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Dear Sir's,

I have been reading the posts here for the past few months and have been greatly impressed by the collective knowledge here. With that in mind, I pose a question to anyone with similar experiences, especially Teacher, whose post's I have to come to enjoy. My question is in regards to leather vs. rubber soled shoes. I know that the vast majority of readers here would advocate for leather soled shoes over their rubber counterparts, and I would defiantly agree, but a recent experience has left me wondering. I am a graduate student trying to become a teacher who is looking to purchase shoes that I can wear after school and into my teaching career. I have a few pairs of leather soled shoes that are mostly worn to church or short social functions; in short, I wear them more sitting down or for shorter lengths of time rather than standing all day in them. I wore a pair of these to my first teacher observation at a local school the other day, however by the end of the day my feet hurt more than they had in recent memory. I couldn't understand how my normally comfortable shoes had left my feet so sore. So, my question is, if one were to be in a profession where one were standing all day, like a teacher, and not behind a desk, would rubber soled shoes be preferred for comfort over leather soled shoes? I am seriously contemplating purchasing a pair of Allen Edmonds as they come highly recommended by most gentlemen here, but am wavering over which sole to purchase because of the fear of having a pair of shoes that I love but can't wear normally because of my profession. I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to give a bit of background. Thank you to all who reply. I am in your debt.

Respectfully,
S. Timmer
 

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Perhaps teaching will give you some lessons in spell checking and using paragraphs. Sorry I had to do that to a new guy. Welcome and keep posting.

Your question is a good one. In my view, comfort is first. Your students will never know the difference and you need to be able to do your job. Keep the dress shoes for their intended purpose. Buy comfortable shoes for their intended purpose.
 

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So, my question is, if one were to be in a profession where one were standing all day, like a teacher, and not behind a desk, would rubber soled shoes be preferred for comfort over leather soled shoes?
Sure. In previous discussions many professions (cops, factory managers) have indicated they wear rubber-soles where matters of utility trump fashion. Most of us that pontificate on clothes and shoes probably sit in an office all day. :)
 

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I'll add my two cents. While I am a lawyer, traditionally considered a desk job, I am actually on my feet all day. I am a high volume civil litigator and am frequently on the docket for 3-5 cases in a morning session of Court.

This, in NY City, can mean moving from room to room, but also building to building. I also commute on the subway and walk many blocks a day. I once wore a pedometer and clocked 7 miles.

I wear almost exclusively leather sole shoes. I have one pair of AE with a full rubber sole that I wear when the weather is too brutal for leather soles.

I dont notice a difference between the rubber sole as against the leather soles at all...never did in fact. I did notice when I switched from lower quality shoes to better, and I do notice the difference when I get new heels put on.

For me the biggest thing that used to beat up my feet was when I carried a strapped briefcase. I would find by the end of the week, end of the day sometimes in fact, that my right side (where I shouldered the bag) hip and foot would be noticeably more tired than the left. I have since given up straps...not that I have reduced myself to a roller bag either mind you!

So I think its the quality of the construction of the footwear that makes the difference. A stronger, more supportive shoe will, obviously, treat you better.
 

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rubber heel should be enough

When I was a substitute teacher, I learned that the silence of rubber soles was advantageous when monitoring students during tests.
I doubt classroom strolling cause excessive impacts that require something other than leather. Furthermore, rubber soles do not breathe as well. I'm guessing that your shoes were not totally broken in, or your stride is still expecting heavy cushioning (i.e. you're stomping around too hard).
AE can be resoled however you want anyway, so it's not a irreversible decision.
 

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I couldn't understand how my normally comfortable shoes had left my feet so sore.
So, my question is, if one were to be in a profession where one were standing all day, like a teacher, and not behind a desk, would rubber soled shoes be preferred for comfort over leather soled shoes?
I am seriously contemplating purchasing a pair of Allen Edmonds as they come highly recommended by most gentlemen here, but am wavering over which sole to purchase because of the fear of having a pair of shoes that I love but can't wear normally because of my profession.Thank you to all who reply. I am in your debt.
I'm only replying because you said you'd be in my debt. I charge high for my services.

One thing your assuming is that all leather soles are less comfortable than rubber.
I've walked miles in a single day in my Allen Edmonds, Aldens, with leather soles without pain. But that doesn't mean you won't.

So it's impossible to say if you buy leather soled shoes if you will or won't have issues.
You'll have to get a pair and find out.
Not all leather soled shoes are created equal.
Your new leather soled Allen Edmonds could possibly be more comfortable than your current rubber soled shoes.
 

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Comfort is much more a matter of correct fit than sole material. I find that when I am on my feet and walking all day in dress shoes, as at a trade shoe, rubber soles are perhaps marginally more comfortable, and I am doubtless a great deal older than you.

Back when I was teaching in a classroom, I mostly wore leather soles and never experienced discomfort that I can recall, and I would normally walk from my residence the 3/4-mile or so to the university and back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your replies. To Crownship: as I am a lowly poor graduate student, I hope you will take pity on me or at least let me defer my payment to a later date. I am glad to hear that I have a reasonably good chance that quality leather soled shoes should be close in comfort to rubber soled shoes. The shoes I wore for the day that hurt my feet were a leather soled pair of Florshims. Not exactly high quality, but pretty good for a college sophomore who knew very little about style or quality (which I was when I bought them). I think that may have been more my problem than the leather vs. rubber sole question. Thanks again to all that have replied and the same to anyone who replies later.
 

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^^ Welcome to the forum sltimmer...and what a great first post. It appears you may have identified the true source of your discomfort, construction vs materials used but, perhaps not the entire truth(?)! A while back, after retiring from my primary employment, I decided to substitute teach for a bit, at least partially to preview 'teaching' as a possible follow-on career. I signed on with five of our local school districts and spent a few years bouncing between a half dozen middle and high schools, on essentially a full time schedule. My conclusions...?

First, teaching at the secondary school level is tough. As a retired warrior (USAF) and retired cop (for a combined total of 32 years), it takes a brave individual to take on the heathens...and I congratulate you on your prospective career choice. The young folks, soon to be in your care are our future...so, thank-you.

Second, During the time I was substituting (read that baby sitting, herding cats, etc), I found on those days I wore my AE MacNeils or my AE Leeds (both shoes with double oak, leather soles) my feet didn't hurt at all and yet, on those days I wore my AE Park Aves (single leather sole), my feet would be pretty tired (read that, hurt like h*ll) by the end of the day. All shoes my shoe featured leather soles but, yielded two very different experiences!

And finally, different schools have very different types of flooring. Find a school that features carpeted floors, not tile or concrete flooring! ;) Good luck with your schooling and your prospective career. :)
 

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When I was a substitute teacher, I learned that the silence of rubber soles was advantageous when monitoring students during tests.
I doubt classroom strolling cause excessive impacts that require something other than leather. Furthermore, rubber soles do not breathe as well. I'm guessing that your shoes were not totally broken in, or your stride is still expecting heavy cushioning (i.e. you're stomping around too hard).
AE can be resoled however you want anyway, so it's not a irreversible decision.
The counterpoint to this is that, depending on the surface, some rubber soled shoes can squeak horribly. I have had to shelve my rubber soled shoes because the squeaking was so bad. Nothing undermines your confidence more as you are trying to remain poised in front of your class than a pair of loudly squeaking shoes.

Save your pennies. Go to a store where they actually know how to fit a shoe and buy something nice. A little bit more in time and money invested during the initial purchase will pay huge dividends later. Good luck.
 

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Fit

Fit is the name of the game. What is heaven for hours of standing is often not the same as hours of walking. And what you walk on will probably influence that (e.g., sidewalk versus grass).

Some professions that spend a lot of time standing (e.g., surgeons, chefs) swear by clogs, especially certain brands (e.g., Dansko, Sanita, Birkenstock, Crocs). I stand for hours in my line of work, with some movement, but little continual walking, and I find them delightful.

The outsole on professional clogs is quite rigid. While not wood (though they look like wood), they flex twist about as much as wood (they're actually poly-stuff). So it is the posture of your foot, back, et al., that they force you into.

However, many--but not all--are downright ugly. The benchmark shoe around AAAC seems to be the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue. Chef clogs are about as far from AE Park Ave as you can get!

I don't think it's a leather vs rubber question as much as the total fit of the last. Where it becomes a leather vs rubber question is what surface you walk on (slippery, and what kind of slippery?), and how it impacts your joints (e.g., some of us physically need the extra cushioning of non-leather soles). I imagine you're still young enough that that is--not yet--a concern.

In my years of experimentation, I've found Mephisto's goodyear-welt-construction line to be the heavenly blend of comfort and style. When it comes to comfort and what if healthy for you, it seems a continuum of stability vs cushioning. Alden falls on the structure end of things, and Mephisto on the cushioning end of things.

As I understand it, it is largely a question of your gait. Do you walk on the inside of your feet (i.e., pronation), or on the outside (i.e., supination)? Pronators (sp?) need straight or semi-curved lasts with motion-control and stability. Supinators (sp?) need curved lasts with cushioning.

Bottom-line: if you have no problems with your feet, buy what looks good and will provide the most value. If you do have issues with your feet, see a foot-health-care specialist--and buy accordingly.
 
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