The 20 Best Shoes for Nurses, According to Experts

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Let’s face it: Standing all day can be a pain, and few know this as well as nurses and other healthcare professionals who are used to being on their feet for 12-hour shifts or longer. Multiple studies have found that nurses are at higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders, often affecting the lower back, upper limbs, neck, shoulders, foot, and ankles. But on the bright side, research has also found that wearing the best nurse shoes, with proper ankle, arch, and footbed support, can minimize risk.

“A nurse is on their feet all day walking the halls of the hospital,” explains Dr. Glenn Davison, owner of Advanced Podiatry in New York City and New Jersey and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. “They are pulling and stressing and straining the foot just as much as a runner or athlete, but over a longer amount of time. Someone might assume that a runner training for a marathon needs more support than a nurse but I don’t believe that, because their work is so essential.”

Over the past decade, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers — rightfully so — have attracted a lot of attention. And so have their favorite footwear. According to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, roughly 2.4 million jobs could be added to the healthcare sector between 2016 and 2026. The footwear industry has quickly responded, with new nurse shoe-specific brands launching and established brands expanding their offerings past the traditional, white Nurse Ratched shoes of the past.

“When you think of a traditional nurse’s uniform, visions of all white head to toe prevail. As our practice evolved, the focus shifted from the pristine, polished shoe to more practical choices,” says Caitlin Fanning MSN, RN, who works in the Infusion Room at Fox Chase Cancer Center. While nurses are looking for comfort and durability, Fanning points out that they also desire fashionable footwear and are willing to invest money in a great pair of shoes for standing all day. “We are a large workforce, and companies got hip to branding to nurses because we will spend money on quality footwear. We are on our feet a lot, we have to take care of them,” she says.

Nursing Clogs vs. Sneakers

Today, nurses and other healthcare professionals mainly choose from either the best clogs or most comfortable sneakers, and each come with a variety of pros and cons. Fanning, who wears sneakers herself, points out that they offer comfort and better arch support over clogs and are also washable. However, the major con is that they are not fluid-proof like clogs, which can be easily sprayed and wiped down. Sneakers also don’t last as long as clogs, which are quite durable, with some lasting for years at a time. However, clogs can also be on the heavier side, and they often get hot, resulting in sweaty feet, she says. And, “depending on height they are easy to trip in,” she says, adding that they generally don’t offer great arch support.

Top Shoes for Nurses and Healthcare Workers for 2022

Ahead, you’ll find the best nurse shoes and footwear options for healthcare workers, according to several experts, along with helpful tips of what to look for in nursing shoes and clogs for different foot types and conditions.

Hoka One One Bondi SR Women’s Shoes

Best Sneakers for Nurses on Feet All Day

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 11, regular and wide
  • Men’s sizes: 7 to 12.5
  • Colors: Black and white
  • Special features: Designed with water resistant, easy-to-clean leather, ultra cushioned with Hoka’s trademark compression molded Eva midsole 

The Hoka One One Bondi, endorsed with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, is designed specifically for nurses and healthcare workers out of an easy-to-clean, water resistant leather. “Hoka has great arch support and improves posture for those with back pain,” says Fanning. The work shoe, available in both men’s and women’s sizes, offers ample cushioning with the brand’s trademark compression molded Eva midsole, resulting in a walking-on-the-clouds like experience with every step. A slip-resistant outsole and ultra-grippy tread preventing slips and falls also make this shoe one of the most popular for medical professionals, especially nurses on their feet all day.

Hoka Bondi SR
CREDIT: courtesy of Zappos

Brooks Ghost 14 Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses Standing All Day with Heel Pain

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 13 in normal, narrow and wide
  • Men’s sizes: 7 to 15, in normal, narrow, wide and extra wide 
  • Colors: Multiple 
  • Special features: Extra soft cushioning and neutral support

Fanning maintains that Brooks Ghost tennis shoes are the footwear-of-choice for most of the nurses she works with. “With a job like nursing when you are on your feet all the time, after a few years you experience wear and tear. A lot of us have issues with plantar fasciitis. Brooks Ghost shoes are really the most supportive, durable, comfortable shoe for someone who is on their feet all day long,” she says. Another perk? Since the shoes are available for normal, narrow, wide and even extra wide for men, they fit almost every foot to perfection.

Brooks Womens Ghost 14
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Brooks Men's Ghost 14
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Crocs Unisex On the Clock Shoes

Best Clogs for Nurses on Feet All Day

  • Women’s sizes: 6 to 15
  • Men’s sizes: 4 to 13 
  • Colors: Navy, white, black, and a few patterns
  • Special features: Easy to clean, lightweight, and durable 

Healthcare professionals will personally attest that Crocs clogs are great for standing all day. Fanning suggests opting for a pair without any holes or perforation, like the On the Clock style favored by nurses and doctors, to avoid any medical mishaps. The main pro about these love ‘em or hate ‘em shoes is their extreme size range, available in a women’s size four to 19, or a men’s size two to 17, and the fact that they can be easily washed and disinfected. They also come in a rainbow spectrum of colors.

Crocs Unisex
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Clove The 2022 Women’s Shoes

Most Stylish Nurse Shoes

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 12.5
  • Men’s sizes: 7 to 13
  • Colors: Multiple color combinations
  • Special features: Easy to clean, lightweight

Looking for the coolest pair of nurse shoes on the market? Designed specifically for the needs of healthcare workers by the husband of a nurse, Clove shoes are functional enough for all-day wear. Constructed out of fluid-resistant microfiber leather designed for cleaning with industrial strength wipes, the lightweight slip-on tennis shoes offer extra-grippy non-slip soles and are equipped with odor and bacteria resistant inserts. But the real kicker is, they are fashionable enough to wear while off the clock, available in a bunch of fun color combinations and even iridescent styles. Size up by 0.5 of your standard shoe size if you typically wear wide width shoes.

CREDIT: courtesy of Clove

CREDIT: courtesy of Clove

Bala Twelves Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses with Ankle Support

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 12
  • Men’s sizes: 4 to 11
  • Colors: Black, gray, blue, and white
  • Special features: Machine washable, lightweight, supportive insole

As the name suggests, Bala Twelves are designed with 12+ hour work days in mind. Created by former Nike execs with all-day comfort in mind, these nurse-specific shoes snugly hug the feet and offer reliable arch support with a cushioned insole. They also offer great traction with their no-squeak outsole, and are lightweight. The fluid-resistant kicks are also extremely easy to clean, either by wiping down or tossing in the washing machine.


Kuru Atom Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses with Plantar Fasciitis

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 12, medium and wide
  • Colors: Multiple options
  • Special features: Ultra-cushioned, patented midsole designed for people with foot conditions including plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. 

Kuru founder Bret Rasmussen’s mission is to design footwear that “encouraged more movement, movement with comfort, and most importantly, a design that allowed the human foot to function as it was meant to through proper alignment and protection when active and in motion,” he previously explained to Footwear News. He started with the “fat pad,” the natural heel cushioning needed for everyday movement. The longer you stand on that pad, the greater risk of deterioration. The Atom, their most popular women’s nursing-slash-fitness shoe, features their trademark KuruSole, specifically designed to keep natural cushioning in the heel where it belongs and protect it. It is also breathable, and offers so much cushioning that it gives you added height.

CREDIT: courtesy of Kuru Footwear

Dansko Professional Women’s Clogs

Best Slip-On Nursing Shoes

  • Women’s sizes: 4.5 to 13, medium and wide
  • Men’s sizes: 105 to 15, medium and wide
  • Colors: Multiple options
  • Special features: Shock absorbing outsole, easy-to-clean leather upper, incredibly durable

Dansko shoes are very popular among healthcare and food service professionals. “They provide heel support, which takes pressure off the achilles tendon,” explains Sean Peden, MD, Yale Medicine foot and ankle surgeon and assistant professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, adding that a tight achilles is the main cause of plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and achilles tendinitis. “In my opinion, these are very sturdy shoes that also protect the feet well, both from injury from above (falling equipment, other persons feet) and the bottom (bending stress and ground reactive forces)” he says. Dansko Professional Clogs feature a leather upper that provides needed structure for your feet and can easily be wiped clean with soap and water to remove a day’s worth of work germs. The inner frame combats pronation and keeps feet in the ideal position to avoid pain that can stem from standing all day. The outsole absorbs shock but has some flexibility. Reviewers note their comfort, saying they “never had the problem of breaking them in,” meaning “no blisters, rubbing, or any type of discomfort.”

Dansko Professional Women's
CREDIT: courtesy of Zappos

Dansko Professional Men's
CREDIT: courtesy of Zappos

On Cloud 5 Women’s Shoes

Best Podiatrist-Recommended Shoes for Nurses

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 11
  • Men’s sizes: 7 to 14
  • Colors: Multiple options
  • Special features: Great ankle support, cushioned midsole 

The On Cloud 5 is podiatrist-recommended for foot and ankle support, which helps combat and avoid ailments like plantar fasciitis and back pain. “I’m a big fan of On Cloud 5 sneakers,” says Dr. Davison. “The bottom line is there’s cushion. They’re supportive. They are doing the job of supporting the foot so you can focus on your job without suddenly being distracted by pain.” However, keep in mind that these are not waterproof and will need to be thrown in the washing machine for every cleaning.

Cloud 5 Women's
CREDIT: courtesy of On Running

Cloud 5 Men's
CREDIT: courtesy of On Running

Spring Step Ferrara Slip-On Women’s Shoes

Best Clogs for Nurses with Back Pain

  • Women’s sizes: 5.5 to 11
  • Colors: Navy and black patent 
  • Special features: Slip- and skid-resistant, ultra-cushioned removable insole

A slip- and skid-resistant outsole is a must for nurses so they can respond safely and be ready for any emergency. Spring Step Ferrara Slip-On Shoes fit the bill and then some. Their removable insole offers triple-density cushioning to provide all-day support, making these one of the best shoes for standing all day. These nurse shoes are also shock-absorbent with a soft textile lining that’s earned a rating of over four stars on Amazon. One reviewer noting this pair is their “go-to” for “running around in an ER for 13 hours!”

Ferrara-Fog Slip-On Shoe
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Birkenstock Unisex Super Birki Clogs

Best Slip-Resistant Shoes for Nurses

  • Women’s sizes: 4 to 17
  • Men’s sizes: 2 to 15
  • Colors: Black, blue, brown
  • Special features: A removable and washable cork insole minimizes odor over time, non-slip and waterproof, easy to clean

Birkenstock’s Super Birki clog offers the same anatomically contoured, cork footbed as the brand’s famous leather shoes, but is constructed out of a waterproof polyurethane shell that protects from all kinds of spills and fluids, and are slip-resistant to avoid falls. And, according to nurses who wear them all day, they are incredibly comfortable for all-day wear. “I was wearing a pair of shoes with little to no support and my back paid for it every day. Not only did these shoes alleviate my back pain from being on my feet all day, I have had absolutely no back pain when my work shifts are over,” writes one Amazon reviewer. Another bonus? The same reviewer notes that over time, they don’t acquire much odor due to their removable and washable footbed.

Birkenstock Professional
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Brooks Addiction Walker Walking Women’s Shoes

Best for Nurses with Extra Wide or Narrow Feet

  • Women’s sizes: 6.5 to 12
  • Men’s sizes: 5 to 15
  • Colors: White and black leather
  • Special features: Available in narrow, wide, and extra wide, easy-to-clean full-grain leather upper

Those with narrow or extra wide feet oftentimes struggle to find a comfortable fitting shoe. Brooks Addiction Walker Walking Shoes come in narrow, wide, and even extra wide sizes to accommodate all foot types. It is also a great option for anyone suffering from foot pain or  plantar fasciitis with extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot, arch support, and a tendon-cradling rollbar. It is also easy-to–clean and spill resistant, constructed out of full-grain leather.

Addiction Walker 2 Walking Shoe
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Oofos Unisex Clogs 

Best Clog for Nurses with Plantar Fasciitis 

  • Women’s sizes: 6 to 16
  • Men’s sizes: 4 to 14
  • Colors: Black and brown 
  • Special features: Shock absorbing, ample arch support, machine washable

Oofos makes some of the most comfortable footwear on the market, and their popular clogs are no exception. Healthcare workers maintain they are unparalleled in terms of comfort with the help of  the brand’s trademark technology, promising to absorb over one-third more impact than other shoes. They are also a great option for anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis, as they offer ample arch support to reduce stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and lower back.  And, constructed out of closed-cell foam, they are machine washable.

CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Klogs Naples Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses with Flat Feet

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 14
  • Colors: Multiple 
  • Special features: Available in normal and wide widths, choose from smooth leather, patent leather, embossed leather, soft suede or tooled leather, removable latex-free footbed makes them more breathable

Unlike many clogs, which come in only one width, the Klogs’ Naples shoe is available in a wide option, making it great for anyone with flat feet. Dr. Davison also explains that having a round, structured toe box is ideal. “Avoid narrow shoes that will squeeze the toes,” says Dr. Davison. Another great feature? A removable latex-free footbed makes them more breathable, while the midsole cushions each step’s impact and provides sufficient energy return. The clog also comes in several finishes, most of which are water-resistant. One reviewer lauded Klogs’ super soft heel cushioning and having just the right amount of arch support.

Klogs Footwear Naples
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Timberland Pro Renova Professional Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses with High Arches

  • Women’s sizes: 5.5 to 11
  • Colors: Black and chestnut 
  • Special features: Ample arch support, available in normal and wide widths 

Another perfect nursing basic, Timberland’s Pro Renova Professional stands out due to its ample arch support, helping feet achieve the ideal anatomical neutral position. It also offers complete structural support while being lightweight and plenty of shock absorption to relieve foot fatigue. After 13 hours of wear, one Amazon reviewer was shocked by how comfortable they were compared to their previous pair of shoes. “By the end of the day and night, my legs were not sore, my feet were not hurting and my lower back was not aching,” they write.

Timberland PRO
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Nurse Mates Dorin Women’s Shoes

Best White Nurse Shoes

  • Women’s sizes: 6 to 11
  • Colors: White, black, black swirls, cocoa
  • Special features: Available in normal and wide widths, traditional full-grain leather nurse shoes, great orthotic support

What’s more classic than a white nurse’s uniform? Styled after traditional nurse shoes, Nurse Mates Dorin Slip-Ons deliver in terms of comfort with multi-lateral orthotic to support all parts of the foot that help equally distribute weight. They are also breathable with moisture-wicking lining and constructed out of full-grain leather, they are easy to wipe down.

Nurse Mates Dorin
CREDIT: courtesy of Zappos

SoftWalk Meredith Sport Women’s Shoes

Best Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain

  • Women’s sizes: 6 to 12
  • Colors: Multiple 
  • Special features: Available in normal and wide widths, foot stabilizing features, contoured footbed support arches

Healthcare professionals love all the colors and designs offered in the ultra-comfortable SoftWalk Meredith Sport shoes for nurses. They are great for nurses with back pain as they offer foot stabilization in a number of ways, including with a nylon shank for support, and a contoured footbed for aching arches. The slip-on style has a rounded, roomy toe as well as a padded collar.

SoftWalk Meredith Sport
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

Nike Air Zoom Pulse Women’s Shoes

Most Comfortable Shoes for Standing All Day

  • Women’s sizes: 6 to 16.5
  • Men’s sizes: 4.5 to 15
  • Colors: Black, white, white/black
  • Special features: Slip-on style, ample cushioning, outsole with extra traction

When it comes to the most comfortable nurse shoes for standing all day, don’t count out Nike sneakers. Built for and tested by nurses, Nike’s Air Zoom Pulse sneakers offer sleek styling and all day comfort with ample cushioning. The outsole is also equipped for extra traction for wet or dry surfaces to prevent falls. And, their slip-on style is just as easy to take on and off as classic clogs.

Nike Air Zoom Pulse
CREDIT: courtesy of Nike

Snibbs Spacecloud Work Women’s Shoes

Most Sustainable Nurse Shoes

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 11
  • Men’s sizes: 4 to 14
  • Colors: Multiple 
  • Special features: 100% vegan, non-slip outsole, ample arch support

Created by a chef for all-day comfort and support, these vegan kicks are also perfect for nurses. Snibbs’ Spacecloud sneakers are slip-ons but have adjustable laces the wearer can tighten or loosen for the perfect fit. The insole features arch support, while the outer is crafted for durability. The sustainable sneaker, made out of mostly recycled materials, also comes in a bunch of stylish color options.

CREDIT: courtesy of Snibbs

CREDIT: courtesy of Snibbs

Hunter Original Play Women’s Clogs

Best Shoes for Healthcare Workers 

  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 11
  • Colors: Multiple 
  • Special features: Made out of all rubber, easy to clean, convenient slip-on style, certified vegan

While Hunter is most commonly associated with their chic rubber boots, they also make a great nursing shoe. This full rubber pair of slip-ons is ideal for those who come into contact with lots of unmentionable messes in their nursing line of duty. Hunter’s Original Play clog is easy to clean and 100 percent waterproof. A breathable polyester lining avoids trapping any moisture inside the shoe.

Women's Play Clogs
CREDIT: courtesy of Hunter

Asics Gel-Venture 8 Running Women’s Shoes

Best Tennis Shoes for Nurses

  • Men’s sizes: 7 to 15 in normal, wide and extra wide
  • Women’s sizes: 5 to 12, normal, wide and extra wide
  • Colors: Multiple available 
  • Special features: Gel cushioning in the heel for shock absorption 

Supportive athletic shoes are always a great option when it comes to nurse shoes, according to our podiatry experts, especially for anyone with flat feet. Asics’ Gel-Venture 8 running shoes provide gel cushioning in the heel area for shock absorption and an ortholite sockliner that molds to the shape of your foot for overall comfort. The midsole increases rebound, lessening the impact of each stride on your body. Because they are designed for running, their sweat-wicking, breathable materials and the fact that they are also lightweight make them ideal for nurses. Just how comfortable are they? “I didn’t want to take them off of my feet,” attests an Amazon reviewer.

ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes
CREDIT: courtesy of Amazon

What to Look for in the Best Shoes for Nurses

The best shoes for nurses on their feet all day will provide support for the entire foot to alleviate and avoid back pain, plantar fasciitis, and other common foot problems stemming from foot stress. While you might think that a pair of the best walking shoes, tennis shoes or most comfortable flats and work shoes would suffice for a long day on the job, there are more things to consider.

  • Thick soles: Dr. Davison says nurses and healthcare workers should look for shoes with “a thick, rubbery bottom for shock absorption” and traction. The upper material should be durable to enclose the foot in a proper neutral position that will disperse weight evenly.
  • Breathability: Because nurses spend 12 hours-plus in their shoes, they should look for materials that breathe. Not only are sweaty feet uncomfortable and can lead to foul odor, but “too much moisture can cause fungal infections,” says Dr. Davison.
  • Arch support: Nurses with both flat feet and high arches need a pair of shoes with sufficient arch support. The best shoes for nurses with flat feet and the best shoes for nurses with high arches are actually one and the same, Dr. Davison explains. While flat feet require good arch support to lift the foot, high arches benefit from that same arch support to encourage the foot to naturally settle into correct positioning. “If their arch isn’t being supported, nurses can’t stop and drop what they are doing. It could be life or death for the people they are helping. There has to be a dependability in their footwear for them to make it through their shift without arch pain,” he says.
  • Protection: Fanning advises against any shoes with crevices, holes, or perforation. “They can put you at risk for a Sharps injury and can be a biohazard risk that fluid could get right in,” she says.

Best Nurse Shoes for Different Foot Types and Conditions

When shopping for nurse shoes, you should also consider your foot types or various health conditions you might suffer from. 

  • Nurse Shoes for Flat Feet: Certified pedorthist Michael Fishkin, Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, recommends that nurses with flat feet seek wider-lasted shoes, “which means they shouldn’t have an hourglass shape on the bottom,” he explains. “Instead, they should have a straight-across design underfoot” to offer more space around the forefoot and ball of the foot. Also, those with flat feet should look for shoes that provide enhanced stability and motion control, since they tend to overpronate (meaning their feet roll inward as they walk).
  • Nurse Shoes for Wide Feet: If you feel pressure on the sides of your feet while wearing shoes, then you likely have wide feet and should look for shoes that come in wide sizes, says Dr. Bruce Pinker, a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon of Progressive Foot Care in New York. “The width should be snug, but not tight,” he says, also stressing there should be 3/8 of an inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. “The forefoot of a pair of shoes should have ample room for toes,” he says. One way to test this while trying out potential nurse shoes? Wiggle your toes when you try them on. If your toes feel confined, the shoes are too tight. “They shouldn’t feel like they’re pinching or squeezing the feet adversely.”
  • Nurse Shoes for Shoes for High Arches: Nurses with high arches or need extra arch support should look for shoes with built-in, well-padded and shock-absorbing insoles. “High-arched feet are best treated with supportive, softer and more flexible, lightweight types of soles to accommodate the high arch,” says New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member, Dr. Jackie Sutera. Dr. Sutera also suggests avoiding rigid, stiff and thin flat shoes. “The purpose of insoles and orthotics for those with high-arched feet is to accommodate, absorb shock and cushion.” Dr. Emily Splichal, a podiatrist and founder of the performance-driven accessories line Naboso, also suggests looking for nurse shoes with a slight heel-toe drop (the difference between how high the shoe is in the heel versus the forefoot) which can minimize impact forces and ankle stress. People with high arches also tend to supinate, meaning their weight tends to roll to the outside edge of their feet with each step, so heel counters should be considered. “Heel counters add stability and allow the rearfoot/heel to stay more neutral by blocking pronation (your ankle or arch rolling inward) and supination,” Dr. Splichal says.
  • Nurse Shoes for Bunions: Dr. Davison emphasizes the importance of nurses with bunions seeking out stabilizing footwear that keeps the foot in the ideal neutral position to evenly distribute weight across the foot. “A good corrective shoe will stabilize the foot,” he advises, suggesting looking for those that offer arch support, proper cushioning and a wide shoe fit and a roomy toe box. To avoid painful friction, stay away from shoes that have straight or narrow toe beds.
  • Nurse Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis: Wearing the wrong type of shoes for extended periods of time can lead to plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory foot condition common in nurses that results in stabbing pain in the bottom of one or both feet. Nurses who already suffer from the condition need to be extra cautious when selecting footwear, says Mike Rushton, DPM, co-founder and medical director of Forward Motion Orthotics in St. George, Utah. The best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis are those that are neutral supportive, which will depend on your foot type. For example, nurses with tight, stiff feet, will benefit from shoes with excellent structure and cushioning, but not that are “so soft you’re not finding the ground,” Dr. Rushton says. Nurses with flexible feet should focus on stability in the form of arch support, which will help increase the arch for those with flat feet and encourage high arches to drop to a more neutral position.
  • Nurse Shoes for Ankle Pain or Weakness: For nurses who suffer from ankle pain or weakness, wearing shoes for ankle support should be a top priority. “High-top shoes are great for additional structure and support to prevent ankle injury,” says Dr. Dan Geller, a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear. “Running shoes may not always be the best for folks with weak ankles as some can actually roll you out.” Those who suffer from ankle pain or injuries should always consult a doctor first, but generally look for “a stable wide platform and deep heel cup to stabilize the foot and ankle better.”
  • Nurse Shoes for Knee Pain: Knee pain is another common ailment for nurses on their feet all day. While shoes are not going to fix knee pain, they can help alleviate or at least avoid aggravating the pain by getting your foot into proper alignment, offering joint support and diffusing pressure away from the knee, explains Dr. Mark Mendeszoon, a podiatrist and owner of Achilles Running Shop in Pennsylvania. “Just as folks may need eyeglasses to help accommodate with vision, properly selected shoes can accommodate particular foot problems,” Dr. Mendeszoon says. Again, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all shoe for those suffering from knee pain.
  • Nurse Shoes for Back Pain: Similar to those suffering from knee pain, what to look for in a shoe if you have back pain will depend on the source of the pain and also the activity you need them for, says Dr. Mendeszoon. Because nurses are on their feet all day, they should consider investing in a shoe with shock absorption and strategic cushioning — possibly even labeled as orthopedic shoes — which will help relieve direct pressure to your pain points. “Someone with back pain is going to want a shoe that has enough support but with proper cushioning, too,” Dr. Mendeszoon adds. “You want a shoe that doesn’t have a significant heel drop [aka one with an even amount of cushioning from heel to toe] and fits well both in length and width, since achieving proper foot alignment helps prevent all kinds of aches and pains, including in your back.”
  • Nurse Shoes for Diabetics: According to Dr. Rushton, despite the many symptoms of diabetes, there are two primary ways that diabetes affects feet and each can be exasperated by all day standing. The first is neuropathy, in which people experience anything from “odd sensations in the feet, all the way to no sensation in the feet,” or burning, stinging, or cold sensations. The other is “losing protective threshold,” Dr. Rushton says. This can result in an identified injury, eventually manifesting into more severe damage. Dr. Rushton suggests wide-fitting diabetic shoes with “plenty of depth,” so rubbing and chafing that can lead to greater sores and injuries will be avoided. Also, look for nurse shoes with wide toe boxes and soft shoe interiors and linings.
  • Nurse Shoes for Heel Spurs: Heel spurs, “a growth of bone on the bottom of your heel,” per Dr. Rushton, grow in the contour of your feet. “If your foot doesn’t have adequate padding beneath it, as you roll forward, you’re more likely to pinch between the bottom of the foot and the ground,” Dr. Rushton says. Nurses with heel spurs will benefit from shoes with a cushioned heel and anatomical arch support to help promote healthy foot alignment, so the entire foot will absorb the impact of every step, rather than just the heel.

How Often Should Nurses Replace Shoes for Standing All Day? 

While there is no specific time frame for replacing nurse shoes, generally any signs of them breaking down are an indicator it’s time to buy a new pair. “Any sign of wear is an indication to replace it with a more solid shoe,” says Dr. Davison, particularly since a nurse’s work is too important for them to be derailed by foot discomfort.

Meet the Experts

  • Dr. Glenn Davison is the owner of Advanced Podiatry in New York City and New Jersey, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
  • Caitlin Fanning is a registered nurse who works in the Infusion Room at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
  • Michael Fishkin is a certified pedorthist at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.
  • Dr. Bruce Pinker is a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon of Progressive Foot Care in New York.
  • Jackie Sutera is a New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member.
  • Emily Splichal is a podiatrist and founder of the performance-driven accessories line Naboso.
  • Mike Rushton is the co-founder and medical director of Forward Motion Orthotics in St. George, Utah.
  • Dan Geller is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear.
  • Mark Mendeszoon is a podiatrist and owner of Achilles Running Shop in Pennsylvania.

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