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.)
- Rockport Perth
- Full Grain Leather
- Anne Klein Expert
- Adjustable Buckle
- Olivia K Classic
- Kitten Heel
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.
10 Best Church Shoes
1. 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
Available in 7 colours
2. 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
3. Olivia K Classic
The Olivia K Classic 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. The Classic 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” 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 Classic will keep you comfortable while you do so. The OLIVIA K Classic 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
Half sizes available
Balanced for steadiness
4. La Milano Monk
Does Argentinian leather sound fancy? That is what the La Milano Monk is made of. Not only is the Monk a handsewn shoe with pronounced stitching, but it is also dyed with a unique painting technique to achieve an ombre design near the toe box. A thick strap across the vamp forks into dual adjustable silver-buckled straps for added style and trendiness.
Leather stretches and molds to the foot over time, so the La Milano Monk will eventually give way to a custom fit that’s all yours. These shoes also feature a soft, leather lining and leather padded footbed for comfort. Hidden elastic straps underneath the dual straps allow for greater ease in slipping in and out of the shoe.
The La Milano Monk clocks in at approximately half the price of the Rockport Perth shoe. While this alone could make it an excellent churchgoing shoe, the sturdy construction and premium leather mean that you can expect years of longevity from it. Furthermore, the timelessly classic style of the Monk oxford can be smoothly transitioned into your wardrobe for any occasion.
Half sizes available
Requires breaking in
5. 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 and wide widths
Roomy toe box
True to size
Polished look can fade
6. GM Golaiman Oxford
The GM GOLAIMAN oxford has several elements that combine to create the comfy fit you need. These shoes have a lightly padded collar, latex and leather cushioned insole and a leather lining for breathability and dryness. A synthetic rubber outsole provides shock absorption and reduced foot fatigue. Additionally, the ability to lace these shoes across the vamp also helps to create a more customized fit and feel.
Smooth, genuine suede; that’s the simple allure of the GM GOLAIMAN oxford. Available in three colors (black, grey, brown), these shoes perfectly pair with anything. The GM GOLAIMAN oxford also features a stripe of contrasting stitching along the midsole that pulls double duty. The stitching stripe adds interest and breaks up the monotony of the shoe, as well as enhances durability and longevity.
The GM GOLAIMAN oxford is similar in price to the Anne Klein Expert pump, so it’s a budget-friendly option. With a little bit of care, the GM GOLAIMAN is a shoe that has the potential to last through at least a year of regular wear.
True to size
No leather ‘smell’
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 and wide widths available
Half sizes available
No breaking in
Easy to slip on
Bows don’t lie flat
8. Viotti 179
The draw of the Viotti 179 is the contrast between an upper made of satin and patent leather. Striped satin across the top of the shoe is bracketed by polished faux patent leather, for a distinctive yet simple style. An extended vamp, squared toe, and traditional lacing add to the classic-contemporary feel of this shoe. Plus, in some colorways, the Viotti 179 features a striking silver metal toe.
The Viotti 179 promises to deliver all-day support and comfort with a cushioned footbed and internal sneaker-like fit. A smooth synthetic lining is soft on your feet, while the ‘bike-track’ styled upper creates a snug and secure fit.
Nearly equal to the La Milano Monk in price, the Viotti 179 is also the most formal shoe we recommend. These are best for those who attend functions frequently and would like a stylish designer-like shoe at a wallet-friendly price.
Adds instant sophistication
Runs small and narrow
9. 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
10. 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
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 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.