Best Shoes for Nurses [ 2020 Reviews And Guide ]
Long working hours, running like a tennis player from one ward to another, and caring for your patients seem easier when your feet are happy. The best shoes for nurses must be lightweight, comfortable, and match perfectly with the shape and size of your feet. To help you pick the right pair, we made a selection of the top-rated ten. Check them out below.
If you need comfy shoes but don’t want to break the bank, these ones from Hawkwell could be the ones you were looking for. They are lightweight, breathable, and built with comfort in mind, coming with thick EVA bottom sole and customized cushioning.
The shoe is quite simple, a traditional white, but still has a stylish line that will give value to your nursing scrub. The 1.5-inch heel height is also ideal for keeping your feet happier during those painfully long shifts.
The upper is made from soft synthetic leather and is easy to clean with just soap and warm water. Furthermore, the interior of the shoe is lined with soft foam padding and adapts to the shape of your foot for ultimate comfort.
As you could expect from a nurse shoe, the soles are slip-resistant, while the midsoles provide adequate arch support and stability. These shoes have a slip-on design and come with removable foam insoles that help increase comfort.
From popular Sketchers, the best shoes for nurses in 2019. These Memory Foam Fashion Sneakers are not made specifically for nurses, but they are so comfortable and lightweight that they serve the purpose beautifully.
They’re made from faux leather and mesh fabric, a combination of materials that promotes breathability. The bungee laces and slip-on design make them perfect for long working hours, as they are easy to put on and take off as you desire.
The Flex groove outsole improves grip and traction on the slippery hospital floors. But the true star of this pair is the memory foam insole that adapts to the shape of your foot and enhances the overall comfort.
We also love that they come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Finding the one that suits you best should be easy, whether you have to follow the ward color code or unleash your fashion sense and imagination. Coming at a great price and bringing true value for money, these are undoubtedly the best shoes for nurses you can find.
If you want to steer clear from the classic white shoe, the Leader Show Women’s Slip-On Nursing Shoes undoubtedly bring a new perspective. Born as walking shoes but ideal for nurses, they have a slip-on design and are comfy.
A selection of colors lets you pick the one that best matches your scrub or personality, but none is white; instead, you’ll get two choose from two types of black, grey, and purple.
Regardless of your color choice, the shoe brings the same benefits, including a mesh fabric upper that’s highly breathable. The MD sole is thick enough to cushion shocks when you’re running from one patient to another.
At the same time, the platform is durable yet flexible, just what you need to keep your feet happy throughout your shift.
Other things to expect are a good grip on smooth floors, outstanding arch support, and traction. Perfect for keeping your feet relaxed all-day long, lightweight, and casual, this is another pair that won’t bring noticeable wallet damage.
Next entry on our list of the best shoes for nurses, the JOOMRA Women Lightweight Sneakers can easily fit the bill. They have a synthetic but comfortable sole that provides adequate cushioning despite being thinner than its competition.
But the thing we like best is the newly developed 3D woven upper that features an attractive intricate grid pattern. This pattern not only makes the shoe look stylish, but it also moves with your foot for unrivaled comfort and fit.
Slip-On construction with back pull-tab and lace-up closure ensure a secure fit throughout the day, and quick adjustments as your feet swell. Furthermore, the outsole’s design is inspired by the design of a feather and incorporates natural motion flex grooves designed to react to your every movement.
The insole, however, is not the most practical and could be downright uncomfortable. Luckily, it’s removable, and you can replace it with one that you like.
Coming in a range of colors and stylish, this is another pair of shoes for nurses we highly like and recommend.
The Nurse Mates are renowned for their line of comfortable shoes for nurses, and these Velocity Walking Shoes live up to the expectations. They are part of the Align series, a line of shoes for nurses designed to provide multi-lateral corrective orthotic support.
These shoes will keep your foot in an optimum position for unrivaled balance and stability. Their upper is made from a synthetic and breathable material, but it will keep you so warm that’s more suitable to use during fall and winter.
A range of colors and designs will let you choose from solid color choices to attractive patterns, including butterflies, floral fantasies, and animal-inspired designs.
Stability and support are also ensured by the lightly padded tongue and collar, while the elastic lacing system ensures a comfortable fit. The shoes are also flexible and shock absorbing, while their slip-resistant outsole improves stability and traction on hospital floors.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the measure might not correspond to the real one. We recommend consulting the size chart before ordering.
A sporty, attractive design and a price that won’t break the bank are the two major features that brought Alegria Women’s Essence to our list. These sporty shoes are not designed for nurses specifically, but they are so lightweight and comfy to wear that they serve the purpose beautifully.
You’ll even get to choose from a wide selection of colors and patterns, although plain white just isn’t one of the options.
The leather upper comes with perforated details and an adjustable fit lace-up closure, while the interior caresses your feet with breathable mesh lining. They even have a removable memory foam insole that provides excellent arch support and cushioning.
Don’t expect these shoes to last for too long though. Their resistance to wear and tear is quite poor. Considering their price and benefits, however, they really make for a comfortable pair for a nurse on a budget.
Another entry from Alegria, the Women’s Keli Professional are designed with nurses in mind, although they come in a rather unusual color choice. Nevertheless, they are comfortable and attractive.
Their upper is made from 100% leather, a material that stretches and adapts to the shape of your foot as you’re wearing them. A typical clog design enhances comfort during the long working hours, while the thick, synthetic sole provides adequate cushioning and traction.
Like true nurse shoes, they have a slip-on design with double elastic gores and are very easy to put on or take off.
What we like less is that they don’t fit on the heel really well. Prepare to sound like a running horse when you’re walking along corridors. They also tend to get loose, so you might want to consider investing in a good pair of compression socks too.
All in all, though, they are well made, durable, and ideal for nurses with wider feet, as long as you don’t mind their loudness.
If you’re aiming for something unique or look for the right pair of shoes for nurses to use as a gift, the Good Night, Nurse! Dansko Professional Clogs are amazing. These professional clogs have all it takes to provide a comfortable fit during long working hours.
They come with a traditional work clog design with a wider toe area and a comfortable cushioned collar. The thick soles provide adequate cushioning and traction on slippery floors, while the slip-on design makes it a breeze to put on and take off.
But the true star of these shoes is their design. They are hand painted in a nursing theme, including band-aids, nursing scissors, pill bottles, and other attractive elements.
All this uniqueness will cost you though. However, if you don’t mind dropping some bucks on unique footwear, these are undoubtedly some of the best shoes for nurses you can find. And even though, these nurse clogs are on the more expensive side of things, they will make a perfect gift for nurses!
From eccentric to classic, another pair of shoes for nurses we truly like is this one from Nurse Mates. These shoes impress with a timeless, white design and a classic shape that reminds of the first nursing shoes.
Part of the Lites collection, they combine state-of-the-art performance and deliver comfort and support. Excellent to wear on your most demanding days, they come with a lace-up design and tumbled leather uppers that enhances comfort and durability.
Despite being white, these shoes are stain resistant, thanks to the treated leather. On the bottom, an EVA outsole provides outstanding support and traction on slippery floors, while the pillowtop footbeds offer a cushioned, soft platform that will keep your feet happy shift after shift.
Breathable and moisture-wicking, these shoes are ideal for wearing in all seasons, are durable, and surely follow even the stricter dress codes and etiquette.
The last pair on our list of the best shoes from nurses comes from Sketchers. The Sport Women’s D’Lites are practically sports shoes, but they are white and comfortable enough to turn into a utilitarian pair.
They’re made from 100% leather and come with a comfortable rubber sole that enhances traction and support even on the most slippery floors. We like their breathability and snug fit, but they do not have a slip-on design.
What we do like is the padded tongue and collar that enhance comfort, and that will keep your feet relaxed shift after shift.
They also come in a variety of colors, but the size of the sneakers is rather inconsistent, so you should check it carefully before buying.
These shoes are very well-liked among most nurses, as they were seemingly designed with a nurses shift length and tasks as the primary consideration. For example, the clean, yet classy, white design makes them extremely versatile in many settings as the 3M Scotchguard protector keeps stains from sticking. They don’t appear to be overly ventilated, but the temperature-regulating footbed cover keeps your feet dry while killing odor and odor-causing bacteria. THe full-grain leather upper is also super-comfy.
In terms of what’s below your feet, the Bi-Fit Tridensity footbed combines cradled heel and arch support with a flexible forefoot, making them more than suitable for long-term standing or walking. Combined, all the advanced features result in Timberland’s anti-fatigue technology, which is designed to keep reduce any potential knee or back pain developed from standing and walking over the course of many shifts.
The only downside is that they feel a little more rigid than expected, especially given the raving reviews about comfort. These complaints mainly come from those with higher arches who are expecting a very soft feel. Even though they may feel a little more rigid than expected, the ergonomics are designed with long-term comfort management in mind, and with that, the majority of nurses find these to be the best nursing shoes.
Again, likely not made precisely for nurses, but they may as well have been! These Men’s Skechers come in black or white, and the relatively plain look makes them a versatile option for lots of different medical environments where you are constantly on your feet running around with your medical bag for nurses. One of the main reasons that we think these are really good shoes for nurses is the cost. With these Skechers, you’re taking minimal risk, as they are very well-liked overall and are some of the cheapest shoes for nursing that you can buy.
While these aren’t overly flashy and don’t contain any fancy or proprietary features, they do provide quality components where it counts. For example, the soft leather upper is durable and comfortable, the EVA midsole is one of the most recommended midsole materials for long-term use, and the removable PU footbed allows you to further customize your shoe to maximize comfort. These shoes are especially preferred by those with really flat feet.
Overall, these shoes may not look like much, but they pack in quality components where it counts and you simply can’t beat the price. They are a great starting point for anyone looking to address foot, knee, or back issues as a result of prolonged standing and walking. Many people who have started with these shoes actually continue to stick with them, and if not, at least you have a better sense of what you need in a nursing shoe and you didn’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to try them.
Why do nurses need good shoes?
In order to evaluate qualities of shoes that are good or bad for nurses, we need to take a step back and simplify things. First, what makes a nurse’s job unique that could help distinguish it from other types of specialized footwear? Here are a couple things to consider when looking around for your next pair of shoes for your nursing shifts.
- Nurses spend the vast majority of their shift on their feet. Whether it’s standing, walking, or running, you will need to consider the fact that you will be wearing your shoes for extended periods of time, mostly in an upright posture.
- Nurses usually work long hours, so these periods of standing and walking can be even worse on your feet and body than many other professions.
In addition to the nature of nursing shifts, we can also look at some data that summarizes various nursing populations to help gain a sense of what the most common problems are. Of course, if you’re a nurse, then you already know what sort of pain or discomfort you are experiencing, but if you’re looking to help someone else out, this can be useful information.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nursing and personal care facilities ranked first among all industries for non-fatal injuries. Many of these injuries are long term, either from having been developed over a long period of time, or from being unable to treat the injuries properly due to the necessity of having to continue working those types of shifts. The most common shoe-related problems for nurses include foot and ankle pain, leg pain and fatigue, knee pain, and lower back pain. Moreover, according to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, more than 30% of nurses have required sick leave for these types of problems, and 25% have reported developing varicose veins in their legs. For further information about varicose veins and other footwear products that can help with such conditions, please check out our reviews of the best compression socks for nurses.
What should you look for in good nursing shoes?
Everyone has different thoughts on what they think makes a good pair of shoes. When it comes to nurses, you need to consider any of your own existing ailments, but generally speaking, research has started to point us in a direction that may allow for easier selection of good shoes for nurses.
Most research in the shoe world has revolved around running shoes, sports performance, and injury prevention in sports. While nursing isn’t a sport, it’s arguably just as demanding as one, so with caution, we can apply some of that research to this situation to help us find the best shoes for nurses.
There are many studies out there that have looked at specific aspects of gait patterns and how shoes can increase or decrease risk of injury. For example, sole material and subsequent stiffness, arch support, heel height, shoe width, overall shoe shape, material of shoe upper, traction of the sole, etc, have all been investigated in detail. However, there is only one such study (that we know of) that directly compares shoes for nursing applications, and here’s what they had to say:
- Arch support can help disperse arch pressure, ultimately reducing pain, as well as reducing fatigue in the calf muscles.
- A 1.5 cm thick (0.6 inches or 3/5 of an inch) outsole in the metatarsal zone can reduce pressure, impact forces, and help with low back pain.
- A soft shoe upper, for example a nice soft leather, can promote whole-body and foot comfort.
- Midsoles made with EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) or PU (polyurethane) can promote whole-body and foot comfort.
- An outsole with a heel height of 1.8-3.6 cm (0.7-1.4 inches or roughly 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches) can reduce pressure and impact forces in the forefoot, as well as reduce overall ankle discomfort.
There are tons of other biomechanical studies out there that have often focused on how shoe construction can affect ground reaction forces, force distribution along the foot, forces and torque about the ankle and knee joints, etc. However, other than the aforementioned nursing study, many of these are specific to way different applications, and even further, many of these contradict each other.
What we’re trying to say is that it’s really easy to get caught up in all the nitty-gritty, but at the end of the day, it can be really confusing for people to understand and apply this information to their own lives in a beneficial manner. This may seem like a defeat sending us back to Square 1; however, one outcome does seem to consistently rise above the rest that can help identify the best shoe for a nurse, and it’s more simple than you may think!
Pay Attention to These and You'll Be Fine...
As a nurse, you already know how demanding it is to spend long hours standing or walking from ward to ward. The quality of your shoes is, therefore, crucial. Here are a few things you should consider before buying.
- Design: The design of the shoe is perhaps the most important thing to consider, and not from an aesthetic point of view. You need a comfortable shoe with a wide toe area and reinforced heel. Make sure it fits well on your foot and that it’s easy to put on and take off. The slip-on design is the best, but you should steer clear from the heelless clogs.
- Materials: Nursing shoes must be breathable and comfortable to wear, so the quality of the materials is crucial. We recommend mesh shoes for nurses working in general wards, as they wick off moisture faster. Leather or faux leather is recommended for the ER or surgery wards, or in all environments where you may come in contact with body fluids or reagents. Indeed, these shoes will act as a barrier between you and any hazards.
- Cushioning: Go for a pair of shoes that provides adequate cushioning and support. Memory foam insoles do their job wonderfully, but some people may find them uncomfortable. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or other feet conditions, talk to your doctor and ask which is the right insole. Also, check the midsole, and make sure it’s made from a shock-absorbing material.
- Traction: Moving on to the soles, these are the part of the shoe that comes in contact with the floor. Hospital floors are smooth and often slippery, so the soles must provide outstanding adherence, to improve your stability.
- Arch support: Another crucial thing to check is the arch support. Because different people have different types of arches, you must check the manufacturer’s specifications and make sure that the shoes you like are truly suitable for you, so you can keep your feet happy and relaxed even on the most demanding shifts.
In a study written by one of world’s leading experts on shoes and lower limb biomechanics, it was suggested that we rethink how we evaluate shoes altogether. Given all the contradictory evidence present in the literature, it seems clear that one outcome may be more reliable than the rest, and this outcome is comfort. This study focused on running injuries, but we can still consider this information useful.
In this review study, the authors provide evidence of contradiction in the literature, but they note some consistent patterns as well. For example, they noticed that shoes that runners found to be most comfortable based on their own personal opinion eventually led to a decreased frequency of movement-related injury. Secondly, they also noticed that comfortable shoes led to less overall oxygen consumption, suggesting that they could be beneficial in reducing rate of fatigue as well.
This may seem painfully obvious, but when it is something that has been consistently reported, it should be considered just as strongly, if not more, than some of the cutting edge outcomes currently being investigated in research labs. Additionally, it’s easy to lose sight of these broad outcomes like comfort, especially when companies market shoes with lots of different strategies.
Therefore, if you only pick one thing to focus on when searching for the top shoes for nurses, we suggest focusing on comfort. If you’re not sure which shoes you will find most comfortable, try and stick with something that you are familiar with, and also consider some of the information provided by the study we mentioned above that compares different types of nursing shoes.
And a side note – on another critical piece of equipment in a healthcare worker’s life – nurse watches – we recently update our reviews. Take a look when you have a minute between your shifts : )
Good luck, and have a good shift!