Best Shoes for Hairdressers Reviewed
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.
- Dansko Professional Clog
- Anti-fatigue Rocker Bottom
- Vans Classic Slip-On
- Vulcanized Construction
- Aerosoles Drive Trhough
- High Density Foam Insole
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
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.
Modern, stylish designs
Removable footbed for custom orthotics
Promotes good foot health with an American Podiatric Medical Associations (APMA) Seal of Acceptance
European sizing can be difficult to figure out
Not good for long-distance walking
2. Vans Classic Slip-On
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.
Available in sizes up to Womens 15/Mens 14
Fashionable design goes with everything casual
Enhanced shock absorption
Flat sole and narrow heel
Best worn with no-show socks
Not a lot of arch support
3. Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor
The Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Birko-Flor sandal has a cork footbed that molds to the shape of the wearer’s foot over time. Simply by walking, this sandal will provide a close, custom fit. Moreover, the cork footbed optimizes the support it gives by helping to evenly distribute body weight across the foot.
A Fashion Staple
Although Birkenstock is more than well-known for comfort, the Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Birko-Flor is highly regarded for its effortless and versatile two-strap design. They are also instantly recognizable.
Pricier than the Vans on this list, but less than the Danskos, the Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Birko-Flor is a good midrange investment in comfort and reliability.
Completely adjustable straps
Manufactured in Germany since 1744
Available in narrow, medium, and wide widths
Roomy toe box area
Not good for flat feet
4. Alegria Alli
The Alegria Alli Black Embossed Paisley shoe has footbeds made of memory foam, cork, and latex, crafted to conform to the foot and create a custom fit. Yet the footbeds are also removable and can be swapped out to accommodate custom orthotics.
Adjustable Velcro Instep Straps
Enhancing the ability to provide the perfect fit, the Alli Black Embossed Paisley shoe has two adjustable velcro instep straps, hidden underneath stylish silver double buckling.
Pricewise, the Alegria Alli Black Embossed Paisley is comparable with the Dansko shoes at the beginning of this list. That means they’re pretty costly, but, again, the comfort is absolutely worth it.
Encourages proper posture through natural rocker walking motion
Roomy toe box
Stain-resistant leather upper
1.5” heel height
5. Crocs Specialist II
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.
Good for prolonged wear
Easy to clean
Includes back heel strap
May not be roomy enough for wider feet
Only available in three colours
6. Born Julianne Flat
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.
Several fashionable, neutral colours available
Can be dressed up or down
No need to break in
Only available in medium widths
7. Aerosoles Drive Through
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.
Core comfort technology
Fits true to size
Made of fabric
Overall roomy fit
Little arch support
8. Skechers Go Walk 4 Pursuit
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.
Good for swollen feet
Easy to slip on
Cushioning through midsole
Not good to wear with thick socks
9. Klogs USA Austin Open Back
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.
Good stability and traction
Superb arch support
Fits true to size
2” heel and 1” platform
Difficult to wear with heavy socks
10. Dr. Scholl’s Wondrous Slip-On
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.
Easy-fitting zipper front
Gel heel and insole
No break-in time
No wide width sizing
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.