Best Shoes For Nurses Reviewed and Tested for Comfort

No one needs comfortable, supportive and quality-made footwear more than nurses. Try working a few twelve hour shifts in a row with a pair of shoes that are just a tad too narrow or short, and your feet will be screaming in pain by the time you get home. It’s an unfortunate truth that many nurses suffer from back pain, shin splints, numbness and other physical aches because of shoes that fit improperly or are poorly made.

Our Top 3 Picks

Dansko Professional Clog
  • Dansko Professional Clog
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Foam midsole
  • Price: See Here
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Nurse Mates Dove
  • Nurse Mates Dove
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Slip Resistant
  • Price: See Here
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Alegria Debra Slip-On
  • Alegria Debra Slip-On
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • foam footbed
  • Price: See Here
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The main goal for nursing shoes is long-lasting comfort. Not only do the nurses’ feet need to be properly cushioned, the ankles, knees, hips and back need to be fully supported as well. Fortunately, we’re here to let you know that there are many options out there for quality-made, comfortable and stylish nursing shoes. Working as a nurse is hard enough. You’re dealing with serious situations, angst-ridden patients and their families, demanding doctors and sometimes hundreds of other co-workers every day. Allow your feet to make it through your shift comfortable and pain free with these options of the best nursing shoes.

How Are Nursing Shoes Different From Other Shoes?

While some nurses who are new to the profession may think that nursing shoes are simply comfortable tennis shoes or cross trainers, the truth is, nursing shoes have certain qualities that set them apart from other shoe varieties.

First of all, they are designed to weigh less than any other shoe. This makes walking around all day easier as the weight your foot has to lift with each step is lightened. Over time, this can really make a difference in how your feet feel at the end of each work day. They are also made of quality materials that protect them from spills and other damage. On the bottoms of the soles, there are special grips designed to stabilize the wearer even on slippery tile surfaces. In addition, nursing shoes have special soles that take stress off the knees and spine. Finally, nursing shoes generally don’t lace or tie and are easy to slip on instead.

Why Is Proper Footwear So Important For Nursing?

Nurses are urged to wear shoes that are both comfortable, safe and professional looking. Some nurses may feel fine wearing their usual tennis shoes that are not specifically designed for nursing, but most of the time, nurses go out of their way to find and experiment with the best shoes possible before honing in on their favorite pair. This favorite pair will be different for everyone. Experimenting is good because while one brand and style of shoe will be perfect for someone with wide feet, another person with narrow feet will prefer an entirely different brand and style.

Nurses know how important it is to have pleasant feeling shoes on their feet, and they also want to feel safe on slippery floors. While in some occupations, the ratio of on your feet work and seated work is generally split half and half or even heavy on the seated work side, nurses spend almost all of their time on their feet. Furthermore, their shifts usually last for twelve hours each, with some nurses pulling doubles and even triples.

Keep in mind that you may have to wear a specific brand and style of nursing shoe for any nursing classes you are taking or if you are in nursing school. Often, the school will recommend a variety of options, but sometimes, there is a specific shoe requirement that you must purchase.

What To Look For When Buying The Right Shoe

Buying a pair of nursing shoes is not like buying a pair of cute flip flops. A lot of time, energy and preparation should go into shopping for your nursing shoes. Make sure you know all of the bases you’ll need to cover to find your perfect shoes.

Size and overall comfort

This is the most important requirement. Make sure to measure your feet after you’ve been on them all day to get an accurate idea of what size shoe you should buy. Remember, your feet can swell. Do not buy shoes that are slightly too small because nursing shoes do not need to be broken in.

Arch support and arch comfort

People have varying arch heights and lengths. Some shoes will specify whether they are high or low arch. Pay special attention to this, and if you have trouble, consider talking to someone who runs about what shoes they wear for their arch height and length.

Upper material quality

Make sure that the upper portion of your shoes is made from a material that is durable and easy to clean. While natural suede and leather may be stylish, if they get something spilled on them, these materials could be a problem to clean depending on their protection coatings.

Sole grip material quality

The soles of your shoes should be made of a durable, easy to clean and grippy material. Rubber is a good choice for most of the tile floors that nurses walk on. Make sure there is good traction.

Style and color

Finally, if your choice is between two pairs of shoes that pass all of the requirements above, you can then choose between your preferred style and color. Some nurses like black shoes because they cover up dirt more easily than white shoes that can show spots. With that being said, not all white nursing shoes stain, so you’ll have to make an educated guess on that based on the upper material. White nursing shoes are sometimes simply favored for their stark and clean nurse’s look. Finally, look at how easily your shoe options slip on and off. Some nurses like their shoes to fit snuggly, while others like a little more foot space and easier slip on action.

How To Find Shoes That Will Fit Your Needs

Pay close attention to your personal needs as a nurse. Always measure your feet before shopping to get an accurate idea of the exact shape of your foot, and make sure to do so at a time when your feet have just endured a long day. That way, they will be swollen to their typical size. Know your arch type as well. This is a key area where you need ample support. Shoes with bad arch support could affect your ankles, knees, hips and back after just one day of wear.

Lastly, consider your current position as a nurse as this may change your needs. For example, if you work in a mess or spill prone area of a hospital or doctor’s office, you may get stains on your shoes more often and want stain-proof shoes or those with a darker color. Some nurses who work with children in pediatrics like to have more colorful shoes to please the children.

How Do The Options For Women Differ From Men’s?

Although the majority of individuals in the nursing workforce are women, there are many men who make wonderful nurses and enjoy the work. With that being said, because of the mass majority that women have in the field, most of the best options are indeed geared toward women. Womens nursing shoes and mens nursing shoes are similar but not exactly the same. Before making your purchase, make sure to keep this in mind, because purchasing shoes for the opposite sex may make for bad overall fits and cause discomfort or pain.

First, nursing shoes for women are generally those that are narrower and smaller. On the other hand, mens nursing shoes are wider and larger in general. Womens nursing shoes might also have more details on the outside of them. Flowers and other patterns are common on nursing shoes for women, but men tend to have basic options in solid colors like black, brown and white.

Anatomically, there are many differences between men’s and women’s feet. Most people already know that men have broader and longer feet than women, but they may be unaware that the ball of the foot, arch, lateral side of the foot, first toe and other aspects of the foot also differ between men and women. For example, women tend to have higher arches than men, who have fallen arches or flat feet much of the time.

The Q-Angle is another factor that differentiates women’s feet from men’s feet. The Q-Angle represents the incidental angle of the kneecap relative to the quad muscle. Men have narrower hips than women, and this means that they also have narrow Q-angles. As a result, women tend to pronate more, and in addition, they need extra support in the interior soles of their shoes. Men may be able to get away with shoes that have thinner, less-supportive soles, and in fact, the best nursing shoes for men may very well be those that have a flatter, shorter sole. On the other hand, the best shoes for women who are nurses are those that are intensely supportive along the entire length of the sole. This Q-Angle difference is a factor that is taken into consideration by shoe manufacturers when they create their shoes.

Best Nursing Shoes Reviewed in 2017

1. Dansko Women’s Professional Tooled Clog

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This is one of the greatest shoes for nurses for a number of reasons. First of all, this shoe has rated continually high in overall comfort, and Dansko reviews in general are almost always positive.
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Nurses like the way the shape of the shoe interior feels on their feet. Most notable is the roomy area within the toe box. This allows expansion of the front of the foot over the course of the day due to swelling and provides a comfortable place for toes to move and shift.

The heel is made of a quality man made sole, and with a 2” heel and a 3/4” platform, the height keeps feet nicely cushioned all day long. There is superior shock absorption in the sole, and the Dansko Women’s Professional Tooled Clog even comes with a special anti-fatigue rocker bottom. Finally, the upper portion of the shoe is made of a quality fine leather. The detailed, flowery leather motif can be purchased in black or brown. This shoe is excellent for any professional who spends all day on their feet, and it is worn around the country by thousands in the nursing field.
Pros

Great arch support

Very comfortable

Breathable PU foam footbed

Cons

Not very fashionable 

2. NURSE MATES Women’s Dove Awareness

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Shoes by Nurse Mates are top of the line for several reasons. Nurses like them because they are not simply comfortable shoes or shoes designed for any job where the worker is on their feet.
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Nurse mates are made specifically with nurses in mind. They have a slip resistant rubber sole and a cute upper in a quality leather that is also stain resistant. The Women’s Dove Awareness shoes by Nurse Mates are especially good shoes for nurses in part because of their lightweight construction. Inside the shoe, there is a steel shank providing the ultimate in stability all day long, but the overall shoe weight is still less than a few ounces.

All Nurse Mates offer easy slip on and slip off action. There’s no need to worry about pesky shoelaces or velcro here, and the sleek appearance is highly professional for the workplace. The Nurse Mates Women’s Dove Awareness shoe comes in several colors and finishes including white matte leather with a pink breast cancer awareness bow, plain white leather, navy metallic patent leather, black matte leather and black patent leather. These shoes are a tried and true choice.
Pros

Made specially for healthcare professionals 

Lightweight

Easy to clean, which is especially important for this line of work

Cons

The patent color option starts showing cracks on the surface after a while

3. Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On

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Alegria make great shoes for those who want fun colors, details and motifs. The Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On comes in a plethora of beautiful motifs from metallic flowers to fun and faux snake skin to simple black and classic white.
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Alegria’s signature symbol of the butterfly is always handsomely placed on the heel.

Inside, the Debra Slip-On is just as well-made. The interior is roomy with a large toe box and smooth natural arch. The insole is made of aired cork and quality latex. In addition, a rocker sole lets each step roll easily and smoothly across the floor. There’s no need to worry about slipping with the shoe because of its slip resistant outsole. Stains are not a problem because of the easy-wipe leather coating. The Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On is comfortable, classy and professional looking while still offering fun patterns and motifs.
Pros

Comfortable for standing and walking

Very slip ressistant

A large number of color options

Cons

Sizes run big

4. Crocs Women’s Mercy Clog

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Crocs have long had the reputation of the lightest weight shoes. Light weight shoes are the best shoes for nurses because they don’t bog down the feet, knees, hips or spine with excess weight.
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The way that nurses bob and weave throughout their workplace, they need shoes that allow them to have easy navigation and quick steps. Crocs' Mercy Clogs are almost entirely made out of the same croslite material as their other products, which is durable, stain resistant and comfortable.

On the sole, the treads offer a solid non-slip grip even on slicks of water or oil. These soles have been tested successfully to ASTM F1677 standards. The Mercy Clog has a 1/2” platform with a 1” heel in the back. All Crocs, including the Mercy Clog, come in one width that is wide and stable enough for most all foot types. Finally, this shoe comes in several colors and styles from black with a silver flower motif at the top of the foot and white with a silver flower motif to standard black and white. These shoes are both comfortable and stylish at the same time.
Pros

Super lightweight

Silent

Slip ressistant

Cons

The straps break easily

5. Cherokee Patricia Uniform Shoes fоr Medical Professionals

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The Cherokee Uniforms Shoes for Medical Professionals cater directly to women nurses. They are both comfortable and stylish.
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In fact, nurses around the country have named the Cherokee Uniforms Shoes for Medical Professionals one of the best shoes for nurses for the reason of style. While a lot of the footwear appears too clunky, these are sleek and actually good looking on pretty much all who wear them. In addition, these shoes offer a soft and breathable lining inside while being lightweight and easy to slip on and off.

The shoes start off as white as you can imagine nursing shoes to be, and they remain like that for months and even years. This is because the upper is made from pure polymer. Pure polymer is great for white nursing shoes because it does not require polishing or cleaning to appear bright white, and it still remains stain resistant. While other shoe varieties may be stain resistant, they might still need to be cleaned often. This is not true of the Cherokee Uniforms Shoes for Medical Professionals. The shoes are available in white leather, black leather and patent leather black.
Pros

Breathable

Elegant

Stain resistant finish

Cons

Some customers may find the heel to high

6. Cherokee Workwear Peacock Women’s Step In

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Another great shoe is from Cherokee. This shoe from the Workwear line features the lightweight outsole, double gored slip on technology and a super soft and breathable lining inside.
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Again, this shoe is specifically designed for women nurses. With this in mind, the foot bed is anatomically shaped to the typical foot of a woman. The arch is also rather high, making it a great choice for women with higher natural arches and more need for support in this area. In addition, the arch and midsole have built in shock absorption pads within the jelly comfort insole. This offers full support and comfort all day long. In terms of weight, the outsole of this shoe is especially light for easy navigation on the hospital floors. This light weight feature also helps to take unnecessary strain off from the knees, hips and back.

The outside of the shoe is made of full-grain leather, and the bottoms of the soles are high traction with multi-directional lugs and cleats. This is state of the art in the nursing shoes world. The WorkWear Peacock Women’s Step In Shoe is available in a variety of colors from back and grey marble to stark white to black. The white finish of these has a pure polymer coating to prevent stains and avoid the necessity for washing.
Pros

Soft sole

Easy to clean

Affordable

Cons

Run a size bigger

7. Skechers Women’s Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneaker

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Sketchers not only focus on comfort and safety features, but they make a point to design and style their shoes in the latest fashions.
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The Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneaker is an example of a quality shoe that will last for years. One of the features that many nurses who are Skechers fans love is the absence of laces. Several nursing shoe styles carried by Skechers have laces, and while laces can look and feel better for some people, others prefer the slip-on style of the Premium Premix. It’s classic and great-looking while being easy to wear and comfortable. The elastic topper that replaces the usual lace area helps greatly in this. On the bottom, the shoes have a non-marking and durable outsole for awesome grip on all surfaces, wet or dry.

This sneaker variety has a beautiful shape with cute, detailed accents. Instead of the smooth look of so many of the best shoes for nurses, this shoe offers different leather stylings on the outside, a back of the heel hook and even some metallic studs on the white and navy variety. The sole is super supportive with a special cushioned foot bed in the front, middle and back. Even the tongue and collar are fully padded and cushioned for the ultimate in standing and walking comfort. Remember not to be fooled by the “W” in the sizing chart as it only stands for Women’s shoes. The Skechers Women’s Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneaker comes in white and white/navy.
Pros

Amazing heel and arch support

Cushioned insole for extra comfort

Very durable

Cons

Sizes run small

8. Timberland Professional Women’s Renova Slip-On

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Another amazing shoe for nurses is the Timberland Professional Women’s Renova Slip-On, which comes in leather with a rubber sole.
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The platform along the front of the shoe stands 3/4” off the ground and cushions the foot when constantly walking. The 1 1/2” heel adds extra height at the heel. The platform and heel are both made from rubber with special SafeGrip slip resistant technology. SafeGrip provides stable traction to the ground even when it’s wet.

Anti-fatigue technology especially from Timberland gives support for standing comfort. This comfort extends from the foot beds to the ankles, knees, hips and back. In addition, the toe box is wide and cushioned on the interior with a Bi-Fit Tridensity foot bed chassis. This supports the foot front while the intense arch support takes care of the middle foot, and the cradled heel provides comfort for the back of the foot. Heel-to-Toe Rocker feature permits effortless gait and allows the forefoot to relax instead of constantly flexing and straining. Finally, the leather of the outsole is full-grain and offers top notch durability and style. The shoe comes in black or white.
Pros

Timberland Pro Anti-Fatigue technology for all-day standing support

Shock absorbing

Suitable for flat feet

Cons

Pricy

9. Sanita Women’s Professional Celina Clog

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Sanita is a Danish company that dates back to 1907. As such, it has a long line of traditional craftsmanship in its past.
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Sanita is known for their white nursing shoes. One of Sanita’s best shoes is called the Celina Clog. Often, decent white nursing shoes for women are hard to come by. Their style may be nice, but they are sometimes too easily stained. That’s not true with the Celina Clog. Even in white, the patent leather exterior offers a bright sheen for the duration of those long shifts.

The foot bed is anatomically shaped, and the manmade soles are oil resistant, anti-shock, anti-static and slip resistant. The shoe can be purchased in a variety of colors including white, black, brown, green/black and blue/black. The heel on the Celina Clog stands about 1 3/4” off the ground, and the platform is approximately 3/4” high. The American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM, certified the shoe, and finally, the American Podiatric Medical Association, or AMPA, gave the shoe their seal of acceptance for its long lasting foot support and its quality standards.
Pros

Anatomically shaped foot bed

Anti shock and anti static

Handmade soles

Cons

High priced

10. Skechers For Work Women’s Soft Stride-Softie Lace-Up

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The Work Women’s Soft Stride-Softie Lace-Up Shoes are one of the best choices for those who prefer laces.
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In fact, they are one of the only lace-up options that are often seen on these kinds of lists. Most often, the recommended shoes for the medical field are slip-on and lace-less, but sometimes, laces can be beneficial. For example, they offer adjustability throughout the day whereas slip-on shoes that only offer elastic by way of adjustment can become tight and uncomfortable by the end of the work day.

The shoe also offers a slip-resistant outsole and an athletic cushion. The athletic cushion likens the shoe to a variety that would be worn by professional athletes. The support technology is state of the art. In addition, this stylish shoe has a soft and supple leather exterior that is as durable as it is flexible. The Soft Stride-Softie Lace-Up is one of the best shoes for medical professionals who spend a lot of time in the emergency room or those that require a change of conditions often throughout the day. This is because the high abrasion rubber outsole allows durability on a variety of different floor surfaces. The shoe is available in black or white leather.
Pros

High adjustability 

Very soft and comfortable

Excellent arch support

Cons

Some customers may not find the lacing convenient 

Where To Buy The Right Shoes

Many new nurses are unsure where to buy nursing shoes. The first thing to remember is that nursing shoes are a particular style and design of shoes, so they may not be at all of the shoe stores you shop at. While some shoe stores and department stores might have one or two nursing shoe options, make a point to shop somewhere where you’ll have a larger variety to choose from. For most people, this is online. Sites like Amazon offer all of the shoes listed above and many more. Amazon also has an excellent review system, which allows you to see personal, detailed reviews from other nurses like yourself. Remember, you’ll be wearing these shoes for half of your entire week, so it’s a good idea to take the time to make an experienced and educated decision.

FAQ

Q: How do I find my size?

A: When trying shoes on, start with your normal shoe size, then try on another pair in the next one or two sizes up. Walk around and see how each pair feels. Take note of any points of pain or rubbing. Finally, remember that some nursing shoes will be measured in European sizes. You can use a sizing conversion chart if necessary.

Q: Can custom orthotics be used with nursing shoes?

A: While most of the best shoes for medical professionals can be used with orthotics, most manufacturers recommend trying your orthotics on with your shoes before making any final buying decisions.

Q: Which shoes are slip resistant?

A: Most of the time, you can tell whether or not a shoe is slip resistant based on looking at it, but some shoes will have passed special tests that make them certified as slip resistant. Look for SATRA and ASTM standards for best slip-resistance.

Q: What upper material choices do I have?

A: The best nursing shoes are made from one of the following list of materials: leather, patent leather, suede, rubber, synthetic leather, polyurethane or polypropylene.

Q: How should you care for your nursing shoes?

A: To properly care for your shoes, never put them in the washing machine or dryer unless specifically specified on the shoe. For rubberized and water-resistant shoes, washing with a damp cloth once every two weeks and after spills will keep them nicer for longer periods of time. For footwear that is made of suede, a suede cleaner is recommended. And, for those made of leather, a damp cloth or a gentle leather cleaner will work just fine.

Making The Final Decision

There are entire articles like this one devoted only to nursing shoes for women for a reason! The choice can be hard, but making the right choice will be well worth it. The best way to do this is by trial and error. To start your trial, examine some lists of the best nursing nurses, including the list above. You can also peruse sites like Amazon by starting with a broad search and narrowing it down. Amazon allows you to start in the clothes, shoes & jewelry section and then narrow it down from there. You can choose shoes that are low to the ground, especially high, more or less lightweight or stain resistant, and you can make many other specifications in addition. Make sure to look at these specifications before color and style. Color and style are important factors, but they should come second to safety and comfort.

Once you have paired down a list of possible options, measure your feet after a day of work and choose the appropriate corresponding sizes to order the shoes in. Always check return policies to assure that you can try shoes on before returning. When the shoes arrive, only try them on in an area of your home that has a clean floor surface, never wear the shoes outdoors and keep tags on at all times. Walk around in each pair of shoes for several minutes. Make a list of the pros and cons of each pair. Some shoes may feel comfortable at first, but if you notice any rubbing or shifting after a few minutes of wear, take special note of it. A slight rub in a shoe worn for one or two hours is much different when the shoe gets worn for a twelve hour shift at the hospital. Once you’ve tried on all your options, examine your pros and cons list, and make the best choice possible.

When searching for shoes, don’t forget to check nursing shoe reviews when making your decision. At the same time, you cannot rely entirely on nursing shoes reviews to make your choice, so read each one with an open mind. Remember, the best shoes for nurses in general are not necessarily the best shoes for you personally. What it comes down to is what shoe fits you the best. Nurses like you make your living on your feet, and because of this, your shoes will be one of your most valuable assets. The process of finding that perfect pair of nursing shoes may be long and rather arduous, but making a well thought out decision will be worth it, trust us! Good luck!

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