Last Updated on 2024-03-28

Amazon Work Shoe Tips for New Warehouse Employees

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Jesse Gauthier

T1 Associate with two years of experience working in the Packer, Problem Solver, and Scanner roles

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James Enright

L5 having worked in a Fulfillment Center, Sortation Center, and in Reverse Logistics with 6+ years of experience across Receive Dock, Decant, Waterspider, Stower, Picker, Count, Packer, SLAM Operator, Problem Solver, and Unloader roles

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Vaughn Winslow

One year of experience working in an Amazon XL warehouse

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Davis Porter

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

Safety is one of Amazon’s priorities for warehouse employees. And that’s because its workers face a multitude of potential hazards as they maneuver through expansive warehouses, operate heavy machinery, lift heavy objects, and handle all sorts of potentially harmful substances. 

To minimize the risks, Amazon has invested billions of dollars in safety projects and initiatives, as well as implemented strict safety rules on warehouse operating procedures in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines (OSHA). 

Among the many job requirements is a special dress code that features personal protective equipment and safety footwear. 

The following guide explores Amazon’s safety shoes in detail. We’ll explain why Amazon is keen on workplace footwear, what the company means by “safety shoes”, the types it has approved for its employees, their performance standards, plus the legal guidelines and performance standards for warehouse safety shoes.  

Why Amazon prioritizes proper footwear

Amazon employs a vast workforce in its warehouses, with many employees walking more than five miles per shift. Their jobs involve engaging in physically demanding tasks such as lifting, twisting, reaching, and executing repetitive motions — all of which require proper footwear to minimize discomfort and prevent common injuries like blisters, cramps, and aches.

Over the years, safety shoes have contributed to Amazon progressively reducing the rate of injury among its warehouse staff. For instance, between 2019 and 2022, the company reported a 23% reduction in its Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) and a remarkable 69% decrease in its Lost Time Incident Rate (LTIR) across the United States.

Amazon is also mandated to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which set safety standards for workplace footwear. OSHA's regulations, which are outlined in 29 CFR 1910.132 and 1910.136, mandate foot protection against hazards that could cause injuries. Non-compliance would otherwise invite warnings, sanctions, and fines. 

Amazon safety shoes for warehouse workers

Amazon's policy requires both part-time and full-time warehouse employees to wear comfortable composite or steel-toe shoes. They are meant to protect them from the foot hazards commonly found in warehouses – such as heavy objects falling on their feet. 

The type of work safety shoe might, however, vary depending on the employee's specific role within the warehouse. For instance, zones prone to falling objects may demand steel-toe footwear, whereas areas with lesser risk might allow for sturdy running shoes. 

When selecting Amazon work shoes, employees should consider the specific hazards in their warehouse roles, alongside comfort and fit. We’d especially recommend taking into account the potential for impact, compression, electrical hazards, and punctures. 

You can otherwise refer to their job descriptions or workplace safety standards to identify the appropriate footwear for your Amazon warehouse position. But, before committing to a purchase, remember to verify that your selected work shoes are OSHA-compliant.

According to OSHA and ANSI, safety shoes must be able to withstand impacts and compression, shield the foot’s metatarsal region, offer electric shock protection, plus prevent static charge accumulation and punctures from sharp objects. The exact specifications for these requirements are detailed in the ASTM F2413 standards

When to start wearing them

Amazon requires all warehouse employees to wear safety shoes from their first day on the job. This is even highlighted in the safety signs erected in its warehouse facilities. 

Jesse Gauthier , who has served Amazon for the past year, advises recruits to try their safety shoes on before their first day at work. In his words, “It would be wise to break in your new safety shoes before your first day to make them comfortable. Try something as simple as wearing them for ~20 minutes each day.”

The company further promotes compliance by providing new employees with a Zappos gift code worth $110. They may use it to purchase the necessary safety shoes before starting their jobs.

The offer is, in fact, renewed with each calendar year,” reveals Jesse . He further mentions that their fulfillment center tops off the gift code with an additional free insole credit.

Despite the requirement, workers report that Amazon doesn't actively check employees for work shoes. They, however, warn that in the event of an injury caused by not wearing safety shoes, Amazon may not be held liable. As such, the injured employee might not be eligible for worker's compensation.

“Managers in our fulfillment center randomly check for safety shoes as you enter the building,” explains Jesse . “If you’re found without protective footwear, they provide you with safety shoe covers for the day.”

His Phoenix-based counterpart, Vaughn Winslow , reports an almost similar experience but with varying consequences for safety violators. “We are checked weekly,” he says. “And if we don't have our shoes on, they send us home.”

As for James Enright, their senior colleague serving at the L5 level, shoe and glove audits are included in their daily work routines. “We check and keep track of it all,” he claims. 

How to use the Zappos At Work program

The Zappos At Work program is a partnership between and Amazon, meant to grant new employees access to appropriate safety footwear. Participants are entitled to a $110 discount for the purchase of approved work boots and insoles.

Vaughn , however, contests that the precise discount amount may vary slightly from one warehouse to another. In their building, for instance, they each reportedly got discounts worth $120 instead of $110.

The benefit is available to Amazon warehouse workers across all Fulfillment Centers, Sortation Centers, and Delivery Stations

To cater to such a diverse workforce, the Zappos At Work Program offers a curated selection of safety footwear that meets a variety of aesthetic and functional needs. High-quality options like Dr. Martens Winch Steel Toe, Timberland Pro Sport Alloy, and Reebok Fusion Flexweave are among the featured choices.

Other than that, the Zappos At Work Program supports Amazon employees after their purchase with a satisfaction guarantee. They get easy returns and exchanges whenever the product does not meet their expectations.

James himself has been receiving free shoes plus insoles for years, all courtesy of the Zappos program. “This is the third year we’ve gotten free insoles along with safety shoes,” he proudly boasts. “In previous years, we got $50 to spend on insoles. This year, my offer email indicated  that I get a certain set of insoles going for $65.” 

How to get free Amazon work shoes from Zappos

To participate, warehouse employees must visit the Amazon ‘Zappos at Work’ web page, where they will be redirected to a login page. There, they should create a Zappos account using their Amazon ID. 

Once registered successfully, employees can browse through a special selection of work shoes and inserts that comply with Amazon's safety standards. They include high-quality, comfortable, and stylish footwear options, each available at a $110 discount. 

According to Jesse Gauthier , “It is recommended to get half a size to a full size larger as the composite toe makes the shoes fit tightly.”

For any issues encountered during the process or with selecting shoes, employees are encouraged to consult their HR department or safety specialists. The program otherwise allows for returns at no additional cost.

In order to immediately get the Amazon credit back,  people should drop off their return and call the Zappos 1-800 number,” advises James

His counterpart Vaughn agrees, reiterating, ”If you just return them, you’ll have to wait until the shoes are received by Zappos in order to get your credit back. This can sometimes take up to two weeks.”

Key shoe features

When selecting shoes for Amazon warehouse duties, employees should prioritize ergonomics for comfort during their work shifts. Optimal choices include shoes with a supportive footbed, ample cushioning, and flexible soles to reduce fatigue and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Amazon work shoes must also be made from breathable materials that keep the feet cool and dry, plus minimize the risk of fungal infections like athlete's foot. Look for shoes made from materials that offer moisture-wicking properties and antimicrobial linings to prevent odor.

The footwear should also withstand the harsh warehouse floor, frequent bending, and the weight of heavy objects without coming apart. They need strong, abrasion-resistant uppers, sturdy soles that won’t easily wear down, and non-corroding eyelets for laces. 

For Amazon workers who often move between different work areas, their safety shoes ought to be versatile enough to adapt seamlessly. They may, for instance, need thermal insulation for cold storage areas and water-resistant materials for wet conditions. 

In addition to these general requirements for Amazon’s work shoes, there are more specialized features meant for unique hazards. For example, employees working with electronics may need shoes with electrical hazard (EH) protection, while their counterparts handling sharp objects would go for puncture-resistant options. 

Otherwise, to maximize your comfort while rocking safety shoes at Amazon, consider pairing them with a high-quality, durable insole. That’s according to Jesse , who additionally recommends Dr. Scholl’s work insoles ($15) as a great option for warehouse workers.  

The best Amazon safety shoes for warehouse workers

After comparing various options by their features, sampling user ratings across review sites, and tallying recommendations from many warehouse associates, the following emerged as the leading Amazon safety shoes:

CAT Men's Invader Steel Toe Work Shoe  ($115)

The CAT Men's Invader Steel Toe Work Shoes come with ASTM F2413-18 certified steel toes, providing substantial protection against impacts and compression. They safeguard from heavy falling objects or accidents involving machinery.

Their outsoles are engineered for superior grip across different surfaces, reducing the risk of slips and falls. Amazon warehouse employees can move confidently, knowing they are supported by footwear that can handle the often unpredictable conditions of their work environment.

For comfort, the CAT Invader shoes include Ease footbeds and EVA midsoles that offer shock absorption and energy return. Their nylon mesh further improves breathability to keep feet fresh and comfortable throughout the day.

Carolina Men's Braze Comp Toe Work Shoe ($140)

The Carolina Braze Composite Toe Work Shoes merge safety with style, making them suitable for both work and casual settings. They feature composite safety toe caps for impact and compression protection, with non-metallic shanks adding stability and support for prolonged standing or walking.

Comfort is enhanced with removable polyurethane footbeds and EVA midsoles, which are further complemented by pillow cushion insoles. This combination provides superior cushioning and support to minimize foot fatigue. 

Carolina Braze Composite Toe Work Shoes are also accessorized with oil and slip-resistant outsoles, which prevent workplace accidents on slippery floors.

Timberland PRO Switchback Composite Toe Work Shoe ($145)

The Timberland PRO Switchback Composite Toe Work Shoe combines durability with flexibility. Its full-grain leather and low-cut build help warehouse workers move freely and comfortably without being weighed down by bulkier footwear options.

This work shoe comes with Timberland's Anti-Fatigue Technology footbed, meant to offer comfort throughout your Amazon warehouse work shifts . This technology not only absorbs shock but also returns energy to the feet, thus reducing strain and exhaustion over long hours. You also get a moisture-wicking lining – which is made from at least 50% recycled plastic – to promote air circulation and keep feet dry. 

The shoe’s rubber outsole offers resistance against heat, oil, slips, and abrasion. It’s paired with a lightweight, cushioning EVA midsole for more comfort — making this switchback composite footwear a well-rounded option for workers seeking both safety and ease of wear.

Skechers unisex work shoes

While Skechers boasts a diverse range of safety shoe options, two models have earned accolades for their warehouse suitability:

  • Skechers Arch Fit SR - Bensen ($115): A composite work shoe that uses Arch Fit technology to provide enhanced arch support while distributing pressure evenly for stability and balance. It also comes with a slip-resistant outsole that safeguards maneuverability, plus a mesh fabric upper for optimal breathability. All that is topped off with a cushioned Arch Fit insole.
  • Skechers Holdredge – Rebem ST ($100): As a steel-toe option that meets ASTM F2412/2413-2011 I/75 C/75 standards, it provides solid protection against impacts and compressions. Its Relaxed Fit design offers a more comfortable, roomier fit, while the accompanying Gel Infused Memory Foam insole and shock-absorbing midsole deliver great comfort. The shoe also features a high-traction sole for safety on slick warehouse floors.

Women's work shoes options ($50-$77)

For women who want to stay protected without compromising their comfort and sense of style, we’d recommend the Skechers Women’s Workshire Peril Steel-Toe Boot.

The boot is distinguished by its removable gel-infused footbed with memory foam cushioning, which acts as a morphable padding. It adapts to the contours of your feet, providing custom support during long shifts. Its gel infusion additionally absorbs impacts, making prolonged standing or walking more bearable.

Impact and compression hazards shouldn’t be a problem either, as the Workshire Peril Steel-Toe Boot includes a steel toe cap.

The body itself is made from leather, which is naturally resistant to oil plus wear and tear. That qualifies it as a wise investment for workers seeking long-lasting Amazon work shoes. 

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