Today was the first day of school for me. I am not used to being on my feet all day! The three months off must have made my feet go soft. Thinking about this, I thought I'd draw on the collective wisdom here?
What are the best shoes for teachers? (I am female). Brand? Type? I typically wear slacks so sneakers won't do it.
The brand doesn't matter as much as support. A doctor told me recently virtually everyone needs orthopedic inserts. These can be custom-made by some doctors. However, this doctor said the new devices found in places like Wal-Mart makes orthotics almost as well as any doctor. In the store, you stand on a pad and it makes an image of your foot and suggests the correct fit.
If you're looking for brands, I'd suggest Dansko, Drew and Finn-Comfort.
As a middle school teacher, I did have a specific preference for shoe brands as I had trouble with all the standing teachers do. For me, Finn shoes from Germany are the best with Aravon close behind. The Finn shoes kept me comfortable, balanced, and were easy to clean. I love Aravons, but they are not always the most stylish for the younger teachers. Whatever brand you choose, be sure they fit well and support you as bad shoes can create both feet and back problems.
I do not know if they qualify as "negative gravity" shoes, but about a year ago my doctor suggested I try using Sketcher type sneakers in order to help my lower back. I have to admit that my legs are tired by the end of the day, as they would be after a good, long walk. However, my feet do not hurt as much and it has helped my back problem a lot. I am sure there are other brands out there now that have copied the idea. A cautionary note: they do affect your balance and it does take a while to get used to them.
Several brands of walking shoe include professional-looking lace-up flats and half-boots. I wear Ecco myself, but Clarke, Rockport and Mephisto are similar. As long as you wear trousers, you can wear sensible shoes. Choose one with a solid technical-style walking shoe sole and supportive breathable upper. Gortex linings are sine qua non in winter.
I have to agree the Dansko shoes are great. I have a cute pair of black Mary Janes so they look great with pants or long skirts. Giving a test? They don't squeak when you walk up and down the aisles. Need to rn up front? Go ahead, you're walking on a cloud. Need to chase a kid? No worries, the skid proof bottoms keep you from slidding. Though they are expensive, they do last, and so they are a good investment for any teacher.
I live about a 30 minute walk from campus, and walk to and from work two days a week. So I wear very comfortable shoes! I like to get good quality shoes and I find a good way to get them at an affordable price is to buy them on Ebay. Plenty of people buy shoes on sale and then realize they don't fit, so I can often get shoes that have never been worn or worn once or twice for a deep discount. I like Born shoes (they're comfortable, attractive and well made) and since I know my size it is not risky to buy them online in this way. I've gotten shoes that sell for $80 or more for $10. I also like Teva sandals, and Fluevog shoes.
First, THREE MONTHS OFF?!?! Where do you teach that you get three months off? My school district is on a modified year-round calendar, and we're lucky to get six weeks off in the summer. We do get more breaks during the school year (nine weeks in, two weeks out), but we haven't gotten a true summer break in years. Teachers start back to school the last week of July, and students start the first full week of August; school ends the first week of June.
As for shoes, it depends on your preferences. I have a bunion on my left foot, so I have to take that into account when I look for comfortable shoes. The two brands that I like best work better in warm weather than in cold weather: Skechers and Crocs; now, I'm not talking about the ugly Crocs you see so many people wearing. They have many different styles that can be worn for any occasion. There's enough give to accommodate my bunion, and there's enough support to keep my feet comfortable all day. A nice thing about the Crocs I wear is that they have a bumpy insole that sort of massages my feet as I walk.
Good luck finding the right shoes!
I have to have cushions on the bottom of my feet. Standing all day long on hard concrete or linoleum floors does it damage. I have found that AirSoles are good for a long day. Stay away from heels; it will kill your back by the end of the day. I usually buy black and blue loafers with leather that expands as your feet swell.
Personally, I like Clarks. They are well-made, comfortable and stylish. When I was younger, I wore heels. Now they kill. However, it's hard to move swiftly through the halls or a classroom (if there is a fight or an emergency) in heels. It is also easier to slip, though I have done this in flats. I would be careful of the sole of the shoe: it might be slippery, or it might catch on the floor so your shoe stops, but your body does not.
I love to look in the window of a chic shoe boutique almost as much as a jewelry store: ironically, I rarely buy in either. Over the long-haul in the face of years of teaching, I think it's important to find out what kind of feet you have. Visit a foot doctor. Lots of people (myself included) have flat feet and never know it. Bunions are a killer: though in some cases they may be hereditary, they may also (can't be sure) be caused by shoes that are too narrow. And I can attest to the pain they generate and the "joy" of corrective surgery.
Comfortable shoes that take care of your feet are essential. Aching feet are almost as distracting as a headache. Go for comfort. The classroom can be painful enough sometimes without added foot pain!
Like #7, I go with clogs. I have three pairs in my classroom, and I spend most of my teaching hours in them, with my orthopedic doc's approval. I also agree with #5 about avoiding the negative gravity type shoes; one of my colleagues tried those last year and would up at the chiropractor's; the chiropractor told her those shoes bring him a lot of patients.
However the best suggestion I can offer is to go to a home goods store and buy an anti-fatigue mat and put it where you stand most of the time. I went to Home Depot and bought a dense, foam type runner that is designed to go in front of a workbench in a workshop, and I put it in the front of my classroom, and it made a huge difference.
I have found the best of both worlds are Crocs wedge heels. At 5'1'' I occasionally like to liik a little taller that the junior students, so these suit me well. Also, as they are that lovely crocs soft foamy stuff my little feet stand the test of a busy day. Last year, I was Croc obsessed. I had the ballet style in 4 colours, wedge heels in 2 and a pair of leather topped lace ups fpr when it was cold.
A word of caution - you do need clean feet and wearing them with socks makes for VERY sweaty feet. What ever shoes you do wear, change them around regularly. Have an emergency comfy pair in the staffroom or office for days when you make a bad choice and are cringing by the end of morning asssembly. You can't concentrate when your toes are tortured!
I don't have a lot of shoe brand loyalty; I just have to be sure they have an arch. The Earth Shoes brand is pretty good, and I concur with whoever recommended Dr. Scholl's. I also have a few "no-name" brands of shoes which are comfortable enough to wear on my sometimess 13- or 14-hour days. The first few days are rough on the legs and feet, but it gets better!
I have been wearing Crocs lately (albeit with socks). I have very sensitive feet and these sandal/shoe hybrids are more comfortable than any footwear I've ever worn. I don't like wearing sneakers to school (too casual), though many other male teachers do so. As I younger teacher, I mostly wore leather casuals and, for a while, Sperry topsiders.
Despite the criticism in Crazy, Stupid Love and the stereotype of the middle aged man I suppose, I still wear New Balance pretty regularly, if for no other reason than I am basically standing on a concrete slab all day and they prevent my feet from hurting at the end of the day. As for dress shoes, anything with a decently cushioned sole and that doesn't require constant maintenance to look good works for me.
I don't know if you are looking for specific brands, but I can't imagine life without my Dansko clogs and sandals. They aren't necessarily the most "dainty" of styles, but they are stylish in their own way and have the most comfortable foot-bed. With pants, they would just fine. It is no wonder that nurses wear them in white!