The 9 Best Shoes for Nurses of 2024

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As a nurse, you spend long periods of time on your feet. Whether working a 12-hour shift or covering significant ground as you care for multiple patients, you can feel the effects of a shift in your feet. That’s why the pair of shoes that you choose matters so much.

Healthcare workers depend on quality shoes to not only keep them comfortable, but to also help keep them safe. With rolling carts and beds, dropped equipment, syringes and other hazards common in the work environment, your shoes become your first line of defense against injury. The right pair of shoes can help to prevent slips and falls, and comfortable shoes that provide the right amount of support can make a long shift more tolerable.

But choosing the right pair of shoes for nursing can be challenging. With so many options available, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices. That’s why we’ve ranked the best shoes for nurses and highlighted the details that you need to know about every pair. We’ve also included some tips to help you evaluate shoes and choose the pair that’s right for you. 

Our Picks for the Best Shoes for Nurses:

Nike Invincible 3 bloom run collection women's shoes on red background

Key Features:

  • Price: $180
  • Sizes: 6–15 men, 5–12 women
  • Width: Medium
  • Colors: 17 colorways for men, 18 colorways for women

When you’re on your feet all day logging over three miles per shift, you want a shoe that’s made with maximum cushioning, why is why we chose the Nike Invincible 3 as our best overall shoes for nurses. Designed with plush and bouncy ZoomX foam, this supportive shoe will help you stay comfortable, even during long shifts.

This shoe is Nike’s highest cushioned model to date, and what sets this apart from similar shoes in the category is that it’s actually a stability shoe, which means you’ll get ample arch support—an added bonus for those who overpronate or have collapsing arches. Plus, the Nike ZoomX foam provides energy return and spring in your step, helping you get around quickly.

For more information, check out our full Nike Invincible 3 review.

Pros:

  • Comfortable cushioning for all-day comfort
  • Breathable upper
  • Large variety of colorways, including the bold Bloom Run Collection

Cons:

  • Not available in wide width and some reviewers say the shoe runs narrow
  • Sole is not specifically designed to be slip-resistant
skechers work relaxed fit max cushioning elite shoe in black on red background

Key Features:

  • Price: $100
  • Sizes: 8–12
  • Width: Medium, Wide
  • Colors: Black

The Skechers Work Relaxed Fit Max Cushioning Elite are designed to not only keep nurses comfortable, but to also keep them safe. The Max Cushioning midsole is air-cooled, providing both comfort and support while helping to reduce heat buildup. The relaxed fit design gives feet a bit more room to breathe, and the Ultra Go Work shock-absorbing midsole helps to minimize impacts.

These lace-up work shoes’ outsoles are slip-resistant, helping keep you safe as you’re rushing around potentially slick hospital floors during your shifts. The synthetic upper is lightweight, and the entire shoe is machine washable, so it’s easy to clean. Since the shoe is only available in black, it will coordinate with most scrubs and the black color will naturally conceal most stains and dirt. 

Pros:

  • Air-cooled memory foam insole
  • Machine washable for easy cleaning
  • Oil-resistant, slip-resistant sole
  • Available in medium and wide widths

Cons:

  • Only available in black
  • Two-inch heel adds height
Hoka Bondi 8 Tennis Shoe

Key Features:

  • Price: $165
  • Sizes: 7–18
  • Width: Regular, Wide, Extra Wide
  • Colors: 21 colors available

The Hoka Bondi 8 is an ultra-cushioned athletic shoe, making it our top pick for the best tennis shoe for nurses. Soft and light foam is paired with an extended heel to create a balanced transition from heel strike to forefoot. The shoe provides stability without being restrictive, and the soft cushion of the footbed helps to absorb impact. While the foam is soft and bouncy, it’s also durable.

The shoe’s overall design contributes to comfort during long hours of wear, too. Rubber has been strategically placed in certain zones of the sole to minimize weight. A memory foam collar cradles the ankle for comfort, and the mesh upper makes the shoes highly breathable. The shoes are made of recycled materials, like polyester, and are also vegan. Nurses could wear these to work and also use them for walking or running.

These shoes carry the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, meaning they have been reviewed by APMA podiatrists and have been confirmed to be beneficial to foot health.

Pros:

  • Soft, highly cushioned shoes
  • Breathable mesh construction
  • Available for men and women
  • American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance

Cons:

  • Not waterproof or water-resistant
Kuru Flux tennis shoes, blue

Key Features:

  • Price: $150
  • Sizes: 7–13
  • Width: Medium
  • Colors: Orange/Gray, Black/White, Black, Maroon, Blue

The Kuru Flux shoes are designed to maximize comfort during long hours of wear. Built-in arch support molds to the feet during wear, and the knit upper is seamless for maximum comfort. The midsole is lightweight but delivers extra bounce for increased resilience and comfort. The shoe also features a webbing loop and adjustable heel collar to make it easy to put on and remove. All of those design features contribute to maximized comfort, making this shoe our top pick for nurses on their feet all day.

The knit upper design maximizes breathability, but the shoe isn’t waterproof or water resistant, so exposure to liquids could be a problem. The rubber sole helps to maximize traction for safety. This shoe is available in a wide range of sizes, but only in a medium width. Five bold and eye-catching color combinations offer distinctive style.

Pros:

  • Built-in arch support
  • Comfortable sock-like fit
  • Ultralight design
  • Breathable knit upper

Cons:

  • Only available in a medium width
Nike Air Vapormax Plus Shoes, White

Key Features:

  • Price: $210.62
  • Sizes: 10, 10.5, 11, 13
  • Width: Medium
  • Colors: Black, Black/Dark Grey

The Nike Air Vapormax Plus shoes feature a distinctive style that serves a functional purpose. Inspired by the 1998 Air Max Plus, the shoes feature a floating cage that supports the foot, ideal for long hours of wear. A padded upper and midfoot shank help to maximize comfort and durability. The shoes have a running-shoe look and feature a lightweight construction that’s ideal for nursing settings. Rubber pods are strategically placed on the high-wear areas of the sole, and they add both traction and durability to the shoe.

While those beneficial features make these shoes one of our top picks, they aren’t waterproof or water-resistant, which may not make them suitable for all nurses. They are also available in limited sizes and are only offered in a medium width, so they may not be an option for every male nurse.

Pros:

  • Cushioned fabric and midfoot shank to maximize comfort
  • Rubber pods on outsole for traction and durability
  • Floating cage design maximizes support
  • Lightweight design

Cons:

  • Limited sizes
  • Not waterproof or water-resistant
adidas Lite Racer Adapt 5.0

Key Features:

The fifth iteration of the Lite Racer Adapt are an aesthetic happy medium between the modern style of the Ultraboost series and the classic adidas look of shoes like the Stan Smith. The Lite Racer Adapt 5.0 have a style that is unmistakably athletic, but casual enough to not look out of place in hospital halls. Most important, the shoes are designed to be worn by healthcare workers, highlighted in the adidas healthcare collection (a brand-curated roundup of adidas’s most cushioned shoes for those who have to be on their feet all day.)

The shoes use the signature adidas Cloudfoam to add light but substantial cushioning. One reviewer writes on adidas’ website that the shoes have a “very comfortable” fit in a job where they’re on their feet all day. The slip-on construction is another favorite feature frequently called out among reviewers. The shoe comes in 11 bold and neutral colors, allowing you to pair them well with any scrub color. And as a sweet thank-you, adidas offers healthcare workers 30% off their purchase once they verify their job status, which brings the already budget-friendly $70 pair under $50.

Pros:

  • Slip-on style
  • Cloudfoam cushioning
  • 50 percent recycled content upper
  • Casual look for everyday wear

Cons:

  • Wider sizing not available
  • Slip-on style may be best for more narrow feet
  • Women’s style not available
Kuru Atom Shoes, Gray

Key Features:

  • Price: $160
  • Sizes: 6.5–14
  • Width: Medium, Wide
  • Colors: Indigo, Black, Sage, Gray, Brown

Shoes with thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning are important when a nurse has plantar fasciitis, and the Kuru Atom shoes offer all of those qualities. The shoe has a curved insole, built-in arch support and rounded heel cups for an ergonomic and supportive fit. A wide base also helps to maximize stability, and the shoes are available in both medium and wide widths for an optimal fit. Thick midsoles also help to ensure comfort during long hours of wear.

These shoes feature a breathable mesh to help keep feet cool, while the flexible uppers allow freedom of movement. The full rubber outsole provides traction and durability, and the outsole is non-marking, so it won’t scuff up facility floors. While the shoe isn’t waterproof or water-resistant, there are many benefits that make it one of our top picks. Six color options and a wide range of sizes give nurses plenty of buying choices, too.

Pros:

  • Breathable mesh for a light and airy feel
  • Built-in arch support and rounded heel cups for an ergonomic fit
  • Thick midsole for maximum cushion
  • Wide base increases stability

Cons:

  • Not waterproof or water-resistant
New Balance 608v5 women's sneakers

Key Features:

  • Price: $74.99
  • Sizes: W5-12
  • Width: Standard, Wide
  • Colors: White with light blue, white with pink

The New Balance 608v5 is an affordably priced shoe that can help to keep nurses comfortable during their shifts. It features soft cushioning and an oversized heel crash pad for shock absorption and comfort. The molded PU insert offers firm support while also being flexible as you walk.

These shoes feature a mesh and faux leather upper for breathability. While the upper isn’t waterproof, it does offer more protection against liquids than shoes with uppers made of complete mesh. The outsole is non-marking rubber that helps to protect hospital floors and maximize traction for safety. A phantom liner has minimal seams to avoid irritating feet, and a pull tab makes it easy to put the shoes on and remove them. The shoe is available in a wide range of women’s sizes, including standard and wide widths to ensure a great fit. It is only available in white.

Pros:

  • Available in Standard and Wide widths
  • Non-marking outsole
  • Oversized heel crash pad for comfort

Cons:

  • Sole lacks aggressive tread
  • Limited color options
Hoka Clifton 9 shoes, white

Key Features:

  • Price: $145
  • Sizes: 7-16
  • Width: Regular or Wide
  • Colors: 17 color options

The Hoka Clifton 9 is an eye-catching shoe available for both men and women. Regular and wide sizes help to ensure an optimal fit, and the many different colors mean nurses can coordinate their shoes with their scrubs.

These shoes are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, making them ideal for nurses with back pain. They feature a breathable knit upper for a foot-hugging, comfortable design. The gusseted tongue helps to keep it in place during wear, and the rubber outsole is durable while providing traction. These shoes feature a molded EVA foam midsole that offers excellent cushion without adding weight to the shoe. That cushion bed provides support without being restrictive. The meta-rocker creates smoother heel-to-toe transitions for comfortable walking. The shoe is made using recycled materials like polyester, and is also vegan.

The Hoka Clifton 9 shoes have been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. The seal indicates that the shoes have been reviewed by APMA podiatrists to verify that they are beneficial to foot health.

Pros:

  • Light, well-cushioned design
  • Vegan
  • Available for men and women
  • American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance

Cons:

  • Not waterproof or water-resistant

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Nurses

Shoe choice is extremely important not only to a nurse’s comfort, but also to their safety. “Due to the hazards present in a patient care setting, nurses are at increased risk of injury to their feet,” explains board-certified podiatrist Byunghee “Kevin” Kim, DPM of Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center. “These risks include falling objects, rolling equipment and patient beds, punctures from sharps, exposure to chemicals and germs on the floor and even electrical shock.”

He explains that since nurses spend significant amounts of time on their feet, the right footwear can help to prevent overuse injuries and play a key role in comfort, too. “As foot comfort declines and feet fatigue and ache, patient care quality can decline with it. Better nurse comfort can mean better patient care,” says Kim.

The following qualities can help identify the best shoes for nurses.

Comfort

LS Wang, Master of Medicine in orthopaedic surgery (MMed), Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Medical Director of Arete Orthopaedic Clinic, explains that good arch and heel support and cushioning are important in shoes for nurses. “The shoe should also be lightweight and breathable to keep feet comfortable during long shifts,” he says.

Kim notes that well-cushioned soles and insoles can help to maximize comfort when nurses are walking and standing all day on hard floors. “Soft, flexible uppers can accommodate mild foot deformities,” he says.

The shoe’s fit will also contribute to a nurse’s comfort. Kim encourages nurses to consider both length and width when it comes to shoe size. “Shoes should fit securely around the midfoot and hindfoot,” he says. “Proper footwear should touch, but not squeeze, along the sides of the foot, and have enough room at the tip to wiggle your toes.”

Shoes made with soft and supportive materials, such as those made with memory foam or other foams, are usually a good pick for anyone that needs that cloud-like comfort for their feet.

Related: The Best Shoes for Standing All Day

Safety

Shoes play a key role in nurse safety, too. Wang explains that closed-toe designs are important in helping to protect the feet from spills or dropped objects. “This is particularly important in a healthcare setting where nurses may be handling liquids or sharp objects,” he says.

Slip resistance is also essential, and the shoe’s tread can help to prevent slips, falls and potential related injuries. It’s also important to choose shoes made of materials that repel or resist fluids.

Special Needs

Shoes also need to be the right choice for individual nurses and their specific needs. Support for an individual’s foot shape and needs is key. “Nurses often spend long hours on their feet, walking or standing on hard surfaces, which can lead to foot pain, leg fatigue and back discomfort if not properly supported,” says Wang. “The right shoes can provide the necessary support and comfort to help prevent these issues, improve posture and reduce the risk of slips and falls.”

Nurses with conditions like plantar fasciitis and flat feet may benefit from specialized inserts. “Some people have a foot type that needs extra support in the arch,” says Kim. “Some will need a deeper heel cup to control foot motion. Others may need custom padding or offloading due to certain deformities or other pathology. Some people have a flexible foot that needs a more rigid support.” 

He encourages anyone experiencing foot pain to consult with a podiatrist to identify appropriate inserts and footwear needs.

Related: Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

How We Chose the Best Shoes for Nurses

To choose the best nursing shoes, we looked for features that would help to keep nurses comfortable during long days on their feet. We considered features like shock-absorbing designs, shoes with arch support for high arches, shoes for flat feet, breathability and the shoe’s overall stability.

We also looked for features that contribute to safety. Non-slip soles and closed-toe designs were essential features in every shoe. We focused on lace-up shoes for their security, and we looked for fluid-resistant or waterproof uppers.

Finally, we considered the options available for each shoe, including size availability and the availability of multiple widths. We looked for color choices, including stain-resistant materials or designs that would help to conceal dirt and stains.

While we considered all of the above features, we also looked for overall high-quality construction and durability.

Shoes for Nurses FAQs

How often should nurses replace shoes?

Wang explains that a shoe’s quality and how often the shoes are worn will impact how often they need to be replaced. “A general guideline is to replace [shoes] every six months to a year, or whenever the support and cushioning starts to wear out,” he says.

What shoes should nurses not wear?

Wang cautions nurses to avoid wearing shoes that are too tight, lack arch support, or have high heels. “Shoes that are not slip-resistant should also be avoided due to the risk of falls,” he notes.

Why do nurses wear closed toe shoes?

“Safety comes first, and that’s why closed-toe shoes are a must for nurses,” says Kim. “With the exception of walking backward, our toes tend to lead the way and will be the first to encounter trouble in our path. Closed-toe designs provide a layer of protection that is essential in a patient care environment.”

Should nurses wear inserts in their shoes?

Kim explains that all shoes have some sort of insert or material to form the inner sole, but not everyone needs special orthotic inserts. “If your feet are not bothering you, there is no need to bother them with orthotics designed to correct a problem that isn’t there. If your feet are bothering you, see a podiatrist to help you choose the right orthotic inserts.”

Final Thoughts

Nurses spend long periods of time on their feet, and their footwear choices are essential to their comfort and safety. We ranked the best shoes that are designed to withstand the demands of the environments where these healthcare professionals work, while delivering comfort, support, and safety. Our top picks are all quality shoes that are ideal for long shifts.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

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