The 6 Best Work Shoes for Back Pain Reviewed 2023

Are you one of the many millions who suffer from pain in your back? Do you realize that improper fitting shoes can be one of the causes? Here are some of the best work shoes for back pain which might help.

When you are choosing shoes to help with back pain, being a fashion victim is not the way to go. You need to look for function rather than style. Luckily, there are shoes available which tick both those boxes.

Here are our reviews of the shoes which are both functional and stylish for work which support and cushion your feet, ankles, legs, and back.


Here our top 6 picks for the best work shoes for back pain for men & women

1. Merrell Encore Slip-On Shoe

This slip-on clog style shoe from Merrell is made from full grain leather uppers and a thick rubber sole. Air cushioning absorbs shock and a molded EVA foot frame gives stability. An Ortholite insole provides flexible arch support that helps reduce fatigue on your legs, feet, and back.

Merrell Men's Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe,Smooth Black Leather,7 M US
  • Polished slip-on with supportive sole unit and padded collar
  • Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock. Compression molded EVA footframe for stability and comfort
  • Ortholite footbed
  • Breathable mesh lining wicks to keep feet dry
  • Molded nylon arch shank

Merrell Women's Encore Q2 Slide LTR Climbing Shoe
  • Full grain leather
  • Qform 2 comfort technology
  • Nylon arch shank
  • Air Cushion comfort
  • EVA footbed


2. Brooks Addiction Walking Shoes

With styles for men and women, the Brooks Addiction is a supportive shoe for those of you with back pain. It’s packed with features to ensure all-day comfort and support, from proprietary BioMoGo cushioning to a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar to help with overpronation.

Brooks Mens Addiction Walker Walking Shoe - White - D - 9.5
3,834 Reviews
Brooks Mens Addiction Walker Walking Shoe - White - D - 9.5
  • SHOE SIZE: "D" = Medium width, "EE" = Wide width, "B" = Narrow width, "EEEE" = Extra wide width
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar strategically supports your arch to guide and keep your body in its natural path of motion.
  • SLIP-RESISTANT, SECURE FIT: The forefoot MC Pod construction and an innovative outsole sets your foot in an efficient, balanced, and stable position.
  • SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA adapts to your stride, weight and speed, to make every step comfortable.
  • LONG-LASTING: Both comfortable and durable, this shoe with a full-grain leather upper will be a staple to your wardrobe.

Brooks Women's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
39 Reviews
Brooks Women's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
  • SHOE SIZE: "B" = Medium width, "D" = Wide width, "2A" = Narrow width, "2E" = Extra wide width
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar strategically supports your arch to guide and keep your body in its natural path of motion.
  • SLIP-RESISTANT, SECURE FIT: The forefoot MC Pod construction and an innovative outsole sets your foot in an efficient, balanced, and stable position.
  • SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA adapts to your stride, weight and speed, to make every step comfortable.
  • LONG-LASTING: Both comfortable and durable, this shoe with a full-grain leather upper will be a staple to your wardrobe.


3. Vionic Walker

Vionic is another company that brings us a shoe with all the support needed for your feet to alleviate back pain. Their podiatrist-designed inner and outer soles keep feet cushioned, stable supported, and fresh. These shoes have the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance.

Vionic Women's Walker Classic Comfortable Leisure Shoes- Supportive Walking Sneakers That Include Three-Zone Comfort with Orthotic Insole Arch Support
  • Leather or Suede Upper. Removable Textile-covered EVA Footbed. Built in .5" elevation for a smooth transition in heel-to-toe strike zone. Durable Rubber Outsole.
  • Received APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance
  • YOUR NEW FAVORITE SNEAKERS: Make a move in our perennial customer favorite Walker featuring a leather or suede upper and dual-density EVA technology for maximum stability.
  • EVERYDAY SUPPORT: A podiatrist-designed footbed built into every pair of Vionic sandals, slippers, active shoes and flats promotes stability from the ground up.
  • Vionic active footwear features Active Motion System (AMS) technology, combining our podiatrist-designed orthotic with a flexible, cushioned outsole and a lightweight, breathable upper. Step into support for work, play and everyday.

Orthaheel Womens Walker Shoes Black Size 10.5 Med
  • Designed to keep you moving with maximum comfort and support.
  • Built-in Orthaheel motion-controlling footbed features a contoured arch support and a deep heel cup that realigns your stride so that you can achieve your fitness goals.
  • Premium, full-grain, water-resistant leather uppers and action lacing system.Breathable, moisture-wicking 100% polyester mesh liner with PU foam base that helps reduce friction against skin.
  • Podiatrist-developed biomechanical removable orthotic features an anti-bacterial top cloth to control foot odor.
  • Molded EVA midsole with built-in .5" elevation for a smooth transition in heel-to-toe strike zone.


4. Orthofeet Gramercy Men’s Dress Shoes

Orthofeet design biomechanically engineered shoes offer solutions to many foot problems and poor posture. The Gramercy men’s dress shoe has the style and function to make a great work shoe for those with back pain.

OrthoFeet Men's Gramercy Loafer, Black, 9
  • All OrthoFeet styles feature Ortho-Cushion technology which helps relieve foot and heel pain and works wonders for sensitive, tired feet
  • Men's leather wing-tip dress shoe
  • Soft, padded fabric inner lining with no overlays eliminates irritation
  • Wide toe box design alleviates pressure on swollen feet, bunions, and hammertoes
  • Premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support re-aligns the foot and entire body posture


5. Orthofeet Celina Women’s Mary Jane Shoes

This classic Mary Jane style ladies shoe has all of Orthofeet’s technology. The arch support and cushioning in this roomy shoe keep your feet, back, and legs comfortable. It has a leather upper and is available in a good range of sizes, colors, and widths.

Orthofeet Women's Orthopedic Black Leather Celina Mary Jane Shoes, Size 5
  • Women's orthopedic shoe with a hook and loop strap closure for a casual or professional look.
  • Featuring a soft, padded fabric interior with no overlays that eliminates irritation and provides superior protection for sensitive feet
  • Orthofeet shoes have unmatched cushioning and benefit 20+ conditions including foot and heel pain, plantar fasciitis, diabetes, arthritis, bunions, achilles tendonitis, hammer toes, and more.
  • Includes premium orthotic insole and arch booster in every shoe for a customized pressure-free fit with innovative comfort, arch support, and advanced pain relief.
  • Fit & Sizing: True to size. Orthofeet shoes are designed with soft leather upper offering a non-binding fit


6. KEEN Utility Industrial & Construction Shoe

For those of you that need the protection from a steel toe cap, electrical hazards, and slip resistance, this shoe from Keen covers the bases. There are styles available for men and women that have support and flexibility to provide stability and comfort.

KEEN Utility Men's Lansing Low Steel Toe Work Shoe, Cascade Brown/Bossa Nova, 10.5 Wide US
  • STEEL TOE: Left and right asymmetrical steel toe design provides a roomier toe box for maximum comfort and unobtrusive fit, The Lansing Low Steel Toe work shoe meets or exceeds ASTM F2412 and F2413 I/75 C/75 EH Standards
  • TRACTION: Oil- and slip- resistant, non-marking, rubber outsoles; Lug sole patterns provide grip even on slick surfaces; Meets ASTM F1677 Mark II and ASTM F2913 SATRA non-slip standards
  • WATER RESISTANT: Moisture-wicking textile lining transports moisture away from feet; Water-resistant leather provides a barrier against liquid absorption and helps preserve the quality of the leather over time
  • SUPPORT & UNDERFOOT PROTECTION: Electrical Hazard (EH) rated to provide a secondary source of protection from live electrical circuits; Contoured heel lock and Torsional Stability Shank (TSS) are used for midfoot support
  • COMFORT: Mesh liner provides breathability to help keep feet cool in warm environments, Removable metatomical dual density compression molded EVA for long lasting support; CleansportNXT provides natural odor protection using probiotics



Choosing the right pair of work shoes can go a long way in helping to prevent and deal with back pain. When your feet aren’t supported and cushioned properly, the knock-on effects can be numerous.

Let’s look in more detail at what our top six picks offer you and what might make them good choices of work shoes for back pain.


1. Merrell Encore Slip-On Shoe

Merrell has been manufacturing quality footwear for over 30 years. While they predominantly produce boots and shoes for active outdoor pursuits, these shoes are a good option for the workplace.


A slip-on clog style is a good option when bending to tie laces due to backache is difficult. Both ladies and men’s styles are offered in black or brown leather.



The sizes available are 7 through 15 for men and 5 through 11 for women. The women’s option also has two widths available, medium and wide.

Both styles have an M-Select GRIP sole for stability and slip resistance. A breathable mesh lining helps keep feet fresh by wicking moisture away from the feet.

Merrell’s proprietary air cushion in the heels of these shoes absorbs shock and a molded EVA foot frame and nylon arch shank give support.

While the insoles differ between the men and ladies styles, they both have good support and cushioning for your arches and feet. They help to reduce fatigue in your feet, legs, and back.

While the GRIP technology seems to work on some surfaces, it might not hold up on very slippery wet floors. Getting the right size could also be a bit hit and miss, some find they run small and others large.


  • Good support and cushioning.
  • Easy slip-on style.
  • Breathable lining.
  • Help reduce foot, leg, and back fatigue.


  • Might not have traction on very slippery floors.
  • Sizes seem to vary.
The slip-on design of these clog style shoes is great when you can’t bend to tie laces. They have plenty of cushioning and support right throughout the foot for stability and comfort.


2. Brooks Addiction Walking Shoes

Brooks has been making sports and activity shoes for over 100 years. They have a worldwide distribution and many satisfied customers. They also offer a 90-day refund guarantee if you are not happy with their shoes.

For Men:


This model for men and women is a walking shoe with motion control. It has great arch and midsole support to correct overpronation and gait, making it a good choice for back pain. The leather uppers in a choice of colors including black and brown mean they are a good option for work shoes.

For Women:



The sizes available for these shoes are a 5 through 12 for women and 7 through 15 for men. There are four width fittings from narrow to extra wide, so there should be an option for most people’s feet.

Brooks’ proprietary BioMoGo DNA cushioning is designed to adapt to your feet as well as the way you walk, the speed you walk at, and your weight. It helps absorb impact, deflecting it away from your body. Further midsole support enhances their shock absorbency.

There is an extended progressive diagonal rollbar system which gives the whole body support. It positions arch support making your movements natural.

Certified slip resistance is added to the sole, helping you keep your footing. The front of the shoe is constructed with stability and balance in mind.

A breathable mesh lining and removable insole give lightweight underfoot cushioning and support. This helps keep feet dry and comfortable all day.


  • A wide range of widths and sizes for men and women.
  • Good arch and midfoot support.
  • Shock absorbency for feet and legs.
  • Slip-resistant soles.
  • Breathable with a removable cushioned insole.


  • Some find the shoes heavy
These work shoes are a good option for back pain with support in the midsole for low or flat arches helping correct your gait. A comfort system provides cushioning where it’s needed and breathable leather uppers make the shoes durable.


3. Vionic Walker Shoes

Founded in 1979 by a podiatrist, many Vionic shoes have the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) seal of acceptance. They are designed with the biomechanics of the lower limbs in mind and have good support.

For Men:



The men’s sizes range from 7 through 13 and women’s sizes from 5 through 13. Both shoes are offered in two width fittings, medium and wide. There is a choice of colors including black, white, and taupe.

For Women:



Vionic uses Active Motion System technology which includes an orthotic designed by a podiatrist. They have a breathable, lightweight leather upper with a flexible, cushioned outer sole. This lace-up shoe is also water resistant.

There is a half-inch elevation in the molded EVA midsole to help correct the way your foot hits the floor from heel to toe. A footbed with built-in odor control gives more support and comfort to your lower back and limbs as well as your feet.

The foot liner is 100 percent polyester and has moisture-wicking properties. It also has a foam base to help reduce friction.

Thermoplastic gives the heel counter added support and stability while a rubber sole gives traction when you are walking.


  • Removable orthotic.
  • Good support in the arch and midfoot.
  • Leather upper.
  • Moisture-wicking odor control lining.
  • Firm heel counter gives extra support.


  • Might tend to run on the small side.
This shoe has an orthotic insole to help with overpronation which in turn can help back pain. Leather uppers let your feet breathe and the inners are moisture wicking with odor control.


4. Orthofeet Gramercy Men’s Dress Shoes

There are times when a casual style shoe just won’t cut it for work and you need something smarter. The Gramercy style from Orthofeet has great support combined with classic style.



Orthofeet biomechanically designs their shoes to deal with numerous foot and lower body issues. They aim to help alleviate pain from your feet right up to your lower back.

This shoe comes in black or brown leather in sizes 7 through 15. There are three width options as well, medium, wide and extra wide.

An orthotic insole has an anatomical arch for support and a cushioned gel heel pad for comfort. Further air cushioning is built into the heel and sole to help alleviate stress on your joints and give you stability.

The lining of these shoes are seam free and the uppers have added padding. This means they won’t add pressure to your feet. The toe box is wide and roomy.

An antimicrobial moisture wicking upper on the insole helps keep feet dry and fresh.

The soles on these shoes are not slip-resistant so be careful around wet or slippery surfaces.


  • Biomechanically designed to deal with pain in lower limbs and back.
  • Orthotic supportive cushioned insole.
  • Moisture-wicking and odor controlling properties.
  • Added cushioning throughout uppers and soles.


  • No slip-resistance
This biomechanically designed shoe is a good smart option for work. It has plenty of support throughout the uppers and soles from an orthotic insole with arch support, gel in the heels, and air cushioning.


5. Orthofeet Celina Women’s Mary Jane Shoes

This classic Mary Jane style women’s shoe is a more elegant option for a work shoe for back pain. After all, working in an office, shop, restaurant, or school probably means you want style as well as comfort.



Available in light or dark brown or black leather, this shoe caters for ladies with a foot size between 5 and 12. Four wide fittings from narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide are also on offer.

These shoes have Orthofeet’s premium Ortho-Comfort insoles. They have been anatomically designed for arch support with multiple cushioned layers. They can ease the stress of standing and walking, right through your feet, legs, and lower back.

The Ergonomic-Stride feature helps cushion your steps while a seamfree padded interior relieves any pressure points. Added gel and air pockets provide further support and comfort.

The orthotic-friendly design allows you to insert your own custom made insoles. Alternately, you can adjust the amount of room in your shoes with two different spacers, one at an eighth of an inch and one at a sixteenth of an inch. An antimicrobial treatment for odor control completes the package.

Let’s be honest, these are an orthotic shoe, so while reasonably stylish they aren’t going to win any awards on the catwalk. Some also find that the toe box could be a bit roomier.


  • Good range of sizes and widths.
  • Good arch support.
  • Cushioned throughout.
  • Padded leather uppers with no seams.
  • Antimicrobial for odor control.


  • Toe box might not be roomy enough for some.
This classic Mary Jane style orthopedic shoe gives loads of support and cushioning. While it doesn’t make a fashion statement, it’s a more stylish design for some women.


6. KEEN Utility Industrial & Construction Shoe

Some professions require a certain standard of safety in their shoes. If you suffer from back pain you won’t want to compromise comfort for these required features. Keen has all the bases covered with these industrial construction shoes for men and women.

For Men:



These sneaker-style work shoes are rugged looking with a water-resistant mesh and nubuck leather upper. They are available from 7 through 15 for men, with half sizes up to 11.5. Fittings include medium and wide widths. Women’s sizes range from 5 to 11 and again have two width fittings and half sizes.

For Women:



There are many of Keen’s features in both shoes. The breathable mesh liner, combined with leather uppers, keeps feet cool in summer and warm in winter. Laces are prevented from dangling and coming unfastened by the secure lace capture system.

Keen has a patented steel toe protection. They are asymmetrical for both feet and the outer rubber sole wraps over the top of the toe cap. The toe box has plenty of room and flexes at the point your toes meet your feet.

The rubber outer sole is oil and slip-resistant and non-marking. This provides plenty of traction when needed. The men’s shoes are also rated for electrical hazards and the women’s can dissipate static electricity.

The Metatomical footbed design has arch support and cradles the foot. The heel is contoured to keep your foot in place. A compressed EVA midsole gives shock absorbency and comfort, plus the added shank offers stability.

The mesh lining repels water and there is a removable odor controlling footbed.

The laces in these shoes might lack in durability, but they can always be changed out.


  • Wide range of sizes.
  • Protective steel toe caps with Keen’s patented design.
  • Breathable uppers.
  • Certified non-slip, non-marking soles.
  • Electrical hazard rated.
  • Supportive and cushioned throughout for all-day wear.


  • The laces might lack in durability.
Keen brings us a protective work shoe, with breathable leather and mesh uppers, which have both support and cushioning. Combine that with the anti-slip sole and you have a good option to help prevent backache at work.


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Badly Fitting or Worn Shoes Can Cause Back Pain

The kind of shoes you wear can affect the way you walk. You adjust your feet and legs to compensate for the shoes which alter the way you walk (your gait). Then it’s a bit of a knock-on effect.

You might tilt your pelvis forward and this can put more pressure on your lower back. This can lead to pain in that region. Other things like overpronation (turning your feet in when you walk), plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and other foot issues can also affect your gait.

This video shows you how you should walk correctly.

Other reasons you might get back pain from wearing improper shoes include:

  • Shoes that don’t fit well: Shoes that are too big, small, long, short, wide, or tight can interfere with your body’s balance when you walk. You can get some tips on fitting boots correctly and their sizing in our fitting and sizing guides.
  • Insufficient support: Cushioning and support from shoes are important to absorb impact and protect your feet, legs, and back from shock. This is especially the case when you wear shoes a lot, as you would for work.
  • Wearing the wrong type of shoe for the job: Don’t wear your weekend shoes for work or your beach shoes to go running. Choose your shoes carefully according to their intended use.
  • You shop for shoes at the wrong time of day: Throughout the day our feet and legs swell so will be at their largest at the end of the day. This is when you should try on new shoes to get a good fit.
  • Your toes need room: This is one that might affect the fashion victims among you more. Those Louboutins or Manolos might look great, but is the toe box roomy enough? Restricted toes can affect the way you walk and end up being a pain in the back.
  • You don’t use orthotics when you need them: Whether over-the-counter, custom made, or built into shoes, orthotics support your feet and correct many foot issues. When you don’t use them, your gait can be unbalanced causing pain in the legs and lower back.

The effects of improperly fitted shoes or ones that are worn or not fit for the purpose might be barely noticeable at first. You may not realize that you have a problem with your feet until the backache begins.


The Correct Work Shoes Might Help Back Pain

A supportive insole in a shoe that fits you properly can help correct imbalances in your gait by correcting foot issues. This, in turn, can help the soft tissues in your back to heal, reducing pain in that area.

Looking at it theoretically, the right type of footbed and support from a shoe can stabilize and improve the way you walk. They do this by realigning the foot. This then improves the way your joints move right the way up your body.

Foot orthotics can help patients with back pain because they help realign how the feet articulate themselves on the ground. This, in turn, can affect the body’s entire overall posture and gait.

This video explains some of the reasons supportive insoles in shoes might help lower back pain.


What Should You Look for in the Best Work Shoes for Back Pain

You no doubt spend many hours a week in your work shoes. It’s important that they don’t contribute to any foot issues which lead to back pain or make existing back pain worse. Some of the features to consider include:

  • Fit: We have already mentioned this, but it’s worth reiterating—your shoes need to fit properly. Try them on at the end of the day, wearing the socks or any insoles you intend to use with them. Walk around in them at home or in the store for about 10 minutes to see that they feel right and are comfortable.
  • Cushioning: This will help absorb impact as you walk or stand, keeping your feet comfortable. It will also prevent stress on your ankle, knee, and hip joints as well as your lower back.
  • Support: A deep heel cup and good arch support will help hold your foot in the correct position and make sure you walk properly.
  • Roomy toe box: Make sure your toes have wiggle room in your shoes. When they are cramped it can lead to foot issues which affect the way you walk. This, in turn, can affect your lower back.
  • Durability: Materials like leather will likely last longer than other materials. They will also allow your feet to breathe, helping to keep them fresh.
  • Anti-odor and moisture wicking: Antimicrobial treatment will help prevent foot issues like fungal infections and will help control odor. Moisture wicking will keep feet dry and help prevent blisters.


Frequently Asked Questions

I Walk on Concrete Floors All Day, What Is the Most Important Thing I Need in Work Shoes to Prevent Back Pain?

Hard surfaces like concrete and tiles are unforgiving on your feet and body. They don’t absorb the impact of your steps.

Make sure you choose a shoe with plenty of cushioning. This will absorb shock and not pass it on to your joints.


Which Are Better for Back Pain, Boots or Shoes?

The answer to this one is it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how well they fit you and how much support they give to your feet and body.

Provided they are suitable for the job you are doing, the choice is yours. Make sure they have arch support and cushioning and support your feet in the way they need. When you are walking properly, everything else follows on and you might prevent or relieve back pain.


Are Heels Worse Than Flats for Work Shoes for Back Pain?

You might think heels would do more damage to your back than flats. However, many of the fashion style flat shoes on the market have little or no support or cushioning. They are thought to be responsible for 25 percent more impact on your lower back than heels.

Choosing a shoe with good cushioning and arch support is the most important thing. Yes, these shoes can be flat or have a small heel, it’s the lack of support affecting your gait that’s bad for your back.


Taking Away the Strain

It’s clear that wearing the best work shoes for back pain can help make you more comfortable. The support and cushioning they offer can help you walk properly and relieve or prevent discomfort.

All of the shoes we have reviewed might help you. Ultimately, the choice you make will depend on your job and what type of shoe you want or need.

There should be a shoe here which will suit. Whether you work on a construction site, in an office or school, hospital or restaurant, as well as many other places.

We hope you enjoyed our reviews of the top six picks of work shoes for back pain and found it informative and useful. Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to share.


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