This content was updated for accuracy and relevance on January 27th, 2021
Every nurse knows that one of their most important pieces of equipment is their shoes. Wearing the wrong pair of shoes on a 12-hour shift can leave your feet, knees, and back feeling sore and tired. The right pair of shoes will provide you with support and comfort every day, allowing you to focus on patient care.
Finding the right pair of shoes can be challenging. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. There are many different types of comfortable nursing shoes, from solid and dependable clog styles to lightweight sporty sneakers.
To help you find the best shoes for nurses, we’ve assembled our list of the top 10 best shoes. The shoes in our list cross styles and brands, but are widely regarded as some of the best options for nurses and travel nurses who need support, comfort, and durability.
#1 Dansko Clogs – $130.00+
With both women’s and men’s versions, Dansko clogs are highly recommended for comfort, durability, and a relatively affordable price-point. For many people, these are the best nursing clogs on the market. With a 2” heel, durable Polyurethane outsole, and a wide reinforced toe-box, these Dansko clogs tick all the boxes for a workhorse shoe that won’t leave your back and knees sore after a long shift. There are a variety of different styles and color options available as well, so you’ll be sure to find the right pair for you. The Dansko shoe is a great work shoe that has a wide good and sometimes even has slip resistance!
#2 SoftWalk Meredith Sport – $99.95
The SoftWalk Meredith Sport is another clog option for female nurses that want a comfortable, durable working shoe at a reasonable price point. The Meredith has all of the features you want to see as an ICU nurse who is on their feet all day, including great arch support, a cushioned removable footbed, and a lightweight, durable outsole. The Meredith is slip, water, and oil-resistant, and has an antimicrobial lining to ensure your shoes stay fresh after long shifts. Like other clog styles, the wide toe-box offers your toes room, which will reduce discomfort during long shifts where you’re on your feet.
#3 Sketchers Work: Relaxed Fit® Sure Track – $65.00+
The Sketchers Sure Track shoe for women is a great option if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or are simply looking for a light and comfortable shoe for long days on your feet. The Sure Track is a lightweight pair of slip-on shoes designed to provide a roomy fit. As the name suggests, the Sure Track features a durable, non-slip outsole and a solid leather upper. The Sure Track also features a Memory Foam insole, which, combined with its shock-absorbing midsole, provides layers of comfort. The Sure Track comes in various widths, ensuring that individuals with wider feet can find an option as well.
#4 Brooks Ghost 13 – $130.00
The Brooks Ghost 13 is an update to the venerable line of men’s and women’s running shoes. These are a great option for a lightweight, supportive athletic shoe for nurses that are on their feet and moving all day long. The updated version of the Brooks Ghost features additional DNA Loft cushioning extending from heel to midsole. The upper retains the flexibility that gave the Ghost 12 it’s support and comfort. Weighing in at slightly more than 10 oz, the Brooks Ghost series of running shoes is a great option if you are worried about fatigued, tired feet at the end of a long shift.
#5 Hoka One One Bondi 6 – $150.00
The Bondi 6 remains a popular shoe line for nurses of both genders due to the solid build quality and amazing cushioning. The Bondi 6 boasts the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of approval for supporting good foot health and features a mesh construction, full-length EVA midsole, and durable rubber outsole. Both the women’s and men’s lines feature a variety of colors and styles, making the Bondi 6 an excellent choice if you like to express yourself through your choice of shoes. The men’s Bondi 6 weighs in at slightly under 11 oz, while the women’s weighs only 8.6 oz, making these shoes a great lightweight option for nurses who are looking for maximum cushioning.
#6 Nike Flex TR 9 – $70.00
The Nike Flex TR 9 is a great option for female nurses looking for a lightweight, breathable tennis shoe or sneaker that provides all-day comfort. This trainer features a breathable mesh upper, superior traction, and excellent support for your whole foot. An added heel strap wraps around the back of the shoe to give you extra support. The minimalist design is a great alternative to loud, flashy running shoes that call attention to themselves.
#7 Alegria Kayla – $129.95
The Alegria Kayla is a clog-style nurse shoe that is designed to provide all-day comfort. Featuring removable insoles, excellent arch support, and a durable slip-resistant outsole, the Kayla is a low-maintenance slip-on shoe that does everything you need and nothing you don’t. With a heel height of 1.5 inches, the Kayla sits a bit lower than the comparable Dansko clogs. The Kayla has also been designed to promote a rocker walking motion and reduce joint pain while promoting proper posture. This is a great walking shoe!
#8 Keen Kanteen Clog – $115.00
The Keen Kanteen clog is a popular choice among nurses and others in the service industry. Featuring a non-slip polyurethane outsole, soft and spacious toe box, EVA midsole with a TPU shank, and an antimicrobial lining, the Kanteen is a great option for nurses who expect to be on their feet throughout their shift. The leather upper is stain and water resistant, making these clogs easy to clean and durable.
#9 Sanita Professional Clog – $125.00+
Manufactured in Poland, Sanita’s line of professional clogs for men and women is a solid choice for nurses looking for a comfortable shoe that will offer support, comfort, and durability. These clogs come in a variety of styles and colors, but all share an emphasis on support and comfort. Featuring a microfiber insole and rocker bottom polyurethane outsole, Sanita’s will help encourage good posture and reduce stress on your joints and back from standing on hard surfaces all day. The Sanita Professional series has been given the APMA stamp of approval as well, so you can rest assured that these clogs support good foot health and help reduce heel pain.
#10 Nurse Mates Dove – $76.99
The Nurse Mates Dove is a very popular slip-on style shoe that was designed specifically for nurses. They’re lightweight, come in multiple widths, and feature a leather upper that makes it easy to wipe off any spills. The Nurse Mates Dove come in no-frills white or black, making them an easy and unobtrusive choice for personalities or work environments that require a subdued design. The Nurse Mates Dove may not be flashy, but they are a solid, dependable, and affordable choice for nurses. They also have men’s nursing shoes and can have a padded collar to reduce foot pain.
What Are the Most Comfortable Shoes for Nurses?
Wondering what the all-around most comfortable nursing shoe is? Each of the shoes in our list has proponents that will attest to their comfort. Finding the shoe that is most comfortable for you will come down to finding a shoe that offers the right balance of support, cushion, durability, and breathability. From a lightweight shoe with a removable insole perfect for a wide foot, to a genuine leather shoe with a padded instep collar perfect for flat feet, there is a nursing shoe at there for you!
One thing to note about the most popular shoes for nursing is that they largely fall into two categories: clog style shoes or athletic shoes. If you haven’t tried a clog style shoe before, don’t completely eliminate it as a possibility. Clogs offer excellent support for your knees and back, which is crucial for avoiding knee or back pain as you get older. Clogs are also easy to put on and take off, low maintenance and tend to be very durable. If you aren’t sure which style might be right for you, take the time to try a few on.
Don’t Forget Compression Socks
While it may be tempting to focus exclusively on which shoes you wear, you should also take a moment to think about what you wear inside of your shoes. You may not realize it, but your socks can have a big impact on how your legs feel at the end of a long shift. Compressions socks for nurses can help maintain adequate circulation to the feet and ankles during long work shifts, reducing fatigue and pain you might be experiencing.
Travel Nurses working 12 or more hour shifts need to have shoes that offer enough support to get them through the day while still remaining comfortable. Though finding the right shoes for you may seem challenging, the time you take to find the right pair will help you avoid any pain in your feet, knees, or back later on in your career.
From a rubber sole to a shock absorption shoe, we recommend trying on a couple of different types of shoes if possible, which will allow you to see whether certain styles work well for you. Of course, finding the right pair of shoes given workplace requirements can be challenging. Thankfully, many of the shoes we’ve listed have simple, unobtrusive designs that work well for nurses. Once you settle on a pair, it may be a good idea to invest in a second matching pair. Switching between pairs can help you avoid any microbial buildup and extend the life of your shoes.
Once you’ve found the right pair of shoes for you, it’s time to put them to work. Come join Host Healthcare and start your travel nursing or travel therapy career today! We work closely with our travelers to facilitate great assignments with excellent compensation. Our recruiters work closely with our nurses to understand their career goals and help work towards them. To learn more about our travel nursing opportunities, contact us!
Article Reviewed by Adam Francis
Title: President, CEO
Home Town: San Diego, CA
Alma Mater: University of Notre Dame
Random Fact: Prior to starting Host, I was pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy.
Why Host Healthcare: Our team members in the office are champions in the industry and we only work with the best travelers who are dedicated to their field of work. These two factors combined make me excited to come into work every day to build a company dedicated to creating great experiences for everyone we encounter.View All Posts by Adam Francis