The 9 Best Shoes for Nurses of 2023, Tested and Approved

The Women's Classic sneaker by Clove offers superior traction, comfort, and durability.

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Best Shoes for Nurses of 2023

Verywell Health / Grace Mars

As a nurse, you’re no stranger to long shifts on your feet. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause arch and heel pain, blisters, back strain, and leg fatigue, making even the simplest tasks painful by the end of the day. The right pair of nursing shoes takes the pressure off your feet, provides superior traction and stability, and is comfortable enough to wear day in and day out.

When your toes have enough room to move and your arches have adequate support, you can avoid the pain that comes with wearing improper footwear. The best shoes for nurses support proper posture and foot flexion to prevent conditions like plantar fasciitis, a common ailment that develops when the arch of the foot is strained.

To find the best nursing shoes, we spoke to experts about what to look for when shopping for a new pair. Then, we narrowed down a list of popular options on the market and had working nurses where each pair during a series of shifts during a two-week period. Then, they evaluated the shoes based on attributes like fit, comfort, support, durability, and more. Additionally, a podiatrist from our Medical Expert Board reviewed the contents of this article about the information on shoes and overall foot health. Here are our top picks.

Best Overall

Clove Women's Classic Nursing Shoe

Clove Women's Classic Nursing Shoe


  • Squeak-free

  • Easy to clean

  • Odor-resistant inserts

  • No wide-width options

  • May stretch over time

Clove designs shoes with healthcare professionals in mind, and the Clove Women’s Classic hits the mark. The slip-on sneakers are both stylish and easy to clean—an absolute necessity in healthcare. With all the germs, body fluid, and other hazards that come with the job, you'll find solace in knowing your shoes are scrubbable and odor-resistant. Another perk of the Clove Classic is its squeak-free design, saving you and your co-workers from listening to all 10k steps taken throughout your shift. 

When we tested, we loved this model's flexibility, as the breathable upper stretches and conforms to your feet without constricting your toes. While the fit feels custom, the shoe's structure doesn't sacrifice support. Your arches and ankles rest on a molded footbed for maximum stability. The padded heel acts as a shock absorber on hard floors, minimizing the achiness and fatigue after hours on your feet. We think it combines comfort, form, and function perfectly. 

Price at time of publication: $139

Key Specs: 
Clarino (leather-like microfiber) | Sizes Available: Men's 7–13 / women's 5–12.5 | Width: Standard | Arch Support: Yes

Best Value

Oofos Women's Oocloog Clog

Oofos Women's Oocloog Clog


  • Lightweight

  • Easy to clean

  • Absorbs shock

  • Lacks ankle support

  • Retains moisture from sweat

If clogs are more your style, the Oofos OOClog Clog is worth considering. The company’s OOfoam technology offers outstanding cushioning and arch support, which can be a lifesaver on hard hospital floors. It claims to absorb 37% more shock than other materials, and the dense foam is designed to cradle your feet for all-day comfort. After a short initial break-in period, the foam should soften and conform to your foot's shape.

In testing, this clog proved true to size and easy to clean. The shoes didn't shrink or stretch after regular use, which is a common problem with materials like leather and canvas. Its design is surprisingly lightweight compared to other clogs. However, the OOClog isn't ideal if you're looking for ankle support. While the minimalist heel is enough for some, others may want more security as they traverse the halls. The material may also retain moisture if you're prone to clammy feet. 

Price at time of publication: $80

Key Specs: 
OOfoam | Sizes Available: Men's 4–14 / Women's 5–14 | Width: Standard | Arch Support: Yes

Best Support

Clove Aeros Nursing Shoes

Clove Aeros


  • Slip-on design

  • Liquid repellant

  • Tie-free adjustable lacing system

  • Runs a half size small

  • Requires a brief break-in period

Like the Clove Women's Classic, the Clove Aeros shoes feature an ergonomic fit that supports your arch and ankle. But the athletic design is slightly more sporty than the Clove Women's Classic and includes a unique, adjustable lace-up system. Fortunately, this model shares the fluid and odor-resistant characteristics of its predecessor. The mesh upper offers superior breathability, but its unique liquid-repellent technology keeps liquids and germs at bay. 

We loved how the Aeros helped maintain healthy alignment throughout the day. Walking, climbing stairs, standing, and running posed no issues. While we noticed the shoes require a brief break-in period to adapt to the shape of your feet, they'll soon become an essential item in your workday wardrobe. This model is available in 12+ color options. Keep in mind the company suggests sizing up a half size in this style, or a full size if you typically wear wide-width shoes. 

Price at time of publication: $159

Key Specs: 
Mesh fabric | Sizes Available: Men's 7–13 / Women's 5–12.5 | Width: Standard | Arch Support: Yes

Best Lightweight

Ryka Women's Devotion Plus 4 Walking Shoe

Ryka Women's Devotion Plus 4 Walking Shoe


  • Breathable fabric

  • Extra arch support

  • Shock-absorbing cushion

  • Harder to clean

  • Liquid can seep through the upper

Ryka's Devotion Plus 4 puts comfort and support front and center. Despite its lightweight design (each shoe weighs under eight ounces), it offers superior cushioning and shock absorption. The combination results in optimal arch stability without feeling as though you're lifting weights with each step.

Though it made our list as an ideal lightweight option, its breathability is also impressive. The mesh fabric is both flexible and secure, allowing your feet to move naturally. However, this comes at the cost of a harder-to-clean material. We found these shoes more challenging to clean compared to Clove's sneakers. We liked that its airy design allows your feet the circulation they need. And the sole is quite supportive and flexible, so performance was still excellent.

Price at time of publication: $110

Key Specs: 
Engineered mesh | Sizes Available: Women's 6–11 | Width: Standard and wide | Arch Support: Yes

Most Comfortable

On Cloud 5 Women's Running Shoe

On Cloud 5 Women's Running Shoe


  • Antimicrobial design

  • Prevents ankle rollover

  • Available in waterproof

  • Liquid and debris can penetrate the upper

  • Airflow may cause cold feet

We know comfort is subjective, and what one person prefers, someone else won't. That said, the Cloud 5 by On boasts plenty of cushioning that adjusts to every movement your foot makes. The company calls this technology CloudTec, representing that the shoe is like "walking on clouds," and we agree. The shoes also stayed firmly in place, even during more dynamic movements.

Other standout features include an antimicrobial design and a unique lacing system for quick, fuss-free adjustments. Every pair also comes with classic laces, so you can choose whichever option suits you best. Plus, its adaptability and design cater to the active lifestyle. The shoe is also available in the Cloud 5 Waterproof model. In addition, the color variety and half-size options further add to Cloud 5's value.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key Specs: 
44% recycled content and mesh | Sizes Available: Men's 7–14 / Women's 5–11 | Width: Standard | Arch Support: Yes

Best for Plantar Fasciitis

Brooks Women's Ghost 15 Running Shoe

Brooks Women's Ghost 15 Running Shoe


  • Lightweight cushioning

  • APMA Seal of Acceptance

  • Wide toe box

  • Harder to clean

  • Slight discoloration after wear

If you pay much attention to your coworkers’ footwear choices, chances are you've set eyes on one of Brooks' bestselling models. The Ghost 15 offers enhanced, plush-like cushioning without compromising style or quality. The shoe's heel and sole are specifically designed to support transitions and prevent harsh landings.

Healthcare workers are no strangers to the heel and arch pain associated with plantar fasciitis. When the plantar fascia tissue in your feet becomes inflamed from overuse, performing your regular job duties becomes increasingly difficult. One of the Ghost's primary features is its ability to reduce stress on your joints and relieve pressure on the bottom of your feet, making all-day wear a bit more bearable.

We loved the shoe’s flexibility and felt the Ghost 15 packed a lofty punch without too much clunkiness. These shoes also feel safe and secure if an emergency requires a quick change of direction. There was slight discoloration in the sole after a few weeks of wear, but that’s to be expected. The only real downside is that the mesh requires a bit more effort when deep cleaning.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key Specs: 
Mesh and recycled materials | Sizes Available: Men's 7–15 / Women's 5–13 | Width: Standard and wide | Arch Support: Yes

Best Clogs

Alegria Professional Debra Nursing Shoe

Alegria Professional Debra Nursing Shoe


  • Enclosed heel

  • Replaceable insole

  • Water and stain-resistant

  • Less supportive

  • Heavier than sneakers

Clogs have been a centennial favorite for a reason: they're incredibly versatile. Not only do they come in a range of styles and colors, but they also cater to the long-haul nature of the profession. Back pain, achy joints, and foot discomfort come with the job, and clogs can promote ideal posture to help offset these issues. The Alegria Debra Leather Clogs do all that, plus they keep your toes aligned with a roomy toe box.

The shoe's supportive footbed is lined with cork, memory foam, and latex, a combination that molds to your feet as you walk or stand. The enclosed heel also adds an extra touch of protection and stability. The level of comfort was undeniable throughout the testing process, and this was the first clog we felt could endure the daily hustle and bustle of the job.

This model's leather upper resists stains and water. Plus, the insole is removable and replaceable to extend the shoe's life. The design is slightly less supportive than sneakers, but the natural rocking motion and adaptable footbed provides enough cushion for a full workday.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key Specs: 
Leather | Sizes Available: Women's 5–12 | Width: Standard and wide | Arch Support: Yes

Best Black

Bala Twelves Nursing Shoes

Bala Twelves Nursing Shoes


  • Easy to clean

  • High traction outsole

  • Fluid-resistant upper

  • Narrow toe box

  • Requires both hands to put on

The Bala Twelves are the perfect fusion of simplistic style and functional design. Inspired by the world's healthcare workers, this modern take on the classic black shoe is intended for the fast-paced demands of the profession. The shoe's outer layer is crafted with a fluid-resistant material to prevent your feet from the hazards of spills and contaminants. For added support, the arch and heel adapt with the motion of your feet for a tailored fit.

The ankle support comes from the shoe's inner lining, which we found added stability and improved overall comfort. It's worth noting that this same "knit fit" lining makes the shoes slightly difficult to put on—it takes two hands to position and pull them on. The somewhat narrow toe box is also a drawback, though ordering a half size up may help. But in spite of these downsides, the squeak-free and slip-resistant outsole gives them a slight advantage in the traction department.

Price at time of publication: $150

Key Specs: 
KnitFit upper and ShiftShield outer | Sizes Available: Men's 4–11 / Women's 5–12 | Width: Standard and wide | Arch Support: Yes

Best White

HOKA Bondi SR Leather Trainers

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi SR Leather Trainers


  • Thick, cushioned midsole

  • Slip-resistant outsole

  • Waterproof

  • Stiff

  • May retain sweat and moisture

The classic look of white sneakers will never go out of style. We love the Bondi SR by Hoka One because it packs the features nurses expect while maintaining a timeless aesthetic. The full-length foam midsole and strategic rubber tread provide plenty of traction to prevent injury. The Bondi SR was incredibly structured, and those who prefer a more rigid shoe will appreciate its dependability.

The waterproof upper is excellent for those working in areas with a high fluid exposure risk. You can spot clean and sanitize with the quick swipe of a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe. However, this same feature also means the interior may retain more sweat and moisture than its mesh counterparts. Still, these shoes offer stylish protection after a brief break-in period. Plus, this model holds The American Podiatric Medical Association's (APMA) Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health. 

Price at time of publication: $175

Key Specs: 
Leather | Sizes Available: Men's 7–15 / Women's 5–11 | Width: Standard and wide | Arch Support: Yes

How We Rated Shoes for Nurses

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best shoes for nurses we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These best shoes for nurses are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great best shoes for nurses, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These best shoes for nurses are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend best shoes for nurses with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

We Also Tested

These shoes weren't our favorites, but they may still be of interest to you:

  • Hoka One One Bondi 8: While just as comfortable as the Bondi SR, this model is hard to clean and requires a substantial break-in period.
  • Asics Novablast 3: The athletic style of this shoe is appealing, but it lacks enough arch support for extended wear.
  • Dansko Professional Clog: This classic clog is durable and water-resistant, but the heaviness was a drawback during testing.

How We Tested the Shoes

The Verywell Health team had nurses test shoes based on seven critical factors: fit, comfort, support, ease of cleaning, stability, durability, and value. Each testing attribute was ranked on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest level of performance. To assess fit, each nurse tried on the shoes to get an initial impression, then wore them throughout several shifts to evaluate comfort. 

Support was judged based on the shoe’s arch and cushioning levels, while stability was determined by walking, running, and performing everyday nursing tasks. The ease of cleaning was evaluated after wiping down the shoes with disinfectant wipes or soap and water. We also tracked the shoe’s durability after wearing them for two weeks, noting whether there was any discoloration, shrinking, or stretching.

Following the testing period's conclusion, the cost of each pair was disclosed to the participants. Value was then determined by comparing the shoe's overall features and performance to the price. Our insights were combined to create an overall score for each shoe.

In addition to our testing process, we interviewed the following experts to get their input on what features to look for:

  • Nam Tran, DPM, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and podiatrist at Dallas Direct Podiatry in Texas
  • Lalitha McSorley, a physical therapist at Brentwood Physiotherapy Calgary
  • Karen Fischer, RN, BSN, CCRN

What to Look For in Shoes for Nurses

Comfort and Fit 

The right fit and cushioning keep feet comfortable after hours of standing or walking. If you don't know your exact shoe size, have your feet measured by a professional at a specialty store. Trained staff can help you learn more about the width, arch type, and overall fit that may work best for you.

When shopping, try each pair on to get a feel for the cushioning and support it provides. The shoe should feel snug without being too tight or causing discomfort in the arch, heel area, or toes. You should be able to wiggle your toes without feeling constricted. There should be about a finger's width of space between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe to ensure a large enough toe box.

If you're shopping online, it's important to read customer reviews and product descriptions carefully to understand the shoe's fit. Don't assume that a particular shoe size will fit the same in every style or brand. Most companies include a fitting guide with helpful tips or a size chart to help ensure you order the correct size.

Sole of the Shoe 

The bottom of the shoe is referred to as its sole. The sole should be durable and slip-resistant to prevent sliding on wet surfaces. Rubber outsoles work best for traction, but a combination of materials may be used. Avoid soles with a felt or fabric-like covering, as they can wear down quickly, increase the chances of slipping, and reduce comfort.

“The sole of the shoe is important to provide shock absorption while being durable enough to protect from harsh environments,” explains Nam Tran, DPM, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and podiatrist at Dallas Direct Podiatry in Texas. “For healthcare workers, finding a shoe with an EVA foam inner sole and durable rubber outsole can ensure they are protecting their feet from repeated stress and possible hazards around the hospital floors.”

The sole should also have a pattern of deep ridges or grooves to help with stability, shock absorption, and maximum traction. These grooves help channel dirt and water away from the shoe, which allows secure footing on glossy surfaces.

Shock Absorption 

With each step taken in a typical workday, nurses are subject to repetitive impacts from the ground. This impact is sometimes called shock. Hard surfaces like those found in hospitals or other medical facilities can be unforgiving, so it's important to find shoes with cushioning features that absorb this shock.

“Shoes with inadequate shock absorption can lead to pain and discomfort in the feet, knees, and back,” says Lalitha McSorley, a physical therapist at Brentwood Physiotherapy Calgary. She says shock absorption decreases the chances of pain or injury, since it reduces and protects against impact.

Look for shoes with a foam midsole, as this material is more lightweight and shock-absorbing than rubber. Cushioning can also help reduce foot fatigue since it absorbs some of the energy from each step taken. Some soles, such as those made of cork, contour to the shape of your foot. This may help distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure points.

Arch Support

Most feet require a certain level of arch support, though the amount varies by person. This support helps keep feet in a neutral position and provides structure to the shoe’s midsole. Some shoes have removable insoles that can be replaced with custom orthotics or other aftermarket inserts for added arch support. Knowing the shape of your arches and what type of support they need will simplify the buying process and prevent foot pain or discomfort.

Arches can be classified as:

  • Normal: These arches are typically medium to high and support your body weight evenly.
  • Flat: These are low or flat arches that require additional cushioning or arc support.
  • High: These arches typically require shoes with less arch support.

If you’re unsure what type of arch you have, it's a good idea to speak with a foot specialist or podiatrist. Some specialized footwear stores also offer foot mapping services to help you find the right shoes or insoles for your arch type.


Most nurses will agree that your shoes will take a beating during shifts. Aside from wear, frequent washing and exposure to water, chemicals, and other fluids can all lead to shorter shoe lifespans. Choosing a pair built for the rigors of the job can save time and money in the long run.

Shoes constructed with quality materials, like leather, are more durable than those made with synthetic materials. Leather is also easy to clean and less likely to rip, tear, or break down over time. It's also important to pay attention to the stitching of the shoe. Quality stitching should be even and consistent throughout. Look for double or triple-stitched seams thick enough to withstand wear and tear.

A thick rubber-like sole will also increase the shoe's life. Additionally, shoes with removable insoles can extend their life by allowing you to replace them with fresh ones when the arch support or cushioning diminishes.


While the perfect pair of shoes comes down to your preferences and needs, there are certain features nurses should consider.

  • Water Resistance: Shoes with a waterproof upper can protect your feet from spills and other liquids you may encounter on the job.
  • Slip-Resistance: Slip-resistant outsoles give extra traction when walking on slick or wet surfaces. 
  • Breathability: Many materials are breathable, but some offer more ventilation than others. Mesh or perforated leather allows air to circulate for added comfort.
  • Washability: Look for shoes you can scrub, machine wash, or wipe down for easy cleaning and sanitation.
  • Lightweight: Heavier shoes can strain your feet and legs over time, so opt for lighter options when possible.
  • Flexibility: A flexible sole helps reduce stress on your foot as you move and twist throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are high-quality shoes important for nurses?

    Nurses endure long hours on hard surfaces and often have to crouch, climb stairs, or run quickly to respond to emergencies. Improper footwear can lead to pain, fatigue, and even workplace injury. Shoes with the right cushioning, arch support, and durability help keep you comfortable while maintaining the proper posture and balance.

  • How often should nursing shoes be replaced?

    The frequency of replacement depends on how often you wear the shoes and the quality of materials used. Generally, nursing shoes should be replaced when they show signs of wear, such as cracking, tearing, or fraying. Additionally, you should consider replacing your nursing shoes if they begin to cause pain or discomfort.

  • How do you clean nursing shoes?

    Depending on the material, you can use a damp cloth and mild detergent or shoe cleaner to spot-clean the surface. Water-resistant shoes, such as leather ones, can be wiped with sanitizing wipes to kill germs. Avoid submerging leather shoes in water, as this may cause damage. For more detailed cleaning instructions, refer to the care guide specific to your shoes.

  • Is it safe to wear your nursing shoes in your house?

    Wearing separate shoes around the house can help keep your home environment clean and healthy. Dedicating your nursing shoes to the workplace is the best way to avoid bringing germs and bacteria inside your home. Many nurses change their shoes before they leave work or take them off before entering the house—the garage works well for this.

Why Trust Verywell Health?

Lindsay Modglin is a nurse who has spent countless hours on her feet in all types of medical settings. She understands the importance of quality footwear for nurses and has experienced firsthand the pain and leg fatigue that can result from wearing the wrong shoes. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Insider, Healthline, and many more. She holds a professional certificate in scientific writing from Stanford University, further helping her break down complex health concepts into easy-to-understand language. Her number-one priority is ensuring readers have access to accurate and actionable information to make the best health decisions.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Buchanan BK, Kushner D. Plantar Fasciitis. In: StatPearls [Internet]. 2023 Jan.