The 5 Best Nursing Shoes for Ultimate Safety and Comfort [Mar. 2017]

best shoes for nursesAs a nurse, you face plenty of challenges through the course of your eight- to 12-hour workday. That goes without saying. And those challenges can vary from day-to-day, with tasks such as lifting patients, to taking off in a full sprint when there’s an emergency, to, well, you know better than anyone.

The common denominator in all of this is that you’re going to spend most of your working hours on your feet. Desk job? Not hardly. Which is why it’s vitally important to have a good pair of shoes. Not any shoes, but a pair of truly quality shoes that are suited for your profession. If you don’t, your legs, back, knees, etc., are going to howl at you until you do.

We’re going to take a lot at some of the best nursing shoes out there, starting with the Nurse Mates Women’s Dove

We appreciate the work you do while understanding the stress it can put on your feet (and rest of your body). We’ll discuss what are important things to consider before you buy your next pair of work shoes, and then list five shoes we think will provide you with the comfort and support that your job demands.

Contents:

The top 5 best shoes for nurses 2017

There’s so much that goes into making a good shoe no matter what their primary function is. We all want things like arch support, comfort, and durability. Not that we take our shoe-buying decisions lightly – or at least we shouldn’t – but nurses can’t afford to make a bad choice. The unique demands of your job won’t allow it. The last thing you need is a day spent juggling your many responsibilities while being plagued with aching feet, legs, or back.

That said, here are the five best shoes for nurses:

1. Nurse Mates Women’s Dove

best nursing shoesThey’re worn by thousands of nurses and have been for decades. It’s what Nurse Mates is all about; their mission is to create comfortable, durable shoes, workwear, and accessories specifically designed for nurses. The Dove Nurse Mates accomplish this mission with a slip-on shoe that’s comfortable, lightweight and meets all the ‘resistant’ musts that are part of a nurse’s world: slip-resistant, stain-resistant, and spill-resistant.

What they’re made of

The Dove’s upper is full-grain, tumbled floater leather – the ‘tumbled’ part of the process make the leather softer – which is durable and stain resistant. Because there are no cloth parts on the outer portion of the shoe, cleaning them is fast and easy. They slip on and off easily because of elastic inserts on either side of the shoe. The soles, meanwhile, are made of super-lightweight rubber. And, hey, they’re stylish, too, with pink, white and black leather to choose from.

Comfort

Comfort is what it’s all about when it comes to Nurse Mates shoes. They have extra cushioning for starters, which is of great important to female nurses because women need more cushioning in the soles of their shoes due to the way their legs and ankles are built. Nurse Mates come with a padded collar for extra ankle support, while the sole fights fatigue with its bouncy and luxurious feel. Finally, they’re super lightweight. Heavy shoes for a nurse during another long shift? Um, no, we think not.

Safety

Nurses who wear the Nurse Mates Dove love the slip-resistant, thick tread which makes falls a non-factor. That’s important in a work environment where the floors tend to be slick and ultra-smooth.

What’s not to like?

Nurses love the classic, professional look of the Nurse Mates Dove Awareness, and many also prefer the leather material to other types of man-made material. And when it comes to comfort, they’re hard to beat, thanks to soft padding inside the shoe and a footbed insert that cradles the foot. They can be worn outside, as well, though many nurses wear them only inside and on the job, which helps keep them clean and in good condition.

2. Dansko Professional Clogs

dansko women's clogs whiteWhen Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup discovered a pair of ultra-comfortable clogs in a tiny European store 20 years ago, they had no idea about what they were about to get started. They shared the clogs with friends, who shared them with friends … and now Dansko is an employee-owned company in the hills of Pennsylvania that produces clogs which Mandy and Peter raved about many years ago.

They’re clogs which have been proclaimed as the best shoe for nurses with, which is certainly open to debate, but a pretty strong testimonial, nonetheless. Besides, the American Podiatric Medical Association bestowed their Seal of Acceptance on them. Clearly, quality isn’t a concern when it comes to Dansko’s Professional Clogs.

What they’re made of

Both the sole and the lining of Dansko Professional Clogs are made of polyurethane, which is a durable, rubberized material that withstands the penetration of water and oil. The upper portion of the clog is made of quality leather, and all versions of the shoe have a water-resistant coating on them which is spill-resistant and easy to clean.

Comfort

The Dansko Professional Clog is designed for people with medium to high arches; don’t worry, the vast majority of people have medium or high arches. There’s ample room in the toe box, and the shoes are extremely lightweight despite how large and sturdy they appear. It’s the kind of comfort which lasts the whole day. They are also the best shoes for nurses with plantar fasciitis.

Safety

This clog is wide, sturdy and can be worn on even the most slippery floors. The thick polyurethane soles are safe for use on wet and dry floors. People who have worn them say they are virtually slip-proof.

What’s not to like?

Nurses rave about the comfort the Dansko Professional Clog provides. And then they rave some more. Others were relieved to find a clog with high arches, while those who require orthopedic inserts saw the Dansko Professional Clog as a perfect fit, as well. Another positive feature of this shoe is its roominess, which is important for people who are working on their feet all day and, in turn, more prone to have their feet swell. This clog comes in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs, which is also a big hit.

3. Skechers Women’s Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneakers

Skechers Women's Premium-Premix Slip-On SneakersThese great slip-ons from Skechers look classy and professional while being both safe and comfortable. They also come with fashionable detailing and great safety ratings. But, hey, it’s certainly not the first rodeo for Skechers, who develop and market more than 3,000 styles of shoes for men, women, children – and, yes, nurses.

What they’re made of

The Skechers Women’s Premium-Premix has a smooth leather upper, as well as a soft padded lining without rough spots or snags that will aggravate your feet over long periods of use. Extra cotton padding is provided on the collar and tongue, while there is elastic conveniently located on the front panels for ease of taking them on and off. The outsole is made of flexible rubber and provides great traction.

Comfort

Skechers’ patented comfort insole provides extra padding and cushioning for consistent, soft support, as well as excellent shock absorption. Nurses who have existing pain in their ankles, knees or hips like the fact that they don’t notice it while wearing these shoes for prolonged periods of time. Because of the shoes’ high arches, inserts aren’t required.

Safety

The Premium-Premix Slip-On has earned high marks for their excellent traction on slippery hospital floors.

What’s not to like?

Ample support? Check. Comfort? Check. Don’t have to bother with laces? Check. There’s a lot to like about the Skechers Women’s Premium Premix. They’re also easy to clean and maintain and come with stain-resistant leather. They also look good and are reasonably priced.

4. Timberland Professional Renova Slip-On

Timberland PRO Women's Renova Professional Slip OnTimberland is all about the outdoor lifestyle, but they also make a shoe that’s a good fit for a nurse’s indoor rigors. Many nurses have turned to the Timberland Pro as their go-to work shoe, with good reason. From sizing, to material, to comfort and arch support, these shoes bring a whole lot to the table.

What they’re made of

The Renova Slip-On has a full-grain leather upper and sole that’s made of rubber. They’re soles with great traction, even on the slipperiest of floors.

Comfort

The Renova Pro is designed, in part, with nurses and other medical professionals in mind. The full-grain leather upper is very durable and comfortable, while the shoe has a soft cushion base. It also has a heel to toe rocker feature that alleviates the strain on your arches and foot as a whole. They take comfort seriously at Timberland. Not comfortable enough for you? Just return them with Timberland’s 30-day comfort guarantee.

Safety

The outsole of the Timberland Pro has a urethane coating that helps make the shoe slip, oil, and abrasion resistant. It’s ‘SafeGrip’ tread pattern offers maximum protection on both wet and dry surfaces.

What’s not to like?

The Renova Pro comes with Timberland’s unique footbed design which helps regulate the temperature inside of the shoe and keeps your foot from overheating. The design also helps increase cushioning. There’s also anti-fatigue features – such as shock absorbing materials in the sole – and the shoes are remarkably stain-resistant.

5. Skechers For Work Women’s Soft Stride-Softie Lace-Up

Skechers For Work Women's Soft Stride-Softie Lace-UpYes, the name is a mouthful, but these shoes provide plenty of bang for the lengthy title. They offer good style, plenty of comfort, and are perfect for nurses who don’t want slip-on shoes for work thanks to a full lace-up panel.

What they’re made of

The Soft-Stride-Softie Lace-Up has a flexible upper made of soft leather, and it’s leather that is scuff- and stain-resistant. The soles are made of durable rubber that provides great traction in the hospital and other work environments. The cushion is reminiscent of athletic shoes and provides round-the-clock support.

Comfort

There’s no shortage of comfortable padding in these shoes, and they also provide great arch support, especially for those who have particularly high arches. Inserts may be needed for those with flatter arches. With a padded tongue and heel, they make all-day wear easy. It also comes with a contoured insole which is removable.

Safety

Skechers soles are known for being slip- and fall-resistant, while OSHA has given its approval to rubber outsoles that also help prevent falls. The tread can handle prolonged wear and is built to last a long time.

What’s not to like?

These shoes are going to last a long time, which is a definite plus. Because they’re lace-up, they provide great adjustability – which comes in handy when feet start to become swollen at the end of a long shift. Moreover, the toe box provides ample space, while the soles are flexible.

What to look for when buying shoes for nurses?

Again, while the ratio of seated to standing is heavily weighted toward seated in a lot of occupations, that’s not the case for nurses. With shifts sometimes lasting 12 hours or more, that’s a lot of time on your feet. Buying a pair of shoes to get you through days and months of this work requires careful consideration. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Size

It seems so obvious, yet it’s so often overlooked. Specifically, get the right size shoes; not just a pair that feels ‘pretty good’ in the store. Get your feet accurately measured, preferably at the end of the day when your feet may be slightly swollen from a hard day’s – or night’s – work.

Upper Material

The upper portion of your shoe should be made from a material that is both durable and easy to clean. Let’s face it; you don’t know what kind of mess/spill/whatever you’re going to encounter on any given work day. Suede shoes may look great but could be a bigger problem to clean if something gets spilled on them.

Arch Support/Comfort

We’re human. There’s a lot of similarities between us, but there’s also a lot of things that vary from you, me, and your friend who works the same hospital shift as you. Like your arches, for instance. People have low arches, high arches, longer arches, shorter arches.

Know your own arches and know which shoes are best suited for them. To be safe, ask a shoe professional. Like shoe size, this isn’t something to treat lightly.

Sole/Grip

Your shoes have to have good traction, for starters. No skimping on this, either. The soles should be durable but also made of a material that will securely grip the floor, especially the tile floor that most nurses work on. That’s why rubber soles are never a bad option.

Style/Color

Last, and for our purposes, least, we come to the issue of style. Of all the factors here, this needs to be placed at the bottom because all of the factors listed above are just too important to sacrifice. If your shoes look great but don’t provide the kind of support and comfort you need each and every day, then they’re not the shoes for you.

That said, no one wants to go to work in a pair of shoes that are about as attractive as, well, combat boots, but you can have your cake and eat it because all of the shoes we’ll recommend here look pretty darn good.

Whether you choose a dark of lighter color is a matter of preference, although some nurses prefer dark because it covers up dirt more easily.

A brief look at types of shoes for nurses

types of nursing shoesYou’re basically going to have three choices when it comes to the best shoes for nurses: sneakers, slip-ons, and clogs.

Sneakers

If you work in a fast-paced environment like the emergency room or intensive care, sneakers are often a good choice. They’ll cushion your feet and protect them from fluid spills. They’re very comfortable if your job demands that you go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds.

Slip-Ons

Similar to running shoes in style, slip-on nursing shoes have a closed back-end. And you don’t have to be interrupted by loose shoelaces.

Clogs

Ah, clogs. So comfortable with their closed front and open back end. They provide a spacious feel and are designed to support different pressure points of the foot. They typically have straps in the back to keep them in place.

A note on gender and nursing shoes

The majority of nurses are still women, but men certainly aren’t few and far between when it comes to the profession. That said, many of the shoes that are good for nursing are geared toward women.

There are definite similarities, but women’s shoes tend to be narrower and smaller. And men have broader and longer feet than women – who tend to have higher arches than men. Here’s another factor to consider: women have wider hips than men, which affects the angle at which they walk.

Therefore, women tend to pronate more when they walk, which means they need additional support when it comes to the interior soles of their shoes.


For nurses, shoes aren’t just a necessity, they’re a vital part of every workday that have to deliver in a variety of different ways, from comfort, to durability, to safety, and more. Choosing your work shoes wisely can make a huge difference in the quality of your daily work experience. The right choice will be an investment which will continue to pay dividends for a long time.

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