Best standing shoes for elderly mom?
November 9, 2014 3:42 PM   Subscribe

My mom (she's 71) continues to work a couple of part time jobs, both out of financial need and a determination to keep working. One of them has her standing on a concrete floor for fairly long periods a few times a week. I'm looking for advice on the best shoes that will keep her as comfortable as possible, ones I can buy online (preferably in Canada) and send to her.

I realize sizing is probably an issue here, with buying shoes online, but I'm keen to try anyway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Work & Money (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Dansko is worn by nurses. There's a bunch of different styles.
posted by royalsong at 3:46 PM on November 9, 2014

Dansko is good advice.

I recently bought a pair of Birkenstocks, and I'm awed by how comfortable they are. Not sure if they'll be okay for the dress code at her workplace, but they do have at least one closed-toe style.
posted by toomuchkatherine at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2014

Clark's were our go-to when I worked on concrete. With gel inserts.
posted by raisingsand at 3:58 PM on November 9, 2014

SAS shoes are kind of the kings of older people comfy shoes.
posted by cecic at 3:58 PM on November 9, 2014

Standing in one spot? An anti-fatigue mat will be a huge help too.
posted by sageleaf at 4:02 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Crocs. Yes seriously, don't think of the fugly clogs styles they have, they have a lot of very smart ones, that would work in most professional environments. I had foot pain so bad I could barely stand and wasted money on expensive trendy support shoes of various brands, Crocs were the only ones that helped me. They are like walking on pillows on clouds.
posted by wwax at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

If she's standing still on the concrete floor, an anti-fatigue mat might make more difference than shoes do.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2014

Thanks for advice so far, folks. I had no idea anti-fatigue mats were even a thing. Will investigate and maybe get her shoes and a mat as well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 PM on November 9, 2014

Depending on what she's doing, she may or may not be allowed to have/use an anti-fatigue mat. Some employers disallow them. Might want to check.
posted by stormyteal at 4:45 PM on November 9, 2014

See if she can't try on Danskos first before you commit to them. I have a high instep and they're absolutely excruciating for me because they're very tight and not at all flexible across the top of the foot, and I know a lot of other people have the same issue with them.

Birkenstocks are perfect, at least for me, though, and they have a couple of different types--I think they're other licensed manufacturers or something--that make different styles that might be more work-appropriate than the traditional Birkenstock styles. I've had a couple pairs of Footprints that were wonderful. The Alton in particular was the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn, to the point that I actually wore through the soles and the leather. Alpro is also a Birkenstock associated brand that are specifically designed for workers.

Definitely tell her about anti-fatigue mats, too.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:48 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Crocs. My mom likes to cook and spends a lot of time on her feet in the kitchen. We are a no shoes in the house family, but she specifically has a pair of kitchen crocs she wears while she's in the kitchen. It's like a built in anti fatigue mat. Ugly as balls but they're comfortable and she loves them.
posted by phunniemee at 5:08 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Danskos are a well known tripping hazard as the soles are very tall and narroe, I wouldn't buy them for someone in their 70s. Also they kill my back, they are one of those shoes you really need to try on before buying.
posted by fshgrl at 5:10 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another note on Danskos/Sanitas: they've got quite a tall heel and I've rolled my ankles dozens of times in them. I would recommend _against_ them for an older woman like your mom, to reduce the risk of falls.

I'd add another plug for Birkenstocks, as they have great arch support and stability, with good weight distribution for long periods of standing. If she's looking for something a little more stylish, you could try Naturalizers. I'm not a Clarks fan, as they're too low in arch support for me, but they do offer some nice combinations of cute and functional. Downside with most of these shoes: not necessarily great traction for Canadian winters, but maybe she can leave these at her work?

Other suggestion: Keens or Merrells. They make really comfortable shoes for walking and standing, and also come in cute styles. I know a few women your mom's age who love the look of Keens. Bonus with those outdoorsy shoes is that they're better for Canadian winters!
posted by stillmoving at 5:11 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and: compression stockings! Great for improving circulation and decreasing foot fatigue. In the US, you can get standard pressure ones for about $10/pair on Amazon, and cute wool ones for $30. They work wonders for tired feet and legs.
posted by stillmoving at 5:12 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck with Keens. I'm not quite as old as your mother but getting there. I had one pair that lasted six years, I could walk for hours in them. Unfortunately they don't make that particular model. I have these now, so far so good. Or check out this one. I've also owned some Danskos, Keen are cushier.
posted by mareli at 5:43 PM on November 9, 2014

And 71 is not elderly!
posted by mareli at 5:43 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I work retail. I'm on my feet for 5 - 6 hours at a time, often without a break. I'm not allowed to wear sneakers or Birkenstocks. These shoes (the Softwalk Napa flat) are the best shoes.

I also really like Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Fit inserts and No Nonsense compression tights.
posted by topoisomerase at 5:47 PM on November 9, 2014

First, your mom is not elderly. Second, I recommend Gel Pro mats. I have one at my standing desk. It is one of those products you did not know you needed or want until you live with them. Then you wonder how you ever did without. They have both home and commercial products and sizes.
posted by 724A at 5:54 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Third, I have a pair of slip on Merrills that are awesome.
posted by 724A at 5:56 PM on November 9, 2014

I'm a hair colorist and I stand for many hours at a time without sitting down. My Soho salon has a hip, foot-killing concrete floor. I've tried many kinds of shoes. Stylish ones, not stylish ones. I hate to say it, but Crocs have been the most comfortable. I don't wear them often because I work in a very fashiony place, but there it is. These are the ones I favor. They're not as painfully ugly as most.
posted by houseofdanie at 6:16 PM on November 9, 2014

Ecco shoes are AMAZING. Amazing. Hands down my favorite brand for comfy shoes. I have stood in operating rooms for hours upon hours in these outrageously comfortable shoes. That model's been discontinued and unfortunately I don't know what's comfiest nowadays, but you should be able to read some reviews online, and afaik there are Ecco stores in Canada if you wanted to try them out yourself.

(I dislike Danskos fwiw, I give them another try every so often but have never understood the appeal.)
posted by nemutdero at 8:29 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sorry, just realized you're in Korea. In my experience Korean department stores tend to have a lot more Merrells/Clarks/Danskos than Eccos, but you may still be able to find them at outdoor gear/clothing stores.
posted by nemutdero at 8:39 PM on November 9, 2014

Nah, my mom's in Canada, so I'd be trying to buy from an online retailer, preferably in Canada itself but US would probably be fine, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:50 PM on November 9, 2014

Doc Martens (cushiony soles) + Superfeet insoles (for actual arch support) + anti-fatigue mat and I don't really get any foot or leg pain even though I stand for 30-35 hours per week.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:17 PM on November 9, 2014

Alegria makes some comfort shoes too.
posted by ramix at 10:48 PM on November 9, 2014

Just coming back to suggest compression socks, but see I got beaten to it, also strapping ankles & arches can help feet hurt less. Also thanks stilmoving for articulating what bothered me about lone barely worn pair of Danskos I kept rolling my ankles in them & never put 2+2 together.
posted by wwax at 9:49 AM on November 10, 2014

Definitely if she's allowed to have a gel mat, that will make a huge difference.
posted by radioamy at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2014

Crocs are comfortable?? What about that huge giant pointy thing that goes up at the base of your toes? Or have they changed that?
posted by serena15221 at 12:17 PM on November 10, 2014

I am a lady of a certain age who stands for about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with one brief break in the middle. I wear Alegrias. They have absolutely saved my feet. I wear Danskos at home and everywhere else - I love me some Danskos! - but I find that they are just too unyielding to stand up in all day; they make the bottoms of my feet hurt. My son the cook and his friends wear Crocs, but I don't feel like they have enough support for me.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:02 PM on November 10, 2014

I think it's maybe the Crocs clogs that have the toe rail pointy thing? The mary jane style I usually wear doesn't have that. Just some nubbies all over so it feels kind of like I'm getting a massage while giving a lady her highlights.
posted by houseofdanie at 11:25 AM on November 11, 2014

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