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Since nurses spend most of their days on their feet, they know more than a thing or two about the importance of comfort and durability when it comes to shoes. With this in mind, Shop TODAY asked nurses for the exact pairs they swear by to get them through long shifts.
Best shoes for nurses
These Hoka sneakers are designed to provide plenty of support, and that's largely thanks to its special molded footbed.
"Nurses are on their feet most of the day, so the Hoka sneaker provides great support for nurses with bad backs or plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation in your feet," Monique Goguen, a nurse based in Boston, told Shop TODAY.
The cushioned design comes in plenty of colors, and men's sizes are also available.
"Brooks sneakers are extremely supportive but also extremely comfortable," Goguen said. "Being on your feet for 12 hours a shift, comfort is so important."
The Brooks Levitate series are running sneakers, so they are designed with a runner's comfort in mind. They feature a removable cushioned footbed that provides support and also aids in shock absorption.
Joanna Cannata, a nurse from Knoxville, Tennessee, recommends Alegria shoes for comfort. These shoes were made for all-day wear, as the combination latex and cork footbed is intended to conform to the foot. The footbed can also be removed to insert custom orthotics, while the outsole is designed to help prevent slips and also guides the foot in the heel-to-toe motion.
“I use Asics. A lot of nurses I know wear tennis shoes for the support," nurse Katy Morgan told us. The Asics Gel-Challenger — which is also available in men's sizes — has a foam footbed, as well as two additional layers of foam under the heel that help to provide comfort and support. The mesh outer allows the foot to breathe, but also helps keep the foot sturdy and protected.
If you want comfort without sacrificing style, Dansko offers plenty of eye-catching colors to choose from.
"Danskos come in lots of fun patterns and since we wear scrubs, it’s one place to express your personality," said Debbie Jok, a nurse in Novi, Michigan.
Though Jok says most of her colleagues opt for clog-style designs, she prefers a nice pair of tennis shoes.
"My favorites are the Prince T-22 tennis shoes. They are light, breathable and have great ankle support,” Jok said.
Audra Whitton, a nurse based in Chicago, says she recommends Dansko's sneakers if you're a fan of the popular brand but want something other than clogs. The outer material is waterproof, while the durable sole is slip-resistant to ensure safety.
Whitton also loves these New Balance sneakers. She told us they've lasted her a surprisingly long time and "feel amazing." The foam midsole provides its soft yet supportive feel, while the mesh upper makes them breathable and therefore suitable for long days.
Several nurses recommended Crocs, noting that they're an affordable shoe that is easy to clean. The brand's classic clog style is a popular choice, and Crocs helped donate over 860,000 pairs to medical workers all over the country in 2020.
More comfortable shoes to consider
This kick from Reebok was recognized as being the "best for all-day comfort" in Women's Health 2021 Sneaker Awards and it's easy to see why. Crafted with DMX TripleMax moving air technology, this Reebok sneaker includes a PU molded contoured sockliner to perfectly cradle your arches and give your soles long-lasting support.
These sneakers from Adidas have amassed over 40,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. They're lightweight but the cloudfoam midsole provides enough support for a "springy" feel. Whether you're heading out for a walk around the neighborhood or a quick errand run, they'll provide both comfort and function.
With a plush cushion and sturdy outsole, these walking shoes from New Balance are a top-rated option that prioritize comfort. "I had the cute heeled nursing clogs but at the end of my clinical rotation my feet were killing me, so I ordered a few pairs of all white sneakers on Amazon and these were the most comfortable out of them all," one verified reviewer said.
Vionic's Walker boasts a polished leather upper and a removable cushioned insole. They also feature padding, which helps provide additional stability on walks or runs.
These running shoes from Asics feature maximum cushion and foam technology that provide bounce and absorb shock. Specifically designed for women, these shoes were crafted to offer support in the direction of forward motion, according to the brand. They're also available in a range of colors, so you can find one that best suits your style.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 23 thoughtful gifts to show your gratitude this National Nurses Week
- 17 women’s yoga pants and leggings perfect for exercising and lounging
- Nursing grads deserve a celebration — here are 35 gifts they'll actually use
This story originally published on April 24, 2020.