Teaching involves a lot of standing and walking around, and without comfortable shoes (okay, even WITH comfortable shoes), that can be pretty hard on your body.
I recently asked my followers on Facebook to share the most comfortable shoes they’ve found for teaching, and got a wide range of responses regarding sneakers/tennis shoes, ballet flats, sandals, wedges, and even heels! I only heard one response from the men (it’s included below), but many of the brands shared here also make men’s shoes. No matter what the dress code or weather in your area, I think you’ll find some helpful suggestions below.
Here are the 30 brands and styles I saw mentioned most frequently, listed in alphabetical order. Only the links to Amazon are affiliate links (this means I get a small commission, at no cost to you). I have not been compensated in any way by these brands/stores for listing the shoes below–they are a true representation of what teachers shared with me as their favorite picks! Click any shoe’s picture to learn more:
Heels and comfort? Apparently, it’s possible with Aerosoles. Teachers swear by this brand’s heels!
“I wore nothing but Sketchers dress shoes my first 2 years of teaching due to knee and ankle problems. Now that everything is fixed, I love Aerosoles dress shoes and my Sketchers still.” – Jessica H.
Alegria was one of the top brands mentioned. These have a patented removable footbed which is cushioned with memory foam.
Feeling sporty? Running and tennis shoes are another teachers’ favorite, particularly ones from Asics which have gel cushioning and special foam for the midsoles.
Bernie Mevs can provide both extra height and comfort. Their pumps are lightweight and have a memory cushion footbed.
Bernie Mev !!!! They are divine!!;) – Chelsea Garrett Waldon
Birkenstock sandals are not only back in style, but provide arch support for comfort and have an adjustable strap to make them a perfect fit. Plus, they are said to be lightweight as well!
“Birkenstock sandals. Hands down.” – Katey C W
B.O.Cs have been compared to Danskos. They are lightweight and provide enough support even for feet that has suffered injuries in the past.
Countless teachers are in love with Clarks not only because they are comfortable but also because they have a lot of cute styles. Clarks offers ballet flats, boots, clogs, mary janes, among other kinds of shoe styles.
“Clarke bendables. They have some very classy and not so school-marmish looking models! QVC and Amazon are two places I’ve gotten them!” – Missy M.
“Wore Clarks for years.” – Olivia Junkin Sansing
Crocs are love ’em or hate ’em, I suppose, but many people don’t realize there are new styles beyong the iconic monster-shaped Crocs. The brand also offers surprisingly cute flats with non-slip bottoms.
“Crocs: I’ve injured my feet at school wearing ‘proper shoes’ so often that I am in constant pain. Crocs make a couple pair that are for the food industry that have a nonslip bottom. I live in them.” – Lisa M.
Danskos are a steady favorite among teachers, and were named repeatedly among those who have had foot surgery in the past or managed other foot issues. The brand offers quite a wide selection which includes open-toed sandals, boots, and pumps.
“Danskos: my feet, knees and legs don’t hurt at the end of the day. Their closed toe shoes aren’t the cutest but they have awesome open toed shoes and sandals! Won’t wear anything else now.” – Marcie S.
DexFlex Comfort from Payless
Because you can’t wear house slippers in school, wear the next best thing. Some teachers say these are as good, if not better!
“Dex flex from Payless! Love them! They feel like house slippers.” – Deidre S.D.
Italian Shoemakers – DSW
For teachers who are not willing to forego style and heels, footwear by the Italian Shoemakers from DSW are heaven-sent. Their wedges are very stylish and more importantly, easy to walk in.
“Italian Shoemakers at DSW Shoes. Dressy Wedges for teachers and the vertically challenged like me!” – Danielle B.
Sneakers are great, but if you want to pull off a more professional look with the same level of comfort (or more!) then Easy Spirit Traveltime mules and Zero Gravity shoes are are a good bet. They look a bit like regular flats when worn with long pants, and all styles are lightweight and breathable.
“Easy Spirit Traveltime. Lightweight and feels like you’re wearing sneakers but have a more professional look.” Diane T.C.
Take a cue from the 70’s and celebrate your vintage style with Famolares. These shoes have thick soles that provide ample of support and cushion to tired heels.
“Back in the ’70s it was wooden Swedish clogs, but they were too noisy and I opted for thick soles Famolares.” – Marcy L.
Fit Flops offer not only open-toe sandals but lace-ups and ballet flats as well, along with other styles. Designed to activate leg muscles, these shoes have patented cushioning that makes walking around easy.
Fly London has killer wedges that are both stylish and comfortable. Plus, they offer many designs to choose from, with lots of different solid colors and even animal prints!
Keen slip-ons are classic in style and feature breathable terry cloth panel (or tongue if you choose lace-up sneakers) that allows air to circulate better.
“Keen, came across them in my previous life working retail- you can stand in them all day.” – Leasa F.L.
Pumps are rarely comfortable – except if they are Naots, according to teachers. Though a bit pricey, Naot pumps can give the support sensitive feet need. They usually have removable insoles that are made of natural latex.
Naturalizer is another favorite for a lot of reasons other than being comfortable: they are cute, are available in tons of styles, are easy-to-find, and apparently, they are often on sale.
“Shoes from Naturalizer. Seriously, the best! I bought two pairs of super cute wedges, one high heeled pair, and and sneakers. They’re cute, the stores consistently have sales, and you can buy in-store or online. Highly recommend!” – Amanda B.
Gretchen clog – Payless
Flat-footed teachers rejoice–the Gretchen clogs from Payless work well with your foot structure. These clogs are slip-resistant and have a soft lining and airy insoles that give sufficient cushioning.
“Payless Gretchen clog. I have flat feet and scoliosis, so without the right shoe I am in pain and my ankles swell like hams. They have multiple styles on the website and I get lots of compliments on my shoes from the kids.” -Salica W.
Lets not forget the men. Male teachers seem to love Rockport RBXs. These office-appropriate shoes are made of leather and have synthetic rubber soles designed to grip a variety of surfaces.
Imagine standing on a yoga mat all day – that’s how it feels like to wear Sanuks, according to some teachers. Some designs all feature an anti-microbial additive to the footbed, making them great for sweaty feet!
“Sanuk. They are made from yoga mat material and are great. My district isn’t very strict about footwear.” – Nicole Triplett Blanc
If you are a fan of feminine, open-toe sandals then you’ll love Sass. These sandals are handmade and provide great support that doesn’t go away after a few uses. Some teachers say they’ve been wearing them for as a long as a decade!
“SAS (San Antonio Shoes). Hard to find but I swear by them. They are a little expensive but are hand made and the support just doesn’t fade. Haven’t had sore feet or knees since I started wearing them at work 10 years ago”. – Angela D.A.
A lot like Toms when it comes to shape, these shoes come in a wide array of colors and styles, and have a memory foam footbed which makes them easy to wear all day.
If you like Skechers and can wear something a bit more sporty, teachers rave about GoWalks.
“Skechers Go Walk. Great range of colours, too, that go with anything you are wearing!” – Lisa S.H.
“Skechers Go Walks with memory foam. NO QUESTION! They’re cute, too!” -Cory L.H.
Need arch support? Softwalk slip-ons have an egg crate sole that does the job wonderfully. They are also fitted with breathable lining which is another reason they are great to wear all day.
“Softwalk slip ons. They have an egg crate sole and support my arch. Much more comfortable than my sneakers!” – Beth Johnson Fenimore
Flats are synonymous with comfort when they are from Sonoma. Sonoma flats have memory foam insoles which makes walking in them all day much easier. These shoes also feature a treaded sole which provides a good grip on most floors.
Sperrys are another favorite because of their classic styles and reliable quality. Some styles are even water and stain resistant.
For gorgeous and comfy ballet flats that won’t break, teachers go for Tieks. Tieks shoes feature cushioned insoles and non-slip rubber soles which make them classroom-perfect. They are quite pricey but have a cult-like following of teachers who can’t live without them.
If you want cute and comfortable, I love Tieks ballet flats. I am in love with them! – Sarah M.D.
Though I have to disagree here, this list would not be complete without Toms. The brand just has too many fans! With canvas uppers and rubber soles, the comfort they provide is just as iconic as its style.
Vionic’s Orthaheel range feature removable EVA orthotic inserts which are covered with microfiber. They align feet and relieves heel pain by minimizing over-pronation.
“Vionic orthaheel. More comfy than slippers.” – Mb Estman
Yellow Box Flip Flops
Flip flops from Yellow Box have soft footbeds which makes walking in them feel heavenly. If you like wearing heels and wedges for extra height and your dress code allows very casual shoes, you can give these flip flops a try.
BONUS SUGGESTION: Sole Provisions
If you are having hard time looking for any of the suggestions above, you can go directly to Sole Provisions which sell a selection of specialty shoes for people with feet problems. Sole Provisions carry many of the brands suggested earlier though some of the exact styles may not be available.
“Shoes on soleprovisions.com are all for people with feet problems. Free shipping too.” – Henthorn Myers
As for my favorite? Nine West is my go-to brand. I look on Amazon first because they’re cheaper and many of them come with free shipping both ways, so I can try everything on at home with my outfits and return what I don’t like. All of Nine West’s shoes have a genuine leather upper, which means they last a LONG time and don’t create stinky feet like synthetics. I prefer wedge heels, and I’ve found that I can walk endlessly in just about any pair of Nine West shoes with less than a 2.5 inch heel (anything higher tends to throw my weight too far forward and cause knee/back pain.) I own several of the styles pictured above and LOVE them.
What are the most comfortable teacher shoes YOU own? Please share in the comments!