Footwear suggestions working in wood shop with concrete floor

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Forum topic by jnovak posted 01-02-2022 03:39 AM 1607 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 1136 days

01-02-2022 03:39 AM

Hello to my LJ family,

First of all….Happy New Year to everyone!

I’ve had the opportunity to spend the last few days spending many hours in my wood shop (2 car garage) but I’ve noticed that at the end of the day my body hurts from my feet up to my lower back. I’m assuming it’s due to the fact that I’ve been working on a concrete floor for many more hours than I’m used to.

I assume it’s the shoes/footwear that I’m wearing. I have a pair of slip-on shoes with hard soles that are comfortable to wear running around town…but not sure they work that well on concrete floors all day.

Any suggestions on really good footwear and/or insoles that work well in my situation? I have to believe other woodworkers spend many more hours in their shops than I….so hoping someone will have some suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your help.


39 replies so far

View Andre's profile


5253 posts in 3263 days

#1 posted 01-02-2022 05:26 AM

Crocs, Birkenstock’s in the Summer and lots of rubber mats!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Mosquito's profile


11757 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 01-02-2022 06:15 AM

I put some anti-fatigue mats in places I tend to stand a lot like in front of the lathes, workbench, and shop computer (I play saxophone there and set up/babysit the cnc from the same mat). It has helped a lot.

I just wear my normal Timberland hiking boots with arch sports in the winter, and New Balance tennis shoes with arch supports for the rest of the year (arch supports because of flat feet). If I’m off the mats a lot I definitely feel the difference too, but I don’t really want to litter my shop with them either (I move some stuff around on wheels frequently depending on what I’m doing).

I think I might just add one more mat with no dedicated spot, that I just move around where I’m working for extended time. Like lately I should have one in front of the mobile bench where I’m working on restoring a planer.

Not really shoe advice, but it’s what I do.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View JAAune's profile


2133 posts in 3774 days

#3 posted 01-02-2022 06:58 AM

My choice has always been good work boots. I’ve tried Redwing, Wolverine and Thorogood. My favorite are the Thorogood boots (had them three months) and that is what I use now. Redwings took second place since they lasted longer than the Wolverine boots.

Only once did I switch to shoes to try urban walkers from Dr. Martens. They were good while they lasted but the durability was poor compared to work boots.

The Thorogood insoles seem to be sufficient so far. We do keep rubber mats at work stations wherever people might stand for hours. I’m also slightly on the light end of weight for my height so that that might be part of the reason concrete fatigue doesn’t affect me muich.

-- See my work at

View CaptainKlutz's profile


5602 posts in 2951 days

#4 posted 01-02-2022 09:27 AM


- Need sturdy ‘work’ or ‘hiking” shoes in shop. Soft soled ‘running’ or ‘tennis’ shoes reduce by at least half my time in shop before my legs/back hurt.

- Old worn out shoe insoles make the pain worse and the PIA starts sooner. Every time I wear my old ‘paint’ shoes in shop for spray finishing, I regret it the next day.

- Have high arches and learned long ago, need to add orthopedic correction to your shoes or you will have pain when on your feet all day. I remove the stock insoles in ALL my shoes, and replace with a support in-sole.

- As I got older, and gained weight; needed stronger shoes and thicker insoles to support the additional load. Recently found EasyFeet support insoles designed for 220+lbs that are just as comfortable as my $200 custom made orthopedic inserts. With the EasyFeet phatman insoles, I can hike, or work in garage shop all day with zero pain the next day. Have used the Dr. Scholl’s phatman insoles, and find the Easyfeet to be more comfortable. My 6.6” 230lb son has flat feet, and found huge relief by changing insoles for proper support of his weight as well.
Shoes stores tend to stink when it comes to selection of different types of insoles, and as much as I hate Amadud; they have large selection of HD insoles to help you find right one for your situation.

Best Luck

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7481 posts in 3950 days

#5 posted 01-02-2022 11:40 AM

Consider trying some of the Dr. School’s inserts available at some of the discount box stores (Walmart, etc.) They run somewhere in the $50 range and i found they really helped me. But you might be different, so Schering Plough (who owns the Dr. School brand) offers a full money back guarantee….with that it won’t hurt to try them out. Alternatively, you might get some similar inserts from a podiatrist or even some shoe specialty stores.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Thedustydutchman's profile


264 posts in 365 days

#6 posted 01-02-2022 12:36 PM

I wear crocs in my shop. They are like standing on a rubber mat and very comfortable. Safe if you drop something heavy on your foot? Absolutely not, but very comfortable.

-- Jerry H - Holland Michigan

View Robert's profile


4987 posts in 2938 days

#7 posted 01-02-2022 01:33 PM

Nit just shoes, the floor, too.

75% of my shop floor is covered in interlocking gym type anti fatigue mats. I get them from Sam’s.

I wear orthotics anyway b/c if fallen arches.

I quit wearing Crocs the day my 1/4” chisel fell though my vise and stabbed itself in my Crocs right next to my big toe.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View controlfreak's profile


3733 posts in 1058 days

#8 posted 01-02-2022 01:34 PM

Take care of your feet! I developed Plantar Fasciitis for reasons unknown but it has been a long road to recovery. To the OP I would do several things. Get horsey mat at Tractor supply, it has some cushion but you can still roll heavy tools on it. It saves chisels if you drop them and on that note, if you do, leather boots would be a good choice too. Anti fatigue mat for standing work areas. Good comfortable shoes are a must on hard floors. I like to wear my Hoka running shoes in my shop, it feels like I am wearing marshmallows. I also have the advantage of wooden floors.

View splintergroup's profile


6945 posts in 2679 days

#9 posted 01-02-2022 03:25 PM

I had the same issues. At first I tried inserts which helped a lot, but the big change came when I installed some thick stall mats in front of the tools where I spend a lot of time (TS, router table, etc.)

Pain gone!

Of course the proper shoes are a must, but in my case I can now wear most anything (tennis shores to hiking boots) and all are good.

Concrete is abusive. Big advantage of raised floor over slab!

View squazo's profile


393 posts in 3102 days

#10 posted 01-02-2022 03:59 PM

matts on the ground will protect your expensive bits and blades when they get dropped.

View sunnybob's profile


144 posts in 223 days

#11 posted 01-02-2022 04:18 PM

I live in a mostly hot country, over 6 months of the year I’m only wearing beach shorts and nothing else in the workshop. I have ribbed rubber matting over the stamped concrete floor. I can work barefoot on it all day. When the weather turns cold I still only wear sandals, on that same ribbed rubber mat.
So thats my recommendation.

-- my projects can be seen at

View Knockonit's profile


1232 posts in 1659 days

#12 posted 01-02-2022 04:27 PM

i picked up some rather thick 2t x 40’’ x 1,5’ mats i think she got them at costco, nice and thick and comfy, have them in front of drill press, lathe, and table saw, and a couple that i move around as needed, kinda pain to do so, but once i set down or stand at a task, its a pleasure to stand on, i’ve a couple feet damaged from punji stakes from back in the day, and have always had feet issues, made it this far, figure another dozen i’d be ready to set down more.
Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View Axis39's profile


621 posts in 1054 days

#13 posted 01-02-2022 08:25 PM

When I first put my shop in a garage together, I ran over to Harbor Freight and bought some of the piece together foam floor mats. They worked well for a couple of years, other than some of the pieces coming up at the puzzle piece seams. They coulda gone longer, but I went ahead and picked up some rolled (recycled) rubber flooring and ran it everywhere.

Helps keep the cold from getting through boots/shoes. It also adds a comfortable amount of cushion. But, good shoes are still a requirement with my arthritic back and replaced knee!

I’ve worn Redwings a lot on the jobsite, Merrells a lot in the shop…. those are the ones that fit ME the best. I have no desire to sport steel soles or toes around the shop these days. But, little I do would cause me a hazard those safety features require.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10276 posts in 2039 days

#14 posted 01-02-2022 08:38 PM

I used to swear by Redwings. Then they made the soles biodegradeable, and I had two pair fall apart in the box before I ever wore them, and when I contacted Red Wing, they told me “tough.” They’re also made in China now. Screw them.

Magnum used to make nice lightweight desert weight combat boots with composite toes and Kevlar plates in the soles, which were great for stomping on cholla. I wore three pairs of them until they were completely falling apart. Wore them everywhere, including in the shop and on the motorcycle. Of course they don’t make them any more, because we’re not sending soldiers to die in the desert any more.

Trying Dunham work boots now. They’re made by Rockport, and come in wide sizes. So far so good, but they’re only a couple months old at this point.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View bbc557ci's profile


698 posts in 3531 days

#15 posted 01-02-2022 08:59 PM


-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

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