Nurses Rely on Both These $140 and $26 Sneakers for Standing All Day, but Which Pair Is Best?

Healthcare workers swear by these shoes for 12-hour shifts on their feet.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Save Vs. Splurge Nurse Shoes
Hoka / UMYOGO.

As Shape’s shopping expert, I’m constantly writing about sneakers. While most would consider podiatrists, long-distance runners, and professional athletes to be the foremost experts on the topic (and they certainly are), when it comes to choosing comfortable lace-ups, the group I learn from the most is nurses and hospital workers. Here’s why: Taking on shifts that last anywhere from six to 16 hours, these medical professionals walk and stand on hard surfaces more than most occupations — and keep it up for decades-long careers. They need to move quickly without slipping, remain comfortable enough to stay focused, and minimize soreness to do it all again the next day. It’s a truly mind-blowing feat.

For this reason, any sneaker loved by nurses is bound to be a ten out of ten. In addition to tractioned bottoms and breathability, these footwear picks have to protect feet from issues like plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, and joint pain (all of which can be triggered by hours of overuse). In recent years, the podiatrist-approved brand Hoka has become a staple amongst healthcare workers thanks to ultra-cushy styles like the wildly popular Arahi 6 running shoes. However, an Amazon alternative, the Umyogo Running Shoes, have racked up more than 50,000 five-star ratings and rave reviews from nurses — and they’re up to $114 less. Below, we compare these pairs side by side to help you pick the best sneakers for standing all day. (BTW: Check out the the winners of the 2023 Shape Sneaker Awards.)

Save: Umyogo Running Shoes

UMYOGO Women's Running Shoes Save Pick


Buy It: from $26,

Key Features:

Main Specs: The honeycomb-shaped soles of these sneakers take on the shock of hard surfaces and give you a springy bounce with each step. Unlike traditional padding, this impact-absorbing feature keeps the shoe lightweight. 

Other Features: A porous mesh outer keeps the interior ventilated and cool. Additionally, the slip-proof rubber stabilizes your feet, allowing you to pivot quickly on sleek surfaces. 

Best for: Walking, running, Zumba, and HIIT workouts. They’re also a good pick for everyday use. 

What We Love:

Despite being from a lesser-known brand, these sneakers have received a lot of praise from reviewers. “They are phenomenal,” wrote one nurse, explaining that this pair keeps their heels and arches from hurting for over 12 hours. An ICU worker added that they were “blown away” by these sneakers after they “significantly” reduced their back pain. “My feet did not hurt AT ALL after having been on them all shift,” they exclaimed. 

Keep in Mind:

Most shoppers agree that these sneakers are super comfortable. However, many complain that they’re hard to put on due to the tongue’s stiffness. 

Splurge: Hoka Arahi 6 Running Shoes

Hoka Arahi 6 Splurge Pick


Buy It: $140,

Key Features:

Main Specs: This shoe incorporates a foam pad that wraps around the heel to both sides of the midfoot. This feature stabilizes your feet against the ankle and knee pain that comes from overpronation while strengthening the overall structure, giving the sneaker a longer shelf life. 

Other Features: Pillowy, shock-absorbing padding lines the insole and ventilation zones on the outer keep the interior temperature regulated. Plus, the soles are extra grippy and slip-proof.

Best for: People with joint or foot pain, runners, walkers, and high-intensity exercise lovers. This is an ideal style for anyone who puts a lot of wear and tear on their sneakers, but needs them to stay in good condition for months.

What We Love: 

Hoka designed the Arahi 6s to offer maximum stability and comfort while still remaining lightweight (each shoe is just eight ounces) and consequently, the Arahi style has earned a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Like so many of Hoka’s designs, nurses rely on this design for health and comfort. One worker raved that they “stopped experiencing knee pain at work” after switching to this pair for their shifts in the ICU. Another nurse wrote that these sneakers “save” their back and feet after “standing all day long,” and a third agreed that they’re “the most comfortable shoes” for the job. In addition to all this positive feedback, the best part of this shoe is their durability, as even shoppers who wear theirs daily say they can wait up to seven months before buying a replacement.

Keep in Mind:

Many reviewers with wide feet found these running shoes to be too narrow, a factor that caused blisters and general discomfort. Others add that they become more comfortable after being broken in. 

In Conclusion:

The cost of quality sneakers can start to add up, especially if you’re someone who uses theirs everyday and (in the cases of nurses) for multiple consecutive hours. In addition to all of the supportive features, the benefit of splurging on a pair like the Hoka Arahi 6s is knowing that your shoe will keep your feet and legs healthy for months before becoming too worn down. At the same time, the Umyogo Running Shoes are the real deal when it comes to stability and comfort. If you find yourself having to choose between staying within your budget and properly managing foot or knee pain, these $26 sneakers might be your new hero — just be sure to replace them when they’re no longer comfortable.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles