The 12 Best Work Shoes for Men to Suit Any Environment

·10 min read

Shoes you wear to work are some of the most important items of clothing you’ll ever buy. This goes for work of all types, too. People who stand on their feet all day — restaurant workers, teachers, nurses — need the most comfortable shoes that continue supporting them as the day wears on. People who work in areas with heavy machinery or any kind of potential danger need work boots with a steel toe and a hefty grip, as well as supportive insoles. And people with office jobs, including the work-from-home ones, also need shoes that give them just the right amount of support and protection.

What to look for in the best work shoes for men

“Safety is your number one concern when choosing a shoe, and some jobs have certain requirements, like a steel toe or non-slip,” says North Carolina-based podiatrist Jane Anderson.

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Those requirements are not a place to try to push the boundaries. “Having a good work shoe is probably something that can make or break whether you have an injury,” she adds.

There are three main factors to consider when shopping for the best work shoes for men: protection, support and comfort. Think about not only how long you’re standing but how you’re moving, what kind of surface you’re moving on and what other variables might be happening in the environment around you. Are you standing rather still at the front of a classroom, or are you moving quickly around tables and chairs in a restaurant? Is the floor made of wood, linoleum or concrete, and does it tend to get slippery? Will you be around loose nails and screws, or outside where weather might also impact your shoe choice?

Aside from job-specific elements to consider, Anderson has a few go-to considerations for any kind of shoe that’s getting a lot of use.

“One of the general principles about shoes — especially for something like a casual dress shoe — is that if it’s completely flat, thin or flimsy, it’s not good for your feet, ” says Dr. Anderson. “Also, you want a shoe with a little bit of arch support and that bends at the ball of the foot. But, you shouldn’t be able to bend it in half.” That’s because too much flexibility means not enough support.

Even if you are working from home, Anderson says it’s best to keep your feet supported and protected in a pair of durable men’s slippers or house shoes instead of regularly going barefoot.

“This year has been really interesting in regard to shoes and feet,” she says. “With so many people are working from home, you’d think that’d mean less issues. But because people now are barefoot a lot more, we’re seeing a lot more complaints of plantar fasciitis and stubbed and broken toes.”

With the help of Dr. Anderson’s insight, we rounded up the 12 best shoes work shoes for men for all sorts of professional environments. Shop them ahead.

Skechers Work Markan-Bovill Tactical

One of the worst things a men’s work shoe can do is crush your toes, says Anderson. This is not only uncomfortable in the moment but can lead to injury over time. Skechers’ tactical boots have a roomy toe box, which is an absolute essential in shoes you wear for a long time. Your feet swell as you stand and move on them, and that bit of room will make all the difference.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Skechers Work Markan-Bovill Tactical
$89


Nike Zoom Pegasus 37

If you can get away with wearing more performance-specific sneakers to work, Anderson recommends it. They’re made to absorb impact and keep your feet stable, and the Nike Zoom Pegasus is one of our favorite Nike sneakers for walking and other day-to-day activities. If you’re wearing these every day, don’t forget to replace them after about three or four months, says Anderson.

Credit: Courtesy of Nike
Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike


Buy:
Nike Zoom Pegasus 37
$130
$80


Timberland Pro Direct Attach Steel Toe Work Boot

Timberland’s Pro line has some of the best safety and construction shoes for men around. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of its steel toe work boots, including the Pro Direct Attach boot. The style’s rubber soles are oil-resistant, ankles extra padded and upper seam-sealed and waterproof.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Timberland Pro Direct Attach Steel Toe Work Boot
$165
$121


Reebok Work BB4500 Work EH

Reebok’s Work line makes solid, no-frills shoes that are often workplace-approved for meeting certain safety requirements. The Work EH silhouette, for example, is slip-resistant against both water and oil, making it a good choice for working on messy floors. The toe has impact and compression protection to guard feet from shattering glass or anything that might make its way on the floor.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Reebok Work BB4500 Work EH
$64-$203


Vionic Baldwin Lace-Up Sneaker

Vionic shoes are made with foot health in mind, and these lace-up sneakers are a great option for those in a casual work environment. Created in partnership with podiatrists, these styles offers underfoot support that stabilizes the foot in a neutral position. That design might help people who tend to overpronate and have issues to match, like heel and ankle pain or plantar fasciitis.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Vionic Baldwin Lace-Up Sneaker
$130
$61-$162


Blundstone BL990 Work Chelsea Boot

The fashion crowd has adopted Blundstone’s shoes recently, taking the brand’s emphasis on functionality and upping its cool factor. Still, there’s no denying that at their core, they make great safety shoes for men. The BL990 has an easy-to-wear Chelsea boot shape that’s equipped with a steel toe, oil and acid-resistant outsole and water-resistant upper. Plus, these shoes have the American Podiatric Medical Association’s stamp of approval.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Blundstone BL990 Work Chelsea Boot
$209


Red Wing Traction Tred

Red Wing work boots are the kind of shoes that will last you a lifetime, and they are worth every penny you spend on them. These Traction Treds are super durable and can withstand the intensity of being on your feet all day. They’re made with a Goodyear welt construction and a soft sole, keeping your feet both dry and supported for hours. Red Wing recommends these shoes specifically for ironworkers, carpenters and other tradeworkers, but they’ll also look great with jeans and a sweater in a non-work environment.

Credit: Courtesy of Backcountry
Credit: Courtesy of Backcountry

Courtesy of Backcountry


Buy:
Red Wing Traction Tred
$279-$289


Hoka One One Clifton 7

Paying attention to what’s happening under your feet is important, too. “If you’re standing on concrete all day long, for example, you’ll need more shock absorption,” says Anderson. She recommends Hokas because of their deep sole and ability to diffuse impact from hard surfaces. They’re one of the best work shoes for standing all day.

Credit: Courtesy of Zappos
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Courtesy of Zappos


Buy:
Hoka One One Clifton 7
$129


New Balance 990v5

New Balance styles are also ideal for those who work on their feet all day or crave optimal comfort when running errands in between Zoom meetings. The brand’s 990v5 silhouette has about as much comfort and support a shoe could possibly contain. The midsole cushioning and reinforced areas of extra traction elongate the shoe’s life.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
New Balance 990v5
$179-$374


Cole Haan Grand Ambitiou Postman Leather Oxford

When it comes to dress shoes for the office, few rival Cole Haan’s options in term of comfort, support and style. These are the kind of shoes that are good for every guy to have in his closet. If you’re not wearing them to work, you will get good use out of them for weddings and other fancy occasions. Underfoot, they have plush cushioning to soften your every step.

Credit: Courtesy of Cole Haan
Credit: Courtesy of Cole Haan

Courtesy of Cole Haan


Buy:
Cole Haan Grand Ambitiou Postman Oxford
$180


Dr. Martens Fellside Chelsea Work Boots

Dr. Martens is another brand that’s mastered the art of the functional-meets-street-style-ready work boot. These Chelsea boots are a great investment for all types of work, especially if you’re not sure what kind of environment you might end up in throughout the day. Complete with a sturdy steel toe, these are super protective. Plus, they’re easy to get on and off.

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Martens
Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Martens

Courtesy of Dr. Martens


Buy:
Dr. Martens Fellside Work Boots
$140


Oofos Sport Slide

If your workplace is at home, you may or may not be wearing shoes often. Although Anderson says it’s fine to be barefoot some of the time, giving your feet a bit of support and protection is a good idea to prevent any sort of overuse over the day. She and her colleagues wear Oofos shoes when in the office. “They’re really comfortable, making them great for just walking around the house, especially if you have plantar fasciitis,” she says. “It’s kind of a reminder to put on a shoe for part of the day.”

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Oofos Sport Slide
$44-$147


For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the shoe authority. Our coverage spans top industry news, retail trends, head-to-toe fashion, athletic and outdoor analysis and more. Footwear News’ global network of editors has carefully curated all product selections featured using our expansive brand knowledge and thorough research to find quality, long-lasting items. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.

1. Crocs On-The-Clock Work Slip-On

These slip-ons deliver slip-resistant treads and a relaxed fit that’s slightly tapered at the heel for security. The style should be ideal for baristas, restaurant servers and healthcare and service industry workers.

Key Features: Contoured drop-in footbeds with enhanced arch support add comfort. Croslite foam outsoles add a springy feel underfoot. Moisture-wicking liners help keep feet dry. ASTM F2913-11 tested, CE Certified. Meets or exceeds EN ISO 20347:2012, OB, SRC.

Take Note: May not be the most breathable option.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy: Crocs On-The-Clock Work Slip-On $31–$50

2. Skechers Segment Rilar Oxford

Done in smooth, oiled leather, these casual oxfords include flexible, traction rubber outsoles and gel-infused memory foam insoles for pressure relief and breathability. They also boast reinforced stitched seams for durability.

Key Features: Relaxed Fit design built to enhance comfort. Shock-absorbing midsoles and a padded collar and tongue also add comfort. Flexible outsoles provide traction. Available in two extended widths and four colors.

Take Note: Might run somewhat big.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy: Skechers Segment Rilar Oxford $48–$129

3. New Balance Slip Resistant Fresh Foam 806 Sneaker

This sneaker has a breathable Hyposkin upper that allows for easy cleaning, signature Fresh Foam midsole cushioning for plush support and lightweight outsoles with slip-resistant lugs.

Key Features: Tested according to ASTM F2913-19 for superior traction on various surfaces. Wide and extra-wide width sizes available. No-sew overlays add durability. Offered in multiple colorways.

Take Note: Runs small.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy: New Balance Slip Resistant Fresh Foam 806 Sneaker $65-$175

4. Merrell Work Windoc Steel Toe Slip-On

These slip-on sneakers offering electrical hazard protection have a waterproof leather upper with an abrasion-resistant rubber toe cap, plus a padded mesh collar and breathable mesh lining for a quality in-shoe feel.

Key Features: Steel toe meets ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH safety standards. Kinetic Fit contoured footbed offers zonal arch support. Air cushioning in the heel absorbs impacting shock and adds stability. Molded nylon arch shank supplies flexible support. Available in wide-width sizes.

Take Note: Also may run on the smaller side.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy: Merrell Work Windoc Steel Toe Slip-On $65-$193

5. Timberland Pro Powertrain Work Shoes

This style has a durable ripstop nylon upper and an alloy safety toe for lightweight protection. Underfoot, it’s equipped with lug outsoles that are slip, oil and heat-resistant up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.

Key Features: Fiberglass shank adds structural support. Breathable mesh lining with antimicrobial treatment offers odor control. Midsole includes electrical hazard resistance. Features anti-fatigue technology in the outsole. Wide width sizes available.

Take Note: Some may find them a bit bulky.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy: Timberland Pro Powertrain Work Shoes $81-$110

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