The 12 Best Work Shoes for Women, According to a Podiatrist

·8 min read

Unlike a lot of us who have to make a concerted effort to get in our daily step quota, women whose jobs require them to be on their feet all day are in little danger of falling behind on their physical activity requirements. The downside is that prolonged standing can exacerbate any nagging physical aches and pains, particularly those stemming from the feet — think lower back pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, ankle pain or shin splints, to name a few unpleasant conditions.

Outfitting oneself in the proper supportive footwear is the best way to prevent these conditions and general physical fatigue, and reverse any pain already occurring.

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The demands placed on work shoes differ from those placed on athletic shoes, meaning the most comfortable sneakers for women for running, or the best walking shoes for women, aren’t necessarily ideal for a long day’s work.

Dr. Mike Rushton, co-founder and medical director of Forward Motion headquartered in St. George, Utah, explains that insoles in shoes geared specifically toward athletics are typically “functional insoles, controlling motion when you walk.” The best work shoes for women and shoes for standing all day will have an accommodative insole, which “cradles your foot so your weight is redistributed equally across the foot,” he says.

An easy way to understand the difference is to think of a functional footbed or orthotic as one guiding the foot from the wrong position to a neutral position. (Functional insoles will be found in the best shoes for foot pain stemming from plantar fasciitis or the best shoes for bunions, for instance.) Conversely, an accommodative insole isn’t so much changing your foot positioning as it is giving your feet enough room to breathe comfortably. This is key for the most comfortable work shoes for women, since standing on your feet for long stretches causes them to swell, Dr. Rushton says.

To further prevent tightness and chafing, he also advises buying work shoes a half size larger than your typical size.

While cloudlike, super-cushioned shoes might feel great when you try them on, these can hurt you in the long run by not providing adequate support. “Cushioning isn’t the most important factor in selecting the best work shoe,” Dr. Rushton explains. “The most important thing is that your foot is supported equally across its entirety with accommodative support.”

This type of support is the same that’s recommended in the best shoes for diabetics, offering lots of space. Some shoes are equipped with the proper support right out of the box, or a podiatrist can create a custom insole to insert into work shoes. Luckily, accommodative insoles are typically less expensive than functional ones, even when custom made.

As a general rule of thumb, work shoes and their insoles should be switched out every 300 to 500 miles. “For what a shoe is designed to do, 500 miles is the most you’re supposed to put into it,” Rushton says. He explains that most people will reach that mileage within a year maximum.

Of course, different occupations require different shoe types. The proper shoe for the construction site won’t be the correct shoe for the restaurant. The best nursing clogs won’t be the right fit for the office worker looking for the best loafers for women or the most comfortable dress shoes for women.

That’s why we rounded up the 12 best work shoes for women to suit every need. They’re the perfect place to start your search for the most comfortable work shoes around.

Skechers Women’s Squad Service Shoes

With more than 25,000 Amazon reviews and an average 4.5-star rating. Skechers Squad service shoes are some of the best work shoes for standing all day. A slip-resistant outsole makes them ideal for healthcare workers and restaurant workers. They’re lightweight, so they won’t tire your feet out. Available in regular and wide width sizes, they’ll let your feet spread properly, which Dr. Rushton says is key to avoiding pain and injury.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Skechers Women’s Squad Service Shoe
$46-$138


Crocs Classic Clogs

Crocs Classic Clog remains a beloved slip-resistant work shoe for women for good reason. It boasts an extremely roomy fit to avoid dreaded pinched toes. It’s also easy to wipe down and clean, which is a particularly attractive feature for medical and service settings. They also feature a lightweight EVA construction and supportive footbed and are a cinch to slide on and off with the movable heel strap.

Credit: Courtesy of DSW
Credit: Courtesy of DSW

Courtesy of DSW


Buy:
Crocs Classic Clog
$50


Naturalizer Genn Flow Shoes

For the office-goer who wants comfortable shoes to wear with dresses, look no further than these Naturalizer Genn Flow moccasins. The classic loafer is stylish with tights and skirts in the winter or your favorite pair of jeans. The wide toe box lets toes relax comfortably, unlike lots of pointed toe loafer styles. The contoured footbed has dual density cushioning and arch support. For the fast walkers out there, the outsole is non-slip.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Naturalizer Genn Flow
$99


Keen Utility Women’s Sparta Work Shoes

Some of the best lightweight safety shoes on the market, Keen’s Utility Sparta work shoe features an aluminum safety toe that is 33% lighter than a steel toe. These are built specifically for a woman’s foot, but are wider than the average female style to accommodate foot swelling. These safety shoes for women have a breathable upper mesh, offer protection from electrical hazards and are oil- and slip-resistant. They’re available in half sizes and a wide or regular fit.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
KeeN Utility Women’s Sparta Work Shoe
$63-$207


SoftWalk Sonoma Shoes

If sneakers don’t meet the office dress code, that doesn’t mean your feet need to suffer from hours of standing. These flats are comfortable shoes to wear with dresses and trousers. The SoftWalk Sonoma is made with premium leather uppers, a roomy round toe, and removable footbed with plush cushioning and arch support. The outsole features slip-resistant rubber, while the inside has a breathable microfiber lining to keep feet cool and dry. These are available in narrow, regular, wide and extra-wide width sizes.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
SoftWalk Sonoma
$100


New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneakers

Dr. Mike Rushton recommends the New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 sneaker because it allows feet to spread, which is ideal in the best work shoes for standing all day. “Pressure on the heel and forefoot is equal,” he says, preventing uneven weight distribution that can lead to plantar fasciitis and other ailments. These are available in wide and regular fit, making them some of the most comfortable work shoes for women. Lightweight and offered in lots of cute colors, you’ll love their supportive comfort.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker
$35-$135


Timberland Pro Powertrain Sport Alloy Toe Shoes

These safety shoes for women are highly-rated on Amazon, with nearly 2,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars. The Timberland Pro Powertrain Sport alloy toe offers work-ready protection while remaining lightweight. These were designed with the comfort and performance of a hiking boot to keep women comfortable in demanding environments like construction sites. They offer electrical hazard protection and are slip- and oil-resistant. An alloy safety toe meets workplace requirements. Anti-fatigue technology equals comfort and support for your feet.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Timberland Pro Powertrain Sport Alloy Toe
$86-$184


Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoes

The Altra Lone Peak 5 trail running shoe is podiatrist recommended. Dr. Mike Rushton calls Altra his favorite brand, mentioning that its offerings have plenty of space to let your feet spread out. “They also have adequate cushion without being too soft and squishy,” he adds. This pair boasts excellent grippy traction for all kinds of work environments, a responsive midsole and wide toe box — making these some of the best work shoes for standing all day.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe
$130


Sticky Comfortable Work Shoes for Women

Available in a bunch of bright and neutral colors, these slip-resistant work shoes for women are perfect for chefs, doctors and nurses. Sticky Comfortable work shoes are designed to withstand mess. They have a powerful non-slip outsole and the upper and outsole are waterproof so you can wipe them clean. The footbed is also made with an absorbent material to keep feet dry. Support comes courtesy of shock absorption and an anti-torsion system.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Sticky Comfortable Work Shoes for Women
$50


LifeStride Sevyn Heels

Certain occasions, and professions, require more formal attire. LifeStride’s chic Sevyn heels are the perfect comfortable shoe to wear with dresses. They feature a SoftSystem footbed for plush underfoot cushioning, plus a flexible rubber outsole to help you avoid slips. Their 2.5-inch heel height makes these look anything but orthopedic, but are still manageable to walk in. Try these for your next formal occasion when you’d rather be dancing the night away than sitting on the sidelines watching.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
LifeStride Sevyn Heels
$70


Vionic Wilma Booties

A supportive, comfortable ankle bootie is a work staple for many. The Vionic Wilma Bootie could be yours, with its sturdy block heel measuring just over two inches. Order a half size up to combat swelling from prolonged standing, as well as to fit winter socks and tights. A heel loop and expanding gussets allows for easy slip-on action.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Vionic Wilma Bootie
$190


Dr. Scholl’s Dreamy Slip-On Sneakers

Dr. Scholl’s Dreamy slip-on sneaker is one of the best work shoes for long hours at the office. The sneakers’ clean lines and lack of too many athletic-looking details give them a sporty, casual look. And, an anatomically cushioned footbed offers equal weight distribution.

Credit: Courtesy of DSW
Credit: Courtesy of DSW

Courtesy of DSW


Buy:
Dr. Scholl’s Dreamy Slip-On Sneaker
$50
$40


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