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We updated this article in June 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team (and that of our sister team at the Good Housekeeping Institute).
When your profession involves anything from running alongside a gurney to standing for hours in the ER or operating room, the right shoes are a must. Being on your feet all day puts your lower extremities under a lot of stress. So if you’re consistently wearing unsupportive shoes, you could develop achy arches, joint pain, and other uncomfortable problems.
Fortunately, there are lots of footwear options perfect for people who stand all day—you just have to know what to look for. It’s important to choose shoes that have good non-slip grip for dashing between patients, as well as extra cushioning that supports nurses who are up on their feet for hours. But not all shoes are made equally, so we spoke with experts to find the best shoes for nurses.
How we chose the best shoes for nurses
We consulted Howard Friedman, D.P.M., a Suffern, New York-based podiatrist, Karen Langone, D.P.M., a podiatrist based in Southampton, New York, and Howard Friedman, D.P.M., a Suffern, New York-based podiatrist, to find the best shoes for people on their feet all day. We also combed through countless ratings, reviews, and product specs to find the only shoes that nurses should wear for all day support.
The options below are perfect for nurses and anyone else—retail workers, servers, bank tellers—who spend most of their workdays on their feet.
Our top picks
1. Hoka One One Bondi 7 Sneakers
As some of the most cushioned shoes available anywhere, Hoka’s Bondis are already ideal for nurses. But they’re especially great for people who don’t want a pair of shoes that they’ll only wear to work, since these durable kicks are also designed for running, walking, or just heading to the grocery store after a shift. Plus, the supremely soft but supportive EVA midsoles mean they’re a good fit for anyone with plantar fasciitis.
“These Bondi 7s are the ONLY shoe my feet do not hurt in,” writes one reviewer and veteran healthcare worker. “Been a nurse for 30 years and only wish these were around earlier in my career.”
2. New Balance 608v5 Sneakers
You just can’t beat a classic, like these tried-and-true kicks from New Balance. With a super-cushioned base, comfy foam near the ankle, and a flexible outsole, these sneakers are designed to keep you on your feet (and feeling good) all day long. And on top of all that, their leather uppers are stain-resistant, meaning they’ll look crisp long after you’ve broken them in.
“I have worn nothing but New Balance for close to 25 years,” one reviewer, a nurse who works 12-hour days, writes. “If you have a job where you are constantly on your feet, THIS IS THE SHOE FOR YOU. I wear compression socks as well. They are true to size, and after working long hours my feet don’t hurt.”
3. Brooks Ghost 13 Sneakers
When you’re dealing with all of the responsibilities of being a nurse, you want a shoe that can withstand the rigors of a marathon, Dr. Langone says. Brooks is known for its quality running shoes, and Ghosts are no exception. They’re described in terms typically reserved for luxury cars: plush, with a smooth ride. Tons of supportive cushioning and a secure fit ensure that you'll stay comfy throughout your shift, too.
“I stand on a concrete floor every day for eight hours,” says an Amazon shopper who used to experience intense pain in their back and feet after working. “Brooks is the first shoe I have kept and used for work and has consistently good performance results.”
4. Naturalizer Marianne Loafers
With three different width options, Naturalizer’s super-comfy shoes are designed for people who need to be on their feet all day. This pair features a contoured, dual-dense footbed that provides plenty of support to the arches and heels, plus a cooling lining to keep your feet dry.
“These shoes are fantastic! I work in a clinic standing all day, but wear business casual,” a reviewer explains. “I need to be able to squat and kneel often during the day. I also have relatively flat feet and the shoes are very well cushioned and supportive. They are also very on trend at the moment!”
5. Dansko Professional Clogs
“I’ve often recommended Dansko clogs or similar clogs to nurses because they are very supportive,” Dr. Friedman says. This classic leather pair—which has a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association—features a roomy toe box, a comfy platform, and an antimicrobial lining to ward off odor after all-day wear.
“These are the only shoes I will wear to work,” one Amazon reviewer raves. “I have pairs that I’ve had for five years and still wear. At the end of a long day with patients my feet don’t hurt at all, not like they would when I would wear tennis shoes that were just as expensive.”
6. Sticky Non-Slip Shoes
When you have to walk through spills and deal with all kinds of fluids, the last thing you want to think about is whether your shoes will survive your shift. Thankfully, this ultra-grippy pair is designed for those moments; just wipe it clean and get moving again. Better yet, workers rave that these shoes require zero break-in time—a godsend for those first weeks after you start wearing a new pair.
“I didn’t believe from the review hype that these shoes would be that comfortable but they really are,” one reviewer says. “I would recommend these to all nurses. Stop spending $200 a pair for those hard, clunky, heavy shoes! These are amazing and I ended up buying two more pairs in different colors.”
7. Skechers D'Lites Memory Foam Sneakers
These Skechers sneakers garner high praise from service workers for their comfort and durability during long workdays. They’re also lightweight with unique air-cooled memory foam comfort insoles and non-slip flexible traction outsoles, which keep your feet glued to the floor through spills. And, they come with a shock-absorbing midsole, meaning your feet will feel like they’re floating all day long.
“I recently had surgery on my foot and was told that I needed to transition to wearing an orthopedic shoe for three months,” wrote one Amazon customer. “In my quest for an alternative, I came across this shoe. It's very lightweight and has great arch support with air-cooled memory foam. YAY, no sweaty feet!! It also has a very sturdy sole. I showed them to my podiatrist and she approved. On my next visit, she was wearing a pair. I am in these shoes every day and they fit and feel great. I will be buying another pair in a different color.”
8. Yhoon Sock Slip-On Sneakers
This lightweight slip-on sneaker will keep you moving quickly and safely on slick hospital floors, while the fly woven outside allows your feet the chance to breathe during long shifts. These slip-ons also feature an air-cushion sole design which makes it comfortable and adjustable to your feet.
“I finally found a sneaker I can wear all day at work,” wrote one satisfied Amazon customer. “I've had three back-to-back 10-hour shifts on my feet and they do not hurt. It's like walking on air. When I take my shoes off after work I do not have to ice or rub them. I will buy more to keep as backup. My feet have room on the sides and front and it does not feel like it will come off. Your foot is secure and comfortable.”
9. Oofos Unisex Clogs
Everyone deserves a pair of comfortable and easy-to-wear clogs like these. They feature a special OOfoam recovery technology that absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam. The patented footbed also cradles your arches, which will reduce stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and lower back. The brand notes that the clogs are made in whole sizes so they recommend sizing down.
“I'm an ICU nurse and I'm on my feet for most of my 13-hour shifts,” wrote one reviewer. “I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot and the pain was so terrible, I began limping out of work each day. These are miracle shoes! Wore them a whole shift and while I still had a bit of heel pain I wasn't limping. Started wearing them all the time and now the plantar fasciitis is gone! I've been singing their praises to my fellow nurses and soon my whole unit will be in them.”
10. Calzuro Classic Clogs With Holes
These Italian clogs are a cult favorite among everyone from cheesemakers to emergency medicine physicians—and for good reason. With a slip-resistant sole, anti-static material, a genuinely cool silhouette, and a slight heel to reduce fatigue, they’re practically made for nurses. And Calzuro clogs are among the easiest shoes to clean, since they play nice with both dishwashers and autoclaves. (Bonus: You can add a strap if you’re worried they might fall off.)
“I do 24-hour shifts and these shoes keep my feet happy,” one reviewer explains. “I especially love how easy they are to clean. In my profession they can get pretty gross, so a run under water in the sink and a wipe down and they are as good as new.”
11. Asics Gel-Venture 7 Sneakers
If you tend to have achy arches after a long day, the gel tech in the rearfoot area and EVA midsole offer up easy comfort. The shoes also include an Ortholite sock liner that gives an additional layer of cushioning underfoot—ideal for nurses with flat feet.
“I love Asics for the fit, comfort, and stability,” wrote one customer. “This has been good for my overpronation (wearing a slight insert). I work in a doctor's office and am on my feet a lot. No back or knee problems while wearing these.”
12. Crocs Bistro Batali Edition
These low-profile Crocs pretty much blend into the background—perfect for workers who need a simple, durable shoe. They check all the boxes with an easy-to-clean material, a contoured footbed, and thick toecaps—for a reasonable price, too.
“I’m an emergency department nurse and these are the only shoes I can wear for 13 hours and my feet and legs don’t hurt,” an Amazon reviewer raves. “I’ve been wearing them for 10 years. Wouldn’t wear anything else. Plus, they are super easy to clean. I’d give them 10 stars if I could.”
How to choose the best shoes for nurses
“You now see all kinds of medical professionals on hospital floors wearing running shoes that are designed to stand up to a lot of stress and strain,” says Karen Langone, D.P.M., a podiatrist based in Southampton, New York.
Clogs are also a good choice, says Howard Friedman, D.P.M., a Suffern, New York-based podiatrist. They tend to have a wide toe box, which helps accommodate feet as they naturally expand throughout the day. This is why you often see surgeons and other health professionals wearing them in the operating room, Dr. Freidman says. You also need a shoe that’s durable but also lightweight—after all, you’re probably clocking several miles a day around the hospital. Lastly, shoes with a slip-resistant sole are key, as you never know what messes will come your way.
To help keep pain at bay, Dr. Freidman suggests picking up at least two pairs of supportive sneakers or clogs. (Or one of each!) A shoe’s cushioning becomes completely compressed after six hours or so and no longer offers support, Dr. Friedman cautions. So having two great pairs allows you to change halfway through your shift.
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