Long 12-hour shifts have met their match! These comfortable shoes will make it a lot less likely that you end the workday with aches, swelling, and pain.
No matter what your profession is, your feet will thank you for wearing comfortable shoes throughout the day. But footwear is especially important for people who work long shifts on their feet, such as nurses, healthcare workers, teachers, and restaurant workers.
"Anyone who spends a lot of time standing or walking should wear comfortable shoes that help to support the arch and provide cushion and shock absorption," says New York City–based podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera. "This is necessary for overall health, not only for your feet but also for bigger joints in your knees, hips, and back." What's more, a supportive pair of shoes with lots of cushioning helps prevent "fat pad" atrophy, which occurs when the natural pad on the foot thins out over time, leading to pain and callous formation.
When shopping for comfy shoes to wear for a long day on your feet, Dr. Sutera recommends looking for footwear that has arch support, a shock-absorbing bed, and plenty of cushioning. We polled nurses—who often spend 12 hours or more standing or rushing down hallways—to find out what they wear for their longest shifts. Here are the five super-supportive pairs they swear by.
Dansko Professional Clog
"My go-to shoe for my 12 hours shifts. They provide great arch support, which prevents back pain. My favorite is the black patent leather because the material is so easy to clean off with a Clorox wipe when they get dirty. The only downside is that they are quite heavy, especially when you aren't used to them. But overall I think they are the best shoe to keep your feet protected and comfortable during a long shift on your feet."
—Elizabeth Mounsey, NP, Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City
Nike Flex Trainer 6
"They're comfortable, supportive, lightweight, and always there for me when my patients are trying to get out of bed when they're not supposed to!"
—Lauren Caffrey, RN, BSN, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center East Hospital in Monroeville, Pennsylvania
Alegria Classic Clogs
"I have been wearing Algeria clogs for years, and I love them. I suffer from pretty bad plantar fasciitis and they are by far the most comfortable shoes I have found for my 12-hour shifts."
—Jody Izzard, RN, North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Florida
"I also own a pair of Alegria clogs. I forgot I even had them—I've been wearing sneakers lately—and wow, my plantar fasciitis has been so bad. I found my Alegrias and gave them [another] try, and they definitely were a lot more comfortable. I didn't feel like I had to crawl to my car at the end of my shift."
—Ashley Eckert, RN, North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Florida
Nike Metcon 3
"I've tried many different shoes over the years in search of the perfect one. I settled on Nike Metcon training shoes. I wear almost all Nike sneakers for work and they are the lightest, but still supportive. As an ER nurse, I put my shoes through a lot and rarely give the a break. The Nike Metcon sneakers are super easy to clean, they stay comfortable for more than 12 hours on my feet, and don't weigh me down."
—Amanda L. Benza, BSN, RN, Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York
Grey's Anatomy by Softwalk Meredith Work Clog
"I have tried many different clog-style shoes and love Grey's Anatomy by Softwalk! My feet never hurt after doing three 12's in a row."
—Shawnna Hensley, RN, North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville, Florida