Do you have a job that forces you to stand all day? Do you work in retail, spending long hours on your feet as you arrange products on shelves and greet each arriving customer? Ideally, when your work takes a heavy toll on your feet, you would be able to select supportive foot wear like a pair of sneakers. Sometime, however, this isn’t possible. You may have an office dress code, or you may want to wear shoes that work a little better with your office attire. Unfortunately, for people who spend extended periods of time standing, wearing the wrong shoes can hurt your knees and back; it can leave your feet with blisters and scrapes. It can even leave you vulnerable to ankle injuries. Given all the potential problems, it’s crucial to be smart about choosing the shoes you’ll stand in all day.
How to Choose the Right Standing Shoes
When your shoes will be working overtime all day, it’s important to examine more than just style when selecting a pair. Here’s a quick guide to selecting shoes that will support all-day standing:
It is crucial that a shoe be both long enough and wide enough for your feet if you’ll be standing in them for hours on end. Given the amount of support you’ll need from your shoes, it’s a good idea to have your feet professionally sized and measured, either at your podiatrist’s office or in the shoe store itself.
Forget Online Purchases—Put Them On Instead
You should never buy shoes without first slipping them on to check for fit (see our previous point.) Even if you know your proper shoe size, different brands (and even different styles within brands) fit differently. If the specific pair you’re checking out doesn’t feel comfortable the first time you wear it, look for a different pair instead.
Key Features to Look For
People who will be standing all day should buy shoes with good arch support and a thick, cushioned midsole. Running shoes and work boots are the ideal options, but if those styles don’t work for you, look for models with similarly supportive features.
How can I make the shoes I own more comfortable when I’m standing?
Even if you’ve followed all our shoe-purchasing guidelines, standing for a long time may still cause you to experience some foot pain. Here are some hacks you can try to make your shoes and feet feel better after a long day of standing:
- Go for orthotics: With a custom pair of orthotics, you can provide your feet with an extra layer of comfort and support for a long, taxing day.
- Bring a spare pair: Sometimes, even the best pair of shoes can hurt if you wear them for too long. If you have an extra pair at work, you can give your feet a break (and relieve some pressure on your feet) by slipping on a different, yet equally supportive, pair of shoes.
- Watch the heel: Flat shoes may seem like a smart choice, but may actually leave you vulnerable to much of the impact of the floor. Instead, choose a low, chunky heel that can absorb some of the shock of standing without throwing off your balance or placing too much pressure on your forefoot.
- Control your surfaces: Are you standing in one spot all day? Try stashing a scrap of carpet or other soft flooring in your bag. Standing on a piece of floor with some give and padding will take far less toll on your feet than a harder surface like linoleum, wood or concrete.
While your shoes can help manage the pain of standing, you’ll have to be proactive in other ways as well. Try to walk around whenever you have the chance—this will help prevent blood from pooling in your feet, leaving them heavy and sore.
If you have the chance to sit, do so—and take time during that break to elevate your feet. Doing so will help alleviate the swelling that can set in after hours on your feet. And, if you’re feeling really indulgent, go for a foot massage (either on your own or from a professional) after the day is done to help work out the knots and pain.
Over time, extended periods of standing will take a larger toll on your overall foot health. If you know that your career will negatively impact your foot health, it’s key to develop a good relationship with your podiatrist early on. With regular checkups, we can monitor your feet for problematic changes, and begin interventions at the first signs of pain.