Best shoes for standing all day (8+ hours)?
May 28, 2015 8:01 PM   Subscribe

I do customer-facing tech support for an eight-hour shift. Our stations have no chairs, which mean we stand for all eight hours. We have standing mats, which help (a lot!), but at the end of a shift, my feet and legs are killing me. So, people of MeFi: what are the shoes you'd recommend for someone like me? I'm currently wearing Skechers, which are comfortable, but clearly there's got to be a better choice out there. I'm a size 11 - 11.5 wide, depending on the make of shoe. Thanks!
posted by arkhangel to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
You could probably pull off the Skechers if you can fit a Dr. Scholls gel insert inside.
posted by drezdn at 8:09 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Crocs are the preferred option for many professions where people have to stand for long periods, and most of their styles fit my wide feet.
posted by escapepod at 8:09 PM on May 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

When I used to work standing up I found only work boots fit the bill. Elastic sided or lace-up, whatever, but ones with a solid sole.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:15 PM on May 28, 2015

Is shoelessness an option?
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:17 PM on May 28, 2015

Err whoops never mind, sorry, I missed the "customer-facing" bit.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:17 PM on May 28, 2015

Danskos are very popular with nurses. I've been wearing them since high school and they're great. Some people are afraid of them because they have no cushioning, but the shape is highly supportive and they fit loose (but somehow snug) so that it's kind of like not wearing a shoe.
posted by easter queen at 8:27 PM on May 28, 2015 [9 favorites]

Birkenstocks (I am partial to the Professional Birkis, but they do make your feet somewhat sweaty. The support and comfort after standing all day is unbeatable, though.)
posted by scalespace at 8:33 PM on May 28, 2015

Danskos, Birkenstocks, and Clarks do not work for me, for whatever reason. They completely wreck my feet. I've had pretty good luck with Redwings and Doc Martens, but that was years ago. (Now I have a sitting job.)
posted by small_ruminant at 8:39 PM on May 28, 2015

Dansko or Sanita clogs are genius for this sort of thing. The go-to shoes for nurses and chefs, who spend all their time on their feet. And consider adding in shoe rotation. Meaning, you don't just change to a different pair each day, but also in the middle of the day when you have your lunch break.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:53 PM on May 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

I wore Dr Marten shoes when working on my feet - with fatigue mats, I didn't notice anything.

That said, my job also included a lot of walking/movement back and forth. Standing in one place is harder on the body than moving; do you have something to put your foot up on to shift your stance around?
posted by jb at 9:05 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you have the option, whatever shoes you get, try changing them mid-way through the day.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:18 PM on May 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

I don't know if you could get away with them but these Dr. Scholls wooden bottom sandals were the absolute best shoes for me for being on my feet all day.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:32 PM on May 28, 2015

I'm going to be an outlier here, but I actually found my foot pain improved vastly when switching to converse all stars. The thin flexible profile and ankle support really helped me.
posted by Ferreous at 10:09 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Danskos! I'm a nurse. I work five to six shifts a week, from eight to thirteen hours long. Danskos save me. Running isn't an option, but walking and standing are. I try to wear different pairs from one day to the next to save the shoes wear and tear as well as my ankles. Danskos are notoriously bad for people with weak ankles.
posted by RainyJay at 10:53 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Back when I did this kind of thing (8 hours of customer-facing, on yr feet tech support a day), the team was pretty evenly divided between classic Vans, converse all stars, and various Nikes (mostly frees or Roche runs). Take this with a grain of salt as we were all hipsters, but we were also walking constantly on slate tile floors. I'm an early 30s heavyset dude and I never had complaints about my feet hurting (I was a vans/converse guy--to a certain extent they're like running around barefoot).

Which brings me to a point not about shoes: make sure you move as much as possible. Nothing kills my feet like standing still for a long time.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:07 AM on May 29, 2015

My cousin is a nurse who stands all day. He's very big on compression socks, which says help greatly with preventing pain and fatigue.
posted by ignignokt at 4:19 AM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm on my feet a lot, albeit not standing in place for long periods. My favorite shoes all seem to be made by Born. I also have a drawer full of Smartwool Light Hiker socks, which I wear year-round.
posted by jon1270 at 4:27 AM on May 29, 2015

Crocs, don't laugh, if you check out their website they have some very work appropriate styles no one will guess they are crocs. As you are on your feet all day look at the ones aimed at restaurant staff or nurses. Look into support socks as well they make a huge difference to tired achy feet as well.
posted by wwax at 5:20 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

An insert might solve your problem. It worked for me. Walmart has them cheap and if you find one you don't like you can always swap it out for a different kind. Dr Scholls is a reliable brand. (They have very expensive ones too, but I've never tried those)

I have flat feet so I buy the ones specifically for that. Haven't felt any foot pain since. :)
posted by blackzinfandel at 5:29 AM on May 29, 2015

I moved from Dansko to Fitflop when the former became too hard on my ankles and too tippy in general. Men's office-appropriate styles are available. They are extremely comfortable and stable. They are also very forgiving of wide feet.
posted by apparently at 5:47 AM on May 29, 2015

Another recommendation for good inserts that you can swap in & out of any shoes you like:

Spenco Total Support Max are the best inserts ever. They were recommended to me by my podiatrist after I developed plantar fasciitis from being on my feet all day. They are expensive, but they last forever (my current ones are still going strong after 7 months).

My doc recommended against gel-style inserts because the gel "gives" too much. The Spencos are more rigid, and provide better arch support, which prevents my foot pain. Obviously, ymmv.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:17 AM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Shoes for Crews
posted by Thorzdad at 6:30 AM on May 29, 2015

If your aesthetic will allow for it, I like my Caterpillar steel-toed work boots. It also come in non-steel-toe. I haven't had to put an insole in them. I walk more than stand though.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:34 AM on May 29, 2015

When I work my standing job, any shoes I can fit SuperFeet insoles in work great for me. I'd also second the notion of compression socks. They help a ton as far as calf swelling goes.
posted by advicepig at 7:17 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you're talking about Skechers sneakers (as opposed to boots, snappier styles, etc) go back to the store and look at their "on the go" line that has memory-foam insoles. My husband says his are the most comfortable shoes he's ever worn.
posted by aimedwander at 12:05 PM on May 29, 2015

As far as my experience, Finn Comfort shoes are the best for standing. They're hella expensive, but that's the cost of comfort in a standing job.
posted by rocketman at 12:07 PM on May 29, 2015

When I worked full-time retail I tried a bunch of different kinds of shoes, but found that hiking boots were the best. Lace those suckers up nice and snug around your ankle. Support your ankles and you're supporting your knees, which support your hips. Put a real good insole in there or some of those heal cups and you'll be all set.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:20 PM on May 30, 2015

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