The 16 Best Shoes for Standing and Walking On Concrete
After reviewing 65+ pairs of shoes, the Fila Memory Workshift (women) and New Balance MC803 (men) are the best shoes for standing and walking on concrete all day.
Before writing this article, we had Dr. Enes – an osteopathic physician – write a buyer’s guide. In it, she lists specific shoe features she recommends for standing, walking and work. The list includes cushioning, arch support, overall postural support and a few other things. We’ve included the list, and Dr. Enes’ notes, in the article. (Note that this information is for educational purposes only. It can not substitute professional medical advice.)
Once the buyer’s guide was written, we started reading online reviews. We used these to find the best shoes for concrete surfaces like roads and factory floors. We then had our testers go out and try on shortlisted products in-store. We supplemented their notes with customer feedback from Reddit, Amazon and other channels.
The Fila Women’s Memory Workshift is our top overall choice for a few reasons. It’s specifically made for women’s feet, which testers and consumers liked. It’s supportive and breathable. It has a bouncy, cushioned rubber sole that distributes weight evenly. It has strong ankle support without locking the joint up. And if you need more support, you can always insert a supportive insole. All of this makes the shoe perfect for concrete. It’s also excellent value for money.
For men, our top pick is the New Balance MC803. It has a neutral, uniform sole that lets you stand with natural posture. The foam used in the sole is light but firm, with best-in-class cushioning and support. The shoe is stylish enough to pass for smart casual and formal enough for work. Its high eyelets and high heel cup mean that it stabilizes the ankle without immobilizing it. The sole has a rocker element in front, letting the foot roll through naturally as you walk. Testers and consumers report the shoe makes standing and walking on concrete easy on the joints.
Other shoes on this page are best for specific situations. If you need the perfect shoe for walking on concrete, look at the Propét models. They have best-in-class arch support and stability features. They improve your gait and reduce striking impact, reducing foot discomfort and fatigue.
If you want a minimalist shoe that builds arch strength and improves gait, the Xero Prio is best. It’s so well-made it has a 5,000-mile guarantee. Unlike other minimalist shoes, it has a nice rubber sole and insole that provides cushioning against concrete.
To learn more about our top picks and our top choices in other categories, read on!
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Table of Contents
Best Men's Shoe for Standing and Walking on Concrete All Day
The New Balance MC803 is our top pick for walking, standing, and working on concrete. They’re supportive, durable, and stylish enough to pass for smart casual. They’re comfy for walking long distances. Perfect for warehouses and factories on concrete floors.
The Fresh Foam midsole is light and soft. It’s supportive around the arch and cushioned in the heel and forefoot. This is common for insoles – but we’ve never seen anything like it in a midsole.
Rollbar tech stops the foot from rolling inward or outward as you walk. This gives you strong arch support and improves your walking gait. The midsole uses lightweight C-Cap tech and a trademarked ABZORB blend of rubber and foam. It’s light on the foot whether you’re standing or walking.
Under the midsole is a slip-resistant rubber outsole to help you keep your footing on wet or oily floors. Due to its slip-proof qualities, we believe this shoes could easily double as an everyday shoe for nurses. The rubber also minimizes the sole’s wear.
The tread is perfect for concrete; deep and rugged. It meets the ASTM F2913-18 standard for non-slip shoe soles. During tests, we could tell slipping in these is unlikely – even on smooth surfaces.
The Hyposkin upper is 100% synthetic but heavily perforated, giving plenty of ventilation. Hyposkin is also very flexible and easy to clean. This makes these a good choice for jobs that can get messy.
If you look at these shoes closely, you’ll notice something missing – stitches. This makes the shoe easy to clean and gives you a little spill protection.
The shoe has a small drop heel. The rocker sole under the forefoot elevates the toe box as well. The effective drop is minimal, giving you a healthy, natural posture.
The only con to these is their relatively high price point.n
- Supportive and cushioning
- Easy to clean
- Relatively high price point
Best Women's Shoe for Standing and Walking on Concrete All Day
Our test team loved these Filas that are specially designed for women’s feet. Waitresses and Nurses rated them particularly highly, based on Amazon reviews.
The rigid arch frame provides good support. The memory foam insole molds to your foot over time. The heel cup and toe area deepen as you wear the shoe, increasing mid-foot support.
The shoe offers great ankle support without reducing joint mobility, thanks to the high collar and eyelets. This support provides natural shock absorption, perfect for walking on concrete.
These shoes are slip-resistant and conform to ASTM F2913-11, safety standards.
The tread on the thick rubber outsole is durable, but not suited to rugged terrain. Durability is increased by the double stitching and reinforced heel and toe box. The extra-wide base provides good stability.
The leather upper is perforated for breathability. The shoe is comfortable and suited for all-day walking and working.
One downside is the relatively high heel drop.
- Good arch support
- Memory foam insole molds to your foot for comfort
- Slip-resistant, extra-wide base for stability
- High heel drop
Best Shoe for Standing on Concrete All Day (Men & Women)
This ASICS model is a good choice for standing on concrete all day. It has an extra-wide base for stability.
It has strong arch support built into the midsole. GEL technology in the heel and forefoot cushions the foot when you’re walking and standing. Our team testers say it feels like walking on air.
The Solyte midsole is soft and bouncy but not mushy or stiff. Trusstic tech means that part of the sole is air. This doesn’t reduce the shoe’s durability but keeps the shoe light.
The shoe has a high collar and high eyelets that keep the ankle supported but mobile. The rocker sole element carries the foot through easily when you walk.
The roomy toe box has plenty of wiggle room and comes with a tough PGuard toe protector.
The outsole is durable. Consumers say it lasts hundreds of hours on surfaces like clay and concrete.
The shoe features a premium mesh upper. It’s breathable and well-padded on the inside. It’s also surprisingly durable. It flexes easily, moving together with the foot without reducing its mobility.
The synthetic overlays, like the one in the heel and in the forefoot, improve shoe durability.
The only con is the relatively high price point.
- Extra-wide base for stability
- GEL tech is soft and bouncy
- Breathable mesh upper
- High price point
Best Men's Clog for Standing on Concrete All Day
If you do more standing than walking, consider getting this Birkenstock model clog. We chose it over the cork-sole ones because it’s a little softer on the feet.
It has everything consumers love about Birkenstocks. It’s ergonomic and made to fit the human foot. It has a deep heel cup, a forefoot groove that goes behind the toes, and a metatarsal pad.
It does a superb job of correcting your foot posture and supporting the arch. You may have to try it on to believe how much relief it provides. Consumers report it makes standing on concrete for long hours easy. Unlike most clogs, this model has a low, even sole.
The wide ankle collar means this shoe is breathable. It’s wide too, meaning the air circulates around the whole foot.
The synthetic sole is firm but springy, so it offers some cushioning when you walk and stand.
The shoe is spill-proof, easy to clean, and washable if it gets really dirty.
The wide toe box is asymmetric, meaning it gives you extra wiggle room where you need it most. The shoe itself is wide enough to accommodate a high-volume insert. Just take out the original footbed and replace it with your alternative of choice.
The outsole has deep grooves. These improve traction and provide extra flexibility around the middle. They’re also non-slip, meaning they don’t rub off when you walk and work on concrete. According to consumers, the sole is very durable and takes a long time to wear out.
- Ergonomic and comfortable
- Good arch support corrects foot posture
- Spill-proof and easy to clean
Best Women’s Clog for Standing on Concrete All Day
The Winona is our top standing shoe. With its rocker rubber sole and high toe box, it has virtually no heel-to-toe drop. It promotes natural posture. The rocker sole means that the foot naturally rolls through from heel to toe as you walk. It helps distribute your weight through the foot as you lean backwards and forwards while standing.
We are big fans of the Dansko Natural Arch tech. It does a good job of supporting the arch and distributing weight evenly.
Together, the insole and the outsole do an excellent job of keeping the foot comfortable through long shifts. The insole has a soft heel pad and an ergonomic midfoot section, suitable for those suffering from heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
The shoe has a wide ankle collar that lets the foot breathe all over. The toe box is wide too. Its asymmetrical form means you have extra wiggle room by allocating more space around the big toe. This also makes this a good shoe for bunions and metatarsalgia.
The leather upper is stylish and can pass for smart casual with the right outfit. It’s easy to clean and spill-proof, which makes it excellent for chefs, doctors, and similar professionals. It features stretch panels that expand to accommodate increased foot size. The stretch panels are also breathable, making this a well-ventilated shoe.
The one downside to this shoe is its synthetic sole. It’s relatively soft but we would’ve liked to see even more cushioning here. If you have foot pain, or an inflammation like plantar fasciitis or peroneal tendonitis, you’ll want a custom insole. Fortunately, the model’s relaxed fit and wide sizes can accommodate just about any orthotic.
- Encourages the foot to naturally roll from heel to toe
- Good arch support and weight distribution
- Spill-proof and easy to clean
- Synthetic sole doesn’t provide much cushioning
Best Shoes for Walking on Concrete All Day (Men)
Propét Men's Stability X Strap
Why this product?
This walking shoe has a three-layer insole that supports your arch while molding to the shape of your foot. The extra-wide outsole will improve your balance as the heel counter firmly holds your foot in place.
This walking shoe features sole tech that makes it perfect for concrete.
The insole is made up of three layers. The top layer is memory foam and the bottom layer is PU. There’s a 3/4 length semi-rigid orthotic in between these two layers. The insole molds to your foot but is still rigid enough to improve foot posture.
The velcro strap closure system is built at an angle that secures your foot to the cushioned insole for all-day comfort and support.
The insole is easy to remove should you wish to replace it with your own orthotics. The shoe comes in an extra-wide version that is particularly accomodating for high-volume inserts.
The midsole is made from durable EVA foam and provides great arch support.
The rocker sole lets the foot roll through from midfoot to toe easily, reducing striking impact and foot fatigue.
The tough tread on the outsole combines deep and shallow grooves for maximum traction and durability. It is wide which helps to improve your balance and lateral stability. The heel is extra thick, further reducing striking impact and providing relief for plantar fasciitis.
The shoe has a heel counter specifically designed for walking. This fixes your foot in place and adds to overall stability.
The shoe is breathable and comfortable. The padded collar and tongue reduce pressure on the top of the foot. It also has a large toe box with plenty of wiggle room.
- Insole molds to your foot for comfort
- Good arch support
- Improves stability and balance
- Heel counter holds your foot in place
Best Shoes for Walking on Concrete All Day (Women)
This walking shoe has incredible sole technology that performs well on concrete.
The shoe features a soft, rubbery midsole. This midsole is extra wide for stability. It has a rocker sole with flex grooves in front. This means the foot rolls through effortlessly as you walk, which reduces striking impact. Our testers loved this.
The heel section is moderately soft. It is good at minimizing heel strikes during long walks. While it looks a little high, it is only a quarter-inch higher than the toe box once you lace up. It lets you stand and walk with a natural, easy posture. Perfect for hard surfaces.
These shoes have a unique internal heel counter. Typically found in athletic shoes, a heel counter gives the ankle joint added support and stability.
This specific heel counter is extra high. Combined with the high eyelets, it gives you excellent ankle support without reducing joint mobility. Since concrete can wear out the foot and ankle quickly, this is a valuable feature to have. It makes it easy to walk without tiring out or feeling any discomfort.
The insole has a deep heel cup and an elevated midfoot area. The midsole is higher around the midfoot for strong arch support. Together, these features prevent your feet from flattening or tiring through long hours on concrete.
Although the midsole is soft, it doesn’t wear out on concrete thanks to the tough outsole. The outsole is well designed, featuring flex grooves for maximum mobility. It only covers the parts of the midsole that come in contact with the ground, reducing shoe weight.
Something we really liked about these shoes was the range of styles you can choose from. When you find a comfortable shoe design, it’s nice to have the option of doubling down and getting a second pair in a different color.
Our testers liked the D-ring lacing system. It doesn’t require strength to pull these laces tight and really lock your foot into the shoe.
Some people can claim these shoes through Medicare. They correspond to Medicare/HCPCS code A5500.
- Good ankle support
- Strong arch support
- Available in a variety of styles
- D-ring lace system makes lacing up easy
Best Dress Shoes for Walking and Standing on Concrete (Men)
We had a tough time finding dress shoes for this article. The ones with good outsoles usually look bad. The ones with beautiful uppers are mostly uncomfortable. These Rockports are somehow excellent on both fronts.
The outsole is nice and thick, with deep tread grooves. It’s all rubber, and its thickness means it does a good job cushioning your feet against impact.
This is not an athletic shoe but is outstanding for a dress shoe.
The upper is stylish. It’s 100% genuine leather. This leather is waterproof. The upper has a one-piece vamp section that doesn’t crease easily. It also has a wide toe box that lets the toes splay out and wiggle easily.
The shoe has a wide fit overall and is available in both wide and extra-wide sizes. This is handy if you want to use custom orthotics. The truTECH orthotics the pair comes with have decent shock absorption and support – but only for strong, healthy feet. If you want serious arch support, you’re better off getting your own inserts.
We’ve never seen lugs like this on any other dress shoe. They are deep and should offer excellent traction in a variety of different terrains. They don’t slip easily and should last a long time.
The upper is tough too, with metal eyelets and double stitching all over. The heel-toe drop is modest at just over a quarter inch.
Like any leather shoe, you might want to wear these around the house for a day or two to break them in. The cushioned footbed should mold to your foot over time.
- Thick tread provides good traction
- Available in wide and extra-wide sizes
- Additional insole may be required for increased arch support
Best Dress Shoes for Walking and Standing on Concrete (Women)
It’s hard to find a formal women’s shoe that performs well on concrete. We tested 5 different styles and ended up choosing the Clarks Women’s Ashland. It looks like a regular women’s flat or slip-on but is highly cushioned and supportive. It has the kind of thick, cushioned heel you need for concrete.
This shoe absorbs heel strike well and feels soft when you stand.
The rocker sole carries the foot through easily when you walk. It also redistributes weight well while you stand.
The toe box is elevated, finishing at less than half an inch below the heel. This gives you a healthy, natural posture when you stand for long periods of time.
The arch is well-supported due to the ergonomic shape of the outsole.
The upper is 100% natural leather. It’s soft on the foot and highly breathable, with perforated straps and openings. The upper features a number of overlays that bend and flex together with the foot, letting you move naturally.
The heel is relatively high, with a cushioned ankle collar. This keeps the shoe snug on the foot without chafing or hurting you.
The toe box is nice and wide, giving you plenty of wiggle room.
The shoe itself has a relaxed fit and comes in wide and extra-wide sizes. This is good if you have wide feet or want to replace the original insole with an orthotic.
The insole is a shock-absorbent Ortholite footbed. It’s removable and machine washable. Consumers say it lasts a while and gets more comfortable over time.
Further cushioning is provided by Clarks’ proprietary Cushion Soft technology. Cushion Soft uses a high-rebound foam inlay to provide shock absorbency and cushioning. Testers’ mentioned the shoe feels nice and cushioned underfoot despite its supportive midsole.
Style-wise, these shoes are versatile. They come in many different colors. They look good in and out of the office.
Testers mentioned that these shoes may slip off easily if you buy a size too large.
- Excellent cushioning
- Cushioned ankle collar keeps shoe snug
- Available in various colorways
- Shoes may slip off if too large
Best Men's Shoe for Working on Concrete (with Safety Toe)
This work shoe from New Balance is made for long shifts on concrete floors. The lightweight alloy toe can withstand up to 75 pounds of impact. This meets or exceeds ASTM F2412-11 & ASTM F2413-11 safety standards.
The midsole is thick and well-cushioned. It has a low drop that lets you walk and stand with a natural posture. The rocker sole carries the foot easily through each step. Light ankle support is provided by a snug padded collar.
The tough rubber outsole has an intricate tread pattern that provides great grip. It conforms to ASTM F2913-11 safety standards. The outsole also protects the softer midsole from wearing out too quickly.
The shoe is highly breathable. Overlays protect the soft parts of the upper to ensure durability. The protective alloy toe offers a great lightweight alternative to steel.
The downside to this work shoe is the absence of a more orthotic insert. If you have collapsed or raised arches, or a foot placement problem, you will likely need to look for an orthotic insole. The shoe is available in both wide and extra-wide sizes, so it should easily fit any orthotic.
- Meets impact safety standards
- Supports natural posture
- Padded collar provides light ankle support
- May require a customized orthotic insert
Best Women's Shoe for Working on Concrete (with Safety Toe)
At first glance, this looks like a stylish walking or running shoe. It’s anything but. This is a heavy-duty industrial shoe.
Instead of a standard steel toe, it features a lighter alloy one. This alloy safety toe meets ASTM F2412-11 & ASTM F2413-11 requirements. It can stand up to impact or compression of 75 pounds. This makes it suitable for most factories, workshops, and warehouses.
The rubber outsole is slip-resistant. It meets ASTM F2913-11 standards, providing excellent traction on a variety of different surfaces.
This is a comfortable shoe. The EVA footbed provides plenty of cushioning. It also molds to your foot, meaning the shoe becomes more comfortable over time. Combined with the soft, flexible midsole, this keeps the foot well-cushioned.
This shoe reduces foot fatigue. This is ideal as concrete is one of the hardest surfaces to walk and stand on.
While it does provide some support, it’s not quite as supportive as we’d like. If your feet tend to get tired, or if you have flat feet, consider getting an orthotic insert. The shoe is available in wide sizes – so you can always size up to accommodate the insert.
The upper is a mix of leather and mesh. Our testers found it breathable and comfortable.
The rubbery overlays are easy to clean which is handy if your work environment gets messy.
The mesh is soft on the foot, providing some extra comfort over long shifts. The overlays on the toe area, heel section, and sides protect the softer mesh material. This means you get both durability and breathability, which is not common in work footwear.
We like the eyelets; they seem very sturdy. They also go high and run parallel to the foot for a snug fit.
The padded tongue stops the shoe from pressuring the top of the foot. The shoe itself features double stitching in multiple areas.
The toe box and heel areas are both reinforced. The midsole is thick and feels durable.
The shoe is protected by a tougher rubber outsole to maximize the shoe’s durability. The same outsole goes all the way up to the toe, making these perfect for kneeling work. These shoes should stand up to considerable abuse in all work environments.
It’s not a safety feature, but we like the purple colorway, and especially the laces – very 1980s.
These shoes are great value for money.
- Meets impact, compression, and slip-resistant safety standards
- Provides good cushioning that molds to your foot
- Good value for money
- Not quite supportive
Best Men’s Boot for Working & Standing on Concrete
Wolverine Men's Harrison
Why this product?
These boots combine the comfort of a hiking boot with the toughness of a work boot. Triple-stitched for maximum durability, they feature a nylon shank that protects your foot while still allowing it to move naturally.
This 6” Harrison work boot from Wolverine is our top choice for concrete.
The rubber outsole comes equipped with lugs that are as thick as they are deep. The lug pattern should give solid traction going in any direction.
The outsole is thick enough to provide a good deal of cushioning. It’s synthetic but bouncy and rubbery. It’s also uniform, with a toe box that sits very slightly below the heel. This lets you stand with a natural posture, reducing the load your feet and ankles have to carry. This keeps the feet energized and rested, even through long hours on concrete.
Most of the cushioning comes from the insole. The insole is also quite durable, according to consumers. It’s also easily removable. Since the boot has a relaxed fit and comes in wide and extra-wide sizes, it’s easy to replace with a mid or high-volume orthotic. We like the Timberland PRO insole as an alternative.
In addition to the insole, the nylon shank is a nice touch. It’s durable but lighter and more flexible than steel. By letting your foot move naturally, it maximizes your foot’s natural cushioning ability.
We love this shoe’s upper. The eyelets go high and the ankle collar is well-padded. This creates a snug but comfortable fit around the ankle.
The whole boot is double and even triple-stitched for durability. The pull tab on the back makes these easy to remove. The leather itself feels nice and sturdy.
Inside, the mesh lining does a good job of wicking away moisture. An essential feature if you plan to be wearing these boots for eight to twelve hours at a time.
The toe box is nice and wide, giving you plenty of wiggle room.
These boots have the comfort of a hiking boot and the toughness of a work boot. They’re good value-for-money.
The steel-toe version conforms to standard factory and workshop regulations.
The only con of these boots is that they’re made using cement construction. This is great for water resistance and lowering costs, they cannot be re-soled.
They’re still incredible value-for-money, but man we’d like to keep these around for longer.
- Great traction
- Durable and cushioning insole
- Padded ankle collar provides support
- Cannot be re-soled
Best Women’s Boot for Working & Standing on Concrete
Dr. Martens Women's 1460 Pascal Wanama
Why this product?
These boots have a high shaft that supports and protects your ankle. The roomy and level toe box reduces the load on your joints, while the rocker sole distributes weight evenly.
These boots are our top choice for concrete for two reasons. First, the world-famous Dr. Martens heel pad. It makes standing on concrete all day easy on the feet. Second, the boots’ roomy, wide fit.
Most boots for walking on concrete – including this one – really don’t have the kind of arch support you need out-of-the-box. Your best choice is to use insoles bought separately. Fortunately, the 1460 model makes this easy to do.
The outsole is perfect for standing and walking on concrete. It has a toe box that’s on the same level as the heel. This gives you a natural posture and walking gait, reducing load on the joints.
It also has a rocker sole which distributes weight evenly when you stand and helps the foot roll through from heel to toe easily.
The leather upper is tough and breathable. It’s easy to keep clean, too; a damp cloth is all you really need.
The high shaft gives plenty of ankle support, protecting your ankles from damage in work settings.
The sole is attached using a Goodyear welt. This offers excellent waterproofing. It also means these shoes can be re-soled easily.
As with any other leather product, we recommend treating the leather from time to time to keep it soft and supple. If you take care of the leather upper and get these re-soled when needed, the boots will last a lifetime.
Our tester found the fit slightly larger than expected. This will likely accommodate a pair of orthotics. The toe box is quite big, too, offering plenty of wriggle room.
Note that this boot doesn’t have a steel toe. It’s not slip-resistant or electrical hazard-resistant, either. If you need safety features like these, consider the Doc Martens Maple boot. It’s a little heavier but it has incredible safety features and uses tougher industrial leather.
- Leather is durable and breathable
- Promotes natural posture
- Sizing tends to run large
- Does not conform to slip-resistant and electric hazard safety standards
Best Waterproof Shoe for Walking and Working on Concrete (Men)
The Merrell Jungle Moc is a very comfortable shoe.
It has a compression-molded EVA midsole frame that provides stability and support to the shoe. It’s elevated around the midsole for strong arch support. The midsole is springy and bouncy, which cushions the foot on concrete.
The toe box is also slightly elevated. This is a result of a rocker sole that lets the foot go from heel strike to toe-off easily and effortlessly. When standing, this feature distributes your weight evenly.
The outsole is tough. It’s designed to be tear-resistant. This also means it doesn’t rub off on concrete, making it more durable. The lugs are deep enough for trail, and they release dirt and debris as you walk. They’re effectively self-cleaning. This is also good if you’re walking in snow as it keeps the area between the lugs from getting stuffed up and slippery.
These shoes have a molded nylon arch shank. The shank helps the shoe keep its shape while also supporting your feet. Nylon is both light and flexible, making the shoes more comfortable to walk in.
There is an air cushion in the heel for added shock absorption while walking and standing.
The toe box is asymmetrical, allowing you to spread out your toes a little. Our testers said this made a big difference in comfort, making standing all day easy.
The upper is 100% suede. It’s water-resistant. Between the suede exterior and the lining, there is a thin layer of waterproof mesh. This is Merrell’s M-Select DRY system. The porous mesh allows air and gas out but doesn’t let water in. This has the effect of creating a breathable but waterproof shoe.
The M-Select FRESH system keeps foot odor at bay. This is achieved through antimicrobial agents in the lining, which disrupt the reproduction of odor-causing bacteria.
The upper fits surprisingly snug due to two stretch panels. It comes off easily thanks to the pull tab in the back.
This is the right shoe for people who spend a lot of time on wet concrete. They’re also good for light snow.
They come in wide sizes, which means you can easily use them with custom orthotics for even more all-day comfort.
- Stabilizing and supportive
Best Waterproof Shoe for Walking and Working on Concrete (Women)
Dansko went all out on this next-level walking shoe.
Let’s start with the footbed. It’s triple-density, meaning it’s firm and supportive. It’s also tough and durable, taking up to a year of constant walking for it to start deteriorating.
Although the footbed is supportive and strong, it’s also thin and low-volume, which lets it bend and flex together with the shoe and your foot. This is why this footbed is so good for walking, standing, and working on concrete.
Combining high-level arch support with flexibility, the footbed distributes weight evenly, improves foot posture, and helps your feet cushion your body without any stiffness.
The midsole is a soft but firm rubbery foam.
The outsole is Vibram rubber, which is world-famous for grip and durability. It’s also surprisingly springy and good at absorbing shock. It has extra-tough overlays in places likely to experience friction on concrete, making it durable.
This shoe features arch support and a rocker outsole. The rocker outsole helps carry the foot through from heel strike to toe-off with minimal impact.
The heel area also has a curved rocker-like form. Testers report this gives the shoe a gentle heel strike. Perfect for long walks and general comfort.
The suede-and-mesh upper is protected against stains by 3M Scotchgard heel and toe overlays.
Between the outer layer of the upper and the lining, Dansko has installed a waterproof membrane. The membrane allows sweat, in the form of steam, out. But the holes are too small to allow liquids, like rainwater, in, making this shoe both breathable and waterproof.
The shoe has a relaxed fit. If you remove the footbed, you can easily accommodate a low or mid-volume orthotic insert.
The eyelets go high, as does the heel section. This gives you the ankle support of a mid-shoe while allowing for ankle mobility.
Something consumers really like is the use of Cleansport NXT for odor control. Many odor control systems focus on killing all bacteria, creating a microbial desert. Cleansport NXT does the opposite. Instead of killing everything, Cleansport NXT deploys beneficial microbes, which are naturally occurring, to fight off the odor-creating bacteria. This non-toxic approach is better for both the consumer and the environment. Reviewers on Amazon say the shoe continues to smell clean despite regular, sweaty walks.
- Good arch support
- Breathable and waterproof
Best Minimalist Shoes for Walking and Standing on Concrete (Unisex)
Looking at the shoe, you’ll notice it has a thick sole for a minimalist shoe. This is normal in shoes like This Xero model that are adapted for surfaces like concrete.
The sole is thin and flexible at just 5.5 mm. It gives you plenty of sensory feedback.
Standing in this shoe feels like you’re barefoot. If you want even more of a barefoot feel, you can always remove the 2mm insole. In our testers’ experience, you don’t notice the shoe when walking and standing – insole or no insole.
If you’re looking to build your foot’s natural cushioning and shock absorption with barefoot shoes, this is a good way to do it. If you’ve never worn a barefoot shoe before, though, we recommend keeping the insole in at first. It’s only mildly supportive, but it provides a welcome layer of cushion between you and the concrete.
The outsole is both grippy and flexible. More importantly, it has no drop. It puts your feet, ankles and whole body into a healthy posture. Making this shoe surprisingly easy on the feet.
Testers report they could see themselves standing and walking in this one for hours on end. Despite being thin and uniform, the sole is surprisingly tough.
Despite being thin, this shoe is also highly durable. It comes with Xero’s 5,000-mile promise. This is a 24-month warranty that replaces the shoe, free of charge, if it wears out before 5,000 miles.
The shoe’s upper is stylish, durable and lightweight. It features tough leather overlays in parts that need extra protection: heels, toe box, around the ankle. The rest is highly breathable mesh.
The lace eyelets use a loop system that is attached to the sole and heel sections. This means the upper “presses” your foot into the sole and heel for a snug, ergonomic fit, which is not something you see often.
These shoes have a wide toe box so you can spread your toes as you would when barefoot. This lets your feet create a broader, more stable base. It helps you run smoothly, transitioning from heel to toe without pounding the ground.
As the shoes are 100% vegan, the upper is made from imitation leather, but we couldn’t tell the difference. The lining is plush and pleasant on the foot.
The shoe is foldable. Once unfolded, it quickly jumps back into shape.
One thing to note: if you haven’t worn barefoot or minimalist shoes before, it may take some time to get used to them.
Generally, the healthier your feet are to start with, the easier the transition will be. But if you haven’t worn a shoe like this before, take it easy. Go slow and be patient. Consider starting with the insoles in. If that doesn’t offer enough support, buy special supportive orthotics until your feet are strong enough to go without them.
- Good traction
- 5,000-mile promise includes 24-month warranty
- Ergonomic fit
- 100% vegan
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Buying Guide - What to Look for When Buying Footwear for Standing or Walking on Concrete All-day
Standing on concrete is tough on the feet and the rest of your body. The reason is that most surfaces – trail, grass, even clay – absorb some impact. When you walk, stand or run on them, they provide natural cushioning. Concrete doesn’t. Your body has to absorb 100% of its own impact when you’re on concrete.
All of this means we can’t treat concrete like we do other surfaces. And buying thick, well-cushioned soles isn’t the solution. Research finds that soft, maximalist soles can make you strike the ground harder. This can lead to leg stiffness, shin splints, and foot placement problems. Over time, it can cause flat feet, knee pain, and even back pain.
That’s the bad news. The good news is, your body has its own shock absorption and cushioning. When all your joints work properly, the feet act like little cushions. They propel you forward when you run or walk – and they also reduce impact on concrete. What we want, then, isn’t just a thicker sole. We want a shoe that lets our feet do their job as we stand, walk and work on concrete for long hours.
A Low Heel Drop
Many modern shoes have a high heel drop. This means the heel is elevated well above the ground and the toe box. This tilts the foot and body forward. This helps us produce more force so we can run faster or lift more.
But in everyday life, a heel drop is terrible for you. It’s basically like wearing high heels. It shortens the Achilles. It reduces medial arch and ankle mobility. It kills your foot’s natural cushioning ability. And by tilting your body forward, it messes with your posture.
All of this is tough on any surface, but especially on concrete. It can lead to foot problems like flat feet or elevated arches. It can lead to heel pain, knee pain, hip pain – even back pain. In short, we absolutely do not want a high heel drop. The highest drop you can wear safely is a half-inch. Any more than that, and you’re basically wearing high heels on concrete all day.
One important note here. Many of the shoes recommended in this article will also have thick forefoot cushioning. For shoes like these, the heel drop is the difference between toe box height and heel height. Do not measure from ground level to heel. Your foot positioning is what counts; not total distance from the floor.
The medial arch plays a key role in your foot’s cushioning ability. The problem is that the muscles supporting this arch get tired over time. They get tired twice as fast on surfaces like concrete. This is a big reason for the modern world’s flat-foot epidemic. We spend so much time on concrete our feet collapse and stay collapsed. This leads to sore feet, heel pain, and – ultimately – ever-thicker soles.
The solution is to look for arch support. Supportive insoles are good, especially if they’re high-volume and semi-rigid. I like EVA foam because it stays supportive through hundreds of hours of use. But if you walk a lot, you may want to look for arch support in the midsole and outsole too.
This usually means looking for soles that have elevation around the midfoot. Rigid arch frames that help support this elevation are good, too. A deep heel cup that puts the heel below the midfoot and keeps it there is also preferential.
Weight distribution is something else arch support helps with. If you have excessive pronation or supination, or an arch that’s elevated or flat, your weight will be distributed unevenly. This will quickly wear out the part of the foot that bears most of it. It can lead to some serious pain and discomfort over time. By getting good arch support, you’re distributing your weight evenly and preventing this.
When you’re on hard surfaces a lot, you need quality cushioning. This is why I’m not a fan of classic Birkenstocks for factory workers and the outdoors. That cork sole is heavenly, corrective, and supportive… But you really do want a softer sole.
At the same time, we don’t want a sole that’s too thick or too soft. These can make you strike the ground harder by reducing sensory feedback. We want a moderately cushioned, moderately soft sole.
I like modern foam materials. There are so many of them I can’t keep up – but our test team will cover some of the best ones for this article. For concrete, a quality synthetic sole can actually be better than a rubber one. Many modern synthetics are incredible. I also like a good gel heel pad and the kind of air cell found in some Nike shoes.
Concrete is an abrasive surface. It makes quick work of soft rubber and synthetic soles. Since these are the kinds of soles we’re looking for, our shoes are at risk. Once too much of the sole rubs out, the shoes can no longer cushion, support the arch, or distribute weight properly.
That’s why we’re looking for a few specific features. First, a more durable rubber outsole to go with a softer, more cushioned midsole. This will extend the life of the softer section of the sole. Second – deep, thick treads. These may seem out of place on a hard floor… But the best shoes for walking and standing on concrete all day need them too. As they wear out, they’ll protect the main part of the sole and extend its use.
Third, we want a slip-resistant outsole if possible. Since these slide less, they rub out on concrete less. They’re also a good choice because some concrete surfaces – e.g. indoor concrete floors – are smooth and slippery.
Light, Stretchy, Breathable Materials
Concrete is excellent at absorbing heat. If you work outdoors or in a warm environment, it’ll make your feet hot – fast. If your shoes aren’t breathable, they’re likely to swell. This can make the shoe constrict your foot and reduce its cushioning ability. This is why we want breathability.
We want the shoe to be stretchy too. It has to flex and bend with your foot as you move and stand, letting it absorb shock effectively. Materials like mesh are good. Leather and synthetic uppers with stretch panels are good too. Even rigid materials like thick leather can be fine if they’re well-perforated, and designed with overlays that allow for flexibility.
Are Running Shoes Good for Walking & Standing on Concrete?
Running shoes are bad for walking and standing on concrete. They tend to have a heel drop that tilts your body forward.
This reduces your ankle and foot’s natural cushioning ability. Over time, this can lead to knee pain, hip pain, sore feet, and worse.
Think about it this way. You wouldn’t spend all day wearing high heels on concrete, right? Well, running shoes with a high drop are the same. Use them for running; not for walking, standing or working.
How Can I Make My Work Shoes Last Longer?
The first part of the shoe to give out is the insole. Replace the insole and you’ll extend the life of your shoe. In addition to this, look for abrasion-resistant outsoles. Many walking shoes have these.
Our favorite men’s shoe is the New Balance MC 803 Industrial Shoe. It has best-in-class cushioning and support. Testers and consumers were big fans of the multi-density foam used. We’ve never seen a one-piece EVA midsole combine cushioning and support through different parts of the shoe. Perfect for concrete.
Our favorite women’s shoe is the Fila Workshift. Its ergonomic design fits women’s feet, rather than being a smaller version of the male model. The shoe itself has excellent weight distribution, cushioning, and support. It gives your feet everything they need to stand, walk and work on concrete all day long. Consumers recommend them for service work, outdoor CrossFit, and everything in between. They’re versatile and inexpensive.
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