The proper footwear for your job can make a world of difference.
Footwear that ticks all the boxes – safety, comfort, support, and durability – not only makes your day-to-day more enjoyable, but your feet will also thank you. Here are some simple yet effective tips to follow when choosing the most suitable footwear for your job:
1. Recognize the potential hazards and risks of your job
First and foremost, footwear should be specific to your job. Various jobs have differing demands, and therefore you should choose accordingly. For example, if you work in construction, you may opt for footwear with toe protection, a higher collar, and slip-resistant soles, as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends. A mix of protection and grip is critical for outdoor jobs with heavy objects and lifting.
2. Understand the demands of your job on your feet
Knowing the demands of your job on your feet is equally crucial for choosing the most appropriate footwear. If you work indoors and are on your feet, we recommend looking for well-supported, more lightweight, breathable footwear. For instance, a nurse or teacher may stand or walk for multiple hours daily, adding stress to their feet and legs. Walking or running shoes may be more appropriate for these professions as cushioning, breathability, lighter weight, and support can be beneficial.
Cooks, chefs, barbers, hairdressers, cashiers, and manufacturing employees may also prefer lighter-weight shoes as they are constantly on their feet. Want to know more about how different jobs affect our feet? See our complete guide on how our jobs affect our feet differently.
3. Know your shoe size
Ill-fitting shoes are the leading cause of foot pain and problems: 8 out of 10 shoes fit incorrectly. We recommend verifying your shoe size, as our feet can shrink and swell throughout the day and the year based on the season. Therefore, do a shoe fitting later in the day to accommodate the slightly enlarged size. (And under the same conditions as you would work, for instance, with your work socks.) In addition, your feet may change size due to aging, so we recommend regular sizing checks for accuracy.
Visit a local foot clinic or specialty shoe store for a proper fitting. Here at Feet First Clinic, our chiropodists perform footwear assessments. The chiropodist will examine your feet and gait and make footwear recommendations to match your foot shape, structure, alignment and accommodative needs.
4. Identify your foot type
Knowing your foot type can help you choose the correct footwear for your job. Foot types vary significantly from person to person but generally classify as:
- Flat feet: Feet with little to no arch, which causes the arch of the foot to make complete contact with the ground. You may overpronate and require more structured shoes or custom orthotics to correct the biomechanical issue.
- Neutral feet: Feet with a moderate arch. Generally, people with a neutral arch don’t require footwear with added stability features.
- High arches: Feet with a high arch that makes zero to minimal ground contact. You are more likely to under pronate and require structured shoes or orthotics to correct the pattern.
A chiropodist can help determine your foot type and recommend appropriate footwear.
5. Check the profession’s safety standards
If you work in a profession with specific safety standards, prioritize the information on the shoe’s label or the manufacturer’s website. Specific footwear may need to meet standards to adequately protect you and your feet from the risks and hazards of the job. Certain symbols are also displayed on footwear boxes to let you know which is appropriate for your job.