Cement floors and shoes that love them

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that I love shoes. It’s more that I need shoes. To be a laboratory scientist means closed toed shoes shoes plus cement floors. According to our Fitbits, professors can walk three miles per lab or up to six miles per day while supervising lab classes. I love labs and would rather walk than sit all day. However, I’m ever in search of the elusive comfortable shoe and I join a plethora of health care workers, teachers, beauticians. craftspeople, and sales staff in my quest.

What shoes do hard working cement walkers wear? I asked my Facebook friends: what shoes do you recommend? Here are some of my findings:

The science stockroom manager–and a lot of other people–recommended Keens.
A CNA said that these Nikes were perfect for her flat feet–so comfortable.
A CNA prefers these light weight New Balance that allow her to move easily.
Toms, Sperry, and Birkenstocks–a chemistry research student swears by them. And we all want to get a pair of the chemistry Toms.

I  went to the local shoe store to compare my Hokas with other shoes.

Vionics (top) vs my well used Hokas (bottom). I have high arches and don’t need the heel cushion offered by the Vionics. I prefer the Hoka pair but if you have heel pain, the Vionics would be wonderful.


A nurse mentioned Brooks (top) and they are cute. (Not a match for the Hoka in my opinion.)
An auto shop owner prefers Vasque.
This shoe salesman prefers Danskos.
If you’re looking for comfy Oxfords, I recommend Ahnu or Cole Haan.

When the going–and weather– gets tough, many cement floor professionals don hiking boots.

Hiking boots: Hoka (left) more sturdy and cushiony than the more light and flexible Cole Haan (right). A very small toe box on the shoes on the right so not for me.

Timberland boots were also recommended as “are more than comfy. I constantly walk for 45 or so hours a week and my planters fasciitis isn’t even visible.”

A veteran of trade shows gave this advice: change your shoes at least twice a day and get a foot massage. She explains, “My feet sweat, so not only did I change my shoes I changed my socks too. I gave myself a food massage when I changed shoes (just a couple of minutes starting at the toes and working back). It truly was the only thing that kept me upright for 12-14 hours at the shows.”

Here’s to all who spend their day on cement! Maybe some day my lab floor will be covered with an anti-fatigue mat. Until then, I’ll search for the Holy Grail of shoes–and take that advice to change pairs frequently.

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