In need of comfortable work shoes.
October 2, 2008 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Looking for some comfortable, yet affordable, shoes that are suitable for jobs involving a lot of moving around and heavy lifting.

I don't know the first thing about footwear. For over a decade, I've purchased only Vans brand tennis shoes, and then last year, I purchased a pair of Nikes (these, solely because I found the blue ones pleasing). I'm not quite sure what kind of shoe I should look for when it comes to a job that's going to involve a lot of moving around, heavy lifting, and climbing of ladders.

They need to be comfortable, of course, and affordable (I can't really afford to pay $60+ for shoes at this point, though, I will be able to after I get paid). I'm not so sure if my old Vans, or my cool blue Nikes, are going to provide me with the comfort I'll need, and it'd suck if I wore them to work, only to find that four hours in, my feet are killing me.

So, does anyone have any suggestions? I was sure that someone had already asked a question similar to this one earlier this year, but I couldn't find it.

If it matters, I'm a size 12, a male, and a resident of the United States.
posted by Dreamcast to Shopping (6 answers total)
Keens are great. They may be a little more expensive than you're looking for though (but not much). They protect your toes, and are comfortable for much longer periods of time than Vans and similar shoes. More arch support. Make sure that you buy pretty hard-core ones, like the Austin. My boyfriend has those and he wears them every day. He's a musician who is constantly moving heavy amps and instrument cases. No toe injuries yet! Good luck.
posted by ascheele at 4:32 PM on October 2, 2008

Here is a comprehensive look at athletic shoes. Most of the same principles can be applied to comfortable and supportive work shoes. At the bottom of the article are links to various recommended shoe brands.
posted by netbros at 5:38 PM on October 2, 2008

Heavy lifting, moving around, and climbing of ladders? Before you spend money on shoes, you should probably check to see if your employer requires you to wear safety shoes. If you do need steel-toes, Blundstone makes a great pair of steel toe boots (low cut) that are light and comfortable. They're not cheap, but they'll last a long time so it balances out in the end.
posted by kaudio at 7:10 PM on October 2, 2008

I am a huge fan of Keen's, but mine don't offer me enough support when I am in our warehouse (everything but ladders). I just got some nice Teva's from Sierra Trading Post for way cheaper than any actual store around here. Until you can get a pair that you feel safe wearing for 8 hours, just bring an extra pair to change into if your feet start to hurt.
posted by blackkar at 6:15 AM on October 3, 2008

I've got a pair of Keens and there's no way I'd wear them for this kind of work. For a start, they're kind of expensive and I wouldn't want to mess them up. Secondly, they aren't going to provide the protection or support Dreamcast needs.

You can get away with a good athletic shoe (not Vans), but your better choice, in my experience is a decent, ugly work shoe or work boot (boots are for ankle support). You will find that you go through athletic shoes fairly quickly, but that good work shoes will last a long time. You can find these at construction supply and hardware stores and at specialty merchants. A decent pair won't cost more than $60. Get a pair with breathable panels so your feet don't get wet.

If you want sharp-looking shoes or boots, look at a military surplus store. Doc Martens also make pretty good work shoes.

As important as the shoes are, don't forget socks. Your worst choice is the white cotton tube sock. It gets soaking wet, chafes and wears very poorly. I personally like wool socks, but there are many good synthetic choices too. Look for coolmax socks, or similar products.

Also, finally, your feet swell quite a lot during a day on your feet. Buy your boots or shoes a bit loose so that you're not pinched by the end of the day.
posted by bonehead at 6:53 AM on October 3, 2008

Gah, no.

If there's one thing life has taught me it's that you need to protect your feet. Especially if you're on a ladder/moving heavy shit, etc. etc.

Spend a hundred bucks on a pair of hand-made Danner's or Red Wing boots with steel-toes. Might seem like a lot of money now, but you're buying a pair of shoes that'll (no kdding) last you the rest of your life. And your feet will thank you!
posted by word_virus at 7:36 PM on October 3, 2008

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