Best shoes for retail workers

What are the best shoes for retail workers who spend most of the day on their feet? Finding the best shoes can be a challenge for retail employees. 

Numerous companies make work shoes, and many of the products out there simply are not very good. Retail can be a demanding industry to make money in, so buying the right shoes the first time is essential for employees.

A good pair of shoes for work will be lightweight, comfortable, and provide the wearer with excellent support to make those long days more comfortable to get through.

We built this retail shoe buyer's guide for the worker who struggles to find good shoes. Our guide will keep you from wasting hours of your day searching the internet to find the best shoes for your job.

The products we share with you today are among the very best on the market for retail work. Our selections prioritize function over fashion so that you have options available that meet your needs. Just because a shoe is comfortable doesn't mean it has to be ugly.

Check out the shoes we think are the best for retail jobs below. This guide will help narrow your search and make the decision to buy new shoes much more straightforward.

Skechers is a legendary work shoe company. Since 1992, Skechers has outfitted workers in hundreds of industries with high-quality shoes that are comfortable to stand and walk in all day long. 

The Equalizer is a legend in its own right. Employees in industries from healthcare to automotive sales find these shoes to be highly comfortable and durable.

The synthetic materials are breathable to keep your feet dry even on hot days. Skechers uses a memory foam insole in these slip-on sneakers for natural all-day wear.

Good shoes for work must be more than just comfortable and durable: they must also look good. The Equalizer checks all the boxes. These shoes look good with uniforms, jeans, and scrubs.

The weight is a feature that makes these shoes an excellent choice for work. They are so light; it feels like you aren't even wearing shoes.

The sole is sturdy and has enough grooving to ensure stability without chunkiness that adds unnecessary weight. The Equalizer from Skechers is one of the best work shoes on the market. In fact, many people won't wear any other shoes for work.

When one pair wears out, they just order another pair. Many workers wear the Equalizer for eight to 12 hours a day, five or six days a week, and simply love them.

What we like

  • Durable synthetic construction
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Breathable materials
  • Great looking work shoes

Our Verdict

What sets the Skechers Equalizer apart from many other shoes on the market is the high build quality. 

Even after long days and tough weeks, these work shoes are still comfortable and hold up to lots of abuse.

When it comes to a genuinely epic shoe for work, it is difficult to find a better offering than the New Balance 990. The newest version, the V5, just hit the market in 2019, but New Balance has made the 990 for three decades. 

The latest version features an Ortholite insole for more comfort and stability than previous models but keeps the classic, timeless look and style you are familiar with seeing.

The 990V5 is just as happy in the gym as it is at work: the lightweight construction and thick, chunky sole provide you with hours of comfort and impact resistance. Plus, the reflective striping, a New Balance trademark, helps make sure you are visible to cars when you are working -or working out- at night.

New Balance builds the 990V5 in the USA, just like they always have. The upper is made from suede and a breathable mesh. This combination gives you sturdy, durable shoes that keep your feet from getting swampy on hot days.

The new insole is a massive improvement over the older V4 insole. New Balance 990's are an excellent choice for workers that are on their feet all day, particularly in high-traffic environments, when a more casual-looking shoe is appropriate.

What we like

  • Lightweight comfort
  • Classic design
  • Pillow-soft insole
  • Made in the USA

Our Verdict

If you are in the market for a high-quality shoe for work, but you need something with an athletic attitude, the New Balance 990V5 is a top choice.

It’s a classic design that keeps getting better with every new version.

The design of running shoes makes them an excellent choice for work. If you aren’t familiar with ASICS running shoes, it’s time to get an introduction. ASICS builds its shoes for specific foot conditions. 

The Gel-Kayano 25 helps wearers who tend to put pressure on the outside edge of the foot instead of the heel and ball. These shoes are for running, and the athletic appearance makes no mistake about the performance of this shoe.

Employees in industries that spend lots of time walking, like nurses and office workers, find running shoes to be a great choice. The design of the Gel-Kayano reduces impact and helps provide support for a natural gait and step. That translates to hours of comfort for workers on their feet all day or night.

ASICS went overboard with tech for the Gel-Kayano 25, and it's to your benefit. The shoe features Fluidride midsoles that reinforce the natural motion of your foot through Guidance Trusstic System Technology.

Hyperflite soles give a springy bounce while being 55% lighter than the industry standard EVA foam. A seamless inner sock prevents pressure and friction from hurting your feet.

The Ortholite X-40 sock liner provides you with cushioning and superior moisture wicking to keep your feet dry all day.

What we like

  • Incredible impact resistance
  • Encourages natural step and gait
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great for all-day work

Our Verdict

When it comes to picking out a work shoe, a running shoe might not be an obvious choice. The ASICS Gel-Kayano blurs the line between a workout shoe and a work shoe. 

The Gel-Kayano can even improve your step and gait for better leg, knee, and back health.

Some types of work require a shoe that is comfortable and appropriate for an office setting. Skechers BOBS are a super-comfortable flat for women. These shoes are a sensible option over heels and dress flats that hurt your feet and cause back problems. 

BOBS are lightweight and soft. The upper is made from woven canvas with stitching accents. The flexible rubber sole allows you to move comfortably without the shoe slipping on your foot.

Memory foam insoles provide all-day cushion, even for women who are on their feet constantly.

The best thing about wearing BOBS from Skechers is the way they look. The understated and straightforward flat fits right in with dressier settings.

They are available in a wide array of patterns and colors to mix and match with your favorite outfits. Pair them with jeans or leggings, and you will get compliments from coworkers every day. And because they are Skechers brand shoes, you can count on BOBS for long-term durability.

The rubber sole uses a textured finish with slight grooving to make sure you don't slip and fall. The inside of the shoe is a heavenly soft, textured material. Unlike most office shoes, you can wash these in the washing machine! You will never have to worry about smelly office shoes for work anymore.

What we like

  • Casual alpargata-style flat
  • Excellent memory foam insole
  • Machine-washable
  • Great color and pattern options

Our Verdict

If you work in an office setting, you should avoid hard sole shoes and heels. There is lots of information out there about the long-term damage fashionable shoes can cause. 


These flats are very comfortable for all-day wear even in a busy office.

Clarks makes some of the most fashion-forward and comfortable work shoes you can buy. Their timeless designs are only surpassed by the ridiculous comfort and durability you get from high-quality office shoes. 

The Tilden Walk Oxford is for the busy man who needs the stability and strength of a work shoe but needs it to look great with his expensive suit. The Tilden is so versatile. You can throw them on with dark denim or slacks for a more casual-but-still-professional look.

The leather upper is supple and soft. The Tilden Walk has hidden goring panels that make them easier to take off and put on, particularly for workers with wider feet.

The insole is Ortholite memory foam hidden beneath a soft synthetic leather footbed. Ortholite provides superior cushioning and impact resistance and does not add as much weight as other types of foam insoles.

The Tilden Walk weigh in at about 15 oz each, so they are quite lightweight. Synthetic rubber soles are durable and provide excellent traction over leather-soled office shoes. Nothing is worse than falling in the middle of a big meeting! Clarks are also very durable.

The 100% leather upper is easy to care for and is butter soft right out of the box. With proper care, Tilden Walk Oxford shoes will last years and always be one of your favorite office shoes to slip on, whether it's a manic Monday or finally Friday.

What we like

  • Stylish office shoe
  • Comfortable on long days
  • Lightweight dress shoe
  • Timeless style

Our Verdict

It's challenging to find a better office work shoe than Clarks, and the Tilden Walk is an exceptional shoe.

The Tilden Walk is a joy to wear even on days when it seems like all you do is run around the office, solving problems.

Ultimate Buying Guide for Retail Workers

Picking out the right shoes for your retail job is very important. Shoes that do not fit well can cause blisters, or worse, can hurt your knees and back. Many people who have jobs requiring them to be on their feet all day have a hard time finding shoes that fit well and are durable enough to last.

We get lots of questions about what the best shoes are for retail workers to wear every day, so we have put together this guide to frequently asked questions.

Cashier in retail shop

What are the best shoes for cashiers?

Cashiering often means employees must stand basically in the same spot all day long. Standing puts lots of pressure on your knees and back, so picking the right shoes for the job is very important.

If you are shopping for shoes to wear for a cashiering job, try to find shoes that offer excellent support for your feet and have memory foam inserts. Cashiers often must be able to move quickly from one place to another, so a good quality running shoe that offers support might make a good option.

The lightweight ASICS 990V5 we share with you above is an excellent option for busy cashiers on the move. The technology ASICS uses in their running shoes gives workers a stable footbed and excellent support for their feet. ASICS can even help correct problems with your step and gait.

What are the best shoes for standing on concrete all day?

Many jobs require you to stand on concrete while working. Concrete is an unforgiving surface that causes workers all sorts of medical problems each year. Finding the right shoes for a job holding on the pavement is challenging.

We recommend comfortable shoes as the Skechers Equalizers featured above. Shoes like these have specific construction to minimize pressure points that make your feet feel tired. This means you can stay working longer without the distraction of worn-out, hurting feet.

Retail workers dealing with concrete floors every day will benefit from the Ortholite memory foam insole and breathable material.

What are good shoes for waitressing?

A waitress must have perfect shoes. They must be able to walk, maneuver, and pivot quickly without stumbling and falling. Shoes must stay on their feet well and provide plenty of cushion. For more casual restaurants, the ASICS 990V5 above is a solid choice.

They offer incredible comfort in an athletic shoe. For jobs that require a more formal shoe, look to Skechers for the best shoes for waitressing. Skechers provide superior support and are easy to clean.

What are the best shoes for being on your feet all day?

Finding proper fitting shoes is essential for on-your-feet-all-day workers. Ill-fitting shoes cause blisters and create painful hotspots. You shouldn't be distracted from your work by the pain in your feet caused by wrong shoes.

Several of the shoes we show above are available in wide widths for a comfortable fit. You don't have to squeeze your wide feet into regular shoes anymore. Once you find the shoes that fit well on your feet, the retail job that keeps you on your feet all day will be that much more enjoyable.

Our top pics above all make excellent choices for all-day wear depending on the type of work you do. More formal environments may choose the Clarks Tilden Walk, while a casual retail store worker can wear Skechers BOBS for a comfortable choice.

Standing Workers

What should you look for in shoes if you work in retail?

A few features are significant for workers shopping for shoes for a retail job. Lightweight shoes are a great choice to prevent tired legs, and shoes featuring high-quality memory foam inserts always are smart decisions.

Mesh panels and moisture-wicking technology, like the ASICS 990V5, can help keep your feet from becoming a swampy mess by the end of the day. Many retail stores have carpet over concrete floors. These surfaces are hard and can be painful with the wrong shoes.

Our recommendation for a more formal retail worker who wants to look great while being on the sales floor all day is the Clarks Tilden Walk. These shoes are comfortable, light, and durable, plus they look like costly shoes.

How many hours per day does a retail worker typically stand?

Research by the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workers in the U.S. in 2019 stood for an average of 57.8% of their day. Since the average retail worker is at work for between 30 and 31 hours per week, that means they stand for more than 15 hours each week.

Some jobs will require nearly all at-work time to be standing, while other retail establishments provide seating for employees. Retail work that involves a lot of standing may require you to have high-quality shoes that reduce fatigue and impact.

Are flip flops appropriate for retail workers to wear all day?

In almost every retail establishment, flip flops are inappropriate. Flip flops are a terrible choice for all-day footwear. The reason is that they do not stay on your feet well. Poor-fitting flip flops cause you to hold the shoe in place continuously. Flip flops are also dangerous.

Because there are no coverings on the top or toes, it is easy to get hurt by dropping items on your feet. Flip flops can get caught on rugs and cause you to trip and fall. Trip and fall accidents are among the most common work-related injuries and can cost thousands of dollars to recover from.

Why are comfortable shoes recommended for retail workers and not heels or what’s “in fashion”?

Numerous types of injuries happen to thousands of workers each year because of poor shoe choices for retail work. High heel shoes can cause toe cramps, ankle sprains, and can even shorten the tendon in your ankle, making walking in regular shoes painful.

Many fashionable shoes do not provide proper support and are often slick. Men's dress shoes frequently feature leather soles that can cause you to slip and fall, leading to broken bones and concussions.

It is never a good idea to choose a fashionable look over a functional one, particularly when you are working.

What is better for retail, slip-resistant, or non-slip resistant?

Slip-resistant shoes are a better choice for retail workers than shoes that don't have slip resistance. Slip-resistant shoes feature a unique rubber or synthetic compound that helps repel water and slippery substances, ensuring the retail worker can safely walk.

A good slip-resistant shoe will help keep you from falling and hurting yourself at work. Injuries caused by falls are among the leading causes of missed time at work in the U.S. Injuries from slip and fall accidents range from sprains and tears to broken bones and concussions.

You may even be surprised to know that falls are a leading cause of death in the U.S. Shoes that do not have an excellent slip-resistant sole may cause you to fall down a flight of stairs, off of ladders, or even small platforms.

Retail workers

Final Considerations

Picking out the right pair of shoes for a retail job is a difficult task. You need to find shoes that are comfortable for all-day wear, durable enough to handle numerous shifts per week, but that still looks good. 

The shoes we recommend on this page are all excellent choices for retail workers to consider. Retail jobs in fast-past environments, like a busy store, may require you to find running shoes. These types of footwear often provide arch support and can alleviate back pain.

If your retail job means you must look dashing, the retail worker shoes we feature above include excellent choices you won't be disappointed buying. Always remember the most crucial feature of a shoe for retail work is that it must be comfortable.

Fashionable shoes do not have to be uncomfortable, though, as our product list above shows. You can find fashion-forward, comfortable shoes for your more formal retail job.

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