Guiding Health Care Professionals Towards The Perfect Shoe:

There are so many shoes out there that it can be hard to decide which pair to buy. For nurses and other health care professionals, there are many factors to examine before making a purchase.  Health care workers must also consider how long they spend on their feet, making sure to pick the appropriate shoe that will provide comfort while one is on-the-go.

Health Care Professional’s Shoe Needs Are Unique

It is important for you, as a health care professional, to look beyond appearances when shopping for quality footwear. Lengthy shifts require you to stand and walk for a long time, demanding you don a specific type of shoe. The footwear you own shouldn’t just be comfortable and supportive; it must also last for a long time, providing the right support for your specific needs (Dick, 2014).

Shock Absorbers

Given the amount of time health care professionals spend on their feet, you should make sure each shoe is cushioned and padded well enough to support the weight of your foot. In other words, your shoes needs to have adequate shock-absorbing capabilities. Without this, each step one takes can trigger off high-impact shock that can injure your feet, ankles, legs, hips, and even back. Consequently, it is wiser to buy good shock-absorbing footwear – such as walking and running athletic shoes – over the less effective regular tennis shoe.

Insoles, Inserts, and Orthotics

Insoles, inserts, and orthotics can add to a shoe’s shock-absorbing capabilities. While most insoles and inserts are designed for enclosed shoes, they are still worth investing in. To help find the right orthotic for your arch, check out the Remedy Identifier resource on the Foot Scientific website (Foot Scientific, n.a.)


The shoes you choose should also be well-ventilated. Most clogs have punched uppers and are made with breathable material. This helps keep your feet dry while donning footwear (Wilson, 2016). There are also various comfortable leather, fitness and athletic shoes available that allow for breathability. However, one should avoid synthetic footwear.

Safety Issues

For safety reasons, health care professionals’ shoes should contain soles that offer protection from slippery surfaces. While it may not sound like a big deal at first, the book “Measuring Slipperiness Human Locomotion and Surface Factors” (Edited by Chang, Wen-Ruey; Courtney, Theodore K.; Grongvist, Raoul; Redfern, Mark, 2002) provides ample evidence illustrating just how important good soles are. Hospital janitors are constantly washing floors. Employees need to make sure their shoes can hold their own while treading upon wet ground.

Biomechanical Issues – All About Your Arch

Biomechanics refers to the type of foot and a person’s gait. Pronation and supination describes how the foot rolls inwards while walking – the natural movement of one’s foot. Overpronation occur when the foot rolls in or out too much, while supination is essentially another word for underpronation, since supination is the opposite of pronation of the foot (rolling inward).  You can determine whether or not you suffer from either by the wear and soles of your shoes, as well your foot’s arch height. “Some common symptoms include arch pain, ankle sprains, shin splints, and Achilles tendinitis. Sometimes these conditions lead to calluses and corns on the feet and back, hip, and knee pain. That’s why, in the words of (Schafer, 1987), “A well-fitted shoe should be constructed so that most of the weight is borne on the outside of the foot, which is supported by strong ligaments. The inside of the foot is supported by long thin muscles which easily fatigue and allow the arch to drop and the foot to pronate.”(“Clinical Biomechanics: Musculoskeletal Actions and Reactions” Second Edition)

The “Wet Test”

Another way to determine whether or not you have overpronation or underpronation is through performing the “Wet Test”, which can also help you gauge which kind of shoe to buy. Simply wet your foot and take a step on a surface where the outline of your foot is visible. If you can see most of the sole of your foot where your arch is, then you have flat feet. You should, then, choose a motion- controlled shoe. A normal arch means you need a shoe that will provide stability. On the other hand, if the tests reveal you have a high arch, it means you have over-supination and thus would need a well-cushioned shoe.

Poor-Fitting Shoes Produce Pain

Selecting the right shoe can help you avoid developing a handful of conditions, especially if you suffer from overpronation or supination. A good quality shoe should have the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). This seal assures that the shoe promotes foot health (APMA, 2016). In addition, the American Podiatric Medical Association provides a list of companies that offer approved shoe socks, hosiery, foot/ankle braces and other items.

Compression Socks and Hosiery

Before buying footwear, you should think about how to protect your skin from your shoes. During most of their shifts, nurses are working on their feet, causing swelling in feet, ankles, and legs. Before self-medicating, it is important to first consult a doctor about your pain. Afterwards, one can wear compression stockings such as the ones from Therafirm. These can help reduce swelling and pain, and come in a variety of lengths and colors. To determine what level of compression you may need, consult the website Absolute Medical. Other options that offer compression include  anti-embolism thigh-high stocking that are open or closed toe, compression pantyhose, anklet, opaque tights, knee-high stocking, thigh-high lace, and trouser socks.

Types of Shoes for Nurses

There are many kind of shoes available for nurses and other health care professionals to buy that come in a variety of styles.

Popular clogs include…

Dansko, Alegria, Landau, Nurse Mates, Sloggers, Anywear, Sanita, Fitflop, Grey’s Anatomy, Laforst, and crocs.  While there are many colorful ones out there for women, there are also more neutral-colored clogs for men out there as well. Some reputable places to purchase good quality shoes from are The Walking Company and Uniform, Advantage online, and FitFlop online.

Lace-up shoes…

are another good option for health care professional to wear, particularly those individuals who want footwear that doesn’t look as if they belong to an athlete. Some quality ones include the Alegria lace-up, Akeesa lace, and Dansko leather walker shoe.

Athletic Shoes…

However, if you don’t mind their appearance, athletic shoes are an excellent shoes as well and can be worn by all genders. Popular brands include Sketchers, Reebok, Laforst, Fila, Dansko, K-Swiss, Spring Step, and Therafit.

However, it’s important to note that buying the appropriate shoes is just one step in the right direction. To maintain the shoe’s quality, it is wise to purchase more than one pair. It’s also a good idea to replace your shoes every six to eight months.

Shoe Features Matter

Comfort and Fit

You should feel comfortable in your shoes before making a purchase. It should not feel too loose or too tight. If you can walk around comfortably in them,without the shoe feeling ‘sloppy’ on your feet, it is probably a good fit.

Support and Stability

As discussed, make sure you buy the right shoe to support you if you suffer from  overpronation or supination. Wear an orthotic or insole to help balance your body out if necessary.


It’s obviously very important you buy shoes that allow you to move around freely to work, without worrying about blisters or callouses. A nurse has little time to sit down to deal with an uncomfortable shoe.

Shoes and Slippery Floors

It’s also equally important to make sure your shoes can handle wet surfaces. Hospital floors can be slippery and cause serious injury.

Weight and Heel Height

You will need a shock-absorbing shoe that will reduce the pressure your body weight adds onto your feet. Adding further cushions is also a good idea. Heel height is also important to consider.  Your shoes should be stable enough to support your body without losing your balance because the heels are too high.

Toe Box Size

To feel comfortable in your shoes and avoid problems, the toe box should not pinch or squeeze. A toe box that is too small can cause bunions and hammertoes. Toes need enough space to spread because they help you stay balanced as you take a step forward. Looking for shoes with a wide footbed and an appropriately sized toe box  is consequently wise.

To sum it up, there are several things to consider before buying shoes. For further information or help, seek out a specialty shop or an orthopedic shoe store.

Best Shoes For Nurses

1. Dansko Women’s XP 2.0 Clogs

Dansko Women's XP 2.0 Clogs

Dansko Women’s XP 2.0 Clogs


  • Bound to find a style and texture you love; so many options
  • Padded instep collar for extra comfort when walking
  • Easily slips right on and off


  • May be too loose if you have narrow feet
  • Sizes run slightly large
  • Arch support lifts up the toes, uncomfortable for some


If you need a shoe that is comfortable during working hours, that reduces back pain and aches, then this is a great option to consider. The shoes are designed specifically to last long hours, and have been a critical component in many nurses’ wardrobes. They slip off and on easily – no tying of shoelaces required. However, because they are not laced, you can not tighten or loosen the shoe depending on your feet’s needs. Additionally, some find the toe support to lift the toes too high and be cramped in the end of the clog.

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2. BIRKENSTOCK Women’s London

BIRKENSTOCK Women’s London


  • Contoured cork footbed conforms to the shape of your foot
  • Ergonomically designed to withstand long hours of being on your feet
  • Adjustable Strap Ensuring The Perfect Fit


  • Sizing may be off
  • The arch support may be too high for some users
  • Slightly loose for narrower feet


Clogs can be incredibly uncomfortable or incredibly comfortable, depending on how they are made. With this clog, made by Birkenstock, an incredibly reputable brand and industry leader for clogs, they are incredibly comfortable on your feet and can be used to walk for hours and hours. Since clogs can often slip, there’s a convenient toe bar located inside to prevent shoes from flailing about. Some report that they are a tad bit narrow and that the arch is uncomfortable, but it all depends on your own individual feet, and general the Birkenstock London shoe has proven to be a great shoe for many men and women.

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3. New Balance Women’s 577 V1 Lace-up Walking Shoe


New Balance Women's 577 V1 Lace-up Walking Shoe

New Balance Women’s 577 V1 Lace-up Walking Shoe


  • Classic and simple in style
  • ABZORB shock absorbing sole
  • Specifically designed for walking and being on your feet


  • Although they are classic, some may see them as too plain and not in style
  • Not very standard or professional looking for use as a nurse
  • Minimal arch support and cushioning


These classic shoes are great for everyday use, with their pain black or white design. You can never go wrong with the brand New Balance; they deliver pretty reliable quality. These shoes are especially designed for being on your feet and walking around. As far as style goes, there is a little left to be desired and they may not look professional for wear in a hospital as a nurse or other work setting. Regardless, they still serve their purpose and can be quite comfortable.

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4. Crocs Unisex-Adult Bistro Clog | Slip Resistant Work Shoes

Crocs Unisex-Adult Bistro Clog | Slip Resistant Work Shoes

Crocs Unisex-Adult Bistro Clog | Slip Resistant Work Shoes


  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable
  • All day arch and heel support, perfect for being on your feet
  • Made of comfortable synthetic material that’s easy to clean and is breathable


  • Made of cheap quality and materials
  • Run a bit too large (order a size smaller as it’s often recommended)
  • Crocs have a reputation of not being very stylish


Crocs have really become a household name; you either love them or hate them! Despite many people’s claims that they are unfashionable, many people pull off wearing them quite well. Aside from that, their comfort factor and ability to wear them all day long are what really set these crocs apart from the pack. These are popular amongst hospital workers who often want to slip something light and comfortable on, so they can go from room to room assisting patients. For their price, Crocs are a great option and really give you amazing value for the money you spend.

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5. Sanita Women’s Professional Oil Closed Leather Clog

Sanita Women's Professional Oil Closed Leather Clog

Sanita Women’s Professional Oil Closed Leather Clog


  • Made of leather, beautiful and simple design that can be worn with several outfit combinations
  • 1.75” heel that doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all; still gives you an added height boost
  • Many use them as their “go-to work shoes” according to reviews


  • The leather can become chalky and worn looking
  • Hard to find the right size for your feet
  • Can fit slightly narrow, especially around the heels for some people


These beautiful clogs slip right on and off, making getting up and going to work a breeze. What is also great about this product is how versatile these clogs are – the design can be used in both the workplace, where many use this pair of shoes daily, and also casually as well. They give you a nice lift in height without feeling uncomfortable, unless you have wider heels (some report these shoes being too narrow). Overall, these shoes are nice to have on hand when you need something comfortable in a fast-paced environment that requires you being on your feet all day.

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6. ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe


  • Beautiful, fun designs that are super in-style
  • Ultra comfortable with the gel insole lining
  • Specifically designed for running and sporting activities, but great to wear to a job that requires you being on your feet for extended periods


  • Expensive; depending on the style and color you get, you can spend anywhere from $125 to $230
  • May not be as breathable as other shoes
  • Some report the shoes falling apart and running small


You are going to love the designs and fun patterns that are available for the Asics Gel-Nimbus 18 shoes! They come in lovely, bright patterns and colors that are sure to keep you comfortable with the gel lining that support your feet and back. They do tend to be a bit spendy, at $125 and upwards, but they are well worth the money according to many users; especially those who work long hours in restaurants, retail, or hospitals on their feet.

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7. Skechers Sport Women’s Elite Class Fashion Sneaker

Skechers Sport Women's Elite Class Fashion Sneaker

Skechers Sport Women’s Elite Class Fashion Sneaker


  • Very simple, elegant design that many people seem to love
  • Extremely comfortable for everyday use
  • Especially designed for long periods standing on your feet


  • The tongue fold in when you put the shoe on; can be annoying
  • Appear to look much longer than past versions of the shoe
  • Wide in the heel so it slips a bit as you walk or run


You need a pair of shoes that not only looks good, but is as functional and supportive yet comfortable as the visual appeal. You have all that and more with the Elite Fashion Sneaker by Skechers. These Skechers shoes come in a plain design, that’s not overly simple, and is incredibly fashionable. The shoes are suitable for everyday use and going to and from rooms, stores, etc. at work. Some find that having to pull the tongue of the shoe back out is annoying as it tends to fold in when you put your foot in the shoe, but this is just a minor detail. One of the more common complaints is that it tends to be a bit to wide in the heel so your feet slip a bit. But at the end of the day, this is a great shoe to have on hand and will keep you comfortable and reduce back pain.

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8. Alegria Women’s Keli Professional Slip Resistant Work Shoe

Alegria Women’s Keli Professional Slip Resistant Work Shoe

Alegria Women’s Keli Professional Slip Resistant Work Shoe


  • Incredibly slip resistant with outsoles that grip the floor
  • Super light and comfortable
  • Replaceable insoles if they do run out; very comfortable material


  • Color can scrape off and fade easily
  • May be lacking an insole for some customers, as reported
  • Runs slightly small


Whether you’re walking down the street, in a freshly mopped floor, or a smooth, slippery surface, you will be less likely to slip and fall with these slip resistant shoes by Alegria. They are specifically designed for wear in the office, at work, etc. and are popular amongst nurses working in hospitals. There have been a few complaints about the insole, but if it does wear down on you, one great thing about this shoes is that it can be changed out easily. Ultimately, these shoes are great to have if you need something lightweight and comfortable.

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9. Brooks Women’s Ghost 13 Shoes

Brooks Women's Ghost 13

Brooks Women’s Ghost 13 Shoes


  • Several fun designs and colors to choose from; something for everyone
  • BioMoGo cushioning within the shoe that provides tons of cushioning
  • Mesh tongue that releases moisture and sweat from the foot; keeps water out


  • The cushion within the insole can wear down fast
  • Slightly pricey (price range of $115 to $290 on Amazon)
  • Not as comfortable as other options available at a similar price and style


The shoes from Brooks Ghost 13 line are amazing. There are just so many options and colors to choose from! They would be great as a gift or for yourself. The cushioning on the insole is super comfortable and can be worn for hours upon hours. And if you are working up a sweat from moving around so much, walking in your shoes, the tongue is made of mesh that releases sweat. But, these shoes may not be for everyone since they can get a little pricey, up to $290.

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10. Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Walking Shoe

Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Walking Shoe

Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Walking Shoe


  • Stellar arch support and ankle support when walking around
  • Reasonably priced
  • Asymmetrical sole for a more ergonomical fit


  • Cheap and generic looking design
  • Can fall apart and scrape easily
  • Only four stars on Amazon, where other similar shoes have better ratings


If you are looking for a shoes you can spend lots of time walking in, then the Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Walking shoe is likely to be a good option. But, just be warned that there may be some better options available out there (this only has four stars on Amazon, whereas others have 4.5 or more stars for similar price and quality). Many are concerned that the leather is easily scraped and can fall apart, and because it has a cheap, outdated design. Nonetheless, it offers great support for your feet and may serve you as a shoe you can wear at work to withstand the hours walking and standing.

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APMA. (2016). APMA Buyer’s Guide. Retrieved from American Podiatric Medical Association:
APMA. (2016). Seal of Acceptance/Approval Program. Retrieved from American Podiatric Medical Association:
Dick, R. B. (2014, Dec 9). Prolonged Standing at Work. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control:
Edited by: Chang, Wen-Ruey; Courtney, Theodore K.; Grongvist, Raoul; Redfern, Mark. (2002). Chapter 3: Biomechanics of slips. In T. &. Group, Measuring Slipperiness: Human Locomotion and Surface Factors (p. 184). New York: CRC Press.
Foot Scientific. (n.a.). Remedy Identifier. Retrieved from FootScientific:
Schafer, R. (1987). Chapter 4: Body Alignment, Posture, and Gait. In R. Schafer, Clinical Biomechanics: Musculoskeletal Actions and Reactions Second Edition (p. 808). Inchinnan: Williams & Wilkins; 2 Sub edition. Retrieved from
Wilson, B. (2016, June21 Tuesday). How to Find the Most Comfortable Nursing Shoes. Retrieved from The Nerdy Nurse: