Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How to find the perfect work shoes

When starting a new job, most people choose to wear shoes that will make them look smart. And while it’s important to make a good impression, serious thought needs to be given to choosing footwear that’s also comfortable and appropriate. This will vary depending on the type of job you have and finding the best work shoes starts with figuring out what’s best for your line of work. Shoe choice and foot health are closely linked – a lot of health problems can be prevented simply by wearing the correct footwear, especially if your job requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time.


Why shoe choice impacts your health

There are numerous ways the health of your feet can be affected by your footwear. Your body is designed to move, so a job where you stand for much of the day can lead to aches and pains in your feet. These, in turn, can cause you to stand or move in an unnatural way that can have a knock-on effect on your knees, leg muscles, hips and back. Long-term discomfort can also lead to greater problems with your feet, such as causing joints to become misaligned or developing arthritis. Then there are the injuries – slipping over, turning your ankle, standing on a nail etc, all of which are more likely to happen if you’re wearing footwear that isn’t up to the task.


Wearing the wrong footwear

There are certain types of shoes that are best avoided if you’re on your feet day after day. These include those with pointed toes, high heels, that are either too loose or too tight, that provide poor arch support, or which have poor ventilation. As well as giving you aching feet, these sorts of shoes are more likely to cause blisters, calluses, bunions, sprains and arthritis. Poor ventilation can also make your feet sweaty which, long-term, can cause fungal infections.


What to look for…

The ideal choice of footwear might vary from one occupation to the next, but there are certain factors that will always benefit you when it comes to getting the right shoe. Always get your feet measured and purchase footwear that fits the larger foot – don’t rely on shoes stretching over time, they should be comfy from the off and never too tight. Your heel shouldn’t slip inside the shoe – it should be gripped and held in place. Ensure there’s about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the end of your foot. And wait until the afternoon before trying on shoes in the shop, as this is the point in the day when your feet will have swollen to their largest size.

If you’re standing on a hard surface for long periods, you may wish to add an insole for comfort, and if you work in cold conditions, you’ll need to choose footwear that’s well insulated.


There’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to choosing work shoes, and selecting the wrong footwear can lead to long-term health problems. But if you think carefully about the environment you work in and the sort of activity you do day-to-day, this should help you select a pair that’ll both look the part and be pain free.


Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash

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