Work Footwear: Shoe Choices for Busy Feet

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Black Work ShoesFeet are busy members of the body. They support your weight and keep you moving. They go to work when you do, keeping you stable and mobile on the job. The shoes you wear have a significant impact on your stability and comfort, especially when you spend extended periods of time standing or walking. This means your work footwear matters, particularly if your job requires you to be on your feet at all.

Work Demands on Legs and Feet

Different jobs place different demands on the feet and ankles. At an office job, most people spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk to complete their work. Other careers require significantly more time standing and walking around. Cashiers, hair stylists, teachers, retail and sales people, construction workers, nurses, waiters, and more spend their job shifts either standing or on the go. Their feet are constantly subjected to pressure and strain. Often the floors or ground they work on are hard and unforgiving surfaces for feet and ankles.

This can lead to soreness and overuse injuries. Over time, the problems in your lower limbs can affect the rest of your body, leading to knee, hip, and back pain. Certain jobs are hazardous, too, which can put the feet at risk for serious accidents. You need appropriate work shoes that cushion and support while still providing the protection you need to do your job well.

Worst Work Shoes

Your work footwear needs to match your job demands. An office job that doesn’t require much time standing has a fair amount of flexibility in choosing shoe styles. A job on the go needs a significant amount of support and stability from your footwear. A couple of styles are particularly detrimental for working feet: high heels and super-flat soles. Neither have much cushioning in the sole or arch support. High heels force your bodyweight forward onto the ball of the foot, which can make feet feel sore quickly. Shoes with completely flat soles are not much better. They have insufficient cushioning between your feet and the ground, and often have poor arch support. Both of these are poor choices for protection when you spend your workday on your feet.

Selecting the Right Pair

Choosing the right footwear for work doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider what your particular job demands of your feet. Then look for models that meet the protective requirements. Retail and restaurants often want some kind of comfortable, professional dress shoe. Nurses frequently wear cushioned clog-like footwear. Construction and factory workers need heavy boots, often with reinforced or steel-capped toes. This protects your feet from falling objects and heavy machinery in these more hazardous environments.

Look for pairs that have cushioned insoles and outsoles with no-slip grips. Make sure the footwear has some kind of arch support that meets your biomechanical needs. The toe box should be wide and deep, so toes can wiggle and spread as needed. In many cases, styles with laces are best. They allow you to secure your feet so they don’t slide around in the footwear. Remember to check the fit and comfort before buying any new pair. The right kind of shoe that fits wrong is still a problem.

Work footwear can make a significant difference for your comfort and safety on the job. Don’t take your shoes for granted. Protect your feet from long hours standing or walking. If you’re struggling with sore feet, let Dr. Robert Parker and our team at Parker Foot & Ankle know. See how we can help you. Call our Houston office at (281) 497-2850 or use the website to reach us for an appointment.