Shaping and caring for the minds and wellbeing of our children is an incredibly important job, requiring teachers to constantly be on their feet, moving through the classroom and the outdoors at breaks - over 12,000 steps per day, according to Healthline. That’s a big demand on the bones, joints and muscles of the feet, and makes supporting the foot health of teachers an absolute priority.
The shoes that teachers wear become the new ground they walk on, and as such can either help with improving daily comfort and reducing a teacher’s injury risk - or in some unfortunate cases, add to the problem. So to help, here’s a guide of what features to look for when selecting good, supportive school shoes for teachers, and specific shoe options over a range of styles that are currently popular among teachers in our clinic.
Shoes When Standing All Day: What Should I Be Looking For?
When asked, many teachers respond to this question with “comfortable, and ones that look good” - but from a professional podiatry perspective, let’s have a look into exactly what helps make a shoe feel comfortable for you, as well as which features tick our boxes for helping support your foot health.
We don’t often think about the weight of our shoes as something that we can control, but it absolutely is. Choosing heavy shoes means that your feet can feel weighed down with every step, which may not be noticeable on a step-to-step bais, but adds up over time and can lead to tired and achy legs at the end of the day. Opt for lightweight materials where possible, and when choosing between a few pairs, always check their weight.
Wearing high heeled shoes is not recommended for teachers because they force your forefoot to absorb the majority of your body weight and stress with every step. Interestingly, completely flat shoes also aren’t the best, either, as they can strain the Achilles tendon and make it more vulnerable to injury.
Strong heel counter
The heel counter of a shoe is the part that sits behind the heel and wraps around the ankle, often having a stitch or seam. A heel counter that is firm will help to control the movement at the heel and ankle, adding stability and helping control the position of the foot. To test the integrity of your heel counter, push on the back of it with your thumb - the counter should be difficult to bend down, instead staying upright without flexing down.
The right width and length
When looking at the length of your shoe, first identify which of your toes is the longest (it’s not always the big toe!) as well as which foot is the longest, as most people will have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. Next, ensure that you’re comparing your length against the longest toe on the longest foot - this is also an easy way to prevent a hammertoe where the longest toe curves down from repeatedly buttressing against the end of the shoe. Additionally, consider that feet can swell when you’re on your feet all day, especially in hot conditions, so leave that little bit of wiggle room to keep you comfortable if they do.
Checking your width is a matter of looking for any bulging, and feeling for any pressure, particularly on the outsides of the feet. Shoes that are narrow can cause painful rubbing, may encourage foot cramps, and may even lead to bunions. Shoes that are too wide won’t be well secured to your foot, which can also cause pain and friction.
We always recommend opting for shoes made from long-lasting materials - and it’s a common scenario in our clinic where patients complain about a pair of shoes that they’ve quickly worn through, wishing they’d invested in a better quality pair to see them through another year. This is why we opt for trusted, podiatrist-approved brands, and stock them in our clinic. The shoes we stock are built to last - both in their design, the way they support feet, and their materials.
From a podiatric perspective, we will always recommend shoes that wrap around the ankle and help support it. By supporting and controlling the movement at the ankle, you’re limiting the side-to-side movement that the ankle is able to do, which can help prevent unwanted and straining movement. Just be careful that the shoe doesn’t sit too high, either - if the sides extend too close towards the bony bumps (malleoli) around your ankle, they may rub, be uncomfortable and cause pain.
Comfortable, supportive and removable insoles
Finally, check the insoles in your shoes. Good shoe brands these days have a consultant podiatrist who helps develop the foot bed to be extremely comfortable and supportive - it can feel like walking on a cloud! These are naturally found in many brands including Revere. We highly recommend having a professional foot bed as they can make a world of difference to your comfort levels. It also means that if the time arises where you may need an orthotic due to foot pain or injury, you’ll be able to slip the insole out and your custom orthotic in, without having to purchase a new pair of shoes.
Recommended Shoe Styles For Teachers
Revere’s Athens is an incredibly comfortable lace-up sneaker that teachers are loving the look of. They tick all of our good feature boxes, plus have some in-built arch support, are slip-resistant, and have maximally adjustable uppers to help you get the perfect fit.
We know that for many people, a black comfortable work shoe is their go-to dresscode: in which case this is our favourite! It’s the Boston by Revere. They can easily slip on via the zips, while maintaining full adjustability with their laces. They also meet all of our requirements for good shoe features, and alongside teachers, are recommended for those with sensitive or arthritic feet, diabetes, bunions, hammertoes and more.
Klouds Casey Perf
This shoe by Klouds also ticks all of our boxes, while having an easy zip (alongside adjustable laces) so you can quickly get them on and be on your way in the mornings. It also features heel to toe cushioning, in-built arch support, extra traction via a patterned sole, a stabilising shank to help support your foot position while walking, and heel collar cushioning to increase comfort and reduce the risk of blisters.
Mia Vita Bridgette
For those preferring a more casual shoe, we recommend Mia Vita’s Bridgette. These stylish slip-ons have a soft leather upper and inner, and a moulded footbed to keep you comfortable throughout the day, they are made to last, and look fantastic.
Looking for more podiatrist-recommended shoe options?
Then come in and visit our retail store within our clinic. We have a wide range of styles available to suit a range of preferences, regardless of your work requirements. We’re located at 5/13 Alford Street, Kingaroy QLD 4610