The Best Shoes for Nurses of 2023, According to a Podiatrist

Those long days will feel a lot more comfortable with these top picks.

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Best Shoes for Nurses, According to a Podiatrist

Shape / Kristin Kempa

Logging long hours in the E.R., making your way back and forth between the nurses’ station, standing next to beds as you comfort and care for patients — a nurse’s work is no joke. And in addition to feeling physically fatigued, your feet are probably feeling downright tired, too. In this profession, comfort over everything else is the top priority, as well it should be. As a nurse, you know that the difference between a successful day and a challenging day can come down to the shoes you’re wearing. 

“There are several reasons why nurses need to wear the right shoes,” says Dr. Bruce Pinker of New York’s Progressive Foot Care. “Because nurses are typically standing or walking, or at times, possibly running, their footwear needs to fit properly and be comfortable.” 

He reiterates what you likely already know: sneakers are ideal, and in some cases, clogs make for appropriate footwear.  

“Some nurses may be dealing with critical patients who are very ill," he adds, noting that foot pain could prevent nurses from carrying out their responsibilities or being quick to respond to patient needs. "Being able to move adeptly to address a patient's concerns is essential for a nurse, and this action is empowered by wearing proper footwear to encourage effective ambulation,” Dr. Pinker says.

Did you catch that? Wearing the right shoes is empowering for a nurse, in more ways than one. And as Dr. Pinker points out, if nurses don't wear the right shoes, they can possibly slip and fall, which can put themselves (and patients) in harm’s way. Or, nurses might develop foot health issues themselves.

Dr. Pinker says, “Foot deformities may develop in nurses from wearing improper footwear, such as bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, as well as ingrown toenails, sores, and blisters. These can be very painful conditions that can prevent nurses from walking and standing while taking care of patients.” 

This means avoiding shoes that are loose-fitting, too narrow, or too tight — according to Dr. Pinker, these types of shoes can cause nurses to trip and fall or walk improperly, “which can impede their workflow.” 

So, to better serve your patients (and your tootsies in the process), we’re sharing the best shoes for nurses. Hint: if nurse shoes were competing in the Olympics, New Balance would win a lot. In fact, it’s Dr. Pinker’s shoe brand of choice. 

Best Overall

New Balance Women's 608 V5 Cross Trainer

New Balance 608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer


Why We Like It: It’s one of New Balance’s most popular shoe designs, thanks to top-notch support and a variety of available widths.

It’s Worth Noting: It only comes in a few colors, which might be a bummer if you like to show off your personality through your shoes. 

In the world of nursing, time and time again, New Balance wins it out as the best, most supportive shoe around. “New Balance sneakers are usually the best choice due to their excellent construction and choice of many different widths to help provide appropriate fitting,” observes Dr. Pinker. The choice of widths is certainly true of the New Balance Women's 608 V5 Cross Trainer, and in good company with other positives, like a sturdy leather upper, a foam insert that provides ample cushioning, and a grippy outsole (hello, traction!). Even if the floor gets messy or slick at work, you won’t experience slippage.

Price at time of publish: $56

Sizes: 5-12 | Width: Narrow, Medium, and Wide | Colors: 4

Best Sneaker

New Balance 327

New Balance 327

New Balance

Why We Like It: These shoes bring together support and vintage style.  

It’s Worth Noting: They only come in a couple of hues. 

“New Balance is often the best sneaker of choice,” Dr. Pinker says. “There are many different styles from which to choose that are appropriate for various foot types, such as low arch, average arch, and high arch.” FIGS, known for its chic scrubs, has teamed up with New Balance to create some all-around perfect sneakers for nurses. The FIGS | New Balance 327 Unisex has been drawn from 1970s designs and looks like the epitome of a classic, trend-proof sneaker. Lightweight, with an antimicrobial insole and interior lining for anti-odor protection, the sneaker also deftly wicks away liquids and shows off exceptional traction, and it comes with that New Balance support that’s the best around.  

Price at time of publish: $128

Sizes: 4-14.5 | Width: Medium to Wide | Colors: 2

Best Orthopedic

Hoka Women's Bondi 8

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Why We Like It: It has some of the best cushioning you’ll ever find in a shoe.  

It’s Worth Noting: People say that this is a “heavy” shoe — if you’re going for lightweight and quick on your feet, this likely isn’t the shoe for you.

The Hoka brand has exploded in recent years, with devotees sporting them from their jobs to their workouts and in between. The Hoka Bondi 8 is the most cushioned design offered by the brand, showcasing a rear crash pad that makes for a soft feel and an Ortholite footbed, an insole material that provides the utmost cushioning. Its orthopedic qualities have been said to soothe plantar fasciitis and knee pain, which are huge wins for nurses longing for pain-free shifts. 

Price at time of publish: $165

Sizes: 5-12 | Width: Medium and Wide | Colors: 16

Best Slip-On

Clove Women's Classic Nursing Shoe

Clove Women's Classic Nursing Shoe


Why We Like It: It’s a never-before-seen shoe that’s been specifically designed for healthcare workers’ every need.  

It’s Worth Noting: If you like an extra-tight fit when wearing sneakers, you may want to go with shoes that have laces — these shoes use elastic, adjustable laces instead. 

Made specifically with healthcare workers in mind, Clove, a relatively new brand on the block, has already earned accolades — it was the winner of the Fashion and Beauty category in the 2020 Innovation by Design Awards. Slip right into them — the Clove Women’s Classics have skipped the traditional laces in lieu of the elastic variety that can’t be tied. Instead, you can adjust them without tying them. Incredibly easy to clean (nursing can be understandably messy work, after all), they’re also rendered in something called Clarino™, a microfiber fabric that’s like leather and stretches over time, which means they’ll automatically mold to your unique foot shape. Reviewers love them for comfort, and they come in so many cool colors. 

Price at time of publish: $139

Sizes: 5-12.5 | Width: Medium | Colors: 21

Best Clogs

Dansko Kane Clog

Dansko Kane Clog


Why We Like It: They’re a tried-and-true favorite among healthcare workers because they’re easy to slip on, incredibly comfortable, and provide excellent support.  

It’s Worth Noting: If your particular nursing specialty has you on the run, these are not shoes that you can move quickly in. 

“Often, Dansko clogs are worn by healthcare providers as they are well-made and comfortable,” Dr. Pinker says. It’s true, they’ve been beloved by nurses for a while, and it makes sense. The Dansko Kane Slip-On Mule Clog features comfortable materials (like injected EVA, a recycled material that’s durable and lightweight) and good support to make those pressure points feel a whole lot better. They have anti-fatigue midsoles and rocker bottoms, and they’ve got great arch support. Did we mention that they even have padded collars to prevent blisters? 

Price at time of publish: $85

Sizes: 4.5-13 | Width: Medium | Colors: 23

Best Support

Asics Gel-Nimbus 24



Why We Like It: As a cult favorite shoe for runners, you better believe that you’ll be able to walk and stand comfortably, and move effectively, in these shoes. 

It’s Worth Noting: They might feel too bouncy due to all that cushioning, which is a downside if you prefer a firmer, steadier feel.

With max cushioning that can even feel bouncy at times, the Asics Gel Nimbus 24 offers neutral support, which means it works for a wide variety of foot types. Support is provided through a midfoot shank. These shoes are also intended for road running, which means that the shock absorption for hitting the pavement is some of the best around with its combination of foam and gel technology. In other words? Your feet will be comfy all day long and you’ll be able to move in them. 

Price at time of publish: $85

Sizes: 5-12.5 | Width: Medium and Wide | Colors: 21

Most Stylish

BALA Twelves Flow White

BALA Footwear Twelves Flow White

Scrubs and Beyond

Why We Like It: These shoes artfully bring together style and function, with their supportive insoles and fluid-resistant uppers. 

It’s Worth Noting: Their color selection is limited if bold and bright is your thing.

This is another footwear company geared toward nurses that’s worth checking out. While BALA sneakers carry all the things healthcare pros look for in their shoes — arch support, a high traction outsole, and even machine washability — we also really dig their sleek, cool look. With curves that are modern and streamlined, stylish surprises lie in their color pops — turn them over to see vibrant soles. And the loops come in chic patterns, too. 

Price at time of publish: $150

Sizes: 5-12 | Width: Medium to Wide | Colors: 5

Best Budget

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker


Why We Like It: A fit that feels like slipping on a glove with material that allows your feet to stay cool and comfortable throughout every shift. 

It’s Worth Noting: With their flexible feel, they might not have the superior support you need if you deal with particular foot concerns, like plantar fasciitis. 

Here comes New Balance climbing to the top yet again, except this time, it’s for the fact that they tend to be surprisingly economical shoes in general. As Dr. Pinker says, “New Balance has some relatively low to moderately-priced sneakers that are well-constructed and supportive.” Translation? You’ll get plenty of bang for your buck. 

As a fan favorite with a lot of love in the nursing community, people are already on board with the New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker. Extremely lightweight with fabric that breathes, these shoes are flexible, comfortable, and sport a decent grip to boot. 

Price at time of publish: $49

Sizes: 5-12 | Width: Medium and Wide | Colors: 5

What to Know About Shoes for Nurses


That thick sole and cushy padding on the bottom of your shoe? It’s doing a lot more than making your feet feel comfy. Actually, cushioning is there for shock absorption and can help bring down any pain in your knees, ankles, and hips. To keep your feet as pain-free as possible, Dr. Pinker recommends looking for a shoe with “a cushioned and shock-absorbing midsole and insole.” That means no ballet flats for you, of course! Your feet need cushioned, shock-absorbing defense against hard hospital floors and repetitive impact from walking. Plus, the right level of cushioning will prevent foot fatigue, leaving your legs feeling energized even after a 12-hour shift.


Runners, chefs, postal workers — as a nurse, you’re in good company with others who find themselves on their feet quite a bit. Supportive shoes will keep your spine in proper alignment and will ease any pressure off your spine as well (say goodbye to backaches at the end of the day!). Supportive shoes also make you more stable, prevent falls and slips, and make your feet feel much more comfortable. For this, you’ll want to look for shoes with “appropriate arch support,” as Dr. Pinker says. For people  with flat feet/low arches, you’ll want that support so the pressure around your foot will be redistributed and to have better biomechanics while standing or walking. For those with high arches, support is a must so you can close up the gap between your foot and shoe while encouraging improved posture.


Another way to avoid falls at work? By paying attention to the tread on your shoes and opting for non-slip materials. Dr. Pinker says that non-slip features on the outsolewill help provide good traction, “which can help prevent slippage if there is liquid or objects on the floor,” he says. Look for details like thick soles, made of rubber, with traction-encouraging patterns like lines or squiggles) 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How often should you replace your work shoes?

    Dr. Pinker says that in general, nurses should replace their work footwear annually, especially if you are wearing sneakers. His rule of thumb? Sneakers should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles of usage. For runners, this translates to around four to six months of wear — as a nurse, you log the same mileage, if not more, than runners, so let that be your guide when you decide to replace your shoes.

  • What are the best shoes for standing all day?

    “Sneakers with a cushioned midsole and insole are ideal for standing all day,” Dr. Pinker shares. That means that you’ll look for shoes that have copious cushioning in the heel and toward the middle of the shoe.

  • Should you wear inserts?

    “Custom-made orthotics are best as inserts to provide nurses with the best support,” Dr. Pinker says. “Over-the-counter inserts are often just cushions that don't last more than a few months if worn often.”

Why Trust Shape

Shelby Deering is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who has been working full-time as a freelance writer for nearly a decade. After earning her master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked as a magazine editor for nearly seven years. Since then, she has written on health topics widely ranging from spinal conditions to running advice to mental health disorders, contributing to print outlets and websites including USA Today, Prevention, Runner’s World, Healthline, Good Housekeeping, HealthCentral, and more. As a lifetime runner who frequently suffers from plantar fasciitis, she knows the importance of wearing the right shoes.

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