10 Best Shoes for High School Students Reviewed & Rated
Before you buy, make sure your choice passes the test of versatility, style, and comfort as these are going to be some of the most important facts that affect whether or not a shoe is good enough for high school. Something else you may way to keep in mind is that trendy and fashionable shoes are fun, but well-known favorites are timeless and have stood the test because they’re cool and comfortable. The best shoes to wear to school are stylish, comfortable, versatile and flattering.
Below we are going to delve in to ten of the best shoes for high school, and help make it a little easier on you when you go to select that perfect outfit for the first day of classes. From sneakers to flats, and even some boots mixed in, this list has a little bit of something for everyone.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 106 hrs of research
Wide variety of colours
- Adidas Stan Smith
- Converse All Stars
- Timberland 6
- Native Shoes Jefferson
- Nike Cortez
- Dansko Jenna
- Earthies Essen
- Bernie Mev Bella Me
- Vionic Floriana
- TOMS Paseo Mid
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Adidas Stan Smith
Wide variety of colours
Sizes tend to run large - consider ordering a half size smaller
Somewhat heavy to pack
Since hitting the courts in 1963, these legendary sneakers are enjoying something of a renaissance these days. Featuring premium upper leather, three perforated stripes and the instantly recognizable heel tab, Adidas delivers a street-style high fashion look. Why do they keep showing up on celebrities and trendsetters 50 years on? Because they look cool on everyone.Read more
White leather sneakers look sleek and sexy, and there’s something about the luxuriousness of soft leather combined with the casual low top sneaker that looks great without trying hard. The key to wearing dressier clothes with sneakers is to avoid bulky footwear (unless you want to look like Jerry Seinfeld). They’re clean-cut, classy and can be incorporated into just about any style of dress. For a preppy look, pair them with chinos.
The simple yet chic white design really pops when paired with virtually any outfit. They look especially great with cuffed jeans. Or wear them with tailored gym pants, denim skirts or cut-offs. Their lean and flat silhouette make a cutting fashion statement.
Cost and Value
For a designer sneaker, the price is definitely reasonable for anyone on a budget. They’re a good investment if you’re looking for fashionable leather kicks. White footwear invariably scuffs easily, however, so they’re not ideal for heavy outdoor use.
2. Converse All Stars
Simple to clean
Minimal arch support
Sizing runs large - consider ordering one-half size down
A staple in anyone’s wardrobe is a pair of casual sneakers to hang out in. Nothing fancy, just a simple pair of canvas kicks. And of all the varieties in this class (such as Vans and Keds) Chuck Taylors deliver the best bang for your buck. These sneakers debuted in 1917, so it’s safe to say they are always going to be in style. Pair them with your favorite jeans or even with a summer dress for instant street cred.Read more
Canvas-uppers, a white toe cap and vulcanized rubber soles add up to effortless style. The brand exploded during the 80’s and remain hugely popular, offering a seemingly limitless variety of colour and design.
Vulcanized Rubber Sole
“Vulcanization” refers to the chemical treatment of rubber into a polymer. The result is a material with greater resistance than untreated rubber. In other words, a vulcanized rubber sole lasts longer thanks to its greater impact resistance.
Cost and Value
Cons are a good bet if you’re looking for a casual shoe you can wear every day. They’re inexpensive and easy to keep clean. Everyone needs a pair of basic sneakers and choosing Chucks is basically a no-brainer.
3. Timberland 6
They run large so order a half size down from your sneaker size
If you only buy one pair of boots it’s hard to go wrong with a pair of Timbs. These rugged and dependable boots are guaranteed to keep your feet dry any time of year. The signature work boot style combines a yellow waterproof leather upper with thick rubber lug soles for maximum durability.
First manufactured as a waterproof hiking boot during the 70’s, the brand fairly exploded in the 90’s when they began to take hip-hop culture by storm. (They showed up in videos and were incorporated into rap verses by Biggie and Q-Tip.) They’re extremely durable - a pair can last you for years without showing wear and tear. In addition to being extremely versatile they’re also unisex.
Waterproof Leather Upper
How do Timberland boots keep your feet dry come rain or snow? By impregnating the leather upper with waterproof properties in the tanning process of course! Next, the stitch line is heat-sealed to the rubber lug sole keeping water out.
Light and Comfortable
The problem with many waterproof boots is that the heavy material can create what feels like greenhouse conditions inside. But, since hitting the market forty years ago the Timberland company keeps tweaking the original construction as newer, lighter materials become available. The lightweight, anti-fatigue insoles are made with inverted cone foam for shock absorption and support. A padded collar cushions the ankle for extra comfort. Also, the rubber gum sole provides traction on all terrains.
Cost and Value
You pay handsomely for this level of quality, craftsmanship and long life. Unlike most popular footwear companies, Timberland designs and hand-crafts its products in the USA. Buying a pair helps ensure they’ll be around for many years to come.
4. Native Shoes Jefferson
May cause initial discomfort before breaking in.
What a concept: Slip-on sneakers that actually stay on your feet! Fashioned after classic sneakers, this injection-molded vinyl footwear is not only sturdy but anti-microbial, breathable and easy to wash. Inspired by a classic sneaker design (see Chuck Taylors) Jeffersons are slowly but surely cornering the slip-on sandal-style sneaker market.Read more
Seriously… seriously! The EVA upper, lining, and sole and the all-over perforations make for one of the lightest footwear you’ll ever own. They’re like wearing air socks. Great for stashing in your backpack. Feet stay dry and cool - the perforations allows feet to “breathe.” Also features antimicrobial properties to reduce foot odour. And a bonus: Jeffersons are a breeze to clean.
It’s likely no coincidence that footwear like Doc Martens, Converse, and Birkenstocks have dominated the industry for decades on account of their gender-fluid appeal. Shoes that look great on men and women, like the Jefferson, are a good bet that they’ll stay in fashion.
Cost and Value
For a slip-on, easy-to-wear sneaker style shoe, the Jefferson may be the best product on the market for the cost. Unlike flip-flops that can put a strain on the ankle, knee and back muscles, the Jefferson can be worn all day strain-free, making them good value.
5. Nike Cortez
Sizes can run narrow if you have wide feet
The Cortez design kick started the Nike company when they were introduced for the 1972 Olympics and endures to this day. The running-style footwear is always fashionable and comes in a dazzling variety of color combos. The laser-perforated leather and cored-out sole make it light and airy. The round toe box is a welcome feature if your feet run wide.Read more
Everyone loves a classic; these vintage style kicks are a sure way to look fly and be comfortable at the same time. The simple Nike swoosh seems to hold up to changing trends and will probably always look current. They come in over a dozen styles - choose a color that complements your wardrobe. The black and gold trim look great with black leggings while the black and white style is a sure bet to pair with jeans.
Herringbone Traction and cushioned insole
For superior traction the soles have the classic herringbone pattern (named after the bones in this cold water fish) The low-cut collar gives maximum flexibility and range of motion while every step you take is cushioned by the lightweight EVA wedge outsole.
Cost and Value
You can almost always find a pair on sale - but even at the full retail price this is an affordable sneaker. Buy an extra pair, because you’ll want to have these in your wardrobe for a while.
6. Dansko Jenna
Ankle strap can cause initial discomfort if worn without socks.
These leather wedge pumps are an excellent way to add some lift without the harmful effects associated with high heels (or ballet flats, for that matter). They feel like sneakers but look like a dress shoe - making this nothing short of a triumph in footwear. And, as a bonus, Jennas area no-brainer for the late summer to early fall transition season.Read more
EVA + Arch Support
The molded EVA footbed with its built-in arch support makes for an added layer of comfort and shock absorption. A thin layer of Memory Foam on top of the removable insole adds flexibility. It’s one of a small handful of women’s footwear approved by the APMA.*
*American Podiatric Medical Association
Velcro Wraparound Strap
Unlike flimsy straps with perforations that tend to stretch out, the Velcroed leather strap wraps around with ease and are a cinch to adjust. Thin strappy shoes can look unflattering on less than dainty feet - these are guaranteed to flatter.
Cost and Value
A smart investment for your feet - the Nubuck leather upper is treated with 3M Scotchgard to resist staining.
7. Earthies Essen
True to size
Full arch support
All foot conditions
Durable steel shanks
Creates squeaky noise
This beautiful shoe will be your teen’s next favorite pair to wear at school. It’s a flat constructed with suede and has a single figure-eight band to help keep the feet in place while giving a classy look. Every step is supported with a contoured comfort insole and the inner lining is a soft leather. The upper is constructed with soft and patent leather plus suede and the outsole is rubber.Read more
This technology is nothing more than a footbed that has been contoured. The contouring will shape to the feet to provide better comfort, fit, and inside grip. There is a built-in elasticity for a better give and stretch. No more flat footwear that hurts.
Think of this shoe as a cross between a slip-on flat and a tie-on shoe without the extra work. This band is stretchable but with a firm hold to keep the feet in place and prevent any accidental slipping off. Also, the style design of the band gives the Essen an elegant, stylish look that can be worn anytime and anywhere.
Cost and Value
Mid-range pricing which is affordable and not too expensive for a student. The premium suede material provides long-lasting durability and the comfort sole will keep the footwear on the feet for a very long time. Cute enough style to last every year in high school.
8. Bernie Mev Bella Me
Lightweight - easy to pack
Casual yet elegant look
Not great for wet weather
Called the “yoga pants of footwear” New-York based Bernie Mev is at the forefront of the popular woven footwear design. The flexible leather and elastic material conforms to the contours of all feet - perfect for teens whose feet may still be growing. Memory foam insoles for arch support make them a walking shoe with style.Read more
Crafted with woven elastic thread from the suede-trimmed upper on down to the cushioned footbed. Finished with a rubber pod sole for shock absorption and traction. The interior is lined with antimicrobial treatment for maximum freshness. Extremely lightweight.
Sporty yet Feminine
Woven textile lining made with elastic to conform to the shape of your foot. Rounded ballerina toe to flatter all shapes. A modern take on the classic toe-capped ballerina flat.
Cost and Value
Though the price point is much higher than traditional sandals it’s definitely a good investment for your feet.
9. Vionic Floriana
True to size
Perfect for flat feet
Great arch support
Beading loosens easily
All day comfort plus style is possible with the Floriana. The decorated thong sandals have an upper that is man-made with style accents and beads. Easy slip-on/off, the lining is smooth and the footbed is an orthotic that is Podiatrist-designed. The heel cup is deep for support and the midsole is flexible for shock-absorption and pressure reduction.Read more
A lot of sandals have a flat sole with little to no support. That isn’t good for your feet especially if you special foot issues such as flat feet or pronation. The arch support in the Floriana is podiatrist created meaning you’ll have a support that actually does its job and not a teeny wedge that does nothing. This will help relieve all kinds of pain such as ankle and knee.
Both of the soles in these shoes give great benefits. The midsole is EVA and it absorbs shock and reduces stress. The outsole is durable with a wave-patterned tread for a good grip on all kinds of surfaces. This is great to wear when walking across campus and crossing different kinds of floors, terrains.
Cost and Value
Mid-price range and worth it. These might seem odd for a high school footwear but if it’s warm out and open-backed sandals are allowed, why not wear something that is stylish and supportive? Going from class to class, building to building, and step to step can be a lot but it can be pain and problem free with this pair.
10. TOMS Paseo Mid
Easy to style
Variety of colors
Ethical - TOMS gives a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair sold.
Can stretch over time
The casual yet smart tailored look of these low-profile casual sneakers means they can be paired with virtually anything. The beige rubber lining and grey woven textile materials offer excellent scuff resistance and around-the-clock comfort. Dressy enough to pair with chinos and a blazer yet casual enough for jeans and a t-shirt. Brown leather is a good neutral color to pair with a range of attire. They’re also easy to clean and extremely comfortable.Read more
Supple, Flexible leather
The upper is soft and flexible which means you can wear them without the painful breaking in period.
Durable rubber outsole; textile lining and a molded breathable insole add comfort.
Cost and Value
Very affordable - easy to find sales. Worth having as an all around dressy lace up sneaker style shoe.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Buying new shoes for the school year can be stressful; you want a few quality pairs of shoes for your child that is going to last the entire year and also be able to be worn on the weekend, and in everyday life outside of school. When deciding what will best suit your child’s needs and their school’s potential dress code, comfort should be one of the most important things.
Fit and comfort go hand in hand, so you want to make sure that nothing about the shoe is too loose or too tight, and that it will remain comfortable on their feet all day without the chance of causing irritation or blisters. You don’t necessarily want the sturdiest shoe because they tend to not be very flexible or offer much movement, however, support is essential.
Where fit is concerned, it is important to know that some shoes require a break-in period whereas others do no. Take this into account when purchasing a stiffer material shoe like booties, or certain sneakers. This doesn’t mean that with time they will not form to your feet, but at first, you may want to take them off after only a few hours, and that is not always a possibility when at school all day.
Know your size, and know that not all brands and styles will fit the same; try all shoes on before deciding to wear them out or to school for the first time to ensure that they either feel great, or you are prepared for the potentially painful day ahead of you. There are certain things to avoid when wanting to buy a comfortable shoe, firstly any type of high heel. Heels shouldn’t even be something you consider wearing to High School anyway, however, if the thought has crossed your mind, save those pumps for dances, and prom because they are the last things you will want to be running to class in.
Depending on the type of shoes you want, most should offer some type of cushioning in the footbed and midsole, so that your child’s feet are not sore and tired by the end of the day. A good amount of cushioning is generally more so found in sneakers, or running shoes, however other styles can be as well.
Sneakers are the best choice for wanting to be comfortable and carefree all day. They have the most comfortable footbed, and due to the fact they have no break-in period, they will fit your feet right out of the box, and ensure no irritations occur. If orthotics or any added support is necessary, sneakers or running shoes are also the easiest shoes to add insoles into.
-The fit of the shoe plays a strong role in comfort. It can’t be too tight or too loose as to avoid any blisters, irritations, and problems with walking. There must be flexibility and any break-in period must be accounted for as well.
-Try on different pairs to adjust for size and fit. Also, make sure you choose footwear that is proper for the high school environment. It’s best to avoid heels as those should be for special school occasions only such as the prom.
-The footwear should provide plenty of cushioning, especially in the midsole and footbed. Athletic shoes usually have more cushioning but it can be found in non-athletic footwear too. If needed, add orthotics or any other supportive insoles.
Every teenager will start developing their own style and care more and more about how they look and dress as the years go on. So even if the shoes are not the most comfortable, if every kid in class has them, chances are your child is going to want to too. There is nothing wrong with wanting to follow trends, however, try to encourage your child to keep in mind that there are trendy, yet comfortable shoes as well, and those are a better option.
From rain boots to sneakers and everything in between there is a style and shoe out there for your teen but it is important to find the right one. Through trial and error your teen will find what works best for them, and what they prefer to wear to school, although every now and then that may change and they may want to switch up their style, this should be encouraged, High School is where you are beginning to find yourself, and that can sometimes start with something as simple as personal style.
When your child is a baby you shop for them and dress them how you think looks cute, now is their time to embrace their inner style and express themselves as they please, so something like choosing their own footwear can be a big step. Start by narrowing down the types of shoes they will need throughout the year and different seasons and then try to allow them the choice, keeping in mind certain points.
The shoes should be comfortable and properly fitted so that they stay on all day. Rain boots are great for the fall and winter months, but if they are not super lightweight they can be an annoyance to have to lug around on your feet all day. Find a lightweight pair that feels good and look chic, shockingly enough rain boots can be quite stylish and easily made to be fashionable.
At this point your teenager, of course, knows how to tie their laces, so opting for velcro is not really an option anymore, however, laces even as a teenager can be irritating if they do not stay tied, or need to be untied to switch into other shoes for a specific class but the knot is too tight. Slip-on shoes or flats are a great option when you want convenience. These although at times can be stiff at first, they can be easily broken in and will feel like a slipper every time you wear them.
By this point in your teen’s life, they should be set in their shoe size and it shouldn’t be changing anytime soon, so investing in more expensive, quality shoes that will be durable, and last for at least the entire school year is crucial. From running between classes to hanging around outside during lunch, their shoes will be enduring a lot, so make sure they can withstand it all. That isn’t to say that you need to go out and splurge because whichever shoes you do decide on probably won’t make it past the school year anyway, but taking the time to carefully pick their footwear to ensure that it lasts the full year is important.
As cute, or stylish as a pair of shoes are, you need to consider how practical they will be for school. Depending on which grade you’re in, and which courses you’ve chosen, yes most of your time will be spent sitting at a desk in a classroom. However, there are a lot of physical classes such as PE, or extracurriculars that require you to be running around, either indoors or outdoors and that’s where the durability of your shoes comes in.
As they grow and move into High School their needs with change, and this is when you will begin buying sport specific shoes such as soccer cleats, golf or basketball shoes. These are not shoes that you will want or need to be repurchasing as often, so these are where money should be spent to ensure great quality, and in turn, your child will be sturdy on their feet during their sports activities and leave less room for possible injuries.
All they really need is a few pairs of solid shoes and boots that they can switch between throughout the weeks and seasons. Depending on your general climate, and how your seasons change one good pair of winter boots should last more than the year and should thoroughly keep you teenagers feet warm all day, without making them feel hot and sweaty.
The purpose of a rain boot is to keep your feet dry, not even necessarily warm or exceptionally comfortable but to ensure that absolutely no water gets in the boot. One pair will last for years, and shouldn’t need to be repurchased often, as long as they, like any other pair of shoes in your teenagers closet are breathable.
Breathability in shoes is crucial, you want to make sure that regardless of the shoe type, the material is one that will allow air flow, and let their feet breathe, so they either do not feel uncomfortable all day or embarrassed by having stinky feet. Leather and mesh are great for keeping feel cool all day, whereas synthetic or nylon can be a little stuffy.
Keeping shoes clean is one of the easiest ways to ensure their closet life, so taking the time to wipe them down carefully every now and then will do wonders. Not as common in young adult – adult shoes but if you can find a pair of sneakers that are machine washable that is a huge bonus, and worth buying. Most materials can be sprayed with a protectant, the easiest being leather and canvas. This extra step will ensure they do not get too stained, and if they do it should be easy to wipe away with a damp cloth.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Highschool is no joke. Sometimes, just getting to class on time from way across campus can have you running or jogging to your next class, loaded down with books.
Make sure that your footwear is comfortable enough for walking during the day, as well as the style and look you prefer. The right pair of sneakers can usually be worn with casual attire, like jeans or shorts, but also with something a bit dressier if you need it. Leather sneakers are a great option for such versatility, if you can find a pair you like.
Above all, you need your footwear to work, as well as look good. But, your personal style should reflect whatever it is you want to say out loud.
Brighter colors can help give a bit of a statement to your ensemble, while neutrals, whites, and blacks can blend in.
Texture helps to add some interest to your style, and patterns can help give a fun flair.
Other Factors to Consider
If you’re in high school, you know that great shoes are as indispensable to daily life as a backpack and your favorite jeans. Just like those other essentials, your sneakers should be sturdy and durable, match your personality and wardrobe, and fit your budget as well as your feet. Remember: foot health is super important to your overall health and fitness, especially if you’re still growing, so the right shoes can and should deliver total comfort, without any compromise in style. With these Top Ten recommendations, choosing the perfect pair will be a snap—because we’ve done the homework for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
They should last the entire school year, if they aren’t you should evaluate why not. Depending on the physical activities your teen is doing, or just the quality of the shoes in general, these may not be the right pair, or they may be being worn for PE class or at times when they shouldn’t be, and therefore wearing out quicker.
Fashion is very selective, and should be left up to your teenager to decide what they like, and what they feel looks and feels best on them. That being said, sneakers and the entire athleisure trend is super in right now, as well as loafers and other slip-on shoes. It is all about feeling comfortable while still looking stylish right now.
That is totally dependant on the High Schools dress code ( if they have one ) and whether or not they are allowed in the first place. If they are, to a certain degree they can be very wearable, I wouldn’t recommend wearing a pair of stilettos to History class, however, a cute pair of ankle booties, with a low stacked heel can be very cute and very comfortable.
At the end of the summer, when back to school shopping begins is the perfect time to reevaluate your closet, your shoes and see what fits and what doesn’t, as well as what you still even wear. Chances are, a lot of your teenager’s clothing items will not be things they want to wear anymore and it will be time to shop for new items. The good thing about this big shop is it should only happen about once a year.
Fit and comfort are the two most important factors to look at when buying new shoes. Of course, you want them to be durable and made of good quality, but if they don’t fit and feel good, you won’t wear them anyway so the durability won’t matter.
Depending on the shoes, most should be able to be easily wiped down, and that is something you want to keep in mind when purchasing a pair of shoes. You want to make sure that these shoes will be simple to keep looking nice and stain free and with the help of a protectant spray, this should not be too much of a challenge. There are some materials that are much more difficult to clean than others, so be wary when wearing those ( canvas, synthetics or suede. )