Best Shoes for Nurses – Nursing Shoes for Women You Need to Know About

If you work on your feet in a hospital all day, you need to know about the best shoes for nurses,

The nursing profession is wonderful because there are so many different specialties. However, no matter your specialty, the need for quality nursing shoes is paramount. Without great shoes, and a fabulous pair of compression socks, your legs, feet, and back will take a beating and likely leave you with pain. As a nurse and a shoe enthusiast, I’ve examined all kinds of different nursing shoes and rounded them up so you can find the one that best aligns with your needs.

Best Nursing Shoes for Women – Really?

Since nurses are unique, there isn’t one shoe that is perfect for everyone. So we’ve grouped the best ones into categories of clogs, sneakers/tennis shoes, and slip-ons. Your clinical setting, foot anatomy, and your personal style or preference will play into which pair is right for you.

This guide to the best nursing shoes is unique because it’s one of the only ones online that is actually written by a registered nurse. When deciding which shoes are right for you, having recommendations from a nurse is important. Our work is different than other industries that are on their feet all day. Work shoes for nurses need to fit different working environments that only a nurse would know about.

You can skip to the section for each type by clicking on the below links:

I’ve rounded up some of the top nursing shoes for women to save you time and effort searching for that perfect pair. Everyone knows that working as a nurse means spending hours on your feet. Not every nurse takes the best care of their feet, but they all should. Finding the right pair of nursing shoes for women or men can make a big difference in your quality of life. It’s not just about whether your feet hurt. Rather it’s about promoting quality posture and spinal alignment as well as preventing long-term leg and foot pain. While all of the footwear listed in this post does not address every one of these aspects, several of them do and should be considered when you are looking for a new pair of nursing shoes.

This post is about nursing shoes for women. If you are a man, do not fear! We’ve written a post to help you find the best nursing shoes for men. However, you may also benefit from the tips and information shared in our buyer’s guide.

Benefits of a Quality Pair of Nursing Shoes

A nurse on the floor can spend 12 hours or more a day on their feet. Having uncomfortable shoes that don’t fit properly or offer enough support will not only leave you with aching feet but more complex aches and pains in the legs and back. Sometimes this pain and discomfort can translate to long term back and leg problems that are difficult and costly to treat. Fortunately, there is a wide array of nursing shoes, specifically designed to address the unique needs of nurses. We spend a lot of time focusing on finding the most comfortable nursing shoes, but we also ensure that we cover features of the shoe that you may not feel directly, but will impact you in the long term.

Nursing Shoes for Women Buyers Guide

Finding the right nursing shoe requires thinking through many different features and functions. We’ve written up some of the most important things to consider to find good nursing shoes in our buyer’s guide. We’ll help you find the nursing shoe that is most comfortable and functional for you. You can find it below the write-up of each pair of nurse shoes just skip to it now.

Best Nursing Clogs

Not every nurse wants a more traditional nursing shoe. To read more about our top picks in nursing clogs, see our Best Clogs for Nurses post. We even added some with fun colors and patterns so you can add some of your personality to a monochromatic uniform.

Best Nursing Sneakers or Tennis Shoes

It’s important to note that not all sneakers are created equal. When looking for the best tennis shoe for nurses you want to make sure that you find one that offers plenty of support. Many tennis shoes just give way and do not provide proper arch support.

To read more about our top picks in tennis shoes, see our best sneakers for nurses post.

Best Slip on Nursing Shoes

Nurses are always in a hurry. From the time you clock in until you leave, we are always on the go. That’s why we put together a list of comfortable, supportive, and slip on shoes for nurses. Now getting your shoes on will be the easiest part of your day.

To read more about our top picks in slip on shoes, see our best slip on nursing shoes post.

Best Nursing Shoes for Foot Problems

Nursing shoes are not a one size fits all solution. Many nurses have foot problems and need shoes made just for them. Check out these posts for great shoes for common foot problems.

Nursing Shoes Buyers Guide

Why Good Nursing Shoes are So Important

Nurses are the people who need highly supportive and comfortable shoes, especially as they spend most of their working day, which normally comprises no less than 12 hours, walking around. Obviously, the need for comfortable footwear becomes crucial. There are a great number of shoes for nurses available on the market that come in a variety of shapes, styles, and features; thus, it becomes a bit complicated to choose the best one that will meet your needs.

To start with, let’s answer the question of how nursing shoes or nursing clogs differ from ordinary ones and whether are they really worth the purchase. Nursing shoes are surely worth buying because, unlike ordinary shoes, they weigh lighter, provide you with high support, and will reduce cases of back pain, shin splints, numbness, and other physical aches that you might get if you spend your working day in a pair of low-quality shoes.

Features to Look for in the Best Shoes of Nurses

The job of nurses is very responsible and important and in order for them to be highly productive and not get tired easily much depends on the quality of shoes. Here are some essential factors to help you choose the best shoes for nurses:

  • Stability: High-quality nursing shoes should provide comfort, support, and stability, which will contribute to a decrease in foot, back, and leg pain. Design and material are important for this as well. The best nursing shoes are normally made of leather or rubber. Rubber is the most popular material for nursing shoes as it is comfortable and lightweight. Avoid materials that will create difficulties when cleaning or will add additional weight.
  • Comfort – When you look for nursing shoes that are the most comfortable, you want to find something that won’t hurt your feet, back, or legs. Finding the right balance between support and softness is a must. Don’t go for ultra-soft, because while they may be the most comfortable nurse shoe to start the day with, they won’t be toe-end it.
  • Slip Resistance: Spills and liquids are things you won’t miss when working in a hospital so make sure your nursing shoes are slip-resistant and have a good grip which will keep you safe during your working day.
  • Weight: Make sure your nursing shoes are not too heavy and clunky otherwise your productivity and work performance level will decrease. Nurses are constantly on their feet and having a pair of shoes that is lightweight will add comfort and help you avoid getting tired easily.
  • Shape & Style: There is a great variety of shapes and styles of nursing shoes some of which are meant to fit certain types of feet as well as medical conditions. Some of the most common nursing shoe styles are crocs, clogs, athletic sneakers, and tennis/running shoes. So as to choose the right one we advise you to talk to a podiatrist who will tell you which one to buy based on your foot type. Always choose comfort over cute design!
  • Maximum Shock Absorption: Make sure the shoes support your feet enough to absorb your movement impacts.
  • Insoles: Good nursing shoes should come with a curved surface cradling the arch of your foot.
  • Price: Prices differ depending on the material, design and construction however, do pay a little more for comfort and beneficial features.

Benefits of Nursing Shoes

Here is what benefits you will get if you have a quality pair of nursing shoes:

  • Pain Reduction: As we have already mentioned good shoes for nurses will reduce the pain in heels, legs and back during your hard-working day and after it.
  • Posture Support: Comfortable nursing shoes will provide posture support and eliminate low back pain and leg problems.
  • Arch Support: This is considered the most important feature of nursing shoes. It will add high comfort when walking around all day.
  • No More Fatigue Issues: Because of the hard job and endless duties nurses might have such health problems as arthritis, muscle cramps, and low back pain. However, with the right shoes, you will avoid all of these.
  • Speed & Flexibility: Lightweight shoes will contribute to your speed and flexibility at work.

Finding Nursing Shoes Right for You

All the shoes listed above offer a great variety of features, benefits, designs, and patterns to choose from. The look of nursing shoes is important, but function shouldn’t be ignored for fashion alone. If you find cute nursing shoes that are not comfortable or supportive, you should reconsider. There are plenty of cute shoes for nurses that won’t wreck your feet back.  There is no one shoe that is perfect for everyone. That is why we’ve listed the top choices of nurses here as well as the features and benefits you should consider. The best shoes for nurses is really irrelevant if the shoes aren’t a great fit for you.

Here is what we recommend to find your perfect pair of nursing shoes:

  • Try Them at Home – Buy a pair from each style and wear them around your house for 30 minutes. You can almost always return them. Of course, we never recommend returning shoes that you have worn outside your home. Since we recommend the 2nd pair (see below) you’ll likely end up keeping more than you imagined.
  • Measure Your Arch  – Get your arch professionally measured at a store like The Walking Store. Pay attention to the arch support when buying a pair of shoes or consider adding insoles with great arch support.
  • Have 2  Pairs of Shoes – Have 2 pairs of nursing shoes for each shift. You can start with a harder soled shoe (like a Dansko or Sanita) and switch out to something with a softer sole (like Crocs or Klogs) later in the day.
  • Get a New Pair – Replace your nursing shoes as often as needed. Shoes and mattresses seem to be things that people never want to replace. I’ve seen people buy new cars more often than they get a new pair of shoes. You only have one pair of feet. Change out your nursing shoes when they start to wear out. This could be as little as a few months with how much time nurses spend on their feet. $100 pair of shoes today is way better than a $20,000 surgery or life-altering disability later. (P.S. Get some disability insurance too!)


How Long Do Leather Nursing Shoes Last?

Leather nursing shoes can last anywhere from 2 to 4 years, depending on how often you wear them and how you take care of them. If you’re careful with your shoes and don’t subject them to much wear and tear, they can last for quite some time. However, if you’re constantly on your feet or are very hard on your shoes, they may not last as long. Either way, leather nursing shoes are an excellent investment for any nurse and can help you stay comfortable on your feet all day long.

How Often Should Nurses Get New Shoes?

There is no hard and fast rule for how often nurses should get new shoes, but most experts recommend replacing them every six months due to the structural breakdown that can contribute to foot pain. While some nurses may be able to get away with wearing their shoes for longer, it is generally better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your feet.

Additionally, if you are starting to experience any discomfort or pain in your feet, new shoes may help alleviate these symptoms. Ultimately, listening to your body and giving yourself the best chance to avoid injury by regularly replacing your nursing shoes is crucial.

How Do I Choose the Right Size Shoe?

When choosing the right shoe size, measuring your foot is essential. You can do this by tracing your foot on a piece of paper and then measuring the length and width of the tracing. Once you have these measurements, you can use a sizing chart to find the corresponding shoe size.

It is also essential to remember that different brand and shoe styles may fit differently, so it is always a good idea to try on a few different pairs before purchasing. If you are unsure what size to buy, most retailers will be happy to help you find the perfect fit.

More Great Nurses Shoes Resources

For more information on the Best Shoes for Nurses check out:

What are your thoughts on the best nursing shoes for women? Do you like clogs, sneakers, leather or canvas? Sound off and let us know what you think.


60 thoughts on “Best Shoes for Nurses – Nursing Shoes for Women You Need to Know About”

  1. Last summer I had to see a physical therapist, and she recommended ASICS shoes. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and provide good support. Now I wear ASICS at work and also at home.

  2. When I looked for a new pair of shoes, I took a clue from the surgeons since they are on their feet for long periods of time and standing in one place, and they should know quality shoes. Theirs were either New Balance or Asics running shoes, with most wearing New Balance. Running shoes have to withstand a pounding and clogs don’t measure up in my opinion. Plus if you’re running down the hall, a lace-up will stay on your foot…. a clog… maybe not.

  3. Clinic Perts are by far the best of the best of nursing shoes…I wore them for thirty five years as a practicing RN and I wear them in retirement. You can only find them online. They have from very narrow to very wide. If I go wide plus I can go down two shoe sizes with absolute comfort. The only thing I did not like was taking them off! They are fabulously nerdy looking but make your legs look and feel great. Expensive but worth it.

  4. Great post. Since nurses are mostly on their feet the whole day, It makes rather a great sense that they should have a pair of comfortable shoes that they if need be wear whole day. Swedish clogs makes great sense. they are comfortable, easy to maintain and look professional.

    1. Rightly Said. Nurses do have to stand all day on their feet. So it makes sense if you go for comfortable.

  5. I am now retired but I found Merrills very supportive and comfortable to work in. An added plus is that you could throw them in the washer.

  6. Hmm, actually none of those shoes (well, except for the sketchers) look comfortable at all. I’ve tried Dansko’s and even after breaking them in, they were the most uncomfortable shoes I’ve ever used at work. My toe on my left foot took a beating, and my toenail on that foot eventually fell off because of it. I switched to regular tennis shoes and haven’t had any issues since. I’ve tried similarly structured shoes from other brands (clog style) but all of them were a waste of money.

    I know that people say you have to find the PERFECT fit for your Dansko’s before you buy them, and have heard people say they store-hopped dozens of times before they found the right pair – but if you have to go through THAT amount of trouble, why even bother when sneakers work just as well?? That’s how I feel, anyway. Costs less, too. My running shoes are the best work shoes I’ve ever had – now if they can make waterproof versions, that’d be even better!

      1. I wear Sanitas which are similar to Danskos. Danskos don’t fit me. I have also had good luck with running shoes.

    1. Yes I’ve seen those around. My grade A shoe is Nike air max hands down. Your feet are literally on AIR. I even bought a pair to wear for my days off. My feet love me for finding them. lol

  7. I am a new nurse and I have been struggling with trying to find shoes to withstand my 12 hour shifts. I have a size 12 wide foot and am a large girl. Any suggestions of shoes that would support me and come in my size? I would greatly appreciate the advice! Thank you!

    1. I recently tried the Grey’s Anatomy by SoftWalk Women’s Meredith Clog and really liked them. They 12 u/s is a wide. 🙂 They have several different colors and patterns to choose from. The Black Metallic Rose Embossed Leather is my favorite!

      1. I went to the local New Balance store where they measured my foot and measured my pressure points. I ended up with a pair of 928’s. They have the roll bar technology to my feet don’t over pronate. I went on line to check out the price there and they were only $10 more – you have to take into account shipping too. They are a little pricey but I am only going to wear them at work so I leave them in my locker. I wore them for the first time this past weekend – 11 hours and they were so comfortable. True to fit. Prior to that I had Saucony, which is a very stable shoe also.

      2. I got a pair of merideth by soft walks and they fell apart within a week of buying and wearing them. I would not recommend them, they still hurt my feet and throughout the day as my feet swell they do get a little tight. I would try to find danskos if possible.

        1. Katie,

          Did you contact the manufacturer? I’ve worn those shoes and haven’t had any issues with them. Any product can have a bad one in the batch. This would most likely be something covered under warranty and they would replace those shoes.

    2. Try Brooks or ASICS running shoes. I wear a 12 (or 13) and have a good luck with these in men’s and women’s sizes.

  8. I find that under armor running shoes to be my source of comfort along with calf compression sleeves or socks. My clinical shoes are sketches slip on work shoes with a memory foam insole. It is nice but like someone mentioned before me I like to lace up my shoes. My slip on are nice but they just don’t compare to the comfort under armour brings me.

  9. When choosing any pair of shoes, it is important to make sure the shoes have a firm heel counter. If you are on your feet for 12 hour shifts, you should wear a shoe that has a back to stabilize and control the ankle. I just noticed that one pair didn’t have a back.
    You should not be able to twist the shoes like a dishtowel, and they should bend in the front, not in the middle. Lace up shoes will give you a better fit.
    If you still have foot (or knee, hip, back) pain, you may want to consider orthotics, as the purpose of an orthotic is to stabilize from the ground up. 🙂

    1. Jen,
      These are great tips! With so many nurses favoring the clogs it’s interesting to hear your feedback on the need for the heel and the fact that lace up shoes will give a better fit.

      What are your favorite nursing shoes?

  10. I’ve tried many, MANY different brands and styles of clogs, but they make my knees hurt terribly. I really want to love them.

    I have found that New Balance 711 are the perfect amount of stability and cushion in a sneaker. They come in a ton of colors and even in wide widths. I’m a bit of an underpronator, so they help keep my foot stable.

    Combine them with my Zensah compression sleeves and I’m one happy girl!!! Even after a 12-16 hour shift of running around like a lunatic. Zensah compression sleeves are a great alternative for people who want support and compression without having their toes covered. Throw in a pair of soft socks and you’re set.

  11. @Sam Jaccobson Sketchers have lots of complaints about failure by reviewers that waited until they had them for a while unlike most.

  12. I’ve been using Skechers Slip-On sneakers for years and the only complain I had was that stitching at the toe started to come loose after 3 weeks of wearing the shoes. But that was only one time with this particular Sketchers pair. Maybe I got a “black sheep” and their quality has not slipped. I also made some comments about those shoes on so if you wanna to check them out, go ahead!

  13. I had a pair of white leather Danskos. I did not like them. They were too tight across the top of my foot causing fluid build up. I even had them stretched twice. The size larger was too big. I am now wearing the Dickes shown in this article. I love them! They are so light & comfortable!

  14. Thank you for the advice! I just graduated and have been looking for good shoes. I saw the Dansko clogs all the at clinical. Now I know why!

  15. idlivru1  Danskos were my very first part of nursing shoes. I believe the pair I purchase were too small and after I had my child I couldn’t wear them at all. I liked them, and they made my back feel great, but my feet weren’t in love with them.

    We had to wear white nursing uniforms, and I graduated in 2008. I think I went through 3 pairs of shoes because they just wouldn’t stay white!

  16. I have both the pink patent leather Danskos and the solid black leather ones.  love them both…but my all time favorites from when I started out in nursing are the nurse mates.  and we were only allowed to wear white shoes with white stockings and white uniforms…I am really hard on whites…I went through a lot of whites in 2 years!

  17. I love my Alegria Palomas! The MaryJane style keeps my foot in the shoe when I’m running flat out, and I can go 12-16 hours in these babies without my feet hurting.

      1. I walk 9 hours a day on concrete floors. My feet burn bad. What kind of shoe should I be looking at buying?

        1. I would look for something with a really soft sole. The Timberland Renova Pro or the Grey’s Anatomy shoes would be a good choice.
          I would also probably recommend taking 2 pairs of shoes to work. Start with something like a basic running shoe (that would be a little firmer) and then halfway through the day switch to your softer shoe. It make a huge difference to you.

    1. Yep they are my shoe of choice. 24 years nursing and they are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Go to their site periodically can pick them up on clearance almost 50% off I stash them have two new pairs sitting in my closet

  18. I’m starting my new nursing job mid-March and am going to be heading out to a local scrubs store to try on some Danskos and other brands. I wore New Balance through nursing school, but I could tell they wouldn’t cut it for 3-12’s a week. I know that shoes are a personal preference kind of thing, but I appreciate getting information like this about what shoes seem to work well for other nurses. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. I wore Danskos for a bit. I feel pray to not buying the right size. Make sure you can fit at least a finger behind your heal.This will give you the fit you need for these to be comfortable.

      Depending on the shifts I worked, I often had 2 pairs of shoes. I started with one pair then changed into another later in the day. This let my feet rest. Usually I’d start with a hard sole (like dansko) and switch to the soft sole later.

      Let us know what kind you pick and what you think of them.

      1. I ended up with the Dansko pro in the raindrop pattern. They are a bit tight across the instep, but fit perfectly otherwise, and I was assured that they stretch and conform across the instep with wear. I’ll still cart my NB tennies to work when I start on the 11th to change out if I need, and am wearing my new Danskos around the office and house in the meantime.

        Thanks for the tip about changing shoes mid-shift. I think I’ll try that and see how it works for me.

  19. Love my Dansko professional clogs. I prefer leather over canvas or cloth. All it takes is one patient urinating on your feet! I have several pairs, but my favorite are my brown tooled. Reminds me of cowboy boots. I’ve been known to wear them out with jeans.

    1. My favorite thing about Danskos was how protected my feet felt. Compared to most of the other shoes I’ve worn, they were much more protective. I also thought about the risk of needles dropping or beds running over your toes… then again, I’m a bit analytically.

      There is nothing worse than getting bodily fluid on a permeable shoe…. ew… just ewwww

  20. I love my Danskos, but to the uninitiated, be sure to try them on in person. They are a bit heavier than most shoes.

    Paired with compression socks, these shoes have saved my legs, and offer a teaching tool for patients who don’t want to wear their TED hose. 🙂 “Hey, I have mine on, what’s your deal?”

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