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The types of jobs worked by vast millions every day vary quite a bit. So, it is not surprising to find a large number of shoes marketed and sold for work and various trades.
Your choice of work shoes is important. At a minimum, they must keep you upright, energetic, and comfortable all day. But not every shoe is up to the task.
That leads us to the most asked question. Which work shoes are right for my feet? Well, we have done the work and compiled a list of the 10 best work shoes to help provide you with some answers.
No Time to Read the Entire List?
For those in the food service industry, or similar, the Skechers for Work Women’s Squad SR and Skechers for Work Men’s Flex Advantage McAllen are fine choices. They are durable and comfortable. Plus, they are affordable.
If you need steel toes, like in construction or warehouse work, then the KEEN Utility Women’s Detroit XT and the Reebok Work Men’s Leelap RB1975 EH are great alternatives to the hot, uncomfortable work boot.
A detailed review of the 10 best work shoes is presented below for those who would like more information.
Type: Lace-up | Style: Work, sporty, casual | Colors: Black
Long days on your feet define the foodservice industry. For those employed in this job sector, your shoe choice is critical to avoid sore, tired feet.
Skechers Squad SR lace-up shoes are comfortable and affordable. It is also designed specifically for women in the food service industry.
A memory foam foot bed serves as the insole. It is removable, but most users find the memory foam performs quite well. The memory foam also breathes, helping to keep your feet cool and dry.
The upper is a mesh fabric that is stain resistant. It is also flexible and moves with your foot, reducing pinching. The pliable upper also makes for easy on and off. Plus, it allows airflow to keep your feet comfortable.
The outsole is a synthetic rubber that provides protection against electrical hazards. A textured sole bottom also provides slip resistance and its cushioned heel measures about 1 ¼ in.
On the toe, heel, and laces, you find protective overlays for added durability. It also adds a bit of style to the shoe.
Other nice features include a pull tab at the heel and the collar is padded. The midsole is lightweight, flexible, and shock absorbing.
This a lightweight, affordable shoe that most women in the foodservice industry will appreciate.
Type: Slip-on | Style: Work, Casual | Colors: Black, Black/charcoal, Charcoal/black
The foodservice industry employs thousands of people who all know about sore feet. Plus, slippery floors are a common hazard. Skechers knew this. So, they designed the men’s Flex Advantage McAllen specifically for the industry.
Slip and falls on wet or oily surfaces, like quarry tile, cause many injuries. For your safety, the Mcallen’s textured synthetic sole is rated as slip resistant. Skechers tested this shoe per ASTM F1677-2005 Mark II. It meets or exceeds a result of 0.40 under wet/oily conditions.
Another important issue is long term comfort. To provide it, the McAllen includes a memory foam insole. It is glued in place, but some users found they could remove it if necessary with some elbow grease.
Other details that help provide comfort are the padded collar and the relaxed fit. The roomier toe box makes a big difference over those long days on your feet.
This slip-on is easy on and off with the dual goring. The flexible panels also keep the shoe snug when on.
The upper is a mesh fabric which lets your foot breathe. Good airflow keeps your foot cool and dry and many users like this feature.
Overall, this is a good shoe, but it is even better when you realize the reasonable price. The Skechers McAllen is a good bargain that will help prevent slip and falls as well as tired, aching feet.
Type: Lace-up athletic footwear | Style: Work, casual | Colors: Cascade Brown/Amaranth
Some jobs require steel toe shoes for crush protection. That usually means work boots, which get hot and uncomfortable. So what’s a woman to do when she spends long hours working on hard surfaces?
Well, you might want to consider the Keen Detroit XT steel toe, that’s what. It looks like an athletic lace-up shoe, but it is much more than that.
For starters, the steel toes are “asymmetrical” which means it is fitted for your right and left toes. They conform better and have more room, meaning no pinching or blisters from rubbing.
The rubber sole is oil and slip-resistant and made with a non-marking material. It is also rated against electrical hazards in case of accidental contact with electric current.
The upper is mostly leather with fabric panels for air flow. The shoe also has a large rubber pad on the toe for durability.
A contoured footbed provides stability and comfort with enhanced flexibility. It is a removable metatomical dual-density EVA foam insert. Designed for excellent arch support, it cradles the natural contours of the foot.
Most importantly, it is designed for a woman’s foot for improved comfort and fit. While it is not a fashion statement, and only comes in one color, it is a comfortable women’s shoe that can protect your feet.
While there is much to like in this shoe, quality safety shoes are a bit expensive. But for those women in who need comfort and safety, this steel toe shoe is one you should seriously consider.
Type: Lace-up athletic footwear | Style: Work, casual | Colors: Blue
Reebok’s men’s Leelap safety shoe is an interesting concept. They took their creativity and experience from manufacturing athletic shoes and designed a shoe for work. It resulted in a shoe that blends comfort and safety.
On the safety side, all the right boxes are checked. A steel toe prevents crushed toes and punctures. Plus, the Leelap sole protects against electrical shocks.
The shoe outsole has an aggressive tread on the bottom. It was tested and rated as slip resistant. The heel also contains a sponge rubber heel to absorb shock.
A leather upper brandishes overlays on the heel and toe for added durability. A few modest accents also add some contrast and style.
This shoe only comes in blue. But it is a dark navy blue that can blend with most wardrobes.
The insole is a cushioned EVA insole that can be removed. If you have custom orthotics, you can use them in this shoe.
Most users find the Leelap very comfortable except those with very wide feet. By the way, wide is available for most sizes, but people who have “very” wide feet find it is not wide enough.
This shoe is moderately priced, but compared to steel toe boots, it is a relative deal for the safety features and comfort built into the Reebok Leelap.
Type: Lace-up trainer | Style: Work, casual, sport | Colors: Black, Grey/blue, White
New Balance claims to have designed this shoe with comfort, support and traction for the woman who works on her feet all day. And they did seem to hit their mark.
For comfort, New Balance employed a lightweight injection molded EVA insole. Most users find the shoe very comfortable right out of the box. But the insole is removable if you have custom orthotics.
The heel contains a “crash pad” with a proprietary foam called “Abzorb.” It was developed to absorb and dissipate shock. Yes, that is some marketing by New Balance, but users do like it; they feel it works.
A leather upper presents a clean, lace up sneaker. There are several overlays for some style and the heel and toe are overlaid for added durability. And the collar is padded for comfort.
The outsole material does not leave marks. So, if you work on floors that scuff or mar easily, you will appreciate this shoe. Also, the bottom of the sole is textured and slip resistant.
A limited color selection should satisfy most work situations. The white could even be worn by nurses. But if you want lots of colors to choose, this is not your shoe.
As for price, these are mid-pack. But the moderate price is a good deal for a quality built training shoe with a number of comfort features.
Type: Lace-up sneaker | Style: Work, casual | Colors: Charcoal, Black, Brown/taupe, Charcoal/black, Navy, Pebble/black/pebble, Black/royal, Black/black, Charcoal/green, Charcoal/red, Charcoal/gray
For a secure fit without concern of your shoe falling off, a lace-up shoe is usually better than a slip-on. And there are jobs where a more secure shoe is needed. The Skechers Afterburn is a lace-up athletic shoe, but with the comfort of a walker.
The rubber sole is textured, providing slip resistance. The outsole is also flexible for comfort and the 1 ½ in. heel helps to absorb shock with each step.
A leather and mesh upper breathe so your feet will stay cool and dry. Plus, the padded collar and a cushioned tongue add to this shoes comfort.
But the feature that most users notice is the full memory foam insole. It combines with the outsole for comfort and support while standing or walking on hard surfaces. For long days at work, this sneaker keeps your feet comfortable and dry till you clock out.
The downside with the insole is that it is not removable. Those with custom orthotics will not be able to use them with this shoe.
As for looks, the shoe does sport overlay accents with contrasting stitching. It is a natural to pair with jeans, but could also work with khakis or other casual slacks. Also, there are a number of colors available for you to choose from to match your wardrobe.
If you wear sneakers at work, the competitive price combined with this shoe’s features makes them a great value.
Type: Pump | Style: Professional | Colors: Black
There are a lot of shoes that are comfortable, designed specifically for work. Unfortunately, most are often not very professional looking.
The Clark women’s Emslie Lulin pump solves this problem. This footwear looks great. But it also conceals comfort features usually not found in traditional dress shoes.
To keep your feet feeling fresh, Clarks includes an Ortholite footbed inside this shoe. If you do not know, Ortholite is a well-known insole manufacturer. They have earned a reputation for stable, but comfortable shoe inserts.
A simple hook and loop strap allows you to tighten the shoe just right on your foot. Soft leather is used for both the strap and upper to create a monolithic, continuous look.
Clarks used a breathable fabric to construct the lining. So, your foot will stay cool and dry.
The 2 in. heel provides some height without being awkward. It also works with the “Clark Cushion Soft” padding and the Ortholite insole to absorb and disseminate shock. You will not find this attention to comfort in most dress shoes.
One drawback is the Emslie Lulin only comes in black. If you need another color, this shoe will not work.
However, the price is affordable. You get a lot, a leather shoe that looks professional with lots of comfort hidden inside.
Type: Lace-up Oxford | Style: Professional, casual dress | Colors: Brown, Black, Dark brown
The Segment Rilar is a lace-up Oxford. It provides an attractive appearance plus comfort for long hours of work on hard surfaces. Think of it as a hybrid of a dress shoe crossed with a comfortable sneaker.
To provide that comfort, Skechers includes a midsole that is supportive, but also shock absorbing. This midsole works with a memory foam insert, that is lightly glued in place. If you need to remove the insole, you can with some care.
The outsole is rubber and contains a heavy tread. It is sure to be more slip resistant than any leather soled shoe.
A padded collar and soft lining help to keep things comfy. You even find a convenient pull loop on the heel to help pull the shoe on. It is well designed footwear.
As for style, a simple rounded toe shows off the oiled leather upper. The laces pass through metal eyelets that provide a subtle hint of contrast. It is a clean, professional appearance that will work a number of men’s fashion styles.
Last, but certainly not least, the price is affordable. Shoes can get very expensive, so footwear that packs in a lot of nice features for a reasonable price can be hard to find. But luckily, you now know to take a look at the Segment Rilar from Skechers.
Type: Slip-on clog | Style: Casul | Colors: Black
When it comes to comfort, slip-ons have become a popular favorite for a reason. They are usually really comfortable. So, it is no surprise that you can find slip-ons that are perfect for work.
Dr. Scholl’s women’s Dynamo work shoes provide comfort and a simple clean slip-on clog. It is perfect for the working woman that needs comfort in a shoe that can stand up to the rigors of work.
We will not bore you with the testing details. But Dr. Scholl’s did test this shoe extensively to make sure it qualifies as oil and slip resistant. (You can easily find the test procedures and the results online if you need them.)
But Dr. Scholl’s also built the outsole with a non-marking rubber. A small detail for some, but it is a nice feature. You can be confident you will not mar a floor or leave scuffs in your wake.
Returning to comfort, the HeeluxeTM Occupational Shoe Research included the Dynamo in its April, 2016 tests. In the end, this product beat the industry average for comfort and cushioning when tested.
A gel-infused memory foam insole is one reason for the comfort. This insole is removable. It is also an anti-compression foam for durability.
The lining wicks and vents moisture to help keep your foot dry. The manufacturer also treated the fabric with Aegis Microbe Shield to control odor.
On one side of the leather upper, there is a flexible gore. This allows you to easily slip this clog on and off. The collar is also padded for comfort. Dr. Scholl’s paid attention to details that add comfort in the Dynamo.
After listing the many desirable features, you might think this is an expensive shoe. It is not; the price is affordable. So, this a great deal and a good choice for those looking for a comfortable slip-on work shoe to keep you going all day.
Type: Slip-on moc | Style: Work casual | Colors: Black, Espresso
The men’s slip-on has evolved and in 2020 it is a favorite work shoe for many. But most are not made for a long day on hard surfaces like concrete, quarry tile, hardwood, pavement, and more. And some are just not durable enough.
Merrell’s Work Jungle Moc CT is a true work shoe that protects your foot against hazards, while keeping it comfy. Plus, it is made to last.
It also looks good. The upper is full-grain leather. It looks great and is durable.
This shoe’s toe has an abrasion resistant rubber pad for added protection of the upper. Plus, the CT in the name stands for composite toe. The Jungle Moc includes a lightweight non-metallic cap to protect your toes.
The rubber outsole is heavily textured for slip resistance. It is also oil resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 500°F. “Air” cushioning in the heel helps to provide extended comfort and shock resistance.
Even more details pamper your foot like a padded collar and nylon arch shank that provides support with just the right amount of flex. For easy on and off, the shoe has flexible gore panels and a heel pull tab.
The footbed contours to your foot. It is a “KINETIC FIT™” EVA insert with zonal arch support and heel cushioning. Should the insole wear out, Merrell sells a full line of replacement insoles to pick from, or you can supply your own orthotics.
Also, the breathable mesh liner helps keep your feet cool and dry. Of course, that is crucial for your feet to feel great over long hours of work.
All these features packed into a casual slip-on makes for a fine work shoe. But it does make the Work Jungle Moc CT a little more expensive. Compared to other shoes on our list, it falls somewhere in the middle of the price range.
If you are shopping for new work shoes, there are a few pointers that may help find the best work shoes. We have summarized these for you below.
A quality shoe poorly fitted will be unbearable. To ensure your shoes are comfortable, you must properly size them for your feet. Make sure you get the right size.
For those with hard to fit feet, you may even want to visit a store and try the shoes on. Manufacturers produce their shoes differently and the stated size can vary from one manufacturer to another.
Also, if you have broad or slender feet, look for shoes that are offered in wide or narrow sizes.
One of the most important parts of a work shoe is the insole. It should cushion your foot and not crush or wear out. Ortholite is an insole brand name you might see, and they are known for quality insoles.
Also, some insoles are fixed, others are removable. In general, removable insoles are preferable. You can clean if needed or replace them. Those with custom orthotics can also insert their custom fitted insoles.
Slip and falls are a major problem for many workers. A good work shoe will have a slip resistant sole.
Some shoes are even tested per procedures like ASTM F1677-2005 (Mark II) and ASTM F-1679. In general, you want a shoe rated as slip resistant by the manufacturer. Test results confirming that rating are even better.
Electricity is taken for granted, but it does so much for us and it is everywhere. It can also be a hazard if there is stray current under your feet while working.
Some jobs are more prone to this type of accident. If you work in one of those fields, look for a shoe that provides protection against electrical shock.
A key part of a comfortable shoe is the arch support. But many shoes just gloss over this detail.
If you are on your feet all the time, you should look for a shoe with good lateral arch support, but with some flexibility.
Some manufacturers use trade names for their innovations, but they should also note their shoes provide firm, pliable arch support.
Twisted ankles happen. Especially if you work at times on uneven surfaces. Even if you do not sprain your ankle, poor quality shoes make you work harder to stay stable and tire you out faster.
A contoured midsole is a good start to providing stability. It provides even support over the entire bottom of your foot.
But the shoe also must be rigid enough to be stable. You should pick up the shoe and twist it. It should be hard to twist if it has good stability. Some manufacturers will even note their midsole construction and measures taken to to provide stability.