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.

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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:

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Aerosoles

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.

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Alegria

Alegria was one of the top brands mentioned. These have a patented removable footbed which is cushioned with memory foam.

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Asics

Feeling sporty? Running and tennis shoes are another teachers’ favorite, particularly ones from Asics which have gel cushioning and special foam for the midsoles.

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Bernie Mev

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

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Birkenstock Sandals

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

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B.O.C

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.

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Clarks

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

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Crocs

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.

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Dansko

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.

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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.

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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.

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Easy Spirit

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.

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Famolares

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.

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Fit Flops

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.

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Fly London

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!

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Keen

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.

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Naot

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.

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Naturalizer

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.

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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.

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Rockport RBXs

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.

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Sanuk

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

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SAS

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.

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Skechers Bobs 

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.

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Skechers GoWalks

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.

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Softwalk Slip-Ons

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

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Sonoma flats

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.

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Sperry

Sperrys are another favorite because of their classic styles and reliable quality. Some styles are even water and stain resistant.

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Tieks

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.

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Toms

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.

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Vionic Orthaheel

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

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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

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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!

Discussion

45 Comments

  1. M. L. Anderegg

    Boys can teach too! Not just lady-shoe wearing folks. (Nothing against men who like to wear ladies shoes!) I have two pairs of Sketchers with Memory Foam and they feel like I’m cheating. Like I”m weraring slippers. My wife (who also teachers) and daughter (a middle schooler) both got the girl version (I think you have those on your list) and love them as well.

    • Angela Watson

      Thanks for chiming in, Jim! I have one pair of men’s shoes in the post, but apparently more women than men were interested in sharing their favorite shoe choices on Facebook so I didn’t have much to work with! 🙂

      I think the brand recommendations count should be relevant for men as well as women, though–Asics, Aerosoles, Birkenstocks, Crocs, etc. all make men’s shoes.

      I’m glad to hear your input–we’ll count this as another vote for Skechers.

  2. Mary Jane

    My son teaches high school art and AP art history, he’s on his feet, kneeling, bending, nonstop. He swears by Doc Martens, says they help knee pain.

  3. Mel

    I have been a reader for quite a while now and I was surprised to see such a blatant view of sexism in academia where we are suppose to be liberated from some of those worldly problems. Notice not one male shoe. Are there no males working in K-12? Do males not suffer with the same issues? Or are males not considered real educators?

    • Angela Watson

      Hi, Richard. There is one men’s shoe included in the round up, because one male responded when I asked about shoes on Facebook. (See the comment above yours, which also explains that many of the brands included in the post make men’s shoes, too, so even if the style shown is for women, the brand information is still relevant.) If you have recommendations, I would love to hear them!

  4. heather

    I love Abeo by The Walking Company. They have saved my feet this year!

    • Angela Watson

      Thanks, Jenny, I hadn’t heard of that. Will check it out!

  5. Angela Watson

    Love Clarks, Naots and SAS. AND I love my Merrells!!!

  6. Esther B.

    I used to always wear Clarks, until I tried a pair of Keen sandals last summer. I used to come home from school with sore feet everyday. I have problems with neuromas and hammer toes. But I can walk for hours and not have sore feet at the end of the day with my Keen sandals. At the end of the summer last year I was wondering how I could wear my sandals all winter. I discovered that Keen makes leather lace ups in brown and black styles and even tennis shoes and work boots, for both men and women. My husband has diabetes and has the tennis shoe, sandal and brown leather shoe also. Shoes are too expensive to waste money on a pair that hurts your feet. We are sold on Keen.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for mentioning Keen, as they are comfortable 😬

  7. Dorothy Eden

    I would have to add Grasshoppers . These shoes are the best I have ever worn for 10 hours and my feet still didn’t hurt at all, they are amazing!

  8. Angela Watson

    Couldn’t teach a day without my Docs and Chuck Taylors!

  9. Billie

    Do teachers read or do they only expect their students to read and pay attention? Everyone that said this article is sexist or excluded men owes me dentention and a 500 word paper. She stated in the beginning of the article that only ONE man responded and therefore she didn’t have much to work with when it came to mens shoes. Geesh! Pay attention people!

    Thank you for the article by the way. I actually read the entire article. I enjoyed it and I appreciate the time you took to write it. Just what I was looking for.

    • Anonymous

      I appreciate your comment because I thought I was the only one who noted that she did say it upfront! Teachers can act like students.

  10. Tiffany

    Don’t forget any shoes or boots by ecco. I swear by them for comfort and support.

  11. Aaron

    Ecco brand makes the most comfortable shoes for both men and women. They are expensive but I always buy them on sale.

  12. Anonymous

    I love Alegria and SpringStep! I have wide feet and am like the Princess and the Pea. Can’t stand any texture touching the bottoms of my feet. Both brands are wide and soft to stand on.

  13. Anonymous

    I have tried many different brands of shoes over the years. Clarks, Crocs, and Nike are favorites. I always like B.O.C. when I try them on in the store and then they are horrible when I wear them to work. I want to try a pair of Dansko. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.

  14. Anonymous

    Born brand is my go to shoe. They support my high arch and have a thick sole. Perfect for teachers!

  15. Anonymous

    Jambu has an open two clog with breathable sides that I love. I can wear it forever with no foot pain ( and that’s a miracle).

  16. Anonymous

    OneSole has a cork wedge that is amazing!!! I wear them all the time and feel great after teaching all day!

  17. Anonymous

    Merrells for all humans. Look for sales or Merrell Outlet stores. LOVE them.

  18. Anonymous

    Airwalk!

    (Payless)

  19. Anonymous

    I love my Asics!! I have wide feet and bunions. I researched shoes to work with my problems and Asics and Brooks popped up. Haven’t tried Brooks yet. I’m glad my principal doesn’t say anything about me wearing tennis shoes to work. I have a hard time finding nice shoes that don’t hurt my feet.

  20. Anonymous

    I practically live in Merrell’s both winter and summer. They are so comfortable and supportive. I love them!

    • Anonymous

      I love them too!

    • Anonymous

      Merrell, hands down! I LIVE in them and they fit so well. 2nd is Skechers, 3rd is Cole-Haan.

  21. Anonymous

    Merrell clogs (I need to buy them in more colors than just my black). Cobb Hill by New Balance — I have a pair of flats in black and tan. I also LOVE Aetrex sandals. They offer amazing support with microbial footbeds. For a small heel (the ONLY type of heel I wear), I like Clarks. I had bought a mary jane style in black at a consignment shop. I ended up buying the same shoe in brown and merlot. I wore out my black pair after 4 years. Also love good ol’ birkenstock clogs.

  22. Anonymous

    I love Dansko shoes. They take some getting used to because of the hard sole. Also, they don’t look great with every outfit. I think I have become so found of them, I started to like the way the look.

  23. Anonymous

    I had a pair of Krona black slip-on shoes that I wore to school for about 5 years with black dress pants. They were incredibly comfortable. I recently had to toss them out. They were made in Sweden. I bought them at a discount shoe store that carries overstock items. However, I cannot find them anywhere now. I do not know if they are no longer being produced or what, but I could not even find them on the internet. I am so disappointed. However, since I am in the market to replace them, I greatly appreciate the list you have published.

  24. Anonymous

    I’ve heard of some of these and my foot doctor sells the Orthoheel. I need shoes that can stretch across as I have bunions on both feet and shoes are not wide across that part of the foot. After being on my feet all day, any shoe is painful. I can’t wear flats as they cut right across the bunions. I wear orthotics and it’s also difficult to find shoes that they will fit in. I could wear my tennis shoes everyday but they don’t look very dressy, but at my age, I really need comfort over fashion. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      This will be my 30th year teaching, and standing on concrete all day. Around the 17th year teaching, I started having trouble with my arches from not wearing shoes with arch support. Orthoheel shoes gave me the support, and the slippers are great for home. I am never without them. I’m always looking for new brands that will equal the comfort, thanks for this list. I will look into the ones with arch support.

  25. Anonymous

    Munro from Nordstrum is the only shoe that allowed me to stand all day without discomfort.

  26. Anonymous

    I have taught twenty years in third grade. I am up and down and in the floor all day. I have found Merrells to be the most comfortable. They are pricey but last years.

  27. Anonymous

    I would also recommend Chacos and Haflinger. There are great styles and colors available in both brands that have arch support!

  28. Anonymous

    I found another brand to add to your wonderful list. I bought a comfy pair of Micheal W. shoes recently and love them.

    • Anonymous

      Correction – that should be Micheal M. (not Micheal W.)

  29. Anonymous

    Merrells of any sort are fab! I’ve been living in Sauconys for the past two school years. And Reef flip flops!! (And I have the flattest feet known to man!!)

  30. Anonymous

    I have worn roper style boot for 4 years. They have a 2 inch heel and are lace up to keep my weight off the ball of my foot. Unfortunately, the brand has not kept up their quality and I cannot replace them.

  31. Anonymous

    A friend with diabetic neuropathy recommended Anyu. I love them. I have high arches that sit back further than average. In other words “banana feet”. Anyu makes shoes for both men and women. Some are yoga designed. Incredibly comfortable. I’m also a Skechers Go Walk fan.

  32. Anonymous

    Cobb Hill shoes are very comfortable for all day wear.

  33. Anonymous

    Looove my Mephisto sandals. If you like Birkenstock you’ll adore Mephisto.

  34. Anonymous

    I can’t believe all the backless shoes featured, we aren’t allowed to wear anything like that. I’d also love to add my vote for Hafflinger. They’re awesome quality and super comfortable.

  35. Anonymous

    I’ve worn Danskos, Aeroles, Sketchers, Clarks, and Docs, but right now my favorites are from Hotter- a British brand. A little nerdy, but so comfortable.

  36. Anonymous

    Lots of great choices here. I do a lot of Skechers and Clarks–another favorite is G.H.Bass. Always comfortable!

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