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Standing on your feet all day can be surprisingly painful, not to mention exhausting. Although you might not be getting the same daily step count as a marathon runner, confining all of your weight to the small surface area of your feet for long hours on end can result in tired, achy feet. Having the right footwear can make or break not only your comfort level by the end of a long shift, but also the health of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia in your feet. Steel Safety Boots
Choosing the best shoes for standing all day can potentially help alleviate some of the stress imposed on your feet. Whether you work in retail, the service industry or the medical field, if you are putting in six or more hour shifts standing on your feet all day, you should consider wearing well-cushioned, supportive shoes.
In this article, we have put together a comprehensive guide for what to look for when buying shoes for being on your feet all day, and our picks for the best shoes for standing all day, no matter what your shoe priorities and needs are.
If you are on your feet most of the time at work, you need a high-quality work shoe for standing all day. The adidas Ultraboost 22 is a premium running shoe that can double as a work-ready shoe. Owing to the superior cushioning is the responsive BOOST cushioning, which provides rebound and energy return with each step while feeling soft and plush. Coupled with the Linear Energy Push system, these materials help your feet feel fresh and springy as you walk, even towards the end of a long workday.
Overall, the adidas Ultraboost 22 has a snugger slipper-like fit, which actually can enhance your comfort because it enhances stability and support all around. For example, to reduce slippage and blisters, the shoes have a narrower heel, which hugs the back of your foot and lends just a bit of extra stability to prevent overpronation as your legs get tired. There is also a lower instep curve and foot-hugging adidas PRIMEKNIT uppers to keep your foot in the optimal position for support.
One cool perk is that the upper on the adidas Ultraboost is made of 50 percent recycled content in an effort to improve sustainability and reduce plastic waste. The durable rubber outsole offers enhanced traction on wet and dry surfaces.
It’s important to note that because the shoe fits snugly, especially in the toe box, it might not be the best fit for those with wider feet.
Purchase adidas Ultraboost 22 Men’s | Women’s
If you like the athletic look, or want your occupational footwear to double as high-performing running shoes, you will love the Hoka One One Bondi 7.
Hoka One One is well known for making high-quality maximalist running shoes, which are said to impart cloud-like cushioning and marshmallow softness. The Hoke One One Bondi 7 employs that unparalleled cushioning used in the running shoes and applies it to a shoe intended for everyday wear or occupations that require long hours on your feet.
Featuring a slip-resistant rubber sole and a high-quality, compression-molded EVA midsole to ensure all-day cushion, this Hoka shoe should be safe and stable in any workplace environment or during athletic activities.
This maximalist running shoe features an early stage meta-rocker sole to facilitate easy heel-to-toe transitions for a smooth gait. There is a plush memory foam collar that contours and cradles your heel and ankle for improved all-day comfort and fit, with a full EVA midsole to increase stability and support for your feet while attenuating shock.
Despite having a very thick sole with tons of extra cushioning, the Hoka Bondi 7 is surprisingly lightweight, featuring a highly breathable knit upper.
The Hoka Bondi 7 has earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, a designation that recognizes products that have been found beneficial to foot health as determined by a group of APMA podiatrists. Therefore, if you wear orthotics or have any sort of chronic or acute foot condition, you can feel confident that these shoes are one step you can take towards better foot health.
Overall, it’s a reliable, supportive athletic shoe with incredible shock absorption and comfort, whether you're running, walking or standing. Plus, the shoe is vegan.
Purchase Hoka One One Bondi 7 Men’s | Women’s
The Skechers Street Uno Stand on Air shoe lives up to the name. The cloud-like cushioning the shoe provides uses a product of the integrated air cell in the sole of the shoe under your heel. In much the same way that Nike Air Max shoes have a foundation of air incorporated into the sole of the shoe for shock absorption.
Skechers has delivered on the performance front as well. In addition to the integrated Skech-Air air cell in the midsole, the shoe features an Air-Cooled Memory Foam® insole. Together, these cushioning elements afford supreme all-day comfort and shock absorption when you are standing for long hours.
As a perfect marriage between fashion and function, the Skechers Street Uno Stand on Air is our overall pick for the best shoe for standing all day for men. Even though there tends to be a little bit of a break in period, once you have worn the shoes a few times, they should be great for shock-absorbing comfort and support.
The lace-up design allows you to adjust the snugness of the fit, although the shoes do seem to run a bit snug, so you might want to size up if you’re between sizes. If you have a fairly wide foot but normally wear regular-width shoes, it’s a good idea to go with the wide option.
These Skechers are durable and well constructed, especially given the low price point. They feature a smooth, synthetic 'durabuck' perforated upper and a tough, abrasion-resistant rubber sole that provides excellent traction.
Purchase Skechers Uno Stand on Air
The Skechers GOwalk 5 is a cute, super lightweight shoe that is surprisingly comfortable to wear standing for long hours. Combining the ULTRA GO® cushioning midsole with an Air-Cooled Goga Mat™ insole, this comfy shoe is designed to cushion your feet both when you are standing stationary at a workstation or check-out counter or while walking back and forth through hospital hallways or around a restaurant floor.
This is because while walking, the cushioning materials provide high-rebound shock absorption, meaning that after they are compressed when you weight bear on each foot, they spring back in time for the next step. And, while standing, the memory foam insole warms and molds to your feet to cradle the entire surface of the sole of your foot for enhanced pressure distribution.
In addition to being very well cushioned, these shoes are extremely lightweight, which can reduce fatigue on the muscles in your legs, particularly if you are walking around all day. A lighter shoe means that your muscles don’t have to work as hard to lift your foot off the ground during the swing phase of walking. Over the course of a long day on your feet, this energy cost savings can add up, leaving your feet and legs feeling less fatigued then after wearing heavier shoes.
Moreover, the meshy knit material for the upper that makes these shoes blissfully lightweight also makes them highly breathable. Plus, these shoes can reduce the risk of athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that breeds in warm, moist environments.
The Skechers GOwalk 5 shoes feature an easy pull-on style design, which certainly makes them stylish, but might not be suitable or supportive enough for women who wear orthotics or overpronate. With that said, the insole does have Comfort Pillar Technology® for added arch support. However, the insole is not removable, which is another reason why these may not be the best shoes for people who need the added support of orthotics.
Finally, the shoes are machine washable, so you can keep them looking fresh and new even if you spill on them or have to track through messy puddles.
This is another of our top picks for the best footwear for standing where the name says it all. The On Cloud 5 provides cloud-like cushioning, which is why it is one of the brand’s best-selling shoes.
Now in the fifth iteration, this lightweight, plushy shoe has been re-engineered so that it now contains 44 percent recycled content and has a slightly higher heel-to-toe drop to reduce the stress and strain on the calves and Achilles’ tendons.
The upper knit material is highly breathable to promote air circulation and reduce the weight of the shoe. This is a boon for long days walking or standing on your feet because the decreased weight reduces the workload on your legs, particularly if you are walking most of the time at work
Another great feature is that the thin tongue is sewn directly into the upper, lending to an easy-to-slip-on shoe. There is a unique lacing system with elastic laces, or speed laces, that wrap the midfoot for a snug fit. All you have to do is tug the ends to cinch them to the right tightness to hug your foot. You can also swap the laces out if you prefer standard shoe laces, but the speed laces allow for quick donning and doffing.
One of the best updates in this shoe is the reconfigured midsole foam, which now contains the CloudTec system for maximal cushioning and shock absorption. There are individual sections of cushioning, and you can actually feel each unique region of plush comfort with each step. This cushioning system diatribes pressure evenly, making this shoe a great option for standing all day on concrete, a notoriously unforgiving surface.
The On Cloud 5 also has a Speedboard running along the length of the shoe to aid energy return and to provide stability throughout the entire heel-to-toe transition while walking. The shoe also looks stylish, and that’s often the factor that has to be nixed when you’re prioritizing function and performance.
Purchase On Cloud 5 Men’s | Women’s
When you’re working in an area where there might be spills on the floor, you’ll want to have slip-resistant shoes for superior traction on your feet. Known for high-quality clogs built to last, Birkenstock delivers on a cushioned, anti-slip shoe with their unisex clogs.
Featuring a composition of cork, leather, and polyurethane, these classic clogs are as comfortable and functional as they are simple in appearance.
The integrated Original Birkenstock Footbed promotes even distribution of your body weight across the entire foot; which reduces pressure and stress on any one structure in the foot and enhances support. This shoe features a longitudinal and transverse arch for enhanced support for long hours on your feet. Plus, the footbed is removable and washable, so you can keep your clogs feeling fresh and smelling clean wear after wear.
The anti-slip polyurethane (PU) outsole is a synthetic material that is water-repellent, dirt-resistant, grease-resistant and easy to clean. Moreover, it provides excellent traction on wet surfaces, be it damp pavement or a water spill on tile flooring. These Birkenstocks have a deep heel cup for better stability and control, and there is plenty of toe room for full freedom of natural foot splay.
One of the challenges of finding good shoes for flat feet is that you need extra arch support and pronation, and many shoes just don’t provide enough support or they are too rigid and therefore aren’t comfortable. Even if you have normal or high arches, when you stand for long hours, the little muscles in the foot and lower leg that normally maintain the integrity of the arch fatigue, so you need to have a shoe with good arch support.
Our pick for the best arch support shoe for hours of standing is the New Balance 840v5. It provides excellent arch support and control for overpronation, due to midfoot posting and a supportive insole. New Balance shoes are known to be highly supportive and well designed, and the 840v5 is one of the brand’s premium stability shoes.
The plush ABZORB midsole attenuates shock while providing good energy return to help you feel light and fast on your feet. It is compression resistant, which means that even after standing for hours, the material retains its thickness to best cushion your foot. With a highly breathable mesh upper, your feet get plenty of air flow to prevent overheating, while still having enough stability for a secure fit.
Purchase New Balance 840v5 Men’s | Women’s
If you want an eco-friendly, comfortable vegan shoe, you’ll like the Vionic Casual Slip-ons. This is a lightweight, fashion-frayed slip-on shoe that pairs well with a casual outfit and features an easy slip-on and off design. This shoe comes in dozens of colors and patterns, allowing you to get just the right look to match your style.
In terms of support and cushioning, the shoes feature a removable twill-covered EVA insole that is anatomically contoured to provide arch support. There are three zones of comfort: a deep heel cup, robust forefoot cushioning and an orthotic-like arch support in the midsole.
Purchase Vionic Casual Slip-ons Men's | Women's
If you have wide feet or have a bunion, it can be difficult to find comfortable, functional and stylish footwear. This is where Altra, a brand that’s well known for designing shoes with a wide toe box, can help. The additional room accommodates the natural toe splay that occurs when you bear weight on your forefoot, and can help prevent common foot conditions such as metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuroma and bunions.
The lightweight Altra Escalante features Altra’s signature zero-drop design, meaning that the heel and forefoot of the shoe are the exact same height. This allows your foot and legs to have completely natural biomechanics when you walk and run, without the artificial heel lift seen in most conventional shoes. Although adjusting to zero-drop shoes can be a bit of a process, once you do, you’ll engage your calves much more than in a traditional running shoe.
To ease the stress and discomfort of your feet from hours of standing, the Altra Escalante 2.5 features the Altra EGO™ midsole, a super soft yet responsive foam cushioning paired with proprietary InnerFlex technology to enhance flexibility. The result is a very smooth heel-to-toe transition while walking or running.
The footbed is anatomically contoured to enhance arch support and comfort, increasing the surface area of contact with your foot to disperse pressure.
Finally, the upper has a sock-lock engineered knit for an intimate, flexible feel around your entire foot.
Purchase Altra Escalante 2.5 Men’s | Women’s
Knowing what to look for when buying shoes that will be comfortable to wear during long days on your feet can help you choose the right shoes for standing all day. The shoes need to not only be well cushioned, but also supportive.
Cushioning, whether provided by memory foam, EVA foam, air, gels or other materials, will provide shock absorption and reduce the impact stress on the musculoskeletal structures in your feet.
The structure of the insole and midsole will dictate how much stability and support the shoe provides. Proper arch support is important if you are going to be on your feet for long hours because the small muscles in the lower leg and foot that normally control the arch will fatigue. This can cause your feet to pronate, placing extra stress on your plantar fascia, posterior tibial tendon, ankles and shins. Over time, a lack of arch support can contribute to developing lower leg and foot injuries.
It is also important to consider the materials used to construct the shoe and how these materials lend different properties that may or may not be necessary for you. For example, if you work in the service industry in a kitchen, it is important to get a shoe with an anti-slip sole and a grease-resistant upper for safety and ease of cleaning. If you work outside, you might need a water-resistant upper.
Then, you need to consider the fit and sizing of the shoe. If you have a wide foot, it is often best to choose a shoe that specifically comes in wide widths, but the shape of the shoe can also greatly affect how it fits. Some shoes have a narrower shape, while others have a wide toe box. Ideally, for a perfect fit, you want to buy a shoe that matches the natural shape of your foot without squeezing or putting excessive pressure on any areas of your foot. It also shouldn’t be too loose, as this can increase the risk of blisters and falls.
Finally, consider the appearance of the shoe and whether it meets the requirements that your job may have for your footwear. Are there certain colors that you must choose? Does the shoe need to lace up or is a slip-on design okay? Do you need running shoes or walking shoes for an active role or a classic work shoe?
There are several factors to consider when buying a pair of shoes to wear for extended periods of time, including the following:
If you are going to be standing on your feet all day, it is ideal to wear a shoe with a wide sole that makes full ground contact. The wider and broader the outsole, greater the surface area to distribute your body weight, reducing pressure on your feet.
Additionally, a flat outsole without particularly aggressive treads or lugs will be more comfortable for standing shoes because there is more surface area in contact with the ground and no pinpoint areas of concentrated pressure.
The midsole is the region of the shoe between the insole and outsole. When standing all day; your shoe needs to have a well-cushioned midsole along the entire length of the footbed to help reduce shock and transfer the load from heel-to-toe when you walk.
Memory foam can be a fantastic cushioning material in sneakers because it conforms to the shape of your foot as it warms up from your body heat. This enables the material to provide superior pressure relief due to full-contact support. Memory foam also has excellent shock-absorbing and elastic recoil properties. A thicker midsole also tends to be more cushioned.
The upper should be breathable and lightweight to reduce the weight of the shoe, especially if you do a lot of walking. Excess weight will contribute to fatigue in the small muscles in your feet and lower legs.
A wide toe box is ideal for standing shoes because it permits natural toe splay and prevents the ball of your foot from being compressed as your foot swells over the course of the day.
Depending on how much support and stability you need, the best shoes for standing typically have great arch support because your own intrinsic foot muscles will tire over the course of standing all day. This may cause overpronation of the feet and subsequent foot pain.
Although aggressive lugs on the outsole tend to get uncomfortable and are not as effective at fully distributing pressure as a flat outsole, you still want the sole of the shoe to provide good grip on the flooring that you will be standing on.
Look for anti-slip shoes, especially if you work on a tile floor or in areas where there are often spills or grease.
The appearance of the pair of shoes can matter in a couple of ways. For one, you obviously want to choose shoes that match your aesthetic preferences so that you feel good wearing them. Secondly, your place of employment may have certain guidelines as to the colors, style and materials for the shoe.
Look for shoes in your price range. High-quality shoes will tend to cost more than cheap shoes, but you can often find decent deals on older models on sites like Amazon, Nordstrom or Zappos. Expect to pay about $50-150 for good shoes for healthcare workers, service industry professionals and other occupations that require standing.
Memory foam shoes have insoles or midsoles constructed from a material made from a polymer called polyurethane. The material is able to adapt to the shape of your foot as it heats up, the material softens and becomes more pliable and fluid, almost like a plasma. As a result, memory foam shoes are able to mold and adapt to your unique foot shape, intimately cradling every contour in a way that regular EVA foam insoles cannot.
For this reason, memory foam walking shoes tend to be very comfortable while standing for an extended time. The material helps disperse shock and impact forces more effectively because the adaptable insole makes full contact with your foot, spreading the forces and pressures over a larger surface area.
Compression socks can potentially reduce discomfort in the feet and legs by aiding circulation and helping prevent swelling. When you are standing all day, your feet are in the dependent position, meaning that venous blood returning to the heart has to fight the force of gravity.
This can cause some amount of swelling in the feet and ankles, particularly if you are standing in one place rather than moving around. When the muscles contract when you walk, they help squeeze the blood back up to the heart, but just standing in one place doesn’t activate this “muscle pump” system as effectively.
One large review concluded that compression sleeves likely increase arterial blood flow, localized skin temperature and reduce the perception of muscle soreness and pain after exercise. However, significant changes in metabolic responses, blood pressure, heart rate and cardiorespiratory measures seem unlikely.
Some studies suggest that compression socks can reduce the impact forces of running and the subsequent muscle fatigue, potentially reducing the risk of injury. Another study involving treadmill running showed that lower limb compression garments reduce soft tissue vibrations, muscle displacement and the muscle activation associated with impact forces while running.
These benefits can potentially coalesce to reduce fatigue and discomfort in your feet and ankles.
When choosing the best shoes for standing all day, it’s important to consider the materials used to support and cushion the shoe, as well as the fit and feel of the shoe. Choose reputable brands that are known to make high-quality, durable footwear. Reading customer reviews can often provide valuable insights into how well the shoe will work for your needs.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.
Steel Toe Protection Shoe Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and USATF level 1 running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, Amber likes running, cycling, cooking, spending time outside and tackling any type of puzzle.This author is writing sponsored content paid for by Pillar4 and not affiliated with Sports Illustrated.