Comfortable work shoes come in many forms — none of which have high heels. This may be a problem for those who really enjoy high heels. If you’re going to be on your feet all day, such shoes will not be very comfortable. They have the added problem of potentially causing lifelong foot and back problems, and even those newly engineered to be more comfortable are still not good choices for your feet.
What you should be looking for when you choose comfortable work shoes are those shoes with good support of the foot and that won’t have you in agony by the end of the day. Typically this means choosing a lower heeled shoe that has some flexibility but not necessarily a super flat shoe like a ballet flat. Some shoes like this are constructed to look more dressy, and may resemble the average men’s dress flat or flat for a women, but have additional cushioning and padding that will help keep those dogs from barking.
If you work in an environment that allows for casual dress, you might want to choose athletic walking shoes or cross trainers. These are designed to take greater wear and tear and often feature breathable material that will keep feet from feeling too hot. If you need to wear a loafer, oxford or some type of semi-dressy woman’s shoe, you can still find comfortable work shoes that will fit this bill. Typically if you’re looking for breathability, choose shoes made of leather or cloth as opposed to those made of vinyl.
There are a number of brands that specialize in making comfortable work shoes. A few brands for women you may want to look for include: Naturalizer, Walking Cradles, Sofft, Soft Spots, Hush Puppies, Dansko, Merrel, Clarks, and Easy Spirit. For men, you may want to look at shoes make by Dansko, Merrel, Birkenstock, and Clarks. There are plenty of other brands that you may find perfect too.
What you’ll want to look for in comfortable work shoes are shoes that fit you well. If a shoe is too tight or too loose your feet pay a price for it. Shoes should also be the right width. Take the time to go to a high quality shoe store and get measured and fitted with a good shoe, and spend some time walking around the shoe store in each pair you try to be certain it doesn’t give you any cause for concern.
In general you may also want to look for certain style features for comfortable work shoes. Stay away from narrow or pointed toes and look for shoes with rounded toe boxes. Avoid slip-on shoes without backs, as they will be harder to walk in unless they are clog styles or shoes like Birkenstocks. Look for rubberized heels and padding and support on the inside too.
Even the most comfortable work shoes may still not represent truly good shoes for your feet. There has been increased interest in the way shoes affect our feet, and though we often wear them to protect our feet, it turns out that “good shoes” may not be so good for us. Studies of people who don’t wear shoes show they have significantly better feet than do those of us who do wear shoes. However, unless you’re working in a very select environment, you’re probably not going to be able to get away with working barefoot.
There are some new brands of shoes that try to more realistically approximate how the foot would walk without a shoe. These can actually take some getting used to. They’re also not typically very dressy and may not be appropriate for office wear.