Best Shoes for Hairdressers Reviewed & Rated
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.
- Dansko Professional Clog
- Vans Classic
- Birkenstock Florida
- Alegria Joleen
- Crocs Specialist II
- Born Julianne
- Aerosoles Drive Through
- Skechers Go Walk 4 Pursuit
- Klogs USA Austin
- Dr. Scholls Wondrous Slip-On
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Shoes for Hairdressers
1. Dansko Professional Clog
Modern, stylish designs
Custom orthotics allowed
APMA approval seal
Difficult Euro sizing
Short walking only
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.Read more
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).
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.
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.
2. Vans Classic
Large sizes available
Casual wear possible
Enhanced shock absorption
No show socks only
Little arch support
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
3. Birkenstock Florida
Authentic Birkenstock build
Eliminates heel pain
Soft responsive footbed
Creates proper alignment
Molding takes time
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.Read more
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.
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?
4. Alegria Joleen
Super arch support
Great post-surgery support
Work or casual
Very fashionable designs
Stiff in the beginning
Sizing runs large
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.Read more
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.
5. Crocs Specialist II
Back heel strap
Limits wider feet
3 colors only
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.Read more
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.
Incredibly cheap for its comfort, the Crocs Unisex Specialist II Work Clog is so far the most affordable pair of shoes on this list.
6. Born Julianne
Fashionable neutral colors
Casual wear possible
Dressy wear possible
Medium widths only
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
7. Aerosoles Drive Through
Core comfort technology
Made of fabric
Overall roomy fit
Little arch support
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.Read more
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.
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.
8. Skechers Go Walk 4 Pursuit
Swollen feet support
Easy slip on
No thick socks
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.Read more
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.
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.
9. Klogs USA Austin
Stability and traction
Superb arch support
High platform, heel
No heavy socks
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
10. Dr. Scholls Wondrous Slip-On
Easy fit zipper
Sizing runs small
No wide width
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
Finding a perfectly-fitting pair of shoes can be like finding the holy grail; there are so many brands, styles, models and makes of shoes that it seems like it’s next to impossible, especially when you are shopping online! Fear not, as we’ve ranked each product on our list for their fit and trueness-to-size to help guide you in finding the perfect match for you.
To come up with a score for fit of a shoe, we considered several factors, like the ones mentioned above, in addition to real customer reviews, to help boil down everything into one simple score. For example, Nike tends to make shoes that are true-to-size, meaning that you can buy a pair of 11s one year, and another pair of 11s next year in a different model, and they will usually still fit (unless your feet grown or shrank). A brand like Nike will most likely have a high score when it comes to fit, but the other variables in play, such as make, model and purpose, will also affect the overall score.
Consider that a running shoe, with its thicker midsole and synthetic sole, might fit differently than a flat shoe, with its thinner midsole and hypothetical leather sole. Each of these shoes, even if they are both from Nike, may have similar scores for trueness-to-size, but a size 11 in one might not be the same as an 11 in the other. What’s a reader to do in this case? You must also consider the purpose and type of shoe it is. Knowing what kind of shoe you are buying, and for what purpose, will help you make a better decision. A running shoe might run smaller than a flat because it has thicker materials, so read customer reviews as well to arrive at the best decision for fit, in addition to just our overall score.
At the end of the day, however, a higher score for the “fit” criterion will tend to mean that the shoe experiences a better trueness-to-size than a competing product; just don’t forget all the underlying factors that are baked into arriving at that single score!
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.
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.
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 a heel add tension and stress to leg muscles and the lower back.
To find a supportive pair of shoes, consider the different layers of the shoe, namely the insole, midsole and outsole.
A firm insole will give good structure to a shoe and increase its stability and durability, but it will also increase the weight of the overall product and be less comfortable. A softer insole might be more comfortable, but that comes at the expense of stability and durability. We tried to balance these weights when evaluating our products, but each reader and wearer is different, so be aware of this trade-off.
The midsole is designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption to the shoe, nestling the foot in comfort. Whereas running shoes tend to have thick midsoles, flats and thinner shoes not designed for high-impact activities often have thinner midsoles. The reason for this is simple: you need more shock absorption and vibration dampening during high-intensity movements or activities to maintain comfort and prevent foot injury than you otherwise would with a regular shoe, flat or sandal.
A poorly-constructed outsole will lead to discomfort, slipping and foot or other bodily injury. For this reason, many manufacturers use materials that are water-, weather-, heat-, and impact-resistant. Depending on the type of footwear, one will often see outsoles made from natural or synthetic materials, such as PVC, EVA, rubber and leather. Each of these has their advantages, depending on the shoe’s purpose; however, as a general rule, they each are resistant to the aforementioned factors. They are also flexible enough to support a proper foot cycle when in motion, but they are not so flexible that they feel like a pair of socks.
Final tips on support:
- 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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
As a hairdresser, most likely you're on your feet most of the day, tending to clients. While taking breaks can sometimes be tough between clients, it will help in the long run if you can take 5-10 minutes to sit, and recharge your energy.
If sitting isn't an option, try to take a few minutes to stretch out your legs to help keep your muscles going for the day!
Support and comfort are some of the most critical features to look for in your shoes when being on your feet all day. Choose something that has proper arch support, or memory foam cushion to help reduce foot fatigue from standing, or, invest in a pair of cushioned insoles to help give that extra padding to keep you comfortable.
Other Factors to Consider
A product is a promise made, but a brand is a promise kept. A brand name is often a signal of quality and consistency in construction and durability from product to product. Although there are always exceptions to this rule, quite often brands that perform continue to perform.
A quality product is one that will follow you through the years and work the same way it did on the first day you bought the product. In regard to boots, we assessed durability in a few key ways, analyzing the materials, details, construction methods and brands to deliver to you a simple opinion: will this set of boots do the job and do it again and again? Take a look at each area we evaluated:
Which type of materials were the product made from? Are they synthetic or natural? How do they smell out of the box? All of these are critical questions we asked when evaluating the materials of the product. A pair of boots made from fabrics that don’t retain heat? They didn’t make our list!
Extra buckles, complimentary cases and reinforced fabrics are all good indicators of a manufacturer that is setting you up for long term success with their product. Attention to detail separates the high-quality producers from the cheap ones.
The Brand Name
A reputable brand is a signal of quality and trust. Often, high performers continue to perform and out-endure the competition. While there are always exceptions to the rule, we gave higher marks to manufacturers with solid reputations.
You can tell a lot about a pair of boots or shoes by how the zippers behave. Do they pull swiftly and softly, like cutting butter? Or do they jam and snap? What about the sew? If there was threading after a few wears, we considered that a warning sign of a lack of proper construction and durability.
The bottom line is that any of the products on our list were picked because they were the best ones available on the market to support hardworking and long-standing hairdressers from coast to coast. We assessed each of the products on our list for a variety of factors, from support to comfort and style to fit.
Hairdressers work in the beauty industry and they have to have shoes that match their personal style and project an image that their customers will embrace; however, they also have special needs, given their long days spent on their feet. We don't believe you should have to sacrifice comfort and support, just to look good! Hopefully, our list has something for you, no matter what your personal style.
A final word of advice would be to spend a few moments going through our criteria section. You may find some criteria are more important to you than others. Discount the ones that don't apply to you and narrow down your choices based on the features that matter most. This way, you can find the perfect pair of comfortable and stylish shoes that match you perfectly.
In conclusion, any of the products on our list are top sellers and have received positive reviews from the community of global buyers. Any one of them would be a good choice, but by narrowing down and focusing on what matters most to you, you can turn a good choice into a great one. Happy shopping!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hairdressers stand typically anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day, up to six days a week.
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).
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.
Yes. Sometimes also called ‘inner soles’ or ‘inserts’, footbeds are used inside of shoes to provide cushioning, warmth, stability, and deodorization.
Check with the manufacturer, as they often have care guides available online that can give you the best information for what to do and what not to do. Because of the varying types of shoes, their construction and materials, it's always best to check with maker directly. There would be nothing worse than reading a generic care guide, only to ruin your new pair of shoes!
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