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The 12 best shoes for nurses in 2024, according to nurses

These top picks from Brooks, Hoka and Clove are approved by nurses and podiatrists alike for all-day support on the job.

A photo collage showing five nurse-approved shoes.
This nurse-approved footwear is just what the doctor ordered. (Amazon [3], Dansko, Clove)

Nurses are on their feet at work all day, which means finding a shoe that can offer around-the-clock support is mission-critical. Not only do those shoes have to offer cushioning and stability, they have to be comfortable too, and it helps if they can combat and even prevent foot and back pain. In short, the bar for shoes is a bit higher when it comes to nurses. To make sure we suggested the best options, we consulted with a team of nurses and podiatrists to find out what they look for in the right footwear.

Quick overview
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“We need shoes that are comfortable, durable and fluid-resistant,” said Sarah K. Wells, MSN, RN, CEN, CNL and founder of New Thing Nurse. “Nurses also want cute shoes! Gone are the days of boring, all-white basic footwear.” In other words, they — and you — deserve footwear that’s fashionable as well as functional, and we found out exactly what nurses actually wear during those long, long shifts. Below, you’ll find the shoes that made it to the top of our list, with details on the pros and cons of each plus some insight from reviewers. Looking for something a bit different? We also have a guide on the best orthopedic shoes for conditions that require more support.

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Widths: Regular, narrow, wide, extra-wide | Colors: 60 options

Nurses overwhelmingly cited Brooks as a top brand because they “offer comfortable and durable shoes in styles that are fun and functional,” according to Wells. And the Ghost 15 is the one most recommended by the brand for health care workers. Along with an APMA Seal of Acceptance, these comfortable kicks boast ultralightweight cushioning, a breathable upper and a system of shock absorbers to prevent foot pain. They come in a variety of color combos and widths. The No. 1 Amazon bestsellers have racked up over 7,000 five-star ratings, with many from nurses. “I’m on my feet all day. Every other tennis shoe I have tried ended up with my feet aching at the end of a shift or my toes going numb. These are so comfortable and light, and my feet haven’t hurt at all,” raved one. Perhaps best of all, Brooks offers a 25% discount for health care workers!

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Machine-washable
  • Comfortable
  • Comes in a variety of colors
Cons
  • Pricey
$100 at Amazon
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$100 at Brooks Sports

Sizes: 35 to 48 | Widths: Medium, wide | Colors: 20 options

You’ve likely seen at least one nurse wearing a pair of Dansko shoes every time you’ve been to the doctor. According to Larisa, a nurse who’s also the Nurse Success Coach, that’s because of how comfortable they are. “An oldie but a goodie, they are easy to clean and slip on and off,” she said. This classic style boasts a roomy, reinforced toe box for protection and a contoured footbed for extra support and comfort. They’re also super easy to clean — just wipe them down with a damp soapy cloth, and they’re good as new. “I’ve tried so many other types of shoes, but I always come back to Dansko. In no other shoe can I work a 24-hour trauma shift and operate for hours and go home with my feet, legs and back feeling great,” said another health care worker.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Has an anti-fatigue rocker
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Expensive
$130 at Dansko

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Widths: Medium, wide | Colors: 23 options

Both Larisa and nurse practitioner Jackie Spagnuolo listed Bondi 8s as their top picks. The shoes boast an APMA Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health, and they have a removable cushioned insole for extra comfort. The lace-up design ensures a secure fit, while the meta-rocker encourages a smooth stride. “I am a nurse working 12-13 hour shifts, and my feet never hurt with these shoes on. It’s like walking on clouds,” wrote one shopper.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • APMA-approved
  • Super-cushioned
  • Supportive
  • Multiple colors to choose from
Cons
  • Expensive
$165 at Zappos
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$165 at Hoka$165 at Bloomingdales

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Widths: Regular | Colors: 45 options

Spagnuolo is also a fan of these On Cloud sneakers “for their lightweight feel and responsiveness.” The mesh upper is soft against your feet and promotes airflow to keep them from overheating. It’s also antimicrobial to prevent odors and keep you feeling fresh. The molded heel and lace-up closure work together to keep your foot securely in place, while the abrasion pads on the sole offer excellent traction on slippery surfaces. “These shoes are great. I am a nurse, and I wear them for my long shifts in the ER. They are super comfortable, and I get compliments every day. LOVE these shoes,” raved one reviewer.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Machine-washable
  • Lightweight
  • Tons of color options
  • Removable insole
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Expensive
$140 at Nordstrom
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$170 at Amazon$140 at Free People

Sizes: 5 to 12.5 | Widths: Regular | Colors: 28 options

Multiple nurses recommended Cloves to us during our search. That includes Spagnuolo, who raved about their “antimicrobial properties, slip resistance and customizable fit.” The featherlight sneaks are both comfortable and supportive, and they can easily be slipped on and off despite having laces. In addition to being water-resistant and odor-fighting, they’re squeak-free, so you don’t have to worry about making too much noise as you walk. Made from Clarino — a microfiber fabric that mimics leather — Cloves will stretch slightly over time to mold to your feet. Take it from this happy customer: “Not only are these shoes super comfortable (most important), they are easy to clean and super fun and cute! Highly recommend for my fellow hardworking RNs out there! I own several pairs; they also last forever. Great quality.” 

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Fluid-resistant
  • Odor-fighting
Cons
  • Expensive
$145 at Clove

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Widths: Regular, wide | Colors: 15 options

These mesh numbers have a sock-like fit and a cushioned insole that provides bounce and lift. Slip-resistant and lightweight, they also have a wide toe box, making them great for extended wear. “I like these shoes because they are very accommodative for common foot problems such as bunions and hammertoes and will not cause rubbing,” Dr. Dana Canuso, DPM told us. “I also like how lightweight they are for all-day wear.” Amazon shoppers agree. “I am on my feet for 12-plus hours at a time,” shared one nurse. “I have spent hundreds on shoes over the last few years attempting to find a shoe that is comfortable for me. ... These are proving to be one of the best purchases I have made. ... It feels like I am either not wearing shoes, or maybe wearing slippers.”

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Slip-resistant
  • Affordable
  • Machine-washable
Cons
  • May run big
$24 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Widths: Regular, wide | Colors: 13 options

They may look like your average lace-up sneaker, but they’re actually designed to slip on and off, hands-free, thanks to a structured heel cup that keeps their shape and prevents them from curling in. Shoppers love that they are comfy straight out of the box, need no breaking-in and provide great traction. “As a nurse, one of the parts I hated the most about getting dressed in the morning was touching my hospital shoes to put them on,” reported one health care worker. “The hands-free technology is a total game changer. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase! I’ll soon be looking at the other colors available, as they’re all so cute.” Although I’m not a health care worker, I have a pair and can confirm they are super-comfortable and offer all-day support.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Good traction
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Cushioned
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Expensive
$129 at Kizik

Sizes: 5.5 to 11.5 | Widths: Regular, wide | Colors: 28 options

Lightweight, wide and roomy, these kicks offer just the right mix of support, cushioning and cost-consciousness. They boast a mesh upper that is super-breathable and a memory foam insole that shoppers say feels like they’re walking on air. Nearly 20,000 Amazon customers are fans and it’s no surprise why. “They’re accommodative, meaning they allow the foot and the ankle to move in almost any direction that weight bearing permits,” explained Dr. Rock G. Positano, director of non-surgical foot and ankle services at the Joe DiMaggio Heel Pain Center at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery. Said one five-star Amazon reviewer: “I love these shoes; they’re soft and comfy with good padding. The padding did wear out in a few months, but I do walk over 50K steps a day as a busy nurse. I bought another of the same kind, since I like them so much. Even though they tie, they are very easy to just slip on.”

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Cushioned
  • Nonslip
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
Cons
  • May run big
$46 at Amazon

Sizes: 5.5 to 11 | Widths: Regular, wide | Colors: 23 options

Equipped with a perforated arch and air cushioning, these were designed for umpteen hours of worry-free wear. Made of mesh fabric, they feel light on your feet and are just as flexible as your favorite pair of socks. Plus, the heel has an air bubble — which board-certified podiatrist Dr. Polina Zaydenberg said is “a great shock absorber” — and the chunky rubber sole provides “plenty of cushioning.” The wide toe box accommodates bunions and hammertoes, while the durable sole helps prevent slips. Over 57,000 Amazon shoppers are five-star fans, with one writing, “I bought a pair in black for work. I work 12 hours a shift as a nurse. I have problems with swelling and pain in my feet. These have helped tremendously because they have give to them. They also have a nice arch and good cushion.”

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Supportive
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Not the most stylish
$36 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 17 | Widths: Regular | Colors: 1 option

These comfy clogs were made with recovery in mind: They help decrease energy exertion, and they cradle your foot in a cushioned, cloudlike dream. Made with rubber, these have a foam footbed that cradles and supports your soles, toes and heels — providing excellent shock absorption. Their ergonomic design aids in postural support as well. “The toe box is accommodative and the sole is propulsive, which helps it improve the quality of your gait,” shared Zaydenberg. “It can help those with arthritic conditions of the midfoot, and metatarsalgia.” “I’m an ICU nurse and I’m on my feet for most of my 13-hour shifts,” shared one of the 7,000-plus five-star reviewers. “I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. The pain was terrible and I was limping out of work each day. ... These are miracle shoes! Wore them a whole shift and, while I still had a bit of heel pain, I wasn’t limping. Started wearing them all the time, and now the plantar fasciitis is gone! I’ve been singing their praises to my fellow nurses, and soon my whole unit will be in them.” 

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • APMA Seal of Acceptance
  • Supportive
  • Cushioned
Cons
  • Only 1 color
$80 at Zappos
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$80 at REI$80 at Backcountry

Sizes: 6 to 16 | Widths: Regular | Colors: 8 options

Co-developed with over 1,500 health care professionals, these water-resistant shoes were designed to provide all-day support and comfort. They’re antimicrobial, slip-resistant and incredibly lightweight. Perhaps best of all, they are bleach-friendly and machine-washable, so you can really get them clean. “So light and soft. I never experienced pain in my feet after a 12-hour shift wearing these shoes. I had been on my feet for the entire night. They are so far the best shoes I have ever worn to work,” wrote one customer.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Antimicrobial
  • Supportive
  • Slip-resistant
  • Water-resistant
Cons
  • May run small
$90 at Gales

Sizes: 5 to 15 | Widths: Regular | Colors: 59 options

Elana Block, MSN, RN at Advanced Dermatology, told us these popular Adidas sneakers are one of her top picks for work shoes because they feel “cloudlike when walking, wash easily and are very flexible.” The sneakers boast a cozy sock-like upper and an ultra-cushioned insole for added comfort and breathability. Most users rave about how lightweight and supportive they are, but Block did note that the rubber sole isn’t very thick and she has noticed the material has started to wear down, so they might not be the best option if you are looking for a pair that will last a long time.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Tons of colors
  • Lightweight
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Thin-soled
  • Expensive
$140 at Amazon
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$140 at Zappos$180 at Adidas

Nurses can be on their feet for more than 12 hours at a time, depending on how long their shift is, so finding the right pair of shoes is crucial. Because of their on-the-go jobs, Sherri McNeil, RN and content creator at Every Step Nurse, said nurses “prioritize shoes that can withstand long hours of standing and walking while providing adequate support and protection for our feet,” but that doesn’t stop them from still wanting to look cute while working. Aside from style, below are the key features most nurses we talked to look for when buying a pair of work shoes.

  • Support: Since nurses are standing for such long periods of time, supportive shoes are a must, especially when it comes to arches. “Nurses’ shoes should have good arch support and preferably be light,” podiatrist Dr. Austin Hall told us.

  • Durability: Since nurses get so many steps in during each shift, they need to find a pair of shoes that can withstand long walks and won’t wear out after a few uses.

  • Slip-resistance: Hospitals are known for having potentially hazardous surfaces (i.e., bodily fluids on the floors), so shoes with good traction are key. “Slip-resistant outsoles help prevent accidents on wet or slippery surfaces commonly found in hospitals or clinics,” said nurse practitioner Jackie Spagnuolo.

  • Easy to clean: Things can get messy during nursing shifts, so Hall says finding options that “can easily wipe clean can also be a big plus.” Machine-washable is ideal for when “they get dirty with body fluids, topical products and/or hard-to-remove dirt from unlocking wheels from machines or lasers,” said Elana Block, MSN, RN at Advanced Dermatology.

  • Comfort: Not surprisingly, this was by far the most important factor for nurses. Features like extra cushioning, memory foam insoles and breathable uppers are all favorable. Or as Larisa, the Nurse Success Coach put it, “As close as the shoes can get to feeling like walking on air, the better.”

We tapped a team of nurses and podiatrists to see which shoes actually give them the support and comfort they need for a day on their feet. Along with these nurse-approved picks, we also added a few recommendations based on product specifications and customer reviews from even more nurses.

Slip-ons, clogs and lace-ups were equally popular among nurses for different reasons. Clogs and slip-ons offer great support and comfort, and they are typically easier to clean, as you can just wipe them down. Plus, their design ensures you don’t have to touch them to put them on or take them off, making them a more hygienic choice.

But ... Hall recommends lace-ups for long hectic shifts. “They will be more secure on your feet, and you don’t run the risk of them coming off at inopportune moments during the day.” Spagnuolo agreed, saying shoes with “adjustable straps or laces help accommodate different foot shapes and sizes, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit for the wearer.”

“Closed toes and slip-resistant are a must,” said Wells. “Waterproof or fluid-resistant shoes are also needed for anyone working directly with patients or in environments where there could be spills,” she added. Spagnuolo also recommended looking for shoes made with “antimicrobial linings or treatments to help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, reducing the risk of foot infections and maintaining overall hygiene.”

Another safety feature Spagnuolo favors is reinforced toe caps that are “made from durable materials like steel or composite to provide extra protection against accidental impacts or compression injuries.” Registered nurse Cheryl Hellman, from Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, also suggests looking for shoes with a “wide toe well” that will allow you to spread out your toes, offering better balance and stability.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.