Shoes for sore feet on concrete
February 1, 2021 11:15 AM   Subscribe

I spend 3 to 4 hours a day on a concrete floor and my feet get sore, especially the ball of my foot behind my little toe. Can you recommend a shoe that will give me some relief?

Since I'll be in a shop, it doesn't have to be a good looking shoe. But if it were a good looking shoe, I could also wear it to concerts.

When we have concerts again. Next year.

I hope.
posted by donpardo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I find Crocs give me the most comfort when walking on concrete for work. I can wear crocs at work because its retail and I don't need steel toe protection. I also find switching shoes halfway between shifts helps.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My life is only about comfortable, supporting shoes these days. Two online sources I can recommend are Dr.Comfort and FootSmart. Both have online advice to help you pick a shoe and possibly an special insole/orthotic that will help.
Ideally, you would go to a shoe store near you that specializes in these kinds of shoes and custom orthotics, to get professionally fit/measured. But if that isn't possible in these weird times, these websites should help.
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2021

Crocs. Don't laugh, you can actually get some that look like normal shoes, but I recommend the ones aimed at bistro or hospitality workers and not the standard clog you might be thinking of.
posted by wwax at 11:32 AM on February 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'd get a piece of carpet and parring, tape off the edges so it doesn't fray, for padding.
posted by theora55 at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2021

Response by poster: Unfortunately, carpet is not an option.

Crocs, eh?
posted by donpardo at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2021

Best answer: My waitressing job came with uniform requirements and I found that Dansko shoes were super comfortable and moderately attractive. If I didn't have a dress requirement, I would have gone with Crocs.
posted by little king trashmouth at 11:53 AM on February 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would recommend insoles first, instead of new shoes.

I used to work delivery for 18 months, up to 100 stops a day, jumping in and out of delivery vans, walking up to doors and dropping boxes off. And these are decent weight boxes, not those Amazon envelopes. I go by with New Balance shoes and Spenco Heavy Duty insoles. Later I also added Lock Laces (elastic laces) as I was wearing either walking shoes or "food service" shoes and I can just slip the shoes on, and they are tight "enough" they won't fall off, but not so tight to make myself uncomfortable even after a full day of wear.
posted by kschang at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Crocs are kind of the standard answer. I just bought a pair because I have plantar fasciitis, and... well, they're OK. When you read what people say about them, they sound like miracle shoes. They're not, for me. They are comfortable, much more so than say, slippers, which is what I was wearing (WFH) when my foot pain flared up, but they don't take the pain away completely. They're pretty cheap already, and you can find them on sale sometimes, so there's not much downside to trying them out. I bought mine for $16 from Sierra.

Dansko and Vionic are two other brands that any sort of online research into shoes for foot pain will turn up. I have no firsthand experience with either, but a lot of people recommend them.

Insoles are another big recommendation, and I've got some saved for later in my Amazon cart for when (if?) I ever start wearing actual shoes again.

If your pain is due to other biomechanical issues and not just standing on concrete all day, I've had good luck with compression sleeves/socks. I guess tightness in your calves can cause foot pain. They've worked well for me, at least. More so than anything else I've tried.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if you have the option for this, but anti-fatigue matting is generally recommended for anyone standing/walking on a hard surface for a long time. It's pretty standard in commercial kitchens, workshops, etc.

If you can't put down anti-fatigue matting, then you essentially want shoes that are like it - Crocs have worked for me cooking in my home kitchen. Doc Martens have been also pretty good, though I think I had matting when I was using them for standing 4-6 hours at a time.

Also, as the workplace safety page I linked to notes, changing position can relieve foot pain/fatigue. This is why traditional bars or pubs where people stood to drink often have rails about 6 inches off the ground, so drinkers could prop up one foot, then then other. A very short stool or small block to lift one foot off the ground might be a useful thing to have.
posted by jb at 12:22 PM on February 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Proper work boots.
Not shoes. The higher ankle transfers some of your weight to your legs bypassing the soles of your feet.
Then put in some Superfeet insoles.

Work boots are made for people who are on their feet - working - every day all day.

When I did construction, my feet were killing me at first. On the day I installed the Superfeet, my feet started the day still hurting from the day before, but felt BETTER as the day went on!
posted by notsnot at 12:26 PM on February 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: On my feet eight hours a day, five or six days a week. Used to be that the only shoes that were comfortable were Skechers. But even then I'd add a Dr. Scholls heel and arch support. These were my go-to for comfort.

However, I got lured into trying a pair of Therafit sneakers as a Black Friday sale. I would never, ever pay $170 for a pair of shoes, but they were on sale for about what Skechers cost so I sprang for them. They are amazing. They aren't as cushy as the Skechers but my feet actually feel comfortable and secure. Plus they are adjustable: you can remove the insoles if you have orthotics; and you can adjust the cushiness of the heel by removing small stabilizer bars in the sole heel.
posted by annieb at 12:34 PM on February 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FitFlop shoes might work. Very cushy. They saved my feet when I was working retail and walking on sealed smooth concrete all day. Dansko clogs are good but less flexible, so I feel like my feet get achy more easily over the course of a day.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 12:56 PM on February 1, 2021

Best answer: Seconding the rec for SuperFeet insoles. They fit differently than you might be used to in other insoles, but that's because the arch is actually in the right place and they're rigid rather than cushy/gel-filled (which seems comfy at first, but actually doesn't provide the support needed since they just mold to your foot over time).
posted by augustimagination at 1:11 PM on February 1, 2021

Sidebar question: do you have narrow or wide feet? Are you currently wearing the correct width? This made a huge difference for m.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2021

I used to have pain in the ball of my foot after walking for a couple of miles, or standing on hard floors for hours. The simplest way I found to stop it was to get wider shoes and make sure that my socks are not tight. I've always worn shoes with good arch support. Do your feet feel a lot better after you take off your shoes?
posted by mareli at 2:29 PM on February 1, 2021

Response by poster: My feet sometimes feel better, but not a lot better after I take off my shoes. Sometimes putting shoes back on makes them better.

My feet are normal width, size 13 men's.

Anti-fatigue mats would be great except one workshop is small and I move stuff on casters around to make room and the other is huge, circa 5,000 sq ft and filled with cars. I use a mat in the kitchen.
posted by donpardo at 2:53 PM on February 1, 2021

If anti-fatigue mat helps, then insoles will help too. But insoles are cheaper (I think mine were $20-25 on Amazon)
posted by kschang at 10:29 PM on February 1, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to work my way through them (starting with Crocs) until I find something that works.
posted by donpardo at 4:29 AM on February 2, 2021

Years ago I bought a pair of Red Wing work boots and they are the most comfortable shoes I own. I can wear them all day without the fatigue get from other shoes.
posted by tman99 at 6:22 AM on February 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you're a fan of Vans, they make a "ComfyCush" variety that lives up to the name.
posted by homesickness at 2:00 PM on February 2, 2021

Response by poster: For the record, the Crocs On The Clock Work Slipon Medical Professional Shoe has done the trick, though I refuse to wear them outside the house.
posted by donpardo at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2021

Response by poster: Final update:

The Crocs are working great at home. Yesterday I spent 7 hours wearing Doc Martens boots walking 6 miles on concrete and had zero problems.
posted by donpardo at 10:15 AM on March 14, 2021

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