7 Types of Shoes Nurses and Healthcare Specialists Wear at Work

There are numerous types of shoes for nurses and other specialists to wear regarding design and functionality.

Yet, the footwear most CNAs, LPNs, registered nurses, and healthcare specialists wear is one of seven categories.

It includes Clogs, Crocs, tennis sneakers, athletic footwear, walking shoes, healthcare-focused footwear, and everyday footwear.

Common Types of Shoes Nurses Wear:

  1. Clogs 
  2. Crocs
  3. Tennis sneakers
  4. Walking shoes
  5. Athletic footwear
  6. Healthcare focused footwear
  7. Everyday footwear

Each design has advantages to accommodate specific healthcare settings and conditions depending on the user’s needs.

Footwear requirements vary from one healthcare facility to the next based on the nurse’s discipline and unit.

For instance, nurses in highly infectious or hazardous environments must follow specific safety standards and protocols.

Many healthcare centers require closed-toe shoes with covered heels and slip-resistance bottoms.

In rare cases, they may require fully waterproof uppers, specific hazard protection features, and other distinct attributes. 

Healthcare facilities must ensure nurses have proper protection from chemicals, falling objects, bacteria, and slippery floors.

Besides protection, adequately designed footwear ensures that healthcare specialists maintain a professional appearance.

Open-toe shoe designs, footwear with holes, and open heels don’t deliver a professional image in medical environments.

Before making a purchase, understanding the differences between various types of shoes for nurses is essential.

It enables healthcare workers to make the most suitable buying decision based on their personal needs and work setting.

Hopefully, this guide clarifies the distinctions between the various types of shoes for nurses and healthcare professionals.

1. Clogs

Many nurses and other healthcare professionals wear clogs daily due to their convenience and unique features.

This footwear offers excellent comfort, support, and a protective design for healthcare professionals.

Clogs feature a roomy toe box, sturdy construction, and supportive heel.

These characteristics help enhance comfort and stability and prevent the shoe from slipping off during work.

Some nursing clogs offer progressive slip resistance, reinforced toe guards, and waterproof/stain-resistant materials.

Most clogs comprise various rugged materials, including resin, synthetic leather, or suede.

Every material has pros and cons to accommodate specific situations and user needs.

Clogs offer numerous advantages for nurses requiring footwear with exceptional comfort, support, and built-in protection.

2. Crocs

Crocs comprise a solid resin base that’s great for medical professionals.

Naturally, crocs feature a vented air portal front and an open or low-level heel design.

It allows for excellent breathability, comfort, and support in casual and nonprofessional settings.

Nevertheless, closed crocs accommodate healthcare providers working in settings requiring full foot coverage and protection.

Besides full foot coverage designs, most crocs comprise a foam/resin base to adjust quickly and flex with the wearer’s foot.

As a result, it provides exceptional comfort and mobility when walking on different flooring and terrain.

A versatile base is vital because hospital registered nurses work on hard floors throughout their long 12-hour work shifts.

Therefore, they require comfortable footwear to protect their feet and remain relaxed.

Numerous podiatrists and people experiencing medical ailments have declared the benefits of wearing crocs.

As a result, many individuals who spend long sessions walking and standing wear crocs to maintain comfort and support.

Some people also wear crocs as a fashion statement or for particular activities because of their comfort, style, and support.

Finally, ensure the design is work-appropriate before buying crocs for use in a healthcare setting.

A proper design is vital because healthcare facilities ban specific crocs if they don’t provide adequate coverage and protection.

3. Tennis Sneakers

Many CNAs, LPNs, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers love wearing tennis shoes.

Suitable tennis shoes offer an ideal balance of comfort, support, stability, and performance among highly active people.

They also offer excellent shock absorption, a lightweight design, and a versatile foundation.

It makes tennis sneakers the ideal footwear for nurses and healthcare workers in busy settings requiring undue daily walking.

Tennis shoes offer advantages, including ankle support, memory foam insoles, grippy bottoms, and lightweight materials.

Accordingly, athletic nurses or those who regularly wear tennis shoes prefer this design for work and personal use.

4. Walking Shoes

Walking shoes offer outstanding ankle support, cushioning, and midsole compliance for those who travel at a steady gait.

This footwear isn’t designed for high-impact environments or long-running sessions.

However, they offer appropriate protection, a lightweight design, and solid support for slower-paced activities.

Walking shoes vary distinctly from running footwear.

These shoes often exchange extra cushioning for a lighter-weight structure.

They also provide an alternative heel strike zone for slower roll-through movement rather than more impactful running.

Finally, walking shoes offer deviations regarding flexibility, heel flare, and ankle support.

5. Athletic Footwear

Athletic footwear does comprise tennis shoes and walking shoes, as mentioned previously in the article.

Nevertheless, numerous types of athletic footwear exist beyond the favored tennis/walking shoe designs nurses wear.

It includes running, basketball, court, cross trainers, and walking shoes.

There is also athletic footwear unacceptable for nurses, like cleats, minimalist shoes, golf shoes, and hiking boots.

As a result, we’ll stick with the most suitable athletic shoes for nurses and healthcare professionals.

Running, basketball, court, cross trainers, and walking shoes provide unique features that accommodate different settings.

For instance, running shoes offer an adjustable base and versatile bottom for fast movement and long-paced sessions.

It enables nurses to move around comfortably throughout the day while maintaining suitable comfort and support.

Basketball shoes deliver excellent ankle coverage and thick midsoles to absorb shock from hard impacts.

Thus, nurses must determine their job setting, needs, and work pace to determine which athletic footwear is most suitable.

6. Healthcare Focused Footwear

There are numerous healthcare-focused footwear brands that nurses love when it comes to work or school settings.

It includes brands like Allbirds, Clove, Crocs, Dansko, and Nike, which offer healthcare-focused footwear designs.

Companies like Asics, Brooks, Hoka, New Balance, Reebok, Skechers, Orthofeet, and Puma also make suitable footwear.

Some companies provide distinctive footwear designed specifically for nurses and healthcare workers.

For instance, Allbirds, Clove, Crocs, Dansko, and Nike sell healthcare-focused designs.

These shoes provide grippy outsoles, versatile midsoles, hazard protection, and a professional appearance.

As a result, they’re great for nurses and healthcare workers operating on hard floors and hazardous environments.

Other brands create footwear designs that accommodate service workers that overlap closely with healthcare.

For instance, Skechers offers slip-resistant work shoes with leather/synthetic uppers, memory foam, and supportive heels.

New Balance, Orhofeet, and other brands also provide orthopedic, nurse-friendly footwear.

Nurses looking for suitable healthcare-focused footwear should check out some of the brands mentioned above.

7. Everyday Footwear

Everyday footwear suits nurses who are moderately on their feet and spend a decent portion of time sitting or resting.

These include casual shoes, slip-on footwear, and comfy sneakers for informal and relaxed settings.

Everyday footwear is generally very comfortable and has a flat but grippy outsole that complements casual walking.

As a result, they’re ideal for environments that don’t require long-distance walking or highly active movements.

One compelling reason to wear casual shoes is they look amazing and are excellent for fashionable nurses in office settings.

Nevertheless, they aren’t suitable for highly active or hazardous healthcare workplaces.

Selecting Exceptional Footwear For Nursing

As mentioned earlier, nurses typically wear one of seven footwear designs.

Each shoe has benefits and constraints regarding healthcare settings and looks fantastic with different work scrubs.

However, picking the appropriate nursing shoes depends on the nurse’s health, condition, foot type, and personal style.

Many healthcare professionals aren’t aware of how much of an impact a solid pair of nursing shoes can have on their work.

A well-designed shoe can significantly improve a healthcare worker’s overall comfort, work performance, and happiness.

The best shoes for healthcare workers minimize stress throughout the feet, legs, and back and offer optimal foot coverage.

In addition, they make completing daily work duties much easier with adequate support and comfort on hard surfaces.

Some healthcare centers have specific footwear requirements depending on where you work.

As a result, nurses and other healthcare workers must select footwear carefully to follow their facility’s clothing guidelines.

Healthcare facilities sometimes ban specific footwear if they don’t provide adequate protection and professionalism.

Most locations require slip-resistant bottoms and a protective design covering your entire foot.

Therefore, consider these hazards when picking nursing shoes in facilities where falling objects or spills occur daily.

Consulting a foot specialist is beneficial for nurses looking for footwear that adequately suits their foot’s shape and needs.

A foot care specialist can accurately measure the foot and determine the most suitable footwear to accommodate the situation.

They can also address common medical concerns and help prevent choosing a design that may cause discomfort and ailments.

Few things matter as much to a nurse’s foot health and support as high-quality footwear designed for their circumstances.