for the posts on this page about shoe appropriateness:
white runners/sneakers/tennis shoes are fine. black ones are equally fine. it doesn't even have to be pure black or pure white. mine have some light pink accents and they don't look out of place. wildly colored shoes are not common, but i don't think anyone would say anything to you about your shoes as long as you don't go crazy.
for women, flats are also acceptable, firefly.
many of the teachers i've worked with will wear sandal-like shoes in school, too. be careful, though as "sandal-like shoe" doesn't mean flip-flops. you should always have socks on under your shoes. i think something similar to birkenstocks where there are straps, but nothing has to go between toes. many Japanese female teachers have sandal-y shoes with a bit of a heel as well (like a slight wedge), but i think that has more to do with Japanese women loving their heeled shoes. personally i would avoid heels because standing for hours in heels sucks.
mattclough wrote:people going on a hike look like they're about to scale everest
except for those crazy girls who still wear heels and stockings. i swear some Japanese girls are insane.
mattclough wrote:The school floors are just as clean as the gym floor, so the only explanation I've come up with for the need for separate gym and work shoes is that it's the gym, so you need gym shoes.
my understanding is that it's more about not marking up the gym floor, which was the same for gym shoes at the schools i attended in the US. just make sure that your soles aren't black and won't mark the floor. personally i don't spend tons of time in the gym where i'm actually active or anything, so when i happen to go visit the clubs practicing there (just to watch, not to participate) or for other ceremonies*, more often than not i just stick my shoes in the cubby and go inside in socks/stocking feet. if you don't want to do that, you should be able to grab a pair of gym slippers.
*lesser ceremonies where i'm just standing in the back/no one's looking at me. for graduation/entrance ceremonies, there has tended to be a tarp put down in the gym which means normal inside shoes are fine. i wore my normal mostly-white shoes, but i was the only person who didn't have dark shoes, so oops on that.