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Best Shoes for Nurses

Nurses have long shifts and are on their feet for hours at a time. On a daily basis, I hear nurses complaining of foot pain and comparing shoe advice for the long hours of working on your feet. There are a lot of shoes out there that advertise comfort and reviews are often mixed. Shoes are not cheap and it is quite an investment when you are not sure if you will love them after eight, ten, or twelve hours of running around on your long nursing shift.

The first thing to do when approaching shopping for nursing shoes is to decide if you are best fit for a clog type of shoe or an athletic shoe. I split my shopping guide between these two options because clogs and athletic shoes are the most popular choices among nurses. Also, these clogs and athletic shoes provide the best all around support to the foot compared to other popular shoe styles.

Why are clogs good shoes for nurses?
By definition clogs refer to a wooden type of shoe but now the word is used almost interchangeable with mule and slider. Essentially these shoes are slip on shoes with a slight incline to the heel with or without a back. The most recognizable brand of clogs is Dansko though there are many other brands that carry this style since its success and popularity among the nursing community continues to grow. A good clog has a wide toe box and good arch support. Important other features to consider is slip resistance, the weight of the shoe and the material, as nurses need to have their feet covered and protected from needles and contaminants among other things.

When should a nurse wear clogs?
Those who tend to stand more than run around do better in clogs. If you are, for an example, an emergency room nurse that doesn’t sit down for a second during your shift, you might find clogs cumbersome. They tend to be heavier than an athletic shoe. They do not have laces and have a slight heel so many will find them unstable when walking, running and pivoting. Some institutions ban types of clogs because they believe they make people more prone to injuries. If you are running to respond to a code, you don’t want to get tripped up on your shoes! Still this is a highly recommend shoe because it provides excellent support in the arch, allow your feet to breath, and have some extra room for when your foot swells at the end of your shift.

Why are athletic shoes good for nurses?
There are a variety of athletic shoes on the market and many but not all athletic shoes are appropriate for nursing. Many companies are marketing minimalist shoes and though they may feel comfortable at first, they often fail to provide appropriate support for long hours on your feet. A good athletic shoe is relatively stiff with with a thick insole for shock absorption. Some brands have adequate arch support, but you may need to supplement with an orthotic.

When should a nurse wear athletic shoes?
Athletic shoes are appropriate for nurses who are always on the move. They provide the best support when pivoting and walking up and down stairs. If you wear orthotics or an ankle brace, an athletic shoe is the best shoe for you to wear. If you are on the code team, I highly recommend athletic shoes for safety reasons. Athletic shoes also come in the greatest variety of sizes that can accommodate most foot types or deformities.

Recommended Brands

Athletic Shoes
New Balance

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This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

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Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists of Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Mequon, Wisconsin (WI) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrists, Dr. Steven Waldman, Dr. Christopher Milkie and Dr. Lucy Meier can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our podiatrists, foot surgeons and staff of our Milwaukee area podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community. Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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