In the not so distant past, some of our colleagues (PacketLife, FryGuy, and Network Janitor among others) shared what they keep in their network go bags. Today I’m going to ask you to help me with a dilemma that I have faced for most of my years in IT: how to get a pair of shoes that are comfortable, durable and “dressy enough”.
The first and most important requirement is that the shoes are comfortable. Contrary to popular belief, most network and IT staffers are on their feet a lot during the day. Overall, the best comfortable and supportive shoes I have are my trusty New Balance sneakers. Unfortunately they don’t qualify later when we look at the “dressy enough” requirement. For me comfort equals three things:
- Good arch support
- Shock absorption for both the heel and the ball of the foot
- The ability of the shoe to breathe and thus keep my feet dry
My next requirement is that the shoe be durable. This is generally my biggest complaint about work shoes. It seems that the more comfortable the shoe, the less durable it is. I seem to average a new pair of shoes every 8-12 months. Usually it’s the sole that gives up the ghost. Either the sole ends up as a flapper as it delaminates, or it tears away from the upper somewhere.
Finally, the business requirement that the shoes be “dressy enough”. For me I don’t plan on wearing my work shoes with a suit and tie, but they should work for khakis and a polo (sorry Etherealmind, but some of mine have logos) or even khakis with a button down shirt. In a way, the “dressy enough” requirement also goes back to the durability problem. They should be “dressy enough” and durable enough to keep that “dressy enough” look.
So now that I’ve laid out my requirements, I’ll show off a few of my honorable mentions from the past.
Red Wing Oxford: Comfortable shoe and looked good, but broke down quickly. I’ve had them less than 8 months and they’re ready for replacement. The sole has started to detach from the uppers and the insoles are shot.
Dr. Scholl’s Mercato: Comfortable shoe and the sole held up well until it started to delaminate. Usually these lasted me a year at a time before they got too worn looking.
So now I turn to you, Packet Pushers community. Sound off below about your best work shoes and why you rank them so.