The Best Shoes For Nurses Reviewed & Compared
When working in a career field that requires you to be on your feet all day long–sometimes literally–finding the perfect pair of shoes becomes essential. This is especially the case for nurses, who are not only upright for twelve plus hours at a time but who are devoting their hours to pushing, pulling, lifting, running, and giving it their all. When you’re working this hard, healthy feet are among your most important assets. For this reason, shoes worn for nursing must be able to provide a sufficient amount of long-term support, comfort, and overall stability. Nowadays, there are many different choices that are currently available on the market, available in shoe stores and even online.
Shoes should fit the width of your feet well while also providing ample arch support, not just for the health of your feet but for the wellbeing of your spine and hips. Paying attention to these two factors can make a world of difference in terms of prolonged comfort, as well as injury prevention. This guide highlights a few of the best options for comfortable shoes which will meet the high-performance standards of the nursing environment.
- Dansko Professional Mule
- Leather reinforced uppers
- Non-slip polyurethrane sole
- Skechers Sport - Loving Life
- Memory foam insole
- Breathable mesh uppers
- Nurse Mates Dove
- Removable EVA insole
- Stain resistant leather uppers
The Best Shoes for Nurses
Dansko Professional Mule
There’s padded instep collar for boosting the comfort while walking. PU foam footbed is really breathable and helps to regulate the temperature and your feet don’t sweat too much. People say that their muscles and tendons are less fatigued after wearing Dansko.
Support and stability
There’s special PU outsole and there’s also rocker bottom to provide more stability and it’s very easy for these shoes to absorb the shock. To boost the stability in these shoes, producer offers wide heel strike. If you’re going to walk or stand in these shoes all day, you need great arch support which Dansko provides.
Quality and price
These shoes are very easy to clean. All you need to use soapy damp sponge to remove all the dirt. Remember to not saturate the leather. These are one of the most expensive shoes on our list. However, we think that this quality and comfort are worth these money.
These shoes are available in some many colors and it’s fantastic because you can add something extraordinary to your nursing clothes. These height of the heel really depends on the size you choose but it makes your legs look better but still comfortable.
Skechers Sport - Loving Life
The comfort of these shoes is owed to the lightweight construction and memory foam insole. Additionally, the FlexSole midsole aids greatly in making these shoes comfortable enough for all day wear. The mesh upper also lightens these shoes up and helps to keep your feet cool and comfortable.
The primarily mesh upper provides a god amount of airflow and ventilation. This makes these shoes a good choice nursing jobs, even in warm conditions.
The Skechers Sport Foam Sneakers are good for both casual wear or work attire. This style is perfect for those in the nursing fields because of its ability to provide incredible comfort and support. Their style is sporty, yet conservative enough for a medical environment.
These sneakers are built mostly of memory foam, mesh and other synthetic materials, all of which have been assembled well in a sturdy and good looking design, providing long lasting durability.
These shoes have good shock absorption, suitable enough for a 12 hour shift on your feet. Also, the memory foam insole supplies long lasting comfort for prolonged activities.
The sole of this shoe flares out slightly, adding an extra bit of stability. Additionally, the bungee securing laces are attached to lower part of the upper, which is made of a stronger synthetic material.
These are fairly inexpensive shoes. The comfort that they offer for prolonged periods of time spent active makes them a worthy investment.
Nurse Mates Dove
These shoes have thick EVA cushioning that is easy to remove and replace, and are ultra light. The collars are padded and the elastic edges make them easy to slip on and off. Most find them to be true to size but those with wider feet may want to try a half size larger.
Support and Stability
With steel shanks built in, these are great for those who need more arch support. They are non-slip and super lightweight, keeping you on your feet without the fatigue.
Quality and Price
A little pricey, especially for those who might still be in school, but pretty average when compared with other shoes on our list. For the wear you’ll be getting, they’re worth the initial cost.
These shoes are a great choice for those needing a plain white design while working in clinic, but they also don’t have any other options to choose from besides black. There is a small heart design on the side which adds a nice touch, but overall these probably won’t appeal to people looking for a little more flair.
· No slip, no squeak sole · Very comfortable footbed that helps with plantar fasciitis and other issues · Fun yet professional style with lots of color options • Expensive
Alegria Women's Keli Professional Shoe
The Keli professional shoe uses the Alegria footbed. This footbed is used by the company for all their shoes. It consists of an outside rocker that cradles a cork and polyurethane layer. Above that is a memory foam pad which is under a leather sole. This makes for a highly slip resistant (and squeakless) and well-cushioned shoe. They do run quite small, and you might have to order a whole size bigger than usual. The toe box is pretty strict and may not work if your toes are longer than usual.
Support and Stability
This shoe is a great choice for anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis. The Alegria footbed provides stability from right out of the box. If you have specialized orthotics, you can easily remove it and swap in your own if the footbed doesn’t work for you.
Quality and Price
These are very well made shoes. They’ll last you a long time even with frequent use. They are fairly expensive, though many users say that you’re getting what you pay for.
These are nice shoes that look professional but still have personality. They are available in a number of patterns and even the darker colors have a slight shimmer to them. You can find them in subdued black patterns or vivid bursts of color. Even the brightest pattern still have a professional look.
• Run small
· No slip, no squeak sole
· Very comfortable footbed that helps with plantar fasciitis and other issues
· Fun yet professional style with lots of color options
• Great for those with wide feet, provided you order half a size up • Sole may come loose if often exposed to water
New Balance WX608v4 Training Shoe
As training shoes, the WX608v4 offers a lot of cushioning. The rubber AZORB sole also has compression resistance properties. It will help prevent your foot from absorbing all the force of its impact on the ground. This is great for runners, of course, but it is also helpful for nurses on shift who are constantly standing and moving.
For those with wide feet, these are simply great shoes. You’ll probably want to order them a half size bigger than normal to be sure there’s enough room for your toes. They fit well but are roomy enough to make sure you’re comfortable. There’s little to no need for a break-in period. The odd angle of the toe can cause a bit of rubbing issue for some users.
Support and Stability
This shoe has firmer support in the midsole for greater support. They provide a lot of support for those with plantar fasciitis and other issues. Lace your shoelaces through all the holes for even more support.
Quality and Price
Like most New Balance shoes, these hold up pretty well. Snow and water can cause problems with the sole staying on the shoe, however, and you may want to restrict these to indoor use. They’re reasonably priced for shoes that offer this kind of support.
The WX608v4 comes in a number of colors. They have a tough yet cute style that's perfect for nurses. None of the color combinations are too vivid for a professional environment. You can choose for very subdued black-on-black or brighter pink-on-white. If you’re looking for sneaker-type shoes, these are a good choice.
• Great support for plantar fasciitis
• Impact absorbent sole
• Great for those with wide feet, provided you order half a size up
• Sole may come loose if often exposed to water
SoftWalk Grey’s Anatomy Meredith Clog
The insole is a dual-density footbed that is super cushioned for arch support and comfort. Most have reported these being true to size, and if you have wide or flat feet these are a great fit with wide specific sizes available.
Support and Stability
With a lightweight and well cushioned build, these shoes are easy to wear and will be sure to provide great grip with slip-resistant rubber soles.
Quality and Price
Compared to other shoes on this list, these clogs are pretty middle of the road. Some of the styles are cheaper and provide a fantastic value for the price. Although there are some complaints about the durability of the shoes themselves, they are made of good materials with leather casing and rubber soles.
These are available in a huge variety of colors and patterns, as well as plain black and white. The trim separates the shoe at the lip for a little geometric flair.
They’re great if you’re afraid of slipping on different kinds of surfaces The pricing is reasonable with this quality These shoes provide full range of movement There aren’t many sizes to choose from
ASICS gel dedicate
GEL Forefoot Cushioning is the thing that you really need if you have to walk for long hours. You have great amount of cushioning and you have still freedom of movement, the same as the tennis player. You won’t need to worry about the sweat as there are many little panels that boost the air flow and it makes shoes much more breathable.
Support and stability
These shoes are great when it comes to absorbing the shock. This helps to reduce muscle fatigue and you don’t feel so much pain even many hours of walking. There’s special plastic bridge in the these shoes. It helps you to feel more stable during the gait cycle. At the same time, you don’t lose the flexibility that is very needed in your job. There’s platform in the area of the heel and this is adored by some people. Great thing about this shoes is that they are perfect even on wet surfaces as they’re intended on the court.
Quality and price
The outer material is made of synthetic like the most of shoes. There’s however synthetic leather upper so we can say that these shoes are rather durable. The price is similar to Skechers D’Lites, it’s not a small one but you pay here for quality and comfort.
The design of these shoes is very classical and that’s why they’re adored by many buyers. They have green accents which make them more extraordinary and they don’t look boring. Although the upper is white, the sole is grey with green elements so the dirt or any other staff isn’t visible very much on the sole.
They’re great if you’re afraid of slipping on different kinds of surfaces
The pricing is reasonable with this quality
These shoes provide full range of movement
There aren’t many sizes to choose from
• Lightweight • Too narrow if you have wide feet
Crocs Women’s Mercy Work Clog
Crocs have been known for being ‘ugly but really comfy’ for a long time. These shoes are definitely comfortable. They offer a nice bit of cushion and are very lightweight. These shoes don't offer a lot of ventilation. They also have a tendency to squeak, but they are decently slip-resistant.
There are several differences from normal Crocs with the Mercy clog, however. They’re a bit narrower than most Crocs, though still wider than many other kinds of shoes. This means you might have to break them in if you have wider feet. Once that’s done, they should conform to your feet very well. Most users will find they offer plenty of room, especially if your feet tend to swell.
Support and Stability
These shoes offer a nice bit of stability and will help plantar fasciitis sufferers stand comfortably on their feet through their shift.
Quality and Price
The big selling point of these shoes is that they are easy to clean off while still being a bit stylish. They’ll hold up well even with a lot of use and abuse. They’re a great budget set of work shoes for those still in nursing school or just out of it.
This shoes are a bit sleeker than your usual Crocs and don’t have that (in)famous ‘ugly but comfy’ Crocs look. They're available in four different colors: black, black with a gold leopard print design, white, and black with a silver floral design. The designs are restricted to a small part of the upper, so they still look very professional. They do retain a bit of the clunky Crocs look despite the sleeker styling, so if you're simply not a fan of Crocs, these aren't going to change your mind.
• Roomy for most foot sizes
• Too narrow if you have wide feet
The shoes are perfect for people with wider feet The rubber sole helps to avoid injuries They are high quality shoes but they’re not very expensive at the same time Some people say that the breathability could be better
Skechers Sport D'Lites
If you need a real comfort, this shoe is for you. Special memory foam in the insole is excellent as you feel like walking on the clouds. There’s so much cushioning that these shoes also tend to make you a little bit higher. To make wearing more comfortable, the brand offers wide range of sizes.
Support and stability
These shoes have good traction. There’s excellent support on the outer sole of the shoe. They give a lot of support so your tendons and muscles are less fatigued during longer shifts. However, some people say that the arch support could be better. Ankle support is on high level- there are padded collar and tongue. The midsole is thick enough to absorb the shock very well.
Quality and price
This is definitely high quality product. The upper is mainly made from leather so the shoes are also quiet durable and they look nice. They hold up great even after many washes. Skechers aren’t the cheapest brand on the market but we can make sure that these shoes are worth every dollar.
Well, if you look for good looking shoes, these were created especially for you. We know that there are a lot of people that aren’t the funs of clogs and that’s why we appreciate beautiful design of these sketchers. There are many color versions and you can easily find more neutral ones that look great with nursing clothes. There are contrast inlays which make these shoes even more stylish.
The shoes are perfect for people with wider feet
The rubber sole helps to avoid injuries
They are high quality shoes but they’re not very expensive at the same time
Some people say that the breathability could be better
Reebok Work N Cushion
As far as comfort goes, Reebok’s Work N Cushion receives mostly positive ratings. The leather upper combined with Reebok’s Kwik-Close design allow for a sturdy and more customizable fit, aiding in the overall comfort and fit of the shoe. This shoe has all of the features necessary to provide prolonged support and comfort, meeting the needs of the nursing professional.
Support and stability
Some of the stability and support from its sturdy leather upper and Reebok’s Kwik-Close lacing, which helps to provide a more custom fit. Additionally, the shoe features an oil and slip resistant sole for increased safety and stability, required for the medical setting.
This shoe’s sturdy construction comes mostly from its leather upper. Not an incredibly fancy shoe, the Work N Cushion works very well for what it was design to do, provide comfort and support when spending long periods of time on your feet. Going back a long time, Reebok has earned a good name for durability throughout many of their designs.
The Criteria Used When Finding The Best Shoes For Nursing
There are many features which can make a pair of shoes great, but when searching for something to use for a specific task, there are some attributes that are more important that others. When choosing a pair for nursing, style and aesthetics tend to take a backseat to other considerations such as comfort, support, stability and more.
Enough comfort for prolonged standing
As a nurse, you’ll be spending a majority of your shifts on your feet, and not just standing around either. The job requires constant movement back and forth between patients. Cushioning and support that lasts throughout the workday is an absolute must, as while on duty, the focus needs to be on the patients, not your sore feet.
Additionally, ignoring sore feet and continuing to wear footwear which may not be quite suitable for the task, can develop into painful foot problems down the road.
We look for things such as memory foam and other dense but giving materials. These tend to offer appropriate cushioning with the right combination of support and comfort.
The Right kind of Support
Support is extremely important. Not only does it factor in with short-term comfort, it is the way a shoe works to allow prolonged standing without creating stress-related issues later on.
Footwear choices for this particular career field should be supportive but also maintain that support repeatedly on a reliable basis. Shoes with an ultra soft or squishy sole might feel great at first, but as the shift goes on that once cushy sole may compress. The shoe then becomes less supportive, with the material under your feet becoming squished into only a thin piece of foam.
There are many products which utilize memory foam, but with a more dense construction that will hold its form and maintain its provided support.
Are they protective enough?
Though nurses don’t need the same kind of foot protection that someone might need if they worked around heavy equipment, there are other environmental elements that their footwear should protect against.
Footwear with an open toe is not only a bad choice, it is typically prohibited in this particular field. An upper made from nearly see-through mesh would not be a super great choice either. The nursing environment has its own set of risks to be aware of such as trip hazards, plenty of equipment to bump into, bodily fluids, and we can’t forget to mention the risk of bloodborne pathogens. All great reasons to have the appropriate type of upper construction in the chosen footwear.
Textiles are just fine, as long as they still provide a barrier between your feet and the possible risks. Leather and synthetics will give more protection, but at the cost of breathable material in most cases.
Another important factor to remember is slip prevention. It’s practically a guarantee that you will encounter spills and messes as a nurse. Shoes with adequate traction and slip resistance are an absolute must for the medical environment.
This factor isn’t quite as critical as the others above but does matter a bit. Some hospitals require nurses to maintain a fairly conservative dress code, depending on the type of work they are doing. Just because your job wants you to wear only white or muted colored shoes, it doesn’t mean that they have to be ugly or boring.
Some models secure with laces, some are slip-on with elastic or a bungee retention system. Some options are even backless slip-on without laces or retention of any kind. The choice you make should ideally reflect what is most practical for your particular work environment.
Other important factors to consider when shopping around
Get the shoe that works best for your feet
Shoes should fit your feet perfectly. each person has unique feet, so you need to know your own specifics in order to choose the most suitable shoes.
Let’s say you have a normal arch with normal pronation (foot motion). The only things you need to worry when choosing good shoes for nursing is the stability and comfort which they provide. However, there are other situations which require a little more attention when trying to choose a suitable shoe? Here are some suggestions:
In order To figure out what kind of arches you have, you can take the wet feet test. Step in the water, then put your leg on floor tile or a sheet of paper and look at your foot print.
To confirm your type of pronation, there are some things you can check:
You can take a photo of yourself from a barefoot perspective, and compare with the pictures below. Or, you can check your old shoes and see where on the sole they show the most wear, on the inner edge of the sole would be a sign of this problem, and wear on the outer edge of the sole would mean supination/under-pronation.
Depending on your arch and pronation, you need to look for more specific shoe features, for instance:
- Stability – if you have a normal arch, you should look for this feature in your shoe
- Motion Control – the most important feature for over-pronators
- Cushioning – the most needed by people with high arches and if you have excessive weight
However, you often have several features in one shoe. For example, shoes with good arch support are needed for high arches as well as for flat feet, and that’s normal.
- Athletic shoes should be your first choice for working all day if your employer allows them. However, if you have a normal arch and pronation, you can find stylish shoes (oxfords or slip-ons), that will also be plenty comfortable. if not, let’s stick to the “comfort-over-looks” rule.
- Orthopedic shoes is another great option, but they should be worn with custom-made orthotics. If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis (PF), you need to know what it caused. In case you have flat feet and PF, you should choose shoes suitable for flat feet. If you PF because of high arches, sneakers for high arches are the best solution for you. And buy sneakers for normal arch If your PF not caused by abnormal arches or pronation. Remember that all athletic shoes for Plantar Fasciitis should have enough cushioning to subside pain issue that is caused by PF. But even if you don’t have this issue you also need good cushioning that is the reason why all models of sneakers recommended by us are good both for feet of all types.
When buying shoes, you should also look for models which have a low heel, but not flat. You will benefit from the slight heel elevation. This parameter is also called “heel-to-toe” drop, which is often mentioned in athletic shoe description. A good nursing shoe should have 4mm “heel-to-toe” drop and higher.
- Choosing models with wide toe-box for additional comfort.
- In case you have diabetes and go with special diabetic shoes. A simple online search offer several suitable options.
You should buy a new pair of shoes around every six months if you want to have healthy feet. That’s because shoes deform with wearing and at some point they will not provide corrective help for you.
Choose a shoe with the appropriate level of protection
Depending on your working environment, you can have stricter or looser rules about what kind of materials your shoes should be carry out, however all types of shoe materials could be divided in such groups:
Synthetic mesh or canvas
These kinds of material are good for your feet, because they are light and breathable. However, if you work with bio-hazardous materials, they do not protect your feet from accidental spills therefore you should consider carefully before buying shoes with these materials
Genuine leather or Synthetic
If you work with bio-hazardous or just hazardous materials, Leather is the first candidate for you, because it is easy to clean and it will protect your feet from hazardous spills. Genuine leather shoe is a better choice than synthetic one, because it is breathable. However, Suede shoes are not recommended for the most of nurses because of their easy staining and poor spill protection.
Rubber shoes provide the highest level of chemical and bio-hazard protection, but only when they are solid and without holes. It is easy to clean it with water or brush with soap. But it’s not breathable and won’t be as much supportive and comfortable as athletic shoes.
It’s important that your shoes provide good traction with a ground. That means be non-slip. In such shoes, you will feel confident to walk or even run on various surfaces. Athletic and rubber shoes usually offer the best grip with the ground.
Your shoes should stay securely in place
It is not only uncomfortable but even dangerous if a shoe would constantly slip off your foot. Your foot can be secured by the shoe by laces. However, you need to make sure that they are good quality and won’t be untied by themselves. Snap-on is another securing choice, and it’s more preferable because it’s easier to put shoes on and off.
Different suitable styles
Depending on your safety rules or preference at your work place, you can choose such styles: oxfords, sneakers, clogs, and slip-ons.
Sneakers, other athletic shoes or walking shoes are one of the best shoes for people who stand on their feet all day, especially in the medical and nursing industry. They are comfortable, light, and you can find shoes which will suit biomechanical needs of your legs.
Nursing sneakers are available in many brands in black and white, as well as in other colors. When buying nursing athletic shoes, you should make sure to choose shoes with wide toe-box for additional comfort.
Lace-up oxfords are the classic sneakers. They look neat, professional, protect from spills, and stay on the foot securely thanks to laces.
Clogs and rubber clogs are popular productions among medical staff, but they are not the best perfect choice. Your foot can slip out and get injured or twisted because of lack of laces. If you still choose clogs, nursing clogs with a strap is a smart choice, as they offer some foot security. Available variety colors and patterns are the pros of rubber clogs to give you a unique and fun look, and they are very easy to clean.
Slip-on shoes are a great option for comfort and stability, giving you the option to easily slip on your shoes instead of taking the time to tie them or worry about untied laces. They are often called clogs, but slip-ons usually have a solid back that keeps your foot secured which not all clogs typically have.
Shoes can vary by color and are usually divided into three groups: white shoes, black shoes and colored shoes.
- You can look for shoes from brands like Nurse mates, Dansko, Merrell, Alegria, Sketchers, Timberland, Reebok, and in athletic shoe brands (Saucony, Asics, Nike, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance)
- Online stores are probably the best bet for finding the widest selection and the lowest prices for suitable options.
In order to provide the most complete and helpful information, we have put together some frequently asked questions regarding proper footwear for nurses. We hope some of your questions can be answered here, or maybe you will find answers to questions that you might not have known to ask.
Q: I am a nurse but I also fill an administrative position. Are there options for me that work in both settings?
A: There are styles available from our list that can be worn in both situations, providing plenty of support and protection needed for nursing work while also fashionably fitting other positions. Although style isn’t necessarily the most important feature in nursing footwear, it definitely doesn’t have to be absent.
With plenty of breathable and comfortable options as well you can easily wear them behind a desk without having to worry about smell or long-term pain issues from a lack of support and stability.
Q: I live and work in a place that stays hot, pretty much all the time. I want my shoes to have a protective barrier against spills and bodily fluids, but leather makes my feet sweat. What will work for me?
A: Synthetic mesh uppers will work just fine, as long as they are constructed with multiple layers. It isn’t the same coverage that leather or something similar will offer, but should provide an adequate amount of protection. Just make sure that the pair you choose isn’t put together with almost see-through material or something that can be easily punctured or penetrated.
Q: I have flat feet, are there any options that will support my needs?
A: There are brands and styles available with those issues in mind, often providing better cushioning and arch support for those with flat feet or even overpronation or plantar fasciitis. Many models can also accommodate orthotic inserts that provide the needed support or have removable inserts so you can customize the insole to fit your needs.
Q: I do a lot of walking back and forth quickly throughout my shifts. I like the style of backless clogs, but are they going to be a problem for my type of work?
A: Without a good amount of retention, they may tend to slip off while you’re on the move. It is probably a good idea to consider something with a back or some means of keeping them secured on the feet.
Q: In the assisted living facility where I work, there are frequent spills on the tiled surface floors. What type of sole would be best for me?
A: As a rule, the ideal footwear for nursing or a hospital environment should have a sole with good slip resistance. Rubber soles with great traction and texture are a good choice for stability in a workplace with frequent spills.
At the end of the shift, if you notice a hugely positive difference in how you feel, then it’s the first sign that you have found a pair of the best shoes for your kind of work. It’s usually a wise decision to invest in a quality shoe that will hold up well and serve its purpose. Footwear is very important because if you wear low quality or cheap shoes, it can actually affect your entire body, and in some cases, cause health issues. In other words, if you try to save money and buy a cheap pair of shoes, it could actually cost you more in the long run, in terms of health and medical care.
Here are some sources that were used during our research
While researching the requirements for the most suitable options for nursing shoes, we used many different reliable sources that we found online. Here are some of the sources we used:
- The Most Comfortable Shoes For Nursing, Nursing website, ,
- The Best Shoes for Nurses, Healthcare industry online publication, Apr 30, 2015 ,
- Choosing Perfect Nursing Shoes, Nursing website, Jan 05, 2016 ,
- Help Your Working Needs With The Best Shoes For Nurses, Foot care website, ,
- How To Choose The Right Nursing Shoes, Nursing website, ,