High-quality footwear is especially important for nurses because they spend a lot of time on their feet, sometimes up to 12 hours or more. Our feet expand during the day, so shoes need to have a roomy toe box and shock absorption to withstand all the walking, standing and sprinting.
Look for shoes with good arch support. Many also have removable memory foam insoles. Midsoles and outsoles should be thick and durable enough to last for long shifts as well.
Nursing shoes are usually made with synthetic leather uppers. These are less expensive than leather uppers. You’ll also need waterproof footwear, so choose stain-resistant materials that can withstand moisture. This is important because leather is more difficult to clean.
The underside of shoes should be made from non-slip materials, so choose shoes with rubberized soles and tread patterns. These will keep you from falling when moving and turning quickly, or when the floors are slippery.
Nursing shoes should fit snugly. Your shoes should not be too loose or too tight for your safety and that of the patients you are caring for. Your comfort matters too, of course! If you feel a pinch in the toe, heel, or sides, the shoes are the wrong size or width and you will end up with blisters.
These shoes should be lightweight and breathable, but the material should be tough enough to withstand things like sharp needles that might fall to the ground. The sole should be at least 1 inch thick and stiff enough to provide the support you need. Flat soles provide no protection or shock absorption between the ground and the soles of the feet.
You won’t have to spend a fortune on well-made, supportive nursing shoes; there are plenty of choices priced well under $100. Yet even the highest quality ones won’t last forever. Signs that it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes include wear on the heel and sides, significant smudges or damage, or wear from imprints of your feet on the insoles. If you can see noticeable wear, it’s time for a new pair.