Many occupations demand comfortable footwear but perhaps none more than nursing. Nurses work long hours – many of them spent on their feet – and the right pair of shoes help them to stay comfortable and productive.
If you’re a nurse, this review of the best nursing shoes will help you to find the most appropriate footwear. We’ll take a look at the highest-quality shoes for nurses, including the Keen Utility PTC Slip-On II how to get the most from your nursing shoes, and how to stay comfortable during your shift.
Whatever you do, don’t take your choice of shoes lightly. Your job demands it.
- Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing nursing shoes
- 11 Best nursing shoes for men and women 2019
- 5 Helpful tips for getting the most from your nursing shoes
- How to stay comfortable and fresh during a long hospital shift
- How we chose our best shoes for nurses
Before You Buy: 7 Things to Consider When Purchasing Nursing Shoes
Nurses do important work. There’s no arguing that fact, or that their job comes with a ton of responsibility. It’s also true that a comfortable nurse is more likely to be productive, and a good pair of shoes goes a long way towards creating overall comfort.
So, what should a nurse look for in a pair of work shoes? Here are some things to consider:
Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice comfort when choosing nursing shoes. Spending long hours on your feet isn’t easy, and foot fatigue and discomfort will only make a long day seem even longer.
Comfort comes, in large part, from a proper fit. An ill-fitting shoe won’t be comfortable, which is one reason to have your feet measured by a professional before you choose a shoe that’s most suitable for you.
Comfort also comes from a nice balance between support and softness. A shoe that’s too soft often doesn’t provide the support you need.
Nurses often perform their duties on surfaces that are less than ideal. Whether it’s water, bodily fluids, or other liquids, the floor of a medical facility can become treacherous.
Make sure the shoe you choose has a sole that includes slip-resistant technology and materials that help keep you stable (and upright) while providing plenty of traction. The shoe’s sole should also be flexible enough to allow you to walk comfortably, but not too soft or thin that it may become hazardous.
What qualifies as a shoe’s ideal weight varies from person to person. In general, however, choose a shoe that’s not too heavy or clunky because your feet may become more fatigued as the day goes on. Lightweight is better, but make sure that it’s not so light that it doesn’t provide the proper stability and protection.
A quality nursing shoe should offer substantial support for your feet, legs, and back. You may have to lift heavy objects throughout your workday and it’s important to have a shoe that provides enough stability in those occasions.
A shoe’s thickness, material, overall strength, and flexibility also contribute to its overall support and all are attributes you should consider.
Nursing shoes may consist of a variety of materials, but leather is among the most common and generally is comfortable, lightweight, and durable. But other materials, such as rubber, feature prominently in nursing shoe construction, as well. In general, avoid materials that add extra weight to the shoe.
Which style of nursing shoe you choose depends on a variety of factors, including your personal preference regarding design, color, etc. But your workplace may have guidelines about design elements, style, and color, or whether the shoe features a closed or open-toed design.
A shoe’s insole should provide cushioning, comfort, and stability, as well as a fit that’s neither too loose nor too snug. Many shoes come with removable insoles that allow you to insert custom orthotics if you so choose.
A shoe’s insole (as well as its upper) should provide enough ventilation to keep your feet cool and comfortable throughout your shift. Many of the best nursing shoes have insoles infused with antimicrobial properties that stymie foot odor.
No matter what type of footwear – including those suitable for nurses – you’ll notice a wide range of prices. It’s always important to select a shoe that fits your budget, but sometimes it’s OK to break your budget a bit if you find a shoe that you love and offers the comfort, durability, support, and protection you need.
Whatever you do, don’t try to save a few pennies by choosing a shoe that doesn’t meet all of the criteria listed above.
The 11 Best Nursing Shoes for Men and Women 2019
Hard-working people like nurses need hard-working shoes. The Keen Utility PTC Slip-On certainly qualifies and easily rates among the best shoes for male nurses.
There are many reasons why this shoe belongs on a list of the best nursing shoes, including a slip-resistant outsole and water-resistant materials – always a plus in a medical setting in which the terrain isn’t always perfect.
The Utility Slip-On II-M comes in a closed-clog design that’s stylish and also easy to clean thanks to its water-resistant leather upper.
Everything about this shoe has the hard-working professional in mind and is for anyone who spends long hours on their feet during the typical workday. It earns high marks for overall comfort thanks, in part, to a removable memory EVA foam midsole that cradles and supports the wearer’s feet throughout the day.
Many reviewers and customers say the Utility PTC Slip-On’s fit is comfortable right out of the box and that there’s little, if any, breaking-in period. That’s saying something, because the shoe’s leather is tough and durable and able to stand up to the rigors of nursing work.
The shoe’s upper is breathable and features a bit of cushioning on the collar and is, as mentioned, waterproof. The outsole, meanwhile, is sturdy and offers plenty of traction.
- Memory foam insole
- Durable, slip-resistant sole
- Minimal ankle or toe protection
Keen’s reputation for producing quality work shoes is well-earned. The Utility Men’s PTC Slip-On II M is sturdy, comfortable, and more than capable of withstanding the rigors of a long workday.
The Dansko Professional Mule is another shoe that’s in multiple reviews about shoes made for work, made for standing all day, and so on. That’s understandable given the quality of the shoe.
The Professional Mule easily ranks among the best nurse shoes for women and not just because of its lofty reputation. It delivers the goods in a lot of ways, including:
- A polyurethane sole that provides excellent stability and traction
- A roomy and reinforced toe box for extra protection
- The outsole includes a rocker bottom for enhanced shock absorption
- A polyurethane inner frame that reduces torque and helps add stability
- A memory foam footbed for optimal cushioning and support
- A padded instep collar
The rocker bottom outsole (rocker bottom means thicker) is a favorite of nurses and doctors. It offers superior arch support along with stability and traction. And the oiled leather upper will last you a long time with the proper care and maintenance.
- Rocker bottom sole
- Wide heel strike makes for greater stability
- Roomy, reinforced toe box
- Some wearers mention tightness at the top of the foot
The Dansko Professional Mule is not only among the best hospital work shoes, but also among the best work shoes no matter the occupation. They have all the comfort, support and stability you need to get through your workday pain and fatigue-free.
One of the many things we like about the Merrell Work Men’s Jungle Moc CT is its versatility. It’s an excellent shoe for the hospital and medical facility work floor, but also for office settings and as a semi-casual shoe that’s ideal for wearing away from work.
But there’s plenty of other reasons to choose this shoe if you’re a nurse. For one, it’s a lightweight slip-on featuring full-grain leather uppers that are durable and water-resistant. The uppers also feature a moisture-wicking lining which helps keep your feet dry and comfortable.
The CT’s mesh lining is very breathable – which helps to keep your feet cool – while its stretch fabric offers a snug, but not-too-tight, fit. It also has a compression-molded EVA midsole and anatomical foam footbed that provide additional cushioning.
Nurses often work on wet or slippery surfaces and the Jungle Moc addresses this issue with a dual-density rubber outsole that supplies traction and excellent overall stability.
The toe box, which features abrasion-resistant toe caps, protects your toes against workplace hazards, which aren’t uncommon in a hospital setting. There’s also a heel pull-tab that makes it easy to pull the Jungle Moc on and off.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Excellent traction
- Breathable, moisture-wicking lining
- Sizing may run tight
The Merrell Jungle Moc CT is another shoe that’s not only good for nurses and hospital settings but also a variety of other occasions. It features a lightweight and durable construction that won’t leave your feet fatigued and sore.
The Nike Metcon 3 qualifies as a “training” shoe, which makes it ideal for cross training aficionados. It’s also good for jobs that require employees to spend long hours on their feet, including nursing.
It starts with superior cushioning, that’s softer and more flexible than previous Metcon versions, particularly in the forefoot. But it’s also stable, which cross-trainers need because they often incorporate weight lifting into their workout routines, and which nurses need because, well, their feet demand it.
It’s a nice-looking shoe and comes in a variety of color schemes, which isn’t overly important for our purposes but a bonus nonetheless.
The shoe’s midsole shapes nicely to the foot and helps create a natural feel that enhances comfort. It’s firm in the heel but flexible in the front.
The all-important outsole consists of a sticky rubber compound that covers the entire surface area of the shoe’s platform. In turn, it provides all-around good traction, whether you’re in the gym or the middle of your nursing shift. It also has a textured finish that creates a more secure surface grip.
We also like the shoe’s well-constructed upper mesh that keeps the foot secure and comes with flat laces built to make fit adjustments easier.
- Plenty of stability
- Excellent for slippery surfaces
- Secure, breathable mesh upper
- Not much give in the heel
The Nike Metcon 3 represents another upgrade in the ever-evolving Nike line and it offers everything you need for stability, cushioning and comfort.
Rockport operates according to the premise that the perfect shoe hasn’t been invented. They’re working like hell to achieve it, however.
The Eberdon Loafer, while perhaps not perfect, is a good example of Rockport’s grand quest and is among the best shoes for doctors or anyone who works in the healthcare field. It’s a premium loafer with a dressier design that looks good in the office and on the hospital floor.
The Eberdon’s full-grain leather design includes dual goring inserts on each side of the foot that provides a snug, comfortable fit. Further comfort comes from a padded tongue and collar, as does a mesh lining that offers the right amount breathability while helping to keep the foot dry.
The shoe’s insole includes AdiPrene technology devised by Adidas for use in Rockport shoes. AdiPrene creates a lightweight sole with excellent cushioning.
The shoe also comes with an EVA and rubber outsole with a traction system that offers plenty of grip.
The Rockport is a little more heavy duty than other for nurses but still lightweight and comfortable to get through long work days.
- Very comfortable
- Fits nicely
- Absorbs shock and provides excellent stability
- Check sizing; it may run a bit small
It’s hard to go wrong with a shoe as comfortable and work appropriate as the Eberdon Loafer. You’ll like how you look and how your feet feel.
It may only seem like a Skechers shows up in every review of best shoes, whether it’s a review of work shoes, casual shoes, travel shoes, etc. There’s a reason for that: the global footwear leader makes excellent shoes.
For nurses, the Skechers Sure Track Trickel Slip-Resistant shoe is a sure bet because of its many foot-friendly features. The synthetic leather shoe features a casual lace-up design that looks good and feels good, while it’s rugged enough to withstand the rigors of a long workday.
The Skechers Sure Track is water-resistant, another plus for nurses, and has plenty of durability. The memory foam insole offers support and comfort, as well as a good fit, especially in the forefoot. Perforated panels at the sides of the shoe aid breathability and provide a cooling effect.
A removable cushion insole, which incorporates memory foam, offers excellent cushioning and helps keep feet from getting fatigued during a long day. It’s not a stretch to say they’re among the very best shoes for nurses on their feet all day.
Wearers also appreciate the Sure Track’s synthetic sole and secure grip for superior traction on any surface. Another plus is that the low-top Skechers shoe is easy to clean.
- Long-lasting comfort
- Well-cushioned memory foam insole
- The heel may fit a little tight
The Sure Track Trickel is representative of the quality Skechers line and a great fit for nurses who demand a lot from their footwear.
The Brooks Addiction ranks among the very best walking shoes as well as among the best shoes for healthcare workers. It combines everything your feet need, from stability to comfort, to help you get through a long day spent on your feet.
What’s not like? Among the Brooks Addiction’s many features are:
- 100% full-grain leather construction that has a soft feel but is very durable.
- A traditional lace-up design that helps you to get your preferred fit.
- A removable insole that’s lightweight while still providing excellent underfoot cushioning and support for all-day comfort.
- A mesh lining that helps to keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable.
- Brooks’ unique BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning offers additional underfoot softness and support without sacrificing anything regarding responsiveness and support.
- An Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar located at the medial arch creates progressive pronation control.
- The shoe’s durable rubber outsole meets the highest industry standards while offering all the grip and traction you need on every surface.
In short, the Brooks Addiction Walker for Men has the fit and feel of a superior running shoe built within an everyday walker. There’s something to be said for that.
- Midsole cushioning
- Pronation control
- Soft, comfortable feel
- Not as breathable as some other shoes
You owe it to yourself to check out the Brooks Addiction Walker if you’re a nurse or work in the healthcare field. You’ll appreciate its all-day comfort and sturdiness.
Comfort is everything for nurses, especially regarding footwear. Comfort with style is a plus and the Alegria Women’s debra Slip-On combines both.
The debra is, after all, ultra-comfortable and nice to look at, and is the product of a company that knows what it takes to manufacture shoes for people who spend long hours on their feet.
Style aside, the debra has plenty of features that make it a good choice for nurses, including a roomy memory foam footbed that provides superior cushioning. The foam bed has contrast stitching edges with elastic goring that help you to put on and remove the shoes easily.
The durable leather upper is durable, easy to clean and, as mentioned, stylish. The leather is stain-resistant and easily wipes clean with a damp cloth.
The ever-important outsole features a construction that reduces heel and metatarsal pressure while also increasing stability. It’s has a rocker outsole that allows your feet to move in a gentle rocking motion from heel to toe. The result is less foot and body fatigue at the end of your shift.
The debra’s toe box has enough wiggle room to keep your toes comfortable, while the shoe’s leather interior helps to wick away moisture while keeping the foot fresh and dry.
- Memory foam footbed
- Stylish design
- Roomy toe box
- Take some time to break in
The Alegria debra features a comfortable slip-on design that holds up well under the stress of a nurse’s shift. From its foam footbed to its roomy toe box, there’s plenty to like about this shoe.
One reason to recommend the Merrell Encore slip-on to nurses is that it’s designed for indoor use. While there’s no rule that says you can’t wear it in the great outdoors, it offers the comfort and durability needed for spending a long day on hard indoor surfaces.
It also offers many other benefits, including an Ortholite anatomical footbed with a nylon arch shank that bolsters the shoe’s overall support. Its molded EVA footbed features air-cushioning at the heel that offers extra shock absorption.
You’ll also appreciate the roominess of the footbed; the forefoot is roomy enough so that your toes can splay naturally, which helps to keep your stride comfortable and your feet from becoming fatigued.
A nurse’s feet often get overheated during a long shift but Merrell has them covered with a lightweight breathable mesh lining that helps keep things cool and comfortable. An antimicrobial solution fights odor while keeping your feet fresh. If foot odor is an issue for you, the Jungle Moc CT is among the best nursing shoes for smelly feet.
Support and traction come from a sticky rubber outsole that’s excellent on indoor terrain that can get a bit slippery and messy. The outsole features Merrell’s tried-and-true M-Select Grip technology.
- Designed for indoor wear
- Roomy, comfortable fit
- Extra shock absorption at the heel
- Some wearers say the interior lining could be more durable
Merrell’s long list of quality shoes includes the Encore Bypass Slip-On, an excellent shoe for nurses that keeps feet fresh, pain-free, and well-cushioned.
The same says it all: Nurse Mates designs footwear to meet the needs of a professional RN, and their attention to detail is evident in the Dove slip-on loafer.
Indeed, this shoe checks all the boxes, from a lightweight outsole with rubber inserts for superior slip-resistance and durability, to stain-resistant leather uppers, in the categories nurses most need in footwear that can handle with the stress and strain of their work.
The Nurse Mates Dove also has a removable contoured footbed that cradles the foot nicely, while its slip-on style makes it easy to take them on and off. If you prefer, you can easily take the footbed out and replace it with an orthopedic insole that best suits your needs.
A lightweight steel shank located near the midsole offers the extra stability and support a nurse needs during a typical shift.
- Slip-resistant sole
- Contoured removable footbed
- Stain-resistant and easy to clean upper
- Some wearers say the heel fits a bit loosely
Nurse Mates makes shoes for nurses, so they know a thing or two about the unique needs of anyone who works in a healthcare setting. Their Dove shoes are comfortable and sturdy enough for any shift.
Timberland is synonymous with ruggedness and the outdoors but they offer plenty of options when it comes to workwear, including their Barrett Park loafer for men.
The latter features all of the durability and toughness that you’d expect from a Timberland product – all while incorporating it in a loafer that’s ideal for nurses and anyone who spends long hours on his or her feet.
The Barrett Park has a slip on, Mocc-toe design that looks and feels good even after the hours begin to add up. Its 100% leather upper is smooth and flexible, and you can buy it in black, or black and dark brown variations.
It’s good for nurses for many reasons, not the least of which is Timberland’s unique L7 lug design that features beveled lug sidewalls and multi-directional leading edges that provide superior traction on all kinds of surfaces.
The leather upper includes an elasticized collar and an anti-fatigue removable footbed that you can replace with your own insoles or other orthotics if you so prefer. What’s nice about the elasticized collar is that it gently stretches out and forms around your foot for an ideal fit.
The L7 lug design outsole also features a water drainage design that disperses water while eliminating slipping and water-planing which can happen on a hospital’s sometimes-treacherous terrain.
- Excellent traction support
- Loafer style that many nurses prefer
- Smooth leather upper
- May run small, so check sizing carefully
Timberland has you covered with a nursing shoe that offers all of the traction and relaxed feel that you need. The Barrett Park Slip-On Loafer lessens the foot fatigue that often arises during a long shift.
5 Helpful Tips For Getting the Most From Your Nursing Shoes
There’s no question that a pair of quality nursing shoes can improve your comfort and make a long day on the job easier to endure. Even better, there are ways you can enhance the performance of your nursing shoes while getting the best performance from them as possible.
Invest in premium insoles
The insoles that come with your nursing shoes may provide all of the comfort that you need. However, you can also invest in a quality pair insoles that add another layer of cushioning and provide excellent defense against foot fatigue.
Insoles also aid in shock absorption and provide additional support that’s always helpful.
Another plus is that insoles can help extend the lifespan of your shoes because they reduce some of the friction that occurs with every stride. Also, many of them have antimicrobial properties that fight odor and bacteria.
Investing in more than one pair of shoes
The best shoes for nurses aren’t necessarily cheap, but you may want to consider investing in a couple of pairs for a variety of reasons. For example, you may want lighter weight, tennis shoes for certain parts of your shift but switch to sturdier clogs in places where spills and falling hazards are more prevalent.
Not that you’re often in a “relaxed” setting, but wearing a breathable, lightweight shoe when you have the opportunity can give your feet a much-needed break.
Or, you can have two pairs of the same shoe and rotate them regularly. Rotating them gives them time to dry out and breathe between each time you wear them, and can extend their lifespan.
Replace your shoes when it’s time
Nurses tend to wear out shoes faster than most people because they spend so much time on their feet. There’s no hard-and-fast timetable for when to replace your nursing shoes, although some nursing experts suggest getting a new pair every six months.
You’ll know – or your feet will tell you – when it’s time to invest in a new pair of shoes. But remember that a pair that still looks good on the outside may be beyond its shelf life.
Get the proper fit
Making sure your shoes fit correctly is a must. The quality of the shoe won’t matter if your shoes are too tight, too loose, or rub against your feet and toes. It’s worth re-emphasizing: have your feet sized by a professional whenever possible. That’s the best way to ensure that you’ll get the right fit.
Wear the appropriate style
Workplaces can vary widely regarding dress codes and what constitutes acceptable footwear for on the job. Choose your shoes accordingly.
How to Stay Comfortable and Fresh During a Long Hospital Shift
A nurse’s shift is long and rarely easy. The typical shift includes a ton of hard work, mental pressure, and the need to remain calm, cool and collected while being there for patients at a time of need.
Anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable when working a nurse’s shift can be a godsend, and the following tips and suggestions (primarily from nurses) should help.
1. Choose the right shoes
OK, so this tip is rather obvious considering everything we’ve said about quality nursing shoes so far. But there’s no downplaying the importance of choosing footwear that makes your job easier while relieving the strain on your feet and your body as a whole.
2. Wear compression socks
Compression socks are snug-fitting, stretchy socks that can help alleviate leg issues such as phlebitis and varicose veins. They fit tighter around your ankle while getting looser as they go up your leg. One of the major benefits of wearing compression socks is that they increase circulation in your legs while preventing the buildup of lactic acid. In turn, they help to keep your legs from becoming sore and achy.
If your ankles are swollen and your calves sore at the end of your typical work shift you should seriously consider wearing compression socks.
3. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is important for any activity, including a nurse’s shift in which you may lose fluids through sweating, etc. Keep a water bottle near your station at all times and drink from it frequently. Water even acts as a pick-me-up when your energy begins to run low.
The first thing you may want to do when you’re on break is to find a comfortable place to sit while decompressing from the rigors and pressures of your work. But it’s helpful to take some time to stretch because it works some life back into your fatigued and sore muscles while keeping you limber for the job ahead.
5. Have a snack handy
It’s not always easy finding time to take a break during a 12-hour shift and your energy can start to plummet if you don’t give your body the proper fuel. It’s always a good idea to keep a snack in your pocket or nearby that you can eat when your energy begins to wane.
Protein-rich foods such as nuts and energy bars will help keep the your body from running low on fuel.
6. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Many nurses suggest that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule – including going to bed at the same time every day or night – is vital for keeping your energy high and fatigue at bay.
7. Use caffeine wisely
That cup of coffee – or two – at the start of your shift is often heavenly. But too much of a good thing can become a not-so-good thing if you over-indulge. Excess caffeine intake can make you jittery and, perhaps even worse, keep you awake while you’re trying to get your hard-earned sleep when your workday is over.
How We Chose Our Best Shoes For Nurses
The unique footwear needs of nurses demand a few things, such as stability, support, and comfort that make it easier to get through long hours spent in a stressful occupation. We took all of these demands into account while also researching shoes for other unique features that wearers like and that set them apart from other shoes.
Style and price were other considerations, as were the reviews of customers who’ve worn these shoes and continue to wear them. Regarding style, we aimed to provide a suitable mix of dress shoes, slip-ons, and other designs appropriate to healthcare settings.
Nurses can’t afford to settle for just any footwear. Their job places plenty of demands on their feet and can make a long shift seem even longer (and more uncomfortable) without the proper shoes. If you’re a nurse, choose carefully now so that you won’t experience any nagging issues in the future.
Are you a nurse? If so, what’s your favorite shoe? Why do you like it? We welcome your feedback and hope to hear from you soon.