16 Comfortable Graduation Ceremony Shoes for Teens

Graduating from high school — and figuring out what comes next — can be a stressful time for teens. One thing that shouldn’t be a source of worry? Deciding what shoes to wear on graduation day.

Since your gown will look the same as everyone else’s, you’ll want to choose a style that will help you stand out from the crowd. However, comfort shouldn’t be sacrificed. Ceremonies also often run long, and many students head straight to parties and celebrations after the big event — making it even more likely that an uncomfortable pair of shoes could spoil the fun. To help kids pin down the perfect footnote for their cap-and-gown ensemble, we shopped the market for shoes that deliver both style and a feel-good fit.

As a general rule, girls should steer clear of spiky heels — after all, no one wants to have an embarrassing tumble onstage. Wedges and chunky block heels are great alternatives, offering height with a more stable footing. Meanwhile, ankle strap shoes are always a good idea, as they’ll help you stay sure-footed while making your legs look long.

Some other key factors to consider:

  • Heels aren’t essential: You may think everyone will be wearing heels on the big day, but it’s fair game to rock a pair of flat sandals or sneakers if that’s more your speed. Remember to wear what makes you feel most confident.
  • Don’t choose shoes you can’t walk in: If you’re not a master at walking in heels, skip them. And if a style feels overly tight in-store, move on. It’s never a good idea to purchase shoes you’re uncomfortable in —  no matter how much practice wearing or breaking in you may do.
  • Your shoes don’t have to match your gown: Don’t be afraid to play with pops of color when it comes to your footwear; combos that may seem to “clash” are actually unexpected in the best way possible.

Toms Monica Slingback Wedge

Toms’ Sienna cork-wrapped wedge features a neutral color palette to match any grad gown, as well as an ankle strap for added support.

Toms Monica Slingback Wedge
Toms Monica slingback wedge.
CREDIT: Nordstrom

Toms Monica Slingback Wedge, $90; Nordstrom.com

Vince Camuto Chesten Lace-up Sandal

Vince Camuto features a block heel on this peep-toe style, detailed with a lace-up construction and cut-out accents.

Vince Camuto Chesten Lace-up Sandal
Vince Camuto Chesten lace-up sandal.
CREDIT: Nordstrom

Vince Camuto Chesten Lace-up Sandal, $110; Nordstrom.com

Soludos Laser-Cut Banded Sandal

Flat sandals are another style to consider. Not only are they easy on the feet, but they’re a big trend right now, so you’ll find a plethora of options from many of your favorite brands and designers. We love this sophisticated metallic style from Soludos, accented with laser-cut geometric designs.

Soludos laser-cut banded sandal.

Soludos Laser-Cut Banded Sandal, $20- $86; Amazon.com

Tommy Hilfiger Seaside perforated oxford

For guys, tried-and-true styles such as oxfords, loafers and dressy sneakers are ideal for the occasion. Look for flexible rubber bottoms rather than stiff leather soles, for a more comfortable wearing experience. Tommy Hilfiger’s Seaside perforated oxford, available in several shades, puts a younger, sportier spin on a classic.

Tommy Hilfiger Seaside perforated oxford.

Tommy Hilfiger Seaside Perforated Oxford, $80; Amazon.com

J&M 1850 Allistir sneaker

Sneaker lovers will approve of this navy number from J&M 1850. The sleek leather finish and subtle stitching details give the shoe a sophisticated, dressed-up feel.

J&M 1850 Allistir sneaker.

J&M 1850 Allistir sneaker, $80; Johnstonmurphy.com

To see more of our fashionable grad-day footwear picks, click through the gallery here.

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