Comfortable work shoes for women: the top picks for light industrial work

The right footwear is as important to women as it is to men. We reveal our picks for the most comfortable work shoes for women to help you find the best fit

Comfortable work shoes for women: the top picks for light industrial work
Men's and women's feet are anatomically different, that's why both sexes have varying needs when it comes to work shoes.

Men’s and women’s feet are built differently. These differences have a huge impact on the fit and comfort of work footwear.

In this article, Canadian Occupational Safety reveals our choices for the most comfortable work shoes for women. We will dig deeper into the key features and specifications. We will also discuss how these shoes help prevent injuries and promote foot health.

If you’re an employer searching for the best footwear to recommend to your female staff, this guide can help. Take your pick from our list of the most comfortable women’s work shoes.

What are the most comfortable work shoes for women?

Anatomically, there are noticeable differences between men’s and women’s feet. Women tend to have wider forefeet, narrower heels, and higher arches than men. This is why female workers also have different considerations when choosing work footwear.

The work shoes on our list boast features that allow them to provide all-day comfort and promote foot health. If you’re searching for comfortable work shoes for women, here are some of the best options in the market. The list is in alphabetical order. All prices are current as of June 27, 2024.


1. Caterpillar Streamline 2.0 women's work shoes

Key features: Breathable uppers, SRX slip-resistant outsoles, CleanSport NXT pro-biotic odour control

Sizes: 5 to 10, 11

Price range: $125.00 to $160.00

The Caterpillar Streamline 2.0 women’s work shoes are designed for light industrial tasks. These include healthcare, security, warehousing, and janitorial services. The nubuck leather and nylon mesh uppers make the footwear breathable. The abrasion- and slip-resistant rubber outsoles provide traction even on the most slippery surfaces.

The work shoes have a non-metallic composite toe that meets CSA Z195:14 standards for impact and compression protection. They also meet the standard’s electric shock protection under normal use. The Streamline 2.0 features flexible engineered insoles for all-day comfort.


2. Dakota WorkPro Series women’s work shoes

Key features: Quad Comfort Lite technology, Tarantula Anti-Slip outsoles, Grade 1 puncture-resistant toes

Sizes: 6 to 10, 11

Price range: $129.99 to $159.99

The Dakota WorkPro Series is a collection of comfortable work shoes for women with microfiber and mesh uppers and nylon lining for increased breathability. The athletic-style footwear comes with puncture-resistant aluminum toes with composite plates. These features protect the feet from impact of at least 1,200 newtons (270 pounds). The shoes are also electric shock resistant.

The work footwear comes with removable insoles, so the wearer can replace them with their own orthotics. The slip-resistant outsoles prevent slips and falls on different surfaces.


3. KEEN Utility Arvada Shift women's work shoes

Key features: Carbon fiber toes, breathable mesh uppers, compression-resistant midsoles

Sizes: 5 to 10, 11

Price: $125.00

KEEN Utility offers the athletic-style Arvada Shift women’s work shoes designed for indoor trades, utilities, and light-duty construction tasks. The footwear’s mesh uppers and lining boast an odour-control feature that keeps the feet feeling and smelling fresh even during long hours of work. It also has lightweight compression-resistant midsoles for enhanced comfort.

The work shoes have non-marking oil- and slip-resistant outsoles. They also feature carbon fiber composite toes for improved protection.


4. Kodiak Quicktrail women’s work shoes

Key features: Dual-density EVA midsoles, Smell Out Science odour-control, electric shock resistant

Sizes: 7 to 12, 13, 14, 15

Price range: $159.99 to $179.99

Kodiak’s Quicktrail is among the most comfortable women’s work shoes in the market with its sculpted dual-density cushioned EVA midsoles. The footwear features a padded scooped collar and tongue with lace-keeper that provides a snug fit. It also comes with slip-resistant rubber outsoles and a CSA-approved composite toe for added protection.

The work shoes have uppers made of full-grain leather, suede, and recycled plastic fabric. They also adopt Smell Out Science odour-control technology to keep the feet smelling fresh. The work footwear is electric shock resistant. It suits carpentry, indoor trades, utilities, and warehouse jobs.


5. Merrell Fullbench Superlite women’s work shoes

Key features: ComfortBase footbed, M Select Grip outsoles, CSA-rated puncture resistance

Sizes: 6 to 10

Price range: $119.99 to $160.00

The Merrell Fullbench Superlite women’s work shoes have ComfortBase footbed and rubberized EVA midsoles that provide comfort and shock absorption for long hours. The footwear also comes with a molded nylon arch shank and M Select Grip outsoles for improved flexibility and traction.

The work shoes’ alloy toe meets CSA Z195:14 standards for puncture resistance. The uppers are made of breathable mesh and synthetic. The footwear is best suited for hospitality, manufacturing, warehousing, and light industrial work.


6. Reebok Floatride Energy Daily Work women’s work shoes

Key features: Floatride Energy foam cushioning, MemoryTech footbed, extra-wide toes

Sizes: 6 to 12

Price range: $148.62 to $277.70‎

The Floatride Energy Daily Work from Reebok is a pair of athletic-style women’s work shoes that uses Floatride Energy foam cushioning for all-day comfort. Add this to the MemoryTech footbed and breathable mesh uppers and you have one of the most comfortable work shoes for women in the market. The slip-resistant rubber outsoles increase traction. The extra-wide non-metallic composite toe provides good protection.

7. Rockport Pulse Tech Work women’s work shoes

Key features: Comfortech footbed, electrical hazard protection, static dissipative

Sizes: 6 to 12

Price range: $171.53 to $208.99‎

Rockport’s Pulse Tech Work is a pair of comfortable women’s work shoes boasting electrical hazard protection and static dissipative features. The composite-toe footwear comes with waterproof full-grain leather uppers with breathable fabric lining. The midsoles are made of EVA for good shock absorption. The outsoles use slip-resistant rubber. The Pulse Tech Work also comes with a fully cushioned footbed for enhanced comfort.  

8. Skechers Women's Cessnock Carrboro work shoes

Key features: Relaxed Fit design, stretch bungee laces, electrical hazard protection

Sizes: 6 to 10

Price range: $112.38 to $144.43‎

The slip-on Women's Cessnock Carrboro work shoes from Skechers is designed for hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, and light industrial work. The work sneakers have mesh fabric uppers, and padded collar and tongue for increased comfort. The footwear has a pull-on entry with stretch bungee laces for a snug fit. It also comes with a soft lining, memory foam insoles, and slip-resistant rubber outsoles. The comfortable work shoes for women provides ASTM-certified electrical hazard protection. 


9. Terra Women's Spider X work shoes

Key features: Water-resistant leather uppers, Cleanfeet odour-control, reflective micro-printing

Sizes: 5 to 10

Price range: $113.35 to $179.00

The water-resistant suede and nubuck leather uppers and moisture-wicking lining of Terra Women's Spider X work shoes keep the feet dry. The footwear’s padded collar and tongue, removable PU footbed, and direct-injected midsoles provide comfort for all-day work. The work sneakers also use Cleanfeet odour-control technology to keep the feet smelling fresh. The reflective micro-printing on the medial and lateral quarters provides visibility in low light work environments. The shoes’ composite toe and plate have CSA-approval. 

10. Timberland PRO Intercept women’s work shoes

Key features: Puncture-resistant steel toe, Flex comfort system, Microban odour-resistant lining

Sizes: 5.5 to 10

Price range: $94.73 to $229.99

The Timberland PRO Intercept women's work shoes feature a puncture-resistant steel toe for better protection. The athletic-style footwear also has a molded TPU heel stabilizer for maximum support. The work sneakers use Timberland PRO’s Flex technology and 24/7 comfort system to allow full range of motion, provide arch support, and reduce foot fatigue. The Microban odour-resistant lining keeps the feet smelling fresh. These features make the Timberland PRO Intercept one of the most comfortable work shoes for women. The footwear suits warehousing, security, and indoor general-purpose work.

Why do women need different work shoes than men?

Women’s feet aren’t just scaled down versions of men’s feet. There are several anatomical differences, that’s why both sexes require different types of footwear.

 Here are some key differences between women’s and men’s feet.

 Comfortable work shoes for women – list of anatomical differences between men's and women's feet

These differences show that while men and women may face similar hazards in the workplace, they have varying requirements when it comes to work shoes. To prevent injuries and maintain foot health, women need footwear that addresses their unique needs.

If you want to learn more about the protective footwear requirements in your industry, this essential guide to personal safety equipment can help.

What factors should women consider when looking for comfortable work shoes?

To find comfortable work shoes to help them throughout the day, women should consider several factors, including:

1. Fit

Finding the right fit is one of the most important factors that ensure comfort and safety of the feet. Poorly fitting work shoes are the leading cause of various job-related foot problems. These include blisters, plantar fasciitis, foot fatigue, Achilles tendinitis, and bunions.

Women should pay attention to the overall shape, width, and length of their feet to find work shoes that fit perfectly. Experts also recommend trying different styles and brands first to find the pair that best suits their needs.

2. Weight and durability

Weight and durability are essential considerations when choosing work footwear as these have a significant impact on overall comfort and longevity. This is especially important for employees working long hours and standing all day.

In general, men’s work shoes are heavier and made of more durable materials, especially in industries such as construction and heavy machinery operation. Women’s work shoes are often lighter, depending on the nature of their work. Women’s footwear uses similar materials as those for men as to not compromise durability.

3. Comfort and safety features

Because men and women often face similar workplace hazards, they should look for work shoes with enhanced comfort and safety features, including:

  • cushioning: footbed and insoles must provide adequate cushioning to decrease impact
  • electrical hazard protection: shoes must have sufficient insulation to reduce the risk of electrical shocks in environments where live wires or electrical equipment are present
  • odour control: technology that fights bacteria build-up that cause foul smell is important
  • slip resistance: the outsoles must provide reliable traction to prevent slips and falls
  • toe protection: footwear must have reinforced toe caps to protect against impact or compression injuries
  • waterproofing: special materials or treatments that keep the feet dry in wet or rainy conditions are a must-have

 Find out what you can do to prevent foot injuries in the workplace in this guide.

What are the common risks for feet in the workplace?

The right type of work shoes must protect the wearer against the hazards in the workplace. The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides a list of possible risks that can lead to foot injuries in the jobsite. These include:

  • corrosive or irritating substances
  • energized conductors of low to moderate voltage (220 volts or less)
  • explosive environments, including the risk of static electrical discharges
  • falling objects
  • harmful materials that workers use or handle
  • materials or equipment that may roll over the feet
  • rotating or abrasive machinery, including chainsaws and grinders
  • rough terrain or uneven walking surfaces that can cause ankle injury
  • sensitive electronic components
  • sharp and pointed objects
  • walking on surfaces where workers may be exposed to loose ground cover, slipping, extreme temperatures, and harmful chemicals
  • water or other liquids that may penetrate the footwear and injure the foot

The agency also advises anyone shopping for work footwear to first make a list of the risks they want to avoid. This helps workers identify the right work shoes for the job.

Find the answers to the most common questions about foot protection in the workplace in this guide.

Is safety footwear required in Canada?

Occupational health and safety regulations in most jurisdictions require workers to wear safety footwear if there’s a risk of foot injury or electric shock in the workplace. The shoes must meet CSA Z195:14 safety standards for protective footwear.

If there’s a risk of injury due to slipping, employers must also ensure that employees wear slip-resistant footwear.

Visit our Product Resources page for more news and information about safety footwear and regulations in Canada.

Did we miss anything on our list of comfortable work shoes for women? Let us know in the comments.