What kind of work shoes to buy for a man with flat feet?
February 27, 2009 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Where do you find good, longer lasting, work shoes for a man with some feet issues?

My husband is on his feet a lot. He works at the minimum 10 hours a day right now. We have been buying him sneakers but they are costing us upwards of 100 dollars a pair at are lasting, at the most, 6 months. He has some foot issues: flat feet (flat as the floor, seriously, he has no arch at all and was born that way, large feet (size 13 or 14 dependent upon the shoe), uses a set of Superfeet insoles to make it less painful for him, he prefers black shoes, and he stands on concrete a lot.

(aside: Superfeet are the best insoles he has ever used, and he recommends them to everyone.)

We have tried multiple pairs of sneakers, in fact just bought a new pair yesterday, but they just don't last long and honestly we should be replacing them much sooner than 6 months as they are just worn out by the time he stops wearing them.

He doesn't need steel toes, or boots. In fact he got away from wearing high tops all the time with decent shoes. He had worn high tops for years due to "weak ankles" and we really think now it was just bad, cheap shoes, and the high tops making them weaker over time.

So, help? Good work shoes/boots, that last some time. We willing to spent a decent amount of money, up to 200 dollars if they will last quite a while.

Thanks in advance.
posted by SuzySmith to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What about custom orthotics from a podiatrist or orthopedist? They go a long, long way towards helping foot (and sometimes even back) problems.
posted by squorch at 3:00 PM on February 27, 2009

I have fairly flat feet as well as fairly huge feet (size 16).

Currently, I don't have a go to set of sneakers, since I wear dress shoes now, but in my high school days, I used New Balance tennis shoes. Those suckers would last 6-8 months of me running back and forth across the tennis court 3 - 4 hours a day. At that time, they also had a guarantee on the soles, so you could get new ones if they wore out too fast (don't know if they still have that today).

On the dressier side of things, these days I wear Allen Edmonds, and they're really hardy as well.
posted by unexpected at 3:05 PM on February 27, 2009

Check out Red Wings.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:05 PM on February 27, 2009

Red Wing are really good shoes/boots. I have had several pairs of them and they have always lasted a LONG time.
posted by Danf at 3:06 PM on February 27, 2009

Like he said, up there.
posted by Danf at 3:07 PM on February 27, 2009

I'd second the orthotics, and I'd also suggest seeing if he can get a mat for the floor to absorb some of the impact. (Maybe he doesn't work in the same place all the time, so perhaps that might not make a difference.)

Also, he might try rotating two or three pairs. It'll be expensive at first, but it should make all of them last longer because you're letting them air out and dry for a few days in between uses instead of breaking down the shoes by putting your feet back into sweaty shoes.
posted by Madamina at 3:34 PM on February 27, 2009

When I have to wear shoes with big heels (such as hiking boots), I use Superfeet inserts to lift my flat-ass arches. At all other times, I wear Earth shoes, which I own in several styles, including a black dress shoe. They are very, very comfortable for standing.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:57 PM on February 27, 2009

Nthing Redwings. After several knee and ankle surgeries the only shoes I wear are Rockports, the only boots are Red Wing.
posted by sanka at 4:13 PM on February 27, 2009

Allen Edmonds are fantastic but pricey.
posted by arimathea at 4:37 PM on February 27, 2009

I also have no arch at all and have found that custom orthotics make a huge difference in my quality of life. When your feet are totally flat it affects the mechanics in your ankles, knees, hips in lots of different ways. I strongly urge him to see a podiatrist about custom orthotics.

Which makes me wonder: how is he wearing his shoes out? If he's boring through them in a particular spot on the bottom each and every time, that's a big red flag that he's got a gait problem. (In my case, without orthotics, I grind through a particular spot in the sole of the shoe near the ball of my right foot, because as I walk my foot rotates on that spot rather than rolling over my toe.)

I think that insurance plans generally cover the doc visit but not the orthotics themselves, but at the rate you're burning through sneakers, they should pay for themselves in no time.

If he gets big beefy orthotics and has a hard time fitting them into shoes, look for "removable insoles" or "added depth" shoes to accommodate them.

Following arimathea's entry, I just got a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes yesterday (I'm female but wear a size 13 in womens, and sometimes get mens' shoes too). Great quality, extremely comfortable, and able to accommodate my big orthotics. Looks like Sierra Trading Post sometimes has them for less than retail. In fact, if anyone can recommend shoes of comparable quality and comfort for women, I'm all ears.
posted by Sublimity at 5:22 PM on February 27, 2009

I wore a pair of Iron Age boots for a full year (chem resistant/steel toed, water proof iirc). They were the most comfortable work boots I've ever worn and I wore them everywhere, every day. The next year, I recieved a second of the same pair (work provided a shoe stipend. I continued to wear the first pair until the insoles wore out and the laces frayed. It took two years for the first pair to wear out - and the second set lasted me another two years.

I should note they have a variety of shapes and colors, including loafers and other low casual shoes. I have size 12 wide feet and my arches are in great shape, so there may be some differences in my foot performance and your husband's. I spent 8-10 hours a day in a concrete floored lab (most of the time sitting, but a good chunk of time standing and walking around). While I know it isn't a concern for you, I ever need steel toed boots again, this is the brand I'd buy.

If I were looking for lower cost shoes that were skid proof and mostly resistant to the emements, I'd look at Shoes for Crews.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:20 PM on February 27, 2009

He may want to look into getting some Z-Coils. They are in your budget and last a very long time. I've worn mine at work every day for 5 years and have had to replace the inserts and coils only once. (The coils can be adjusted to accommodate different types of feet "issues", including flat feet.)

I'm a female, also with flat feet, as well as a back that is susceptible to sprains. I stand on my feet all day at work (health care) and have found that these shoes provide much needed support and comfort.

I don't know what type of job your husband has, but there are various styles available, including a "work boot" with the coil enclosed, for those who work certain industrial type jobs.
posted by ourroute at 6:26 PM on February 27, 2009

Nthing custom orthotics. If he likes Superfeet, real orthotics will make an even bigger difference for comfort and overall posture. They seem expensive but are so worth it. His shoes will last longer and they will help prevent future ankle/knee issues too. A good pair should last a few years if cared for.
posted by quarterframer at 6:40 PM on February 27, 2009

Another vote for Red Wings.

And no one has mentioned yet the ubiquitous Dansko clogs worn by lots of health-care people and chefs. Depending on what work your DH does, they might not be appropriate, but dang are they comfy. (Another flat footer speaking from experience.)
posted by scratch at 7:12 AM on February 28, 2009

(Not sure how large the Danskos run, though.)
posted by scratch at 7:13 AM on February 28, 2009

I swear by Dunham 8000's. I don't stand for quite as long every day as your husband does, but I work on a concrete floor in a shop, and each pair of these I've had has lasted at least a year. (I also wear them for walking outside of work, as they're so comfortable and waterproof too).
posted by generalist at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2009

Birkenstock makes dress shoes and they are the only thing that allow me to work on my flat feet comfortably. Footprints Kensingtons are terrifically expensive, but, with periodic repairs, mine have lasted almost five years.
posted by GPF at 8:17 AM on March 1, 2009

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