Best Church Shoes for Places of Worship Reviewed
Though the trend of informal attire has permeated nearly every aspect of society, there are still a few places resisting this revolution — namely, religious institutions. Churches. Cathedrals. Mosques. Synagogues. No matter the place of worship, in the past, traditions likely mandated what you wore, right down to your shoes. (If shoes were allowed, of course.)
Yet, as we all know, traditions are mighty hard to break. So while the rest of the world is fine with flip-flops and tube socks, most churches still expect (and even require) modest, conservative dress. And in this new era of sneakers and leopard print, it’s entirely possible to look in your closet and realize you have nothing that fits the bill.
To make it easy for you, we’ve taken the liberty of reviewing the best shoes to wear to church.
- Cobb Hill Aubrey
- Adjustable Fit
- EVA Footbed
- LifeStride Parigi
- Padded Insole
- True To Size
- Rockport Perth
- Full Grain Leather
- Non-Marking Sole
10 Best Church Shoes
1. Rockport Cobb Hill Aubrey
Unlike other boots or heels on our list that aren't adjustable, the Aubrey's can help to perfectly fit your feet perfectly. They are even adjustable so you can loosen or tighten them as needed throughout the day.
The EVA foam footbed adds to the comfort of the Aubrey's. The compression-resistant foam keeps the shape of your foot to protect against shock and pressure while you walk.
Right in the middle of the pack, the Aubrey's are inexpensive so you won't feel guilty buying them.
Comfortable Rubber Sole
Comfortable Round Toe
Long Break In Time
2. LifeStride Parigi
The Parigi heel has a gently pointed toe and a dainty bow across the vamp. Semi-matte patent leather uppers give these pumps a mature, yet sweet appearance. This is a shoe that can be easily paired with dresses and skirts of all lengths, or a smart pair of slacks.
Despite having a 2.5” heel, this isn’t a bad church shoe for extended standing or walking. Whether you are planning to be part of the choir or walking through the pews with a collection plate, the Parigi will keep you comfortable while you do so. The Comodo features moderate arch support and a snug fit.
At half the price of the Anne Klein Expert, this is a great conservative shoe both fiscally and socially. While these may not last quite as long as the Expert or the Perth, they’re affordable enough to invest in more than one pair. Furthermore, retro style shoes have come back into style in a big way and don’t seem to be going away again.
True To Size
Soft System Technology Insole
Padded Synthetic Insole
3. Rockport Perth
The Rockport Perth is genuinely handsewn for the utmost strength and durability. Perth features full-grain leather uppers, grippy and textured rubber soles, and decorative eyelets. The Perth also has rawhide lacing that serves a role in both decoration and function. For further durability, and to help the shoe retain its shape, the Rockport Perth has a steel shank throughout the midfoot.
Designed to be worn without shoes, the Rockport Perth features a moisture-wicking suede upper liner for breathability. This boat shoe also has a padded collar and tongue and deep heel cup. Being that the uppers are leather, over time, the Rockport Perth will conform to your feet for a customized fit. The insole of the Perth is also moisture-wicking and is treated to reduce moisture.
On its face, the Rockport Perth is a fairly expensive shoe. However, these are shoes that can be expected to last for years with regular wear. If only relegated to being worn to worship services, the Perth is the kind of shoe that will pay for itself multiple times over the course of its life.
Narrow And Wide Widths Available
Strong And Durable
4. OluKai Moloa
One of the more prominent features of the OluKai Moloa is its ‘drop-in’ heel. Unique stitching around the heel counter allows the heel to be flattened, transforming the Moloa into a mule or clog-like shoe. Go from house slipper to service-ready instantly with the OluKai Moloa.
Aside from being removable and washable, the footbed of the OluKai Moloa is anatomically contoured and boosted by gel inserts for superior cushioning. There is moisture-wicking properties courtesy of a Dri-Lex microfiber cover; combined with velvety nubuck leather uppers, the Moloa provides a smooth experience akin to walking through sand.
Equal in price to the Rockport Perth, the OluKai Moloa is a similarly comfortable and durable shoe. The Moloa is exceptionally down to earth and has all the makings for a long-lived church shoe.
Subtle Arch Support
5. Dansko Maria
The wide toe box and relaxed fit won't leave your feet feeling squished. You can relax knowing that your feet won't be aching from during long stretches of standing during the sermon or wearing throughout the day.
The Maria's are more expensive than other options on our list but they are proven to be long lasting and durable so you can rest assured that your investment will be worth it.
Contoured Wooden Sole
Easy To Clean
Easy On And Off
Polyurethane Outsole For Shock Absorption
Requires Breaking In
6. Anne Klein Tamarow
Inside the Tamaraow are lightweight foam insoles that aid in cushion and shock absorption. This helps to keep your feet feeling great even after long hours of standing on your feet. The insoles form to the shape of your foot and arch to better distribute your weight evenly as you walk.
The fabric body is lightweight yet durable. This will keep your feet feeling cool and comfortable throughout the day. This also means the shoes are great for hot summer days or churches that don't always have AC.
With a well-known brand name you might think these shoes are out of your price range but think again. They are surprisingly affordable and if you plan to wear these often, they will be an excellent bargain.
Runs True to Size
Good Arch Support’
Extra Protective Front Toe
Tight Toe Box
7. Cole Haan Tali Grand
As a revamp of a previous shoe, the Tali Grand is the culmination of a four-pronged approach to comfort. Flexibility, cushioning, breathability, and weightlessness merge. The success of the Grand.OS shoe technology is in the fully padded sock lining, quilted foam-padded footbed, and shock-absorbing rubber outsole. And as if that wasn’t enough cushioning, there is also separate forefoot padding for daylong wear.
The Cole Haan Tali Grand wedge is made of vachetta leather, an untreated Italian leather popularized by designer Louis Vuitton. A gold-capped woven bow is the only decoration the Tali Grand has, so it is an unobtrusive shoe with a luxurious feel. Plus, a slightly elasticized collar adds detail and a snug fit.
The Cole Haan Tali Grand is an expensive shoe, there is no denying it. It is the most expensive of the recommendations in this guide, but for good reason. Premium Italian leather is durable, simple to care for, and is one of the few materials that look better with some age. This is a shoe that’s in it for the long haul.
Narrow & Wide Widths Available
Half Sizes Available
No Breaking In
Easy To Slip On
Bows Son’t Lie Flat
8. Clarks Keesha Raine
CLARKS brand shoes often feature proprietary comfort technology that sets them apart from other shoes. The Keesha Raine loafer features two of these exclusive designs — Cushion Plus and Ortholite. Ortholite is the material that the footbed is made of, while the Cushion Plus technology is why the footbed is anatomically targeted and adapts to the motion of your feet. The build of the Keesha Raine also reduces ball-of-foot strain and provides lasting, supportive softness.
Polished patent leather, embossed with a crocodile skin-inspired print, gives the Keesha Raine a mature look that is only enhanced by the accompanying squared toe box. A gold-buckled strap across the vamp is the only adornment the CLARKS Keesha Raine loafer has, which only further improves its simplistic style.
The Keesha Raine from CLARKS sits in the same price range as the Rockport Perth. Though that means the Keesha Raine is costlier than other church shoe options, it’s worth its price. The Keesha Raine loafer is timelessly fashionable, and CLARKS is a brand that is known for quality and longevity.
Available In Narrow & Wide Widths
Roomy Toe Box
True To Size
Polished Look Can Fade
9. LifeStride Farrow
The Farrow from LifeStride is another shoe that provides subtle lift and stability with a 1.25” faux-stacked heel. The rounded toe is complemented by three stitched, buckled straps across the vamp. The buckles are not adjustable, but they add an element of class to the Farrow.
Soft System Technology
Soft System is LifeStride’s innovative comfort technology that makes the Farrow an excellent cushioned choice. Soft System takes a three-part approach to comfort. It uses a breathable, energy-returning foam insole; a flexible outsole that bends to reduce the impact your foot takes; and adds moderate foot support and balance.
The LifeStride Farrow wedge matches the Viotti 179 in price. It is a fantastic alternative to similar albeit more expensive recommendations in this guide. As a bonus, the LifeStride Farrow is considered a casual shoe; it won’t be difficult to repurpose these wedges for other occasions.
Easy To Clean
10. Anne Klein Expert
The Anne Klein Expert features proprietary Iflex technology that increases the flexibility and livability of the shoe. Iflex technology allows the Expert to bend up to 90 degrees; the Expert pump moves as you do, for ease and comfortable wearing. Between the iflex technology and the leather uppers, the Expert will provide an exceptionally unique fit.
The Expert has an understated style, but it is chic enough to transition well from church to any other occasion. (Chic and church in the same sentence? Oh yeah.) The single-buckled slingback strap and pointy toe impart a sophisticated air, while the kitten heel provides a modest height boost. Dressed with slacks or a skirt, the Anne Klein Expert can take you from a late night at work to midnight Mass.
A moderately priced shoe, the Anne Klein Expert pump is a good mid-range option for churchgoing shoes. Approximately half the price of the Rockport Perth, the Expert has similar durability and trendiness to boot. Coupled with incredible versatility, this shoe is worth stretching your budget a bit.
True To Size
Half Sizes Available
Roomy Toe Box
No Break-In Time
Finding the best shoes to wear to church is really about adhering to a modest dress code. Though the phrase ‘come as you are’ lends itself to the ever-increasing casualness in the church, it’s not exactly meant literally either. We hope you’ve found this guide useful in narrowing your search for the perfect church shoe.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Church Shoes
When reviewing shoes to wear to church, there are a few things to keep in mind. It can’t be overstated that modesty is the foremost consideration when searching. Unassuming and straightforward shoe designs will serve you best not just as a shoe to wear for religious services, but also as items that are easy to blend back into your everyday wardrobe.
Shoe Toe Type
The type of toe your shoe has will be a primary indicator of whether it is suitable for church. Closed-toe shoes, whether round or pointy, will work best. Closed-toe shoes will make sure that you don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself or otherwise distract fellow parishioners.
Round closed-toe shoes are ultimately preferred, as they will serve to hide your feet and make them appear smaller. Square-toed shoes are equivalent to round-toed shoes. Pointy closed-toe shoes are a decent secondary choice, if your church leans more casually in dress code or if being fashionable is of import to you. Keep in mind, though, that some pointy shoes stand out just by being pointy.
Oppositely, open-toed shoes are not ever recommended. Many religious institutions have specific statements about open-toed shoes and those that don’t still are likely to have an unspoken rule. However, if you can’t avoid wearing open-toed shoes — or if you’re sure your church allows casual dress — try to opt for shoes with small openings, like a peep-toe.
Another critical consideration is heel height. Sky high heels have never been more popular than they are today; it’s not uncommon to see 5” heels in even the most mundane situations. Nonetheless, as trendy as they are, save the highest of your heels for another time. The recommended heel height for a church shoe is 2” or lower, although a 3” heel could work if the shoe is otherwise demure.
Of secondary importance is the type of heel your shoe has. While thicker, chunkier heels are ofttimes painted as unsexy, they are perfect for churchgoing. Remember, though, that heels are entirely optional too. No one will look twice if your shoes are flat.
This is likely a no-brainer, but shoe color is something to think about when picking out a shoe for church. Neutral colors like black, brown, and white are, of course, easy choices but it’s okay to want another color or three. First, know that pastel colors are more acceptable than “hot” tones, like neon pink or green. Even if your shoe fits the other criteria for religion-based modesty, a loud color can override all of that.
On the other hand, some colors are better darkened. For example, the average red shoe is going to be too attention-grabbing for a religious ceremony. Burgundy, however, is muted and unobtrusive. Another example is the blue hues. Navy is a common shoe shade that is almost a neutral all its own.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I find out if my church has a dress code?
A: If your church has a website, the easiest way would then be to visit their website. Churches that have sites will often have primers on the kind of etiquette and behavior necessary. If your church doesn’t have a website, calling the church for the dress requirements is your next best bet. Just avoid calling during typical worship times.
Q: Will a church kick me out if I’m not correctly dressed?
A: Fortunately, it’s rare to be kicked out of a church for inappropriate dress. You may receive sidelong glances, or someone may pull you aside to mention your outfit to you politely.
Q: Should I wear different shoes for an evening service?
A: Ultimately this is up to you, but it’s not required. A good, single pair of shoes should be sufficient for day or evening services.
Q: Do church dress codes also include church weddings?
A: Not necessarily. While dressing conservatively helps you err on the side of caution, a wedding is still an event separate from the church. If it’s not too late, try checking in with the betrothed; they’ll have the final say.