best dress shoes for standing all day

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Best Dress Shoes For Standing All Day

Best comfortable boots

Clarks Clarkdale Arlo Black Suede

“I feel like boots, no matter what kind of boots you buy, you have to break them in, it’s like a wear period of at least a couple weeks to a month before you’re like, ‘Okay, these are my boots,’” says Currier. Of all the boots she recommends, she says these are the quickest and easiest to break in. On top of that, she finds them to be stylish. “Being a hairstylist I have to look presentable and I have to look like I know something about the fashion world,” Currier says, so she tries “to find shoes that are at least ranking a level 7 out of 10 that I can wear and be comfortable in, and still look cute.”

Dr. Martens Chelsea Boot

For winters in New York City, Gerrie swears by Dr. Martens Chelsea Boots as a comfortable but effective way to navigate icy streets. Lee — who wears a platform pair — agrees, adding, “I can stomp around the factory floor in them by day, but the style means they’re cute enough to wear to Frenchette at night.” Since Dr. Martens were originally designed as workwear, they’re “really supportive and last forever,” Lee explains. And the air-cushioned sole is so supportive, “you’ll never want to take them off,” she promises.

Dr. Martens 1460 Slip Resistant Steel Toe Boots

Currier loves combat-style boots like these lace-up Dr. Martens. She echoes Gerrie, saying that the air-cushioned sole is super-comfortable — and she also appreciates that they’re slip-resistant. “When I’m ringing my clients hair out there’s water on the floor,” she explains. “Having done this for a while, I’ll know not to slip in it, but it’s nice to know that if I want to walk through it quickly, or if I have to, I’m not gonna fall and die.”

Best comfortable work shoes

For her comfortable footwear, chef Adina Halpern relies on Blundstone boots because they’re “very resilient” and “can transition from the kitchen to my regular life.” They’re waterproof, slip-resistant, and offer more ankle support than clogs or slides, which is a must in a busy commercial kitchen. Halpern even put their slip resistance to the test when she walked “around a butcher shop where the floor was completely covered in beef fat, and never slipped.” Plus, these have sheepskin lining that provides extra comfort and coziness during long stints of standing.

Frye Veronica Combat Boots

“Not only are they super-durable, but the soft leather makes them very comfortable when I’m on my feet for hours,” Helene Henderson, the founder of the Malibu Farm restaurants, says of her favorite Frye Veronica Combat Boots. Beyond feeling good, these are also super-versatile and would be easy to pair with work or weekend outfits.

Red Wing Heritage Clara Boot

“Sometimes, I work 14 hours on my feet, so I need to be comfortable, but I also want to look nice and cool all at the same time,” says Chelsey Pickthorn, master stylist and founder of Pickthorn Salon. Her preferred way to keep her feet comfy but looking nice when the weather cools is by pulling on these Red Wing boots. “They are the most sturdy and soft and comfortable work boot.” Pickthron loves them so much she told us she has her eye on a second pair in brown.

Thursday Boot Co. Combat

If the Red Wing boots are a little out of your price range, Currier recommends Thursday boots as an alternative. Currier’s boyfriend first introduced her to the brand, which are “very similar to Red Wing, as far as quality goes, but they’re at a more consumer-friendly price.” This combat-stye pair features patent leather on the outside as well as a full leather lining and shock-absorbing insoles for extra comfort.

Merica Lee, denim designer and maître d’ at Frenchette, spends a lot of her time running back and forth between her factory in Brooklyn, the Garment District in Manhattan, and the restaurant in Tribeca. That’s why she looks for shoes that allow her to “easily bop around between boroughs but are cute enough to wear to work.” She calls Dankso clogs “a standard for restaurant folks,” as well as “one of the most comfortable pair of shoes you can own.” Lee opts for an all-white pair, which she says feel more stylish and unexpected than the classic black. “From running around the city all morning to standing for eight hours straight behind the host stand, I have absolutely no problems wearing them all day.” Flannery Klette-Kolton and Lauren Gerrie, who spend a lot of their time standing in commercial kitchens as the co-founders of catering company Big Little Get Together, also love Dansko clogs. And author Stephanie Danler told us she’s been wearing her “clunky but kitschy” Dansko clogs since since she got her first restaurant job at 15 years old.

best comfortable work shoes

Il Buco Alimentari’s chef de cuisine Jamie Hogg’s “go-to shoe” is a simple pair of Birkenstock Birki shoes. “They’re nonslip, low-key, last at least two years, and have a changeable inner sole,” so when you wear them down, you can swap in a new comfy sole instead of rebuying a second pair.

Crocs Unisex Bistro Pro Clog

They aren’t the most stylish pair on this list, but for an even more affordable — and just as comfortable — clog, Crocs will do the trick. By Chloe founder Chloe Coscarelli wears them while cooking in both commercial kitchens and at home in her apartment, because “they’re really comfortable and have the right amount of elevation to promote good posture.”

Best comfortable sneakers

Adidas Ultraboost 20 Shoes

“The Ultraboosts are a really good Adidas sneaker for everyday wear,” Currier says. “They’re super-comfortable, easy to put on, and they go with a lot of different things because they come in so many different colors.” These are specifically designed for running, a key factor for Brittany Libman, who used to be on her feet ten hours at a time as an Amazon warehouse employee. “I always prefer to wear shoes that are specifically made for activewear, like running shoes,” she says. “My shoes were the Adidas running-style sneakers, because it was the most comfortable, but also non-slip,” which she needed working on hard floors near lots of machinery.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi

Both Gerrie and bartender-slash-seamstress Pam Wiznitzer say that Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers (which are also a favorite among Strategist staffers) are as comfortable as they are classic. “With additional cushioning inside, elastic by the tongue, laces (to keep the fit snug), and better gripping on the floor, these have become my new work shoe, and also ones that I can walk all around New York City streets in,” explains Wiznitzer, who prefers low tops. Gerrie — who gravitates toward high tops in either canvas and leather — agrees, calling her Converse her “most tried and true shoe.”

Clarks Un Maui Lace White Leather

If your feet are too wide for Converse, like Currier’s, or you generally have trouble finding tennis-style sneakers, she recommends these Clarks. Her wide feet slip right into them, and they have the added benefit of being leather, “which is nice because you can just wipe them off,” she says. “For me, doing hair color all day, if I get something on my shoes I’m devastated, so it’s nice to be able to do a quick wipe, and not worry about it.”

Keds Women's Triple Kick

“Cushion and arch support are major keys,” says Nina Sarhan, a Washington, D.C.–based organizer and protester who sometimes walks for hours during protests. “I walked 13 miles on 395 a few weeks ago with a group of Black Lives Matter protesters, shutting down a major highway for a few hours. I probably walked for six hours that night starting at 5 and ending around midnight,” all in these platform Keds. “I find that it really offers extra support and cushion especially for long walks,” Sarhan says of the platform. “Keds also have sturdy construction, so they’re great for miles on the roads back and forth through Washington, D.C.” She thinks the rubber soles help absorb the shock of each step, and they keep her going in inclement weather. “Rain doesn’t stop the protests, so I need the shoes I wear to not weigh down or get gross in the rain,” she explains. “And they need to have traction so I don’t slip on crosswalks where the road can get slippery in the rain.”

“I’m telling you, anything, literally anything from Clarks that I’ve put on my feet, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah.’ I’m willing to pay more for them because I know that they’ll be comfortable,” says Cassadi Currier, a hairstylist at Pembly Joon. (She’s not alone: They’re an overwhelming favorite among our experts, with three people recommending the brand.) And according to Currier, these heels — not wedges — are her go-tos, because they keep her feet comfortable for about four to six hours. Currier also likes Clarks because they come in a variety of styles, like these, which are “relatively cute,” not “kind-of-grandma heels” or wedges. The Kaylins are a particular favorite, because they “look like booties but they have a sandal for your toes to show through,” she explains.

best comfortable work shoes

According to flight attendant Crystal Roseberry, women in her field “typically wear two pairs of shoes at work.” There are terminal shoes, which tend to be sexy heels worn from the time flight attendants arrive at the airport until they’re in the air, and then in-flight shoes, which tend to be frumpy but comfy, she explains. But Roseberry says these Mary Janes from Clarks — of which she has bought multiple pairs — are “the best of both worlds; comfortable enough to wear all day long, and still fairly cute.” They’re her “hands-down favorite,” she adds. Sandra Hinton, who has been working as a flight attendant for 42 years, agrees that these shoes are extremely comfortable, thanks to the “rounded toe, cushion, and some support in your instep,” as well as “a little bit of platform, and a low heel.”

best comfortable work shoes

“I find the pickings to be kind of slim when looking for something supportive that still looks young and cool,” says server Tess Parker. Dansko’s Ankle-Strap Clogs, which Parker calls “a solid-gold tip” for anyone with knee or back problems, are the first pair of shoes she has found that fulfilled her requirements of being both supportive and young- and cool-looking. The clogs have a “slight but forgiving platform” that helps make them so comfortable, according to Parker, who adds that “our jobs tend to destroy shoes, but these are really long-lasting.”

Best comfortable flats

Easy Spirit Getcity Ballet Flats

Nurse Sorah Edeltuch told us she spends most of her days in sneakers. But for something a little more polished, Edeltuch puts on these Easy Spirit flats that she says are just as comfortable. “Easy Spirit mostly makes grandma shoes, but this pair is the one pair that doesn’t look like it’s for grandmas,” she says. “They feel like you’re walking on supportive pillows. I get so many compliments when I wear them to work.”

“I’ve been through so many flats,” says flight attendant Heather Kovarik. And after testing out many styles that didn’t do the job, she finally landed on two trusty pairs from Dr. Scholl’s and Fila. “Their soles have traction, so you’re less likely to slip, and they have a fair amount of cushion on the inside,” Kovarik says of both, though she admits that nothing is entirely comfortable after an 18-hour day, but “these two shoes help the most” of any she’s tried.

best comfortable work shoes

Flight attendant Roseberry’s favorite comfy flats are this pair from Clarks, which she says are “well made and cute, provide good support, and last forever.” She wears them during long shifts in the air and says they keep her feet “feeling good all day.”

Best comfortable clogs

Dansko Professional Clogs
Ugg Jass Leather Sneaker

Once Hinton lands, she’s still doing a fair amount of walking while exploring the new cities she visits as a flight attendant. For those excursions, she likes these Ugg sneakers. They have the rounded toe, and a platform that she says makes all the difference when it comes to comfortable shoes.

Nike Roshe One

According to Yuki Izumi, Hi-Collar café’s manager and signature barista, Nike makes the most comfortable sneakers to wear while slinging drinks behind the counter, owing to their supportive arches and snug fit. Although they are athletic sneakers, her favorite Roshe One’s look a little less so than other gym sneakers.

When she’s not wearing clogs or boots, Lee relies on her “sleek and modern-looking” Nike Air Max 270s, which she says feel like walking around on “sponges.” She tells us that they look good with everything from jeans and jumpsuits to dresses and trousers, “but most important, they feel good.”

Best comfortable sandals

Teva Women's Original Universal Sandal

While Gerrie got her start working in professional kitchens, she now spends a lot of time cooking on sailing boats and at yoga retreats in more tropical locations. If you’re looking for comfy footwear for warmer weather, she swears by Teva’s Universal Sandals, telling us they not only feel good but are super-cute and waterproof to boot. Strategist editor Anthony Rotunno also loves Tevas; he is such a fan he recently became the proud owner of a third pair. And the Universal Sandal also came recommended by trail guides when we asked them about the best hiking sandals (which by default need to be comfortable enough to get you through whatever trek you’re on).

Birkenstock Essentials Unisex Arizona EVA Sandal

Gerrie also told us she loves Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals — another Strategist-approved shoe — as a comfy warm-weather option. Sarhan, jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth and stylist Karla Welch also swear by this style, and writer Alison Freer loves its ecofriendly EVA material, which she says is “both light on your feet and a dream to pack for travel.”

Eileen Fisher Sport Platform Sandal

For a sportier-looking sandal, Pickthorn suggests this pair from Eileen Fisher, which she says are “incredibly sturdy for walking and working” owing to the thick straps and springy platform.

Clarks Botanic Strap Black Suede

Currier loves a chunky sandal in the summertime. “I’m 100 percent a firm believer that a platform takes the pressure off of your knees,” she says, and these suede sandals from Clarks come in at about two inches tall.

Dr. Martens Vegan Blaire

Even though these sandals have more straps than the other sandals on our list, which could get uncomfortable, Currier thinks these Dr. Martens “are even slightly more comfortable than the Clarks.” They have the same squishy sole as the Dr. Martens boots she picked above and are made out of vegan leather so she says “they stretch out pretty nicely.”

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