What to look for in a work shoe

A lot of our jobs require standing, walking, lifting, sometimes even running. It’s important to have comfortable shoes! Unfortunately, most of the affordable shoe options are super uncomfortable (and ugly), make our jobs more difficult, and lead to body aches. Not to mention, they don’t last long at all!

In the year 2020, we should be able to have comfort, luxury, and aesthetic appeal at an affordable cost in a work shoe. But if we have to settle, let us go for comfort, and be kinder to our bodies which have to carry us through the next few decades.

Here are some things to consider when looking for a comfortable yet work appropriate shoe. 

What is your job like?

Take a moment to really consider what you do throughout the day:

Do you spend most of your day sitting down? If so, you may want to reconsider feeling like you need those new trainers for work… let’s be honest. You just want new shoes.

But, if you spend more than an hour of your day standing or walking for your job, you definitely want to consider investing in some higher quality shoes. Soft toe work shoes are ideal for employees that don’t perform particularly hard work, but still do a lot of walking during long shifts. If this is you, you may also want to consider a tennis shoe.

If you have to dress up for your job, make sure that you’re not sacrificing comfort for style. Take the time to find something attractive, yet comfortable. Ask your co-workers what they wear, and you might walk away with some pointers.

Make sure they’re a good fit

We’ve often been fed the lie that a good work shoe can “wear in” over time, and will eventually mold to match the shape of your feet. This can be true in some cases, but only with higher-end completely leather shoes.

Other materials will not give in so easily. You should find a pair of shoes that fits well immediately! They should be comfortable to walk around in (with both shoes) right out of the box. If they pinch on the first try, they will definitely give you pain later in the day.

You want about a half-inch of space between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. This gives your foot room to move forward when you walk. You also want to make sure there is enough space for the ball of your foot to spread out with each step. 

How low can you go

Ladies, we hate to break it to you, but high heels are out. WebMD names high heels as the worst possible shoe you can wear for your feet due to the unnatural foot position.

The flatter your shoe is, the closer it is to your natural foot position. This is better for your ankle and your toes. Your feet roll when you walk, and the weight distribution won’t be correct if you’re constantly on a higher heel.

While you can still wear heels for fun, don’t put your body through the toil of wearing them every day for an 8-hour workday.

Remember: you want a shoe that’s flat, you still want them to have mild to moderate arch support, depending on how high or flat your arch is.

Get shoes that last

While it may be tempting to get those bright, cheap, synthetic, flower-print trainers at the discount store, we all know those shoes won’t even last through the season without falling apart. Not to mention, they’re probably super uncomfortable!

Consider investing a little more money into more durable and synthetic materials, like leather. Leather is a material that is naturally breathable and will disperse sweat from your feet better.

A leather shoe will also form to your foot better and become more comfortable as time goes on. They might be more expensive at first, but you’ll end up paying about the same for cheap shoes with how often you have to replace them!

Don’t forget to inspect the sole: a thick, sturdy sole will keep your feet protected from the ground and last longer.

Time of day

While this doesn’t have as much to do with the shoe, consider going shoe shopping towards the end of the day. Your feet swell as you stand on them throughout the day.

When you try shoes after work, this will give you a better idea of how they’ll fit when you need support the most.