Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

10 jobs that keep you on your feet

By Beth Braccio Hering,
People who work in retail spend a lot of time on their feet.
People who work in retail spend a lot of time on their feet.
  • Careers that require a good foot massage at the end of the day
  • Tour guides, hairdressers and mail carriers need comfortfable shoes for work
  • Advice from teacher: "Say good-bye to high heels."

( -- While virtually anyone would enjoy a good foot massage at the end of the day, some workers could use one more than others. Here are 10 jobs for which owning a comfortable pair of shoes should be a prerequisite:

1. Retail

From standing in front of a cash register to walking the sales floor to retrieving merchandise, people who work in stores often go long stretches without sitting down.

"I considered quitting because my legs, feet and back hurt so much," Levya Braman says of her first month as a cashier at The Home Depot. She has since discovered that making small movements between customers can help, and that good posture (shoulders back, hips tucked under, knees unlocked) is a must.

2. Guide

Think of how tired your legs feel after taking the kids to a museum for a day. Now imagine giving tours of interesting places on a regular basis.

"I'm not only on my feet all day, I'm also carrying 50 pounds," says Steve Silberberg of Massachusetts, a wilderness backpacking guide for Fitpacking. "I find that the amazing scenery makes it all much more bearable."

3. Health care

A mean hourly wage of about $106 may make being on one's feet palatable for surgeons. Many other workers in medical and dental facilities aren't ones to sit around either, from doctors performing physicals to hygienists standing over reclined patients to clean teeth.

4. Hairdressing

With a mean hourly wage of about $13, hairstylists don't have as great a financial incentive as surgeons to stand on their feet all day. Still, the job has its perks, including flexible schedules -- about 44 percent are self-employed -- and projected industry growth as population increases raise the demand for basic hair-care services.

5. Food services

Whether transporting food at a restaurant or serving hungry students in a cafeteria line, workers in food services spend a great deal of time on their feet. Luckily, many of these employees have youth on their side: About one in five workers in this industry are 16 to 19 years old.

6. Food preparation

Those serving the food aren't the only ones standing. Chefs and bakers are on their toes, too.

"I was a pastry chef for over 10 years. This job required you to be on your feet the entire shift for speed and efficiency," says Jennifer Chiongbian of New York, who remembers workers fighting over nonslip mats with holes in them that helped ease the pressure on one's back from standing on a concrete floor all day.

Some good news for bakers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job prospects for highly skilled bakers look favorable due to growing demand for specialty products.

7. Mail carrying

Some mail carriers get to travel in vehicles, but many pound the pavement making deliveries. While the job is probably most appealing on sunny spring days, there is no shortage of eager applicants: After passing the required exam, it can take up to two years or longer before being hired because the number of applicants generally exceeds the number of openings.

8. Teaching

Whether talking to a group of kindergarteners or an auditorium of college students, teachers often find themselves standing or moving about to get their lessons across.

"My advice?" says high school social studies teacher Kristen Hagen-Iezzi of Ohio. "Say good-bye to high heels. Buy some comfortable, but stylish, shoes less than 1.5 inches in height and don't wear the same pair two days in a row."

9. Design and art

To get a project to look just right, many designers and artists find it better to stand than sit.

"It's important for me to stand at my easel so that I can continually step away from my painting to judge each brush stroke and decide what to do next," says Chris Saper, a portrait artist from Arizona. Her studio is carpeted to help ease the strain.

Likewise, wedding and party florist Lynn Jawitz of New York prefers to work standing up. "The 'trick' is that it totally minimizes back strain if one leg is lifted and supported higher than the other. I happen to have a work table with a shelf that serves as a footrest, but even an overturned bucket or garbage pail will do."

10. Stand-in

Finally, you know you're headed for tired tootsies when the word "stand" is in the title of your job.

As a stand-in actor for TV and film, Ben Hauck describes his job as "standing still for periods of time while crews set up lights and cameras around me before the principal actors step in." According to the website Stand-in Central, the pay for this unionized work is $154-$160 for an eight-hour day.

© 2011. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority.

Featured Deal |