In this Guide
If you stand all day for work, you know the discomfort that can come from being on your feet for hours on end. People who stand all day often experience foot pain, joint aches, and issues with their back and posture.
By wearing the wrong shoes, you can exacerbate all those short term pain symptoms, and actually put yourself at risk of developing a larger, chronic issue like fallen arches, mobility issues, or worse conditions.
Luckily, most standing workers find that with the right pair of shoes, all those problems are easy to solve! No matter whether you work in a department store or at an upscale restaurant, we’ve got you covered with reviews and recommendations for the best shoes to stand in!
We’ve decided to make things easier for you to navigate, so we sorted our recommendations into a few specific guides:
Here on this homepage, we’ve put together some quick summary reviews of some of our favorites from each category, as well as our favorite unisex option! These are pairs that support your posture, relieve pressure on feet and joints, and keep you mobile and motivated all day long!
Let’s get right into it with a glance at the Top Three!
Best for Men
Best for Women
Reviews of the Best Shoes For Standing At Work
- Clarks Tilden Walk Oxford
- Birkenstock London
- Nike Men’s Flex Running Shoe
- Birkenstock Harris
- Dr. Marten’s 1460 Vegan Boot
- Nike Free Rn Flyknit
- Dansko Women’s Professional Mule
- Birkenstock Rosemead
- Birkenstock Collins
- Birkenstock Mayari
- Birkenstock Boston Professional
Our Recommendations For Comfy Men’s Work Shoes:
Clark’s Tilden Walk Oxford
The Clark’s Tilden Walk Oxford is one of our favorite men’s dress shoes, period. It looks great, feels great, and it also happens to be an excellent choice for when you’re on your feet for hours! We like its synthetic sole, which has all the bounce and traction of rubber without the clunky weight. Wearers love the way the sole keeps them feeling energetic. The elastic side gores and breathable construction of the upper material also make this one of the coolest, comfiest dress options in the second half of your shift. The Tilden’s leave some room for natural foot swelling, and keep sweat from causing you major discomfort. Oh, and the upper is still made from real leather, so you don’t have to compromise your classiness for the extra comfort factor! We think they’re the best compromise between classiness and comfort for guys in professional settings. They do get narrow toward the toe, though, so make sure to size up if that’s a problem for you!
If you’re someone who appreciates a little more structure, and wants a funkier look, the Birkenstock London’s are a classy closed-heel clog option. They might not be the snazziest thing in a boardroom, but they’re very popular among teachers, artists, and other business casual professionals. Their strongest selling point is their support! The London’s have Birkenstock’s proprietary cork footbed, which gives you strong arch support, heel cupping, and that distinctive feel which Birkenstock are known for. Cork molds to your own foot, and wears in to become softer and more supple the more you wear them. They have some cushioning as well, but the key element is the structure. It keeps you standing straighter, with better joint mobility and much better weight distribution across your foot than most mainstream shoes. The London’s come in a few different leather finishes, and all of them are elegant and get even better as they age. Check out Birkenstock’s sizing guide before you buy, though, since they’re a European company with their own measurement system!
Nike Men’s Flex Running Shoe
This updated model in Nike’s Flex series is one of our favorite “free” style running shoes right now. It’s also an excellent choice for guys on their feet all day! They have a grippy rubber sole, with excellent heel support and some more stability than other “free” runners. So, you get all the springiness and energy of a running shoe without feeling like you’re wobbling around. The Flex also has plenty of arch support to keep your feet happy, which can be a weak point on runners like these. We like the all-mesh upper with its fly-wire structure, as well. It keeps everything in place while giving you fantastic ventilation, and some flexibility for when your foot swells through the day. These are great for people who work in casual environments, especially in warehouses or making deliveries. They’re also super convenient because you can wear them to work, and go straight to the gym without needing another pair!
Anybody who’s ever worn a desert boot knows how cool they look, and that’s why the traditional Clark’s boots are so wildly popular all these years after they came out. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us who don’t have magical feet, they can feel like hell by the end of a shift. So, these Birkenstocks are a much more supportive alternative! Most desert boots have little to no support, but the Harris’s have Birkenstock’s signature cork footbed inside, so they’re just as supportive and anatomical as their sandals! You get all the style points of the desert boot, without sacrificing arch support and postural alignment. They’re also a much higher-quality product. Since Clark’s have outsourced to Asia, they’ve been much less reliable for quality control and durability. These Birk’s are made completely in Europe, and they’re extremely high-quality in both the leather and the sole. There are only two color options now, in black and brown, but Birkenstock are about to offer several suede options in tan and grey, so there are Harris’s for any hip dude!
Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 Boots
The Dr. Martens boots have been staples of the punk aesthetic for decades now. While you’re not going to get away with these working in a department store or boardroom, they’re ideal for retail workers in hip clothing stores and music shops, or other business-casual or alternative environments. The air-filled soles are super responsive, so these are some of the best shoes for concrete and very hard floors. Not only are these vegan 1460s more eco-friendly and ethical than the originals, but they hold up better, too! They’re some of the best-looking vegan boots on the market, and they’re easy to clean, which is a big advantage for messy workplaces. If you’re trying to stand comfortably all day without caving to lame “walking” shoes, these can hold their own with any “comfort” pairs without crushing your spirit!
See full reviews of all these options on our Best Men’s Shoes for Standing page!
Our Favorite Comfortable Styles For Women Standing At Work:
Nike Free Rn Flyknit Running Shoes
These Nike’s are ideal for ladies on their feet who can get away with a more casual look. They’re super fun and stylish, with lots of color combos and blended weaves. Like the Nike’s we’ve recommended for men, these Flyknit’s have a super flexible fly-wire and mesh upper that’s snug without being restrictive. It keeps your feet aired out and gives them room to expand over the course of your shift. The sole has grooves for flexibility, and there’s a layer of foam cushioning to keep your arches and heels happy. You can swap out the footbed for orthotics, as well, so these are easy to customize to specific foot issues. Since they’re so light, snug, and adaptive, these will make you feel like you’re not even wearing shoes–only you’re still comfortable! Oh, and they make great running buddies, too! We suggest them for warehouse workers, retailers in informal settings, and anybody who’s more comfortable in sneakers than traditional work shoes!
Dankso Professional Mule
Dansko’s are probably the most popular shoe on the market when it comes to women on their feet. Whether it’s nurses, hostesses, or stylists, women who spend their workweek standing up have come to trust Dansko’s to keep them comfortable while maintaining some serious style cred. They’re a comfortable rocker clog design, with a cork and foam sole which helps promote better posture and core engagement as you walk. Like a pair of Birkenstocks, they help reduce backaches and joint issues by giving you arch support and balancing your center of gravity. They’re easy to clean, they age extremely well, and the soles are close to indestructible. Women with all sorts of issues from plantar fasciitis to arthritis swear by Dansko’s–for a reason! If you’re out to get a rocker clog, look no further! We also love the range of leather finishes and patterns you can choose from. They’re made to European sizes, though, so check the size chart before you order.
If you’re after the comfort of a clog design, but don’t want something as clunky as a Dansko, check out these Birk’s! They’re an open-back, open-top clog that’s a more stylish alternative to Birkenstock’s popular Boston style. The soft suede is extremely comfortable, and has a natural breathability that’s superior to the more finished Dansko leather uppers. Plus, unlike the Dansko’s, which are a mix of foam and cork, these Rosemead’s are all-cork, for the most traditional and supportive sole possible. They’re excellent for your posture, and they do wonders for your arch and heel as well! As with other Birkenstocks, they mold to your feet, and get more comfortable the more you wear them. We love these because they go well with dresses, tights, you name it! If you want something a bit sleeker or daintier than your average clog, these are a great way to get it.
Leather boots are one of the most stylish options for working women, but the vast majority of leather boots, whether they’re riding height or ankle height, just aren’t comfortable enough to walk around in all day. Enter the Birkenstock Collins. They’re a high-grain leather boot with side zippers to help you get them on and off easily. The Collins’s have Birkenstock’s usual cork footbed, and rubber outsole for extra traction. Reviewers said they were far more comfortable than other leather boots. They loved having the Birkenstock comfort factor in something that looks this good. We love that the Collins’s improve over extended wear. The leather softens even more, and the footbed shapes to perfectly match your feet. They also won’t fall apart nearly as easily as your average leather boot. These are made completely in Europe, and they have an excellent track record for durability and long-term comfort! We think they’re the absolute best women’s boots for standing. Order a size, up, though!
We know we’re recommending a lot of Birkenstock’s here, but we can’t get around the fact that they’re so much better than other women’s shoes for standing! These Mayari’s are our favorite sandal option for gals who need comfort. Unlike orthotic and supportive sandals from most American companies, these German kicks look as good as they feel. They come in a dozen colors and finishes, and they go with anything from skinny jeans to summer floral dresses. As with the other Birkenstock’s we’ve recommended, they have that traditional cork footbed for supportive comfort, and they’re made completely in Germany. If you’ve gone around thinking you can’t get something dainty that won’t kill your feet, you really need to give these a try! They’re much less “hippie” than Birk’s of the past, and they’re just as comfortable. Be sure yours are sold through a reputable Amazon vendor, though. Since these are so popular, there are lots of knock-offs out there!
See full reviews of all these options on our Best Women’s Shoes for Standing page!
Our Top Unisex Pick For Standing:
Sometimes, the simplest things are the best! That’s why we love these Boston Professional’s from Birkenstock. The normal Boston clogs are insanely comfortable, and these Professional’s pack all that comfort into something that’s ideal for a restaurant kitchen or medical facility. They’re perfect for both men and women.
They’re loaded with the typical Birkenstock cork footbed, which gives you plenty of arch support, metatarsal comfort, and heel cupping. You’ll stay cool, thanks to the open-back clog design, and the wide, soft leather upper gives you some space to expand as your feet swell through the shift. We love the special smooth leather finishes on these Professional’s, since they look sleek and classy without being hard to clean or sanitize as necessary. They’re also equipped with a certified slip-resistant sole, so traction will never be an issue for you.
Check them out!
The Best Shoes For Standing On Concrete:
We know the pains of standing and walking all day on concrete floors, trust us! So, we’ve come up with a whole guide specifically to help with those workplaces! You can check it out here:
One of our top picks is the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. It’s available for both men and women, and it comes in all sorts of color combos.
The Pegasus 33 is the latest in a long line of great shoes, with an incredibly loyal following among the running community. We love this style for standing on concrete because it has such responsive, durable cushioning. It’s made for pounding the pavement, so it has no problem standing up to all-day work on your feet. The Zoom air cells in the sole give you lightweight but effective cushioning, and there’s some pretty great traction on the outsole which keeps you walking securely on painted or smoothed concrete floors. You can run in them after work, and they’re snazzy enough to wear out on the town as well!
See our full review of the Pegasus, and check out the rest of our choices for conquering concrete here!
|Clark’s Tilden Walk Oxford||$$||Fits as expected|
|Birkenstock London||$$||Fits as expected|
|Nike Men’s Flex Running Shoe||$$||Fits as expected|
|Birkenstock Harris||$$||Fits as expected|
|Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 Boots||$$||Fits as expected|
|Nike Free Rn Flyknit Running Shoes||$$$||Fits as expected|
|Dankso Professional Mule||$$||Fits as expected|
|Birkenstock Rosemead||$||Fits as expected|
|Birkenstock Collins||$$||Fits as expected|
|Birkenstock Mayari||$$||Fits as expected|
|Bikenstock: Boston||$$||Fits as expected|
|Nike Air Zoom Pegasus||$$$||Fits as expected|
Standing all day takes a toll on your shoes as well as your body. In fact, the whole point of buying proper footwear for long periods on your feet is to make sure that your shoes are taking the strain so you don’t have to! With that in mind, make sure you’re buying shoes with soles that won’t wear down easily or lose their supportiveness. Avoid memory foams and cheap synthetic foam materials. Cork footbeds and gel foams tend to last the longest, as do air pocket cushions. You’ll also want to look for outsoles made from sturdy rubber or very strong synthetic materials, especially if you work on a rougher surface like carpet or concrete, or if you’re walking to work on pavement. The more you spend, the more you’ll get, as a rule of thumb.
Look for comfort features
To keep you comfortable over a long shift on your feet, you’re going to need to look for a few different things:
First up, make sure there’s some cushion in your shoes. Gel, foam, and rubber cushion materials are by far the most common, and they can all be effective. The key is to give yourself just enough cushion to stay comfortable without making you feel like you’re wobbling. You also want to avoid having so much pillowy cushion that you float above the arch support and heel cradle. Natural cork is great for finding that balance, since it gives you just enough of a cushion to be comfy without compromising posture.
Your feet expand naturally over the course of the day, which is why many shoes feel too tight by the end of the shift. That’s just a fact of standing so long. It’s your shoes which determine whether the natural swelling will become uncomfortable. Look for designs like clogs, or flexible sneakers which can accommodate some extra swelling as the day goes by.
Keeping your feet cool can help cut down on swelling, and having some ventilation is always best to prevent excessive sweat and conditions like athlete’s foot. So, airy sneakers are always a safe bet, and we love open-back or open-top clog designs for keeping hot feet happy. If you’re looking at something that’s totally enclosed, just look for a natural leather upper rather than synthetic materials. Leather breathes naturally, so it’s always better than rubber or plastics.
Focus on posture and support
While cushioning is essential to any footwear, the real key to comfort on your feet is support. Joint and back pain isn’t usually due to lack of cushion. It’s due to poor foot support and bad postural alignment. That’s why you need strong arch support, a balanced sole design, and heel cupping stability to keep your whole body happy. Avoid shoes which point you down at a severe angle, like women’s heels or very angled men’s running shoes. Instead, look for something with only a slight heel drop, with strong support through the midsole, arch, and metatarsal ridge. Once you’re all lined up properly, you’ll be amazed how much more comfortable you are! Just adjusting your feet can help you engage your core muscles to keep your back safe, and align your joints so they don’t feel as much strain or limitation.
Know your feet
The most important thing you can do in buying a pair of shoes is to make sure that you’re choosing something that fits your foot style. If you have wider feet, for instance, you’ll be more comfortable in clogs than in narrower dress styles. If you need arch support, you’re going to want to make sure your new kicks have some built in, or have accommodations for you to add orthotics.
Choose looks and features appropriate to your environment
People stand for work in all sorts of environments and atmospheres. You’ll want to think about what’s going to work best for your workplaces as you shop. If having non-slip soles is important to you, you’ll want to look for something with lots of traction. If you’re in a very upscale environment, you probably want to be looking at something made from leather, with a snazzier look. Think about the aesthetic and dress code at your workplace. Then, think about conditions like the type of floor you’re working on, the type of movement you’ll be doing, and which features can support those needs. Consider the clothes you’ll wear with your new shoes, and whether you need shoes that can be cleaned easily.
Make an investment
If you’re standing all day in your shoes, you shouldn’t expect to use something super inexpensive. Would you cheap out on your mattress, or sleep on an uncomfortable pillow just to save money? Of course not. So, make sure you’re prepared to spend at least $50-$100 on your new pair of shoes for standing. You might be tempted to save a few bucks up front, but an investment in supportive, comfortable shoes will more than pay for itself by saving you money on chiropractor visits, podiatrist appointments, and other costly, time-consuming medical procedures. Your shoes are a serious investment in your health, so treat them as such when you’re deciding on your budget!
If you’ve seen a shoe or two here that catches your eye, just click on one of the links to find out more about it in our full Men’s, Women’s, or Concrete guides! Or, if you’re already pretty sure you’ve found what you need, you can click on one of the links in the reviews to check out our recommendations on Amazon!
For more of our shoe recommendations and reviews, head to our home page Best Shoe Reviews! You’ll find all our favorite walking, running, and dress shoes–and much more!