These Comfy Shoes Will Actually Support Your Feet if You Stand All Day at Work

·9 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy


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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.

How to shop for 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.

The options below are perfect for nurses and anyone else—retail workers, servers, bank tellers—who spend most of their workdays on their feet.

1. 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.”

2. 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!”

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. 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.”

5. Skechers Sure Track Trickel Shoes

Skechers garner high praise from service workers for their comfort and durability during long work days. They’re also water-resistant with memory foam insoles and non-slip rubber bottoms, which keep your feet glued to the floor through spills and any terrain. And on top of that, these sneakers come with a shock-absorbing midsole, meaning your feet will feel like they’re floating all day long.

“First let me say it is the most fantastic shoe I have ever worn,” one buyer raves. “I have never had a more comfortable and supportive shoe than this one. They literally massage my feet all day long. There is a memory foam pad that fits under the base of my toes and it’s so comfortable.”

6. Nurse Mates Dove Slip-Ons

This line was explicitly designed with nurses in mind. The lightweight rubber soles will keep you from slipping on slick hospital floors, while the steel shanks on the sides of the shoes provide extra stability. These slip-ons also feature a stain-resistant finish—perfect for when things get messy. “You need a shoe that doesn’t allow blood and bodily fluids to penetrate,” Dr. Langone says.

“[These shoes] helps through 12 hours of standing through surgeries and are merciful on the back and feet,” an Amazon customer explains. “If bodily fluids fall, like blood, they wipe off easy. The leather prevents a possible falling tool from slicing through the shoe, so they protect your feet in more ways than one!”

7. Nike Revolution 5 Sneakers

These Nike sneakers have style and stamina. They feature a soft foam cushion, a breathable mesh upper and lining, and a flexible rubber outsole that have a decent amount of traction. They also come in more than a dozen eye-catching designs, meaning there’s guaranteed to be a pair that’ll match your personal style.

“I am very happy with these shoes and no longer experience foot pain after long walks,” writes one reviewer, who says other shoes cause pain and blisters. “One thing I really like about them is ankle support—it just feels good around my ankle,” another shopper says.

8. 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.”

9. 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.”

10. Sanita Professional Oil Clogs

Thanks to their durable leather frame, these clogs are ready for anything. If you tend to have achy arches after a long day, the American Podiatric Medical Association recommends these kicks because of their top-notch, long-lasting arch support—ideal for nurses with flat feet. Plus, reviewers say, they’re a great alternative clog if Danskos just don’t work for you.

“This is my fourth pair of Sanita clogs and I wear them to work as a health care professional,” an Amazon reviewer explains. “The sole of the shoe is hard, but they remain comfortable all day because of the undying arch support.”

11. 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.”

12. 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.”

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