Everything You Need to Pick the Right Warehouse Shoes
Standing or walking on concrete all day? You need the right warehouse shoes, and this guide is going to tell you exactly how to find them. Enjoy.
If you work in a warehouse and are moving around on your feet all day, you might be tempted to settle for a quality running shoe to get you through the day.
But that would be a mistake.
Running is an entirely different motion from walking. And because of this, a running shoe is designed differently from a walking shoe.
Shock absorbing qualities are focused on the heel in running shoes since this is the part of the foot receiving the majority of the impact.
But walking is a different animal. In addition to getting shoes specifically for walking and standing on concrete all day, getting a quality pair of socks is critical. Before researching all these shoes, I thought a thick sock was the way to go because of extra padding. In reality, if you have the right shoes, the padding from your sock isn't going to matter: what you really need is a sock that will wick moisture away from your feet and prevent odor. Bamboo socks cost a bit more but are really amazing. You can also get a monthly sock subscription to make sure you've always got fresh socks!
With good walking shoes, the shock is more evenly spread throughout the sole. Plus, the right walking shoes will reduce the painful conditions of plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia. The following is our list of the best shoes for warehouse pickers after a lot of research (and walking!).
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It's no wonder that after a long day of walking around on concrete on running shoes, those shoes will start to feel pretty unforgiving. And then you're left wondering, is there such a thing as warehouse shoes?
Well, technically, no.
But there are definitely things to looks for, as well as things to avoid, when seeking a pair of shoes that can serve as the perfect warehouse shoes.
It might seem a given that working in a warehouse is grueling.
Opting out of investing in the right shoes could result in ankle pain, back pain, heel discomfort and even spasms in the knee from working on concrete.
So where does one go to find "warehouse shoes"?
Well, it's more a matter of looking first for shoes that have certain features, then avoiding shoes with other distinct features that would make them ill-suited for the concrete floors in warehouses.
In a nutshell, here are the main features you'll want in your warehouse shoes:
- Supportive arch system
- Shock absorbent spread evenly across the sole of the foot
- A decently cushioned midsole
- Slightly rounded sole
- Rigid front
Where to begin?
First, you'll want to look for shoes with firm and thick soles that provide good arch support.
A good place to start is by looking at shoes made for health care professionals. They're designed to provide comfort for the long hours of standing required of health care workers.
If you're pounding the pavement a lot, you'll want to consider buying work shoes or work boots to decrease the foot stress that could come as a result of that excessive pounding. These would make for good warehouse shoes.
And though running shoes are discouraged, tennis shoes could be a good solution - as long as your job allows them.
Sometimes a warehouse job may require you to be outside, so if this is the case for you, then you need to factor in how weatherproof the shoe or boot is.
Be sure that in any of these, the shoe is neither too loose nor too tight. You should be able to wiggle your toes.
What if you still experience foot, leg or hip pain even with extra supportive and well-cushioned shoes?
Then it's time to get a foot evaluation.
Head to your local running shoe store and ask for an evaluation of your feet. This will help you determine if you have a pronation problem - meaning that you naturally roll inward or outward on the soles of your feet.
Many of us do.
From there, you may find that orthotic inserts can really help.
In your search for warehouse shoes, see if you can find some with all of the above qualities, but that also come with removable footbeds, so there is room for inserts in case you need them down the road.
So now that you know what to look for, here's the next important question to consider:
What should you avoid when looking for warehouse shoes?
Some of these may seem all too obvious, but better safe than sorry.
Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? Who would wear high heels to come to work in a warehouse?
But remember, we're talking about warehouse shoes, not stilettos.
It's not unheard of for boots - men's and women's alike - to have heels over two inches. Even if they're thick and blocky, there's still real potential for imbalanced heels.
Whatever the heel, try to keep it under two inches.
Thin Soled Flats
Thin flats are almost as good as being barefoot.
They're casual, easy and comfortable.
They're also far from ideal for warehouse shoes. They simply can't hold up when it comes to standing on a hard surface all day. Thin flats offer no protection. You need something with a bit of cushion.
You also need shoes that will support your weight. This is especially important if you struggle with plantar fasciitis.
The Poor Fit
Don't be a fashion victim.
If you think you've found the perfect-looking shoe with every piece exactly in place and in the colors you love, it isn't worth a cent if it doesn't fit well.
Shoes that are too tight will add too much pressure and leave your feet in worse shape than if you ditched the whole supportive shoe idea in the first place. Justify it all you want, but chances are they won't stretch out over time.
And loose fitting shoes will rub against your sole or ankles and create nasty blisters from the friction.
Not all warehouses are the same. They aren't necessarily gargantuan, stress-inducing over-lit boxes jammed with shelves and forklifts and bubble wrap.
Some warehouses are, let's just say, "cozier" than others.
Amy White from snagajob.com worked in a small warehouse once and she put it like this:
"Working in a small warehouse was fun, because I got to learn every part of the operation. The three other people who worked in the warehouse taught me how to do everything (and didn't get mad when I messed up an order). I swept floors, stocked shelves, filled orders, packed them up and printed UPS mailing labels.
The work atmosphere is a lot more relaxed in a small warehouse. No one's timing you - you do things at your own speed (as long as everything's done by UPS pickup time), so you make fewer mistakes. And I got a certain satisfaction from choosing just the right box to fit two polo shirts, a stuffed elephant and a Christmas ornament. Yeah, I'm a dork.
At the end of the day, hundreds of boxes would be stacked up at the loading dock, waiting for the UPS driver. It felt good to see the results of all my hard work. But there were some days when the work was slow, and as a part-time warehouse worker, I wouldn't be called in. No hours, no pay. That's life."
So aside from the no work/no pay thing, that doesn't sound so bad.
But it turns out that Amy also worked in a huge warehouse and that experience was not quite as easy.
She had this to say:
"The warehouse was humongous: a building bigger than an airplane hangar, filled with endless rows of metal bookshelves. The place was dim, lit by fluorescent lights far overhead, and it was easy to forget if it was day or night.
When you arrived for your shift, you'd be assigned to picking, packing or a combination. Picking meant pushing a cart up and down the shelves and selecting books customers had ordered. You checked them off a printed list, highlighted any that were missing and then delivered the books to the packers. I liked being a warehouse picker, because looking at the book titles made the hours go by faster.
Packing meant checking customers' orders and packaging them securely for shipping. You had to pack fast, but you also had to pack well - if a supervisor found a book rattling around in the box, she'd stop the line and have everyone's work inspected. After a few hours, my feet ached from standing and my hands stung from cardboard cuts. The only fun part? Laughing when someone ordered a book that was a little... naughty.
It was all about speed, speed, speed - and at the end of the day I stumbled home, exhausted."
The key point in Amy's second experience was how here feet ached from standing. And likely from either standing for countless hours, and/or from walking the long expanses to get from one end of the massive warehouse to the other.
So there you have it.
While there is no specific classification for "warehouse shoes," you now have a better idea of what will help you and what may create more hassle.
Ultimately, the best shoes for standing and walking are shoes that fit your feet comfortably.
And since no two people have the same feet, you may find some of these tips more applicable to you than others.
Our best advice? Still steer clear of the high heels and flats, but try different shoes and different brands of shoes until you find one that is the best fit for YOU.
When you find that perfect shoe, we'd love to hear about it.