On your feet all day? You'll need footwear that's stout, comfortable and well-fitted. This is our list of the best shoes for nurses
For nurses, finding a good pair of shoes that can support them during long shifts is critical. Day after day, these resilient workers face one of the toughest jobs around—and they do it in shifts that can be twice as long as the average person’s workday. During that incredibly long shift, there’s not much time to rest, or even sit. If the world had a real-life equivalent to superheroes, it would likely be nurses.
Nurses are almost always on their feet in an incredibly busy environment. Finding the perfect shoe varies from nurse to nurse, as each person has unique feet and support needs. Some prefer trainers, while others like clogs.
In this article, we’ve highlighted a variety of options that are stand-out favourites for nurses. Whether they’re designed specifically for healthcare workers or just for comfort, we have a range of options.
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Best shoes for nurses: At a glance
- Best shoes designed for nurses: Figs New Balance 327 | Buy now
- Best unisex shoes for nurses: Birkenstock Super Birki | Buy now
- Best cushioned trainers for nurses: Hoka Bondi 7 | Buy now
- Best slip-ons for nurses: Nike Air Zoom Pulse | Buy now
- Best nurses’ shoes for women: HKR Women’s Trainers | Buy now
- Best clogs for nurses: Crocs On The Clock Clog | Buy now
How to choose the best nurses shoes for you
Due to the type of work nurses do each day, there are important needs that must be met when choosing a pair of shoes. After all, a nurse can be on their feet for several hours at a time. Plus, the shoes have to meet workplace hygiene standards.
What features should I look for in a good nurse’s shoe?
Cushioning and arch support: Above all else, it’s imperative to have a pair of shoes that will physically support you throughout the entire work day. Properly supporting your arches means that your feet won’t take the brunt of your body weight. Without proper support, you could be subject to foot, leg and back pain, as well as swelling.
Roominess: Speaking of swelling, your shoes must be able to adjust to the fluctuations in fluid on your feet and ankles throughout the day. A pair of trainers that fit snugly in the morning may be far too tight by the afternoon, if there isn’t enough space. For some people, this means a shoe with a wide fit. For others it could be a shoe with a flexible fabric that moves with the feet.
Fully enclosed tops: One former public nurse we spoke to was adamant about having a fully covered foot. “You do not want holes when dealing with body fluids and needles,” she told us. For that reason, sandals are out, as are your favourite pair of classic Crocs.
Washable: Shoes that are easily washable are as important as fully enclosed tops. You never know what will end up getting on your shoes and it’s important that you can properly wash them, either by hand or in a washing machine.
Durability: You don’t want to have to buy a new pair of shoes every few weeks, so it’s important to find a pair that can survive a heavy-duty workload. A critical care nurse we talked to said she “wore sneakers for so long but they would wear out so quickly”. She then switched to clogs, which she found lasted longer.
The best shoes for nurses to buy in 2022
1. Figs New Balance 327: The best shoes designed for nurses
Price: £168 | Buy now from Figs
Shoe company New Balance and healthcare apparel brand Figs partnered up to design footwear that physically supports healthcare workers. The New Balance 327 trainers have a classic 70s style with the renowned New Balance comfort. These shoes are designed to be unisex, but there are other styles specifically for women and men in a variety of colours.
They are created with features that specifically benefit nurses and those working in healthcare. These include two sets of water-repellant laces. They also have antimicrobial insoles and inner lining to prevent odour, even after long days. The soles are thick for extra cushioning and arch support, while the tops are lightweight and water repellent. The shoe also boasts waterproof suede parts.
You shouldn’t find yourself slipping on hard floors, as the outsole is made of studded rubber for proper traction. Overall, the 327 is perfect for long-term comfort and the rigorous demands of nursing.
Key details – Sizes: M4/W5.5-M13/W14.5; Colours: 3
2. Birkenstock Super Birki: The best unisex shoes for nurses
Price: £55 | Buy now from Birkenstock
Recommended by multiple public health nurses we spoke to, the Super Birki clogs offer long-lasting comfort and durability. The shoe is made from a synthetic material known as polyurethane. This material is water- and dirt-repellent, as well as oil- and grease-resistant. The shoes are not only washable but can be properly disinfected. Unlike some clog-style shoes, they have no holes across the top of the foot, making them a safer option for a hospital setting.
The clogs come with anatomically formed cork-latex footbeds that mould to your foot shape. It’s also lined with a moisture-wicking fabric. Birkenstock also offers replacement footbeds, increasing their longevity.
These clogs come in a variety of neutral and vibrant colours, allowing for an expression of personality even when wearing a uniform. The shoes are made to be non-slip and they’re backless, allowing them to be easily slipped off at the end of a long shift!
Key details – Sizes: 2.5-13; Colours: 10
3. Hoka Bondi 7: The best cushioned trainers for nurses
Those looking for cushioned comfort should look no further than the Hoka Bondi 7 trainers. These running shoes are designed to provide a balanced level of comfort no matter how hard you work them. They boast Hoka’s highest level of plushness, with a high bed of cushioning to absorb impact. They’re also built to be minimally prescriptive, so the bed of the shoe is symmetrical and a neutral shape for all foot types.
Aside from ultra-cushioning, the Bondi 7 has great comfort features. The collar is narrow but made of memory foam and designed to provide support and a stable fit. The top of the shoe is mesh, which offers breathability. This is paired with a TPU overlay for additional structure and support. The midsole is EVA foam, considered by some to be more comfortable than cork or rubber. Finally, the bevelled heel and Hoka meta-rocker technology keeps your foot movements and gait natural and healthy.
Key details – Sizes: Men’s 6.5-13.5, women’s 3.5-9.5; Colours: 11 (men’s), 10 (women’s)
4. Nike Air Zoom Pulse: The best slip-ons for nurses
Price: £113 | Buy now from Nike
Another pair of shoes that were constructed specifically for nurses, the Nike Air Zoom Pulse meets most nurses’ needs. The shoes are cushioned for comfort, but also have a flexible, natural feel. Nike uses an unspecified soft foam, as well as its Zoom Air unit to pad the shoe. The Zoom Air unit is located in the heel and uses pressurised air with tight fabric to handle impact and immediate snapback.
The shoe is made of a synthetic material that’s both durable and easy to clean. The toe is reinforced to prevent wear from general use as well as operating levers. You won’t catch laces on those levers, either, with Nike instead using an elastic loop on the heel and tongue to make them easy to slip on and off.
The rubber sole provides solid traction on both wet and dry surfaces, and this shoe has been tested by nurses to ensure long-lasting comfort and support.
Key details – Sizes: 3.5-14; Colours: 2
5. HKR Women’s Trainers with Memory Foam: The best nurse shoes for women
Price: From £28 | Buy now from Amazon
Memory foam is well-known as one of the most comfortable materials. It’s used in beds, pillows and of course, shoes. That’s the highlight of these HKR women’s trainers—the memory foam insoles.
The insoles provide long-lasting comfort and support. They are soft and breathable, so your feet don’t feel clammy after hours of wear. The rubber outsole is designed to be non-slip on any type of surface.
The shoes have a higher than average heel with air cushioning, which helps to absorb impact. The tops of the shoes are similar to putting on a breathable pair of socks. The material is a mesh knit that stretches for a perfect fit, with elastic to keep the shoe in place. There are no laces, so you can just slip the shoes on and off.
Overall, these shoes are great for reducing pressure on the feet throughout a long shift.
Key details – Sizes: 3-9; Colours: 12
6. Crocs On The Clock Clogs: The best clogs for nurses
Price: £45 | Buy now from CrocsClogs have long been a popular choice for nurses. They provide excellent, sturdy support over long periods of time and help reduce back pain. Crocs is a well-known brand for comfortable everyday shoes, but not everyone realises the company also has a line of work shoes. The On The Clock clogs are designed specifically for anyone who spends hours at a time on their feet, including healthcare workers.
Unlike the most well-known Crocs, these shoes have enclosed tops to prevent risk and meet workplace regulations. The insoles have Dual Crocs Comfort, as well as enhanced arch support. The shoes have slip-resistant treads and a tapered back-of-heel for a comfortable fit.
The material Crocs uses for its shoes is 100% vegan and sustainable. It’s also simple to clean with only soap and water. Crocs might not be the height of fashion, but these clogs give a roomy and relaxed fit, while remaining secure enough to stay put in the heat of the moment.
Key details– Sizes: Men’s 3-12, women’s 4-10; Colours: 1