Best shoes for standing all day


Here’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.

Standing is the opposite of running; the latter involves movement, and the other is all about staying still in one spot. But it is much harder than it sounds, especially when you’re on your feet all day.

People working in retail know this, and so do others employed in hospitals and hotels. Jobs which involves standing and walking around put an enormous amount of stress on your feet. Just take a moment to think of it; the entire bodyweight rests on the feet over a period which could be anywhere between 6 – 14 hours a day.

Many ER personnel/doctors/nurses regularly work 12-hour shifts, and if this is done wearing regular shoes, the experience can become unpleasant. The sole feels tired and strained, and you can’t wait to get home and take your shoes off.

Even shorter shifts of 6 – 8 hours are tiresome. In the past, solereview has received numerous shoe recommendation inquiries from readers employed in the medical and retail industry.

When choosing a pair of shoe for being on your feet all day, there are a few desirable design attributes to look for. If this sounds somewhat similar to our walking shoe guide, then that’s because both walking and standing have shared design needs.

1) The outsole design should be preferably wide and flat: An outsole with full ground contact is important as it helps spread the pressure in an even manner. Over a prolonged period of standing, protruding outsole lugs can eventually end up becoming a source of discomfort.

2) The midsole should possess adequate cushioning: You need a comfortable shoe if you’re going to be standing all day. Also, both the forefoot and heel should have ample cushioning because you constantly move weight between the ball of the foot and the heel.

3) A spacious upper for foot splay: A narrow fitting shoe can be torturous during long hours of standing, so you need a shoe with enough splay room for your feet.

4) Good grip for smooth artificial floors: Most jobs which involve standing are located indoors with artificial floors. So it is important for the shoe to meet the bare minimum requirements for grip.

Do running shoes check all the boxes for standing all day? It depends.

In our opinion, most running shoes do ok for standing only if it involves around 6-8 hours of doing so. People working in sporting goods stores fall under this category, where the shifts are relatively shorter. In some cases, sporting goods store employees get to choose a product (under a certain value) to be a part of their uniform, (or receive employee discounts) so it makes sense to get a running shoe.

Anything longer than 6-8 hour shifts, and you’d want to adopt a different footwear strategy. We say this for a couple of reasons.

Most running shoe outsoles have rubber lugs and grooved separations which apply pressure from underneath. This isn’t an issue for a few hours but tends to manifest itself over a longer period.

The other limitation is the narrow waist of the running shoe. The midsole is slim around the middle, which translates into a conforming upper fit. Running shoes are built this way for a good reason, because the foot needs to be locked down during runs. But the same snugness which benefits running might be a detriment towards the shoe’s comfort during 12+ hours shifts.

And there might be additional footwear requirements based on the place of employment. For instance:

1) Plain colors: If the workplace atmosphere is formal (hospitals and hotels) then conspicuously fashionable running shoes could be a problem.

Many running shoes nowadays have more hues than the elusive Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, making it unsuitable for formal settings. Hence, plainer colors like all-white or all-black might be required.

2) Maintenance friendly design: Some jobs which require standing all day happen to be in the restaurant business, and the shoe is likely to come in contact with spilled liquids and the like. So a mesh upper won’t cut it, but rather fully covered leather uppers which are easier to wipe clean. Most running shoes do not fit this description.

3) Non-marking outsoles: Certain workplaces require a footwear to be non-marking; this is the property of certain outsoles which leave no black skid/scuff marks on smooth flooring. If the original footwear which you got as the part of your workplace uniform (if applicable) had non-marking outsoles, then it is important that you find an appropriate replacement. Most running shoes do not have non-marking outsoles.

As you can see, finding a shoe which is comfortable for all-day standing and walking isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Considering the number of variables involved, we’ve complied two recommendation lists. One is a list of running shoes, and another has a couple of walking shoes. We’ve combined all in a single table with a category mention.

CategoryModelCheck price
Runningadidas Ultra BoostAmazon
RunningNike Zoom Pegasus 33Amazon
RunningNike Zoom Vomero 12Amazon
Running-Walking HybridSaucony Echelon LE2Amazon
RunningSkechers GoRun Ride 6Amazon
WalkingBrooks Addiction WalkerAmazon
WalkingNew Balance 928V3Amazon

Best running shoes for standing all day: (6-8 hours)

1) adidas Ultra Boost or ST

In a departure from other adidas models, the ST version has plenty of interior upper room for splay. Below, the large volume Boost midsole makes standing for long hours comfortable.

2) Nike Pegasus 33

The front and rear Zoom Air bags provide cushioning under the forefoot and heel, and full contact outsole spreads the weight pressure evenly. The upper, while slightly snug, has a comfortable fit thanks to the sleeved construction.

3) Nike Vomero 12 (2E or 4E)

The Vomero’s upper fits narrow, so you should get either the wide (2E) or extra wide (4E). Like the Pegasus, the midsole relies on dual Zoom Air bags to deliver cushioning, and the soft outsole helps deliver all-day comfort.

4) Saucony Echelon LE2

This isn’t a pure-performance running shoe, but rather a running-walking hybrid.

It’s basically an Echelon 4 midsole and outsole retrofitted with an all leather upper. Available in all black and white-grey.

5) Skechers GoRun Ride 6

While running shoes give Skechers its street cred, the West Coast based brand has plenty of walking shoes (GoWalk line) which rely on a similar platform used by its running models.

The GoRun Ride 6 is a running shoe with a spacious upper fit and a comfortable base, courtesy of a lightweight foam midsole.

Other comfortable shoes for standing on your feet all day: (8-14 hours)

1) Brooks Addiction Walker

The Brooks Addiction works great for a lot of jobs which involve being on your feet. There’s a choice of either a brown Nubuck leather upper, or all white and black milled leather versions with midsoles to match.

The ultra-wide outsole is a full contact kind, and the Addiction is the only Brooks shoe we know of which still uses ‘Hydroflow’ – an 80’s cushioning technology which uses fluid-filled pouches inside the midsole.

Available in four optional widths and three colors.

2) New Balance 928 V3

The 928 V3 is a heavy shoe. At over 15 ounces, it is nearly the twice the weight of many running shoes. In return, you get a full leather upper, a stable yet cushioned ride, and a non-marking rubber outsole in a full-contact layout.

Comes in full-white and all-black colors, and one of the rare shoes to be offered in five optional widths.