Best Church Shoes for Places of Worship Reviewed
Though the trend of informal attire has permeated nearly every aspect of society, there are still a few places resisting this revolution — namely, religious institutions. Churches. Cathedrals. Mosques. Synagogues. No matter the place of worship, in the past, traditions likely mandated what you wore, right down to your shoes. (If shoes were allowed, of course.)
Yet, as we all know, traditions are mighty hard to break. So while the rest of the world is fine with flip-flops and tube socks, most churches still expect (and even require) modest, conservative dress. And in this new era of sneakers and leopard print, it’s entirely possible to look in your closet and realize you have nothing that fits the bill.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 105 hrs of research
Subtle Arch Support
- OluKai Moloa
- Rockport Cobb Hill Aubrey
- Rockport Perth
- Dansko Maria
- Clarks Keesha Raine
- LifeStride Parigi
- Anne Klein Tamarow
- Cole Haan Tali Grand
- Anne Klein Expert
- LifeStride Farrow
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Church Shoes
1. OluKai Moloa
Subtle Arch Support
The OluKai Moloa is a rugged leather slip-on suitable for churches with looser dress requirements. ‘Moloa’ even translates to ‘lazy’ in Hawaiian. The Moloa has a simple cloth-like look that is discreet and low profile. Handsewn whipstitching imparts a unique design, as do the pronounced rubber traction pods on the sole of the shoe. Plus, with thirteen color variants that are all subtle for a religious service, you can’t go wrong no matter what.Read more
One of the more prominent features of the OluKai Moloa is its ‘drop-in’ heel. Unique stitching around the heel counter allows the heel to be flattened, transforming the Moloa into a mule or clog-like shoe. Go from house slipper to service-ready instantly with the OluKai Moloa.
Aside from being removable and washable, the footbed of the OluKai Moloa is anatomically contoured and boosted by gel inserts for superior cushioning. There is moisture-wicking properties courtesy of a Dri-Lex microfiber cover; combined with velvety nubuck leather uppers, the Moloa provides a smooth experience akin to walking through sand.
2. Rockport Cobb Hill Aubrey
Comfortable Rubber Sole
Comfortable Round Toe
Long Break In Time
This strappy sandal has a retro style with modern comfort. With the 1.5-inch block heel, you can have a little lift without feeling uneasy on your feet. The rubber outsole and EVA foam footbed help to provide you with the added comfort that will last as long as you wear them.Read more
Unlike other boots or heels on our list that aren't adjustable, the Aubrey's can help to perfectly fit your feet perfectly. They are even adjustable so you can loosen or tighten them as needed throughout the day. Comfort is key when it comes to footwear... don't settle for less!
The EVA foam footbed adds to the comfort of the Aubrey's. The compression-resistant foam keeps the shape of your foot to protect against shock and pressure while you walk. By protecting your feet from shock, you place less stress on your muscles, allowing you to wear them longer with less pain.
3. Rockport Perth
Narrow & Wide Widths Available
Strong & Durable
As one of the first brands to create dress shoes with walking comfort, Rockport is a top-notch option for a church shoe. The Rockport Perth is a traditional boat shoe, meaning that it’s designed for boat decks, first and foremost. Nevertheless, a moccasin-style toe paired with rich leather uppers make the Perth a stylish, yet prudent choice to pair with your Sunday best.Read more
The Rockport Perth is genuinely handsewn for the ultimate strength and durability. Perth features full-grain leather uppers, grippy and textured rubber soles, and decorative eyelets. The Perth also has rawhide lacing that serves a role in both decoration and function. For further durability, and to help the shoe retain its shape, the Rockport Perth has a steel shank throughout the midfoot.
Designed to be worn without shoes, the Rockport Perth features a moisture-wicking suede upper liner for breathability. This boat shoe also has a padded collar and tongue and deep heel cup. Being that the uppers are leather, over time, the Rockport Perth will conform to your feet for a customized fit. The insole of the Perth is also moisture-wicking and is treated to reduce moisture.
4. Dansko Maria
Contoured Wooden Sole
Easy To Clean
Polyurethane Outsole For Shock Absorption
Requires Breaking In
The Dansko Maria is a perfect, classy boot that would be a perfect look for church — featuring a rounded toe and small heel that will amp up any outfit.Read more
With a 100% leather construction and a synthetic sole, the Dansko Maria will keep you looking stylish and comfortable when attending church service. A modest heel height keeps your foot supported and is completely appropriate for houses of worship.
The wide toe box and relaxed fit won't leave your feet feeling squished. You can relax knowing that your feet won't be aching from during long stretches of standing during the sermon or wearing throughout the day.
5. Clarks Keesha Raine
Available In Narrow & Wide Widths
Roomy Toe Box
True To Size
Polished Look Can Fade
Part of the Clarks Artisan Collection, the Keesha Raine loafer is a perfect companion to your Sunday best wardrobe. A 1.25” heel, split between 1” heel and 0.25” platform, provides a gentle lift to your silhouette. Available only in black and nude, CLARKS Keesha Raine also makes an effortless addition to professional and formal outfits.Read more
CLARKS brand shoes often feature proprietary comfort technology that sets them apart from other shoes. The Keesha Raine loafer features two of these exclusive designs — Cushion Plus and Ortholite. Ortholite is the material that the footbed is made of, while the Cushion Plus technology is why the footbed is anatomically targeted and adapts to the motion of your feet. The build of the Keesha Raine also reduces ball-of-foot strain and provides lasting, supportive softness.
Polished patent leather, embossed with a crocodile skin-inspired print, gives the Keesha Raine a mature look that is only enhanced by the accompanying squared toe box. A gold-buckled strap across the vamp is the only adornment the CLARKS Keesha Raine loafer has, which only further improves its simplistic style.
6. LifeStride Parigi
True To Size
Soft System Technology Insole
Padded Synthetic Insole
For a reserved retro look, consider the Dream Pairs Comodo pump. Featuring a tapered 2.5” heel, Parigi is another kitten heel with a lowkey profile. These classy heels come in many color options so you can fit your style whatever it may be.Read more
The Parigi heel has a gently pointed toe and a dainty bow across the vamp. Semi-matte patent leather uppers give these pumps a mature, yet sweet appearance. This is a shoe that can be easily paired with dresses and skirts of all lengths, or a smart pair of slacks.
Despite having a 2.5” heel, this isn’t a bad church shoe for extended standing or walking. Whether you are planning to be part of the choir or walking through the pews with a collection plate, the Parigi will keep you comfortable while you do so. The Comodo features moderate arch support and a snug fit.
7. Anne Klein Tamarow
Runs True to Size
Good Arch Support’
Extra Protective Front Toe
Tight Toe Box
While the 3-inch heel might be intimidating for some, but the sleek design and wedge heel make it a great option for church. The body of the shoes is made up of fabric while the sole is synthetic and therefore durable so you can rest assured that your investment will be worth it.Read more
Inside the Tamarow are lightweight foam insoles that aid in cushion and shock absorption. This helps to keep your feet feeling great even after long hours of standing on your feet. The insoles form to the shape of your foot and arch to better distribute your weight evenly as you walk.
The fabric body is lightweight yet durable. This will keep your feet feeling cool and comfortable throughout the day. This also means the shoes are great for hot summer days or churches that don't always have AC.
8. Cole Haan Tali Grand
Narrow & Wide Widths Available
Half Sizes Available
No Breaking In
Easy To Slip On
Bows Son’t Lie Flat
Wedge heels are often considered the best intersection of height, stability, and modesty. The Cole Haan Tali Grand is a superb example of this. Featuring a 1.5” wedge heel and a rounded closed toe, the Tali Grand has covered the bases of fashionable prudence. Tali is also purchasable in seven variants, including a chestnut brown crocodile print; almost all of them are subtle enough to be suitable for religious ceremonies.Read more
As a revamp of a previous shoe, the Tali Grand is the culmination of a four-pronged approach to comfort. Flexibility, cushioning, breathability, and weightlessness merge. The success of the Grand.OS shoe technology is in the fully padded sock lining, quilted foam-padded footbed, and shock-absorbing rubber outsole. And as if that wasn’t enough cushioning, there is also separate forefoot padding for daylong wear.
The Cole Haan Tali Grand wedge is made of vachetta leather, an untreated Italian leather popularized by designer Louis Vuitton. A gold-capped woven bow is the only decoration the Tali Grand has, so it is an unobtrusive shoe with a luxurious feel. Plus, a slightly elasticized collar adds detail and a snug fit.
9. Anne Klein Expert
True To Size
Half Sizes Available
Roomy Toe Box
No Break-In Time
These shoes won’t actually make you an expert in anything, but that doesn’t take away from their greatness. The Anne Klein Expert heel is a slingback pump with a modest, 1.75” stacked heel. Ideal for churchgoing, the Expert comes in three neutral colors and a fourth multicolour floral to choose from. An adjustable strap across the heel makes for a perfect fit.Read more
The Anne Klein Expert features proprietary Iflex technology that increases the flexibility and livability of the shoe. Iflex technology allows the Expert to bend up to 90 degrees; the Expert pump moves as you do, for ease and comfortable wearing. Between the iflex technology and the leather uppers, the Expert will provide an exceptionally unique fit.
The Expert has an understated style, but it is chic enough to transition well from church to any other occasion. (Chic and church in the same sentence? Oh yeah.) The single-buckled slingback strap and pointy toe impart a sophisticated air, while the kitten heel provides a modest height boost. Dressed with slacks or a skirt, the Anne Klein Expert can take you from a late night at work to midnight Mass.
10. LifeStride Farrow
Easy To Clean
The LifeStride Farrow is a wedge pump in the same vein as the Cole Haan Tali Grand. What sets the Farrow apart, however, is quality faux leather uppers and a distinctly adorned style. These wedges come in an effortless slip-on style yet fit snugly. The Farrow is available in widths from narrow to extra wide and in ten church-suitable hues.Read more
The Farrow from LifeStride is another shoe that provides subtle lift and stability with a 1.25” faux-stacked heel. The rounded toe is complemented by three stitched, buckled straps across the vamp. The buckles are not adjustable, but they add an element of class to the Farrow.
Soft System is LifeStride’s innovative comfort technology that makes the Farrow an excellent cushioned choice. Soft System takes a three-part approach to comfort. It uses a breathable, energy-returning foam insole; a flexible outsole that bends to reduce the impact your foot takes; and adds moderate foot support and balance.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The type of toe your shoe has will be a primary indicator of whether it is suitable for church. Closed-toe shoes, whether round or pointy, will work best. Closed-toe shoes will make sure that you don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself or otherwise distract fellow parishioners.
Round closed-toe shoes are ultimately preferred, as they will serve to hide your feet and make them appear smaller. Square-toed shoes are equivalent to round-toed shoes. Pointy closed-toe shoes are a decent secondary choice, if your church leans more casually in dress code or if being fashionable is of import to you. Keep in mind, though, that some pointy shoes stand out just by being pointy.
Oppositely, open-toed shoes are not ever recommended. Many religious institutions have specific statements about open-toed shoes and those that don’t still are likely to have an unspoken rule. However, if you can’t avoid wearing open-toed shoes — or if you’re sure your church allows casual dress — try to opt for shoes with small openings, like a peep-toe.
Another critical consideration is heel height. Sky high heels have never been more popular than they are today; it’s not uncommon to see 5” heels in even the most mundane situations. Nonetheless, as trendy as they are, save the highest of your heels for another time. The recommended heel height for a church shoe is 2” or lower, although a 3” heel could work if the shoe is otherwise demure.
Of secondary importance is the type of heel your shoe has. While thicker, chunkier heels are ofttimes painted as unsexy, they are perfect for churchgoing. Remember, though, that heels are entirely optional too. No one will look twice if your shoes are flat.
While heels continue to be one of the most popular styles of footwear for ladies, always remember you are going to a place of worship. Modesty is key, as you are here to pay tribute and give thanks to your God. Stick to our recommendation: 3" heels are the max you should wear to church or your other house of worship!
This is likely a no-brainer, but shoe color is something to think about when picking out a shoe for church. Neutral colors like black, brown, and white are, of course, easy choices, but it’s okay to want another color or three. First, know that pastel colors are more acceptable than “hot” tones, like neon pink or green. Even if your shoe fits the other criteria for religion-based modesty, a loud color can override all of that.
On the other hand, some colors are better darkened. For example, the average red shoe is going to be too attention-grabbing for a religious ceremony. Burgundy, however, is muted and unobtrusive. Another example is the blue hues. Navy is a common shoe shade that is almost a neutral all its own.
The outsole, or more simply, the sole of the shoe, makes direct contact with the ground and therefore supports the entire foot and body when in motion. 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.
A sole made of the materials above tends to score higher on our product evaluations, as they are not only comfortable but also support other criteria, such as “support” and “durability.”
The insole is the proverbial foundation of the entire shoe. The sock liner lays on top of the insole, which is then fused to the midsole, and finally the 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 final word on insoles is that the higher the score the product receives, the firmer it will be; however, it might also mean the insole experiences one of the trade-offs discussed earlier.
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. Midsoles are often made from EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate), a synthetic plastic also used to make insertable orthotics. A firmer type of EVA for the midsole will make the shoe heavier, but more durable; whereas a softer type of EVA, like those found in running shoes, improve shock absorption, but wear much quickly.
Podiatrists tend to prefer firmer midsoles for those suffering from orthopedic conditions, such as plantar fasciitis. A higher score on the “midsole” criteria means that the midsole is firmer. Whether or not this is beneficial for you depends on your foot type and orthopedic issues!
A shoe that breathes is critical to providing the wearer a comfortable and healthy experience when sporting a pair of shoes, sandals or boots. A lack of breathability will create a wet and humid foot, leading to discomfort and possible fungal or bacterial infections that are painful and difficult to cure.
How does a manufacturer ensure their product will allow maximum airflow? There are several ways to achieve this, including using special fabrics in the upper of the product, lining the midsole with moisture-wicking technologies and finally, the good old use of perforations of holes throughout the product.
If a product scores high on this metric, the buyer can rest assured that the manufacturer has used some or all of the above techniques to ensure the wearer a comfortable and dry wearing experience.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
For some services, it may require that you stand on your feet for some time. Shoes with ample cushion can help keep your feet from getting sore, as well as give you a plush on foot feel.
For your next pair of church shoes, if you find yourself standing a good bit of the time, choose something with great cushion and support!
Some attention should be given to the style of dress that religious ceremonies require. A more modest attire is needed in a place of worship, and your footwear should reflect something appropriate as well. While high heels still can be worn, they should be less glamourous or glitzy than something you'd wear for a night on the town.
Other Factors to Consider
To assess each of the products on our list for durability, we not only read through thousands of customer reviews on our recommended products, but we also looked for some of the hallmarks of quality construction. From brand name reputation to their initial smell out of the box, there are a few ways of identifying a well-built, made-to-last product.
A zipper that doesn’t zip or snaps? Poor threading technique? A smelly, chemical residue on the shoe when you open the box? All these details were looked for an evaluated when assigning a score for durability.
Certain materials last longer than others, even if that comes at the expense of a higher score in the “comfort” criterion. Materials that are synthetic, thicker and firmer tend to score higher on durability.
A shoe made for running and high-impact sports will not likely last as long as a good pair of general activity shoes and that’s okay. Being aware of the shoe’s purpose is critical for you as a reader and for us as a reviewer. Although shoes that will last longer score higher on this criterion, you might also see high scores to shoes with a more limited durability, if that product was specifically designed for certain purposes that involve high-impact and high-stress motions. We take into account the type of shoes you are trying to purchase when assigning scores to shoes in this criterion.
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. Brand names on our list tend to score higher in the durability score.
The final word on durability is that a higher score on this metric means the product will last longer than its competitors, given similar shoe purpose, type, age and usage. Again, it never hurts to read some customer reviews before hitting the “buy” button.
When reviewing shoes to wear to church, there are a few things to keep in mind. It can’t be overstated that modesty is the foremost consideration when searching. Unassuming and straightforward shoe designs will serve you best not just as a shoe to wear for religious services, but also as items that are easy to blend back into your everyday wardrobe.
Finding the best shoes to wear to church is really about adhering to a modest dress code. Though the phrase ‘come as you are’ lends itself to the ever-increasing casualness in the church, it’s not exactly meant literally either. We hope you’ve found this guide useful in narrowing your search for the perfect church shoe.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I find out if my church has a dress code?
If your church has a website, the easiest way would then be to visit their website. Churches that have sites will often have primers on the kind of etiquette and behavior necessary. If your church doesn’t have a website, calling the church for the dress requirements is your next best bet. Just avoid calling during typical worship times.
q: Will a church kick me out if I’m not correctly dressed?
Fortunately, it’s rare to be kicked out of a church for inappropriate dress. You may receive sidelong glances, or someone may pull you aside to mention your outfit to you politely.
q: Should I wear different shoes for an evening service?
Ultimately this is up to you, but it’s not required. A good, single pair of shoes should be sufficient for day or evening services.
q: Do church dress codes also include church weddings?
Not necessarily. While dressing conservatively helps you err on the side of caution, a wedding is still an event separate from the church. If it’s not too late, try checking in with the betrothed; they’ll have the final say.