Best Shoes for Working Retail Reviewed for Comfort

Retail workers stand many of hours per day. Their legs get tired because they are also walking lots of steps each day while on the job. It is not so easy as to quit a job and get a desk job if your legs and feet cannot take the abuse. The best way for a retail worker to combat the exhaustion they face while working is to get the best and most comfortable shoes possible. This will help prevent leg and foot fatigue while they are working.

Last Updated: March 17, 2018
By Tenby Lloyd:

Our list of shoes that we have included in the following buyer's guide is the highest rated best shoes for working retail. We tested all of these shoes against many others. The shoes on this list are the top ten based upon testing criteria that we evaluated each shoe for. The list of the criteria is included in this buyers guide. We also listed the top questions that someone researching the best shoes for working retail and being comfortable may have when considering what to buy.

By supporting the foot in the proper way, you can alleviate many pains and symptoms that come from being on your feet all day.  Leg and foot fatigue are just two of the problems. Prolonged standing can cause poor blood circulation, burst blood vessels, and bone spurs. Wearing the correct shoes can help with these issues or prevent them from getting worse if you already suffer from some or all of them.

Featured Recommendations 

Merrell Jungle Moc
  • Merrell Jungle Moc
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Pigskin Inner Lining
  • Reinforced Air-Cushioned Sole
  • Price: See Here
Skechers Equalizer Persistent
  • Skechers Equalizer Persistent
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flexible Traction Outsole
  • Dual Side Elastic Panels
  • Price: See Here
Grasshoppers Windham
  • Grasshoppers Windham
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Removable Footbed
  • Fabric Upper
  • Price: See Here

What is the best shoe for working retail? We have our top 10 choices listed below. All shoes we reviewed looked for high comfort levels, long-lasting durability, cost, and aesthetics. Certain positions won’t allow for open toes or some other criteria. Therefore, the shoes we have listed will be appropriate for most retail jobs. However, it is advisable to check the rules of your company about shoe specifications.

 

 

10 Best Shoes for Working Retail

 

 

1. Merrell Jungle Moc

Merrell shoes have been around for a long time and have quickly built a name reminiscent of comfort for those that tend to stand a large portion of their day. This shoe boasts a soft pigskin lining for the highest quality of comfort. It feels great against the foot skin. It also adds to the flexibility of the shoe which is a must for someone constantly on their feet and on the move. Merrell also adds an air cushion in the heel which helps with comfort above all; but also provides a greater layer of shock and impact absorption by the shoe instead of the heel taking all of the force.
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EVA foot frame
Merrell places an EVA foot frame inside the structure of the shoe. This is to bulk up the support of the shoe while adding to the overall comfort of the foot. It is done to where it does not add any bulk or weight to the shoe which will prevent leg and foot fatigue while standing for long periods as someone working in retail does.

Leather upper
Leather has widely been used for its comfort and flexibility. These Merrell shoes are made with a pig suede upper that is also water resistant. A huge benefit is that leather is not generally water resistant so that factor prevents leather shoes from being worn in the elements. This shoe will be okay because it is water resistant.

Cost and value
For a great everyday shoe that is perfect for someone working retail this shoe is not in too high of a price range and will hold up for many years of regular wear. The buyer of the shoes will be very pleased with their purchase and it is an even better deal at a lower price range than one would expect in such a high-quality shoe.
Pros
  • Molded nylon arch shank
  • Slip-resistant construction
  • Contoured footbed with odor control
  • Stability enforced heel for confidence
  • Pigskin lining
Cons
  • Not highly breathable
  • Sole squeaks on certain flooring types

2. Skechers Equalizer Persistent

Skechers has gone above and beyond by pairing style and comfort with the Equalizer Persistent. The shoes have a nice faux leather upper which is really a mesh material for breathability but gives the look of leather. Easy slip-on design makes fooling with laces not a priority on these shoes. Surrounded by dual side elastic panels to give the shoe flexibility for feet that might swell when they have been stood on for long periods. Retail workers will find great comfort in these shoes. They are lightweight and like standing on a cloud.
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Padded collar
Some shoes that are slip-on are known to aggravate the ankle/heel and cause blisters where the shoe cuts into the skin. These shoes are extra padded to prevent chafing or rubbing in the entire collar area. It helps to cushion the ankle and provide stability as well so the foot will feel more secure in the shoe.

Mesh panels
Strategically placed in the front of the shoe and along the sides are mesh panels that help with the cooling ability of the shoe. Retail workers will be wearing the shoes for a minimum of 8 hours and that is a lot of retained heat that could be trapped in the shoe. The panels promote a nice air flow through the shoe and around the foot to prevent moisture from being trapped making the foot uncomfortable.

Cost and Value
Skechers shoes have always been known for comfort and value. Their shoes are generally at a low to mid price range which makes them affordable for almost anyone on any budget. The shoes will last for a good amount of time as Skechers shoes are made with great quality standards. Buyers should confident in their purchase and confidence in a comfortable shoe when they buy these Skechers Equalizer Persistent shoes.
Pros
  • Mesh upper for air flow
  • Memory foam insole for high comfort
  • Flexible traction outsole
  • Easy slip-on design
  • Accent stitching for style
Cons
  • Mesh does not retain shape well
  • Soles wear unevenly

3. Vans Classic Slip-On

While typically thought of as a skateboarding shoe, Vans Classic Slip-on is actually suitable for everyday wear. Further, this makes them a perfect choice for a retail working professional. Vans have come to be known for their comfort after standing for long periods since they were originally designed for long skateboarding trips. The shoes have a very padded collar and a plush inner sole lining that helps prevent fatigue as it absorbs impacts and shocks from walking.
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Canvas upper
Canvas has a long-standing reputation for being lightweight, cool, and flexible on the foot. These are great characteristics for a person that has to stand and walk all day if they are a retail worker. Them being lightweight helps prevent foot fatigue. Canvas promotes proper airflow through the shoes to keep the foot dry and comfortable.

Padded collar and tongue
While technically these shoes don’t have a separate tongue area as in generally expected the area that covers the top of the foot is very padded in this shoe. Moreover, so is the collar that goes around the upper portion around the ankle. This will prevent chafing on the backs of the ankle as well as supporting the ankle while standing and walking.

Cost and Value
Surprisingly, this high-quality shoe is at the lower end of the price range when compared to other shoes in this category. As well, Vans were made to last through many kickflips and other skateboard tricks. Therefore, the shoes are highly durable and buyers should feel confident that their purchase will last them many years
Pros
  • Synthetic sole
  • Canvas upper
  • Enhanced waffle pattern for traction
  • Great flexibility to accommodate many feet sizes
Cons
  • The slick outer sole come apart from shoe easily
  • The white outer soles shoe dirt and stain easily

4. Saucony ProGrid Integrity ST2

4. Saucony ProGrid Integrity ST2
A perfect pairing of high durability and extreme cushioning is what the Saucony ProGrid Integrity ST2 brings to the table. Saucony shoes are known to be very comfortable and ultra supportive in all the right places. This is especially true for shoes designed for a person in retail or another job that stands a long time each day. The shoes have a specially designed grid positioning system that helps absorb the impact preventing the feet and legs from absorbing it. The shoes also have a very cushioned midsole which helps to wearer to feel like they are walking on air.
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Forefoot stretch zone
This technology encourages equal distribution of the foot through the shoe, especially on the forefoot on the gait roll through with each step or through prolonged pressure from standing. The stretch zone stretches the ball of the foot out, almost like a massage, thus making the feet feel weary.

Leather upper
Leather is known for comfort and flexibility. These shoes are designed with leather uppers which not only support the foot, it allows the foot and legs to feel comfortable all day long. Leather is also flexible and will move with the foot or expands as the foot grows should a person have problems with feet swelling after prolonged standing.

Cost and Value
Saucony Shoe Co. does a great job of revolutionarily designing shoes but still keeping them within a price range that most people can afford. The ProGrid shoe is at the bottom of the price range which makes it affordable for almost everyone. Finally, the shoes will be worth the investment as many reviews said they last for much longer than planned.
Pros
  • Rubber slip-resistant sole
  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Very padded tongue and collar
  • Grid-cushioning unit
Cons
  • Runs wide
  • Not as breathable as a mesh shoe

5. New Balance 990V4

5. New Balance 990V4
New Balance signifies American craftsmanship. The brand was founded on true beliefs of integrity and standing behind the products they manufactured. This particular shoe has been an icon for the brand for 30 years. Small modifications are made to the previous version to improve the v4. It is crafted with blown rubber for the sole, an Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) core for the highest comfort, and a pigskin mesh upper for durability and good airflow contributions.
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Blown rubber outsole
Soles are made from many different techniques. New Balance chooses to use a blown rubber method to ensure durability, craftsmanship, and comfort. The blown rubber method allows the sole to have good traction while being rigid but rubber is known for being squishy so it absorbs the impact before it reaches the bottom of the foot.

Encap midsole
The midsole of a shoe is where most of the stability comes from. It is the piece that holds the sole to the upper but is hidden from view. The Encap midsole is made for durability, strength, and reinforcement. It provides a layer of shock absorption so pressure on the foot meets a barrier in transport from the floor to the foot bottom.

Cost and Value
New Balance shoes are handcrafted and therefore the price is a bit higher than other shoes in the category. However, the company stands behind their shoes and buyers will know that they are getting a high-quality product when they purchase these shoes. They are made to last a long time and the comfort they provide retail workers will far outweigh the cost.
Pros
  • Pigskin mesh upper for breathability
  • Dual-density collar foam
  • Blown rubber sole
  • Highly developed midsole for durability
Cons
  • Sole comes unglued from upper

6. Grasshoppers Windham

6. Grasshoppers Windham
Style meets comfort with this flat. Retail workers will rejoice in the light and airy feel of the shoe. It is also made from a fabric upper which promotes breathability and flexibility. Made with an Ortholite sockliner makes the wearer feel as if they are wearing a sock the shoe is so comfortable. An easy slip-on and off design so no need to worry about laces coming untied while working the floor.
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Anti-microbial
Feet have the tendency to sweat when bound up inside of a shoe all day. These Grasshopper flats are made with technology that quickly wicks away moisture and controls odor that forms as a result of moisture. This can help prevent blisters on the feet which form from excess moisture.

Removable footbed
Some people have thick feet and need to remove the footbed of a shoe. Some require special inserts for their feet. These shoes have a removable footbed so buyers can customize the fit of their shoe. It is also easy to replace with a standard insert should yours get worn down before the life of the shoe is out.

Cost and Value
These shoes are an amazing value. They are the lowest price of the shoes we reviewed for the category. They also have high reviews so it is a great purchase for buyers. They can feel confident about their shoes while not spending too much money. Retail workers will love the comfort and the price.
Pros
  • Highly tractioned sole
  • Fabric upper
  • Padded collar and tongue
  • Pure-fit cushion arch
  • Impressions memory foam inner sole
Cons
  • Not good for skinny heels; heel flops out on step
  • Seams easily fray on upper

7. Asics Gel Venture 6

7. Asics Gel Venture 6
The Gel Venture 6 features an overhauled upper and midsole. This reinforced the already strong shock absorbing capabilities of previous versions. It gives a more cloud-like feel underfoot as a result. The shoe also has strong traction control to make it versatile in any weather conditions or slippery surfaces. The Asics company has a strong passion to deliver shoes that are ultra-responsive to the person. A retail worker that stands for very long periods and is walking a lot will thoroughly appreciate the flexibility and support this shoe provides.
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Rearfoot gel cushion
The heel of a shoe is designed to take the whole strike impact upon walking or standing. The rearfoot gel cushion system inside the Gel Venture 6 give a high degree of support to the heel. It will prevent the heel from being sore when faced with long periods of standing.

Removable sockliner
Sometimes an individual will need a special shoe insert to assist them with foot issues or because they want a different feel than the one in the shoe. The removable sockliner in this show allows buyers to take the insert out and go without one, use another one they prefer, or perhaps even a specially made insert.

Cost and Value
For such a high quality and well-reviewed shoe, the price is in the middle range of the category. The shoe is from a company that stands behind their products so buyers can feel confident in their purchase as they know they are buying a shoe that will last. Retail workers will love the comfort and responsiveness of this brand.
Pros
  • Rubber sole
  • Reinforced shaft for stability
  • Removable sockliner
  • Good breathability
Cons
  • Edges fray easily
  • Runs narrow

8. BOBS Plush Peace and Love

8. BOBS Plush Peace and Love
Contemporary style and comfort in one shoe. That is the Bobs Plush Peace and Love flat. A spinoff from Skechers, Bobs are trendy while still being super comfortable. This particular flat has a stretchy area on the upper that promotes easy on and off. It also gives the shoe a bit of room to expand should the feet swell. For the utmost comfort, the inner lining is made from memory foam to cradle the foot and provide stress relief on tired feet after standing all day.
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Shock absorbing midsole
The midsole of this shoe has a very comfortable foam that supports the foot but also absorbs the shock from impacts of standing and walking for sustained periods of time. Don’t let the thin layer fool you. This shoe is highly rated for comfort.

Arch support
Having the proper arch support is a key way to prevent the feet from feeling fatigued. The arch, without strong support for long-term can collapse. This shoe has a reinforced arch support that will cradle the arch and foot. It will help the foot and legs to not feel as tired if you are a retail worker.

Cost and Value
The shoes are a very good price and at the lowest end of the range of all shoes in this category. They come from a trusted brand so buyers can be assured they are purchasing a quality product.
Pros
  • Canvas fabric
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Slip-on design with elastic
  • Shock absorbing midsole profile
Cons
  • Easily flops off of the ankle
  • Sole wears thing quickly

9. Adidas Originals Samoa Retro

9. Adidas Originals Samoa Retro
Classic style and superb comfort are what you will find in this always-young Adidas Retro Samoa shoe. The extra layer of comfort and padding that is in the sole of the shoe will keep legs and feet from feeling as tired after standing and walk all day. Adidas has always been synonymous with style and these shoes look ever fashionable with a high degree of comfort.
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Trefoil tread
No matter the weather elements you are wearing your Adidas Samoa’s in, you can know that the traction will be superb. The trefoil tread design not only guarantees the traction it helps to absorb the energy from walking and standing and spreads it out through the shoe by its channel design. The trefoil tread is made of rubber which is produced to withstand the use for many years.

Toe bumper
Not only does a toe bumper add to the shoe for aesthetic reasons, it helps to reinforce the toe and keep the seams from fraying. The toe bumper is stylish with its texture pattern but also serves as a “glue” to hold the upper and the sole together at the toe.

Cost and Value
Adidas strives to provide quality footwear at a price that fits in any budget. This particular shoe is available at a low price range that almost anyone can afford. The company prides itself on high standards so buyers can know that when they purchase the Adidas shoes, they will have shoes that were made to last.
Pros
  • Rubber sole
  • Strong arch support
  • Reinforced toe binding
  • EVA midsole cushioning
Cons
  • Not good for wide feet

10. ECCO New Jersey Slip-On

10. ECCO New Jersey Slip-On
A sophisticated and refined style is the perfect way to describe these shoes. Retails workers that work in a high-end environment will find this style perfectly meets the needs they will be looking for. Further, the style of these shoes is extremely comfortable and will support long-standing periods while working in retail. A firm arch support and supple leather show that this shoe is good for flexibility but not such much breathability.
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Leather upper
Having a leather upper dignifies this shoe as high-quality and sophisticated. Not only does leather give it a nice distinction but it gives the shoe flexibility as leather is known for. Leather also is easy to clean and will withstand many elements whereas mesh and other materials do not go well in the rain.

Increased shock absorption
Don’t let the dress shoe fool you. These shoes are made with reinforced soles and inner soles that absorb the impact from walking and standing and prevent it from going back into the body. This will also help with leg fatigue and foot fatigue.

Cost and Value
The Ecco shoe is a quality brand and therefore the price reflects that. This shoe is in the middle of the price range compared to the other shoes in the category. However, Ecco makes high-quality and dependable shoes. Buyers can expect these shoes to last a long time.
Pros
  • Leather/Fabric
  • Elegant bicycle toe
  • Soft fabric interior lining
  • Increased cushioning, stability and durability.
Cons
  • Runs small
  • Glue comes apart at seams

Carefully consider many factors when deciding on a proper shoe for a job such as retail. These types of jobs require workers to stand for long periods and walk many miles each day while at work. It is imperative to select a shoe that will alleviate tired legs and feet while providing a comfortable structure for your feet. Having the right shoes can not only help the legs and feet feel better, the overall well-being will be uplifted as it can help with fatigue.  There are many factors to look at when evaluating which shoe to buy.  Also, workers need to consider the environment in which they work.  Some places of business require workers to wear dress shoes and some have no specifications towards their required style.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoes for Working Retail

Selecting a good-fitting shoe for working retail should take time and objectivism. Shoes for retail workers need to meet the criteria outlined below to give the most optimal results when wearing. The shoes we evaluated were reviewed based on all of these categories.

Comfort

First and foremost, the shoes you select must be comfortable. If a shoe is not comfortable it is a waste of money and time. It also will not get worn by the worker. Finding a shoe that is comfortable would require good padding, a bit of flexibility, a sponge-like sole and high-breathability. Picking a shoe that is too small or too large and too wide or too narrow prevents the shoe from serving its purpose because it does not surround the feet as it should.  Too narrow of a shoe will cause pain, pressure and perhaps blisters. Wearing shoes that are too wide can cause the foot to flop in and out of the shoe and could cause injury.  It also creates stress on the foot with each step because the foot is not landing properly.  This results in a varying degree of pronation, which has to do with what part of the foot gets the impact upon heel strike roll-through. A shoe that fits too small can pinch the toes and cause ingrown toenails. Finally, a shoe that is too big will have the same results as a shoe that is too wide. Picking the proper shoe for comfort is high importance as it can cause so many other issues if the shoe does not fit exactly around the foot like a sock.

A retail worker that stands and walks all day needs a dependable and comfortable shoe that fits like it was custom made for their foot.  It is important for the health of the foot and the body overall. The most important thing about finding the perfectly comfortable shoe is that it makes the buyer want to wear the shoe.

Flexibility

Flexibility is how rigid or loose the structure of the shoe is. Does the shoe flop over when it is not on your foot? That would be a sign that the shoe is extremely flexible. This could not be the proper shoe for a person working in retail. It means that the foot is absolutely not supported in the ways that a retail worker requires. This is allowing the bones and the muscles of the foot to spread unnaturally. It can result in pinched nerves and other foot pains and problems. Conversely, a shoe that is too rigid and has no give to it can suffocate the foot. It can lessen blood flow to the feet which can result in cold feet and other problems. A shoe that is too rigid and does not have any flexibility is also uncomfortable. If a person is in a field that requires lots of bending or climbing in their retail position, a shoe that has no give is going to make it very difficult for the worker to complete their tasks. Do not assume that a shoe is going to stretch as time goes on. Some shoes have a break in period but generally when a shoe needs breaking in it is just a matter of time before the shoe breaks down. The shoe has no way of knowing that it is broken in and needs to stop. Essentially, once a shoe starts wearing in it will just keep deteriorating. Also, a shoe that does not hold its integrity is not worth buying. It will not have as many years in its life as it should.

Breathability

Purchasing shoes that are highly breathable are a must for a retail worker.  A high air flow is also known as high breathability in a shoe. First, when moisture sets up inside of a shoe due to poor air circulation, it makes the feet uncomfortable. The moisture trapped against the skin is gross. No one wants to walk around with wet shoes and socks.  Shoes that are mesh will have the best chance of releasing the wetness trapped inside.  Leather is the least breathable of materials.  Some designers are finding ways to incorporate mesh or other qualities into the leather that allow for better airflow.  Secondly, when moisture is stuck in the show for long periods of time on a repeated basis, such as retail workers working long shifts, the moisture can create blisters and raw feet. That can be very uncomfortable for the person and cause pain. Furthermore, blisters over a long period can become infected if not taken care of or treated.  Finally, moisture inside that shoe that cannot escape sets up a bacterial breeding ground for all sorts of fungus such as athlete’s foot. It will destroy the shoe but more importantly, you are putting yourself at risk for disease because your feet are in the shoes.

Arch Support

One element that is often overlooked but vital to foot health is the arch support. The arch of the foot is what supports the body and absorbs most of the impact when walking and standing. Actually, the arch can collapse and the bones can break. This is after long-term repeated abuse on the arches. Having proper arch support for anyone but especially retail workers in monumental. Retail workers that have to stand, walk and bend should depend on total arch support. Even if the shoe you choose does not support it enough, consider having custom made orthopedic inserts made for your shoe. As well, sometimes a shoe can have too much support and overextend the arch.  This is another example of when the arch support could be removed from certain shoes and a smaller insert could be put in its place.

Metatarsal pain is another side effect of improper arch support. Metatarsal pain is where the bones of the foot are improperly supported and it causes the bones to pinch the nerves in the foot.

 

Traction

Some retail positions are in environments where the floors could perhaps become slick or have water puddles. Such conditions make selecting the proper shoe with good traction a high priority. A retail worker would be hard-pressed to fall at work because of slipping due to low traction on their shoes. That could be time out of work and a visit to the hospital if the resulting injuries are severe. Having a shoe that navigates all conditions whether its water or carpet relies heavily on the tread pattern of a shoe.  Look for tread that is tall or a shoe tread pattern to be detailed and not slick looking.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is a retail worker?
A: A retail worker is someone that works in the service industry such as a clothing store, a shoe store, or any store that sells goods to the public. The goods are usually sold in person and in small quantities as opposed to ordering online or via the phone.

Q: How long does a retail worker typically stand?
A: Retail workers typically stand for long periods during their shift. Since their primary job responsibility is to assist customers, they will be greeting each customer, talking with them, getting a different size, straightening the store or work area, etc. It has been estimated that on average a retail worker walks about 3 miles per shift. That is a lot of abuse the feet take so make sure to wear the proper and comfortable shoes.

Q: What types of floors do they stand on?
A: Retail workers are going to generally be found in malls and shopping centers which are mostly concrete. Occasionally such jewelry stores might have carpet but the run of the mill is going to be a hard surface.  Being that concrete and tile can inflict serious pains on a person after hours of standing it is important to have a shoe that will absorb some of the impacts and cushion your foot.

Q: Can I wear flip-flops to work?
A: It would be very rare to find a place of employment in a retail setting that would allow a worker to wear flip-flops to work. They are a safety hazard due to tripping and exposed appendages; unsanitary due to feet being exposed; and unprofessional. They are generally very comfortable but most companies will not allow those shoes to be worn in an occupational setting.

Q: Why do I need comfortable shoes instead of high heels or something appealing?
A: While we cannot make you wear a comfortable shoe over something more aesthetically appealing, we can only offer the advice that the feet serve as a gateway to the body and require proper footwear.  Taking care of your feet while in a job that requires a lot of walking and standing will help with short-term and prevention of long-term problems that have been linked to wearing improper fitting shoes.

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