The Best & Most Comfortable Shoes for Teachers
We reviewed 42 pairs of shoes; the Nunn Bush Sherman Oxford (men) and the Clarks’ Hope Roxanne Loafer (women) are the best shoes for teachers.
The writer, tester and editor for this article are all teachers. We spoke to colleagues, tested 36 models in-store and read hundreds of Amazon reviews.
For men, our #1 pick is the Nunn Bush Sherman. It’s a true Oxford with the sole of an athletic . It’s comfortable, inexpensive and good for all surfaces.
Our top women’s choice is the Clarks’ Hope Roxanne. The model is comfy and breathable enough for all-day wear but formal enough for PT meetings.
We also picked top models in categories like ergonomic shoes, .
To read more about our top picks – overall and in specific niches – keep reading.
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Table of Contents
Best Shoes for Teachers (Men)
These Oxfords have the sole of a or a . They look formal but are easy on the feet thanks to the and EVA used for the sole. The foam cushions your feet; the EVA gives you strong arch support as you stand and walk through the day.
The and tongue give these shoes a nice, soft feel. There’s no break-in period either. The faux is immediately soft and buttery, which is rare for a .
The is -resistant, non-marking, oil, and abrasion-resistant. Our testers liked the way it gripped the ground. The sole is pretty thick too. You’ll have to put in a lot of miles to wear it down. Its treads are thick enough to wear outdoors, e.g. on road trips.
The . The toe box is elevated to match the , making the sole uniform overall. This is good because uniform heels give your feet a natural, healthy posture. has a nice, thick with lots of . This makes it a good choice for folks with
The upper is faux , making these relatively easy to clean. A wet rag is all you need to wipe away most stains. The is thick, with a one-piece vamp that doesn’t crease and overlays that increase durability.
This is an absolute workhorse. It looks formal enough for a high-school classroom but is tough enough for the messiness of elementary school. It’s inexpensive too, meaning just about any teacher can afford it.
- Quality leather
- Stylish design
- Athletic sole
- Limited breathability
Best Shoes for Teachers (Women)
We chose these shoes because they’re so versatile. The comes in a range of different colors. They work in a casual or formal setting.
The Clark’s Cushion Soft technology uses high-rebound foam, hidden inside the , for . This makes for a , especially on hard surfaces. is thick and bouncy.
One issue with thick soles is that they tend to be stiff. Not the Roxanne. The lateral slits on the sole allow for plenty flexibility. Our testers report the Clark’s Roxanne was an excellent that gave them an effortless, natural gait.
For even more , the Roxanne comes with an Ortholite footbed. Ortholite footbeds are the best; they last forever and offer great support. It’s not an accident that so many manufacturers use them instead of making their own in-house.
The is high-quality. It’s thin and supple, with a construction that prevents creasing. It’s also lightweight, which makes the shoes perfect for all-day wear.
Something that’s a little hard to see on the Amazon pictures is the Stretch Gore Panels. These make the shoes easier to get on and off without compromising on the snug fit.
These shoes are smart and durable but inexpensive. They’re as breathable as a perfect footwear for nursing students as well. thanks to the wide ankle collar. Easily our top . Also, they are the
- Lots of wiggle room
- Sole is not 100% uniform
Best Male Teacher Shoes - Formal
The upper is 100% full-grain take them out of the box. Our testers were surprised that this kind of quality is available at this price point. . The quality is immediately obvious when you
We like that the toe cap, vamp, and quarter are all separate. The vamp is pliable and soft, which makes it unlikely to crease. The toe box is rigid, which makes it easy to clean and shine.
A Stretch Gore Panel makes these easier to on and off but doesn’t affect the shoes’ profile. It’s a nice detail that you wouldn’t notice unless you were looking for it.
First off, there is some discreet in the collar. Too often, a thin will cut into your – especially during the breaking-in process. This tiny sliver of takes the pain away.
The footbed comes from Ortholite, the number one producer of footbeds in the world. Ortholite footbeds are soft and breathable, making for a very .
The lining is a mix of fabric and PU; it’s smooth and pleasant against your . We’d prefer an all-fabric lining, as a general rule. Still, our testers didn’t notice any negative effects from the PU.
This stylish is an excellent option for any formal occasion in or out of school. They’re very comfortable, and they look fantastic. Two thumbs up.
- Easy to polish
- Excellent footbed
- Sole isn’t 100% uniform
Best Female Teacher Shoes - Formal
We love these Vionic. Formal events can drag on; this is the for standing through them comfortably. from
This shouldn’t be surprising. Vionic was founded by a podiatrist, Phillip J. Vasyl. The Vionic Magnolias were made with health in mind – and are endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Why? First, the jersey-covered EVA footbed. It’s smooth and soft but supportive. Our testers reported feeling moderate arch support with the on; comporable to EVA Birkenstocks.
Second, these shoes have Vio Motion Support tech inside. This technology promotes the ‘s natural curvature by elevating the medial arch and keeping the firmly in place. This improves posture, gives you a natural walking gait and prevents fatigue.
One thing to note here. If you’ve got very or other , these shoes will take some getting used to. Try wearing these shoes an hour or two at a time before wearing them all day long.
Our testers loved the little details too. The has a wide ankle collar for breathability. The straps aren’t just there for style points. They lock your in place, like a would. This locks your into the orthotic , making sure you’re getting its benefits.
These are perfect for formal school events and gatherings.
- Wide toe box
Best Smart Casual Teacher Shoe (Men)
This oxford-inspired is both smart and comfortable. The uppers come in brown, black, or white. The soles come in black and white. The black , black sole version is formal enough to apss or dress shoesfpass.
That being said, we think the white double as a dress shoe, this is it. looks better. It’s a classic look. Our testers especially liked the white sole, tan combo. If you’re looking for an elegant shoe that could
The has rubber pods in the and forefoot. These give added support and make the more comfortable. It’s rare to see forefoot in a like this, and our testers really liked it.
These shoes were designed using Cole Haan’s Grand 360 Design and Engineering philosophy. This philosophy dictates that shoes be light, flexible and comfortable. As a result, this has the kind of weight and flex you’d expect in a . Very comfortable, for sure.
The sock liner is well-cushioned and soft. The toe box is just a little assymetrical, giving your big toe the extra space it needs. An all-around excellent .
The Crosscourt 2s have one disadvantage: they’re not very breathable. Some air does come in and out thanks to the wide ankle collar and the tongue structure. Still, if you want a really breathable , look at the and clog models below.
- Black-on-black version looks like a formal Oxford
- Limited breathability
Best Smart Casual Teacher Shoe (Women)
When most people think of Doc Martens, they think of boots. But believe it or not, this is the second style that Dr. Martens made. It’s a timeless classic – and if it weren’t for the yellow welt stitching, it’d be our top formal .
This modern version is slightly narrower than the original to better accommodate a woman’s . The upper comes in durable .
The PVC is very comfortable underfoot, thanks to the Doctor’s famous air-cushioned sole. It’s also functional, being both and abrasion-resistant.
With a 1 1/4″ and a 1/2″ platform, they almost provide an extra 2″ of height. It’s a nice little lift. If the sole wears out before the upper does – common given the thick, premium – the shoes can be resolved.
We love Doc Martens in general, and this is no exception. They’re extremely comfortable and durable. This is a practical that just happens to look lovely.
If you want your Doc Martens to look their best, you’ll have to take care of the polishing it. Another con is that the takes a few days to break in. . This means cleaning, nourishing and
- Extremely comfortable
- Classic design
- Excellent value-for-money
- Requires regular care to look its best
Best Sneaker for Teachers (Men)
If you can wear sneakers to work, do yourself a favor and check out this pair. The upper is 100% , with black, bone, and white options. The is made in the USA, with excellent construction quality.
Our testers note the shock-absorbing properties of these shoes while walking. They say the , and the especially, feel very comfortable. This appears to be because of the ABZORB system, which combines rubber and .
The ABZORB tech is reinforced by a durable polyurethane midsole. This midsole provides stability and arch support while making the more durable. The feels decidedly better than foam-only models.
No laces on these shoes. Instead, they’ve got hook-and-loop velcro straps. This is perfect if you have to change shoes option – e.g. if you teach privately at people’s homes and offices.
Overall a very New Balance is designed for walking, it has thick rubber outsoles; a stylish upper reinforced with overlays; a tough cup.. Also very durable.
Available in wide and extra-wide. Important for folks with wide feet and anyone who needs to use an orthotic insert.
The only real con to this is that you can’t wear it in most schools.
- Easy to put on and off
- Best-in-class cushioning
- Available in wide sizes
- Not always dress code-appropriate
Best Sneaker for Teachers (Women)
Propet is a fast-growing This model is no different. company that specializes in stability and support.
The footbed is exceptionally soft. It’s also removable, so you can use your own inserts if you want. This is a rare case where Propet’s own inserts are excellent out of the box, though.
This -on moc comes in or suede and a range of different colors. We like the all-black model, although the white-on-white and mushroom brown colorways are nice too.
This has a unique stretchable neoprene collar. This makes it easy to get on or off. This is a great feature who changes shoes often, e.g. pre-school teachers and private tutors.
The is durable and gives good traction. That’s to be expected; this is a , after all.
Something we didn’t expect is that these shoes are machine washable. Yes; even the on these shoes can survive machine washing. This makes them easy to keep clean.
This is a great from Propet. It’s extremely comfortable, easy to maintain, and relatively inexpensive.
- Best-in-class comfort
- Excellent sock liner
- Thick, durable outsole
- Easy to put on and off
- Limited breathability
Best Teacher's Clog/Mule (Unisex)
Birkenstocks have been manufactured in Germany since 1774. Since then, they’ve perfected their world-famous cork soles. These are supportive but springy, and they mold to the shape of your over time.
The soles’ orthotic effect is felt immediately. They improve posture by bringing the arch into its natural position. They also have a light massaging effect thanks to the ridges built into the , mid- and forefoot areas of the .
Two adjustable buckles, one at the front and one at the , keep your in place. The breathable is ideal for warm summer days. They’re effectively closed-toe sandals, which allows them to sneak past most dress-codes.
The footbed liner is suede. This is a nice touch. Suede feels nicer against the skin than , which makes a difference when you’re not wearing socks. It doesn’t stick to your skin nor chafe it.
These clogs have a Super Grip sole. Made of high-quality rubber, it’s nonslip, oil-and grease-resistant. The sole meets the EU safety standard EN ISO 20347.
The EVA midsole is light, flexible, and shock absorbing. The is rubber designed to smooth out slight irregularities in the floor so you don’t feel them. This property also allows for greater and therefore reduces the impact on your joints.
The cork footbed/ feels natural and comfortable underfoot. A deep cup offers plenty of stability and support. Our tester said their felt very secure in these shoes, despite them being clogs.
Anyone who’s ever worn a pair of Birkenstocks will recognize the distinctive raised toe bar. It encourages your toes to ‘grip’ the sole, which is good for your calf muscles and circulation.
After nearly 250 years, the people at know what they’re doing. This is a great .
One thing to note is that this runs wider than usual. It’s a good choice if you need extra space for a , an orthotic , or swelling.
- Excellent foot and arch support
- Cork sole molds to foot shape over time
- A bit pricey
Best Budget Clog/Mule (Unisex)
The first thing to note is that these are . They don’t have the back strap you see on classic Crocs clogs. The enclosed -ons makes them look considerably more formal.
They’re easy to clean. Dirt doesn’t cling to Crocs, and there’s no absorbent material to collect odors. All you need is soap and water to bring these shoes back to their original condition.
These Crocs are kitchen staff, jobs that really punish . In a classroom environment, these shoes should last for years. -resistant and durable. They’re intended for baristas and
Our tester said the fit was loose but secure. She didn’t feel like the shoes were going to fall off as she walked around, nor did she feel like the sides were pressing against her feet.
Crocs are known for being comfortable; these shoes are no exception. The Croslite foam and deeply cushioned footbeds are supremely soft underfoot.
We think these are great shoes for teachers, especially during the warmer months.
- Need to be fitted carefully as there is no back strap
Best Minimalist Shoe for Teachers (Men)
Most schools won’t let you walk around barefoot, in which case you’ll have to go for the next best thing; the Vivobarefoot Ra II.
Let’s start by looking at the zero-drop . Vivobarefoot shoes don’t have a ; they’re completely flat. This allows for a natural posture where the ankles, hips, shoulders, and crown are lined up correctly.
The next major feature is the assymetrical toe box. This lets your toes spread out and grip the ground. It gives your feet more space without being unnecessarily wide.
These shoes have a super thin, super flexible sole. This allows your feet to move naturally and cushion your body.
The cork is thin too. It’s non- , and it has a nice cooling effect. It molds to your over time, making these shoes get progressively more comfortable.
Something we really like is the used here. Vivobarefoot calls it Wild Hide .It’s tough and durable; we couldn’t even get it to crease in-store.
Testers report it’s -like, in the sense that it feels rugged and durable. It comes from free-roaming cattle on small-scale farms in Ethiopia – and is apparently sustainable.
Vivobarefoot go to great lengths to keep their products out of landfills. When the shoes are old and worn out, you can return them to Vivobarefoot. The company will mend, remake, and resell them under the Revivo brand name.
The is Vibram rubber; it offers decent traction in urban environments. Reassuringly for a sole that’s only 4mm thick, it’s puncture-proof. So you don’t need to worry about sidewalk hazards like broken glass etc. We confirmed this via an in-store demonstration.
If you want a it fits true to size. that lets your feet work and move as nature intended, get the Vivobarefoot Ra II. We’re big fans of this and this brand. They’re ethically produced, good for your feet, and beautiful. Plus, our testers say
Although we enjoyed the cork while testing it, some consumers complain about it. They report it can ride up the as you walk. You may want to get a custom orthotic if this happens to you.
- Leather quality
- Construction quality
- Puncture-proof sole
- Require some getting used to
Best Minimalist Shoe for Teachers (Women)
Camper is a Majorcan company that has been manufacturing shoes since 1877. The Peu line was inspired by walking barefoot.
The toe box is reasonably wide, letting your toes spread out more naturally. This is great for fighting fatigue and discomfort.
The is TPU. It offers good traction and strong resistance to abrasion. It’s quite flexible, allowing four feet to bend and stretch naturally.
This means that the whole functions as one single sock. This makes them comfortable, durable and highly flexible. The disadvantage is that these shoes cannot be re-soled.
The molded is inspired by the natural shape of a human . It’s very comfortable, offering a nice amount of support and . The is removable, so you can use your own inserts if you want. This is great for people who use orthotic inserts.
We love the elasticated lacing system Camper uses. Not only does it look cool, but these shoes are easy to on and off. This makes a big difference when you’ve only got five minutes to yourself between classes.
These shoes look gorgeous. They come with a or suede upper in a range of different colors. The less formal your work environment, the more adventurous you can be.
These shoes are not designed to be worn without an . Without an , the stitching on the inside of the can chafe against your feet. The same goes for the back of your . This can lead to irritation, discomfort and even blisters.
The best way to get more of a barefoot feel is to replace the soles with thinner ones. Do not just remove the . The is not made for that.
- Removable sole
- Excellent leather
- Outstanding insole and outsole
- Beautifully designed
- Sole is a little thick for a barefoot shoe
Here are the main things to look for in the right teaching shoe.
Most teachers have to conform to a dress code. This usually means formal styles and colors: the oxford, the , etc. Look for a or discrete textile upper; black, brown and blue for color.
If you’re a private tutor (or just lucky), you may get away with wearing Walking shoes are a good choice if you move around on a lot. , clogs, etc.
2. A Quality Outsole
When we talked to teachers, this was their biggest gripe. Most formal shoes aren’t meant to be worn for more than a few hours at a time. They have thin, rigid soles made from materials like and wood.
This isn’t good enough because a teacher may spend up to 12 hours in the same pair of shoes. They need forgiving outsoles, not rigid ones. Cushioned outsoles with comfortable heels – we like EVA and rubber – are best.
3. The Insole
A cushioned footbed makes a big difference when you’re standing for long periods of time.
When researching the shoes above, we paid special attention to the footbeds. Specifically, we looked for materials like cork, foam, and gel.
4. Inner Lining
One thing we want is breathability. Hot, sweaty feet quickly become blistered feet. Pain shortens your temper, limits your patience, and makes you a worse teacher.
The second thing we want is and overall . Look for soft textiles, moisture-wicking fabrics and soft materials like calfskin .
Many formal smart casual shoes, have poor breathability. This can be okay if you work in a moderate climate. In some locations, though, it’s far from ideal.
A few features can help us here. Perforation is one. A wide ankle collar that lets air in and out is another. Cooling sock liners are third.
With a relaxed fit, your shoes have extra space and wiggle room. They also feel cooler, and are less likely to overheat.
Another advantage is that a relaxed fit means there’s space for socks and/or orthotics. You can wear thick cotton socks when it’s cold or get the arc support you need.
Our top pick for women is the Clarks Hope Roxanne -on. It’s comfortable, it has a nice flexible sole, and it’s dressy.
Our top pick for men is the Nunn Bush Sherman. It’s a true oxford with the sole of an athletic . It’s also great value for money, which is important if you’re a teacher.