 60 65
30 minutes 100 112 127
1 hour 200 225 255
Fast speed (4-5 mph)

15 minutes 95 100 120
30 minutes 185 214 245
1 hour 370 430 485
Uphill (3.5 mph)

15 minutes 90 102 115
30 minutes 180 204 230
1 hour 355 408 465
Stair climbing (3 mph)

15 minutes 120 130 115
30 minutes 240 275 310
1 hour 500 545 620
Downhill (2.5 mph)

15 minutes 40 50 54
30 minutes 85 95 110
1 hour 165 190 215
Angela Liu

Love reading, love running, love binge-watching shows, love vegetarian food.

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