How to find comfortable shoes

Last month, Amazon announced a new feature for shoppers. It was called Virtual Try-On. Customers can use their smartphone camera to see what they will look like wearing their new shoes. While the feature works with thousands of styles, it doesn’t tell you if the shoes fit. It only shows you how you will look when wearing them.

To find comfortable shoes, especially if you’re on your feet all day, can take a bit of trial and error. To help speed up the search, we’ve curated a list of shoes that will provide comfort all day long.

Why standing is so hard on the feet

When you walk or run, your feet get to rest as your weight shifts back and forth. When you stand, however, your full body weight is constantly supported by both feet. You do not get any rest. Additionally, maintaining your balance means all the muscles from your feet to your core are engaged. Because of these two factors, standing still can cause greater discomfort than walking for an equal period of time.

What makes a shoe more comfortable?

While many people focus on one factor when shopping for a comfortable shoe, there are several aspects you need to consider.

Size

The most important aspect of buying a comfortable shoe is getting the right size. Everyone’s feet are a little different. Even if two people have size 8 shoes, the same pair of shoes won’t necessarily be a good fit for both individuals. One person could have a wide foot that constantly pushes on the upper of the shoe and creates a painful corn or callus. The other might have a narrow foot that moves about inside the shoe and creates a blister. When shopping for a comfortable shoe, consider all aspects of size, not just the length.

Material

Material is also crucial for comfort. And again, in more ways than you are probably considering. Yes, you definitely want material that is soft and malleable. Shoes need to be flexible, otherwise, you won’t be able to walk very well. Additionally, you want material that is breathable as this helps minimize bacterial issues — there’s a reason why athletic socks are made of moisture-wicking fabric and not plastic bags. Soft leather, knit, suede and stretch shoes are often the best for comfort. 

Support

The insole of a shoe is critical for support. Without support for your arch, all the weight of your body is supported on just a few small points. It’s the difference between doing push-ups using open hands or going up on your fingertips. If you wish to be as comfortable as possible, you need adequate arch support.

Shock absorption

Every step you take is a collision between your body and a solid object: the floor. Think about how quickly your hands would fatigue if they were repeatedly punching a wall. The outsole of your shoe absorbs the impact of walking (or running), so it takes less of a toll on your body.

Best shoes for people who are on their feet all day

Shoes for women

Allbirds Womens Tree Pipers

Allbirds Women’s Tree Pipers

These shoes from Allbirds are made with eucalyptus fiber. They are lightweight, breathable and gentle on the planet. These casual shoes have a moisture-wicking insole and they are best for everyday wear and warmer weather. 

 Sold by Allbirds

Hoka One One Mens Clifton 8 Running Shoes

Hoka One One Women’s Clifton 8 Running Shoes

With a streamlined silhouette, a lightweight design and extra cushioning, these athletic shoes are a great option for all-day comfort. They feature a plush collar with a responsive design and an extended heel to give you a softer, smoother landing.

Sold by Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Road Runner Sports

Adidas Ultraboost 5.0 DNA Shoes

Adidas Ultraboost 5.0 DNA Shoes

If running is in your plans, Adidas is a trusted name in footwear that can give you what you need. These shoes have a molded heel that provides a comfortable natural fit and robust support. They are manufactured for durability and traction.

Sold by Adidas, Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Macy’s

Birkenstock Arizona Suede Leather Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona Suede Leather Sandals

Birkenstock is a brand known for its exquisite comfort, and these supple, suede leather sandals are no exception. They feature adjustable straps with a cork footbed that naturally conforms to the shape of your foot to provide maximum support and comfort.

Sold by Birkenstock

Shoes for men

Allbirds Mens Tree Pipers

Allbirds Men’s Tree Pipers

If you are looking for a smart, earth-friendly option, these casual shoes are made using eucalyptus fiber and Brazilian sugarcane. They are lightweight, breathable and have an odor-reducing insole that makes them best for everyday wear and warmer weather.

Sold by Allbirds

Hoka One One Mens Clifton 8 Running Shoes

Hoka One One Men’s Clifton 8 Running Shoes

These shoes earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance for promoting foot health. They are designed for comfort, traction and durability, but still boast a lightweight, responsive action that is stylish and stable.

Sold by Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Road Runner Sports

Adidas Ultraboost 1.0 DNA Shoes

Adidas Ultraboost 1.0 DNA Shoes

Talk about comfort, these sneakers have a knit upper that conforms to the foot with a supportive fit. The enhanced midsole provides an uplifting boost that adds comfort to every step. For the earth-conscious individual, these shoes are made in part using parley ocean plastic to reduce plastic waste.

Sold by Adidas

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Nubuck Leather

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Nubuck Leather

Sandals are the ultimate comfort shoe — nothing is naturally more breathable. This offering from Birkenstock is made with nubuck leather, which is soft to the touch and delivers a luxurious wearing experience.

Sold by Birkenstock

Shoes for children

Allbirds Smallbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds Smallbirds Wool Runners

These earth-friendly shoes are made from natural materials to leave a smaller carbon footprint. The focus is on comfort, so your kids won’t mind wearing them all day long. If they get dirty, no worries because these Allbirds are machine washable.

Sold by Allbirds

New Balance Kids 888 V2 Lace-Up Running Shoe

New Balance Kids 888 V2 Lace-Up Running Shoe

New Balance has a classic sneaker design that gives kids a taste of nostalgia. The shoes have a high-density foam collar for support, and a high-tech midsole for comfort and support. The synthetic upper is breathable, while the rubber sole provides traction and shock absorption.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Road Runner Sports

Adidas X LEGO Sport Pro Shoes

Adidas X LEGO Sport Pro Shoes

Sometimes, all it takes to make a great shoe is an ingenious idea. These comfortable kids’ shoes have a remarkably grippy outsole that is modeled after the hugely popular plastic building toy. The shoes are made using at least 50% recycled content and come in vibrant, child-friendly colors.

Sold by Adidas

Birkenstock Arizona Kids Birkibuc

Birkenstock Arizona Kids Birkibuc

Kids can wear sandals too. This iconic footwear from Birkenstock features a classic two-strap design, suede lining and the company’s signature footbed that promotes general foot wellbeing and health.

Sold by Birkenstock

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.