What Nurses Need to Know About Foot Comfort

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nursing shoes

Working long shifts that require you to be on your feet a lot, you’re likely all too familiar with the importance of wearing a good pair of shoes. But, while you know that you need quality shoes, you may not know exactly what factors determine a good shoe versus a not-so-good shoe. Nursing shoes are available in a wide range of styles and designs and it can be difficult to figure out which ones are best for you.

To save you the time and frustration of trying to research this on your own, we’ve put together a sort of “guide to buying nursing shoes” that highlights the keys to foot comfort and what features you’ll want to consider when shopping for nursing shoes.

4 Keys to Foot Comfort

nurses wearing nursing shoes

There are several factors that are important to think about when it comes to buying shoes. Your shoes will impact how your feet (and knees and back) feel at the end of a shift – for better or for worse. Since we’re trying to avoid the latter, let’s take a look at each of the 5 keys that are important for foot comfort.


If your position requires you to be on your feet for several hours at a time, you’ll need a lightweight shoe. Heavy, clunky shoes will negatively affect your comfort level as the day goes on and tire your feet and legs out before your shift is over. And this can cause you to become moody and distracted, decreasing your performance.

On the other hand, if you have a position that requires you to spend more time at a desk, heavy shoes won’t be as much of an issue. No matter what your job duties entail, however, you can’t go wrong with lighter shoes.

Support and Stability

Due to the nature of nursing and the long shifts that typically come along with the job, a pair of shoes with good support and stability is critical for keeping your body healthy.

A quality shoe will provide proper support, helping to minimize any foot, ankle, leg and back pain that can result from being on your feet for long periods of time. For the most supportive and stable shoes, you’ll need to take features such as the heel height, shoe shape and overall design into consideration. Padded soles can also work wonders.

There isn’t one style/shape/design that’s ideal for everyone, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the one that’s the best fit for you.

Slip Resistance

This is so important for preventing accidents and injuries! Slip resistance is a shoe feature that’s a must-have for all nurses, but is even more critical for those of you who work in environments where there’s an increased chance of liquids ending up on the floor.

Even if you buy shoe grips to go on your shoes for additional protection, you’ll want the shoe itself to have excellent slip resistance built in.

Design and Shape

With the sheer variety in design and style of nursing shoes available, from crocs and clogs to tennis-style shoes and oxfords, selecting a shoe can be downright complex.

The type of the shoe you choose will largely depend on your personal style and preferences. However, the type of feet you have (e.g. narrow or wide width, flat footed or high arched), the surface you most frequently work on and any existing medical conditions you may have will also influence the shape and design you ultimately go with.

Another Consideration: Specific Job Responsibilities

nurse with patient

In addition to these 4 keys to foot comfort, your specific job responsibilities need to be taken into consideration when selecting a shoe. You’ll need to assess your daily work tasks to determine the type of shoe that will best support you in performing your various responsibilities throughout the day.

For example, as mentioned earlier, whether you stand or sit for the majority of the day will help determine the type of shoe you need. And if you regularly transfer patients from a bed to a wheelchair or shower, then you’ll need a different type of shoe than a pediatric nurse will. Some nurses even bring two different types of nursing shoes with them and change shoes, depending on the task they are performing.

In the end, you’ll need to determine your needs and do what works best for you and promotes your overall well-being. Luckily, no matter what your shoe preferences and needs are, you’ll be able to find a shoe that’s stylish without compromising quality and comfort.

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