The Best Laboratory Shoes for Men and Women

Laboratory work is an important field in today’s scientific world. Working in the lab is challenging and may require you to stay on your feet throughout the day to complete experiments and tests. The long shifts are bound to take a toll on your feet, legs and back, which is why you need to find the best lab shoes for you.

You want footwear that will make your day smoother while still protecting you from any hazardous chemicals in the lab. But not all shoe styles and designs are suitable for the lab, so it’s in your best interest to wear a pair of laboratory safety

shoes. Don’t forget that wearing proper attire is the foundation for adequately preparing to work in the lab.

A shoe that is tough, comfortable and stylish will get you started. In this article, you’ll find the ultimate guide to help you get the best shoes for laboratory work.

Ranging from men to women and unisex types, we have various options of footwear that are easily accessible and suitable to wear in the lab. Each one of these shoes is

 appropriate to wear throughout the day and is comfortable, functional and safe.

Here’s a quick glance at the best lab shoes:

Lab shoes infographic

 

What To Look for in the Best Shoes for Laboratory Work

The shoes you choose should completely cover both feet. Lab work leaves you exposed to spillage hazards of biological, synthetic and chemical substances. In case this happens, your shoes need to protect the skin on your feet.

Your lab shoes should have a decent grip within and on the outsole. That said, it’s crucial for long days in the laboratory to avoid ill-fitting shoes or those without good traction. 

With so many choices available, it can be challenging to choose a good pair of lab shoes. However, here are a few factors we think are crucial when deciding which shoes to buy.

Comfort

Ensure that the shoes you choose come true to size and fit you well, with some room left between your toes and between your heel and the wall of the shoe. Helpful features like the double or triple layer design for the footbed will adjust well to the pressure of your feet.

Better yet, a removable footbed is more comfortable than a fixed one. This gives you the option to add a layer of padding, custom orthotic, or inserts designed for standing all day.

Support

Since you’ll likely be wearing lab shoes for long periods, they need to offer you support in the right areas of your feet. For instance, proper arch support will protect the arches of your feet. The ball of your feet and heels will also require additional support as you work.

Cost

Sneaker-style lab shoes can cost more than most other styles. They do, however, offer more comfort than the rest. In addition, they are more stylish and fashionable than most available types.

It’s best to replace your shoes regularly since they lose their comfort the more you wear them. So you need to factor in the cost of replacing them every so often and how long they’ll last. Be cautious when buying cheap lab shoes since they may sacrifice safety, comfort or durability for the lower price.

Protective Features

Laboratory safety shoes offer protective features, such as a defensive toe made of steel or composite. Some shoe types may also feature electrical safety, waterproofing and synthetic sealing.

The safety features you require will mainly depend on the kind of research facility you work in and the hazards that the lab presents.

Slip Resistance

A thick, elastic outsole that comes with tracks to improve your footing and grasp will protect you from slipping.

Some special fields will require more grip than others. For example, labs that deal with slippery and oily substances will have particular guidelines that may require additional features such as an oil-safe rubber outsole.

Durability

It’s best to buy a long-lasting pair since you’ll be wearing your lab shoes most days of the year and for many hours each day. Consider picking a shoe made of high-quality materials to get the most out of your purchase.

Uppers

An upper is the entire top part of the shoe that covers the foot above the sole. A shoe that covers all of the foot is an essential requirement for all research center specialists.

If you work in a laboratory that handles dangerous fluids, you’ll have to wear leather or uniquely engineered uppers, so the shoe isn’t porous.

Reviews of the Best Lab Shoes

Here’s a roundup of the best shoes for laboratory work on the market.

Our Overview

This leather shoe is a popular choice for women working in the laboratory. It has a 2-inch heel that makes it perfect for everyday wear while still allowing you to stand for long periods. The sole is made from polyurethane for a stable and skid-free fit.

The genuine leather uppers are protective yet breathable. The shoe is also easy to slip on and entails a sizable and cozy toe box with an anti-fatigue rocker bottom. This feature gives the toes enough wiggle room, protecting your feet from extreme fatigue.

The memory foam footbed offers maximum support for the soles of your feet while standing. In addition, the heavily padded instep gives comfort while walking. It provides extra safety since the rubber outsole is skid and slip-resistant.

Pros:

  • The fit is mostly true to size.
  • Excellent arch support.
  • Comfortable for day-long use, despite the 2-inch heel.
  • Roomy in the toe and instep, giving your feet space to breathe.
  • The rocker bottom provides shock absorption.
  • The wide heel offers stability for your feet and back.

Cons:

  • You’ll experience discomfort for the first few days as you break in the shoe.
  • Not available in half sizes.

Our Overview

A top contender for the men’s lab shoe category is from the Timberland Pro collection. These steel-toe work shoes come with safety features for laboratory work. The upper is made from genuine leather, giving you a protective, breathable, low-profile and lightweight design.

The open-cell polyurethane footbed gives it great shock-absorbing qualities. In addition, the compressed mold EVA midsole adds another layer of shock absorbency. The rubber outsole is oil and slip-resistant to ensure you stay on your feet during spillages.

Pros:

  • The safety toe gives you advanced forefoot protection.
  • The rubber outsole is resistant to abrasion, making it very durable.
  • The internal antibacterial lining offers protection against bacterial infection.
  • Made from 100% leather.

Cons:

  • Narrow fit.
  • Bulky tread.

Our Overview

These Crocs are specifically designed for men and women who spend a lot of time on their feet. The clogs are designed to be easy to slip on and off since they’re lace-less, plus they are lightweight, waterproof and slip-resistant. These clogs come in various colors, including black, white, navy and a tie-dye design.

Another bonus is the enhanced arch support, which adds to your overall comfort. These unisex crocs offer enough wiggle room for your feet while still offering security. Since they are made of synthetic material, you can quickly clean them and wear them to work.

Pros:

  • Unisex.
  • Available in numerous colors.
  • Highly slip resistant from the Crocs Lock™ slip-resistant treads.
  • Enhanced arch support adds to comfort.
  • Easy to slip on.
  • Double-layered, soft footbeds with supportive outsoles.
  • Easy to clean with just soap and water.

Cons:

  • If the shoes don’t fit perfectly, you may need to wear a pair of thick socks to prevent your foot from slipping.
  • If your feet sweat easily, you will need to wear thick socks to absorb the sweat.

Our Overview

The sleek Reebok Men’s Sublite Athletic Work Shoe has a low-cut design that gives you full ankle mobility. The midsole has deep grooves in the foam, which keeps the shoe light, giving you a more comprehensive range of motion.

The footbed technology used adapts to the contours of your feet, giving you immediate cushioning. Since the extra-wide toe is made of composite material, this reduces the shoe’s weight while maintaining shock absorption properties.

Pros:

  • Super lightweight.
  • Breathable and flexible.
  • 100% non-metallic.

Cons:

  • You might have to size up, according to some customers.
  • Users complained that the shoes wear down quickly.

Our Overview

This heavy-duty shoe is designed to keep you protected while maintaining a professional look while at work. The leather upper is protective, flexible and stylish. The safety toe enhances the protection for your feet, while the stepped elastic outsole is oil-resistant and corrosive-proof.

The shoe design follows health and security guidelines while maintaining style and quality workmanship. The outsoles are generally adaptable to the extreme mix of laboratory fields, as they’re made for a wide cluster of modern working environments.

Pros:

  • The upper is made from 100% genuine leather.
  • Flexible and adaptable to different working environments.
  • Easy to clean.
  • It has a fiberglass shank for support and stability.
  • Lightweight.

Cons:

  • Sizes run slightly small, so you might have to size up.
  • Not a lot of arch support, according to some users.

Our Overview

Skechers is a world-renowned brand that complies with OSHA’s safety standards. Skechers for Work Men’s Balder Work Clog is a comfortable and easy on the foot type of shoe. It’s from synthetic materials with a rubber sole for added flexibility and slip-resistance.

It comes with a polyurethane insole for comfort and a low-height 1-inch heel specifically designed for men. The rubber sole has a firm grip while still being flexible since the shoe is designed to be light.

This Skechers clog comes with a removable footbed that is well padded and offers shock-absorbing properties. The arch support is contoured, giving you additional comfort. It has ventilation ports for your feet to still be able to breathe.

Pros:

  • Light and easy on your feet.
  • Comfortable insoles.
  • The outsole provides a firm grip.
  • Padding has shock-absorbing properties.
  • Ventilation ports ensure breathability.
  • Easy to slip on and off.

Cons:

  • The plastic texture doesn’t feel great against bare feet.
  • Not the best option for people with severely sweaty feet.

Our Overview

This unique shoe is made with stretchy knit uppers. If you work in a lab but not with dangerous substances, you might be fine to wear a mesh upper that’s breathable and comfortable.

The shoe has a stylish and classic look with a moderately high heel of 1.96 inches. In addition, it has an elastic slip-on design that users can pull to put on and take off easily. The impressive stitching further highlights the neat contours around the uppers.

This platform sneaker also comes with arch support and memory foam to cushion and protect your feet from bunions, plantar fasciitis and other common issues. The outsole is made of rubber, making it ideal for working on hard, wet or slippery surfaces. 

Combined with the protective cushioning, this sneaker is safe on all surfaces and terrain.

It’s the perfect all-day wear sock shoe for walking, working, traveling and other activities. Its elegant design makes it aesthetically pleasing while still allowing your feet to breathe comfortably. These features make it the perfect multipurpose shoe for women who work in labs.

Pros:

  • Easy to slip on and off.
  • Multi-use shoe, ideal for indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Comfortable insoles.
  • Breathable uppers.
  • Moderate heel ideal for wet surfaces.
  • Rubber sole provides adequate grip.
  • Available in a range of colors such as purple black, grey, white and navy blue.

Cons:

  • Not particularly protective.
  • Some customers complained of discomfort due to the heel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Appropriate Dress Code for Laboratories?

Your footwear may be subject to a dress code, whether it’s for safety or even professional reasons. However, this will depend on the type of lab you work in and the amount of time you spend in the lab.

For laboratories that deal with hazardous materials and heavy equipment, defensive footwear is needed. Some research labs may require a more formal appearance to keep up with the image of a professional environment.

It’s a general guideline that no open shoes, sandals, ladies pumps or clogs shoes should be worn in the lab. In some labs, sneaker and athletic shoe types must have leather or synthetic uppers and not have mesh or canvas uppers.

Whatever your company’s dress code is for the lab, this should help you choose a lab shoe type to wear. On the other hand, OSHA is not specific about laboratory shoes compared to your footwear choice in construction sites.

Can I Wear Sneakers in the Lab?

Although sneakers are comfortable and convenient, they are not always the appropriate laboratory apparel. This is because they are made of porous material and have minimum spillage protection. Furthermore, they won’t protect you from any heavy impacts since they don’t have a steel toe guard.

However, you’re better off wearing sneakers than open sandals or flip-flops. This is because the shoes provide full coverage of your entire feet.

What Are the Common Work Hazards in the Laboratory?

It’s paramount to think about the protection and safety features a particular shoe will offer. Identifying work hazards in your lab workspace will help when choosing the right shoes. Here are some typical lab risks that will help you with your search.

Chemical Hazards

Working with strong chemicals that can cause burns and injuries will require you to choose a pair of shoes with a chemical-resistant layer and a chemical-resistant sole.

Biological Hazards

Microbes, viruses, other celled organisms, airborne, skin borne and bloodborne pathogens will require shoes that offer water, skin and bloodborne pathogen resistance.

Physical Hazards

If you work with heavy equipment, objects and materials, you will need footwear that comes with a protective toe. Sharp and protruding objects can cause wounds, so you will need shoes that come with a protective underfoot plate and a protective toe.

Electrical Hazards

Shoes made of electrical-resistant materials will protect you from electrical shocks from associated equipment and tools.

Slips

The most important feature of laboratory safety shoes is slip resistance. It’s best to watch out for the laboratory floors as it can quickly become wet, slippery or greasy.

 

Final Thoughts

Lab work involves long working hours while on your feet on hard and slippery surfaces. A good quality lab shoe will ensure that you ease the strain on your feet and back.

Furthermore, a good lab shoe will protect your feet from any hazardous circumstances, including dangerous chemicals, slips, and falls and sharp objects.Our favorite lab shoes from our list has to be the Dansko Women’s Professional as they offer lots of comfort and support along with protection. For men, we recommend the Timberland Pro Mudsill with a leather upper and safety toe.

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