Nurse Lifestyle

Shoe Shopping – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Page reviewed and updated: August 2023

As a nurse, you are constantly on the move. It is important to remember that wearing good shoes can help you to feel your best and help prevent injuries. We will look at some factors to consider before you purchase a new pair of nursing shoes.

Quality and Comfort

Two key points to keep in mind during shoe shopping is making sure your new pair of kicks is comfortable and they will last you a long time. Remember, your choice of shoe can affect your whole body, not just your feet! 

Best Foot Forward

Remember to keep your organization’s policy in mind about the type of shoes you can wear in your role. Overall, your shoe should have a non-skid bottom and be completely closed to protect you from harm from spills and sharps. Here are some key points when purchasing your shoes:

  1. Your shoe should have a stiff back and you should not be able to move the shoe side-to-side around the heel.
  2. Look for a shoe that has some torque and can twist slightly.
  3. Arch support is key! Proper arch support can help prevent many musculoskeletal problems that could lead to back problems and even disability.
  4. Make sure that your toes have some room to flex and be comfortable. 
  5. Be sure the shoes feel comfortable right away! As you try them on, kneel in them and move around as you would at work to ensure they are right for you.
  6. If possible, purchase shoes where a trained sales professional will size your feet and make sure the shoes fit you properly. 
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Top Shoe Brands for Men and Women

With so many popular brands and companies who offer shoes that would work in the nursing field, here are a few highlights. Again, keep your organization’s policy in mind regarding the type of shoes you can wear in your role and if there is a certain color you need to have.

  • Nurse Mates offers a variety of choices including sneakers, clogs, and slip-ons, with prices ranging from $36-$130. You can also find a wide choice of compression socks here as well.
  • Dansko makes a wide variety of shoes, including clogs ($100-$150), slip resistant shoes ($100-$150), and sneakers ($110-$145).
  • Sketchers offers many different styles and choices of shoes to fit any need, with prices ranging from $50 to $125.
  • The Walking Company offers up to 40 brands of shoes including ABEO, Brooks, Dansko and Klogs, with prices ranging from $50-$200 and up.
  • Crocs offers styles including sneakers, clogs and more with prices ranging from $28-$65.
  • Merrell offers options from lightweight hiking shoes with sturdy traction to sneakers of all styles; prices range from $80 and up.
  • Rockport, Saucony, and New Balance also provide a range of options for sneakers, with prices starting in the $50 range.
  • Other footwear stores include Famous Footwear, Zappos (online), DSW Shoe Warehouse, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Footlocker, and Modell’s.
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Ready for a Replacement?

Examine the heels of your shoes. If the heel has become angled, this will alter your step and can contribute to pain. It is recommended that your shoes be replaced every 350 to 500 miles – about every three to six months.

Compression Socks

Since you will be on your feet most of the day – whether it’s four hours or twelve hours – compression socks can help your feet and legs feel great all day. Compression socks improve your blood flow, decrease swelling in your legs and reduce your chances of getting a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
There are a variety of compression socks out there. They have different levels of pressure, measured in mmHg. Be sure to ask your health care provider what is best for you. They average in cost from $12 to $25 and up, depending on the brand.

In conclusion…

Appropriate footwear will help you stay on top of your game during your shifts. So, take a moment to think about the shoes you wear at work and consider if you would benefit from a new pair of shoes. With the right shoes, you will feel your best as you provide exceptional care to your patients each and every day!

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