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The 8 Best Shoes for Nurses
Authored by Adam Sherman
Are you a nurse standing or walking all day and experiencing tired feet at the end of a long shift? If you’d love to know how to better look after your feet and the best ways to alleviate the pain, read on as this article was written for you!
As a nurse, you probably know that our feet carry three times our body weight with each step. Add to this lifting patients or carrying heavy equipment, and you get yourself a recipe for disaster when it comes to your feet!
Because your job involves a lot of standing or walking, your work shoes must provide support and comfort to avoid stress on your legs, back, and aching feet at the end of a long day. Often overlooked, shoes are as important as a stethoscope or blood pressure cuffs. Indeed, not only is wearing the appropriate shoes critical for protecting your back and your feet, but it’s also the best way to prevent you from slipping, hurting yourself or others in the process.
In this quick guide, we’ll touch on why, as a nurse, wearing good shoes is so important before highlighting the key things you should consider when looking for a pair of work shoes.
While there are a lot of options available out there, finding the adequate pair of shoes for you can seem a bit overwhelming and even daunting. To assist you, we’ll also list the best shoes available on the market for nurses. Ready? We know we are ;)
Why Wearing Good Shoes is So Important For Nurses
Feet serve as the building block of the entire body. Besides, not only do they support our body, but they also keep us balanced and can affect our overall well-being and health if not being looked after properly. Indeed, bad food health can lead to a range of issues, including the back, hip, and knee pain.
According to a study published by Medsurg Nursing, nurses walk on average 4 to 5 miles during a 12-hour shift. Therefore, while not all nurses suffer from foot conditions, standing on your feet all day makes you more prone to food-related health issues as it can affect your bones, ligaments, joints, back, knees, and legs.
Help maintain correct posture and prevent pain
Good posture plays a critical role in balance. Indeed, as human beings, when we stand up, our body is centered over our feet, helping us maintain balance while walking. Standing up straight can also help reduce injury when performing demanding physical activities such as lifting patients or carrying heavy equipment.
On the other hand, while affecting your balance and increasing the risk of injury, bad posture can also impact your range of motion and throw your body out of alignment. Therefore, if you’re prone to poor posture and use inadequate footwear during your working hours, you’re more likely to develop heel or foot pain, sore joints, and possible ankle, hip, knee, or back pain. Wearing appropriate footwear is the best way to ensure you maintain a correct posture throughout your shift and keep the pain away.
Prevent plantar fasciitis
Have you been wearing your favorite pair of sneakers at work for a while? The bad news is; you might be harming your body and be more prone to plantar fasciitis!
Indeed, plantar fasciitis is a common issue among nurses. Unfortunately, wearing shoes with stiff or old soles and poor arch support can lead to this common foot condition. As a result, poor support can cause gait irregularities, put a strain on your arches, and lead to uneven weight distribution across your foot. These can all lead to plantar fasciitis developing or worsening.
Prevent Blisters and Bunions
As a nurse, having healthy and pain-free feet is essential, and therefore having blisters or bunions can become a real issue. Now, because nurses are running around all day, they perform a lot of steps, increasing the friction between the shoe and the foot, which in turn can lead to the formation of blisters if not wearing adequate shoes.
And while bunions can be inherited, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and practicing high impact activities can both be factors contributing to a bunion occurrence.
Prevent accidents and injury
Wearing shoes featuring an anti-slip outer sole can prevent you from slipping while grabbing lunch at the hospital’s cafeteria and literally save you from being your workplace laughingstock!
More seriously, a study published by the Occupation and Health Safety Administration showed that 25% of work-related injuries in hospitals are due to slips or falls. Therefore, wearing slip-resistant shoes is extremely important for a nurse as it can prevent you from painful falls and injuries.
Besides, during the study, over 16,000 hospital workers also reported having suffered from a musculoskeletal injury. Shoes with appropriate support and comfort level are critical as they can prevent back, knee, foot, or leg injuries.
As discussed above, picking the right pair of shoes is the best way to prevent injuries and foot conditions. As a nurse, you need to be quick, responsive, and able to get to patients as soon as needed. Not only will wearing adequate footwear help with staying pain-free throughout your shifts, but it’ll also help you keep up the pace as you walk through the hospital all day!
What Makes a Good Shoe for Nurses?
As a general rule of thumb, the right pair of shoes for nurses need to be flexible at the big toe joint, have a bit of a heel to help with shock absorption and provide great support. You also need to ensure there are laces or some kind of strapping in front of the foot so that the heel bone can stay firm in the shoes, and your feet are fully secured.
We’ve listed below in more detail the key things to carefully consider when you’re shopping for a pair of work shoes.
If you’re standing all day, walking, running around, kneeling, or lifting patients, chances are you want to wear something light. Our body wasn’t designed to wear heavy shoes, and adding weights to your feet while walking or standing for hours can damage the joints above them and impact your back and legs.
Comfort and Support
Working long shifts and standing on your feet all day or all night means you need comfortable and supportive shoes to protect your joints, bones, and muscles. Make sure you look for shoes that feature good arch support and feature a bit of a heel lift to help with support and shock absorption.
Being on-the-go all day can create moisture in your shoes leading to foot odor. When purchasing your next pair of work shoes, make sure you pick a pair that has been crafted using breathable material so that you can keep your feet dry and cool throughout your shift and avoid smelly feet!
When working in the medical field and especially if your job involves walking a lot on slippery hard surfaces such as in hospitals, wearing slip-resistant shoes is a no brainer! Not only will they keep you safe, provide stability and traction, but they’ll also help you keep those around you, patients, and colleagues alike safe too.
You should also assess your personal requirements when starting to look for the right pair of work shoes, as you need to consider what type of feet you have.
This might sound obvious as you’ve been using them for quite a while now, and you probably think you know your feet, but the truth is, selecting the appropriate footwear requires doing some research beforehand. Do you have flat feet with long toes? If that’s the case, flat shoes with narrow shoe boxes are a no-no! Or perhaps you have high arches and wide feet? In that case, you’ll need a wider shoe box and a shoe that's been designed to provide extra support.
It’s also important to know that, as a nurse, and if you work the standard 40-hour week, you should keep an eye on your work shoes and replace them every 6-12 months as the supporting components might start to break down. Note that heavier individuals or those suffering from chronic pain or injuries may need to change their shoes more often.
As you can see, the adequate pair of shoes will greatly vary, depending on your foot type.
Best Shoes for Nurses
The best shoes for nurses and healthcare workers involve clog type shoes or athletic shoes. To help you make educated decisions the next time you're looking at purchasing work shoes, we’ve listed below some of the best shoes on the market for nursing. Ready? Let’s have a look!
Dansko Professional Clog
Dansko is a shoe manufacturer specializing in comfort and support.
Dansko professional clogs are usually pretty popular among nurses for several reasons. First of all, they feature a good heel lift, which is a great way to reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. The clog also comes with a heat-moldable footbed, allowing for the shoe to quickly mold to the shape of your foot. It also means these shoes don’t need a break-in period. They can be a bit wide across the forefoot, so make sure you wear cushy socks to compensate.
These quality shoes have been designed with nurses in mind. They provide superior arch support throughout the day, distributing the weight evenly across your foot, so you can go about your shift without having aching feet. The Dansko Professional Clog also comes with a padded instep collar for enhanced comfort when walking.
Because nurses walk around a lot and sometimes quickly, the footbed has been equipped with breathable PU Foam to allow for temperature control and help to ward off foot odors. Nobody likes smelly feet for 12 hours straight! Last but not least, the shoe also features a rocker bottom to reduce strain, fatigue, and increase shock absorption.
With prices starting from $79.99, we think it’s a sweet deal!
The Viakix Acadia Sandals
Viakix specializes in crafting breathable, comfortable, and supportive shoes for women so that they can enjoy outdoor activities as well as day to day demanding physical activities. These popular and versatile sandals are made with a webbing upper, a firm midsole, and a rugged and durable outsole designed to provide great traction and grip when walking.
The shoes are adjustable with five velcro straps to help keep your feet stabilized while going about your day. The EVA foam midsole is firm but cushioned for maximum support and stability while being comfortable. The midsole is also equipped with a shank stabilizer to provide arch support on any type of terrain, making the trendy Acadia sandals a great option for everyday wear standing on your feet and walking around. What’s more, these lightweight shoes are waterproof, turning them into the ultimate pair of shoes for nursing activities.
If you work long hours on your feet, need comfort, support, and flexibility, don’t wait and grab your pair here!
ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes
These comfortable shoes are crafted with a durable mesh and textile upper to keep your feet breathing even on a crazy busy working day. They come with laces at the top so you can adjust to fit.
These stylish running shoes also feature a foam insole providing you with some cushioning. The rearfoot Gel technology in the midsole allows you to diffuse shock upon impact on the heel, protecting your feet, legs, and back. Talking about technology, the Asics Gel-venture 7 is fitted with an Ortholite insole, ensuring your feet stay dry and cool for maximum comfort.
The rubber outsole has a clever reversed pattern to provide traction and stability during your shifts. The thick and sturdy EVA midsole is also designed to provide arch support and relieve the stress on the feet.
Note that the standard toe box is a bit narrow, so make sure you pick the wide foot option if you have wide feet.
These stylish shoes come in 17 different colors, from black and orange to pink and grey.
Their current retail price starts from $49.99.
Naturalizer Women's Marianne Sneaker
Want to combine style and comfort?
The trendy Naturalizer Marianne sneakers have been built for comfort! The interior padding is designed to cushion pressure points. Indeed, they’re equipped with N5 Contour technology; a dual-density cushioning system present throughout the entire footbed to keep you comfy throughout your shifts. The N5 Contour technology also allows for additional cushioning in the heel, arch, and ball of your foot, providing superior comfort on pressure points. Some customers even describe their experience as if they were literally walking on pillows. Besides, the N5 contour technology insole is designed to provide molded arch support, whether you stand all day, run around a lot, or need to squat and kneel.
Equipped with breathable microfiber linings, they’ll keep your feet dry and cool all day long.
Not only are these shoes comfortable and supportive, but they’re also very fashionable. With 23 different sleek and modern designs, you’re guaranteed to find a few pairs that’ll match your favorite outfits. They’re very convenient to wear as they slip-on and have padding around the ankle for maximum comfort while standing on your feet and walking around.
Crocs Women's Neria Pro II Embellished Clog
Crocs clogs are known for being supportive and comfortable and are particularly popular among nurses and healthcare workers. Indeed, these comfy and lightweight shoes are perfect for long shifts on your feet and have been designed to meet the highest safety standards in the medical field. They feature Crocs Lock™ slip-resistant treads, making them the perfect option for any nursing activities.
They’re also equipped with Croslite™ foam outsoles for enhanced support and cushioned footbeds for extra comfort. Reviews on Amazon praise the incredible arch support, which makes it an ideal shoe to relieve pressure points and keep you going through the day.
These crocs also successfully combine the comfort of a relaxed fit and the security of a closed shoe. They’re waterproof, easy to clean (which is important in the profession), and come in several different colors.
The price starts at $28.99.
Nurse Mates Women's Dove Oxford
This slip-resistant leather shoe has been popular among nurses for years. The easy slip-on style and simple yet professional design make it an excellent option for on-the-go nurses and medical professionals. The lightweight, flexible construction has been crafted with nurses in mind, and because nursing activities can involve spillage, the leather upper has been manufactured to be stain-resistant. These incredible shoes also feature a shock-absorbing heel lift, and the outer heel shell has been crafted using a polyurethane core to reduce the stress on your joints and bones while standing on your feet all day or night. The high-quality insole will provide you with a great arch support level coupled with good cushioning and comfort. Sounds good to you?
You can find your black or white pair from $54.79.
Skechers Work Sure Track- Trickel
These sleek shoes have been specifically designed to support workers who spend time on their feet throughout their long shifts. With the Trickel, the brand focused on crafting a slip-resistant shoe to prevent slips, falls, and injuries while providing comfort and support, making it an ideal option for nurses and medical professionals. The SKECHERS Relaxed Fit technology also allows for this shoe to mold to your foot for the perfect fit. You'll feel as though you were simply wearing socks!
These versatile shoes are made with water and stain-resistant uppers, which makes them easy to wash.
The Trickel is also equipped with breathable mesh lining, and a removable air cool memory foam cushioned footbed to keep your feet dry and cool, enhance your walking or running experience and guarantee all day (or night) comfort.
The midsole is flexible and has been designed to absorb shock and reduce stress on joints and bones. Shift workers’ reviews are raving about the fantastic arch support these shoes provide, alleviating back, hip, knee, or feet pain.
The shoe is also electrical-hazard safety rated, meaning it’ll provide extra protection when standing on surfaces containing electrically-charged objects. The outer sole has been manufactured to provide great traction and is one of the best slip-resistant shoes on the market.
The Trickel comes in both black and black and grey and retails from $49.95.
The Viakix Samara Sandals
We thought we’d save the best for the end! Viakix’s Samara has been popular among people who look after their feet for years. Indeed, the Viakix shoe range boasts exceptional quality and superior comfort. The Samara sandals are handmade, and the brand only sources the best material to provide the wearer with optimum foot and toe comfort.
These versatile sandals feature elastic webbing that you can adjust to your foot for the ultimate fit. The adjustable webbing also happens to be water-ready so you can go about your nursing activities without having to worry about having wet feet.
The sandal has been crafted using a cushioned EVA foam midsole, providing incredible arch support to prevent or improve chronic foot-related conditions. The midsole has also been designed to absorb shock and reduce strain on joints, ligaments, and bones.
Last but not least, the rugged rubber outsole offers much-needed traction and ensures a slip-resistant shoe. The Samara comes in black, beige, blue, or grey so you can match to your favorite outfit!
Got you hooked? Grab your pair of Samaras here.
We hope this article provided you with some great information about the importance of wearing adequate work footwear and the type of shoes you should look for as a nurse. Do you have a favorite pair of work shoes? We’d love to hear about in the comment section below!