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Most Comfortable Shoes for Nurses

Updated on September 11, 2014

The Best Shoes for Nurses, CNAs, Nurse Aides, and Other Health Workers

After working a 12 hour shift and spending a majority of that time on my feet, I know the importance of comfortable footwear. Oh yes, I certainly do! Nurses do a lot of running around and are on their feet most of the work day... even if it's the midnight shift!

Before I found comfortable nursing shoes my feet would ache and my arches felt like they were on fire... before I even got into the second half of my work shift. After finding an appropriate shoe that was the right size and wide enough, my feet thank me, and my patients were happy to not see be hobbling around while passing medications.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Shoe

Before you select a shoe there are a few things to consider. Aside from choosing footwear that looks nice or stylish, you'll need to think about your situation - body type (weight), foot problems, knee problems, and back problems. These issues can place limits on your choices. A shoe that looks great and is comfortable on a co-worker may not feel so wonderful on you!

For example, I wear a sneaker style white walking shoe. It's generally unattractive and boxy looking on my feet. They look like orthopedic type shoes and I've noticed that quite a few of my elderly patients who have hip, knee, and foot problems wear the exact same shoe! Their podiatrist suggest that they wear the shoe.

So, my nursing shoes are ugly and are what some of the elderly folks wear, but they are super comfortable on my feet and I don't have any foot pain while I'm running around at work! I wish I could wear the cute and stylish shoes, but they hurt and I can not tolerate that kind of torture while I'm at work helping people in need.

  • Foot type

    The shape of your foot; overall narrow, narrow heel with an average or wide forefoot, or overall wide.

  • Special CircumstancesDo you have knee problems, back problems, or are you carrying extra weight? These situations require a shoe with exceptional support and cushioning. I've had back surgery (microdiscectomy with laminectomy), SI Joint Dysfunction, and have always had foot problems; flat feet, Morton's Neuroma , etc... I rely on my shoes me bio-mechanically efficient!
  • Style Preference

    Sneaker, Clog, Slip-on, etc..

  • Requirements

    Some hospitals and facilities require a particular style or prohibit a certain style of shoe

    (such as open back clogs, or exposure of the foot area - beach style Crocs for example).

Athletic Style Footwear for Nursing - New Balance is a Popular Choice!

Many people prefer a sneaker style shoe because it's casual and comfortable. This is the type of shoe I wear because it usually offers stability and support for my troubled feet.

For the last six years I've been wearing New Balance walking shoes at work. I started with the 926 women's model in white and have continued wearing this style which is now a 928 model. The New Balance Women's WW928 Health Walking Laced Shoe is an extremely comfortable shoe that offers a lot of support for my flat feet (fallen arches).

I've owned one pair of New Balance 577 (which are significantly less expensive than the 928 model) but they didn't provide adequate support for my low arches. If you have normal or high arches these shoes would probably fit you nicely. They can also accommodate special insoles and custom orthotics.

New Balance Women's WW577 Walking Shoe
New Balance Women's WW577 Walking Shoe

The New Balance 577 is an affordable shoe that is available in a variety of sizes and widths. Recommended for normal to high arches.


Nursing Clogs - Dansko Professional is the Most Popular

Dansko Clogs
Dansko Clogs

If you'd like to try a clog style shoe there are plenty to chose from. And if you're not required to wear a white shoe, you can have a lot of fun with the different prints and colors!

The Dansko Professional Clog is the most popular shoe worn by healthcare workers. They're not just for nurses... doctor's, physical therapists, surgical technicians, respiratory therapists, and even hospital administrative staff have been caught wearing these comfortable clogs.

Dansko on Ebay

You can find new and slightly worn Dansko clogs on ebay. Some are "New in the Box" while others may have only been worn once because they just didn't fit. That means you might be able to pick up a bargain!

Stylish and Comfortable Nurse Clogs - Birkenstock, Croc's, Dansko, and more

Since there are so many different types and styles of clogs, there's sure to be one that will give you the perfect fit.

I personally prefer a tie-up athletic shoe while I'm doing my rounds, but slipping on a pair of clogs while doing my charting is a super comfortable option... kind of like putting on slippers.

Affordable Nursing Shoes

Find a Pair for less than $100

You've probably noticed that good quality nursing shoes are rarely less than $100, unless you find them on sale. But if you do a little bit of research you might find something within your budget.

Nurse Mates are a reasonably priced option that's been around for a long time. My grandmother (who was an occupational health nurse) used to wear Nurse Mates back in the 1980s. As a child, I went to the uniform store with her when she used to buy those ugly shoes with the little blue hearts on the sides of the heels.

Nowadays, the selection of Nurse Mates Shoes actually look fashionable. But you can still find the traditional styles like the Women's Nurse Mates Pennie Slip on Nursing Shoe.

How to Find a Good Supportive Shoe

Just three simple tips that will help you choose a supportive shoe.

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