Buying the perfect pair of shoes for standing all day can prove to be difficult. There are tons of professions and occasions that require frequent standing, but not all shoes are created equal for these situations; being stuck in the wrong shoes when you’re standing for so long can be really uncomfortable and painful. Luckily, there are plenty of shoes that are tailor-made for this!
How do I buy shoes for standing all day? First, it is important to know the key traits of a good shoe. Once you know what to look for in your new pair of shoes, it’ll be easy to tell which are perfect for standing all day in, and which you should steer clear of.
By understanding the making of a good shoe, you will find a great pair suitable for your needs in no time. A good shoe can make or break your day, so this complete guide to finding the best shoe for you will make standing up to 12 hours a day a breeze.
Why Good Shoes Are Important for Standing
Everyone has bought a pair of shoes that were unsupported or continued to wear a pair of shoes after they’ve completely run their course. When you’re standing all day, it’s important to find the right shoes because they will have a positive effect on your overall health, whereas ill-fitting and unsupportive shoes will lead to short- and long-term effects.
There are several short-term effects of wearing the wrong shoes when standing for long periods. Though these effects may not be dangerous to your health, they will make your days standing a lot more uncomfortable and can even alter the appearance of your feet.
- Nail Problems – Shoes that are too narrow or small can actually cause nail and fungal issues. If the sides of the shoes are too tight, the pressure pushing on your skin against the nail can lead to an ingrown toenail. A shoe that is too tight can also lead to the development of a fungal toenail infection. These infections cause your toenail to be fragile and discolored. These side effects will leave you in discomfort and pain during your 12-hour shift.
- Athlete’s Foot – If your shoe is too tight and isn’t breathable, there isn’t any air circulation, and your feet are trapped in their own sweat and heat. This moisture can cause fungi to grow and lead to Athlete’s foot. When your shoes are too small, and your toes are squished tightly, there’s no place for the moisture to escape to. Athlete’s foot normally occurs in the webs of toes and underneath the foot’s arch, and the symptoms are normally inflammation, flaky skin, and itchiness of the skin.
- Corns – These are groups of dead skin that develop over the bony structures of the foot, like the sides of the toes and foot. Corns are developed by shoes that are too big and leave a lot of room for your feet to rub against the shoe. This constant friction and pressure can cause corn, which is essentially a collection of blood vessels and nerve fibers. Corns can be really painful and can even attach to soft tissue on the foot, which makes them difficult to remove.
- Pain/Discomfort – This may seem like a given, but if you’re experiencing pain in any part of your foot while standing all day, you may want to consider new shoes.
Wearing an ill-fitting pair of shoes while standing can have serious negative impacts on your overall health. What may seem like only pain in your feet could lead to pain in your legs, back, and further up your body. It’s important to think long-term when buying shoes for standing all day and how they will help keep you healthy in the future.
- Issues with Back Pain and Posture – The alignment of our bodies back is connected to our feet. When you wear non-supportive and ill-fitting shoes for a long period of time, the lumbar spinal muscle can become inflamed. If it continues over time, this can lead to your back stiffening and your posture changing. With the inflammation of the lumbar spinal muscle, lumbar intervertebral disc compression in your lower back can occur.
- Joint Discomfort – If shoes don’t have the correct supportive construction and shock absorption, then your knees are left to absorb the shock made when you take steps. This can cause your front leg muscles in your thighs and calves to work harder. Ill-constructed shoes can lead to arthritis and knee pain.
- Collapsed Arches – If the shoes you are wearing every day don’t offer proper arch and heel support, one side effect will be fallen or collapsed arches. This happens when the back-leg muscles and the Achilles tendon are strained when walking, which leads to the damage of the ligaments that brace the foot’s arch, muscle tendons, and plantar fascia. If the strain is prolonged, the arch will lower, and there will be pain in the arch and heel when walking.
How to Buy the Right Shoes for Standing
When buying a shoe that’s made to last all day while standing, you first need to know what to look for in your ideal shoe. It’s sometimes hard to tell because a shoe might look comfortable and feel right when you try it on, but it might become a nightmare in the middle of a shift if you don’t know what to look for aside from appearance.
You’ll also need to understand your own foot type and the types of shoes that are best suited for standing in.
What Makes a Shoe Good for Standing?
There is a huge misconception that you’ve found the perfect shoe if they’re comfortable when first trying on. Before you even begin to start searching for your perfect shoe, it’s important to know what to look for in a shoe fit for standing all day.
The Sizing of the Shoe
Just like clothing, not all shoe sizes are entirely the same. While you may be one size in one pair, it’s entirely possible that your sizing would be different in another. If the shoe is too big or too small, your entire day could be ruined by chaffing that leads to blisters or pain in your feet.
The age-old trick of having room to wiggle your toes still applies when buying shoes, but it’s important to do your research if you have your eyes on a specific type of shoe. Most sites and reviews will list if the shoes are true to size, or if they run a little large or small.
Another thing to look for when researching the fit is the breaking-in process for the shoe. While a shoe may fit perfectly, there still may be a somewhat uncomfortable break-in that could affect your already long day at work.
The Width of the Shoe
The width of the shoe you plan on standing in all day is just as important as the size. A too narrow or too wide shoe can lead to extra movement in the shoe, which could cause chaffing and lead to blisters, and other uncomfortable side effects.
One fun fact to know when looking for the right shoe is the older people age, the wider their feet grow. A shoe that might’ve fit years ago may be too tight now due to the widening of your feet.
Another thing to pay attention to remember is that feet also expand the longer you are on them.
When trying on shoes, pay attention to how much room is left at the forefront of the foot. If it is tight, you might need a wider pair.
The Flexibility of the Outsole
If you’re going to have a pair of shoes on for longer than six hours, the flexibility of the shoe is extremely important. Flexibility allows a shoe to act as one with your feet. When your foot bends, a flexible shoe will bend as well. Good flexibility reduces hot spots in the shoe and promises your feet long-lasting comfort.
The Traction of the Outsole
The traction of a shoe is extremely important when considering the type of flooring you will be standing on all day. The outsole of a shoe needs to have a good grip to handle all the different surfaces you may walk or stand on throughout the day.
When considering the traction of a shoe, considering a shoe with slip-resistant soles may be the best choice depending on the situation. For those working in the medical field or in the restaurant industry, slip-resistant soles are crucial to having a comfortable and safe day on your feet.
The Shock Absorption of the Outsole
A good shoe needs to be able to handle the impact of walking and standing without sending the energy of steps, or shock, through your feet and up your legs. Unless you’re standing still for the entire day, even the small steps can have an impact. A shoe without proper shock absorption can lead to pain in your muscles and joints and can possibly leave long-lasting effects on your body.
The Cushion of the Insole
While the outside of a shoe needs to be tough so it can handle the wear of standing all day, the insole needs to work as a soft pillow for your foot to be cradled by. The insole of the shoe should be soft enough to provide comfort and absorb shock, but it shouldn’t be too soft. An insole with too much cushion can potentially change a person’s balance and the way they walk.
One way you can test the comfort of an insole is to see if it is removable. If an insole is removable, it will most likely be flimsy and flat. If you plan on adding an orthopedic insole (Amazon.com link) to the shoe, having a removable insole is actually a good thing because then there will be room for the orthopedic.
If you do not plan on replacing the insole with an orthopedic, steer clear from shoes with removable insoles. They will most likely be generic insoles, which are normally built without any arch support.
The Durability of the Shoe
Shoes that are used for standing in are more likely to wear out faster than shoes worn for walking all day. When you stand for long periods at a time, the pressure from your body is directed to specific parts of your shoe, rather than the weight being distributed the way it is when you walk. If you are standing for extensive lengths of time day after day, soon enough, those specific areas of your shoe will wear down quickly.
When considering the durability of the shoe, consider the price tag. Shoes made out of more durable materials will cost more initially but will end up saving you money in the long run compared to shoes made out of cheap materials.
The Lightweight Construction of the Shoe
If you are spending all of your day standing, it’s no surprise that your feet will become tired, and the smallest step may be difficult. When looking for shoes to stand in, finding a pair that is lightweight will allow you to walk without it feeling like there are weights connected to your feet.
However, just because a shoe is lightweight, does not mean that the shoe isn’t protective or durable. There are plenty of lightweight shoes that also have steel toe caps and are sturdy for a more laborious occupation.
The Heel and Arch Support of the Shoe
The heel and arch support of a shoe is extremely important if you are constantly standing for several hours of a day. Wearing shoes with no arch and heel support can lead to complications like fallen arches and plantar fasciitis.
Arch support is key to providing long-term support and comfort throughout the day. If your feet are experiencing less fatigue from pain, you’ll have a more productive day.
If the shoes you find are perfect in every other way but come with generic flat insoles, there are plenty of orthopedic insoles you can replace them with.
The Breathability of the Shoe
There is nothing worse than a pair of shoes that trap heat. When you stand all day, moisture and heat from your body are trapped in your shoes. If the shoe isn’t breathable, then air won’t be able to circulate, and the moisture in your shoes will build. Leaving your feet in heat and sweat can lead to side effects and is all-around unhealthy for your feet. Proper ventilation will allow for your feet to remain cool all day, which will make it easier for you to do your job comfortably.
Finding Your Foot Type for the Right Shoes
Everybody’s feet are unique and built to accommodate their equally unique body. When buying shoes for standing all day, it’s important to know your foot type before even looking at shoes. The type of foot you have will determine which styles and kinds of shoes will be the right fit for you to begin with.
A person should know not only their foot size but also the traits of their feet. Some questions to ask are:
- Do I have a half-size? If I do, which size am I closest to if half-sizes aren’t offered?
- Are my feet wide or narrow?
- Are my arches high, low, or flat?
If you’re not sure how to find out your type of feet, there are a few ways to find your right size and type.
One quick and easy way to find the type of arch your foot has is to wet your foot and step on a dry piece of paper. If the footprint is almost the complete foot, you have low arches. If the footprint is slight and shows only half of the foot, you have high arches. If your print is somewhere in the middle, then you have neutral arches, and if the print is the whole foot, then you have flat arches.
If this test comes out inconclusive, there are also machines in certain stores that will tell you the arch intensity of your foot. Once the test determines your arch type, it will recommend the best orthopedic insole (Amazon.com link) for your feet if necessary.
The easiest way to determine the correct size of your feet is by using a Brannock device. You probably remember using one as a kid when shoe shopping, but they really are the best way to find your current shoe size.
If you decide to buy your shoes in person, there will absolutely be a Brannock device nearby. When measuring your feet, you’ll want to:
- Make sure the width bar is open as wide as possible, and the arch length is put all the way back so your foot can slide in easily.
- When you measure your foot, leave your socks on and place your heel into the back of the heel cup.
- Your toes should lay flat against the device.
- The correct size of your foot is where your longest toe meets with the horizontal sizing lines.
If your foot lies between sizes, it is recommended to size up rather than down when buying shoes.
If you plan on buying your shoes online but would still like to have your right size, there is a printable Brannock device (article link) for measuring your feet in the comfort of your own home.
If the shoes you try on are constantly good in length but are tight on the sides, then you probably have wider feet. There are shoes out there that are specifically made for wide feet. But before even looking at shoes, you should measure the width of your feet using the Brannock device.
Measuring the width of your feet is a little more complicated than measuring the size. There are two types of ways to measure the width of your feet. One is a letter-based sizing system, and the other is based on words. There are charts (article link) you can find that explain the differences and make finding the correct width of your feet easy.
What Types of Shoes Are Good for Standing?
There are so many types of shoes, and while some of them are meant just for looks, others are made for functionality. When considering shoes to wear all day standing, remember there are some shoes made for the sole purpose of providing long-term support and comfort throughout the day.
- Clogs – These types of shoes are great for standing all day. Most clogs (Amazon.com link) are made slip-resistant with incredible support. While some are taller than others, they normally have a wide shoebox, which is perfect for normal and wider feet. Clogs are perfect for people with high arches, but they might be a little uncomfortable for low or fallen arches.
- Running Shoes – Made lightweight with mesh, running shoes (Amazon.com link) provide breathability and flexibility to your feet. When searching for running shoes to stand in all day, it’s recommended to choose styles using foam for the outsole. If the outsole is made of heavier material, this may become an issue later on in the day when your feet are experiencing fatigue.
- Slip-Ons – These types of shoes are normally made lightweight and breathable. This is when paying attention to price tags may come in handy because a great pair of slip-ons (Amazon.com link) will keep your feet happy all day, but a cheaper pair will most likely be made with the generic insole that will eventually need replacing.
- Casual Sneaker – There are a lot of shoes that focus on both comfort and style. Casual sneakers (Amazon.com link) are usually aesthetically pleasing, while also providing long-lasting support for your day. They usually have incredible traction and breathability due to their multipurpose use for outdoors and indoors.
- Walking Shoes – Contrary to the name, walking shoes (Amazon.com link) are also really great for standing all day! These shoes normally have great arch and heel support, which will help reduce the chance for plantar fasciitis.
- Work Boots – If you are standing and working on concrete all day, work boots (Amazon.com link) are the best shoes for your feet. Concrete is not only hard and inflexible but also has no shock absorption, so your feet need as much cushion and structure as they can get.
What Types of Shoes Aren’t Good for Standing?
Some of these examples might seem like common sense, but it’s always good to stay away from when searching for shoes to stand in all day.
- High Heels – These are great for a night out or a desk-job, but definitely not for standing all day. If you are looking for a shoe with a heel, there are plenty of comfortable shoes with shorter heels suitable for standing.
- Ballet Flats – Even though they are quick to put on and look comfortable, they offer no support or cushion. If you absolutely love ballet flats and can’t go a day without them, it’s suggested to add orthotic inserts.
- Flip-Flops – These shoes offer no protection or arch support. If you are planning on volunteering all day or attending an all-day sporting event, flip-flops are probably not the way to go shoe wise.
- Pointed Toes – Any kind of shoe with pointed toes will become uncomfortable within minutes of standing. If you have an all-day event where you need to be standing and look professional, avoid wearing any shoe with pointed toes.
- Minimalist Shoes – Even though the point of these shoes is to mimic our own feet and become almost one, there is no support or shock absorption in the shoe. While these seem like great shoes for standing all day, they will leave your arches in pain by the end of the day.
- Dress Shoes – Most dress shoes are not made with the intent of comfort for standing. Even though recently there have been some created for comfort, it’s important to distinguish the ones made only for looks.
What Are Other Things to Consider When Buying Shoes?
When buying the best shoe to stand in all day, there are a few additional things to consider.
- Buy Two Pairs – After about six hours, a shoe’s insole is fully compressed, so it is advised to always have two supportive pairs of shoes with you.
- A Heel Can Help – Having a short heel on your shoe will actually lift your feet from the ground and help take some weight off of your heels.
- Check the Soles – If you are able to, it’s also good to check the bottom of a shoe to see if the shoe is able to distribute weight evenly. When your check the sole of a shoe, you’re looking for a wide and flat sole with support on the midsole.
- Go Neutral – Comfort doesn’t have to be unfashionable, but it’s always a good idea to opt for shoes that are neutral or one color. If you’re going to be wearing them to work every day, it’s best to settle for comfort over style.
- Consider Your Toes – With some professions, you will need a shoe that can protect your toes. There are shoes out there other than work boots with steel toes, but it’s good to know which toe your shoe will need.
- Break Them in Beforehand – No matter the style, your shoes will require a breaking in period. It’s up to you to decide whether this will happen when you’re standing all day, or beforehand.
In conclusion, there are a lot of things to consider when buying shoes for standing all day in, but hopefully, this complete guide has provided you with all the information you need to direct you to your perfect shoe.
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