Common Ground


With established daily routines of commuting to an office and making a bee-line to the gym disrupted during the pandemic — to the point of no return for many — the difference between the footwear we wear to work and what we wear to workout is shrinking in size. The latest looks for the modern workplace and new styles for today’s walking audience share features of comfort, style and function.

Textiles play an important role in bringing the worlds of work and workout wellness together. Footwear designers and consumers alike recognize that materials are key to crafting comfy, lightweight yet highly-durable shoes. This season, attributes of breathability and quick dry moisture management are top benefits, along with linings treated with antimicrobial solutions that promote  hygiene and protection. Another textile trend transitioning from performance shoes to workplace footwear is sustainability. Eco-friendly fabrications are now found in many components, such as recycled polyester, and finishes made with fewer chemicals.

Footwear execs size up the walking/wellness/workplace situation this way:

Transitional Styles will blend comfort with professional style. “We have witnessed a trend in comfort taking precedence over fashion since 2020. As we see people going from the stay-at-home working model back to the office, the end-consumer does not want to sacrifice the comfort they have grown accustomed to over the past couple years..”

— Sydney Simas, VP, Simco Imported Shoes (Arcopedico)

Athletic elements influence workplace footwear. “What we’re seeing is a migration of generations in the current workforce. These consumers are looking for comfort more than anything else and are used to wearing athletic-style footwear that they can rely on. For Twisted X, comfort is important in every category and every style we produce. What we have done is taken the feeling of athletic comfort that they’re accustomed to and infused it into all our work products. Comfort is our prized possession and truly what we do best, as reflected by our latest offerings.”

— Lee Lemon, VP of sales, Twisted X.

Materials elevate comfort in a variety of ways. “We have incorporated design from the athletic world, like more color and material variations to emphasize various components, for example, contrasts between the midsole and outsole. On the functional side, we have increased the density of the midsole, adding more shock absorbency.  We have also raised the heel collar, added more padding to the topline and increased the toe spring to encourage forward momentum.”

— Justin Orrell-Jones, president, Finn Comfort USA

Inclusivity is important in today’s marketplace. “While still making product for the traditional walking customer, we have begun to design and market our walking product with a broader, more diverse, and younger audience in mind. We’ve seen success pulling from the design of our performance running line to introduce walking products that are attractive, lightweight, and – most importantly – comfortable.”

— Russ Stevens, product manager, Topo Athletic


Women’s Leap features Dynamic Motion Technology, with stability in the heel, along with enhanced toe spring to move the wearer forward. PURGrip tread offers traction and the SmartKnit upper is stain and water-resistant, as well as machine washable.


Women’s Penni, the brand’s newest performance walking shoe, has a propel forepart that provides cushioning and energy return.  A removable footbed has Dansko Natural Arch Plus technology with a supportive arch cookie and cushioning for added support.


Men’s Outpace Go Walk Workout Walker  is made with a carbon-infused design in an engineered athletic mesh and synthetic upper with a removable podiatrist-certified Skechers Arch Fit insole that helps mold to the wearers foot to reduce shock and increase weight dispersion.

Topo Athletic

Ultrafly 4, available in men’s and women’s styles, offers a  Zipfoam midsole that provides better comfort and improved resilience over conventional EVA. The medial post provides light guidance,for walkers needing pronation support.


Men’s Track clog styles up or down easily, balancing the breathability of full-grain leather with the durability of oiled nubuck. Gore-Tex waterproof construction keeps feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions, plus a leather-covered inlay sole with ECFS offers increased air circulation.


Women’s Anna style stands out for hand-tooled leather aesthetics, comfort and textile tech. Removable, anatomically correct insole keeps feet properly aligned and supported while footbed and linings are treated with Silver Ion antimicrobial solution to protect against fungus, bacteria, and odor.

Twisted X

Women’s WZX is an eco-forward style with a full-grain leather upper made without glue, eliminating chemical adhesives and a bioBlend midsole made using castor bean oil for sustained comfort. The outsole is infused with renewable, durable and natural rusk husk from repurposed agricultural byproducts.