Women’s shoes on concrete
April 15, 2018 7:29 PM   Subscribe

This summer I’m going to an event at a convention center where I’ll be spending three days on a concrete floor. My feet usually kill me. In the past I’ve worn street-style sneakers, like Kangaroos (hence my MetaFilter name, because I kept quarters in the pockets). I’m wondering what’s the best casual shoe on concrete?

Fashion facts: I’m a woman in my mid-forties, and I’ll probably be wearing twill or denim capris. I also typically wear Superfeet insoles. I'd like something sporty and not Frankenstein-clunky. No clogs, thanks, I trip in those.
posted by quarterinmyshoe to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ecco shoes are by far the best for me in terms of comfort. Can't get my SO to even try them, though, because their ladies' selection has few choices that meet with her notion of cute and the ones she has seen have either been unavailable or unaffordable when she has needed shoes.

They're also very durable, though the soles of a couple of different pairs did get oddly damaged after being stored in a warm and humid closet for a couple of years. Normally I'd expect the worst consequence of poor storage to be the glue holding the sole on failing such that the sole starts to come off in one piece. These soles seemed fine upon inspection, but came apart in chunks within a few minutes of putting them on again.

I'm pretty sure that was the result of something else they were stored with because they were already going on 10 years old when I put them away, none of my other pair have ever done that, and other pairs of similar age that had also been in similar conditions for months at a time in a previous house are all still just fine. The point of all that being that they are comfortable and far more durable than most shoes, but aren't quite perfect as I previously believed.
posted by wierdo at 7:45 PM on April 15, 2018

I loooove the “boat shoes” from Skechers. With memory foam insoles. They come in lots of colors and look good enough with almost any [casual] clothes.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:52 PM on April 15, 2018

So, everything is terrible. I work these conventions, and I have not found the magic formula to make it not suck. Keen/Merrel hiking boots/shoes make it suck moderately less. Keens for wide feet, Merrels for narrow. Green superfeet. Dansko clogs suck less, but you've ruled that out.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:15 PM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Ok, the reality is that if you have already tried wearing sneakers and your feet still hurt, there probably isn't a single perfect shoe out there that is going to keep your feet from hurting after long days on a concrete floor. But, there is something that really helps - switching shoes halfway through the day. Every shoe distributes weight and pressure slightly differently, so when you switch halfway through it relieves pressure on the aching areas. I recognize this may or may not be feasible, but if you can stash another pair of shoes in a bag you will be very happy you did so.
posted by leitmotif at 9:22 PM on April 15, 2018 [15 favorites]

Switching shoes and doing foot rehab every night (hot soak with epsom salts & mentholated cream massage.) If you're at a booth standing instead of having to walk around, bring a gel anti-fatigue mat to stand on.
posted by quince at 9:37 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Birkenstock makes sneakers that might be up your alley.
posted by oceano at 10:39 PM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would recommend foot strengthening exercises as well. Stronger feet = less foot fatigue
posted by andythebean at 10:59 PM on April 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love the Skechers Go Walk series - memory foam inner sole and a thick sole with lots of air cushioning. I've had way less foot pain overall since I switched to wearing these all the time.
posted by terretu at 12:10 AM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve been to this kind of thing and will do so this July as well. I think just as important as which shoes you wear is rotating your shoes. 3 days = 3 pair, and maybe that’s not exactly a pair a day, maybe that means wear pair 1 and bring pair 2 on the first day, just in case you want to switch where your feet are absorbing all the impact. Swap them the next day.
posted by OrangeVelour at 1:18 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aravon shoes are my go-to for conferences of this description. Read the fine print as most, but not all styles have swap-able insoles.
posted by childofTethys at 4:14 AM on April 16, 2018

I wear Blundstones for pretty much everything and I find them the most comfortable.
posted by winterportage at 5:51 AM on April 16, 2018

I'm straying a bit from your stated style preferences, so bear with me. For I, too, understand the weird balance between walkable and cute, appropriately-practical and just-gave-up, and have spent more hours than I care to recall doing speed-walking from end to end of convention centers, frequently in polyester branded golf shirts.

Have you considered non-clog Danskos or Sanitas? You do have to embrace the post-goth clumpy-cute romper-room aesthetic, though.

Alternatively, these Fitflops could be great. Their whole Skate line seems like it would be appropriate, if you don't think gold is a neutral. (It's a neutral.)

Finally I see a lot of professional events people wearing Crocs. Not the gross ones, the ones that are made of the same plastic soles but have non-horrifying uppers. They seem to be having a 25% off sale now, fwiw.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:27 AM on April 16, 2018

This is sort of lateral thinking and may not be appropriate for your circumstances, but if you're going to this convention to work a booth for your employer, rather than walk the floor, any chance you can convince your company to spring for the nicer carpet padding? I've crewed a fair number of trade show booths, for my employer and for our partner orgs. I've stood on everything from bare thin carpet on concrete to the "this basically doubles the cost of our booth" super-padded more-or-less-an-ergo-mat-under-the-carpet upgrade. The good stuff really makes a difference by day 4-5. At this point I always fight to find as much money as possible for the carpet. Or chairs, but nobody likes to see reps sitting down, so, carpet!
posted by Alterscape at 7:12 AM on April 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

Merrell makes a variety of shoes that might fit the bill, for various definitions of "sporty." Their core product is hiking shoes, and they make some of the best. If you want to stomp-hop-stomp-hop down 4,000 vertical feet of steep bouldery trail (beating on your feet like they're a couple of steaks you're trying to tenderize) you can't do better. They know comfort and they make a quality shoe. To my eye, many of their shoes are quite cute.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:07 PM on April 16, 2018

These are great suggestions! I have a lot to look into. And I didn't think of switching shoes during the day, good idea. Thank you! (This convention is for fun, not work, so a carpet won't help in my situation. I'll be walking and standing a lot.)
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 4:21 PM on April 16, 2018

I'll nth the suggestions others are making of having multiple pairs of shoes. The cushioning in shoes and insoles gets compressed and needs time to relax and recover; up to several days, depending on the material and how hard they've been used. Just like your feet, really.
posted by ardgedee at 5:13 AM on April 17, 2018

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