While there are many professions where the person is on their feet for most of the day, nurses can often be on their feet the most -- sometimes for 12 hours at a time. Working environments such as this require shoes that can accommodate the needs that result from it.
Shoes for nurses are made to provide the comfort and traction needed for working long days in hospitals and clinics. These shoes can come in many types and designs, but all of them are created to best address these needs.
The nursing apparel market seems to be expanding year after year, so it can be difficult to sort through all of your options when in search of things like nurse shoes. This guide will show you our picks for the best nurse shoes currently available.
Before we get to our favorite nurse shoes, let’s first go over how they are used, and what to look for when shopping.
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The Best Women’s Nurse Shoes
The Best Men’s Nurse Shoes
If we're being technical, any shoe a nurse wears is a nurse shoe. That said, there are some specific designs and aspects that most shoes sought by nurses share. An easy to clean material is usually favored, along with a full-closed toe design.
Increased traction on the sole is also present, and of course, plenty of comfort. Style isn’t so much a main factor, but it’s still considered. The most common types of nurse shoes are clogs, followed by walking shoes.
Shoes that are actually designed for nurses (and some doctors) are generally okay for casual use outside of the job, but limiting them to work use will make them last longer, and keep the tread from being worn down as quickly, which is usually the first thing to go on shoes.
Those who are in need of nurse shoes have plenty to consider when deciding on a pair that is right for their working needs. These are the most important factors to keep in mind.
For many, this is usually the most important. The shoe’s weight is directly correlated to its comfort. When you have heavy shoes, it’s actually tougher on your body as whole when walking around constantly. Lighter shoes are easier to move around in.
The comfort of the shoe depends on many things, but the most crucial is the shoe’s cushioning. In soles should have plenty of extra padding and support, along with a soft outsole that can help absorb shock and encourage a more natural heel strike.
One of the other main reasons for needing comfortable nurse shoes is that foot discomfort can be distracting, and even make someone irritable. As a medical professional, anything you can do to feel at your best during the day is encouraged. Your overall foot comfort is a huge factor in ensuring this.
Working long shifts on your feet requires having the proper amount and support from your shoe. This includes the arch portion of the shoe, the ankle, and the heel areas. These three areas combine to keep the foot in an ideal position, which not only helps your feet, but your legs and back as well.
Quality nurse shoes should support your posture, and keep your feet grounded and on an even level. This will make them comfortable at all times, whether you are walking, or standing in place for long periods.
Slip resistance is a need with any type of shoe, but even more so with nurse shoes. Nurses are almost always on some sort of tile, stone, or ceramic surface, where even the slightest amount of moisture can cause a significant slip.
Add that to the fact that many nurses have to be around spills and fluids on the ground, and you instantly have a larger risk for slips and falls. This is not a risk you want in a medical environment. Look for nurse shoes that have a high amount of slip resistance included with the outsoles.
This may seem like it’s referring to the style of the shoe, but not entirely. Nurse shoes can come in many different designs that are geared towards certain feet types, or even certain health needs. This can include accommodating orthotics, or shoes that have a design that helps flat feet.
The design can also refer to how the shoe fits, and how it’s worn. For instance, most nurse shoe clogs are made in a slip-on design, but still have enough support behind the heel to secure them all day. Style is important as well, but it should be the last thing down on the list. Fit, design, and comfort should always be prioritized first.
Nurse shoe choices can depend on the actual work functions being performed the most often. For instance, nurses who spend a lot of time sitting in between their other tasks may want a different type of shoe from someone who is on their feet most of the day during operations and such.
Some nurses may even choose to purchase two different pairs of shoes, depending on what they may have to spend the day doing.
The notion of spending any amount of money on apparel for work may seem a bit annoying at first, but it’s a worthy investment that will certainly pay off in how you feel overall. Odds are, the more you spend, the better shoe you’re going to get, and the better your feet and body will feel at the end of the day.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t some good values out there, but you should be willing to spend around $100 if you truly want a pair of shoes that you can feel great each day in, and receive all of the other factors needed as well.
The following three shoes are our favorites for women nurses who need a reliable work shoe that offers a high level of comfort, stability, and support. Although we do have an overall favorite, the other two shoes are excellent choices in their own right, and some may prefer them overall.
Dansko is one of the most popular work shoe manufacturers for a reason. The Professional Mule is a clog that is specifically designed to withstand the daily wear of long nursing shifts. It prioritizes comfort, and provides the wearer with an added amount of stability and traction.
The shoe’s body is crafted from leather, and has the shape and design of a standard clog. There are plenty of styles available, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that’s best suited to your tastes.
The tall heel design of the shoe places the foot in a slightly downward direction, which is ideal for standing long periods. The heel is also widened for a better heel strike with each step.
The Professional Mule’s support and stability is a big reason as to why they are so popular. A noticeable amount of arch support in the center provides a more ergonomic fit, and keeps the feet snug against the insole. A plush PU foam footbed is found beneath, which offers added temperature control that lets the feet breathe and remain cool.
The shoes also ensure superior shock absorption and cut down on fatigue with a Rocker Bottom outsole that feels more like an athletic shoe. A padded instep collar makes the shoes fit snugly and securely, but without having the upper rub against the top of the foot.
Dansko has clearly thought about every single detail when designing the Professional Mules, which is why they are our clear favorites for nurses.
With a name like Nurse Mates, it’s pretty obvious who the company had in mind when creating the Doves. These shoes have some of the features of clogs, such as no laces and a 1.5” heel, but take more of an athletic shoe appearance that gives them more of a casual look and feel.
The leather uppers of the Doves are made from full-grain leather that is also highly stain-resistant, making them both easy to clean, and easier to keep looking new.
The shoes provide a very strong amount of arch support thanks to a steel shank in the midsole. This keep the support unrelenting as time goes on, while also helping to cut down on the overall weight of the shoes.
The Dove’s outsoles are made from EVA, and also include rubber inserts that help reduce the outsoles’ wear, while providing an added measure of traction as well. The insoles of the Doves are heavily cushioned, and come with a removable EVA insole that can be used to add an extra cushioning layer with more arch support.
If you’re looking for a clog feel, but want some nurse shoes that have a standard style, the Nurse Mates Doves are a great choice.
Sanita’s Professional Polyurethane Clogs are designed for women who want a comfortable and functional work shoe, and aren’t all that concerned with having a wide range of style choices. These clogs are strictly made to perform, and are certainly up to the task.
The body of these clogs features a simple look that’s available in only white and black, and displays some subtle detailing with stitching.
They slip onto the foot, and have a backing that holds them firmly in place. An anatomically-shaped footbed and expanded toe box give your feet room, while also securing the fit in a comfortable manner.
The insole of the Professional Clog is soft and plush, helping to properly cushion the foot without allowing it to sink in too much. Underneath the insole is APMA-approved arch support with orthopedic construction that keeps the foot in place, and properly supported with each step.
The polyurethane outsole is reinforced with a hard plastic frame that adds plenty of durability. The sole also features a design that favors a “rocking” motion, helping to encourage a natural roll forwards to the ball of the foot with each heel strike.
If you’re looking to save a little bit of money, and don’t mind having strictly white or black nurse shoes, the Sanita Professional PU Clogs are perfect for you, and definitely rival the feel and support of more expensive options.
We can’t forget the male nurses out there, as they have different needs in terms of shape and size of their feet.
Dansko’s Professional Oiled Leather Clog represents the best nurse shoes for men on the market. They provide superior cushioning and support, and have three attractive color options as well. Although they are more expensive than other men’s nurse shoes, they are built to last, and outperform other options by a mile.
The leather outer body of these clogs has the typical clog design, which includes the downward slope and taller heel, which measures 1” tall. Available in three distinct colors, the clogs look great in any option, and have an oiled finish that makes them look nicer as well.
The clogs’ arch support is very firm and contoured, giving the foot all the support it needs to remain in place and secured, helping to avoid aches at the end of the day. A padded instep collar helps add to the secure fit in a more comfortable manner.
The insole features a padded polyurethane foam footbed that not only offers more cushioning, but helps with moisture and temperature as well. The clogs’ Rocker Bottom absorbs plenty of shock, while also encouraging the foot rock forwards with each step, reducing fatigue.
There's simply no better men’s nurse shoe you can find. If you want the very best in terms of durability, comfort, support, and style, these clogs from Dansko are where it’s at.
There are definitely many nurse shoes to choose from out there, but hopefully our list makes your shopping a little easier. Each of these choices displays all of the aspects you need from nurse shoes, and will certainly make your long shifts a little easier.
Have you purchased any of these shoes for yourself? Let us know your comments below, we’d love to hear them!