Best Shoes for Hairdressers Reviewed & Rated

For hairdressers, standing for ten to twelve hours a day servicing clients is just another part of the job. Like last minute cancellations and no-shows, all of that standing simply comes with the territory. It’s expected.

But sore, aching feet? Those don’t have to be included in the equation.

Featured Recommendations

Dansko Professional Clog
  • Dansko Professional Clog
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rocker Bottom
  • Price: See Here
Vans Classic Slip-On
  • Vans Classic Slip-On
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Vulcanized Construction
  • Price: See Here
Aerosoles Drive Through
  • Aerosoles Drive Through
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High Density Foam Insole
  • Price: See Here

Choosing the most comfortable shoe should be a top priority for any hairdresser. Properly fitted and supportive shoes will not only avoid short-term foot pain, but will prevent a host of other, long-term health ailments including back pain, arthritis, and spinal injuries.

Nevertheless, shoe style is an obvious consideration for a hairdresser as well. Many customers expect their hairdressers to be as fashionable as they are. Finding the right balance between comfort and fashion can be tricky but, with this guide in hand, it’s not impossible.

 

10 Best Shoes for Hairdressers

 

1. Dansko Professional Clog

The Dansko Professional Clog is a cushy shoe with a lot of personality. Foremost, this shoe was crafted with comfort in mind and boasts a padded instep collar, rubber sole, and a box toe. Also available in 14 patent leather designs, ranging from a dainty ‘Pink Hibiscus’ print to a peacock-esque ‘Plume Patent’ print.
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Anti-Fatigue Rocker Bottom
An important part of the Dansko Professional Clog is its increased shock absorption, placing the feet in a forward motion that promotes energy return (often described as a light, springy feeling underfoot).

Handcrafted
The Dansko Professional Clog is built by hand in Europe (and Asia), lending each pair a subtle uniqueness. Not to mention, in a world full of assembly line shoes, nothing says ‘luxury’ more than a handmade pair of shoes.

Cost
The extra comfort and luxury are evident in the price tag for the Dansko Professional Clog. These shoes are definitely one of the more expensive options on this list — but for a durable, comfortable, and fashionable shoe, it’s worth it.
Pros

Modern, stylish designs

Slip-resistant

Removable footbed

Custom orthotics allowed

APMA approval seal

Cons

Difficult Euro sizing

Short walking only

2. Vans Classic

Vans are a classic line of well-fitting shoes, perfect for the active hairdresser. Made with soft, breathable canvas on top; a padded footbed in the middle; and a synthetic sole below, the Vans Unisex Classic Slip-On is all about putting comfort first.
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Vulcanized Shoe Construction
Vulcanization is an older shoe construction technology, used for its enhancement of durability and comfort. This technique lends itself to the classic nature of the Vans Unisex Slip-On and, more than anything, a shoe built this way means that it will last.

Unisex Sizing
It may seem obvious to point this out, but this Vans shoe is made to fit both men and women. Bonus: they run true to size.

Cost
While the price of the Vans Unisex Classic Slip-On is somewhat dependent on a pair’s particular design, it is still a moderately priced shoe. You can expect to pay the most for a pair with an unusual color scheme or theme (Darth Vader design, anyone?), and the least for a timeless pair of black and white Vans.
Pros

Large sizes available

Casual wear possible

Fashionable design

Enhanced shock absorption

Flat sole

Narrow heel

Cons

No show socks only

Little arch support

3. Birkenstock Florida

You need strong support on your long-standing days. The footbed is soft and constructed with cork-latex. It has an anatomical design for better foot molding and the elastic latex is a permanent built-in. The upper is constructed with Birko-Flor that is friendly to the skin but strong. You'll be standing on cloud nine.
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Adjustable Buckles
Your current shoes might have a great footbed but with little to no adjustable function. That can cause discomfort and nuisance but with the Florida, the adjustable buckles leave you in control of your comfort for a fit that's just right. No more slippage, looseness, and no more constricting tightness.

Suede Insole
An insole constructed with suede might sound like a bad idea, but for these shoes, it's the best thing ever. You'll have a flexible lining that nestles and contours to your foot. The material is open-pored, giving you breathability and an even-temp foot climate.

Cost and Value
Birkenstock's are not the cheapest and this particular model comes at a hefty price. But, what more can you ask for in quality construction and superior comfort that last not only for days but years to come?
Pros

Authentic Birkenstock build

Eliminates heel pain

Easy break-in

Soft responsive footbed

Creates proper alignment

Cons

Molding takes time

4. Alegria Joleen

4. Alegria Joleen
Powerful can be simple and this is exactly what these shoes are, simply powerful. Stain resistant and slip resistant, the Joleen gives a walking motion that is natural and a stress-reducing posture. Great arch support, the footbed is removable and is constructed with memory foam, latex, and cork to form a natural foot fit. The paddled collar enhances comfort to your ankle area.
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Easy Entry
So many professional service work shoes require lacing that can be uncomfortable or annoying. The Joleen provides an easy entry of slipping the shoes on (or off) without extra work with lacing to do so. Don't worry about staying power as the inside is nicely padded for filling and stability.

Plenty of Room
You might think that extra padding will take up extra space but nope! The padding is just right for comfort and support without using up extra space. Therefore, you have extra room for your toes for relaxing and stretching while the rest of your foot is securely fit. It's the perfect fit.

Cost and Value
Depending on your personal selections, the Joleen can run you from mid-price to high price. Regardless of what you pay, you are guaranteed the same quality in every pair and your feet will thank you.
Pros

Super arch support

Great post-surgery support

Work or casual

Very fashionable designs

Cons

Stiff in the beginning

Sizing runs large

5. Crocs Specialist II

5. Crocs Specialist II
Mentioning Crocs in a crowd will always elicit mixed reactions; some people swear by the comfort, while others scoff at the style. Nevertheless, with its enhanced arch support, the Unisex Specialist II Work Clog has definitely been designed with foot relief in mind.
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Meets Workplace Standards
With a higher heel, slip-resistant treads, waterproof construction, and a thicker, contoured footbed; this clog will protect feet from unexpected drops and spills.

Iconic Crocs Comfort
Crocs come in several comfort builds; the Unisex Specialist II Work Clog provides 360-degree comfort known as the Iconic Crocs Comfort. Built with the proprietary flexible, lightweight Croslite foam resin, this shoe could be considered comfort personified.

Cost
Incredibly cheap for its comfort, the Crocs Unisex Specialist II Work Clog is so far the most affordable pair of shoes on this list.
Pros

Prolonged wear

Easy cleaning

Back heel strap

Enclosed toe

Cons

Limits wider feet

3 colors only

6. Born Julianne

6. Born Julianne
Hairdressers looking for a cute and comfortable shoe need look no further than the Born Julianne Flat. Round-toed and shaped like the ever-popular ballet flat, the Julianne Flat slips easily on to your feet. Plus, with arch support built into the footbed, this shoe will leave you with the impression that you’re walking on clouds.
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Leather Construction
The Born Julianne Flat doesn’t disappoint with its breathable leather upper and soft suede lining, specially designed to keep your feet cool. Leather and suede also give this shoe a simple and versatile elegance.

Fabric-covered Footbed
Aiding in giving the wearer that cushy cloud feeling is the fabric-covered footbeds available in the Born Julianne Flat. All day comfort can be expected on top of its pretty floral pattern.

Cost
Reasonably priced, the Born Julianne Flat falls between the Dansko and Vans on this list. It’s a good choice for someone with a moderately sized budget.
Pros

Fashionable neutral colors

Casual wear possible

Dressy wear possible

No break-in

Handcrafted construction

Cons

Medium widths only

7. Aerosoles Drive Through

7. Aerosoles Drive Through
Into the moccasin look? Aerosoles Drive Through Loafer has you covered. Classically stylish with buckles and a box toe, this shoe has the luxurious look of snakeskin without the snakes. Hairdressers with fashion-minded clients, take note.
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Memory Foam Insole
Aerosoles Drive Through Loafer has a high-density memory foam insert that, combined with the suede sock covering, works to provide the utmost comfort. The memory foam is double padded, especially at the balls of the feet, for increased flexibility. However, these footbeds are not removable.

Hidden Heel Lift
For a flat-looking shoe without the flat feeling, the Drive Through Loafer comes with an embedded ¾” heel. The hidden heel also gives support, but not much.

Cost
The Drive Through Loafer rivals the Crocs on being the most affordable option yet available. And if perhaps you’re the type to scoff at Crocs, these are a good alternative to them.
Pros

Core comfort technology

True sizing

Made of fabric

Overall roomy fit

Cons

Not slip-resistant

Little arch support

8. Skechers Go Walk 4 Pursuit

8. Skechers Go Walk 4 Pursuit
Although Skechers is primarily known for sneakers, the Skechers Performance Go Walk 4 is a different kind of shoe — one made for all-day movement. Lightweight and with a rubber sole, these shoes place comfort over style but will still easily blend into a casual outfit.
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Antibacterial Odor Control
Hands down one of the best features of the Skechers Performance Go Walk 4 is the bamboo-lined, high rebound footbed. The bamboo lining is what provides antibacterial odor control, while the high rebound is designed to return energy to your feet with every step.

Mesh Fabric Construction
The Performance Go Walk 4 is comprised of a soft, breathable mesh fabric to keep feet cool. The heel of the shoe benefits especially from the mesh fabric construction, as it is overlaid in panels to promote stability.

Cost
Skechers is an affordable mid-range brand, comparable with the Vans on this list. The low-key look and focus on comfort bring these Skechers at a great price.
Pros

Swollen feet support

Easy slip on

Good traction

Cushioning midsole

Cons

No thick socks

9. Klogs USA Austin

9. Klogs USA Austin
Considered “better than barefoot,” the Klogs USA Austin Open Back Clog is another comfortable and stylish option for hairdressers spending hours upright. Oiled leather lends this shoe a softer look, but a little bit of stiffness that may need time to be broken in.
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Removable Footbed
The Klogs USA Austin Open Back Clog can accommodate custom orthotics with its removable footbeds. The footbeds are also thick, allowing for superior shock absorption.

Adjustable Instep
Get closer to a perfect fit for the Austin Open Back Clog with a timelessly fashionable leather buckle strap across the instep. Though the adjustment capabilities are slight, it is enough to maximize comfort.

Cost
The Austin Open Back Clog hovers in the same price range as the Dansko and Alegria shoes on this list, making them a considerable investment. Nevertheless, if comfort and durability are desired, these are an excellent purchase.
Pros

Stability and traction

Superb arch support

True sizing

All-day comfort

Cons

High platform, heel

No heavy socks

10. Dr. Scholls Wondrous Slip-On

10. Dr. Scholls Wondrous Slip-On
Dr. Scholl’s is a brand known foremost for their soft, cushiony insoles. It’s likely if you’ve been a hairdresser for any length of time, that you’ve used a pair of Dr. Scholl’s insoles before. With those same plush insoles built right in, the Wondrous Slip-On Loafer will take you comfortably through your busy days.
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Athletic Look
Designed and detailed with a sporty style in mind, Dr. Scholl’s Wondrous Slip-On Loafer is an everyday alternative to actual sneakers. Microsuede and mesh make them good for keeping the feet cool while remaining lightweight and easy to wear.

Overall Support
The Wondrous Slip-On Loafer is an overall supportive shoe with help from its cushioned gel heel, which allows the shoe to improve support through the arch of the foot, ankles, back, and knees.

Cost
Dr. Scholl’s Wondrous Slip-on Loafer is another good mid-range choice, landing amongst Aerosoles and Crocs in price. It’s easy to think that more money equals more comfort, but this shoe proves instead that comfort need not be contingent on cost.
Pros

Easy fit zipper

Gel heel

Gel insole

No break-in

Cons

Sizing runs small

No wide width

While any idea of “the best” can be subjective, and therefore variable, it becomes less so when the topic is about shoes that are built to withstand the active hairdresser lifestyle. Any time extended standing is required, good arch and heel support are necessary for both safety and comfort. Evaluating what shoe best meets your needs can often be an arduous undertaking, involving hours of surfing websites and reading reviews. With this list nearby, however, finding the next best shoe is now quick and painless.

 

Criteria For Evaluating the Best Shoes for Hairdressers

Comfort

Standing for upwards of ten hours daily is incredibly demanding by itself; imagine if your feet were achy and cramping the entire time! Having a comfortable shoe that can carry you through such a day is paramount. As such, shoes with cushioned footbeds are the most desirable. Often, these footbeds are made with memory foams and gels that conform to your foot for a unique fit. If the standard cozy footbeds aren’t enough, shoes built with comfort in mind will have removable footbeds altogether; just slip in an orthotic instead and go.

Comfort isn’t just about insoles, though. Roomy shoes that allow feet to spread should be a top consideration as well since shoes that are too narrow and tight can cause unpleasant corns and bunions.

  • Hairdresser shoes have to support long hours of standing.
  • The foot bed determines how long the feet can be supported.
  • Memory foam and gel foot beds are the best choice.
  • Removable foot beds give you options in using your own orthotic foot beds.
  • Roominess, especially in the toe box, is important too.

 

Style

As a hairdresser, shoes simultaneously must be comfortable and make a statement. No matter how good a shoe feels, you won’t wear it if you don’t like it. Shoes with detailed buckling impart a classic look that can be dressed up or down to fit mood and events alike. Leather and suede, on the other hand, feel and look luxurious.

Shoes with embossing or engraving are an understated kind of decoration, also imparting an effortlessly opulent look and feel. For more ‘pop’, many of the leather and suede styles also come in bold colors and bright prints.

  • You’re a hair stylist, your shoe style is important.
  • Leather and suede make a great style choice.
  • Details such as buckles, embossing, and engraving can spice your look up.
  • Bold colors and bold prints help too.

Material

Rubber soles are often non-slip, an important feature for hairdressers to think on when hair of all textures will be underfoot. Furthermore, salons rarely have carpet; linoleum and wood are significantly easier to clean and significantly easier to slip on.

Another feature to be mindful of is the cooling effect of mesh materials, particularly when used as the upper part of the shoe. Hot, sweaty feet are not only uncomfortable — foot odor and infections can follow.

  • Rubber outsoles that are slip resistant are the best choice.
  • There should be breathability that cools the feet, especially in the upper.

 

Support

Wearing a shoe without sufficient support is a quick way to land yourself in a world of suffering, so spending the time to find the right balance is not without perks. It is important to note that shoes that are too flat tend to lack heel and arch support. Heel and arch support are necessary to avoid foot ailments such as painful fallen arches or plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the heel that can manifest as a stabbing pain through the foot. Conversely, shoes with too high of a heel add tension and stress to leg muscles and the lower back.

  • Avoid shoes that are flat and lack heel and arch support.
  • Too high of a heel adds tension and stress to the muscles, especially in the lower back.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How long do hairdressers stand?
A: Hairdressers stand typically anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day, up to six days a week.

Q: Why does the size chart say something like “41 EU”?
A: EU stands for “European”, denoting that the shoe sizes are calculated using the European standard. EU is expressed in centimeters (cm), in contrast to American sizes that are expressed in inches (in).

Q: Why don’t any of the recommendations have shoelaces?
A: When standing for an extended period of time, shoelaces tied tightly can decrease comfort and foot flexibility. Shoelaces also increase the pressure across the top of the foot.

Q: Are footbeds and insoles the same thing?
A: Yes. Sometimes also called ‘inner soles’ or ‘inserts’, footbeds are used inside of shoes to provide cushioning, warmth, stability, and deodorization.

Sources

  1. Kristin Kloberdanz, M.A., Hair Dressers: Why they don't wear high heels, and other tales from Beauty Central, Informative, Jan 20, 2018
  2. Cosmetologist Life, A Healthy Cosmetologist Career will Keep You Making Money!, Guide,
  3. Alison Alhamed, The Best Shoes to Wear All Day at the Salon, Guide, Mar 22, 2012


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