A long day of work can feel even longer if you don’t have a good pair of comfortable work shoes supporting you.
While you might not realize it, standing on your feet all day can have more harmful effects than you might think. Sure, your feet swell up, and your ankles get sore, but isn’t that part of the hustle?
Not in our books.
A lot of research associates prolonged standing at work with a series of health adversities- some of which can last a lifetime.
Besides, you owe it to yourself to make yourself as comfortable as possible throughout the day- whether it’s for work or not. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
Hence, comfortable work shoes can give you that extra bit of relief for those long and excruciating workdays.
Health Risks Of Standing All Day
If you’ve had one of those days where you’re constantly on your feet, you probably know how sore your entire body can get. It’s not just your feet or ankles that hurt, but your whole body suffers.
As it turns out, there is a lot of scholarship that proves the direct relationship between associated health problems and prolonged standing.
In research exploring the potential health risks that can arise from prolonged standing, it was apparent that the problem goes beyond just blisters and throbbing ankles. If this isn’t enough to shock you, let’s take a look at what your body might be going through during those long work hours.
Lower Back Pain
After ankle soreness and leg pain, people most typically report persistent pain in their lower backs.
Typically, lower back pain is indicative of some other underlying problem. A number of studies attest that prolonged standing is one of the main culprits of inducing long-term lower back discomfort.
Now, this one shouldn’t be a head-scratcher; you don’t have to be a doctor to know that your backbone helps keep you upright. Additionally, standing engages a number of large muscle groups in your lower back- specifically the gluteus medius.
So, what do you think will happen if you engage these muscles for too long?
After about five hours of excessive engagement, you will start experiencing muscle fatigue. After five hours, you’re in the red zone.
Now, not only do your muscles hurt, but you’re also likely experiencing joint stiffness, leg pain, and muscle cramps.
With so much bodily discomfort, you’ll likely collapse before your shift even ends- not the best way to end a workday.
Your body is constantly working against gravity to circulate blood to each and every part of your body. However, it gets even tougher around the extremities, such as your fingers and toes.
To make sure that deoxygenated blood doesn't flow in the wrong direction, your body makes use of certain structures that stop the backward flow of blood.
However, just as your muscles tire after hours of stress, so too do these mechanisms wear out over time. If you’re standing for hours and hours on end, you risk developing varicose veins, which often look blue and swollen.
Work is always demanding, and a long day of labor and exertion will definitely leave you out of breath. However, prolonged standing can leave you winded unusually quickly.
Krausse et al. have shown a direct relationship between prolonged standing and cardiovascular problems, such as atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease.
Think about this for a moment: your cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting blood and oxygen throughout your entire body. If any complications were to arise in this system, it could take a serious toll on your health.
In fact, the risk is so concerning that many researchers strongly recommend taking preventative measures and changing up your habits. But what exactly is it that you can do?
The answer lies in comfortable work shoes.
Comfortable Work Shoes Can Change the Game
A study published in 2016 talks at length about how your choice of footwear can help the problems associated with prolonged standing.
Basically, since your shoes are the only barrier between your body and the hard ground, they act as an interface. As such, they can influence things like posture, musculoskeletal functions, joint movement, and the overall health of your body.
Additionally, shoes with a good grip profile can guard you against slip-related injuries and falls in the workplace.
So, if your nine-to-five is giving you some serious back problems or prevalent pains, a pair of comfortable work shoes can make a huge difference.
Top 7 Most Comfortable Work Shoes In 2021
As we venture into 2021, we are starting to see things return to normal. This means leaving your beloved work-from-home jobs and falling back into the routine of things. For a lot of us, this also means returning to labor-heavy jobs.
However, you don’t have to go into it alone. Instead, make a strong comeback using our list of the most comfortable work shoes in 2021.
Comfort is often analogous with luxury and extravagance. But with their flagship waterproof sneakers, Senja proves that less is more- even when it comes to price.
At only $99.99, you get the entire package: reliable grip, breathability, snug fit, and anti-odor. What more could you want?
Senja boasts an innovative FormFlex fabric that embraces the contours of your feet without being too tight or restricting. Without the resistance of the fabric, you can say goodbye to blisters, calluses, rashes, and prolonged irritation.
Additionally, the fabric is also breathable, which means that you won’t have to worry about a pool of sweat inside your shoes. Even if sweat does build up over the day, Senja’s anti-odor fabric will keep the smell at bay.
But what exactly is this magical fabric?
Senja uses the highly sought-after Merino Wool for its interior. The wool is incredibly soft, insulating, anti-bacterial, and durable.
To top it all off, Senja’s state-of-the-art traction will keep you sure-footed even in the most unpredictable work environments.
In case you’ve never noticed it before, different people have noticeably different ways of standing. And a lot of it has to do with their foot’s natural structure- particularly the arch.
Unfortunately, people with higher arches do suffer from constant discomfort. Since your entire foot can't touch the ground, you’re left with little surface area to provide you with stability.
Luckily, the Carly Arch Support Sneakers will keep you firm-footed on your most active days. The shoes are specially built for people who experience chronic heel pain and ankle soreness.
Most impressively, the manufacturers deem these shoes safe for pregnant women who can’t have too much stress on their feet or back.
Most of it comes down to the innovative Cobra Orthotic Technology. Essentially, this helps alleviate the pressure build-up around your heel area.
Not only will you feel more comfortable in the moment, but the circulation-optimizing feature will also benefit your entire body in the long-run.
If you’re someone that likes open-toed sandals and strap-on shoes, then running sneakers or boots might not be your first option. Thankfully, Aeterex came out with a strappy counterpart for their arch support series.
While they might not look it, the Bethany Arch Support Quarter Strap shoes are quite supportive. As we saw earlier, the secret lies in the Orthotic System- the titular arch support technology that helps you align your feet and stabilize your stance.
Additionally, the memory foam footbed is ideal for long hours of standing. By providing equal weight distribution, the memory foam ensures that you don’t block off circulation to your soles.
Moreover, the adjustable strap-on design helps you slip into your shoes with ease- even if you have wide feet.
Certain jobs won't allow you to wear sneakers every day. If you’re looking for formal, comfortable work shoes, the Segment series by Skechers will keep you both professional and comfortable.
The uppers use a smooth, oiled mohawk leather that not only looks incredible but feels incredible too. Additionally, the slip-on design works in casual as well as professional settings.
But beyond just the looks, these shoes have a lot to offer in terms of comfort. The Relaxed Fit design promises a non-restrictive fit.
Additionally, the shoes are surprisingly lightweight, considering the leather canvas. Trust us; you’ll forget you even have shoes on- even after hours and hours of standing. Moreover, gel-infused memory foam provides constant padding and support.
But the feature that won our hearts is the reinforced treads that attest to the shoes’ superior grip. With a tread similar to that of a hiking shoe, these Skechers will help you stay on your feet all day.
Merrell is yet to come out with a disappointing product. Specializing in comfort, Merrell has given us some of the best running and outdoor shoes so far.
With the Encore Gust, Merrel traverses into the professional footwear world and proves to us that you can have the highest level of comfort at the lowest prices.
With a full-grain leather upper and a complementary breathable mesh lining, the shoes offer the best of both worlds: water resistance and breathability. While that’s admittedly a hard combination to pull off, especially with a leather upper, Merrell does so effortlessly.
But a comfortable upper isn’t enough to get you through the day- you also need good shoe construction. Luckily, the Encore Gust uses a molded nylon arch shank for added support- from the moment you clock in to the time you call it a day.
Additionally, the Encore Gust benefits from air-cushioned heels to further reinforce that stability factor. With such an extensive stability system, even stormy winds won’t be able to knock you off your feet.
If you ask us, nothing even comes close in comparison to the comfort of flats. Not only that, but flats are more versatile than any other type of footwear; you can pair them with jeans, skirts, shorts, trousers, or even baggy pants.
This versatility makes The Starling flats by Birdies one of the most stylish yet comfortable work shoes on our list.
Like all Birdies shoes, The Starlings also feature a soft quilted satin upper. It’s the closest feeling you can have to walking on a soft, velvety cloud; it might even make the gruesome work hours fly by quicker than usual.
Additionally, a dual-layer high-density memory foam promotes a snug and secure fit.
But that’s not even the best part.
Believe it or not, Birdies uses a seven-layer footbed for maximum comfort, support, and even cushioning. Yes, you read that right- even flats can have ample cushioning, although The Starling is one of the rare ones that do.
One look at the Sanita Professional textured Oil clogs, and you’ll immediately want to slip into them- even if it’s for work.
Traditionally, people use clogs as protective footwear for agricultural work. Nowadays, modified clogs can be used in any setting without looking too out-of-place. On the contrary, these stylish clogs by Sanita are made to be in the spotlight.
Sure, they might look bulky and non-practical. But remember: clogs are all about functionality and protection.
Following suit, the Sanita Pro Textured Oil Clogs leaves little to be desired in terms of comfort and protection. A microfiber insole lines the anatomically correct footbed. This reduces the likelihood of cramps and arch pains during long work shifts.
Moreover, the textured leather upper protects your feet against the elements. Come rain or shine; your feet will remain well-protected.
Standing on your feet all day takes patience, commitment, and the right pair of comfortable work shoes.
While you might have to work on the first two things on your own, we hope we’ve helped you out with the third.
When it comes down to it, always go for shoes that have a good grip, added arch support, and, of course, comfort.