15 Best Shoes For Nurses Reviewed

Nurses are our everyday heroes. They put in countless hours and dedication. Their bodies can get some major ache and pains because they have to constantly be on their feet. Nurses are who we rely on and sometimes they don’t get the credit that is due to them. They get up every day to put others first and that’s exactly why they deserve the best. The highest rated shoes for comfort that will allow standing all day long is a good start.

best shoes for nurses-medical-uniform-nurses-standing-in-hospital

It can be very time consuming to find the best, most supportive footwear and nurses are almost always on the clock. They don’t have the time, and when they do it probably should be spent re-energizing for the next shift or spent with their loved ones. We want to give them a break, so we have reviewed and cross-examined the best nursing shoes available this year.

Last Updated: June 26, 2017
By Sergio Bettiol:

A best list that has been created by thought out research and has been recently updated. Featuring shoes like Fila Capture, Crocs Unisex Clog, and Dansko Professional Clog.

Featured Recommendations

Dansko Professional Clog
  • Dansko Professional Clog
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Roomy reinforced toe box for protection
  • Padded instep collar
  • Price: See Here
Birki’s super birki unisex
  • Birki’s super birki unisex
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Removable contoured cork footbed
  • Slip-on
  • Price: See Here
Crocs unisex clog
  • Crocs unisex clog
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Massaging footbed
  • Classic clog
  • Price: See Here

We know how unsupported shoes can cause serious problems in the nursing field. If you’re wearing the wrong type of shoe it can lead to major foot, leg and back pain. In the environment that nurses work in there may be spills and liquids, plus floors are generally easy to slip on when constantly shuffling back and forth. That’s why along with support, the shoe also needs to feature a slip-resistant outsole.

Therefore, we present this go-to resource so you can skip all those time-consuming steps and research to find the best nursing shoes for you. It has been fully analyzed with you in mind and all the obstacles that your work day may endure.

 

20 Best Shoes for Nurses

1. Skechers Sport Loving Life

The Skechers Sport line embraces some of Skecher’s most successful and popular sneakers out there. The Loving Life, in particular, stays true to its name, making every single step smooth and even enjoyable for some. Once again, this pair was originally meant for performance purposes – but it’s exactly these performance feats that make them ideal for the working circumstances of nurses. Cushioning, memory foam and an efficient outsole come together to form the nursing shoe you’ve been looking for.
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Memory foam insole
It’s hard for manufacturers to get the insole right for everyone, seeing as the shape of feet vary greatly from one user to another. However, the implementation of memory foam allows users to obtain a completely personalized experience when it comes to the insole. The memory foam is molded by the pressure of each gait, contouring your feet to their exact shape. After a couple of uses, you’ll have an insole that remembers the shape and position of your foot.

Flex groove outsole
A carefully designed outsole pattern allows for a much deeper flex thanks to the grooves on it. This makes a huge contribution to your walking form, helping you to take steps in a completely natural manner. Because of this, your arches suffer notably less stress and tension. Walking is not only more comfortable now, but you can also walk and run for longer before fatiguing your arches.

Cost
The Loving Life holds a decent quality-to-cost relation considering it counts with the adequate features for both sports performance and nursing. It may be costlier than some nursing-specific shoes, but it’s important to keep in mind you’re also getting the features of performance footwear. Seeing as it’s a shoe that can be used for both nursing and sports, we believe it’s really worth buying.
Pros

Outsole grooves allow for a deeper flex

Meets working etiquette standards in dark colors

Large variety of color options to choose from

Memory foam insole

Cons

The soft upper build lacks support

 

2. Skechers Sport Premium-Premix

If you’re worn any pair of Skechers shoes in the past, you’ll know why they’re one of the award-winning global leaders in performance and working footwear. Made for the runner, the walker, the casual user or those looking for performance. A smooth leather upper provides not only the comfort to stand and walk all day but also the cleanability required to keep a nursing shoe good looking.
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Cushioned insole
An active shift calls for cushioned shoes, and the padded insole in the Skechers Premium-Premix is the best way to do it. Aside from considerably increasing comfort, the cushioned insole contributes to a much more natural posture. Thanks to this, you can stand and walk for long periods without experiencing any sort of heel, ankle, or even back pain regardless of your shift length.

Tractioned outsole
Skechers incorporated their traction-enhanced outsole for this shoe, seeing as it’s originally meant as performance footwear. However, the increased traction is an excellent feature to have in your shoes when you’re a nurse. The outsole material in combination with its underfoot pattern contributes to the contact quality between the surface and the shoe. Aside from making slippage less likely, this also helps you walk more stable.

Cost
It’s not common to come across a brand that delivers the same quality at such a price like Skechers does. Considering the competitive technologies in the market go for way higher than Skechers footwear, we consider that the value of this particular model is totally worth the investment due to its properties.
Pros

Slip-on style makes it utterly easy to wear and take off

Elastic insets deliver a snug and comfy fit

Padded tongue and collar for further comfort

The non-marking rubber sole is ideal for hospitals and kitchens

Cons

The sizing runs small

3. Reebok Work N’ Cushion 3.0

Aside from its undoubted reputation with performance footwear, Reebok is also known for the quality and intuitiveness of their working releases. The Work N’ Cushion is one of the favorite series when it comes to work shoes, and the third edition is no less. Approved for long-standing shifts, walking, and carrying stuff, the Work N’ Cushion 3.0 counts with the respective features to make a nursing shift much smoother.
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Long-lasting cushion
An EVA midsole works in combination with a Memory-Tech LT sock liner to deliver maximum cushioning and responsiveness in a nursing shift. No matter how long or how far you walk, your feet and joints will be receiving a minimal amount of shock and stress. Furthermore, the cushioned insole, collar, and tongue are the cherry on the cake for both comfort and absorption.

High-abrasion rubber
In a job like nursing, the grip is quite a big deal. This is why the high-abrasion rubber sole makes an excellent element for nursing shoes. Its slippage-preventing qualities are ideal for the hallways of hospitals and nursing centers. What’s more, it’s non-adhering characteristic prevents liquids, oils included, from sticking around to your outsole and causing accidents later on.

Cost
Footwear for work doesn’t get any more straightforward than Reebok’s Work N’ Cushion series. Every feature in the third release of this series is oriented to enhance your performance and comfort at work. Meeting the average value of the list, the Work N’ Cushion 3.0 holds an excellent cost for what it delivers in exchange. This purchase is highly recommended.
Pros

Efficient yet lightweight build (343g)

Beveled heel increases walking effectiveness

Mesh lining increases breathability

High-abrasion, slip-resistant outsole

Cons

The leather is stiff until broken into, which takes some time

4. Nurse Mate Dove

4. Nurse Mate Dove
As its name suggests, the Nurse Mate Dove is a pair of shoes specifically designed for nursing. Starting off there’s an ultra-lightweight sole that counts with further rubber inserts. Aside from being highly functional and grippy, the Dove is utterly comfortable – one of the key features for people who stand and walk all day. The high-quality materials embrace premium tumbled leather that prevents stains and oil and is also extremely easy to treat and clean.
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Ultra-lightweight sole
The rubber sole of this shoe is nearly weightless while still delivering the adequate characteristics for a firm grip and preventing slippage. The slightly sticky rubber improves traction on each step, while a non-adhering outsole surface prevents water and oil from sticking around with you on your outsole and increasing the chances of slipping later on.

All-day support
The Nurse Mate Dove counts with just the right amount of cushioning for a nursing shift. The cushioned inner counts with a cushioned insole, padded collar, and upper foot. The leather lining is extremely comfortable and soft, improving your work experience with each gait. The heel support improves your posture throughout the day and helps you execute less-stressful natural motions.

Cost
Nurse Mate is not a brand that can comfortably be afforded by everyone, as the value exceed the average cost of the products in this list. However, those who can make the investment will have access to a shoe specifically designed for nursing. No matter how you look at it, each feature is explicitly oriented to enhancing the properties you need as a nurse – not to mention it is highly durable.
Pros

Designed and engineered specifically for nurses

Ultra-light, long-wearing soles

Extremely comfortable leather upper and lining

Stain-resistant finish and removable footbed

Cons

The top cover is too firm and takes some time of usage to loosen up, may results uncomfortable for wide feet users

5. K-Swiss Tubes Run 100

5. K-Swiss Tubes Run 100
Yet another performance shoe that is perfectly suitable for nursing. If you’ve been a K-Swiss user in the past, you’ll know their performance footwear is full of quality and efficiency. The Tubes Run 100 in particular counts with its own innovative tube midsole technology, complemented by the Aosta II rubber outsole, responsive cushioning, and a fairly lightweight approach. Durability, comfort, and performance come together to form the Tubes Run 100 shoe.
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EVA midsole
The ethyl-vinyl acetate (EVA) compound counts with excellent responsive and absorptive properties for nursing. The EVA midsole is also extremely durable and is not easily worn by stress and walking. Responsive cushioning keeps you comfortable throughout a whole day or running, walking, and even standing. Furthermore, the Aosta II rubber sole acts as a totally reliable grip and non-slipping agent on a wide list of surfaces.

k-EVA tube system
The k-EVA midsole counts with an innovative tube system that delivers a far more optimal cushioning and shock distribution that the traditional rubber midsole. The tubular system works in combination with the sole grooves that allow a deeper flex on each gait to get the most out of the smallest effort. The tube system also acts as a firm and stable platform for any activity you’re performing.

Cost
K-Swiss is a high-quality performance shoe manufacturer. The downside is that professional performance features come at a price, which in this case exceeds the average cost of the listed products. This by no means says the shoe is not worth it – as it’s adequately equipped for nursing and almost any aerobic (non-extreme) sport you can possibly put them up to.
Pros

Tubes Run 100 midsole technology

k-EVA midsole

Perfectly cushioned for nursing or other active shifts

Also suitable for running and sports

Cons

Quality has decreased slightly since manufacturing was moved to Indonesia

6. Dansko Professional Clog

6. Dansko Professional Clog
This clog has been rated to be the best this year. Reviewers have proved for it to be the most supportive and reliable shoe out there. This shoe has great, top rated features that include arch support, whereas you might find uncommon.
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Support
This iconic clog has a closed back, and superior arch support that will make this brand of shoe your favorite. Long-lasting durability, high quality leather and a spacious toebox for those with a wider foot.

Comfort
With a heel measuring two inches, you can count on a natural and comfortable balance. The padded collar supports your ankles for those long hours and it features a rocker-bottom so you can walk with ease.

Cost and Value
This clog can be found online for an impressive price and you can't beat the undeniably comfortability and support it offers. This show was designed to be worn for high risk duties and atmospheres.
Pros
  • Full support
  • Specialized slip resistance
  • Covered heel and toe
  • Arch support
Cons
  • Sizes may vary

7. Birki’s Super Birki Unisex

7. Birki’s Super Birki Unisex
The Birki is well designed for maximum support for those long hours of walking and standing. You can definitely rely on these shoes if you’re looking for a great shoe made specifically to endure high risk areas in the work environment that may involve spills and fast movement.
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Support
This Waterproof shoe is top notch when it comes to durability. The Super Birki has great arch support and its material is slip-resistant and almost indestructible.

Comfort
With a .5 inch heel height, it aims for natural comfortability. Its toebox has ample wiggle room to let you move freely, without causing pain or sores and its linen liner that is 100% washable.

Cost and Value
The Birki can be purchased for a very reasonable price when considering the comfort that comes with this durable shoe.
Pros
  • .5 inch heel for natural comfort
  • Non-slip
  • Easy slip-on style
  • Little cleaning maintenance
  • Removable footbed
Cons
  • Sizes may come too large

8. K-Swiss Classic VN

8. K-Swiss Classic VN
This iconic shoe shows true class. The K-Swiss brand has been around for many years and still tops as one of the best footwear companies. The VN features a thick rubber outsole and with a classic silhouette that is very popular and widely known.
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Support
Made with a leather upper, this shoe beams excellent quality and durability. There’s a raised back to support the ankle and has D-ring eyelets to have a sure fit.

Comfort
Some characteristics of the VN is the smooth synthetic lining and a removable, padded sockliner for all-day comfort. There is a textured midsole that renders a comfortable cushion. It also has a quality padded tongue and collar.

Cost and Value
Walking around in this exemplary classic shoe is worth the reasonable prices that can be found through online sources.
Pros
  • Classic Icon shoe
  • Quality leather
  • Ankle support
  • Slip resistant
Cons
  • Unsupportive arch

9. Skechers 76536 Sure Track

9. Skechers 76536 Sure Track
These all leather slip-on works shoes are not only comfortable but also provide a slip, oil, and chemical resistant outsole. You can wear these shoes all day because of their memory foam cushioned insole and it features a back loop to slip-on with ease.
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Support
Aspects include a protective leather toe and heel overlay and a supportive shock absorbing midsole. A soft fabric collar trim and shoe lining, You most definitely can depend on this shoe.

Comfort
The comfortability in this shoe includes a stretch top panel for secure fit, soft cushioning insole that is also removable and one inch built in heel for top natural comfort.

Cost and Value
The Sure Track shoe can be purchased for a low reasonable price online, and don't forget about the memory foam that will form with your foots characteristics!
Pros
  • Leather upper
  • Shock absorbing FlexSole midsole
  • Soft fabric collar trim and lining
  • Memory foam
  • Valued price
Cons
  • Sizes may vary

10. Crocs Unisex Clog

10. Crocs Unisex Clog
The Bistro Clog is designed with combinations of comfort, style and work specific aspects. It is a supportive and durable shoe that is ideal for the hardworking nurse. This shoe promotes good posture and reduces pain for those who are constantly on their feet.
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Support
This clog was designed specifically for its support factors and will not be a let down. With a spacious toebox it is ideal for both wide and narrow feet. The unique material was specially designed to form with your foot because the material softens with body heat.

Comfort
The Bistro clog has a pillow-like cushioning insole that supports all day standing and walking. This is the ideal clog for someone looking for the light and easy slip-resistant, slip on professional shoe.

Cost and Value
You can purchase this professional clog online for a low valued cost. It is one to seriously consider for this long lasting shoe.
Pros
  • Arch support
  • Slip-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Soft insole
Cons
  • Limited amount of design choices

11. Merrell Encore Slide Pro Grip

11. Merrell Encore Slide Pro Grip
With a leather upper and a breathable mesh lining, this shoe will keep you running smooth all day long. This she was designed to form to the foot for easy movement and superior arch support.
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Support
Available in two colors, the Merrell Encore provides a design to help support long hours of standing and walking. It features a slip-resistant outsole and is effortless to put on and take off.

Comfort
This shoe is structured to have a comfortable arch system. Features a footbed with an organic odor and perspiration control.

Cost and Value
This shoe is a great investment. You can purchase the Merrell Encore online through various sources with reasonable prices and you won't be let down with the great work related qualities this shoe has to offer.
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Slip-resistant
  • Easy slip-on
  • Soft footbed
Cons
  • Limited colors

12. New Balance MC806

12. New Balance MC806
We all are very familiar with New Balance for making popular athletic shoes, but here we have a shoe that offers the support and comfortability that is required to perform well throughout the long work day.
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Support
With the very popular look of what makes a great work shoe, you will also find a lightweight midsole. This shoe can guarantee durability in any fast paced or high risk areas from its motion control and shock absorbing features.

Comfort
This shoe is superior in padding from the tongue to the collar. There is a dry feature to keep moisture away and a cushioned midsole for all day comfort.

Cost and Value
When purchasing this shoe, keep in mind that the comfortability will definitely overcome your investment.
Pros
  • Tennis shoe appearance
  • Stability
  • Moisture control
  • Arch support
Cons
  • Not slip-resistant

13. Asics GEL Dedicate 4

13. Asics GEL Dedicate 4
The Asics brand is a member of the sustainable apparel coalition. They offer great arch and heel support and is lightweight for easy movement.
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Support
The Dedicate 4 tennis shoe is a substantial pick if you're looking for more of an arch supporting shoe. The lightweight aspect about this shoe allows for quicker movement especially in congested areas and a fully rubber outsole for best grip.

Comfort
Made with a breathable mesh and synthetic upper and a padded tongue and collar for max air-flow and ankle support. Complete with comfortable lining and cushiony foam footbed for longer hours of comfort.

Cost and Value
As with the Crocs Bistro, the Dedicate is available online at an awesome value and the cost can not compare with their offered pillowy cushion.
Pros
  • Arch support
  • Superior cushioning
  • Breathable material
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Colors may be brighter than online source projects.

14. Alegria Keli Professional

14. Alegria Keli Professional
This clog has style and culture. It is easy to slip on and go and is effortless to clean with a simple soap and water solution.
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Support
It features arch support with a raised heel for natural posture and balance. Slip-resistant outsole and lightly padded collar for comfort.

Comfort
This shoe proceeds its comfortability with a memory foam insole, inside leather lining and a durable rubber outsole.

Cost and Value
With 17 different patterns and colors to choose from and a width selection you can not go wrong with this clog and it's true worth.
Pros
  • Width selection
  • Arch support
  • Easy to maintain
  • Slip-resistant
  • Shock absorbing
Cons
  • Sizes may vary

15. Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip

15. Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip
The Jungle Moc Pro has extra support on the heel and toe areas. They are effortless in movement and promotes positive arch support.
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Support
This shoe has a leather upper and a sticky rubber outsole to make this shoe nearly indestructible. You can count on its mobility feature as it has versatile goring inserts and a compression-molded footframe.

Comfort
The Jungle Moc Pro Grip has a padded collar for comfortability and air cushioning in the heel that absorbs shock on impact and adds stability.

Cost and Value
The Merrell Jungle is an absolute value when considering the comfort traits that this shoe has to offer.
Pros
  • Leather
  • Slim look
  • Slip-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Arch support
Cons
  • Narrow design

16. Dansko Pro XP Mule

16. Dansko Pro XP Mule
The Dansko Pro is an exquisite shoe. This shoe has Superior toe and heel support and a 1½ inch heel to support natural balance.
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Support
Featuring a rocker bottom to make every step glide with ease and a spacious toebox for extra wiggle room.

Comfort
A heightened heel allows for greater balance and natural stability. This clog features a padded collar for a comfortable ankle when in motion.

Cost and value
The Dansko Pro is in the mid hundred range and is a great investment as it is a quality professional shoe.
Pros
  • Heightened heel
  • Toe and heel support
  • Reduces perspiration
  • Foot flexibility
Cons
  • Sizes may come too big or small

17. New Balance WX608V4

17. New Balance WX608V4
Available in soft suede or smooth leather, The New Balance brand is widely known to construct a fully supportive and easy to wear, comfortable shoe.
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Support
This New Balance shoe has a heel pull loop to easily slip on, a soft padded collar and tongue and breathable lining.

Comfort
This shoes comfort characteristics include a foam footbed, a firm midsole and an internal shank.
You will notice that shis shoe has great flexibility and gives you a bounce in every step.

Cost and value
Online you will find this shoe to be at a very appreciable cost. You'll almost feel like it's a steal when considering all the support it has to offer.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Arch support
  • Maximal cushioning
  • Slip-resistant
Cons
  • May rub skin from curved collar

18. Alegria Paloma Flat

18. Alegria Paloma Flat
This stylish shoe is unbeatable in the nursing field because it delivers top comfort and stability. It is slip-resistant a features an adorable button strap.
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Support
With a full leather upper and durable rubber outsole it will meet expectations of a long-lasting professional shoe. The rocker-bottom drives you forward allowing natural movement.

Comfort
The Paloma Flat has cork footbed with the abilities to form to the foot for a comfortable fit and it can also be removed if you choose to do so.

Cost and value
This clog is quite unique, and at miniscule cost. The Alegria Paloma is an extravagant shoe in the nursing field.
Pros
  • Stability
  • Performance
  • Arch and mobility support
  • Fantastic designs
Cons
  • Color may fade overtime

19. Fila Capture

19. Fila Capture
If you are searching for a comfortable shoe with an athletic touch, then the Fila Capture is the perfect choice. It is slim and sleek with a modern twist.
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Support
Made with a leather upper and a rubber outsole to provide substantial traction and a smooth ventilation system from a perforated upper.

Comfort
With laces up front and a padded tongue and collar you can surely bet on the quality comfort that is built into this shoe. You can step into a smooth lining with a foam cushioning footbed for the comfort you desire.

Cost and value
Take a walk in this supportive athletic shoe for an uncommonly, significant online value.
Pros
  • High-key structured memory foam
  • Leather
  • Slip-resistant
  • Athletic
  • Arch support
Cons
  • No perspiration control features
  • No heel support

20. Timberland PRO Renova

20. Timberland PRO Renova
A classy full leather upper, the Timberland Renova shows us style and professionalism all-in-one. This shoe can easily clean up with a simple water and soap solution so you'll always put off a shine to those dreadful Mondays.
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Support
Featuring an alloy safety toe and a fiberglass shank that provides adequate protection. Slip-resistant outsole delivers unprecedented grip that precedes its durability.

Comfort
The Pro Renova had a rocker-bottom to propel you forward making every step seem as if you were gliding and its spacious toebox benefits wide and narrow for greater movement and comfortability.

Cost and value
This clog is at a remarkable value online. The Timberland Renova shows great potential to be a long-term, reliable shoe.
Pros
  • Anti-shock
  • Slip-resistant
  • Complexed comfort and mobility
  • Fiberglass feature
  • Durable
Cons
  • No arch support

 

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Nurses

What it means to be a nurse may be viewed differently, depending on your perspective of nursing, but it doesn’t matter if you work by taking care of someone in the comfort of their home, if you work long hours in a hospital facility, or if you’re an on-call travel nurse, you are the people’s real heroes, even when doing so takes a tremendous toll on your mind and body. And, every hero deserves to have the best of the best when it comes to quality care for your hard working body.

best shoes for nurses-scrubs-medical-workers-hospital-doctors

This list was constructed with careful thought of what it is that a nurse could truly benefit from. It has been analyzed with the most care and we understand the constant and possibly long-term pain that can be endured by wearing unsupported shoes. So sit down and relax, we’ve got you covered! Here’s some more information to consider.

 

Criteria for Evaluation

 

Nurse Shoes: The Different Types

Of course, we wouldn’t overlook the many different styles of shoes nurses typically find to perform well on the job. Each are very different in their own respect and offer different features that make them unique and perform well, but it’s worth noting that personal preference will be a big part of choosing the specific type best for you. That’s why we’ve included all; to give everyone an option, whether you’re looking for men’s nursing shoes, nursing shoes for women, medical clogs, cushioned athletic shoes, slip on shoes, loafers, or mules, each holds a place in the preferences for professional medical personnel.

best shoes for nurses-white nurse shoes on medical workers

Ideal Nursing & Medical Shoes

  • Athletic Shoes – Because athletic shoes are made for constant activity, and typically have cushioning and shock absorption features, along with ample support, some specific models do really well for nurses. A big advantage of sneakers over slip on types of footwear is their ability to be tightened for a better, “less loose” fit, which is perfect for those scrubs, nurses and medical personnel who find themselves rushing back and forth constantly, where an easy slip on would become an easy slip off.
  • Nursing Clogs – Although can be considered a mule, or a slipper, clogs are specific in their own right. Their true definition is a wooden shoe with a heel and sole that is generally lower than similar footwear types, although modern or professional clogs aren’t made of wood. They provide adequate protection, great support, are extremely easy to wipe down or clean, and are super comfortable. Dansko is a favorite brand among clogs. They are starting to incorporate straps for a better fit and hold. Clogs are usually worn and made for women, bu you can find some great options for men.
  • Nursing Mules – On the other hand, you have mules, which are very similar to clogs, but have some significant differences. They are generally more classy in their looks, have a more pronounced heel, and less of a sole platform. You will typically see mules with straps, or buckles, but just like clogs, can be considered slippers and are also open the back. They are also comfortable and allow for easy cleaning. Just like clogs, mules are also made for and usually only worn by women nurses.
  • Slip-Ons – A slip on can include a number of footwear types, and in the world of medical shoes, it usually refers to clogs or mules mentioned above, and the loafers below. Not every slip on is ideal, and this style is good for certain occasions. If you have issues with fitting, or a smaller foot, you may want to go with an athletic shoe to ensure your foot does not slip from the footwear unexpectedly.
  • LoafersLoafers are less used by nurses but can be in some cases as they have a generally professional look, but the typical loafer is not durable or extremely fitting. Although, some are. Because loafer is a general term, and refers to a shoe that does not utilize laces, but rather has a slip-on design, there are some great medical shoes that fall into the category. It’s worth noting, another specification for loafers is a generally low or non-existent heel and are made for both men and women. Not every loafer is ideal.

best shoes for nurses-white nurse clogs

Note: Clogs and Cushioned Athletic Shoes are higher rated than any other shoes for nurses, and typically used more among medical professionals. 

Note: The reason clogs or similar slip-on footwear is used by nurses even if they don’t provide as great of a hold as athletic shoes is because of their spill proof, sealed upper. Athletic shoes are comprised of mesh uppers, which lets liquids through, and in addition to not being spill-proof, they are also not as easy to sanitize or wipe down. On the other hand, clogs, for instance, are spill proof and easy to wipe down, but because of their sealed design, their breathability is hindered. This is where the open back end or loose design comes in. This allows ample airflow, which nurses respond well to, and love. There are pros and cons to each type, so weigh your options. We’ve provided many.

 

Comfort

All day comfort; you read it right! It’s been said, more than 30 percent of nurses in the United States suffer from either back or foot pain, due to their demanding, all day work, moving around all day on their feet.

The fact is, inadequate shoes are a big part of this problem. This means the proper shoe will promote proper posture which enables correct spinal alignment, have adequate arch support (which we will cover individually) and provide a cushioned sole that offers shock absorption.

This means, with the right shoes on, nurses will suffer from fewer foot pains, less pain in their backs from constant shock (prevention of spine complications down the line), better balance or support, and an overall reduction of stress accumulation from discomfort or aching. This means you will be able to focus on the patient, rather than distractions or personal complications.

Comfort is often an underestimated feature, and users who ignore the comfortable aspects of footwear pay for it sooner or later. When your job implies long hours of active standing or walking, the last thing you want is your shoes to generate discomfort or annoyance.

What most nurses don’t know is that the lack of comfort has a massive psychological impact on the execution of their tasks. To put it in simple words, you just can’t focus properly if your shoes suck. It’s as easy as that. Shoes are not something you should be “dealing with” while on your shift – they’re supposed to enhance your performance.

It’s important to note that the comfort delivered by a shoe doesn’t only involve their usage during the shift, but after it as well. The main features that determine the comfortability of a shoe, such as breathability, padding, soft materials, and absorption, will have an important effect on your feet after you’ve done wearing them.

As a nurse, you can’t afford to have sore feet the day after you wear your shoes – especially because you’re likely going to repeat your shift again the next day with those shoes. If a certain pair of shoes starts to create a condition that affects your ability to move normally or achieve your tasks, it will only get worse from there. It’s time to ditch them.

We recommend giving priority to this factor when searching for nursing shoes. You don’t want to replace any other important factor, you just want to make sure it features an acceptable level of comfort.

Features to expect in medical footwear that contribute to comfort

  • Cork insole: Comfortable, lightweight and cushioning. It’s usually more firm than the usual material, but much more effective when it comes to providing prolonged support, without collapsing. It’s best for providing structure for those who need the extra support for combatting knee, arch hip and back pain due to the enhanced posture encouragement.
  • Standard Cushioned Insole: More cushion and less stable than cork insoles (an alternative). The typical material would be memory foam or latex.
  • Cork / Memory Foam insole combination: With the two material compositions strategically composed into the insole, you get a balance of both worlds.
  • Leather Upper: Flexible enough to provide a conforming fit, contributing to the overall comfort (Unrelated: not as easy to clean or wipe down than synthetic material)
  • Arch Support: A properly supportive shoe will reduce stress on the arch of the foot, and also contribute to proper posture.
  • Rocker / Curved Sole: This allows for an easy transition through step motions, which reduced overall stress on the foot, in the long run, benefitting nurses who work long shifts.
  • Accommodation for orthotics:  Most come with footbeds made of EVA or other soft, cushioned material, but when removable, allowing for a custom insert according to your specific preferences.
  • Anatomically Shaped Design: This will ensure the best fit and support as possible.

Cushioning

Let’s start by saying that no shoe ever can lack cushioning. They could, but nobody would be able to wear them comfortably. Cushioning is a massively-contributing factor to many of the other features present in the best nursing shoes. For instance, it plays a key role in comfort. Don’t get it wrong, though, cushioning is a critical aspect of actual performance and task execution.

Think of the cushioning as the layer that smoothens the contact between your feet and the materials of a shoe. Remove the cushioning and you’ll find your feet striking the materials of footwear in a totally dry and harmful manner. Regardless of what’s the material lying behind the cushioning, you don’t want your feet to impact it directly.

Don’t make a mistake thinking that a leather shoe won’t need cushioning because leather is already comfortable to the touch. There’s a massive difference between the sensation delivered by the surface of a material when you touch it in comparison to when your feet are walking in them and hitting them back and forth.

Cushioning plays a contributing role in shock absorption as well. Although it’s not the element responsible for absorbing the most shock, it helps soften each impact. Cushioning is something you normally find around the whole inner shoe; the wall padding, the tongue padding, the collar padding, and the insole, to name a few, all work as cushioning agents.

The more material that stands between your feet and the floor at the moment of impact, the less shock that will get to your body. Keep in mind that, no matter how cushioned, there is no pair of shoes to this date that is able to completely null shock upon impact. There will always be a residual amount of energy that will go up your foot, even when walking.

Elements that contribute to the cushioning of a shoe:

Lining: This is the element that covers the internal face of a shoe. It also places an additional layer of comfortable material between your foot and the sole. The quality of a lining is directly related to its softness and the comfort it delivers when in contact with feet, which at the same time is determined by the material it’s made of.

What most users don’t know, though, is that the lining also plays a role in the durability of a shoe. It acts as a supporting agent that holds the inner build together with the external build, contributing to the shape a shoe has and the amount of time it lasts in its natural position. Soft materials are preferable for the lining.

Padding: Padding and cushioning can be understood as the same thing. However, we’ll refer to padding as the cushioning of a specific element rather than the cushioning of the shoe as a whole. For instance, the padding of the tongue, collar, and ankle, makes a considerable contribution to the level of cushioning present in a shoe.

The padding of each individual element also contributes to the support that the shoe offers. Aside from increasing comfort and cushioning, the tongue, ankle, and collar optimize the fit around each of their respective areas.

Insole: The insole achieves a variety of purposes that we will explain thoroughly as an independent factor later in the guide. One of its many purposes is acting as a cushioning agent that relieves key areas of feet that are normally affected the most. A nursing shift can be really hard on the heels, for example.

Depending on how you feel with your shoes, you may opt for an insole that delivers greater heel cushioning, or rather more arch support. Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) is arguably the most popular and widely used insole material.

Grip

Obviously one can’t be slipping at work, or in general, and proper footwear has probably the greatest effect on occurrences. Not only is slipping a no-no but for nurses, it’s quite likely as they are more susceptible and have much less room for error than with other professional jobs that don’t deal with people’s health or in some cases life.

Hospital floors are slippery, and the hospital environment typically contains liquids and spills that create a hazardous situation if not prepared. Nurses are constantly rushing to and from in a hurry to not let a second be wasted, one cannot get hurt while trying to heal another. What’s more, patients cannot afford to be without their nurse, not even for a wasted minute in cases where time is essential.

So, as you see, the combination here leads to nurses needing a shoe that provides traction and non-slip material on the outsole. It is not just important; it is critical. You need to consider the material, the pattern or profile, and the overall design of the outsole.

Slippage prevention

While the quality of the grip has a direct influence on your chances of slipping, the grip and non-slipping features are normally two separate things. Features that prevent slippage are not always related directly to the grip, but rather they’re independent elements with the only purpose of resisting undesired movement.

For example, aside from the main outsole design, some shoes offer an external pattern that surrounds the main design. This external pattern may have multiple functions to prevent slippage depending on its purpose and shape; it may restrict forceful and quick lateral movements, it may help prevent backward sliding, and so on.

There are other features that, despite not being a physical element of the shoe, still contribute to slippage resistance. In professional nursing shoes, the outsole material is usually coated with a compound that prevents most substances from adhering to the outsole.

The purpose of this is pretty straightforward; aside from not slipping when you step on the liquid, it prevents the liquid from staying on your outsole and creating a potential hazard at any point of your shift. In some cases, this feature is an indispensable requirement to work in a hospital, as it also prevents the spreading of substances and slippery liquids across the surface of the whole hospital.

Features and Materials that contribute to a slip resistant shoe

  • Tread Pattern: An outsole profile with enough surface room to generate friction, which then leads to a better grab to the floor. Certain patterns are more effective than others. This also leads to the second point about tread pattern. You don’t want the shot completely flat, as this will cause any liquids to form a barrier between the outsole of the shoe and the floor, which will prevent your shoe from catching any traction at all. You will basically hydroplane, as seen with cars and wet floors. Additionally, you want a pattern that is cut in a way that there are no closures in it which trap water underneath your foot, which will also lead to a slip. The water needs outlets to escape and be pushed out, so a proper slip resistant shoe will have an outsole profile as such.
  • Tapered Toe: This prevents tripping when transitioning from different flooring material, such as from a tiled hard floor to a carpeted room.
  • Softer Material/Rubber: Harder material just doesn’t grab very well. You may have a hard midsole for support, but a soft outsole for better traction. The softer the rubber material is on the outsole, the better it will be able to grip the floor.
  • Aluminium Oxide Grit Treatment: This is a coating that can be found on outsoles specifically made for providing additional slip resistance.

Note to nurses and other medical personnel: If you see a wet floor or hazardous walking area, avoid it! There is no shoe that is perfectly slip-proof. Your shoes do not compensate for a lack of attention on the job. Always be careful and aware.

 

Stability & Support

In a job that comprises standing and walking for the most part of the shift, features like stability and support become very important. Before going any further, it’s important to notice that the stability of a shoe goes hand-in-hand with the support it offers.

The support is basically what adapts your foot to the shape of the shoe. The purpose of this feature is to keep feet and shoes together as if they were just one element. As support increases, you’ll be able to have greater control and accuracy over your motions and coordinate your feet with the shoes. Think of support as the “force” that the shoe uses to compress against the foot to hold it together to the shoe.

As you can probably guess, support is something you don’t want to overdo either. As a nurse, you should be looking for a supportive shoe that allows you to move your feet in synchronization with the shoes. Some people normally think this is a default feature of all shoes, but in reality, the support varies according to the quality of the shoe.

The best nursing shoes, for example, count with a decent degree of support. You can tell a shoe is supportive when you feel it somewhat pressed against your foot, and it follows your foot around perfectly. A non-supportive shoe, on the other hand, will make certain motions on its own that are not executed by your foot. The lack of support breaks the “synchronization” between a foot and a shoe.

Pronation

Most footwear users are unfamiliar with one of the main purposes of shoe support, which is preventing unnatural stances and movements. The support holds the shoe and the foot together to enhance each motion as if they were one, but more importantly, it holds the foot in place to prevent it from overpronating or supinating (underpronating).

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, pronation is the inward motion executed by the foot as it rolls. This movement is an instinctive reflex that helps distribute the impact force of each gait, whether running or walking, in a much more optimal manner. Contrary to what most footwear users think, the foot is not meant to stay in a vertical position at all times.

Normally, the human foot pronates between 12 to 17 percent before reaching the surface it will impact. This way, it can support your body weight in a natural manner that reduces stress on the joints. This process is crucial for proper shock absorption and the distribution of impact energy.

However, there’s a lot of variation in the degree to which the foot of each individual pronates when running and walking. Although the pronation process is completely natural, certain factors like the height and length of the foot’s arch can affect its ability to roll. This is where underpronation and overpronation happen.

Arch support

The arch support is often the most ignored feature in a shoe. Most footwear users aren’t able to determine the degree of arch support they need for the specific shape of their feet. This often leads to acquiring shoes with the wrong level of support or no support on the arch at all. This is in part because the lack of arch support is something that is not clearly noticeable until it starts hurting your foot.

Generally, people that suffer from flat feet tend to overpronate, which means they twist their foot inwards more than they should. This not only causes an unnatural stance and weight distribution when walking or running, but it also adds further tension to the ankle and other rotating joints. Overpronators should be looking for more support than usual to control their pronation.

On the other hand, people with particularly high arches tend to supinate (underpronate). In this case, users should opt for a shoe that is cushioned neutrally in order to encourage natural feet movement.

In both cases, it’s highly recommended that you seek for a customized insole. Arch support is generally generic in all shoes; it’s impossible to design a shoe that fits all arches equally. You can, however, use a personalized insert that will make the shoe fit your very own anatomy.

Other elements that contribute to the support of a shoe:

Heel support: This feature is what keeps your heel tightly held against the back of the shoe, ensuring there’s no vertical sliding within the shoe (given that the sizing is optimal). Although often underestimated, the heel support plays a pretty important role in support.

The heel acts as a pivoting agent at any point in which the foot starts pronating or twisting. It’s the very base of each pronating motion, and thus it should remain stable and support for the foot to pronate naturally and comfortably.

Tongue and closure: There’s a lot of people who don’t know that the tongue actually plays a role in the supportive process of a shoe. Aside from acting as cushioning, the tongue is also meant to support the upper foot. Furthermore, the closure system will reinforce the support on the upper foot.

Regardless of the closure style, it’s important that the tension of the laces, straps, or whatever you’re using is distributed evenly. The best form of support is achieved when the closure places an even amount of pressure on all parts of the tongue at the same time.

 

Rocker Design / Curved Sole

A rounded sole or rocker design will make every stepping motion from heel to toe much more pleasant and is also a small factor in keeping yourself from tripping. The heel to toe transition through each step is the main reason for this feature in a good shoe for nurses, and some have it more pronounced than others, although not all have the design. It’s highly unlikely to find this feature in an athletic shoe, but you will see it in some great clogs. The reason is most clogs and similar shoes have very thick, dense soles that aren’t as flexible as one that you would find in an athletic shoe. This sole gives them more stability as mentioned before, but requires the rocker design to allow ease of movement through transitions of each step. Athletic shoes don’t really need this, as they generally have flexible, EVA or similar soles and in-turn do not offer the same support. Some shoes for nurses offer this design feature more pronounced than others.

 

Easy to Clean & Sanitize

As noted previously, one benefit of clogs and other shoes for nurses that provide a smooth finish on their upper by utilizing coatings or leather curing methods that repel moisture rather retaining it or letting it seep through is substantial. This also allows an easy to wipe down and clean surface. Leather types that offer this and are recommended are full-grain, oiled, or box leather. You will more commonly see the “full-grain” tag used in footwear specifications, so if none else, go with it as it is naturally durable, and repels liquids effectively. Synthetic uppers as you would find on athletic shoes just don’t perform well in this regard. They are usually comprised of large mesh areas and are extremely breathable, which is not a bad thing, but in terms of protection from liquids, it’s not effective. If a highly commended brand or shoe company offers a shoe that is waterproof, and any leather material that’s ideal for this purpose as mentioned above is not offered, they are probably treated with the companies own water repellant finish. It’s always safest to go with reputable brands, and that’s all we recommend.

 

Compression Socks with Proper Shoes

Although compression socks are not shoes, we want to help in any way possible, and using them is just too significant to not mention. We highly recommend them as a properly fitting, properly designed, quality compression sock will help blood circulation in the feet and legs which will help tons on the job. There’s an endless amount of reputable information and studies regarding compression socks that shows they do work and are effective in reducing fatigue, blood build-up, swelling and stress on the feet which occurs when put under constant pressure as done naturally in a nurse’s workday.

 

FAQ

Q: What shoes do nurses wear?

A: We’ve answered this throughout the article, but it’s still asked enough so we want to provide a summarized answer. Nurses wear either clogs or athletic shoes, mainly. Clogs because they provide ample support and an upper that is typically liquid resistant for protecting against hazardous liquids. Athletic shoes because they are extremely comfortable, especially those from Skechers which will usually incorporate memory foam in their footbeds.

 

Q: What Nursing shoes are most comfortable?

A: There is no absolute answer to this, are there are may factors that makes it a fairly relative question, but in general, athletic shoes typically provide the most comfort at the expense of stability and waterproofing.

 

Q: What are the best nursing shoes for flat feet?

A: The best nursing shoes for flat feet are the one’s that offer a lower arch, more cushioning, and are stable. This is something that can be achieved to a degree by orthotics or inserts, but clogs are generally very stable, although don’t usually have the extreme cushioning an athletic shoe may have. This is where custom inserts can be used, for the purpose of compensating for a clogs typical, dense midsole.

 

Q: What are the best white nursing shoes?

A: Dansko is a highly reputable brand that makes clogs which are ideal for nursing, and quite a few come in all white. If you prefer an athletic shoe, Skechers makes some extremely commended shoes for nurses that also come in all white. We highly reccomend either brand.

 

Q: What are the best nursing shoes for plantar fasciitis?

A: You’re going to want to look for a highly cushioned shoe, as plantar fasciitis is known to be an overuse injury. This means, an athletic shoe may be your best bet, in which Skechers makes some great shoes for nurses in this category that are highly rated.

 

Q: Black or White; Which color is best?

A: There is no absolute answer so we’ll give you some food for thought. First, consider what color is required for where you work, or if you are attending nursing school, which color is required there. Professional establishments and school environments a such usually require uniforms, in which one or the other color will be required. If that’s the case, that’s an easy answer for you. Most hospitals will not have a color requirement. Although, you should also be aware of the fact that black shoes will not show dirt or stains as easily, which is one reason they are preferred in a nursing environment where such cases where stains are unavoidable. Solid black and solid white both come off as very professional. In the case of white shoes, some have reported that as a preference as they can see any mess more easily in order to clean them.