Help me fix my feet!!
October 31, 2012 9:01 PM   Subscribe

What is the best thing for my feet when I walk all day? And had foot issues before?

I am a file clerk at a large doctor's office and spend most of my day walking between buildings and up and down stairs. I am also expected to dress in a business casual fashion, and considering...I would like to have shoes that would go with business casual attire... and look cute for lack of a better term. I bought a pair of Nurture's from Dillard's and they absolutely killed my feet so I ended up taking them back. I am currently at a loss. I am looking for flats specifically, but most average flats still leave me limping at the end of the day (or especially the next morning). Most mornings when I wake up I have to waddle around the house for 15 minutes or so. Is there anything that I can do at this point? Does anyone have a go to dress flat that is super comfy and doesn't have a lot of pressure points that leave blisters? Or is it possibly best to get custom orthodics and switch from shoe to shoe? I'm not even 30 and I feel like my feet are pretty bad considering, and don't want them to be even worse later in life. Do I need to go to a podiatrist? Any advice is welcome!
posted by Quincy to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What hurts specifically? Blisters (where?)? Arch pain?
posted by radioamy at 9:21 PM on October 31, 2012

I don't have foot issues, and they're Mary Janes, but I recently got a pair of Alegria Palomas and they feel like running shoes -- literally the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned, right out of the box. And totally appropriate for work situations! These are the discontinued on sale ones, but Zappo's has a wider selection of colors that may be more understated (Alegrias tend to be flashy).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:22 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hi there- I was in the same position as you 100% from walking and standing on cement floors for hours a day at work. It's all about the shoe! What really did it for me are Crocs - they have some much more appropriate-for-work styles now. Check out what's on zappos. I was really surprised and happy with their flats. What I'll do too is wear crocs for a day, then not crocs for something dressier the day after to switch it up because my feet aren't killing me anymore. Seriously changed my life!
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 9:49 PM on October 31, 2012

Yep, you want comfortable shoes. I have a pair of Ziera maryjanes that are my current goto; I've used SAS in the past and they're amazingly comfortable for my problem feet but come in a pretty limited style selection.
posted by nat at 10:12 PM on October 31, 2012

MOZO brand shoes have saved my feet. They're designed for the food-service industry, so perfect for being on your feet all day, breathe really well, adjustable inserts so you can make them fit perfectly. And the suckers LAST. I've been wearing my pair every day for a year and they're holding up great. They're pretty stylish, too! Or at least... more stylish than Crocs. I have a pair of these and they're pretty good for every occasion.
posted by whitneyarner at 11:32 PM on October 31, 2012

Oh, also, if you're mostly having foot pain in the morning, you might have plantar faciitis. I suffered from it for YEARS and fixed it (with the help of AskMe recommendations!) with orthotic inserts and wearing arch supports while I slept for a while. Between that and the MOZOs, my feet are great now!
posted by whitneyarner at 11:34 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

Easy Spirit makes some extremely comfortable flats. I'm told Danskos are also super comfortable-- they certainly look good! Sketchers makes some reasonably cute non-skid, full-support flats, though I have had a hard time finding them in wide widths.

I work retail and I am constantly on my feet. (We aren't allowed to sit down.) I wear Doc Martens with replaceable foam insoles (the brand "Miracle") and they fixed up my sore feet but good. Docs makes some cute Maryjanes, and has recently brought back its vegan pleather, if that's a concern.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:35 PM on October 31, 2012

I went to a uniform store (all the local law enforcement and medical people buy from there, I guess), and I had great luck finding men's dress shoes that are damn easy to wear all day. I didn't think shoes like this existed!

I noticed they had a section for women as well (didn't look further in that section, though), so you might keep a uniform store in mind. Best of luck!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 1:17 AM on November 1, 2012

I have plantar fasciitis after using a standing desk for almost a year, and I just got these Cobb Hill (by New Balance) Penelope Mary Janes. My feet have looked good and felt pretty cushy so far!
posted by limeonaire at 5:10 AM on November 1, 2012

As far as foot pain goes I have the most problems with my heel area. And as far as the places on shoes where I have a problem rubbing etc it seems like I have issues on my little toes and with the Nurtures specifically it was around the toe of the shoe that did not give at all
posted by Quincy at 6:22 AM on November 1, 2012

My only advice, and it is always my advice on the Asks about footwear for jobs when you're on your feet all day, is to keep at least two, and preferably three pairs of shoes at work, and switch throughout the day.

Years of working retail taught me that it's not only more comfortable for your feet, but it also helps your shoes to last longer.

When I had a job that was lots of standing, but still some desk time, I had a ball like this Porcupine Massage Ball, and would use it while eating and working seated at my desk. Now I'll use a tennis ball sometimes. My theory is that a change is as good as a rest, especially when it comes to feet.
posted by peagood at 6:36 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Most "dress flats" are made out of super stiff material. However there are some that are thinner and more flexible without being totally ballet-flat casual. Hold the shoe and poke it gently in the heel. If the heel bends over easily, it will probably be very comfy. I currently have a thin, flexible pair from Steve Madden that is nearly as comfortable as a pair of sneakers.

Also-- maybe try oxfords? But beware cheap rubber/foam soles.
posted by acidic at 6:50 AM on November 1, 2012

Have you looked at Dansko? They are beloved by people who work on their feet all day (nurses) for a reason. Most styles are clogs but there are some mary janes that wouldn't look out of place in a business casual environment. I don't think many of them are flat, though.

I am a big fan of Clarks "Unstructured" line. They are super comfortable.

Also, some people feel more comfortable with a low heel or wedge (like an inch) than they do with absolutely flat shoes. Experiment a little, you may be surprised.
posted by zoetrope at 12:21 PM on November 1, 2012

Let's save you some money, shall we?
I'm a professional dog walker. I use these insoles in all my work shoes. They're a great help to a mega-pronator like me, and I can still wear my favorite, comfy old friends.
posted by BostonTerrier at 1:30 PM on November 1, 2012

I had big foot pain problems when I worked delivering mail in a large law firm. I was on my feet for roughly 7 hours of the day and had the same issues you are having.

What fixed the problem for me was moleskin. It's a thin piece of fabric - almost a faux-leather - that comes with adhesive on one side. Every day I'd cut a piece for each sore area and stick it to my feet. It stayed all day and I would peel it off at night before getting in the shower (and throw it away).

It solved the blisters and rubbed-raw spots. Some gel insoles solved the arch and heel problems.

I know how bad it hurts. I hope you get better.
posted by tacodave at 4:50 PM on November 1, 2012

Dansko all the way. I'm a teacher and swear by them. I buy the clogs but a better dressed coworker of mine was having feet problems, asked me about my shoes and ended up getting much more feminine and trendy danskos that go with her more professional outfits. They will change your life in terms of feet/leg pain.
posted by bquarters at 2:09 AM on November 2, 2012

Danskos! I'm a waitress-turned-nurse and they are basically all I wear. I highly recommend them.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:25 PM on November 2, 2012

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