There’s no getting around it if you’re a teacher: you’re going to spend many hours of the day on your feet. That’s not easy, and without the proper footwear you’ll experience excessive stress on your feet and risk potential injuries.
In this post, we’ll review the best shoes for teachers, leading off with the Keen’s Women’s Presidio while discussing what you should look for when buying shoes suitable for your profession.
For teachers, fashion and function often occupy the same space when it comes to footwear, and knowing what to look for can help make your long days easier, both physically and mentally.
- Before you buy: 6 things to consider when purchasing teacher shoes
- 15 Best shoes for teachers 2019
- What type of “teacher shoe” is best for you?
- How we selected the shoes for our review
Before You Buy: 6 Things to Consider When Purchasing Teacher Shoes
When you spend long hours a day on your feet, as teachers do, you can’t gamble on whether your footwear is “good enough” or, well…something you regret buying. Make sure the shoe you choose has everything you need to keep you comfortable, including:
1. Choose comfort over everything else
While a certain shoe may catch your eye because of its cool design and style, make sure that it’s comfortable enough to withstand the rigors of your workday. Choosing a shoe that looks great but causes foot fatigue and soreness usually is a purchase that you’ll regret.
2. Get the right fit
A shoe’s overall comfort has a lot to do with how it fits. Finding the right fit is essential, no matter what type of shoe you buy, and that’s one reason why it’s always a good idea to have your feet measured by a professional.
A couple of things to keep in mind regarding a shoe’s fit: 1) size often varies by shoe brand, and 2) have your feet measured in the late afternoon (like after your workday), because your feet naturally swell a bit during the day.
3. Your school’s dress code
You may have limited options for the shoes you choose, based on your school’s dress code. If there’s no strict dress code, then consider what type of teaching you do. An elementary teacher’s footwear needs are different from those of a high school English teacher.
4. The shoe’s design
Shoes come in many shapes, sizes, and designs, but the best ones for teachers should have the following features:
- Ample cushioning – Your shoe’s midsole, forefoot, and heel need plenty of cushioning if you spend most of your day standing.
- Enough width – A shoe that fits nicely has a width that’s the right balance between too snug and too loose. The shoe should roll naturally with each stride, while it’s also crucial to give your toes plenty of wiggle room.
- Traction – The shoe’s outsole should keep a good grip on every type of surface and be stable enough to take some of the strain off your feet, legs, and ankles. Depending on your teaching role, you may work on slippery surfaces that demand the utmost in traction.
- Arch support – Poor arch support can make a day spent on your feet feel like an unwanted endurance test and lead to foot and leg issues, back pain, etc. Proper arch support offers excellent shock absorption and motion control that’s suitable for overpronators (those whose feet roll inward while walking) and underpronators (the foot rolls outward).
Your feet can get warm and sweaty during a long day, which makes it important to choose a shoe with proper ventilation and breathability, particularly in the upper. Shoes that include mesh materials often have moisture-wicking qualities that help keep your feet dry and comfortable.
6. Have more than one pair
Rotating your shoes so that you never wear one pair more than two days in a row allows each pair to air out and helps to extend its lifespan.
Next, let’s take a look at our best shoes for teachers in 2019.
The 15 Best Shoes for Teachers for Men & Women 2019
Teachers have many different things to deal with on any given day. For a teacher, no two days are alike, and it only makes sense that they need shoes that are versatile and provide a variety of benefits that make a long day spending long hours on their feet easier.
The Keen Women’s Presidio is one such shoe and offers everything you need, and can rely on, during a day in the classroom. It has a moisture-wicking lining that keeps feet cool and comfortable, it’s waterproof, and has structured support cushioning that delivers consistent comfort day after day.
It also has a sporty design with feminine touches and pairs well with everything from khakis to jeans to yoga pants.
But it also has a lot of features we like – and think you’ll like – including a metatomical footbed that offers advanced support and is engineered to mold to the unique shape of your foot while providing strong arch support.
The Presidio has a nubuck leather upper that’s durable and meets the demands of a busy day. As mentioned, there’s a breathable leather lining that keeps feet dry and comfy, and it includes Cleansport NXT technology that fights odor and sweat as you work.
We also like this shoe because of its patented toe protection (called Keen Protect) that extends up and over the outsole while thoroughly covering the entire toe bed. Moreover, it has a stable rubber outsole that offers great traction on a variety of terrain and is non-marking.
All in all, the Presidio is a versatile shoe that’s great for the classroom but suitable for many other day-to-day activities.
- Snug but comfortable fit
- Made from full-grain nubuck leather
- Breathable lining fights foot odor and sweat
- Runs a bit wider than some other shoes
The Keen Presidio earns high marks for being a shoe that’s a great fit for the classroom. We think they’re the most comfortable shoes for teachers.
Merrell started as a company that manufactured high-quality hiking boots but long ago expanded to include many other types of footwear. Many teachers are thankful for that, because Merrell’s Encore Gust Slip-On includes everything they need for a day spent in the classroom.
It also has a casual-but-sharp design that pairs well with many wardrobes, yet it doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to comfort. Overall, we think the Encore Gust slip-on shoes are the best shoes for male teachers.
Why do we like them so much? Here’s a closer look:
- They consist of 100% full-grain leather, which gives the shoe’s upper a nice combination of elegance and style.
- The Encore Gust has Merrell’s patented air cushion in the heel, which provides excellent shock absorption, and the shoe’s compression-molded EVA foot frame offers the stability and comfort required for a long day standing.
- There’s an Ortholite footbed that fits to the foot’s unique shape for ultimate comfort, while a mesh lining wicks away moisture and helps to keep feet foot cool and dry.
- The Encore Gust’s foot liner has an antimicrobial solution that keeps your feet fresh while helping to prevent foot odor.
- The shoe’s flexible rubber outsole helps to reduce the level of foot and leg fatigue that’s inevitable when you spend long hours on your feet. There’s also an M-Select GRIP sole that delivers the traction needed on any surface.
- The Encore Gust also offers the convenience of a slip-on and is easy to take on and off.
- Full-grain leather upper
- Air-cushioned heel
- Outsole reduces foot and leg fatigue
- Nice design and style
- Sizing runs large
Merrell has a strong reputation for producing comfortable shoes, and their Encore Gust slip-on is no exception. If you spend most of your day on your feet – as teachers do – the Encore Gust provides the right combination of comfort and durability.
Choosing one shoe that stands out in the Clarks product line isn’t easy, because it’s a brand loaded with top-quality footwear. Clarks combines style and comfort like few other companies, and, when you’re a teacher, you can’t have one without the other.
The Un.Loop Slip-On – part of Clarks’ Unstructured collection – is an ideal shoe for a lot of reasons, including that they’re among the most fashionable but comfy shoes for teachers.
Like the other shoes in the Unstructured line, the Un.Loop Slip-On consists of 100% imported leather and feels like a comfortable fit right from the box.
You and your feet will appreciate Clark’s patented air circulation system that draws fresh air into the shoe while internal air channels vent warm air outward and away from the foot. Your foot will keep dry and fresh during the many hours you spend on your feet.
The nature of a teacher’s work demands a quality sole, and Clarks answers the bell with a sturdy, flexible rubber sole that absorbs shock properly. Your feet will feel comfortable and less-fatigued, even if you spend hours standing on hard surfaces.
Further comfort comes from a cushioned heel and collar, as well as from Clarks’ unique “unstructured” ventilation system.
- Comfortable slip-on style
- Excellent breathability and air circulation
- Sturdy rubber sole with plenty of traction
- Size runs narrow
- Size runs narrow
There’s no reason that a shoe built for teachers and others who spend a lot of hours standing can’t also look good. The Clarks women’s Un.Loop Slip-On looks good, feels good, and is tough enough to handle the rigors of teaching.
ECCO is all about the fit—not that other shoe manufacturers aren’t, because most of them are, but ECCO mentions their shoe’s fit enough that it’s hard not to take notice.
Their men’s Helsinki Slip-On certainly has a nice fit while offering the support and comfort that teachers need to get through a day spent on their feet. But that’s nothing new for ECCO, which designs its shoes to fit comfortably no matter what your needs – whether it’s walking around the city, working in an office, or teaching in a classroom.
ECCO’s Freedom Fit technology earns high marks for many reasons, including the way it fits across the feet and toes. It offers a roomy toe box while fitting more narrowly from the heel to the instep, and it’s suitable for most foot widths.
The fit – and overall feel – is enhanced by ECCO’s leather construction. Keep in mind that ECCO is one of the few shoe manufacturers that has its own tanneries and processes its hides and leathers. This, they say, enables them to monitor the process from beginning to end while providing exceptional quality control.
ECCO also uses Direct Inject Production (DIP), a specialized process that helps give their shoes the feel of an “instant fit,” and which represents the core technology of their shoe’s soles.
While the best processes often make for a better product, there are many other reasons we include the Helsinki Slip-On on our list, including the overall quality of the leather used in its construction.
ECCO uses a Comfort Fibre System in which the inlay sole features a vegetable-tanned leather surface, underneath which is a moisture-absorbent foam that’s treated to provide long-lasting control of bacteria and odor. The foam has a “pumping” effect that’s activated as you walk, i.e., it pushes air through tiny holes in the lining to create better air circulation around the foot.
The Helsinki Slip-On soles consist of polyurethane that’s said to be more durable than other materials used for outsoles. It’s a flexible and shock-absorbing material that requires very little break-in time, and it adapts to the shape of your unique foot shape and stride.
The Helsinki’s leather uppers feature precise seaming that help to create a tighter, more comfortable fit than many other shoes. It’s a snug fit, mind you, but not so overly tight that it aggravates your feet. Finally, you’ll appreciate the Helsinki’s lightweight feel and sturdy support.
- Cushioned inner sole
- Moisture-absorbent lining
- The fit conforms nicely to your foot
- Some users experienced stitching failure
A shoe that fits, feels, and looks good should be on your radar when shopping for shoes for the classroom. The Helsinki Slip-on is just such a shoe.
Kindergarten and primary school teachers know the routine: While teaching is often a labor of love, it’s also one that can get a bit messy and isn’t always confined to a classroom.
You need the right kind of footwear that can handle that kind of work environment, and the Crocs Women’s Kadee Flat fits the job description. They’re clogs that look good and go with a lot of different outfits, casual to work-appropriate, but also provide all the comfort and stability you and your feet demand.
The Kadee Flat consists of the same soft, lightweight material of Crocs’ ever-popular clogs, but with a ballet-flat style and a quality footbed that’s designed for comfort and for keeping your feet from becoming tired and sore during the workday. It’s also a very breathable shoe, incorporating odor-resistant technology to keep your feet fresh.
Something else we think you’ll like about the Kadee Flat is that it comes in a variety of eye-catching colors to help brighten your day.
- Combine comfort and style
- Nice color options
- Sizing may run large
The Kadee Flat is an excellent variation in the popular Crocs line and one that’s suitable for all teachers. It looks good, feels good, and provides the support and stability your occupation demands.
You’ve heard the phrase “dress for success,” and that includes a person’s shoes. The right pair of shoes paired with the right wardrobe is a recipe for sartorial success. Or, a shoe – such as the Rockport Northfield Oxford – is versatile enough to fit any setting and variety of clothing without detracting from your professional appearance.
While Rockport has a strong reputation for making shoes that are sturdy and comfortable on any terrain, they also know a thing or two about style, and with the Northfield Oxford you don’t have to worry about whether you look “professional” enough for your school’s dress code, because you will.
Not that these shoes sacrifice function for form. On the contrary, the Northfield Oxford hits the ground running with the kind of cushion and stability most teachers demand. They’re also waterproof, which makes them excellent shoes for teachers who tend to get messy: science teachers, art teachers, and so on.
But there’s more: the Northfield Oxford features Kinetic Air Circulation technology that makes for a highly-breathable construction which keeps feet cool even on the warmest and most stressful days. They also feature a lace-up oxford design with a plain toe and comfortably padded collar, and – better yet – consist of 100% leather.
- Versatile and comfortable
- Kinetic Air Circulation Technology
- Soles may not be as durable as on some other shoes
Rockport is a known brand with a slew of quality shoes to its credit. The Northfield Oxford keeps the tradition alive while giving teachers a great option for their footwear.
Dansko’s shoes deliver the kind of all-day comfort and support that are must-haves for anyone who’s on their feet all day. Their women’s Professional Mule, a hand-built, durable type of footwear, offers everything a teacher needs to navigate those long hours of standing.
Like many other shoes in the Dansko line, the Professional Mule’s heel support (and overall support) is exceptional and easily ranks them among the best shoes for teachers with plantar fasciitis.
Additionally, the polyurethane rocker bottom sole protects not only your feet and legs from the accumulated stress of walking or standing but also your back and hips.
The Dansko Professional Mule includes a roomy reinforced toe box that provides extra protection, as well as a padded instep collar that contributes to the shoe’s overall comfort and cushioning. A memory foam footbed is another plus – and may be the shoe’s best feature of them all. It also does a great job absorbing foot perspiration while wicking moisture away from the foot.
The overall fit of the Mule is snug but not too tight, while it gives you the feeling of reliable stability and traction. You also can count on the slip-resistant outsoles to provide another layer of comfort and stability, no matter the type of surface upon which you stand.
You’ll also appreciate how comfortable the Dansko Mules fit right from the start. There’s little or no breaking-in period, which means you’ll hit the ground running—or at least walking.
- Excellent heel support
- Slip-resistant soles
- Roomy toe box
- Sizing runs small
The Dansko Mule is a good all-around shoe that provides plenty of support, including if you suffer from foot issues such as plantar fasciitis. You’ll also enjoy its overall comfort.
Being on your feet all day doesn’t have to be a battle of wills or a test of endurance. With shoes like the Deer Stags Williamsburg, you can have the best of both worlds: comfort and functionality.
The Williamsburg is, if nothing else, well-cushioned, but its quality doesn’t end there. It’s also very durable and features a rubber outsole that provides excellent traction and stability.
Further cushioning comes from a padded sock liner, as well as from a padded collar, and – in many ways – you’ll find them just as comfortable as your favorite pair of sneakers.
They also have a professional look that makes them suitable for dressier work environments, so you should have no problem meeting your school’s dress code. They feature a lace-up style, which makes it easier to get the fit you prefer.
- Stylish and comfortable
- Excellent cushioning
- Some wearers say they crease easily
The Deer Stags Williamsburg has a classy look and comfortable feel that fits in almost every classroom setting.
A lightweight shoe isn’t always the best shoe for some people, but, if they’re lightweight and can hold up under the stress and strain that teaching puts on your feet, then they’re worthy of your consideration.
The Skechers Performance Women’s Go Walk Propel is just such a shoe: it’s lightweight, like many other Skechers makes and models, but also well-cushioned and responsive. It features many innovations for which Skechers is known and demonstrates the company’s commitment to performance and comfort.
We think you’d be hard-pressed to find many other shoes that are as comfortable for teachers as the Go Walk 4 Propel. There are plenty of reasons for that claim, not the least of which is their lightweight nature and feel. It also comes down to, in part, Skechers’ 5gen midsole cushioning that provides superior comfort and responsiveness.
The Go Walk 4 also includes something called a Goga Max high rebound insole that nicely absorbs the impact of each step while providing enough “bounce” to help deliver the walking-on-air feel.
Another reason we included the Skechers Go Walk 4 on our list is its breathable mesh upper. Your feet get the necessary airflow to help them remain cool and fresh throughout the day.
There’s also a soft fabric inner lining that ensures comfort, even after several hours spent on your feet.
Some reviewers call the Skechers’ Go Walk design sleek and minimalist while also tipping their caps to its overall look. It pairs well with many pants, dresses, and skirts – in fact, they’ve been said to “go with everything,” which makes them a versatile option for various occasions and not just the classroom.
Finally, their slip-on style makes them easy to take on and off, but the shoe also has a snug enough fit that you don’t have to worry about them slipping off at the wrong time.
- Lightweight and flexible
- Great midsole cushioning
- Reasonably priced
- Sizing may run a bit large
It’s hard to beat the Skechers Go Walk 4 for overall comfort and performance. You’ll appreciate how your feet feel after the end of a long day.
Physical education teachers have different needs regarding footwear than other teachers. They not only work in a school gym but also on surfaces that are sometimes slippery. It’s an active occupation, as you might expect.
Fila’s men’s Memory Workshift Slip-Resistant Work shoes have what your feet and workload require if your classroom is a gym or another athletic facility. After all, you need a shoe that’s flexible and allows for easy freedom of movement, and the Workshift Slip-Resistant shoe offers that and more.
The shoe’s construction features a solid rubber outsole that, as the name suggests, is slip-resistant on slick surfaces. The synthetic and mesh uppers are highly breathable and keep your feet from excessive sweating and overheating during the day; your feet stay cool even on the warmest days. Moreover, the mesh wicks moisture away from the feet to help them remain dry and comfortable.
Another feature we like is the shoe’s memory foam sock liner that offers additional support and comfort.
There’s plenty to like about many of the shoes in the Fila line. While they make shoes to fit a variety of occupations and occasions, their work shoes often stand above the rest, because of their versatility and overall comfort. We think they’re the best shoes for P.E. teachers.
- Excellent traction and stability
- Breathable mesh lining
- Foam sock liner adapts to the shape of your foot
- Toe box is a bit narrow
P.E. teachers have unique needs, and Fila’s Slip-Resistant shoes meet those needs in many ways. They’ll hold up under the demands of the workplace without sacrificing comfort.
The Alegria debra is another quality slip-on worth including in our reviews, because it’s ideal for people who spend long hours on their feet, whether they’re teachers, nurses, or someone who works in hospitality.
The debra’s footbed consists of a cork and latex combination that forms nicely to each wearer’s foot and is removable if you prefer to wear orthotics. The outsole provides a generous amount of stability and traction while helping you to maintain a gait that’s natural from heel to toe. As a result, you’ll feel less foot fatigue at the end of the day, and you’ll even feel the relief in other parts of your body, including your legs and lower back.
Additional comfort comes from genuine leather uppers that are stain-resistant and easy to clean with a damp cloth. The shoe also includes side straps with a three-point hook and loop that’s easily adjustable for a better overall fit.
Breathability is another important factor for anyone who spends the day on their day, and the Alegria debra checks that box with a soft, breathable lining. Meanwhile, the footbed is well-cushioned and will help to keep you from becoming fatigued, stiff, and sore near the end of the day.
Moreover, the shoe’s half-inch platform provides optimal shock absorbency and additional stability.
- Helps to prevent foot fatigue and soreness
- May take a little longer to break-in than some shoes
The Alegria debra is another shoe built with teachers, and anyone else who spends a long day on their feet, in mind. It has what it takes to keep your feet comfortable, well-cushioned, and well-supported throughout the day.
You’ll find the Clarks Tilden Cap Oxford mentioned in plenty of other reviews, not just in those discussing the best shoes for teachers. Given the style, construction, and comfort of the Tilden Cap, that’s hardly a surprise.
While it’s more expensive than some other shoes on our list, the Tilden Cap represents a worthy investment for a lot of reasons: genuine leather construction, Ortholite insoles that wick away moisture, odor and fungus protection, a sturdy, slip-resistant rubber sole, and, last but not least, superior comfort.
The Tilden Cap Oxford also comes in four colors and pairs well with business and casual attire. It’s certain to add a touch of class to your classroom.
- Classic Oxford style
- Moisture-wicking insole
- Hold up well under the stress of standing all day
- Sizing may run large
Classy, comfortable, durable – that’s the Tilden Cap Oxford in a nutshell. It’s worthy of your investment.
We talked about Merrell’s overall quality when discussing the men’s Encore Gust shoe, and it’s a trait found in their women’s Jungle Moc Waterproof Slip-On Shoe, as well.
While the Jungle Moc women’s shoe has many of the same quality features of the Encore Gust, we also think that they make great art teacher shoes. Why? Art teachers often face additional strain beyond standing on their feet all day (which is strain enough), whether it’s from lugging supplies or avoiding spills on their classroom’s floor.
The Jungle Moc, like all of Merrell’s shoes, combines comfort and functionality with a waterproof design that helps keep your feet dry and secure.
The Jungle Moc’s slip-on design features dual-density foam cushioning, as well as an inner membrane that keeps your foot dry. The latter incorporates Merrell’s patented M Select Fresh technology that prevents sweat and moisture from affecting your shoe’s freshness by eliminating the bacteria that can lead to foot odor.
You can count on sturdy traction with the Jungle Moc, as well, thanks to its high-grip outsole tread (and Merrell’s M Select Grip technology), while overall comfort is enhanced by an air-cushioned heel that lessens the impact of each footstep while also adding stability.
For some users, the Jungle Moc feels like an athletic walking shoe, and even like a hiking boot, but one that’s contained within a slip-on moc style that’s ideal for many occasions and settings, including the classroom.
- Very good traction
- 100% leather
- Sizing may run narrow
The Jungle Moc is a highly-versatile shoe that works well in the classroom, thanks to its exceptional cushioning and stability. You’ll like how it feels, even during a long day spent on your feet.
Another lace-up shoe that offers plenty of comfort and stability for male teachers is the Rockport Eureka Walking Shoe. Yes, it’s made for walking, but it’s also for anyone who spends long hours on their feet in front of a room full of students.
The Eureka features a versatile design consisting of a full-grain leather upper that has a sporty style which looks good with practically every wardrobe. With a breathable mesh lining, thick interior padding, and a well-cushioned rubber sole, it’s a quality footwear choice for any teacher.
The mesh lining also wicks away moisture to keep your feet dry and comfortable, and an EVA midsole is flexible and lightweight yet sturdy enough to offer excellent shock absorption.
You’ll also appreciate the Eureka’s latex foam footbed that adds to the shoe’s overall cushioning.
- Comfortable leather upper
- Breathable mesh lining
- Nice heel support
- Some wearers say durability is an issue
The Rockport Eureka is another shoe that will help you get through the day comfortably if you spend a lot of hours standing. It offers quality flexibility, comfort, and support.
While you may pay a little more for the NAOT Kata than you would for some other shoes, most wearers would tell you that you’re making a wise investment. After all, it’s a fashionable shoe that has the features you need for a long day spent on your feet.
The Kata consists of 100% leather, features a padded heel cup and instep for superior comfort, and laces at the instep for easy adjustability and accessibility. You’ll like its padded lining and a removable footbed that’s wrapped in suede and conforms nicely to the shape of your foot.
It’s also a lightweight but sturdy shoe, thanks to a 1-inch polyurethane sole that’s also slip-resistant. Finally, hand-sewn construction helps to enhance the Kata’s durability and strength.
- Stylish and functional
- Sturdy construction
- Not as good for people with pre-existing foot conditions
NAOT is a quality Israeli brand that knows how to combine style and function. The Kata is a fashionable shoe that many teachers love.
What Type of “Teacher Shoe” is Best For You?
While certain shoes fit certain types of teaching (P.E., science, art, etc.) better than others, what you choose for your workplace footwear is most often a matter of personal preference. It’s also true that, as a teacher, you need to find shoes that contribute to your overall well-being.
If nothing else, your shoes should rate highly in areas we’ve previously discussed, like toe room, weight, breathability, arch support, the quality of their soles, and more. You want a shoe with plenty of padding but not so much padding that it restricts your range of movement.
Another concern for every teacher, or at least most of them, is finding shoes that are fashionable but still comfortable and durable enough to hold up to the rigors of their occupation. While styles come and go, most of the top brands make shoes that look classy while providing all of the foot-friendly features you need in a teacher’s shoe.
When it comes to fashion, it’s also important to wear shoes that are versatile enough to be worn with a variety of outfits and clothing. Simple, classic designs usually offer enough versatility.
You also need to take into account any foot issues you may have, such as bunions, hammertoes, even flat feet. You can find many brands that cater to these issues while providing the cushioning and durability needed for spending long hours on your foot.
If you work in a warm climate, or somewhere where the weather warms up in the spring (and remains warm in the fall), the importance of shoes made with breathable materials is vital. A classroom filled with students on a hot day can become a bit stifling, to say the least.
How We Selected The Shoes For Our Review
Few things are more important to the typical teacher than the well-being of his or her feet. Wearing the wrong pair of shoes is a recipe for disaster – or least for discomfort or pain – and we didn’t want to include any shoe in our review that would make a teacher’s already long day seem twice as long.
Fit, comfort, and traction all were traits factored into our decisions, while style and design also received consideration. Many schools have dress codes or “suggestions” for their teacher’s appearance, and we kept that in mind. Price was another factor, but we’re always looking at a product’s overall value.
Teachers understand the importance of reliable, comfortable shoes more than most people. For them, finding the right shoes that fit their occupation is a must. Hopefully, this guide will help you in the decision-making process and make your days more comfortable.
If you’re a teacher, which brand and model of shoes do you wear? Why do you like them? As always, we’d love to hear from you.