With their demanding schedules, nurses know a thing or two about dressing for comfort. After all, working a 12-hour shift is exhausting enough without an unsupportive, blister-inducing pair of sneakers to contend with. Talk to one of these healthcare professionals, and chances are, they'll have a firm opinion on the best footwear options for long days on your feet—and even if your level of activity is more along the lines of a neighborhood walk or the occasional jog, you can still benefit from their recommendations.
These are the 15 most comfortable walking shoes, according to nurses.
A good pair of shoes should have plenty of arch support, which, as New York-based podiatrist Hillary Brenner, DPM, previously told Health, also provides shock absorption. This is something that can benefit any wearer, even if you think your daily step count isn't that high. After all, as podiatrist Paul Langer, DPM, author of Great Feet for Life, shared with Health in a past interview, "a 150-pound woman's body encounters between 900,000 and 1,350,00 pounds of impact over a three-mile walk." The more you protect your body from this kind of impact, the more you can reduce the likelihood of injury or soreness.
Not to mention, wearing unsupportive or worn-out shoes can also exacerbate pain in your knees, back, and hips, as well as heel pain caused by the common foot condition plantar fasciitis. All Basically, everyone can use a sturdy, supportive, and properly cushioned pair of shoes, whether you actually work overnight hospital shifts or not.:
So whether you're looking for sneakers that are versatile enough for both three-mile jogs and neighborhood errands or you're open to trying out clogs that RNs have sworn by for years, these nurse-approved comfortable walking shoes, below, are your best options.
Of course Amazon’s number one best-selling women’s sneaker is a tried-and-true pick for people who work on their feet all day (or simply want to stay comfortable as they get their daily steps in). The Slow Man shoe has a slip-on, sock-like design and a thick, slip-proof sole that provides plenty of cushion and bounce with each step.
A whopping 36,000 shoppers left the shoe a perfect five-star rating. “I am a nurse who suffered from plantar fasciitis for 3 years and had to invest in good shoes with arch support for standing and walking on my feet for 12-hour shifts,” one reviewer wrote. “I decided to buy the shoes and give them a try. I have been working 4 12-hour shifts a week and these shoes have been heaven sent! I've had them for 3 weeks now. It feels like I’m walking on air.”
“I love these sneakers because of the support they provide for running,” says Meisha Amia, a travel RN. “Unfortunately, when many urgent cases happen in the delivery room we might have to make a run to get certain supplies or head to the operating room. These sneakers are able to handle the task and keep me safe. Plus, it’s a win that they are very comfortable.” While the shoes come in many different colorways, Amia loves the hot pink option, which offers a nice contrast to her blue scrubs.
These running shoes are a go-to for Kelsey Rowell, RN, who says they’re supportive enough to keep her feeling her best through 12-hour shifts. “I weirdly feel like I run a lot at work too (or at least speed walk) and these feel like I’m walking on a cloud,” she says. “My husband introduced them to me—he bragged about them after purchasing them to train for a race, so I got curious. I have big, flat feet and a bad back—I have tried many shoes and these definitely take the cake!”
Another nurse echoed Rowell’s sentiment in a Zappos review, saying, “These shoes make me feel like I am on a little trampoline with all the cushion that they give me.” The sneakers have an especially thick sole, which gives them the slightly spring-y effect.
Not only have Allbirds amassed plenty of celebrity fans (including Jennifer Garner and Sarah Jessica Parker), but also the approval of healthcare workers. Lizbeth Rodriguez, BSN, RN, who works in an ER, says she rotates between the Wool Runners and the Allbirds Tree Runners, both of which she uses with orthopedic inserts. “A major plus from a nurse's perspective is that Allbirds are able to be machine-washed! After a set of shifts, I'll wash them to get them looking brand new,” she says.
Heather Tomazin, BSN, RN, is also a fan. “They are the most comfortable walking shoe, and the foam forms nicely to the shape of your foot,” she says. “They’re lightweight yet provide adequate support, while also being water repellent.”
With 43 different color options available, the Adidas Cloudfoam QT Racer sneakers have a style that’ll work for everyone—no wonder they’ve racked up over 9,600 five-star ratings on Amazon. While the comfy shoes look stylish thanks to a knit textile upper, they’re also supportive for long wear.
“These are the most comfortable and lightweight sneakers I've ever owned,” one shopper wrote. “I'm an ER nurse so I need something that won't make my hips and legs hurt and feet tired and sore after being on my feet for 12 hours. Perfect fit, which is rare to find for wide feet.”
The Brooks Ghost running shoes are a popular running sneaker, which is what Sandra Crawley, RN, BSN, said she first intended to use them for when she bought them during nursing school. “Not only did they look great, they felt great, so I ended up buying a second pair for clinicals,” she told Health. “I have tried other shoes but I keep coming back to the Ghost.”
She loves that the sneakers are lightweight with cushioned insoles, as well as supportive through the midsole for extra ankle support. Because they’re designed for running, they also have great traction to prevent slipping.
Andrea Tran, RN, first discovered these stylish sneakers while shopping at Nordstrom a few years ago. “The salesman brought a pair out for me to try on and they were the most comfortable things I had ever had on my feet,” she said.
They’re designed with especially supportive insoles and thick outsoles that reduce shock while walking. Tran finds them comfortable enough to wear when working on her feet all day, but also appreciates how they look, adding that “the little silver accent makes them extra cute.”
With over 7,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, Akk’s tennis shoes come with lots of praise, specifically from nurses. “I’m a nurse, on my feet 12+ hrs/day, and I have a high arch,” one shopper wrote. “I was looking for a lightweight, cheaper, comfy shoe. With the price being so low I thought I’d take a chance on these and I’m so glad I did! The memory foam is so comfortable even after 3 months of wearing them 4+ days a week for my shifts.”
Available in 26 different colorways, Akk’s sneakers have a cushioned memory foam insole and a non-slip outsole. The honeycomb style of the fabric also makes them especially breathable.
Currently Amazon’s best-selling cross-training shoes, these popular New Balance sneakers have lightweight yet supportive cushioning and memory foam insoles. One Amazon reviewer says they feel like walking on a cloud: “I'm a nurse and I wear them with compression socks and my feet don't feel achy and tired when I get home.”
While some shoppers appreciate this pair’s soft (but not overly squishy) insole, others have opted to add their own orthopedic inserts for extra support—and they say the shoes are still lightweight and comfortable, even with the additional padding.
Crocs are a go-to shoe for many when comfort is a priority, and the lace-up design of this pair makes them an especially secure and supportive option for long walks. Plus, they can easily be wiped down with a sanitizer wipe.
“This shoe is AMAZING! It’s so comfortable, the lining basically massages your feet while you walk,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “They are breathable and you can wipe them down completely. Which is great for me, because I’m a nurse.”
After trying countless other options, Christin Smith, RN, FNP-C, finally found her perfect match in this OOFOS sneaker. “At the end of the day, between being a marathon runner and a bedside nurse my feet would be killing me no matter what,” she says. “OOFOS are honestly the best shoes I’ve tried for work. They are comfortable, easy to slip on, washable, and give me the best support without the weight.”
Shoppers on Amazon seem to agree that the shoes help reduce aches and pains from standing all day long, in addition to relieving plantar fasciitis.
Reebok’s Renaissance Sneaker has a classic design, making it a great option if you’re looking for supportive shoes that can easily be dressed up or down. The lightweight cushioning makes the comfy sneakers suitable for long walks and standing, while the foam liner makes them extra soft.
“I got these for nursing school and they're extremely comfortable!” one Amazon shopper wrote. “My feet feel supported and the memory foam inside makes standing for hours at a time bearable.”
“I've been wearing my Dansko's since I was in nursing school, and I love them because they’re slip-resistant, waterproof, and help support me while I'm running around for 12 hours at a time,” says Miki Rai, BSN, RN. She also likes that after her shifts, she can clean the shoes with a sanitizer wipe to easily disinfect them.
Dansko’s clogs are a favorite among nurses for plenty of reasons: They have a padded insole that makes them comfortable to walk in, they have a roomy toe box that doesn’t result in any pinching, and they’re waterproof. “These are the only shoes that I have found that support my arches comfortably, and my legs, hips, and back are less sore at the end of the day as a result,” wrote one operating room nurse on Amazon.
When it comes to her 12-hour shifts as a labor and delivery nurse, Clara Jones, BSN, RN, swears by her Cloves. “It's hard to decide which colorway I love the most, but it might have to be the Pink Ups! I love that they don't require tied laces, are completely fluid repellent and wipe off cleanly,” she says.
The shoes are designed specifically for healthcare professionals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try them if you’re in a different line of work. In fact, their odor-fighting insoles and slip-on design make them appealing to anyone who is on their feet all day.
Anna Rodriguez, BSN, RN, says she heard about these Bala sneakers before they launched from a friend who was a beta tester. As soon as they were available for pre-order, she got her own pair. “I've been wearing them for a month now and I'm loving them,” she says. “Great arch support (similar to a Dasnkso, but more stable), ankle support, grippy soles (but doesn't squeak on smooth surfaces), fluid-resistant, and Sani-wipable—everything a nurse could ask for.”
She even has a coworker who says they’ve experienced a decrease in knee pain after shifts since switching to these shoes. Like Clove, they’re designed by nurses, for nurses—but they look just as stylish as any classic sneaker.
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