- Emily Goldfischer
Keep those Dogs From Barking: 5 Tips for Avoiding Foot Pain and the Best Shoes for an 8 + Hour Shift
10,000 steps? Ha! Many hotel employees rack up 10K before break time, not to mention the hours you spend just standing. No doubt, your feet might be your most important body part. How do you keep foot pain at bay and look good while doing it? hertelier speaks to a top New York City podiatrist to bring you the best foot care advice, what to look for when buying shoes, and suggest popular brands to try.
Being on your feet all day puts a lot of stress on your body, so you need to think about your footwear to avoid developing any aches or pains. Dr. Lori S. Weisenfeld, a renowned New York City sports podiatrist, who has been treating athletes, dancers, and performers for over 25 years, and is the clinical advisor to the American Running Association, gives us her top tips:
Change your shoes in the middle of your day. Have a spare pair of shoes and change after about four hours, this can give your feet and legs a needed break. I liken it to carrying a heavy bag on one arm for a long time. It feels better to switch arms after a while so that the first arm can rest and the muscles in the new arm can engage.
Pick a shoe with some room by the toes. Many women experience swelling in their feet and ankles as the day goes on, which can cause rubbing or discomfort, especially in warmer, more humid climates. If your shoes feel tighter as the day goes on, this is when a switch can help. Also, best to avoid shoes or sandals with straps that can dig in when the foot is swollen.
Always wear socks, stockings, pantyhose, or tights. Before you balk at the idea of pantyhose as being old-fashioned, the New York Times reports stockings are back on the catwalks and on the rise “sheer nylons and tights segment of the global hosiery market is predicted to grow by 2.1 percent over the next seven years.” Fashion aside, any fabric between the foot and shoe helps prevent friction, blisters, and rubs. For socks: pick blended fabrics because they are more absorbent, use "no show" sock options for summer styles, and if you are experiencing swelling the best option is compression socks, which are available in many drug stores or online.
Wear a low heel instead of a totally flat shoe. An elevated heel (even just a half-inch or 2 cm) will put less strain on your arch, calves, and lower back.
Foot pain is never normal! If you are experiencing pain, seek the advice of a podiatrist.
This story was partly inspired by a post on the Hospitality Family Facebook Group, which has over 58,000 members from all facets of the business. The post “Ladies...seeking advice on the best SHOES to wear while working a 12-hour event, on my feet most of the time! Bonus points for being somewhat cute!” had nearly 300 replies.
hertelier has done the work for you--after analyzing each of the 297 comments, here are the top six shoe brands people love in order of popularity:
Cole Haan - an American brand that is owned by a Nike spin-off, commenters say “Grand Ambition Slip-on can beat any trade show floor,” and of the “Zero Grands” one member said, “like walking on a cloud.”
Dansko - Known for their iconic clogs, Dansko now actually offers everything from flats to boots. “Their support is great and the shoes are super sturdy.”
Crocs - This company has moved way beyond the original clog with holes on top, says one member “this is nuts, but Crocs flats are super light and non-slip” others suggest the “Sienna flat.”
Skechers - Not just for sneakers, lots of replies suggesting the “Cleo memory foam flats” are life-changing.
Vionic - This company says their “Vio-Motion™ footbed technology delivers Three-Zone Comfort with Ultimate Arch Support” and commenters say “I have walked 18,000 steps in these” and “great arch support with cute styles.”
Rothy's - This shoe brand is a start-up from San Francisco that launched in 2016 with flats that are knit from recycled plastic water bottles. Rothys says it has repurposed more than 76 million bottles since its inception. Commenters say “Expensive, but worth it. From the airport straight to comp set visits, I can be all day on my feet in these.”
Other favorite brands mentioned, this time in alphabetical order with some comments on styles.
Allbirds - Loungers or Breezers
Anne Klein -pumps with the chunky heel. Stylish and shockingly comfortable.
BZees - “Niche ballet flat” has good arch support
FitFlop “Superballerina platform flats. The best shoes ever and my back never hurts”
Kuru -the website says "party on the outside orthopedics on the inside," a commenter says “I stand on my feet 10 hrs a day. I love these shoes so much that I just bought two more pair.”
Life Stride - “I can wear their wedges for a 16-hour wedding day”
Naturaliser - “the Matisse heel is a game-changer, comfortable and professional”
Nine West - “9 x 9 models”
Tieks - “I’ve had a pair in black two years and they still look like new. They are a little pricey but so worthy”
If you want to make shoes you already own more comfortable, check out Yenta + Posha, a Richmond, Virginia female-owned start-up by a former corporate meeting planner that was frustrated by the lack of women’s shoes that offered both style and comfort. They offer two types of patented insoles, designed and scientifically engineered to offer cushion, support, and best of all-- thin enough to fit in most shoes.