Best School Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Going back to school is not as bad as most students perceive it; it does suck that vacations are over – but look at the bright side. Returning to school has certain benefits that are often overlooked, there’s a lot of new stuff. New people, new friends, new activities, and often new kicks, too.
The return to school gives you the perfect opportunity to get your hands on some fresh footwear (not that you need an excuse for that, though). Don’t get us wrong – it’s absolutely fine to use the same shoes again, especially if they’re still in good condition, and even more if you like them. But let’s face it, having new kicks does make the going back to school experience slightly better. Just, who doesn’t like rocking new shoes?
- Skechers Go Walk 3
- Memory foam
- Heel opening
- Rockport Margin
- Polyurethane sole
- Extra collar and heel padding
- Vans Classic Slip-On
- Waffle outsole
- Vulcanized construction
Whether your school has a firm uniform dressing etiquette or not, a new pair of shoes always makes a difference starting your school year. Wearing new footwear is possibly one of the most satisfying things you get to do going back to school, and you’re not to blame. Not only do they look new, but they also feel new; it’s helpless but to enjoy the new feeling of these 10 shoes in comparison to your normal shoes.
10 Best School Shoes
1. Skechers Go Walk 3
The insole and heel are equipped with memory foam technology that is molded by the pressure of your feet, resulting in customized support adapted to the anatomical shape of your feet. This technology is also much more comfortable than traditional cushioning, allowing your feet to sink in the cushioning.
Everything about this shoe was thought and designed in a lightweight manner. The mesh upper build is not only nearly weightless, but it’s also highly breathable. The goga mat insole, which also has an insignificant weight, offers even further cushioning and comfort.
These aren’t the most affordable shoes you can get your hands on, but they’re sure some of the most efficient. The pair is very practical for school, not to mention they’re durable. Getting a pair of these would eliminate any school footwear concerns.
- Highly breathable
- Flexible frame
- Heel cushioning
- Colored designs may dye your socks if wet
2. Vans Classic Slip-On
Vans’ signature waffle outsole is originally meant for skaters, given that it provides an enhanced feel of the board. However, it’s not limited to just skating. The waffle design allows you to grasp the surfaces more efficiently while still protecting your foot.
By treating rubber with a special process (vulcanization) multiple of its qualities is enhanced. For instance, vulcanized rubber soles are more resistant to abrasion than traditional materials. It’s also slightly stickier, enhancing the grip and reducing chances of slippage or sliding.
The Vans Slip-on Classic are now possibly the best pair of school shoes when it comes to quality-to-cost ratio. Needless to say, they’re the best value of our list being considerably below the average cost.
- Very affordable
- Waffled outsole
- Vulcanized construction
- Great grip
- No arch support, we recommend custom inserts
3. Rockport Margin
The outsole of this shoe consists of dual density polyurethane, which is similar to Adidas’ boost technology. Polyurethane provides much more effective shock absorption, while at the same time lasting longer than traditional materials.
These oxfords may look pretty generic from the outside – but the inside is a whole new story. Padding around both the collar and tongue of the shoe enhances comfort and support, also preventing blisters and lace bruises. These elements are combined with an EVA footbed to reach the most optimal level of comfort and performance.
If you’ve seen some of our other guides, you’ll know Rockport shoes have a higher price tag than you would normally expect. Although its more than what some people would like to spend for school shoes, they’re more efficient than what people expect, too.
Dual density sole
May compress your heel, verify the sizing chart
4. Hush Puppies Gus
The ZeroG technology is possibly one of the lightest out there. Although this looks like any regular oxford with a mocc-toe stitching, the ZeroG Elon midsole makes it four times lighter than the average shoe. This technology is not only lightweight but also very efficient at absorbing shock and providing you with comfort for as long as you need it.
Traditional rubber doesn’t always do the trick, which is why these shoes offer a rubberlon outsole. This outsole is much more flexible than the average shoe, allowing you to walk as naturally as possible. It’s also more resistant to abrasion, resulting in a long-lasting investment that won’t need replacement anytime soon.
The Gus isn’t the cheapest Hush Puppies shoe, nor is it the most expensive one either. Although the cost surpasses the average value of the list, it’s not by much. The great majority of users are glad they’ve purchased a pair of these.
- ZeroG midsole
- Rubberlon outsole
- Stroebel stitching
- May bother users with wide feet, request a wider size if so
5. Vans Sk8-Hi
Just like any other Vans product, the Sk8-Hi is not an exception to the waffle outsole (or honeycomb outsole). This outsole design allows for a deeper flex and a more sensitive touch, allowing your feet to grasp surfaces more firmly.
Contoured EVA insole
EVA insoles have made their way into the footwear market or rather has earned its way in. These insoles not only protect you from impact and standard functions, but it also fights bacteria and prevents the generation or accumulation of bad scents on the insole.
- Waffle outsole
- Vulcanized construction
- Padded collar
- Heel counter
- Runs larger than other Vans shoes
6. Adidas NEO Baseline
Adidas offers just the right amount of cushioning required for a school shoe; not lacking it, but not too much of it either – allowing you to eventually use these shoes for other activities. The cushioning goes around the collar and the inner build, and of course, makes the shoe much more comfortable.
The sole of this pair is no traditional rubber sole. Despite looking generic, the sole of this design is denser than the average one. This means there’s a greater amount of rubber within the sole, thus optimizing its qualities without adding more bulk to the shoe. The rubber compound involves a lightweight approach too, keeping it light on your feet when moving around.
Almost everyone loves Adidas, but they often concern their users with hefty price tags. Fortunately, this is not the case of the NEO Baseline, which comes in just under the average value of our list. This makes them a very adequate choice for an affordable school footwear solution.
Efficient rubber cupsole
A little narrow
7. Air Jordan 1
If you didn’t know by one, Air Jordans are called that way because of their built-in air cushioning unit. This technology works in a similar way to gel cushioning, except it’s an air capsule that deals with shock effectively, increasing comfort and preventing heel bruises.
Hard rubber sole
The rubber outsole is substantial, providing you with enough material for a durable wear and lasting comfort. Traction is not an issue when it comes to Air Jordans, whether you’re inside or outside the basketball court. Despite its size, the sole is smartly designed to add as little weight to the build as possible.
Jordans are known for their popularity and appealing looks, but they’re also known for their hefty price tag. One thing is for sure, though, if you can afford them they’re not an investment you’ll regret.
Suitable for basketball performance
Air cushioning unit
Lacks structure (too soft)
8. Hush Puppies Leverage
Full-grain leather is one of the most comfortable (and good looking) materials you can get for school. But, Hush Puppies goes beyond just full-grain leather. The leather of this shoe is waterproof, complemented by a seam seal that prevents any water from going reaching your feet, thus providing a warm and efficient performance without water ruining your day.
The inner shoe counts with a removeable ethylene vinyl acetate footbed (EVA) insole, which aside from acting as a cushioning agent, prevents the development of bacteria and odors. Additionally, a heel gel pad provides even further comfort to assure a supportive and comfortable wear throughout the day.
This design is costlier than other Hush Puppies products, but that doesn’t stop them from being just as efficient (or more efficient in some cases). Depending on your preferences, you might find this pair more suitable for you.
- Waterproof materials
- Seam seal
- Back gel pad
- Collar and heel cushioning
- May require custom inserts
9. Adidas NMD R1 PK
Adidas’ approach to the midsole consists of thermoplastic polyurethane, which is a foam-like compound. This sole is much more responsive than rubber, allowing pressure from every gait to compress it and then releasing tension to impulse your next step.
The Primeknit upper build is one of the most comfortable (if not the most comfortable) you can get your hands on. This material fits like a sock and stretches with your feet, making sure you have enough space for the forefoot and toes. As if that wasn’t enough, the fabric is highly breathable, too.
The NMD XR1 PK exceeds the average value of this list, and may be considered expensive by most users. However, if you’ve owned a pair of Adidas shoes in the past, you know they’re not a purchase that you will regret.
Rubber outsole layer for better traction
10. Pharrell x Adidas HU NMD
Shoes don’t really get any lighter than this. Every single element of this release has been optimized to perform as highly as possible while weighting as little as possible. The sensation of the inner build is highly soft and breathable as well.
Adidas’ key element once again is part of their release. But, unlike the original NMD design, the Pharrell Williams counts with a unique outsole surface rather than the rubber layer. The outsole is waffle-like, providing a deeper flex and leaving no marks or skids.
Celebrity endorsement and collaboration generally make shoes much more popular, but that often means that they’re likely to me costlier, too. Yet, they’re not the costliest of shoes. If you want to spend a buck or two in an efficient and good-looking shoe, this is a good shot.
Special outsole design
Highly breathable and soft materials
In conclusion, acquiring new footwear every year is not necessary. However, if your old pair of shoes is getting to its limit (or you simply want to replace them or get a new pair) these 10 options are an excellent replacement to fill in your footwear experience at school.
Always keep in mind that, if purchasing new pairs, you’re not only getting new-looking shoes, but also brand new functionalities that are at their prime with no usage. New shoes look awesome and feel awesome indeed, but we’re not all about the looks here (although we keep the looks in mind because we know it’s important to most users).
We also suggest these 10 shoes because they’re much more functional and suitable for school activities than the traditional pair of black shoes people would normally get for school. Whether they’re a performance shoe for any sports classes, P.E. session, or simply traditional wear in school, these shoes offer the functionalities you need for the best school footwear experience.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best School Shoes
Cushioning & Support
School can very easily be stressful on our feet if not equipped properly. People walk more at school than they would normally think, and if wearing low-quality shoes their feet are easily exposed to pain and stress. One of the most important aspects of footwear meant for school is protection and cushioning.
A poorly cushioned shoe will fail to properly protect feet, placing even more tension on areas of our feet that suffer the most stress, such as our heels and arches. This is uncomfortable, but most importantly, it may hurt your feet. Heel pain is often underestimated, but it can very easily become an obstacle during quotidian activities.
On the other hand, shoes that offer enough cushioning don’t allow your feet to suffer from walking a lot. Cushioning is one of the things that draw the line between a low-quality shoe and an efficient one, and the more you can get of it, the better.
At the same time, it’s important that the shoe counts with a supportive build. A shoe needs to act as a steady platform, and being in school isn’t an exception for that. Each step should be supported efficiently and taken firmly, as having a steady platform to walk on improves your posture and walking performance in general.
The best school shoes must support the fit all around the shoe, but there are specific areas that require the most support. For instance, ankle support is necessary in order to optimize the fit and improve performance. A supportive ankle design prevents the foot from sliding forward while walking or running, which could weaken and potentially injure your ankles.
Something as simple as a supportive collar can considerably improve both comfort and performance. Additionally, the way you tie your shoes can add even more support to the ankle as well as the heel. While it’s important to not suffocate your feet, you should also keep in mind that a supported fit performs much better than a loose one.
Always keep in mind the breathability of the design when buying shoes. Too much cushioning and support may backfire if they add too much bulk to a shoe with little air flow. Additionally, it’s important that shoes with mid or high tops don’t strangle the ankle with a very tight fit. Higher tops do a much better job at providing ankle and heel support, but there must be some space for the ankle to move and rotate freely.
Arch support is arguably the most underestimated feature in a shoe. Users normally don’t know the impact that arch support has, nor how it improves the fit of a shoe. Anyone who suffers from arch conditions such as low or high arches knows the importance of this feature. At the same time, manufacturers are unable to design a shoe that supports all arches equally. Because of this, we really recommend the use of customized inserts that deliver support exactly like you need it.
Sole & Grip
The sole is possibly the most important element in most types of shoes, including school shoes. Many aspects of shoes rely on the sole and grip, thus getting those two things wrong will have a big (and negative) impact on your footwear.
There’s some confusion regarding the term sole, as it can involve a variety of things. Although it’s mostly used to refer to the outsole, it may also target the insole or the midsole. All of these three elements can either increase or decrease the functionality and comfortability of a shoe.
A low-quality insole won’t deliver an internal grip, which would result in your feet sliding within the shoe. Quality insoles not only offer a steady internal grip, but also certain protective qualities such as anti-bacterial technology and memory foam. Keep in mind that an insole customized to your feet will always be more efficient than generic ones. Nowadays most shoes have a removable insole, making it easier to replace them with your own.
The midsole is the element that deals with shock absorption and cushioning. If you’ll be walking to, during, or from school repeatedly, the best option is to opt for shoes that have an efficient midsole. The size of the midsole is not always the most important aspect; while substantial midsoles add more protection to your feet, they might add unnecessary weight too.
An efficient midsole is one that resists abrasion, prevents shock from damaging the heel, and supports feet without adding too much bulk to the shoe. The rougher the activity, the thicker your outsole should be, but for school, it’s preferable to keep a minimalist perspective. The most optimal choice for a school shoe would be synthetic rubbers that offer similar qualities while weighing much less than traditional materials.
As for the outsole, it’s the bottom-most element of the shoe. It’s what ultimately decides the quality of the grip, although some other elements have an influence too. Depending on the use you’ll give to the shoes, you may want to look for different types of outsole. But, for school, the ideal outsole is one that can endure prolonged abrasion.
Rubber is one of the most popular materials for both midsoles and outsoles, as it deals with shock efficiently and resists a certain degree of abrasion. Although not the most resistant one, it’s still highly durable and accessible, making it very practical. Yet, certain types of synthesized rubber offer similar features at a much lower weight. Vulcanized rubber, for example, is slightly stickier than traditional rubber and is popularly used as a material to increase the grip of outsoles.
Lastly, the outsole pattern is not something that should be overlooked. While it may seem purely aesthetic, the outsole pattern has an influence in the grip. Certain outsole designs may improve the grip on specific surfaces, while some other designs prevent slipping as well as marking or skidding.
School shoes should count with a flat sole preferably (no slugs or stacked heels equipped with anti-slipping technology a no specific outsole design. You should look for an outsole that provides a decent grip and smooth traction on as many types of surfaces as possible.
School can be very similar to an office when it comes to the best footwear option. Just like in an office job, you want a pair of shoes that will make you comfortable throughout a whole day of wearing them. Underestimating the importance of a comfortable shoe often leads to regret and a second visit to the shoe store.
You should not be forcing yourself into uncomfortable shoes for any reason. Instead, just look for a pair that makes your feet comfortable when walking, sitting, and standing. There’s a load of consequences that come with uncomfortable shoes, the first one being the simple fact that it’s much harder to concentrate while in discomfort.
Something as simple as the texture of the lining or the fit of the shoe can make your day terrible. If there’s something in your shoe constantly bothering you, trust us, you won’t be able to ignore it for the whole day. Even if you were, why would you even do so in the first place?
Comfort should never be an optional feature, and it should always be within the most important parameters during shoe selection. Also, keep in mind that discomfort in a shoe is a clear sign that something is wrong. By ignoring it, you may actually be continually exposing your feet to something that may be harming them.
There’s a huge list of things that can make a shoe uncomfortable, and most of them are uncomfortable because of the damage your feet. For instance, any sort of irritation feeling usually means that the materials of the shoe are rubbing against your foot, damaging the skin. Ignoring it will just damage your feet further, especially if the exposed area is a delicate one, such as the Achilles tendon.
The sizing and the fit are two of the main factors that determine how comfortable a shoe is. A shoe that wiggles around your feet is just as useful as one that strangles your feet; not useful at all. A shoe should always deliver a compressing sensation while still leaving a limited amount of inner space.
Users often give up comfort in exchange for things such as an aesthetic design, wearing shoes that look good but bother their feet. We understand it’s important to look good; no one likes ugly shoes at the end of the day. But, we believe it’s more important to feel good.
Being stuck with a discomforting pair of shoes for a long amount of hours is one of the worst annoying experiences. Let your footwear become a tool rather than an obstacle by looking for comfortable features.
Not everybody likes the same things, so make sure to include your personal preferences as a parameter while looking for the best school shoes. What may work for other people may not work for you; instead of settling for a neutral comfort, look for something that makes you actually feel good while worn.
Flexibility is the very base of almost any possible motion we can perform with our feet. This is a feature that, as simple as it is, has an impact on everything from walking to running. The flexibility is one of the key features required to reach a minimum of performance, as it’s part of the biomechanical process of the simplest of motions, such as walking.
A school shoe can’t lack flexibility, as it’s one of the features that ultimately determine the way we walk. When barefoot, you’ll easily notice how your feet flex forward when taking a step. Shoes, in general, should never stop your feet from naturally performing the walking motion, and that includes the arch and forefoot flex.
The materials of a school shoe must not limit the range of motion of your gaits, instead, it should resemble the shape of your feet at all times. If your forefoot flex, the toe box of the shoe must flex along, as well as the midsole and the outsole. Any element in the shoe that lacks flexibility will stop you from naturally flexing your feet when walking (or doing anything for that matter).
This decreases the performance of your shoe, but it may also place additional stress on your arch by stopping your feet from fully flexing. The materials of shoes should adapt to the shape of your feet at all times, including when they flex – not the other way around. Unlike flexible materials, stiff builds only allow your feet to move around the inner space of the shoe.
Stiff shoes are bothersome in general; you can’t expect much from a shoe that won’t even let you walk properly, let alone take part in any aerobic activity or sports. But it doesn’t stop there, stiffness can also have a negative impact on your shoes. By lacking flexibility, certain areas of the shoe start to cake because of the consistent pressure. This most commonly happens on the forefoot just below the tongue.
By preventing you to naturally bend your feet, stiff shoes end up affecting your ankles and shins as well. The muscles around these areas will struggle with the shoe, with fatigues them considerably faster when walking. It may also make your feet sore, especially around the areas where the foot presses against the non-flexible regions.
Determining the flexibility of a shoe is fairly simple; you can do so by pressing the toe box upwards while steadily holding the rest of the shoe. The forefoot should easily bend without the materials visually stressing or caking. If the frame of the shoe or the materials start to oppose, then the shoe is not flexible enough.
To check the flexibility around the heel area, do the opposite. Hold down the forefoot of the shoe while bending the heel upwards, resembling the walking motion. Depending on how the frame reacts, it’s fairly easy to visually determine if the shoe counts with enough flexibility to walk naturally.
Materials & We\ight
The materials of a shoe are the primary factor that determines the weight of the build overall. As you can probably guess, the quality of a shoe can quickly be judged based on the eminence of its materials. Low-quality materials aren’t too hard to spot – in some cases, visual inspection of the materials is all it takes to tell apart a proficient shoe from a cheap one. But, there’s some confusion regarding the selection of appropriate materials.
When it comes to the materials of footwear, it’s not only a matter of quality but also a matter of efficiency and suitability. The materials of a shoe should be according to their design and use; aside from the traditional features expected from a material (durability, flexibility, etc.), they should count with specific features that optimize the purpose of the shoe.
For example, full-grain leather is a great footwear material in general; it’s protective, durable, and very comfortable. But, full-grain leather may simply not be effective for certain activities, like running. Thus, it’s important to keep in mind the purpose and usage of a shoe when evaluating its materials.
School shoes generally don’t require materials with specific qualities aside from the standard ones. Yet, a quality school shoe is expected to have materials which deliver flexibility, breathability, comfort, and durability. Additionally, when we’re talking about multiple hours of continuous use, the weight of the materials becomes an influencing factor as well.
In activities like school, a lightweight build will always be more practical. If you’ll move around a lot, the weight of your shoe can have a big impact on your muscular fatigue. Heavy shoes contribute to quicker exhaustion of the muscles and potential discomforts, which would make school footwear significantly worse. Additionally, heavier builds place more tension and stress on the ankle and the Achilles tendon while also increasing muscular vibration.
Lightweight shoes, on the other hand, offer a large list of benefits. Being lighter makes them easier to move around, requiring less effort to perform any motions with. Although the weight difference may seem insignificant, each bit of effort reduced on every gait add up throughout the day, saving a lot of effort and thus ensuring long-lasting comfort.
When looking for school shoes (and other shoes in the future), remember that lightweightness has a limit. You could technically make a wearable shoe entirely from a light material such as air mesh. The shoe would be nearly weightless but would offer very poor support as well as stability and protection.
The ideal pair of school shoes is one that features a breathable design; whether it’s by having breathable materials or simply a structure that allows air to flow. You don’t want your feet overheating and sweating excessively at school, generating bad odors and bacteria. They should be fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I own more than one pair of shoes?
A: It’s really up to you. Although you normally won’t need more than one pair of shoes, any athletic activity or alternative class may require performance specific footwear. Additionally, you may simply own multiple shoes and alternate them to school.
Q: How much are school shoes?
A: Depending on the branding and style of the shoe, a good uniform shoe can go from around $25 and beyond. Although some users do, we don’t believe it’s necessary to go over $100 for uniform shoes.
Q: What shoes to wear for school uniforms?
A: If your school has a strict uniform etiquette, you want a pair of black (or dark) shoes, preferably moccasin style or oxford. We’ve incorporated multiple elements in our list that match uniform criteria.
Q: Can I use these shoes for other things?
A: Uniform shoes may have other practical uses; they’re very similar to that of office shoes and shoes for any uniform situation that requires walking. As for casual school shoes, there’s a variety of other uses although it ultimately depends on the type of shoe.
Q: How long should school shoes last?
A: There’s no need to replace your shoes every year if you don’t want to. The items on this list should easily endure a year of school without significant marks or degrading (as long as they’re used properly, that is).
Q: What school shoes should I get?
A: Look for something that suits your own preferences. Try multiple things and see what works best for you, not everyone has the exact same preferences. You may find a moccasin to be more comfortable for you than an oxford, for example.
Q: Where to buy school shoes?
A: We recommend online purchases through the Amazon platform. Online stores generally have much better prices than retail stores, and more importantly, the variety of products is much larger. On the internet, you’re guaranteed to find any shoes you’re looking for.
Q: How should school shoes fit?
A: You want enough space to wiggle around a bit, but you don’t want your feet to slide within the shoe either. Go for the fit that makes you the most comfortable, we recommend a tight but comfortable fit.
Q: What are the most popular school shoes?
A: When it comes to casual school shoes, the most popular choices are the trending models. Celebrity endorsed products tend to be quite popular too, along with freshly released quality-branded footwear.
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