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Best Shoes for Work Reviewed for Quality & Durability

last updated Dec 04, 2018

A very common mistake is to think that shoes must match the job, in terms of appearance; rather than, in terms of performance. And although it’s important to meet the work etiquette, it’s much more important to meet your acceptable comfortability and functionality standards. That is, don’t go out looking for something that will match your outfit the best, but rather, look for a pair of shoes that match both your feet and individual health needs while also honoring the type of work you do every day. In fact, no need to go out and look anywhere else, we’ve brought you all the best options, right here!

Researched Sources
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Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
7.1k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
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Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
13
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By NicoleH:

Our latest updates to our top list of work shoes bring you styles and brands that will keep your feet happy during long work hours, but also keep you looking stylish. We've updated how we rate our top ten lists, and each product reflects ratings based on our criteria section. Vote for which criteria you feel most important for the best work shoes, and check out our expert tips for ways to help keep you going during the workday!

Sorting Options
Comfort Support Breathability Fit Weight By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Comfort
94%
Support
94%
Breathability
97%
Fit
90%
Weight
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$109.95
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Comfort
95%
Support
94%
Breathability
94%
Fit
92%
Weight
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$80.00
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Comfort
90%
Support
96%
Breathability
95%
Fit
91%
Weight
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$58.99
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Comfort
94%
Support
90%
Breathability
95%
Fit
88%
Weight
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$72.87
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Comfort
90%
Support
95%
Breathability
90%
Fit
92%
Weight
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$43.27
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Comfort
93%
Support
96%
Breathability
90%
Fit
84%
Weight
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$68.54
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Comfort
91%
Support
92%
Breathability
90%
Fit
88%
Weight
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$93.24
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Comfort
92%
Support
89%
Breathability
90%
Fit
84%
Weight
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$38.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Comfort
88%
Support
94%
Breathability
80%
Fit
89%
Weight
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$120.00
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Comfort
89%
Support
92%
Breathability
91%
Fit
79%
Weight
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (12.12.18)
$69.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Rockport Northfield
  • Skechers Flex Advantage
  • Skechers Flex Mcallen
  • Dickies Rook
  • Reebok Work N Cushion 2.0
  • Skechers Synergy Ekron
  • Skechers Sport Flex Advantage
  • Crocs Santa Cruz 2
  • Keen Kaci Full-Grain
  • Nurse Mates DOVE
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Rockport Northfield

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Rockport Northfield
Comfort
94
Support
94
Breathability
97
Fit
90
Weight
92
best offer for today
$109.95
Pros:
  • Kinetic Air Circulation Technology
  • Rubber Outsole; Water-resistant
  • 1.5-inch Heel Height
  • 0.75-inch Platform Height
  • Leather Upper
Cons:
  • Minimal color variety

Rockport is a specialist when it comes to office shoes, delivering both an appealing design and functional structure. The Northfield Oxford merges both style and comfort, bringing a breathable approach; as well as, multi-directional flexing. Furthermore, Rockport has a huge variety of sizes and dimensions, guaranteeing an optimal fit for the anatomy of your feet.

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Hydro-shield Protection
Waterproof protection helps to keeps away water via seam sealing, in combination with waterproofing materials, and a waterproofed insole. No matter what your job is, or the number of hours you work, water won’t be an obstacle.

Kinetic Air Circulation Technology
Breathability is a critical factor of any shoe, especially if you expect to use them for a long and active shift. The Northfield Oxford has technology which allows air to circulate in a specific pattern, preventing overheating and irritation throughout the day.

Cost and Value
The Northfield Oxford is midrange in cost association. It is durable and designed to equip you with the right features to relieve your feet at work. As such, this office-style shoe is a worthy investment.

2. Skechers Flex Advantage

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Skechers Flex Advantage
Comfort
95
Support
94
Breathability
94
Fit
92
Weight
90
best offer for today
$80.00
Pros:
  • Padded Tongue and Collar
  • Lace-up Closure
  • Breathable, Mesh Upper
  • Memory Foam Insole
Cons:
  • Minimal color variety

The Flex Advantage, as suggested by its name, delivers the flexibility and other qualities of a performance shoe. Its low-profile design and lightweight makeup of materials allow it to be an ideal choice for fitness and tennis instructors, and/or anyone who needs a trainer shoe for work.

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Performance & Comfort
This has the cushioning and comfort expected from a sports shoe, including a soft footbed and memory foam that delivers customized comfortability, arch support, flexibility, and breathability via the mesh upper.

Efficient
Skechers Flex Advantage sports design is efficient in both weight and durability. Built to be lightweight, this shoe helps to lower fatigue levels during your workout and training sessions. The synthetic overlays help to ensure stability while, simultaneously, giving you ‘play’ enough for decent flexibility.

Cost and Value
The cost of this shoe is budget-friendly. The Sports Flex Advantage is by no means a painful investment, but rather, a smart one. With all of the features associated with them, it is a good investment for anyone in need of a budget-friendly and decent pair of trainer shoes.

3. Skechers Flex Mcallen

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Skechers Flex Mcallen
Comfort
90
Support
96
Breathability
95
Fit
91
Weight
92
best offer for today
$58.99
Pros:

Gore Flex Technology

Mesh, Fabric Upper

Slip-resistant (ASTM F11677-2005 Mark II)

Memory Foam Insole

Padded Collar

Cons:

Prolonged Break-In Period

The Flex Advantage Mcallen is the Skechers solution for office and formal wear. Having similar technologies as their sports release, the Mcallen has a considerable amount of features that make standing while working much lighter on your feet.

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Breathable Upper
The upper consists of a mesh build with a slip-on closure, maximizing the airflow within the shoe. This mesh panel extends all the way to the lateral bands, allowing air to enter from multiple directions.

Personalization
The memory foam cushioning on the insoles helps to make standing and walking more comfortable. These cushions are molded by the pressure of your feet, resulting in a personalized insole. The elastic side gores make walking seem effortless and, also, prevents loafer surface caking.

Cost and Value
This pair of Skechers is budget-friendly, and that’s a fair price considering the unique engineering on the Mcallen. You shouldn’t need a second pair of these anytime soon. Unless, of course, you would like to have a second pair for rotation.

4. Dickies Rook

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Dickies Rook
Comfort
94
Support
90
Breathability
95
Fit
88
Weight
92
best offer for today
$72.87
Pros:

Non-Slip Outsole

Steel Toe

Removable Memory Foam Insole

Breathable Upper

Cons:

Prolonged Break-In Period

In chess, the rook is an important piece, outranking bishops and knights. They can be instrumental in securing victory. On that note, the Dickies Rook work shoes can be instrumental in having a comfortable and successful day, no matter what you do for work. The polyurethane outsole is non-slip to ensure stable footing, and the memory foam insole works hard to support your feet.

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Non-Marking, Non-Slip Outsole
When it comes to work shoes, a non-slip outsole is very important, especially if you work in environments that are prone to spills or wet ground. A slip or fall can lead to embarrassment, injury, or having to fill out paperwork and incident forms, which is something nobody wants to have to deal with. This is why Dickies put a non-slip and non-marking polyurethane outsole on the Rook shoes, to keep you on solid footing.

Memory Foam Insole
While durability is a major factor when it comes to shoes for work, comfort is just as important, if not more. An uncomfortable shoe can lead to pain and fatigue, which can negatively impact your productivity and focus. This is where a memory foam insole comes in. Similar to a fancy mattress, they conform to the unique shape and pressure areas of your foot to keep you comfortable all day. The insoles are removable as well, in the event you need a special orthotic.

Cost and Value
Dickies products are known to be surprisingly affordable, and these are one of the least expensive options on our list. Don't let that price tag fool you; these shoes offer exceptional quality and comfort to support you throughout the course of your day.

5. Reebok Work N Cushion 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Reebok Work N Cushion 2.0
Comfort
90
Support
95
Breathability
90
Fit
92
Weight
89
best offer for today
$43.27
Pros:

DMX Ride Foam Midsole

Non-Slip Outsole

Beveled Heel Section

Durable Leather Upper

Cons:

Prolonged Break-In Period

As their name implies, the Reebok Work N Cushion shoes are designed with comfort and support at the forefront. Featuring the brand's own DMX Ride technology, a beveled heel section, and a simple yet smart style, these shoes will quickly become a staple of your uniform. After you break them in, of course.

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DMX Ride Technology
A technology unique to Reebok products, DMX Ride is a proprietary type of foam used in the midsole. It works to provide the cushioning you need for all-day wear and when you're on your feet for extended periods of time. It also provides the right amount of energy return to keep that bounce in your step and doesn't compress as quickly over time as traditional EVA foam midsoles can.

Smart Casual Design
Unless you work in the entertainment or fashion industries, or in an environment with a more relaxed dress code (such as a store), work shoes are meant to focus less on form and more on function. This is why the Reebok Work N Cushion only comes in black and white, with each color also being offered in an option with a velcro closure. The simple no-nonsense design is made to go well with any uniform, and are easy to clean and maintain.

Cost and Value
These are competitively priced, meaning that they are priced similarly to other shoes in its class. What makes the Reebok Work N Cushion truly stand out is the DMX Foam midsole for all-day support and the beveled heel section for a fit that is snug but not restrictive. Do note that these shoes are reported to take a while to break-in, so be mindful of that when making your purchase.

6. Skechers Synergy Ekron

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Skechers Synergy Ekron
Comfort
93
Support
96
Breathability
90
Fit
84
Weight
89
best offer for today
$68.54
Pros:

EH Rated

Slip-Resistant Outsole

Aluminum Alloy Safety Toe

Trubuck Leather Upper

Cons:

Runs Small

These best shoes for work are rated for electrical hazard. In addition, they are equipped with an aluminum alloy safety toe, have a slip-resistant outsole, one-inch heel height, and a leather upper. Slip-resistance is meant to meet (or exceed) the expectations of 0.5 coefficiencies on wet/oily surfaces. In other words, these shoes are, most definitely, slip-resistant and ready for the workday.

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Aluminum Alloy Safety Toe
This is a lightweight metal composite; thereby, a men's size nine weighs in at 14 ounces per shoe. Strong enough to handle lightweight debris, these shoes are great for areas not requiring heavy-duty boots.

EH Rated
These shoes pass electrical hazard testing (ASTM F2412/2413-2011) and are ready for that moment when the unexpected may arise. Made with a leather upper and having a one-inch heel height, these shoes are designed to withstand electrical mishaps.

Cost and Value
Considering all of the technology behind these shoes, this pair of work shoes is both budget-friendly and perfect for those in need of EH-rated footwear. Built for protection, these shoes, also, offer an ample amount of comfort.

7. Skechers Sport Flex Advantage

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Skechers Sport Flex Advantage
Comfort
91
Support
92
Breathability
90
Fit
88
Weight
89
best offer for today
$93.24
Pros:

Flexible Rubber Outsole

75% Leather, 25% Mesh

Lace-Up Trainer Design

Shock Absorbing Midsole

Cons:

Inconsistent Sizing

Nicershoes.com brings you all of the best in work shoes, athletic shoes, casual, etc. And these shoes are no exception. Rated 5 stars by shoppers like you, customers found their comfort and durability second to none.

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Smooth action leather matte-finish
The look makes these shoes even more irresistible. Enjoy the long-lasting advantages of leather with all of the trends looks of it's matte finish.

Width & Comfort
The Air Cooled Memory Foam cushioned comfort insole just sounds like a dream doesn't it? It has happy customers raving "Comfortable from the first time you put them on."

Cost and Value
Midrange in cost association, the Flex Advantage shoes are a great shoe to have. It delivers professional quality and has the features desired when on the job.

8. Crocs Santa Cruz 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Crocs Santa Cruz 2
Comfort
92
Support
89
Breathability
90
Fit
84
Weight
94
best offer for today
$38.99
Pros:
  • Odor-resistant
  • Synthetic, Non-marking Outsole
  • Canvas Upper
  • Flexible
Cons:
  • Size fits tight

The Santa Cruz 2 Luxe Loafer is perfect for those working in casual, lightweight work environments (i.e. dental assistant, etc.). The Santa Cruz 2 comes with the expected comfort of the classic Crocs and an appealing design for both the office and casual wear. Furthermore, they are lightweight, breathable, and can help reduce overall fatigue levels.

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Footbed
Within the shoe lies a comfortable footbed. Combined with memory foam paddings on top of the Croslite foam base, these loafers are exactly what your feet need when taking long, active shifts at work.

Comfort
Croslite memory foam paddings provide your feet with a sink-in experience, extending comfort throughout the whole day. These loafers flexible, as well; allowing you to move around freely while in comfort.

Cost and Value
These loafers are budget-friendly in cost association; yet, they maintain the epitome of comfort offered by the brand, Crocs. If you work in a casual, lightweight environment, this pair of best shoes for work is a great choice.

9. Keen Kaci Full-Grain

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Keen Kaci Full-Grain
Comfort
88
Support
94
Breathability
80
Fit
89
Weight
92
best offer for today
$120.00
Pros:

Cleansport NXT Odor Protection

Water-Resistant Leather Upper

PU Midsole

Removable, Metatomical PU Footbed

Cons:

Prolonged Break-In Period

Style and efficiency come together to form this full-grain shoe. Its formal design is ideal for a professional work appearance, without sacrificing comfortability elements. The shoe features a slip-on design, with an incorporated strap to adjust the fit. The synthetic and flexible materials make walking comfortable; as well as, standing.

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Long-lasting Comfort
This full-grain pair endures long shifts that involve a lot of movement. Its EVA foam footbed and insole are not only comfortable but, also, protects against bacteria.

Lightweight
The Keen Kaci is a lightweight shoe, engineered so well you might just forget you’re even wearing them. This model is breathable, too; making their wear much more comfortable. The inner cushioning, along with the leather paddings, are fairly soft.

Cost and Value
The Keen Kaci is midrange in cost association and they are worth every penny. These best shoes for work are stylish, have odor control, an EVA midsole, a PU footbed, non-marking outsole, water-resistant upper, and are equipped with a breathable, mesh lining.

10. Nurse Mates DOVE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Nurse Mates DOVE
Comfort
89
Support
92
Breathability
91
Fit
79
Weight
90
best offer for today
$69.95
Pros:

Stain-Resistant

Slip-On Design

Removable, Contoured Footbed

1.5" Heel Height

EVA Outsole; Rubber Inserts

Cons:

Runs Small

Chances are you get a good concept of the shoes by looking at the name. The Nurse Mates DOVE offers the qualities that must be present in every nurse’s shoe. This slip-on shoe is extremely durable; as well as, lightweight. Including EVA elements, anti-slipping technology, and a flexible frame, this shoe is great.

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Tumbled Floater Leather Upper
The upper build consists of a leather upper, which is not only durable but, also, flexible. The design helps to provide stain protection and an easier clean when the time is needed. Additionally, the upper has a cushioned collar and double side goring.

Lightweight
The DOVE is one of Nurse Mates’ best sellers for many reasons and being lightweight is only one of them. This shoe applies stain-resistance and functionality; yet, utilizes lightweight compounds in the process. The steel shank, for instance, improves your stance and relieves stress without adding a lot of weight to the shoe.

Cost and Value
The Mates DOVE is a great shoe for nurses and those working in the food industry. Its design targets flexibility, breathability, and is lightweight; providing both anti-slip traction and stain-resistant protection. Priced in the midrange of cost association, this pair of best shoes for work is a wonderful buy.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

When standing or walking for a prolonged amount of time, it is important to be equipped with comfortable shoes. People who work long shifts, especially those shifts that involve constant movement or standing, will quickly find out the differences between a comfortable pair of shoes and a pair of uncomfortable ones. When it comes to work, comfort is much more than just a feature of your shoe. It can have a direct impact on your work, too. In other words, when you feel good, the day seems to be a bit brighter (i.e. birds chirping, best clients ever, spilled coffee on the shirt is not so bad, and etc.).

On the other side of the same coin, wearing the wrong pair of shoes can, considerably, reduce your efficiency at work and it’s not just about walking or performing physical tasks. There’s another important factor that takes part in us all when feeling uncomfortable: the psychological factor. It’s this simple; if your shoes are constantly bothering you, you’ll have a hard time concentrating and/or doing your best. Furthermore, even if you’re able to work in uncomfortable shoes, it’ll seem the day must now require greater effort in nearly everything you try to do.

If you’ve ever owned a pair of uncomfortable shoes, and chances are you have, then you’ll know how annoying they are. Despite the shoes being physically impossible to wear, you’ll be reminded with each new step just how uncomfortable they really are. A shoe that doesn’t fit well, or that features the wrong materials, becomes hard to ignore. It’s an overwhelming notion to consider a constant thought process about uncomfortable shoes, but unfortunately, most of us have had these kinds of days.

So, what makes a shoe comfortable?

To begin with, the selection of materials is paramount. This is sometimes one of the main flaws of a poorly constructed pair of shoes. They, usually, employ generic materials that offer little-to-no benefits. This causes a chain reaction, per se, for poor comfort, poor overall foot health, and poor performance. Quality shoes, on the other hand, are designed to provide all-day comfort, promote better overall foot health, and increase general performance. Keep in mind, however, that aspects such as arch support and shoe width, of any type of shoe, will depend on the anatomy of your feet.

Support

The lack of cushioning is one of the biggest factors that can, considerably, decrease the comfortability of a shoe. The longer you wear them, the more your heels, ankles, and hips will be exposed to direct load-rate; that is if the shoes have inadequate cushioning and/or minimal shock absorption.

On the other hand, a shoe that features rich cushioning and absorbing materials make a huge difference in comfort. EVA midsoles, for example, have proven to deliver an extremely efficient support and cushioning system; and ultimately, increases the shoe wearer’s comfort, as a result.

Cushioning and support, aside from being a very influencing factor in comfortability are, also, key points to your performance at work. Something as simple as enhanced support can make a huge difference in the way you walk, the amount of time you can stand, and the after-effects of these two combined.

By acting like your own personal, supportive team, adequate working shoes will noticeably enhance and correct your posture. Shoes do more than just support your feet; they can have a direct impact on your ankles, knees, hips, and even your lower spine. Poor-quality shoes, for example, fail to act as a solid support system. Because of this, a standing posture can place a lot of stress on the aforementioned areas.

Having adequate support allows you to have a much more natural posture. This not only stops your working efficiency from decreasing but it, also, has important health benefits in the long term.

Cushioning is, arguably, one of the most important factors of working shoes. Regardless of the type of work you’re doing, it’s paramount to place some protection between your feet and the surface. Cushioning plays a massive role in shock absorption. Shock absorption is not only an attribute needed for sports performance; it’s a feature required in certain working conditions, such as a lot of walking.

It’s a big mistake to assume that there’s no impact or shock during walking. If you’ve ever used a pair of flat shoes for a long and active shift, you know what we’re talking about. Cushioning can be the difference between a comfortable working experience and an uncomfortable one.

Well-cushioned shoes offer great protection for your feet. As natural as walking may seem, it still fatigues your feet, especially zones of high stress such as the arch and the heel. Furthermore, this protection extends even up to the knee and hips, as impact doesn’t stop at your heels. If you’ve ever felt the urgent need of taking your shoes off at work, then you know what a lack of cushioning feels like.

Support and cushioning can do more than bring you comfort. By providing you with physical advantages and improvements, these two features can, and will, boost your efficiency at work. They may not be able to help you move faster or become better at what you do, but they do have a huge impact on your ability to walk and stand. Moreover, they can improve overall foot health, which can result in better performance in the long run.

Lastly, the impact (load-rate) is a factor that accelerates muscular fatigue. The more exposed you are to impact, shock, and muscular stress, the quicker your muscles will become tired; thus, these two features, also, allow you to go through long shifts with considerably less physical effort; or at least, the effort it requires to move actively.

Breathability

Depending on your work environment, this factor may be less important. Likewise, it can be critical. Even for people who work in fairly ventilated environments, a shoe that lacks breathability can be a pretty big obstacle; especially, in those environments which can become hot (e.g. standing at a stove inside of a kitchen). Furthermore, aside from blocking the flow of air into the shoe, some shoes can make it worse by not allowing heat to exit, either. Typically, these types of shoes are best suited for winter and/or cooler environments.

First off, let’s analyze the importance of breathability in a shoe. Regardless of the kind of work you perform, a completely closed shoe can cause you to retain the heat. Shoes having no mesh or leather upper and lacking ventilation for the circulation of airflow, they are an influencing factor in sweating. The longer your shoes retain heat, the faster and longer you will sweat, as a result. Additionally, heat concentration has multiple other consequences. For instance, it makes your feet much more susceptible to irritation, can increase the chance for a bacterium to grow inside of the shoe, and cause other foot ailments such as athlete’s foot.

As previously mentioned, the humidification of a closed shoe exposes you to the development of bacteria, which at the same time, can bring about bad smells with them. But it doesn’t stop there, as these bacteria, along with the humid environment within your inner shoe, make you a perfect candidate for feet fungi. This is because the bacterium is attracted to damp environments.

The accumulation of heat within a room, such as a kitchen, is already enough of a factor to sometimes decrease your efficiency; let alone, adding to the heat by wearing a shoe with bad breathability features. Generally speaking, the thicker the shoe build, the less breathability it will deliver. This is part of the reason why sports performance shoes feature such a thin design, in general.

Color is equally important. This is, especially, important if your shoes are black, as this color does an excellent job of absorbing heat. This can be great for winter, per se, but not so much under the direct rays of glorious sunshine in midsummer.

Breathability has a role in the comfortability of a shoe, and the quality of a shoe can be directly judged based on its ability to let the air flow through it. Generally, both the upper and footbed are the elements responsible for the breathability of a shoe. By applying materials such as mesh to the upper, the airflow within a shoe can increase considerably. Furthermore, the lack of airflow can, absolutely, mess up even the best of shoes. If your feet become irritated, due to the concentration of heat, your efficiency will decay, regardless of the rest of the features and elements the shoe offers.

When breathability is required, the lack thereof is not an option. As such, we highly recommend looking for shoes which include breathable panels, especially around the most common areas of heat concentration. For maximum efficiency, the panels should be located in the forefoot (just above the toe box), the internal and external curve of the shoe (the sides), and the tongue (lacing area).

Fit

Flexibility is the very basis of any motion that involves walking, jumping, or running. The lack of flexibility translates into poor-quality of comfort, improper form, and loss of efficiency, in general. A shoe that doesn’t allow you to properly move around at work is no good, as it will not only be considerably uncomfortable but it will, also, slow you down.

In order to deliver a quality build, a shoe must be made with flexible materials. Unlike many people think, flexibility is not something that goes just on the outsole. At first glance, it may look like the place where the most flexing happens, but it’s not the only part of the shoe where flexing is responsible. The upper build materials, for example, play an important role in the flexibility of a shoe. A stiff upper will not only make walking more uncomfortable but the lack of flexibility may, also, deteriorate the materials when the shoe bends, repeatedly; as it’s nearly impossible to keep the upper from bending along the rest of the shoe. This leads to what is commonly known as a ‘caked surface’ on the upper build.

Performance-wise, flexibility is an important factor when it comes to movement, such as walking. The lack of flexibility not only damages the shoe material but it, also, places unnecessary stress on parts of your feet such as the arch. Our instinctive walk involves the ability for our feet to flex in a natural motion. This flexing, as it were, starts at the forefoot and elevates to the arch. A shoe that lacks flexibility won’t fit into this motion. In addition, this lacking will hurt your feet, as they will still try to flex while you walk. If you believe this is something you can avoid or ignore, imagine walking with your feet completely flat and straight without bending them. Aside from looking weird, walking like this places additional stress on your heels. If you’re reading this guide, you’re probably someone who stands a lot; thus, heel stress is the last thing you desire.

Additionally, people who have certain arch conditions suffer the most from shoes that lack flexibility. This is because flexibility is directly related to arch support; the lack of flexibility will, ultimately, result in the lack of arch support. Regardless of the condition, whether it’s high arch or flat foot, the lack of flexibility will considerably enhance the amount of stress on the arch.

Weight

The weight of shoes might be something underestimated by people who stand or move a lot at work. This scenario is pretty similar to that of performance scenarios in that the weight difference may not seem like a lot initially. However, the longer you use them, the greater the impact of the weight of the shoe will have on you.

It’s pretty simple; if a shoe weighs an ounce less than another pair of shoes, this is an ounce off of every single motion. While you’re not moving, you won’t even notice the difference. However, after a full shift of walking, standing, and moving around at work, heavier shoes will become your worst enemy. On the other hand, a lighter build will notably enhance long-term comfort and it will, also, reduce post-work heel and arch pain.

The main factor affecting the weight of a shoe is the materials. Usually, the heaviest element of shoes is the midsole, as it’s the thicker component of a normal shoe. While it’s important for shoes to take a minimalist approach, it’s also important to maintain the quality of the materials. Minimalist materials are lighter but, also, less resistant and durable than thicker materials. They, also, offer less protection.

The upper build, for example, is much lighter when composed of materials such as mesh and nylon. Leather, on the other hand, is heavier but, also, much more protective, generally speaking. Additionally, thin materials lack the density to act as a frame for the shoe.

Because of this, the ideal upper build design relies on a combination of both thin, lightweight materials and other firm materials that provide structure. Alternatively, certain synthesized materials deliver the features of resistant materials in a lightweight manner. We highly recommend looking for materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), with properties arguably better than rubber, and in a much lighter approach.

Ethyl-vinyl acetate (EVA) is another popular compound making its way into the shoe industry. This material has a wide variety of uses thanks to its adaptive composure. The foam-like material is widely used by manufacturers for insoles and midsoles, mostly. EVA midsoles are not only much more efficient than the traditional soles but they, also, weigh a lot less.

These synthetic materials are applied in density rather than in volume. This means manufacturers can fit 100g of EVA in a midsole in which they would only be able to fit 60g of traditional rubber. To add more rubber, the midsole would have to be bulkier. EVA, on the other hand, increases density without adding volume to the shoe – also being more effective, as there’s more of the compound present.

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Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Working Long, And Keeping Healthy

In this day and age, work takes the majority of our day and focus, but we still need to juggle life's everyday tasks, and trying to stay healthy ourselves. If you find yourself working longer hours and days, you can still stay healthy, and multitask efficiently to help your day go smoother.
Take breaks and go for a quick walk outside, or if possible, adjust your position from sitting to standing and vice versa. Taking breaks actually recharges your capacity to focus and think for work related tasks.
Utilizing lunch breaks to run fast errands nearby can help cut down on stress after work completing these tasks.
And, if you find yourself pulling a shift from 7am to 7pm, try to take a longer lunch break to get out, and take care of yourself first, before finishing out that shift!

Keeping The Pressure Down

Research has shown that those who actually enjoy doing what they do for work, have less stress about meeting expectations around their job function, even if they put in extra hours. If you find yourself anxious, losing sleep, or feeling stressed about your current role, take a minute to reflect on what kind of job would make you enjoy yourself. If that aspect of enjoying your job isn't at your current role, perhaps it's time for a change!

Other Factors to Consider

Advanced Features

“…even though I was in Podiatry school, we spent most of our time learning surgery and medicine but I don’t remember a lot of lectures on what constituted a ‘good shoe’,” this according to Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy, a podiatrist who has received the ‘Top Doctor’ title in Phoenix Magazine in both years of 2010 and 2014 (August 23, 2012).Fit & Pronation ­­
The fit is important. So much so, there are actual methods to help determine the right fit for you. First, however, let us figure out your pronation type, as this will guide you into understanding your arches. There are three arch types, as it were: pronation (neutral pronation; normal arches), underpronation (supination; high arches), and overpronation (low arches), relatively speaking.

  • Pronation
    Is the ability for your foot to roll inward while stepping. Your natural step will directly impact the type of shoe you can wear to have an optimal fit. Those with neutral pronation are the lucky ones. Most work shoes cater to those having neutral pronation.
  • Overpronation
    Shoes having a straight/semi-curve last (the straighter the better) are great for those with overpronation. Furthermore, the type of work shoes you need will have no less than a dual-density midsole in place. Additional orthotics is recommended; and as such, the work shoe you are looking for is ‘roomy.’ In addition, the shoe needs to have great stability (motion-control); thereby, limiting your ability to roll your foot, per se. Overpronators need enough room in the shoe for an added orthotic; yet, the shoe must not be overly loose, as stability is a major factor, as well.
  • Underpronation
    Shoes having a curved last will promote pronation. Cross trainers are a good shoe for those with underpronation because of the flexibility factor; that is, cross trainers are perfect for allowing your feet to have greater motion. You need the most flexibility within the medial/inner; thus, allowing your arch to gain the pronation it needs.
  • What is a ‘last,’ you may be asking? A last, per se, is both a description of a shape; as well as, the defining characteristic of attaching the upper and midsole. There are, also, various materials used when building a last. At the end of the day, however, the main thing to remember is that those with overpronation need a straight/semi-curve last; whereas, underpronators need a curved last. This ensures a better fit; thereby, promoting better overall foot health.

    Also, when considering the fit of your work shoe, a general rule is to make certain there is a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the toe box. When you purchase shoes that fit tightly and your toes touch at the end, the natural result is that your toes will retract on a subconscious level. This, in turn, will help aid your body in developing what is known as hammertoe. No one desires to have hammertoes; so, it is best to try and keep a decent amount of wiggle room.

    Take your foot measurement at the end of your workday, as this is the time when your feet will swell the most. Also, ensure you use your bigger foot as the final measurement; and yes, many of us have one foot bigger than the other.

    Comfort levels are directly impacted by the makeup of the shoe, your pronation type, and the shoe’s ability to perform the task you are doing. As previously mentioned, it is a bad idea to wear winter (non-breathable) shoes while standing inside of a hot kitchen, as your feet will feel like they are smoldering and you can develop negative health concerns, in addition.

    Breathable, mesh uppers are great for those in need of a cooler shoe. Just keep in mind; however, they might not be an ideal choice if you work in a refrigerated environment, per se. It is always good to consider the work environment when purchasing your work shoes. In doing so, you are one step closer to adding the best shoes for work to your footwear collection.

    When it is all said and done and the day at work is over; if your feet hurt, then you have the wrong shoes for the job. Likewise, when your workday has come to its end and your feet feel good, then you know without a doubt, you have the best shoes for work.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Where can I buy work shoes?
    a:

    Both retail stores and e-shopping are good options. However, we recommend Amazon purchases; here you’re likely to find a much greater variety and, usually, for a much better price, too. Your purchase is also protected by Amazon's policies, and they are accommodating when it comes to returns.

    q: Which shoes should I buy?
    a:

    You should select your shoes depending on the type of job you have and the activities it involves. For example, those working in a restauraunt will want something with a non-slip outsole, while those in a hospital or on their feet every day will want to prioritize comfort and the insole features. For additional details, refer to the Criteria sections above.

    q: Should I get a flat sole or a raised heel?
    a:

    Flat soles are thinner and, thus, do not offer as much cushioning as heeled shoes. Yet, this doesn’t mean flat shoes are bad; it’s a matter of preference and work dress codes.

    q: How about a custom insole?
    a:

    Customized insoles make a huge difference. A shoe may adapt to your foot shape, but a sole that molds to your foot is by far the most optimal choice for a comfortable experience.

    q: Can I use a running shoe for work?
    a:

    Performance-wise, you certainly can. Sports shoes have features such as flexibility, shock absorption, and cushioning which are critical for comfort at work. However, the dress code at your particular job may not allow for it. When in doubt, talk to your leadership or HR.

    Sources