13 Best Work Shoes of 2021: Comfortable, Made for Standing, Flat Feet, & Plantar Fasciitis Options

Best Work Shoes

If you need a good pair of work shoes at an affordable price this guide will help you answer some questions that may arise and might help speed up the buying process by making some recommendations based on the type of work you do. I will explain the features of different popular work shoes.

Making a decision on what work shoe to buy is not always an easy decision as we are bombarded with great deals and great looking shoes as we walk through the store. Knowing you will be wearing the shoe forty or so hours a week makes the decision pretty important. There might be a bit of anxiety during the process if you’re on a budget and you’re not sure if you’re getting the most bang for your buck.  A little bit of information can go a long way while you’re shopping for a good deal.

This article will contain some information that hopefully is going to help your shopping go as smoothly as possible.


Top Work Shoes Comparison Chart

ProductHeel TypeShoe TypePriceWhere to Buy?
STELLE Women’s Classic Low Heel Day PumpRaisedSneakers$$$Check on Amazon
Mona Flying Women’s Leather Perforated Lace-up OxfordsRaisedOxford$$Check on Amazon
Anthony veer Men’s dress shoe Clinton Cap-Toe OxfordRaisedOxford$$$Check on Amazon
Allen Edmonds Men’s Park Avenue Cap-Toe OxfordRaisedOxford$$$Check on Amazon
Clarks Men’s Grandin Plain OxfordFlatOxford$$Check on Amazon
Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift 6’’ Steel Toe BootRaisedBoots$$Check on Amazon
Timberland PRO Men’s 52562 Endurance 6’’ PR Work BootRaisedBoots$$$Check on Amazon
Timberland PRO Men’s Velocity Alloy Safety-Toe Mid Industrial and Construction BootRaisedSneakers$$$Check on Amazon
Skechers Men’s Mariner Utility BootRaisedBoots$$Check on Amazon
Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6’’ Soft-Toe BootRaisedBoots$$$Check on Amazon
New Balance Men’s MID626v2 Work Training ShoeRaisedSneakers$$Check on Amazon
Skechers Women’s Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Work ShoesRaisedSneakers$$Check on Amazon
Larnmern Mens Steel Toe Work Shoes, LM-23 Safety ShoesFlatSneakers$$Check on Amazon


Work Shoes Buying Guide

The Buying Process

The shoe buying process is particularly important because a shoe needs to fit and feel great since you’re standing on them all day and they are not as easy or inexpensive to change as a T shirt or pair of jeans. Being comfortable and protecting your feet if you’re standing or walking during a large portion of the day is really critical to your job performance. It’s worth the time to make sure your purchasing the best shoe for your feet and the demands of your job.

There are many variables that will come into play while buying a shoe such as fit, design, materials, price and reputation of the shoemaker to name a few. If you are going to pay a lot for a shoe keep in mind there are different types of quality that a shoemaker may provide you for your money. A shoe maker might score a ten out of ten on some of the features you are looking for but a three or four in some of the other areas. Take your time to make sure the shoe is going to atleast meet most of your needs.

Features to Look For

What features you’re looking for exactly, and what you are willing to pay should be known before you walk into the store to avoid a bad purchase. Depending on what you’re willing to pay you might have to make a sacrifice of one feature for another. For e.g., a shoe might be made with high quality leather but might be cheaply constructed. On the other hand a shoe with low quality inexpensive leather might have a higher quality construction and might fit better according to your feet and your activity type and you might do well to lay out a few extra dollars for the shoe even though it was manufactured with lower quality leather.

If the shoes don’t fit or feel right it’s money wasted regardless of how much you like the look of the shoe. The last thing you want at work is an uncomfortable shoe that distracts you from focusing on your job.  Most people have had at least one experience were they find a shoe they really like but they don’t realize that it’s the wrong fit until they get home and walk around the house in them for a little while and although they tried them on in the store and they felt fine, it becomes apparent the shoe Doesn’t fit after a while. If a shoe is too loose your feet will move around in them and this creates blisters and sore feet. If the shoe is too small your toes jam into the front of the shoe which will be painful and you can damage your toes and feet over time.

Style & Appearance

We tend to buy shoes that initially catch our eyes and are aesthetically pleasing to us but fit and comfort are king for these reasons. When purchasing a shoe you will want to make sure you try them on in the store, walk around in them quite a bit, and ideally have an expert in the store fit you. It’s quite easy to walk out of the shoe store with the wrong size shoe if you don’t take a little bit of time to make sure you have an almost perfect fit. A beautiful pair of shoes that cost you several hundred dollars will be worth nothing if they are painful to wear and you begin to loathe walking in them for more than a few feet at a time.  Comfort is king but yes, Looks matter a lot too!

A beat up and dirty looking shoe that we can no longer stand the sight of is actually what usually motivates us to take a trip to the mall and treat ourselves to a new pair in the first place. A good looking pair of shoes will boost your confidence, mabye enough for you to finally ask your boss for that raise you have been aiming for. You don’t want to buy a shoe based on price and comfort alone if we can’t stand the sight of the shoes, that won’t help your attitude at work. Although flashy colors might catch your eyes in the store, Good old fashion black or dark brown never fails and in the professional setting is required a lot of the time.

As far as choosing acolor It’s hard to go wrong with plain black. There will be some great color options below in our list of top choices.  You will also want to buy a shoe that will last you for a good while, especially if it’s a 400$ dress shoe, you’re going to want to get your money’s worth by making sure it’s constructed to last. It costs the manufacturer more money in materials and labor to make a high quality shoe so be ready to lay out a few more extra dollars for something that is really going to last. However, in time you will end up coming out on top because the shoe that cost you more at first will usually last longer without having to be replaced or needing repair so you will get more wear out of them for your buck.

You can make sure you are getting what you pay for by knowing a little about what the construction process, materials used, and by reading some reviews or articles about the shoe. What you want to pay for a shoe will mostly depend on your budget. If your budget is not very much for the purchase there are still some great inexpensive work shoe options that have most of the high quality features as an expensive shoe. We will take a look at some of Amazon’s most popular work shoes including dress shoes, industrial/construction shoes, and hospitality/service shoes.

Dress Shoes

Dress shoes come in two main styles, Oxfords and Derbys. Oxfords will be best suited for anything formal such as dress pants, suits and tuxedos. The Derby however is a little less formal, more comfortable, and although they are dress shoes they can be better worn with jeans.  Dark brown oxfords are the most versatile dress shoe, more so than black oxfords because they are able to be worn with lighter color pants and nice jeans.When looking at dress shoes you want to take the type of leather used and the construction into consideration, these two factors are going to determine how comfortable the shoe will be and how long it will be before you will have to have the sole repaired.

Ideally a dress shoe will have full grain calf skin leather like an Allen Edmonds Oxford. Full grain leather is more expensive for the shoe maker to get so the shoe will cost more. Full grain leather will look more authentic, it will be able to be better polished and it won’t wear out as quickly as corrected grain leather. The construction of the shoe is as important as the leather used because it plays an important role in how the shoe will feel and how long it will last. Cheaply constructed shoes will not last long and might be very uncomfortable depending on what process they want cheap on.

Goodyear welted shoes are generally the best type of sole construction for dress shoes. Good year welts will be a little stiffer at first and will need a bit of time to wear in. Once they are worn in they usually are more comfortable than cemented soles. Goodyear welted shoes have a layer of cork in the sole and over time the cork along with the layers of higher quality leather this type of construction incorporates creates a personalized fit to your foot. Although a good-year welt will be stiffer at first, it’s arguable that they are still more comfortable than other types of constructed shoes once they are broken in due to the material that conforms to your feet.

The way to tell if a shoe is Goodyear welted is by looking at the bottom of the shoe and if you see stitching around the shoe then it is usually good-year welted. Doing a little bit of research on the shoe might be a more sure way to identify what type of construction is used since the Goodyear welt is often faked by inexpensive shoe manufacturers. You will tend to have to spend a few more dollars for the more difficult construction of a Goodyear welt.

The second most popular type of sole is a Blake stitched shoe. Because these type of shoes will be less stiff they might be a little more comfortable at first than a Goodyear welt shoe depending on your foot.  The biggest advantage of the Goodyear welt and the Blake stitch is that they can be re-soled and they are more durable. The time you have before a potential re-sole will be longer with these shoes. These shoes exude handcrafted quality and that quality. You will tend to have to spend a little more for the more difficult and higher quality construction of a good-year welt.

The least expensive type of construction is a bonded or cemented shoe. You will be able to tell one if you see one piece of rubber glued to the leather. The rubber over time will become unglued and this will not be able to be re-soled.  Whether a shoe is good-year welted, Blake stitched or cemented, the outer sole can still be either rubber or leather. The one that will work the best for you is going to mostly come down to preference. Rubber soles are going to be a little bit more flexible out of the box, and will provide a little bit more shock absorption. Rubber might be best for a schedule requiring frequent long walks.

A leather outer sole however will take a little bit longer to break in and feel more rigid at first but over time the leather outer soul will become more flexible and will conform to your feet giving you a personalized fit. Leather will last longer than rubber as long as there are multiple layers and there is a certain amount of thickness to each layer. Otherwise the rubber will be more comfortable and will last longer. As far as what is the most elegant and formal, leather obviously takes the cake and some traditionalists would not consider rubber soles to be formal.

Industrial/Construction Shoes

Purchasing Industrial or construction type shoes or boots is a little bit more straight-forward than purchasing dress shoes. Depending on what features you require, you can research to see which shoe provides those features. Comfort and fit are king since you will be spending most of the day on your feet doing physically strenuous work with these type of shoes.

A common complaint with industrial shoes is durability and how long they last. This doesn’t necessarily reflect negatively on the shoe construction or quality of materials since the nature of certain jobs and the thousands of hours put on the shoe will degrade the shoe regardless of materials or construction. This type of shoe will inevitably break down. With that said, there will be some options below that are proven to last a good while and to able to withstand a daily beating which is a requirement for some types of jobs.

Hospitality Shoes

Hospitality shoes worn in restaurant work, hospitals etc. will typically be required to be a modest black or mostly black sneaker with a slip resistant sole. Comfort is king with hospitality shoes, especially if you’re spending 8-15 hours a day walking around a bar, restaurant, or hospital.

Fitting is very key. When purchasing a shoe for this purpose consider going up a half size larger. You will be better off being a half a size too large than a half size too small. This is because you’re going to want about a thumbs width or a half inch of room in-between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe to insure enough room is available. This is important with sneaker type work shoes because you’re going to be doing a lot of walking in the shoe, that’s one of the reasons why you are purchasing this type of shoe.

When walking, your feet actually move a little bit towards the front of the shoe during a portion of the stride. Your feet also expand by a few millimeters with increased blood flow to the feet throughout the day. These two factors are why the thumb rule is important. If you don’t have a thumbs width of space as you walk in the shoe you will usually notice that your toes hit the end of the shoe as you walk in them and the problem becomes more severe throughout the day as your feet swell a bit. This will result in toe pain, foot pain, blisters, damaged toe nails and possibly foot injuries.

You will also want to find a shoe that offers your foot some support. If you know that you have a high arch you might want to consider a shoe with more arch support. The second place you will want to look for support is in the heel. Make sure that there looks like there is a lot of material and padding around the heel of the shoe as this will help stabilize your foot in the shoe.  Make sure that there is a good amount of sole on the shoe. This is very important because remember the sole is the only thing between your foot and the ground and it acts as a shock absorber. This is why running shoe manufacturers spend a lot of time developing sole technology that provides as much cushion as possible.

The most important thing is to just make sure that the sole of the shoe has a good amount of meat on it. This will be the best way to ensure a good cushioning system.


Best Work Shoes Reviews

Below is a list of 13 popular work shoes on Amazon. There should be a shoe for every type of work. We picked these shoes based on a lot of different factors including the different features, materials and construction used, general popularity, the amount of reviews, ratings, price, etc. These picks are not necessarily in order from favorite to least favorite as there are completely different categories of work shoes in the list. However, within each of the three different category’s our favorite picks will be ranked higher in the list.

1. STELLE Women’s Classic Low Heel Day Pump

These are very comfortable and affordable pump shoe perfect for a professional office setting but they are very versatile and can be worn for any purpose such as to weddings or to parties. They come in black Pu, gold glitter, nude faux nubuck pu, silver glitter, and black faux.

These shoes have a round toe and a 2.5 heel height.  For the price you’re getting a great shoe that has great reviews. The quality of construction may not be the same as the quality you would be getting with a much more expensive shoe, but the shoes should last you for a while. Some of the colors contain glitter that can possibly come off the shoe in small amounts.

The shoes have a tendency to run about a half size small. Since the material might not stretch out much it is advised to order a half size large to avoid an uncomfortable shoe. This is a comfortable shoe considering the fact that pumps tend to be uncomfortable.



  • comfortable
  • versatile
  • affordable



  • tendency to run about a half size small


2. Mona Flying Women’s Leather Perforated Lace-up Oxfords

These are a beautiful and classy looking shoe with lots of different color combinations to choose from. They have a sheepskin leather upper, comfortable latex insole covered with leather, and a 2.5 cm heel. Like a lot of oxford shoes the toe box is a little bit narrow so going a half size to a full size larger may create a more comfortable fit.

A leather lining sock designed to allow you to be able to walk comfortably and without blisters. The Wingtip designed shoes will make the shoe dress down just a little bit better and they will look fine in different settings of formalness. There are eleven different color combinations to choose, anything from the formal black to a playful brown, yellow, and red.



  • very affordable price for a high quality oxford
  • high quality construction with a leather welt on top of the rubber outsole



  • shoe seems to run a half size to a full size small
  • shoe may feel stiff out of the box


3. Anthony veer Men’s dress shoe Clinton Cap-Toe Oxford

This shoe exudes class and high quality craftsmanship all at an affordable price. Anthony Veer’s Clinton cap toe oxford has full grain leather and good-year welt construction like most of the higher quality dress shoes. These shoes come with leather insoles and waxed laces. This cap toed oxford is about as formal as it gets, especially the black option.

This shoe comes in 6 different color options from black to tan full grain calf skin. You have the option of rubber or a leather sole.  This shoe is truly one of the best bang for your buck dress shoes.



  • top quality at lower price
  • Goodyear welt construction



  • they run a little narrow


4. Allen Edmonds Men’s Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford

Take a look at these beautiful Allen Edmonds shoes! Constructed with the highest quality calf skin leather, Allen Edmonds have made a name for themselves for making top of the line dress shoes and you can see why by taking a look at these classic cap-toe oxfords.

Since 1922 Allen Edmonds has handcrafted dress shoes that provide comfort and durability that will continue to remind you that you are wearing the best every time you put them on. These may be a bit on the pricey end but your dollar goes quite a long way.

With a Goodyear welt constructed sole these shoes are able to be re-soled if need be and the high quality full grain calf skin leather will only get more impressive with age. Allen Edmonds selects the highest quality calf skin, then a shoe maker goes through a 212 step process that insures that they are not only making a great shoe, but a hand crafted piece of art.

These Shoes fit true to size and have a width choice from AAA to EEE allowing you to get a perfect fit.



  • Highest quality calf skin leather
  • Goodyear welt for durability and support
  • Cork inside sole for a personalized cushioning system
  • Shoes usually run true to size



  • not affordable for every budget
  • shoes can be very stiff out of the box and may


5. Clarks Men’s Grandin Plain Oxford

Clarks have been making great looking shoes like the Clark’s plain oxford for over 100 years. Clarks places an emphasis on shoe comfort. This shoe is a great looking and affordable oxford that will dress up and dress down quite nicely.

The black leather option is an extremely versatile color that should work well with both dress pants and jeans. Navy suede and tan options are going to be perfect for dressing up a nice pair of jeans for a night on the town.

These shoes have an ortholite insole designed to keep your feet comfortable as you stand throughout the day. The shoe has a thick rubber outsole designed to absorb impact giving your feet and legs more energy throughout the day.



  • Affordable
  • designed to have sneaker like comfort
  • Versatile



  • Rubber sole may squeak on certain floors.


6. Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift 6’’ Steel Toe Boot

This is a great Caterpillar boot at a great price. When you put these shoes on your feet will truly be ready for a hard day’s work. High quality leather construction with a sporty look makes these a very competitive option for the working man who wants a boot that will last.

These boots are among the most popular work boots on the market. This boot has a 1.25” heel, slip resistant sole, climasphere sock liner and a steel toe. The boot runs true to size. These are a very heavy duty boot that should protect your feet well from falling items.



  • Goodyear welted sole
  • Full grain leather
  • Water and oil resistant



  • May be stiff out of the box
  • Cheap laces


7. Timberland PRO Men’s 52562 Endurance 6’’ PR Work Boot

Timberland pros are designed for people who are working on their feet all day. Lightweight durability is what timberland does best. Slip resistant soles, anti-microbial treatment, electrical hazard protection and anti-fatigue technology are key features. These shoes have cemented construction which will make the shoe more comfortable out of the box.

An abrasion resistant toe protects an area of the shoe that is prone to a lot of wear and tear.  A composite safety toe is lighter than steel, but offers all the same protection as a steel-toe boot. The anti-fatigue system in the boot takes some of the impact of each step you take placing less impact on your feet, ankles, knee joints and surrounding muscles, giving you more energy throughout the day.





  • Fairly high priced


8. Timberland PRO Men’s Velocity Alloy Safety-Toe Mid Industrial and Construction Boot

This shoe is lightweight, waterproof and has anti-fatigue technology. Making it perfect for warehouse work, or service work. There is no stitching in the construction only cement which will make the shoe a little bit more flexible out of the box. It is designed to feel a bit more like a sneaker than your typical heavy duty work boot and it will feel comfortable during walking throughout the day.

The shoe is a sporty yet professional black and orange.  They are typically true to size but if you have a wide foot you may want to go up a half size to insure enough space. This is considered a construction boot, but may be better for service type work.



  • light weight



  • material will not last very long


9. Skechers Men’s Mariner Utility Boot

The Skechers mariner utility boot is a 100% leather with a padded collar and Comfortable boots with a lot of support for long hours on your feet. These work boots are very versatile and can easily double as a casual shoe so you can go right from work to a restaurant or bar. They would do fine for yard work, light construction and even hiking. With this much versatility at a low price it’s no wonder why people love this shoe and rate it so highly.



  • versatile
  • durable
  • A lot of support for feet and ankles



  • They run half size to full size large in length and width
  • Thin insole, comfort may be improved by inserting separate insole.


10. Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6’’ Soft-Toe Boot

This boot is the king of comfort with comfort suspension technology. Slip resistant with electrical protection and Goodyear welt construction, this boot will stand up to the toughest tests. The boot has a  a wide toe box, reducing the chance of toes jamming. The boot is slip and oil resistant, meeting ANSI safety standards. There is good arch support and cushioning inside to help reduce fatigue. The shoe comes in two different great looking classic boot colors, brown and wheat.



  • Very Stylish for a work boot
  • Comfortable
  • Rugged



  • They run a little narrow


11. New Balance Men’s MID626v2 Work Training Shoe

New Balance prides themselves on making shoes for athletes and athletes that are concerned with how the shoes work. The New Balance Men’s MID626v2 might just be the perfect work shoe for restaurant and hospitality work. This shoe features a genuine leather upper, a thick rubber sole, crash pad heel, and a slip resistant outsole.

These work sneakers are highly comfortable with a lot of support and a lot of sole. It has an Imeva midsole which will really help absorb a lot of the shock from walking or standing all day. There is a special absorb crash pad in the heel of the shoe, used in new balance running shoes, which will give you a comfy heel and a spring in your step.



  • affordable
  • Comfortable



  • May not work for higher arched feet


12. Skechers Women’s Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Work Shoes

These shoes are perfect for restaurant or bar type work. Available in a professional all black leather, these slip resistant shoes will be a safe and comfortable choice to meet the demands of a busy restaurant.  They feature mini perforated panels that let the shoe breath, a FlexSole shock absorbing midsole, memory foam insoles and padding around the back of the shoe to reduce heal slipping and blisters. These shoes are great for waiters, servers and nurses.



  • Comfortable
  • Thick sole



  • They don’t last forever
  • Tend to run a half size small


13. Larnmern Mens Steel Toe Work Shoes, LM-23 Safety Shoes

The Larnmern Men Steel Toe Work Shoe is a multifunctional safety sneaker. It’s perfect for certain machinsits, ship builders, automotive workers etc. The shoe is puncture resistant and has an anti-smash steel toe.  It is slip, oil and acid resistant. The breathable upper and a thick insole will keep your feet cool and comfortable throughout the day making this the ultimate work shoe for certain jobs.

The shoe comes in a number of different colors and actually a few different designs as well. It scores an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars and is priced very low for the amount of features and the sporty look of the work sneaker.



  • Comfortable
  • doubles as a sneaker
  • Slip resistant
  • Steel toe



  • Not built with the materials of a typical work boot and won’t last as long if put through same type of work


Conclusion and Final Work Shoes Recommendations 

We have reached the end of the list. I hope you were introduced to some work shoes that you like.  Comfort and fit are king when it comes to work shoes. How the shoe looks are obviously important too. Make sure the shoe is well designed to the specific needs of your foot as all feet are different and there are different requirements depending on your job.

For any office setting where dress pants are required, the Anthony veer Men’s dress shoe Clinton Cap-Toe Oxford is perfect. Black will work best for any suit and tie and dark brown will be a bit more versatile.  Taking the price and the quality into consideration, this is my top pick for men’s dress shoes.

The STELLE Women’s Classic Low Heel Day Pump is my top pick for women needing a dress shoe for the office. These are very affordable and comfortable all-purpose pumps.

For construction and industrial jobs the Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift 6’’ Steel Toe Boot is my top pick based on outstanding reviews and a competitive price. The Timberland PRO Men’s 52562 Endurance 6’’ PR Work Boot is a close second choice for construction boots with a lot of great features and great reviews.

For less demanding jobs and for a more versatile schedule, the Skechers Men’s Mariner Utility Boot is a top choice. Timberland is the go to shoe for construction and service jobs where durability and safety all in a light weight shoe is ideal. Timberland however is not particularly known for durability or longevity due to the construction of the shoe that is more designed for immediate out of the box comfort. Caterpillar manufactures a shoe that will last a little longer and take a bit more of a beating but might not be as comfortable or have as many features as a timberland.

For men’s hospitality shoes the New Balance Men’s MID626v2 Work Training Shoe is my top choice with comfort, price and solid reviews considered. The Skechers Women’s Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Work Shoes is my top choice for women’s hospitality. This is a very popular shoe with great reviews.


Frequently Asked Questions About Work Shoes

Below are some frequently asked questions about the products discussed in this article.

(STELLE Women’s Classic Low Heel Day Pump)




Yes they are comfortable for heels which are a bit uncomfortable and more difficult to walk in by nature.

(Mona Flying Women’s Leather Perforated Lace-up Oxfords)


Some people report them being true to size. However some report the shoes running a half s size to a full size small. This will mostly depend on your feet.



(Allen Edmonds Men’s Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford)



(Clarks Men’s Grandin Plain Oxford)





(Anthony veer Men’s dress shoe Clinton Cap-Toe Oxford)


Yes, they are Goodyear welted which allows them to be resoled.



(Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift 6’’ Steel Toe Boot)





(Timberland PRO Men’s 52562 Endurance 6’’ PR Work Boot)


They are not steel toed, they have a safety toe though that is lighter than steel.



(Timberland PRO Men’s Velocity Alloy Safety-Toe Mid Industrial and Construction Boot)





(Skechers Men’s Mariner Utility Boot)





(Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6’’ Soft-Toe Boot)


Approximately 1.5 pounds per shoe.



(New Balance Men’s MID626v2 Work Training Shoe)







(Skechers Women’s Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Work Shoes)







(Larnmern Mens Steel Toe Work Shoes, LM-23 Safety Shoes)





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