Let’s face it: As marvelous and miraculous as modern medicine is, no one really enjoys being stuck in the hospital. First, there’s the obvious downside of being sick, but more than the aches and pains of illness endured, it’s the disruption of our lives that annoys and frustrates. The loss of independence can also grate on the nerves, especially for those who enjoy more than the average amount of physical activity – serious illness can confine even the most vigorous patient to a bed for days or even weeks at a time, leaving many to feel caged and useless. Luckily for us all, nurses are there to help.
Often, a nurse is a patient’s sole consolation and the one light in a gloomy and strange environment. When our visits are for minor injuries or illnesses, they draw our blood, say something nice and reassuring, and send us on our way. When things become serious, they feed us, keep us clean and warm and dry, and might even save our lives via CPR or other procedures – and all they ask in return is a great pair of shoes. Well, as luck would have it, their cries have been heard! Grab a cup of coffee and settle in, all you latter-day Nightingales (and any other curious onlookers), because this guide’s for you. Keep reading to find out exactly how to pick the best shoes for nurses.
Best Nursing Shoes Guide
Lots of people choose nursing because it’s a stable and honorable career with good earning potential. Of course, the career fair brochures usually forget to mention that the average nurse works multiple twelve hour shifts almost every week of the year, most of which will be spent running up and down the halls of a busy hospital. While jobs, and therefore a nurse’s work environment, will obviously vary, it’s almost a given that the chief attribute of any nurse-worthy footwear is durability.
Anything a nurse puts on her feet will need to work just as hard as she does, and do so without tearing or wearing out before it should. That’s why nurses in the know (and those who give them gifts) choose shoes with exceptional build quality, particularly in terms of overall materials strength, craftsmanship, and company reputation for product and service quality. After all, be it via fruit cups or Foley catheters, bringing comfort to the sick is what counts, and as any nurse can tell you, that is best accomplished in a great pair of shoes.
Just having a durable shoe isn’t enough. Combat boots are durable, and they have a terrible reputation for wearability! Here are some features a nurse or other interested party should look for when shopping for their next pair of shoes:
* A great support system, particularly in the arches, ankles, and other stress points
* No-fuss ties / laces / fasteners that stay in place without a lot of maintenance
* Non-skid / no-slip soles for safety
* Machine-washable + breathability for on the job comfort and quick turnaround come laundry day (your shoes will get extremely dirty – count on it!)
* Room to accommodate padded insoles / orthotics, thick winter socks, and so forth
The first half of this equation is a simple one: Nurses spend an unbelievable amount of time in their shoes, so they need to fit like a glove. Unless you really know what you’re doing, go to a shoe store and get properly fitted for your shoes – your feet will thank you! As for style, most registered nurses and hospital staff wear good quality sneakers of relatively muted aesthetics. Hospital hallways aren’t the runways of Milan, but that doesn’t mean you have to look or feel drab! Blinking lights and such are probably a no-no, but don’t be afraid to allow a splash of color or similar touches to find their way into your footwear choices.
While most nurses work in hospitals, nursing homes / long-term care facilities, school systems, and the like, some nurses choose to specialize in fields which stretch the boundaries of tradition (and sometimes defy them altogether). One such example of specialization due to advanced nursing practice is the unique requirements of the flight nurse. Much like first responders on the ground, flight nurses can find themselves at the scene of a car accident, in the middle of a forest, or anywhere in between, and often in the same day. What’s more, they’re often the only thing keeping their patient alive in those critical moments between a pick-up and admittance to the ER.
When it comes to footwear, specialized nurses like these should be extremely discriminating in their choices – flight nurses may wish to choose heavy-duty work boots with lots of tread, steel toe caps, and similar features for instance, while CRNAs, who spend 12+ hours per day standing in the operating room giving anesthesia and other sedatives to patients under surgery, ought to give some thought to prioritizing comfort and the promotion of good peripheral blood flow. Then again, other specialized or advanced practice nurses, like nurse practitioners, can often get away with the standard footwear discussed earlier. It’s all about one’s environment and the requirements imposed by one’s nursing role.
When in doubt concerning your own footwear in a situation like this, ask someone who’s done the job before you how to proceed. They’ll almost certainly be able to help you!
Top 5 Best Shoes for Nurses
No one said that the best nursing shoes needed to be a pair of sneakers. Dansko is a shoe company that specifically specializes in providing shoe wearers with the highest level of support, comfort, and durability. This specific shoe is one that the company has been providing hospital employees with for years. This is exemplified by the fact that this specific shoe has earned a seal of acceptance from the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association).
The first great quality about this shoe is that is made out leather and includes a manmade sole. Leather is known for its durability and ability to handle years of wear. When wearing this shoe, you will not need to worry about needlessly purchasing another shoe because this one is bound to last you a long time. There is an advantage to wearing a pair of shoes with manmade soles, and it is that the shoe is built with more precision and care than it would have been built via factor.
The manmade sole is tailored to provide wearers of this shoe a high level of comfort and support in just the right places. Apart from strong materials and manmade components, this shoe is also lightweight, as it weighs only 1.6 pounds. This prevents you from suffering from heavy shoes that can damage your back and cause an excruciating amount of foot pain.
Colors: Black or White
Benefits: Used in intensive work industries for years, high level of customer satisfaction, very comfortable and supportive, durable
Cons: Level of comfort can vary depending on foot size, leather can be a difficult material to clean, some may consider the price costly for a pair of work shoes
This shoe is very similar in appearance to the first option on this list of the shoes for nurses. Also made with durable leather, you will not need to worry about your shoes wearing down quickly, as they will last you a long time. While the soles are not manmade, these shoes still include a strong rubber sole that features a full support system for your feet so that even the most active days are still met with comfort.
One very beneficial advantages to these shoes, which is an exclusive feature of this band, is the Anti-fatigue technology. This system allows for optimal shock absorption which then transfers energy to your feet’s key zones to enhance stamina and strength. This system also creates very strong support system for your feet, preventing foot pain and injury.
An additional feature that is worth mentioning is the heel-to-toe rocker profile, which reduces flexing of the forefoot that leads to strain. Therefore, you can be confident that when utilizing this shoe, your feet will have a neutral and effortless gait. Lastly, because Timberland is so confident in its product, they offer buyers of this product a 30-day comfort guarantee. Thus, if you are not satisfied, you can return them for a full refund.
Colors: Grey, White, and Black
Benefits: Anti-fatigue feature, made for prolonged use, long lasting, great support and comfort
Cons: Heavy (4-5 pounds), high arc, some have complained that they are not very aesthetic
This pair of shoes is slightly different from other pairs you’ll find on this list of the best nursing shoes. The main difference is the simplicity of the shoe, which does not compromise comfort. The entire shoe is made of rubber. The outsole is slip resistant and flexible, and the back of your foot will be supported by a rubber band. This allows for breathability throughout the day for those that are worried about a lack of freshness. The back strap is flexible so you can either choose to utilize it or turn the entire shoe into a traditional clog.
The main feature of this shoe that surpasses most of the pairs on this list is that this product is absolutely lightweight. If you are concerned about both the comfort and movability of your feet throughout the day, then this shoe solves the problem. Most customers have claimed that this is the shining benefit of this shoe. Furthermore, while most nurses choose to wear either white or black, this pair of shoes comes in array of interesting colors such as red, blue, cameo, brown, leopard, zebra, and even pink with hearts. It’s fun and interesting array of colors perhaps may be an attractive aspect, as patients will feel less intimidated.
Colors: Blue, red, brown, cameo, leopard, zebra, and pink
Benefits: Very light weight, not very costly, many colors to choose from, breathable shoes
Cons: Not as “advanced” as other options, all plastic not a good option for everyone
This brand of shoes was chosen to be on this list of the best shoes for nurses due to their popularity among nurses and other service industry professionals. Also made out of leather, this pair of shoes features a strong but lightweight rubber sole that can trek through even the most grueling and tough shifts. The top leather part of the shoe is covered with a substance known as polyurethane which provides protection against cold, heat, and chemical resistance. In addition, such frontal foot protection is even more useful for nurses as it protect their feet in an environment that warrants such protection.
Like all of the best nursing shoes, these shoes also mold to the shape of your foot through interior and exterior longitudinal arch support that follows the natural curve of the foot. The toe area also features a raised toe bar for extra grip. As for the sole, the rubber material is manufactured in a way that absorbs a high level of shock, providing you with the comfort and support that you need throughout the day. Furthermore, the leather material is also built to prevent moisture from seeping into the shoe, keeping your feet dry and comfortable all day long. The final and perhaps greatest feature of this shoe is the EVA outsole, which can easily be repaired when needed.
Colors: White and Black
Cost: $165.00 – $170.00
The final entry on this list is manufactured by Brooks Company. This specific pair is sneaker-like walking shoes for women. These shoes are built for working professionals that find themselves constantly on their feet. Unlike other shoes on this list, these have the outer appearance of an everyday sneaker. The shoe is manufactured out of leather and includes a carefully crafted manmade sole to provide wearers extra comfort. This shoe’s leather is very high quality, as it is made with full-grained leather. Meaning, the entire hide is used, not just bits and pieces. This creates a much higher level of product durability.
As for the features of this product, you’ll find that this shoe includes rear and forefoot hydroflow that is designed to provide extra cushioning and shock absorption. Another aspect of this shoe that reinforces cushioning and shock absorption is the MOGO midsole. Lastly, for extra comfort and protection there is a S-527 Cushsole, which is a midsole compound. This shoe has also been characterized as slip resistant, moldable to the foot, and extremely supportive.
Colors: Bone (Sand), White, Black
Cost: $100.00 – $120.00
Benefits: Provides enough support that feet do not hurt after long shift, shock absorbent, extremely comfortable
Cons: Bulky appearance, heavier than other options, not friendly for wide-feet, costly
Without question, nursing is one of the most noble, needed professions anyone can pursue. They provide a great deal of comfort and aid to people when and where they need it the most. After giving so much of themselves to comfort others, it seems only right that they themselves should be comforted, if only in a small way. Now, thanks to this handy guide, such comfort is easier than ever to find. In fact, thanks to this handy primer, both new RNs and veteran nurses alike should have no problem at all when it comes time to find the absolute best shoes for nurses on the market. All that’s left now is to start shopping!