Published on August 20th, 2021 | by Kirsten Borrink


17 Amazing Comfortable Shoes for Teachers: Fall 2021

I was 27 when a pair of comfortable shoes for teachers changed my professional life. Recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the pain in my feet became unbearable and so did walking the aisles checking homework, pacing while I taught lessons, and standing in the hall while the kids entered the classroom. I quickly became the un-fun teacher who wanted to sit on the job more than anything else–counter to my active teaching style.

comfortable shoes for teachers

Dansko Sam: similar to my original Dankso Kirsten clogs

Although I did not yet know the term “toe box,” I knew I needed a shoe that didn’t constrict my painful toes. I never had to worry about arch support before, but now the joints in my mid-foot were shifting due to active RA. Having absolutely no idea which kind of shoe would work for me, I walked into Nordstrom and was quickly overwhelmed by all the choices. I walked out the door into the open-air mall and saw a small shoe store called Joyce Selby.

A kind lady listened to my woes and walked me to the display of Dansko clogs. I’d never heard of Dansko. I picked out a simple black mary jane clog. She brought me my size and I strapped them on my throbbing feet. I took a few steps and knew I’d found a winner. I turned the shoe over to check the price and noticed the style name….Kirsten. My namesake shoe. I wish I had kept my Dansko Kirsten clogs as the style has been discontinued for years (the Dansko Sam is a close resemblance).

So, fellow teachers, I understand how the right pair of shoes can make or break your day. Allow me to help you find that perfect pair! We love Zappos as they offer all the best in comfortable shoes for teachers, along with free shipping and free returns.



Camper Right Nina

Camper Right Nina flats: A flexible flat with buttery-soft leather uppers. Made in Spain. A good choice for:

  • narrow heels (straps keep shoe from slipping off heel)
  • bunions (leather is forgiving and toe box is fairly wide for a flat)
  • feet that prefer a barefoot feel as opposed to tons of arch suppport

Runs small, order up a size. Available in euro sizes 35-42 (5-11) for 144.95 from Zappos.

Anne Klein Sport Umeko

Anne Klein Sport Umeko: An affordable work-appropriate flat with cushioned insole and thicker rubber outsole, moderate support and a good fit. Best for:

  • bunions (many reviews mention how the AK Sport Umeko accommodates bunions)
  • medium to slightly wide feet with narrow heels

Available in sizes 5-10.5 for $74.90 from Zappos.

comfortable shoes for teachers

Revere Nairobi

Revere Nairobi: A classy ballet flat with a envelope vamp that crosses below the bunions. Excellent arch support, removable footbed may accommodate slim orthotic. See our Revere shoes brand review. Best for:

  • bunions
  • feet that typically can’t wear flats due to lack of arch support
  • dress orthotics

Available in whole sizes 5-12 for $129.95 from Zappos.


comfortable shoes for teachers

Walking Cradles Delta

Walking Cradles Delta: A sporty slip-on loafer with enhanced arch support, soft microfiber linings, non-compacting latex footbed that’s removable. A 1 1/8″ heel adds a little lift for the heels. Best for:

  • wide feet
  • plantar fasciitis (good support and one-inch heel)

Available in sizes 5-12, medium to extra wide widths for $78.90-99 from Zappos.

Hey Dude Misty

Hey Dude Misty: A super lightweight and cushioned loafer with room for toes to spread out! Moderate arch support. Washable. Best for:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Wide feet, wide forefoot

Available in whole sizes 6-11 for $54.95 from Zappos. Hey Dude styles change out frequently–check out their new arrivals.

Merrell Jungle Moc

Merrell Jungle Moc: Typically we’d steer away from recommending the Jungle Moc for the classroom as it may be too casual for some school settings. But look! It comes in monochrome upper-sole combos, and in this pretty muted rose. Best for:

  • orthotics (removable footbed)
  • hallux rigidus (doesn’t bend easily at forefoot, protects big toe)
  • plantar fasciitis (good support and heel stability)

Available in sizes 5-11, medium and wide widths for $84.95 from Zappos.

Bzees Niche

Bzees Niche: Cute, supportive, lightweight , affordable and machine-washable! The Bzees Niche features a stretch fabric upper and a Free-Foam™ footbed that molds to your feet and offers bounce back and arch support. Best for:

  • bunions, hammertoes (stretch fabric upper)
  • feet and knees that need extra cushioning

Find the Bzees Niche in sizes 5-11, medium and wide widths for $59 from Zappos.


Dansko Finola

Dansko Finola: Sensible and plain? Yes. But isn’t it refreshing to see a classic black oxford without a white sole? Customers like the Finola for its removable insole and room to accommodate an orthotic. Best for:

  • orthotics
  • plantar fasciitis (one-inch heel)
  • feet that need adjustability across the instep

Available in euro sizes 36-42 (5.5-11.5) for $134.95 from Zappos.

comfortable shoes for teachers

Clarks Sharon Noel

Clarks Sharon Noel: Our favorite Zappos review: “it’s like walking on loaves of bread (but not in a gross way).” We reviewed a similar style called the Sharon Dolly (one of my favorite comfortable shoes for teachers) if you want to read more about the fit and feel of this funky oxford. Best for:

  • feet that simply want a well-made, versatile oxford with good support and stability.

Find the Clarks Sharon Noel in sizes 5-11, medium and wide widths for $58-94 from Zappos.


Ariat Sport Mule

Ariat Sport Mule: All the quality and comfort you’d expect from Ariat, but in a versatile casual-dress mule. Best for:

  • plantar fasciitis (1.5″ heel, good arch support, can wear with heel strap)
  • Achilles tendonitis (nothing pushing into or rubbing back of heel)

Find in sizes 5.5-11 for $119.95 from Zappos.

comfortable shoes for teachers

SoftWalk Madison

SoftWalk Madison: One of our favorite comfortable shoes for teachers is actually a clog. The SoftWalk Madison receives rave reviews for being “out-of-the-box comfortable.” Is your achilles tendon giving you heck? Maybe it’s time to try a shoe without an enclosed back. This one comes in a variety of colors, sizes and widths. Best for:

  • wide feet
  • achilles tendonitis

Available in sizes 5-12, narrow to extra wide widths for $119.95 from Zappos.


Bzees Golden Knit

Bzees Golden Knit: Lucky you if sneakers pass dress code for teachers! The Bzees Golden Knit features a stretch knit upper and removable Free-Foam™ footbed designed to mold to your feet and offers bounce back and arch support for lasting support (and they’re washable). Best for:

  • bunions
  • plantar fasciitis
  • wide feet
  • flat feet

Available in sizes 6-11, medium and wide widths for $70 from Zappos.

Fitflop Uberknit Ballerina

Fitflop Uberknit Ballerina: part sneaker, part ballerina flat, but completely comfortable! Receives the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) seal of acceptance for promoting good foot health. Best for:

  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Metatarsalgia

Available in sizes 5-11 for $99.95 from Zappos.


Rockport Vivianne Two-Piece

Rockport Vivianne Two-Piece sandal: Thank goodness for platforms that add height without sacrificing all-day comfort! The Rockport Vivianne features a generously cushioned footbed with extra padding at the heel and a lightweight outsole. Best for:

  • heel-loving teachers that crave comfort too!

Available in sizes 5-11, medium and wide widths for $61-89 at Zappos.

Sofft Saydee

Sofft Saydee: Sneaker+Wedge+Sandal=the Sofft Saydee. Just like the Rockport Vivianne shown above, the Saydee features a 3″ heel offset by a 1″ platform, and a side zipper for easy on and off. Best for:

  • ankle support
  • narrow to medium width feet
  • lower insteps

Available in sizes 6-11 for $119.95 from Zappos.

Aetrex Delaney: A beautiful weatherproof shootie with removable orthotic-quality insole. Check out the entire Aetrex line for more arch-supporting options. Best for:

  • Heel-lovers that need enhanced arch support

Available in euro sizes 35-41 (5-10) for $149.95 from Zappos.

comfortable shoes for teachers

Cobb Hill Aubrey

Cobb Hill Aubrey: 991 Zappos reviews with 70% awarding the Cobb Hill Aubrey FIVE stars for comfort due to the contoured EVA footbed with arch support, stability shank in the midsole, generous toe box and moderate heel. Best for:

  • bunions (may want to order the wide width)
  • hammertoes (toe box is higher than average)
  • women with back or knee issues that still want to wear a slight heel

Available in sizes 5-11, narrow to wide widths for $99.95 from Zappos.

About the Author

53 Responses to 17 Amazing Comfortable Shoes for Teachers: Fall 2021

  1. Laura says:

    I love the Dansko Sam! I’m so sad they stopped making it. ? Dansko Lulu works well for me with my orthodics. I recently discovered Dansko Celeste when I needed a sturdy walking shoe for the cobblestone of Prague. I insert my orthodics and I can stand ALL DAY often totally pain free!! (Which for me is a rarity!)

  2. Teresea Baumann says:

    I am also a middle school teacher. I love cute shoes, but I learned long ago that if my feet hurt I was a very cranky teacher. If my feet felt happy, I had unending patience. My favorite shoes through the years have been my Birkenstocks. They are kind of ugly but the most comfortable of any shoes I have ever worn.

  3. Karen says:

    Can anyone tell me if they come in wide widths? (The Dansko Clogs) I usually wear a men’s sneaker in wide and I have an orthotic I wear sometimes, though I’m in less pain without it lately.


  4. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi Karen–I did read that the Dansko Martina featured in the article does run wide. There were even some complaints from women with medium width feet saying they were too wide on their feet. Also, the Dansko Professional clog does come in wide widths.

  5. Bette says:

    I loved Danskos until I developed knee pain. I then learned that clogs are just about the worst thing you can do for your knees! It seems to be a trade off – feet or knees. I chose my knees, so today I wear flat, wide, and flexible shoes — Naots can be a good option. I miss my clogs, though.

  6. Barbara says:

    I’m a preschool teacher and have good luck with Klogs. I need both arch support and cushioning. I tried Dansko but the were too hard on my knees.

  7. Jez says:

    I swear by my Skechers Go Walks. I have a couple of pairs that pass for professional and a couple of pairs for life outside the classroom.

  8. Leah Krippner says:

    Riekers are stylish and comfy.

  9. Monti Hillis says:

    What, no Tieks? This elementary school principal loves her pair!

  10. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Wow! What do you love about them? I’ve never tried them, but assume they have very little arch support, if any.

  11. Dana says:

    I love my Vionic sandals❤️.
    I battle heel pain and bunions and they are so comfortable…all day!!!!

  12. Andrea says:

    Ha! I am a kindergarten teacher and just located a pair of Dansko Sams on ebay!! So psyched!

  13. Andir says:

    Anyone try Tieks? They always get rave reviews, but are super expensive and am not sure how to w they would work for me and my feet issues?

  14. Nanette says:

    Nothing but birks for me too!

  15. Angie says:

    I teach in Chacos. I will totally wreck a fabulous outfit with Chacos. If my feet hurt and legs hurt; I’m awful!

  16. Kirsten Borrink says:

    No, you’re smart! If your school allows open-toe shoes then Chacos are the way to go. Can’t beat the arch support.

  17. Lindsay says:

    Chacos are a way of life for me now! I bought a pair of the leather flips and they aren’t quite as comfy (but still do the trick) and look much better with my sundresses.

    Totally get me through a day in the classroom, or anywhere else!

  18. Dee says:

    Maybe the hush puppies, but the others, meh.

  19. RUTH says:


  20. Denise says:

    Alegria shoes are awesome … I wear the clogs, but they have other styles… nurses, teachers, etc use these shoes… I have been wearing them for several years now… they are awesome! They come in wide (I normally wear a 2E or 3E) and these are plenty wide… be sure to select the wide option before ordering…

  21. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi Ruth,
    What brands have you tried? Off the top of my head, I’d say Drew shoes. They’re not super attractive, but they have extra wide widths and good support.

  22. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Thanks for answering, Denise! I was just about to recommend wide width Alegrias, but you beat me to it. I would also suggest looking at a style that doesn’t doesn’t have a vamp that crosses at the bunion area (like the Paloma). Perhaps an oxford or slip-on. Here’s a link to the Alegria wide width shoes at Zappos.

  23. Maggie says:

    Merrell Encore are nice, and so are the suede Mocs. I have wide feet and can wear both. Nothing beats my soft footed birkies, though!

  24. Jamie says:

    Can’t you get a doctor note stating that you need to wear a certain type of shoes? You shouldn’t have to suffer.

  25. Pearl says:

    They are so pricey, I would like to know the answer to this as well. And they seem to rarely go on sale.

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  27. Cherie says:

    I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for 30 yrs (got it really young) so I literally feel your pain. I spend half myeline trying to find shoes and/or booties. My foot deformity is not symmetrical. My left ft needs surgery which can’t afford to have. It is excruciating – literally -to walk for an length of time. I have massive dislocated bunion and hammertoes folded in half. I need wide toe box stretch in top of toe box, stretch to accommodate bunion and great support – strap or laces. Why don’t more shoe companies make shoes with stretch material, like Archopedigo Mary Jane… or my holy grail of shoes… Proper booties (can’t recall the name -Peggy maybe? which literally have stretch material on top of toe box, but supportive leather in heel, and they lace. They look really cute and hip BUT don’t exist in nude/beige. Any recommendations? Must also have low heel, non skid, very safe & supportive… but… sue me I still want to look pretty 🙂 Thanks- cherie

  28. Amy says:

    What are dressy shoes for hip pain, flats?

  29. Dkr says:

    There is a shoe that no one mentioned yet: Alegria by P G Lite. Available at Amazon, zappos, Nordstrom. Also at Many styles many colors. Rocker sole, extremely thick inner sole, so comfortable. Wide and high toe box. I wear the style Paloma. Absolutely love them!
    If you have problem feet, these are the ones to try. They accommodate my bunions and metatarsal issue.

  30. Christie says:

    I got a pair of Tieks, very excited since they are expensive – But , they run small & hurt my bunion ;(
    So they were a waste of money

  31. Susan Turner says:

    Hi, I need guidance pls. 71 yrs old, arthritis in both feet, surgery June 2015 to reconstruct left foot, cortisone shots every 3 months to alleviate pain somewhat in right foot. Just started a job where I am on my feet for 4 hrs straight. The next day I can hardly walk from the pain. What shoes would save me so I can continue the job? Please help me with your advice! ? Susan

  32. Sinead says:

    Alegria were comfortable for me but aggravated a worsening Achilles Tendonitis issue. Here I am a year later (after Achilles Repair on both Achilles!) finally trying to figure out what real/dress shoes I can wear instead of tennis shoes or the occasional sandal (with skirts). Still looking!

  33. Felisha says:

    Hi. I’m no expert but my mom swore by her Skechers Go Walk shies after two knée replacements. Maybe these could work for you 🙂

  34. Chrissy says:

    I love love love my hush puppy booties. I bought them in the reddish color and loved them so much I bought them in taupe too.

    I have issues with plantar fasciitis and supination. I also have terrible feet from multiple injuries including many sprains, dislocating the 5th metatarsal in my right foot 2 times and last year breaking my left ankle (requiring surgery) and spraining my right ankle at the same time. I also have feet that are wide just in the toe box area. These shoes are very comfortable almost from the first time I wore them. I use Spenco inserts in as many shoes as possible but the removable insert in these shoes is pretty great too. One day I only changed one insert (oops) and the difference in comfort was so slight I hardly noticed.
    I can’t speak highly enough about these shoes and if I was made of money I would buy every color.

  35. Dawn says:

    I’m desperate to find a boot that will fit my extra wide foot with a narrow heel and narrow calves. I have found a few boots that sort of fit but they tend to big around the ankle. Has anyone had boots altered in the calf by a shoe maker? Or has anyone had boots custom made?
    Thank you!

  36. Kirsten Borrink says:

    I just saw that the Dansko Sam is back!!

  37. Valerie says:

    I recently bought a pair of Grasshoppers that feature an ortholite footbed. As long as I wear them with dress socks, they don’t agitate my mild bunion.

    They are “Grasshopper Windham Loafers“.

  38. Mollie says:

    Does anyone else have the worst feet…Hallux rigidus, neuromas, bunions? I have worn Kalso Earth for years but they are no longer made. They worked very well for me..especially the newer ones that had more cushioning. I need cushioning, metatarsal bump, and can’t wear any thing with positive heel as that puts pressure on the big toe joint.

  39. Dena says:

    I totally agree!!! I used to sell shoes for 18 years and should just start designing them! I have had rheumatoid for 28 years and I am constantly having shoes sent to my house, only to having to return them! I have hammer toes on all of my toes except the big ones, and effuse that horrible surgery.
    Nothing that looks pretty, I do like Naots….the Scandanavian collection has a soft and removable footbed if you wear orthotics!
    LOVE this website BTW! Good luck! Dena

  40. laura boyd says:

    i have a couple pairs of SAS. Not the most attractive but amazing foot beds and many styles and many in wide widths. I suggest if you can try them in a store that might be the best bet. i live in a small town so when i travel i hit up the shoes stores LOL. I spent 45 min. in an SAS store, with piles of boxes around me. I like the nursing clog from SAS comes in wide.
    also i love my Wolky jewel sandals very adjustable and a foot be that conforms to your feet, (break in period tho)
    and finally an amazing shoe the dansko charlie– a flexible bottom good arch support the top is perforated im not doing it justice but its cute!!

  41. Jeanne Thomas says:

    Reading these comments, I feel I have just met ‘my people’!
    Would love to sit down and talk with you all!
    We could either soak our feet or prop them up on a table with a pillow.

    Sending foot comfort wishes to all of you, Jeanne

  42. Lis says:

    I am a museum educator so I’m walking around a lot. I have bunions but also my feet are very narrow; if the shoe doesn’t tie or strap securely, I step right out of it. I’ve had luck with Propet oxfords and Earth sandals. I’d love suggestions for other oxfords and ankle boots.

  43. Beth Mattson-Hinzelin says:

    Since this April I’ve been dealing with Morton’s in both feet (plus I have very high arches). Silicone toe supports (god sends) got me through to the end of the school year and I’ve been wearing a pair of Crocs sandals (that I already had in my closet) pretty much since then. I need to get serious about shoe shopping. We have no school ‘dress code’ per se (I live in France….pretty ‘cazh’ over here 🙂 so really, anything pretty much goes. I do have orthotics. So , any tips for a brand that might help out in the Morton’s + high arches department? Kirstin, your site, your insight and your blogs are a saving grace . Merci very, very much. Beth

  44. laura boyd says:

    i have a couple pairs of SAS. Not the most attractive but amazing foot beds and many styles and many in wide widths. I suggest if you can try them in a store that might be the best bet. i live in a small town so when i travel i hit up the shoes stores LOL. I spent 45 min. in an SAS store, with piles of boxes around me. I like the nursing clog from SAS comes in wide.
    also i love my Wolky jewel sandals very adjustable and a foot be that conforms to your feet, (break in period tho)
    and finally an amazing shoe the dansko charlie— a flexible bottom good arch support the top is perforated im not doing it justice but its cute!!

  45. Aimee says:

    Love my Charlie’s. And check out the new Christina. I got them in brown. They fit my 3/4 orthotics for hallux limitus. Look at keen’s Elsa for converse style.

  46. Beth Mattson-Hinzelin says:

    Thanks so much, Laura. I’ll check out the Dansk Charlie!

  47. Lori says:

    I love Clarke’s.

  48. Diana says:

    they do not have any support – more like slippers – they run about a 1/2 size too small

  49. Susan Slywchuk says:

    Why are these shoes so EXPENSIVE? With someone living With Cancer and needing to watch where my money goes l will NEVER be able to afford shoes like this, Things that would benefit people with one of these horrible diseases can’t afford to buy them.
    Kind Regards
    Susan S

  50. Elaine says:

    Interested in seeing the Kenkoh shoes reviewed.

    They are sold exclusively through Happy Feet Plus.

    They are massage sandals that are considered an adjunct to other shoes, to mostly be worn as ‘around the house’ shoes.

    I have right knee OA and trying different shoes. I’ve found lace up athletic shoes that I have been recommended probably have added to my problems…too constrictive and rigid, whether stability version or neutral version.

    Had pain on side of right heel that seems to have improved after wearing Kenkohs. They have good support but aren’t overkill.

    Still, going to look into Abeos and see how the Birkenstock Arizona soft sole works out.

    The funny thing is, I have a cheap pair of knee length boots from Walmart that seem to feel comfortable…they have a flat surface and no raised arch support. I only wear them to get the newspaper in the a.m. Maybe I should try them longer to see. Even so, don’t think later boots at Walmart are the same.

    Anyway, hope Kirsten tries the Kenkohs and gives them a review.

  51. Julie says:

    Please advise which of the above shoes are also good for hallux rigidis. I can’t tell which of these would have stiff soles. Also, I have begun going to business formal meetings and would love recommendations of shoes that work for (1) wide toes/narrow heels; (2) super sensitive bunion; (3) hallux limitis AND (4) prescription orthotics. Thanks. I did recently buy the Revere flats mentioned above

  52. John Honer says:

    No doubt, This is the best shoes for teachers, Thanks for sharing.

  53. David Honer says:

    very informative article about best shoes for teachers, thanks for sharing..

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