The Best Shoes For Nurses, Tested And Worn By Medical Professionals (2024)

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Hannah Singleton

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The best shoes for nurses are built to withstand long days spent standing, walking and pivoting between different settings. “For operating room nurses and healthcare workers, we are on our feet all day, lifting patients and heavy equipment,” says Jane Hwang, a Salt Lake City-based pediatric nurse. “Good footwear is essential for keeping your feet, hips, and back happy.” After speaking to many medical professionals who have tested all types of footwear firsthand, we can confidently recommend Clove Classic Shoes as the best shoes for nurses overall, thanks to their unrivaled design and water-resistance. We also found other stand-outs, including Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 and Hoka Arahi 7 as the best options for cushioning and support.

Ahead, all the best shoes for nurses that come highly recommend by the experts themselves, whether you want something slip-resistant or slip-on.

Best Overall Shoes For Nurses

Designed For Comfort, Support And Long Shifts

MOST POPULAR

Clove Classic Shoe

Sizes:5 to 12.5 |Colors:7 |Lacing:Slip-on with cord ties |Slip resistant:Yes | Water-resistant: Yes

  • What’s notable:Every detail of this shoe—from the slip-on design to the fluid-resistant fabric—was designed to make days easier and more comfortable for medical professionals.
  • What could be better:While they hit nearly all the marks for comfort, a bit more arch support could take this pair from great to even greater.

A practical shoe that also doesn't shout "I work in healthcare,” Clove's Classic Shoe is good-looking, extremely comfortable and excellent at staying dry. Small details prove that Clove has dedicated a lot of thought and attention to what it’s like to work in healthcare, and built a smart pair of shoes to meet the challenges. The material is water-resistant and easy to clean, the outsole is extra grippy and the entire shoe is odor-resistant to keep things fresh.

What the tester says: “They are incredibly comfortable when you spend long hours on your feet,” says Maggie Waters, a fourth-year medical student who runs a blog for pre-med students. “Another plus is that as most other healthcare shoes look quite dull, Clove’s come in many colors, which can give your everyday scrubs outfit more personality.”

Most Supportive Shoes For Nurses

Lightweight Frame Keeps Your Foot In Proper Alignment

Hoka Arahi 7

Sizes:5 to 12 |Colors:10 |Lacing:Lace-up front |Slip resistant:No | Water-resistant: No

  • What’s notable:For unbeatable support during those back-to-back shifts, Hoka Arahi 7 securely holds your midfoot in place to prevent any ankle rolling.
  • What could be better:The mesh upper is breathable but not entirely waterproof.

Hwang says that her top priority in a nursing shoe is support, and the Hoka Arahi is packed with plenty of it. The firm EVA J-frame technology cradles the foot, locking it gently but firmly in place around the midfoot to prevent slippage or rolling, which creates a lot of stability without the need for an overly-rigid or heavy design. The light, breathable mesh upper also allows airflow so your feet don’t overheat or get sweaty when you’re running between tasks all day.

What the tester says: “Almost all of the nurses I work with have Hokas. They have excellent support and a long lifespan,” says Hwang. “I average 12,000 steps per work-day so that’s almost 50,000 steps a week and a little over 2 million steps a year and my Hokas are still doing great.”

Best Cushioned Shoes For Nurses

Maximum Cushioning And Maximum Bounce

Asics Gel-Nimbus 26

Sizes:5 to 13 |Colors:12 |Lacing:Lace-up front |Slip resistant:No | Water-resistant: No

  • What’s notable:This sneaker has a gel-infused heel to deliver a cushioned ride that's hard to beat for those long days on your feet.
  • What could be better:This much cushioning comes with a bit of a reduction in stability, so they’re not best for people who tend to roll their ankles.

Ascis’s Gel-Nimbus 26 is a popular pick for nurses since it’s stacked with cushioning. Thanks to their standout gel technology (think about it like a squishy pod under the heel), these shoes absorb the shock that comes with every step, easing the load on your joints and evenly distributing your weight. The upper mesh allows for excellent airflow, ensuring your feet stay cool and comfortable. This pair is on the pricier side, but for the level of comfort and support they deliver, they're worth the investment.

What the tester says: “The gel cushioning system has been a game-changer for me,” says Dr. Jennifer Silver, a doctor of dental surgery and owner at Macleod Trail Dental Clinic in Calgary, Canada. “These shoes provide exceptional comfort and support, allowing me to stay on my feet for extended periods without experiencing discomfort or fatigue. Whether I'm performing root canals or conducting routine check-ups, my feet [are] well-cushioned and supported throughout the day.”

Best Lightweight Shoes For Nurses

Airy Design That Propels Your Foot Forward

Brooks Ghost 15 Running Shoes

Sizes:5 to 13 |Colors:32 |Lacing:Lace-up front |Slip resistant:No | Water-resistant: No (although there is a waterproof model)

  • What’s notable:The lightweight loft reduces the weight of this shoe without skimping on cushioning or support.
  • What could be better:There could be a bit more grip on the soles, especially for slick hospital floors.

Brooks recently updated their popular Ghost 15 to be both incredibly lightweight and surprisingly supportive, striking a good balance for those who suffer from foot aches or leg fatigue. The loft cushioning is soft and spring-y, providing rebound with each step without feeling like you're lugging around extra weight.

What the tester says: “I've found that investing in a quality pair of running shoes can make all the difference,” says Dr. Kubanych Takyrbashev, a health and wellness advisor at food supplement brand NAO.“The Ghosts provide exceptional cushioning and shock absorption, significantly reducing strain on my feet and lower back during long days on the hospital floor.”

Best Slip-On Shoes For Nurses

A Clog That Just May Last Your Entire Career

Dansko Professional Clogs

Sizes:4.5 to 13 |Colors:20 |Lacing:Slip-on |Slip resistant:Yes | Water-resistant: Yes

  • What’s notable:It’s built with a reinforced toe box, padded instep collar and anti-fatigue rocker bottom that guides your foot forward and absorbs shock. .
  • What could be better:They’re relatively heavy and don’t feel as agile as sneakers.

There’s a reason this Dansko clogs have amassed such a cult following among healthcare workers: They’re durable, waterproof and comfortable. It’s not the squishy comfort of an ultra-cushioned running shoe, but it’s a sturdy and supportive comfort that lasts all day. While the sole of sneakers get packed down and need to be replaced over time, your Danskos will be going strong thanks to the leather-lined foam sockliner and contoured midsoles that provide arch support. They also clean easily—just wipe them off without worrying about absorbent mesh.

What the tester says:“Danskos have been my choice of footwear for working in healthcare for over 10 years,” says Sara Shobin, a Salt Lake City-based nurse practitioner. “They are durable, slip-resistant, and comfortable enough to stand in for 12 hours. They provide different comfort than a sneaker would—there is less bounce to them. [But] they don’t seem to wear and tear over time like a running shoe would, either.”

Best Slip-Resistant Shoes For Nurses

You'll Stay Upright No Matter What

Skechers Work Sure Track

Sizes:5 to 11 |Colors:1 |Lacing:Lace-up front |Slip resistant:Yes | Water-resistant: Yes

  • What’s notable:You’re protected from liquids and spills: the outsole is seriously slip-resistant (it even stands up to oil) and the leather upper is water-resistant.
  • What could be better:The cushioning wears down relatively quickly compared to other shoes on this list.

When it comes to keeping your footing in the chaos, Skechers Sure Track is a top pick among the experts. If you work in the ER or an equally messy environment, the slip-resistant outsole provides grips when you need it most. They're not just about safety, though; they're surprisingly comfy for long wears, due to a memory foam footbed and a roomy fit that lets your feet breathe. Style-wise, this pair leans more toward functional than fashionable, but that might not be your primary concern.

What the tester says:“Designed specifically for professionals like myself who spend long hours on their feet, these Skechers have become an integral part of my work,” says Silver. “I no longer worry about slipping or discomfort during busy clinic hours, thanks to the reliable support of these shoes.”

Most Comfortable Shoes for Nurses

A Roomy Toe Box and Responsive Cushioning

Altra Escalante 3

Sizes:5.5 to 12 |Colors:7 |Lacing:Lace-up front |Slip resistant:No | Water-resistant: No

  • What’s notable:The wide toe box gives your feet plenty of breathing room so your foot stays in a natural position throughout the day.
  • What could be better: Their durability could be slightly better.

The Altra Escalante 3 carries an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health. This pair doesn’t compromise on comfort with a foot-shaped toe box that lets your toes spread naturally, reducing fatigue, and balanced cushioning that keeps your heel and forefoot at the same distance from the ground, promoting better alignment and form. The breathable knit upper ensures your feet stay cool.

What the tester says: Another top pick of Dr. Silver’s, this pair has a “zero drop platform that ensures my feet maintain proper alignment, reducing strain and fatigue, allowing me to focus on patient care,” she says.

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Why Trust Forbes Vetted

At Forbes Vetted, we take a rigorous approach to reviewing and evaluating all types of products, from food to tech to fashion. Our goal is to provide readers with well-researched recommendations so you can make smart, informed buying decisions. Forbes Vetted contributor Hannah Singleton frequently covers footwear and has years of testing experience, analyzing the specs and features of shoes to rate them on quality and performance. For this article, Singleton also reached out to a network of nurses and healthcare professionals for advice and suggestions. All of the picks in this guide have been tested and worn by the experts we interviewed and come highly recommended.

How We Chose The Best Shoes For Nurses

When it comes to choosing the best shoes for nurses, the people who know best are the ones who work on hospital floors and in clinics everyday. So we polled a community of medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, dentists and medical students, to learn about what shoes they swear by. These experts include:

  • Jane Hwang, a Salt Lake City-based pediatric nurse, who walks an average of 12,000 steps a day.
  • Sara Shobin, a nurse practitioner, who works at both the hospital and an outpatient clinic for Intermountain Health.
  • Dr. Jennifer Silver, a dentist and owner at Macleod Trail Dental Clinic, who has been in practice for more than eight years.
  • Dr. Kubanych Takyrbashev, a health and wellness advisor at food supplement brand NAO, who has worked as a medical doctor for overseas and in the U.S.
  • Maggie Waters, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado, who is currently in her clinical rotations.

Once we narrowed down a list of the most recommended shoes, we read independent reviews and evaluated specifications—including fit, size ranges, comfort and stability levels—to ensure each pair met our high standards for quality and value.

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