Key considerations for nurses buying shoes

Interesting Observations and Opinions:

  • One nurse said you can buy whatever sneakers you want, but then buy REALLY good insoles. Buy a $40 pair of sneakers, but $50 insoles.
  • For expensive shoes, consider buying a used pair on ebay (yes, some people do this!).
  • A few nurses wear compression socks, and claim they help their feet.
  • Make sure you know if your foot is normal width or wide or extra wide.
  • Alternate shoes between days.  This lengthens their life and gives your feet a different workout each day.
  • Dansko also makes a sneaker which some people like.

You may have to endure some trial and error, but in the end, you will find the best shoes for nurses — ahem, excuse me, I mean the best shoes for you!

Pain prevention:
This is THE most important consideration for nurses.  Your shoes first and foremost should prevent back, foot and leg pain.  Many nurses, if they wear the wrong shoes, get bothersome pain, even severe pain, in their feet, knees, legs, and back.  This happens when they wear shoes that are not appropriate for them.  If you have experienced pain, visit a podiatrist and get evaluated before dropping tons of cash on new shoes.  The forums are filled with comments from nurses who say that Danskos helped relieve their pain (foot, back, knee, etc.).

Nurses will pay almost anything to find the right shoe that brings relief from pain. Fortunately, you won’t have to pay much, because there are lots of options in the footwear market.  At most you will pay only a fraction of your weekly salary.

Comfort while wearing:
The next most important consideration is comfort while wearing. Pick a pair of shoes that feel good. Your shoes should not feel tight. They should not be too loose. They should not make your feet itch or feel overly hot.

Comfort while wearing is very important, but actually takes a back seat to pain prevention.  Back and leg pain is more important.  A shoe may not be the most comfortable while wearing it, but if it prevents or eliminates back and leg pain resulting from long hours on your feet, then you may be able to put up with a fit that is not 100% optimal.

Dress code:
Some hospitals/employers prohibit the wearing of certain types of footwear. Others do not. There is not much you can do about this. A few employers prohibit clogs. Others prohibit Crocs that have holes in them.

Foot conditions:
Are your feet flat? If so, definitely try on the shoes first.  Danskos and Birkenstocks are known to cause problems with nurses with flat feet.  Conversely, if you have high arches, a New Balance model would likely be more comfortable. Do  you have bunions, plantar fasciitis, or hammer toes?  If so, be prepared to dry out a few shoes before you find one that you can live with.

Work routine:
Do you need to run up stairs on code? If so, clogs are not the best choice.  Better would be a running shoe or sneaker. With clogs you could turn your foot or slip.

Or do you need to be extra quiet around patients.  If so, soft soled running shoes are good.  Or are you at a desk all day?  If that is the case, you could wear most anything.

Will EMT’s be running stretchers over your feet?  If so, Crocs are not the best.  Better to go with a hard toed shoe.

Are your feet exposed to liquids or splashing fluids or other organic matter? Again, hard toed shoes are better here.  In fact, some hospitals prohibit the use of Crocs for this reason, because Crocs have holes in them.  However, Crocs makes a professional version without holes.  But some nurses find that their feet are hot in them.

Sadly, this is at the bottom of the list.  If you feel great in regular tennis shoes, but they only last about 6 months, continue wearing them and buy new ones every so often.  Consider it an investment in your career and quality of life.

Unfortunately, all of the top contenders are expensive.  Be prepared to spend $90-$150.  Danskos are between $80-$130ish dollars. Again, Danskos reportedly last a long time.  One nurse said her first pair of Danskos lasted her 7 years.  “They are totally worth the investment”, said another. Chec 10 best shoes for nurses with best price

Clog or Sneaker?
What should you choose, clog style shoes or sneakers?  Or perhaps a good ole fashioned white shoe?  All three are acceptable and each style has its fans.  In the end, many nurses “end up” in a style based on choices made for primary concerns such as comfort or things out of their control such as dress code, or utility concerns.