March 29, 2023

Majority of American Workers Spend Most of the Day on Their Feet (Performance Footwear)

ARRIS Composites’ new report provides insights into American professionals who spend the majority of the workday on their feet and what they are looking for in footwear.

The Average American Worker Spends 56% of the Day Standing or Walking

When we think of performance footwear, many of us jump to pro-athletes, running enthusiasts, and extreme sports. However, performance footwear means something different to those in construction, healthcare, and even the service industry. If the global industrial safety footwear market surpasses $10+ billion by 2030, as market researchers expect, that’s a lot of shoes and boots that also require extreme durability, lightweighting, and waterproofing.

To learn more about what American professionals have to say about what they wear on their feet, we surveyed 1,000+ people from across the country who work in careers where they’re standing or walking for most of the day. From nurses to servers to construction workers and others alike, there’s a lot to learn from those always on their feet.

Top 15 Jobs Where Workers Are on Their Feet All Day

American Workers Who Spend the Whole Day on Their Feet Infographic from ArrisComposites.com

While the average American worker spends 56% of the day standing or walking, it’s apparent that jobs in food service, retail, healthcare, and tourism require people to be on their feet for the majority of the day.

Dishwashers rank NO. 1, spending nearly 99% of their workday standing or walking. Restaurant cooks rank NO. 2 at 98.1%, following closely behind are waiters and waitresses (97.4%), food preparation and serving occupations (97.2%), and cashiers (94.9%). 

Retail workers, industrial machinery mechanics, and maintenance or repair occupations also make the list, with an average of 86.9%, 84.4%, and 79.5% of their workday spent standing, respectively. Rounding out the top ten are hotel desk clerks and pharmacists.

The Physical Toll on American Workers’ Bodies

The Physical Toll on American Workers Feet and Bodies Infographic from ArrisComposites.com

After spending most of the working day walking or standing, many people deal with pain and discomfort. More than 1 in 4 (26%) regret working in these types of jobs, so much so that 27% are considering switching careers. As 1 in 5 say their feet always hurt after work, it’s no surprise 70% have skipped exercising and 58% have canceled social plans during the week because they’re just too tired. While 78% try to take breaks throughout the day, 1 in 10 say it’s just not possible given their career. 

When it comes to pain, nearly 2 in 5 (39%) have recurring pain and 41% have gone to the doctor for help. The most common areas of the body American workers deal with pain are foot, spine/back, leg, neck, and shoulder. Workers are coping with it by doing yoga/pilates, elevating their feet and legs, using pain medicine, strength training, and massages. 

What Are Americans Looking for in Work Shoes?

Workers who spend most of the day on their feet know the importance of comfortable and supportive shoes. Our survey found more than half (54%) of Americans wear gym shoes or sneakers to work, followed by work boots at 25%, and dress shoes at 6%. Additionally, 2 in 5 employees are required to wear a certain type of shoe to work, with 28% finding those shoes uncomfortable.

To combat discomfort, 32% of workers add orthotics or other inserts to their work shoes. Most (86%) prefer comfort over style in their work shoes. The top characteristics Americans look for in their shoes are padding/cushioning (71%), support (70%), and durability (45%). 

When asked if workers would be interested in trying something such as “super shoes” for everyday use, an overwhelming 83% said yes. Super shoes” in the survey was defined as a new generation of running shoes with advanced technology and design features intended to improve a runner’s performance. These shoes typically have a thick midsole made of lightweight foam that provides high levels of cushioning and energy return, as well as a carbon fiber plate.

The very real advantages of advanced composites, in the example of super shoes, can expand beyond sports into the American workforce. And the majority of workers surveyed seem to be more than ready for the kind of innovation athletes are already benefiting from today.

Related Posts

Check out related posts to learn more about next-gen carbon plates for athletic footwear.

  • Super Shoes (High-Performance Footwear) in 2023 [ READ ]
  • Carbon-Fiber Plate Running Shoes: World Athletics Meets Additive Molding [ READ ]
  • Q&A: Additive Molding for Performance Footwear [ READ ]



Media Inquiries: Contact media@digitalthirdcoast.net or media@arriscomposites.com.

Methodology + Media: In February 2023, a survey was conducted with 1,011 people from across the U.S. who work in industries where they are required to spend the majority of the workday on their feet. The average age was 36 years old with 49% identifying as male, 48% as female, and 3% as non-binary or transgender. Survey respondents worked in a variety of job industries, including retail (22%), manufacturing/wholesale/trades (14%), education (12%), and health (8%).

Fair Use: When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing ARRIS Composites (arriscomposites.com).

Image Credit: ARRIS + Adobe Stock


Additional Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics