The Best Shoes for Nurses, aka Heroes Who Stand All Friggin' Day

When your profession involves anything from running alongside a gurney to standing for hours in the ER or operating room, the right shoes are a must. Being on your feet all day puts your lower extremities under a lot of stress. So if you're consistently wearing unsupportive shoes, you could develop achy arches, joint pain, and other uncomfortable problems. Fortunately, there are lots of footwear options perfect for people who stand all day—you just have to know what to look for.

How to shop for the best shoes for nurses

"You now see all kinds of medical professionals on hospital floors wearing running shoes that are designed to stand up to a lot of stress and strain," says Karen Langone, DPM, a podiatrist based in Southampton, New York. Clogs are also a good choice, says Howard Friedman, DPM, a Suffern, New York-based podiatrist. They tend to have a wide toe box, which helps accommodate feet as they naturally expand throughout the day. This is why you often see surgeons and other health professionals wearing them in the operating room, Freidman says. You also need a shoe that's durable but also lightweight—after all, you're probably clocking several miles a day around the hospital, so you need a shoe that won't wear out or wear you down. And, you need a slip-resistant sole.

To help keep pain at bay, you'll want to pick up at least two pairs of supportive sneakers or clogs. (Or one of each!) A shoes cushioning becomes completely compressed after six hours or so and no longer offers support, Dr. Friedman cautions. So having two great pairs allows you to change halfway through your shift.

The options below are perfect for nurses and anyone else—retail workers, servers, bank tellers—who spend most of their workdays on their feet.

Dansko Professional Clog

Best Overall

Dansko Professional Clog

Nordstrom

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"I've often recommended Dansko clogs or similar type clogs to nurses because they are very supportive," Dr. Friedman says. This classic leather pair—which has a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association—features a roomy toe box, a comfy platform, and an antimicrobial lining to ward off odor after all-day wear. A Nordstrom reviewer writes, "I've worked in nursing for over 20 years. I was so thankful when I found these clogs over 15 years ago. I have multiple pairs. I have a high arch and narrow feet. It's like these shoes were made for me!"


Sanita Women's Professional Patent Clog

Best Value

Sanita Women's Professional Patent Clog

Amazon

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There's nothing like a pop of color to lighten up a hospital setting. These clogs are not only cute but thanks to their hard plastic frame, they're ready for anything. Tend to have achy arches after a long day? The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends these kicks because of their top-notch arch support. One Amazon reviewer says, "As a teacher, I am on my feet all day. I am very cautious about footwear yet for the past two years, I have battled plantar fasciitis and struggled to find anything that would alleviate the pain I constantly felt. After two days of wearing these shoes, I have absolutely no foot pain!"


Skechers Work Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Shoe

Best Sneaker

Skechers Sure Track Trickel Slip Resistant Shoe 

Amazon

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These Skechers garner high praise from online reviewers for their comfort and durability during long work days. They're also water-resistant, have memory foam insoles, and non-slip rubber soles. One Amazon reviewer who is on her feet 10+ hours a day says, "I bought these shoes as the best I could afford with slight the hope that they would help. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to work on them for 10.5 hours the first day and no swelling."


Brooks Ghost 11Shoe

Best Athletic Shoe

image

Zappos

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When you're a nurse, you want a shoe that can withstand the rigors of a marathon, dr. Langone says. Brooks is known for their quality running shoes, and their Ghost 11s are no exception. They're described in terms typically reserved for luxury cars: plush, with a smooth ride. One Zappos reviewer raves, "These are the most comfortable sneakers I have ever owned. I have bunions and very few shoes feel comfortable but these do! Lots of toe room and very cushiony inside."


Nurse Mates Dove Shoe

Best Slip-On Shoe

Nurse Mates Dove

Zappos

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This line was explicitly designed with nurses in mind. The lightweight rubber soles will keep you from slipping on slick hospital floors, while the steel shanks on the sides of the shoes provide extra stability. But that's not all. These slip-ons also feature a stain-resistant finish—perfect for when things get messy. "You need a shoe that doesn't allow blood and bodily fluids to penetrate through," Dr. Langone says.


Naturalizer Marianne Slip-On Sneaker

Best Slip-On Sneaker

best shoes for nurses: naturalizer marianne slip-on sneakers

Nordstrom

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With three different food width sizes, there's sure to be a pair that's right for you. Naturalizer's shoes are designed with comfort for people on their feet all day. Their N5 Contour Technology includes a contoured, dual-dense footbed that provides support to the arches and heels. Plus, it features a cooling lining that keeps your feet dry. One Nordstrom reviewer says, "So comfortable and cute! I am on my feet all day at work and they are so supportive. i don't wear them with socks, just slip them on and go."


Nike Tanjun Sneaker

Most Stylish

Nike Tanjun Sneakers

Zappos

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Looking for something a bit more fashion forward? These sneakers come in nine different color combos and are a favorite of online reviewers. People love the comfortable, roomy toe box and thick sole, which is ideal for supporting your feet hour after hour. A Zappos reviewer says, "As an OR (operating room) tech, I am on my feet all day and constantly moving. These sneakers are amazing. The level of comfort is unreal. I highly recommend for anyone that spends a lot of time on their feet."


Vionic Pro

Most Stylish Runner-up

best shoes for nurses: vionic pro

Vionic

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If your job doesn't carry the risk of body fluid spills and you're looking for something a little dressier, give this stylish pair try. Lightweight and supportive, these leather slip-ons have a durable, slip-resistant outsole and supportive cushioning on the inside that conforms to your feet.


Birkenstock Tokyo Super Grip Clog

Most Versatile

best shoes for nurses: birkenstock clogs

Nordstrom

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You can wear these clogs from the operating room to the street. Birkenstock's comfortable footbeds fit the curves of your feet perfectly while providing excellent support, and the adjustable slingback strap in the ankles ensures the shoes stay on through rigorous movement. It also has a sturdy rubber sole that offers traction on a variety of surfaces.

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