If medical dramas were actually accurate, nurses would get a hell of a lot more air time. From taking vitals to administering medication and working directly with patients, nurses are the heartbeat of the hospital. Whether they’re doing rounds, aiding in surgery or pulling overnight shifts, they spend hours on their feet. So when it comes to finding a good, quality shoe that’s supportive and comfortable for all-day wear, nurses know what they’re talking about.
“I look for comfort. I mean, that’s gonna be your biggest thing,” Jacquelyn Coles Bielich, a registered nurse and clinical specialist at Medtronic, told HuffPost. “You’re wearing these shoes for an extended period of time, whether you work eight-hour shifts, a full 12 or staying extra and doing the 16.”
As Coles Bielich describes it, the ideal nursing shoe isn’t just good for standing. They need to be comfortable and supportive for walking and even running if there’s an emergency they need to get to quickly. They also have to be comfortable and supportive when bending over and interacting with reclined or seated patients or grabbing things from low storage.
“When you’re standing in those positions for so long, your body changes,” Coles Bielich said. “Your lower back may sway out a little bit or your knees may bend, you might shift your weight back and forth from each leg to try to like alleviate those pressure points.”
With this in mind, Coles Bielich suggests really moving around in a pair of shoes before deciding to wear them. You want to get a feel for walking, bending, standing and feeling supported all the way.
Whether you’re also a nurse or you’re just in the market for a good pair of supportive shoes, Coles Bielich and other nurses shared their favorite kicks to wear at work.
HuffPost receives a share from retailers on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to the incorrect material to describe the Dansko clogs’ soles.
Dansko Professional clogs
"[The first time] I tried on Danskos they felt like heaven. I know that sounds really weird because they're wooden clogs, but the support that it had, and it had like a higher arch, so I didn't feel like my ankles or knees were buckling inward. So that's what I stuck with. I just go straight for the classic ones with the wooden sole. I have a couple of different pairs in different patterns and colors; one of them is cheetah print. I think it gets a little personality too, which I like." — Coles
Dansko Professional clogs come in 10 colors in women's sizes 4.5-13 and men sizes 4.5-10. This popular style has PU soles printed with a wood pattern.
Nike Air Max 270
"For the last year I have been wearing Nike brand 270s! I love them! I do surgery all day and they feel like I’m walking on air! I originally bought them for style and I put them on for work one day and NEVER LOOKED BACK!" — Shakira McNeal, surgical assistant
The Nike Air Max 270 comes in 11 colors in women's sizes 5-12 and men's sizes 6-15.
Adidas Ultraboost shoes
"I wear Adidas Ultraboost sneakers. They’re my go-to, helps when I’m on the run seeing 20+ patients per day!" — Gina Grube, a certified registered nurse practitioner specializing in pediatrics
The Adidas Ultraboost women's running shoes come in eight colors in women's sizes 5-12, and in nine colors in men's sizes 4-18.
Brooks Ghost sneakers
"[These] are the most comfortable waking shoe they are very comfortable for all occasions." — nurse Victoria Comeau
The Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes come in 18 colors in women's sizes 5-13, and in 16 colors in men's sizes 7-15.
On Cloud sneakers
"[These] are also fantastic. Especially after having a baby, I truly just care about comfort." — Comeau
These On Cloud sneakers come in 15 colors in women's sizes 5-11 and men's sizes 7-14.
"I love my Hokas for nursing. They feel like clouds and [come in] fun colors! I had Clifton Hokas because I was obsessed with the canteloupe color
, but now have the Bondi ones, again, mostly chosen by available colors. ...They are not waterproof, which is not great for the messy emergency room department, but they've done alright in the washing machine a few times!" — nurse Aly Thibault
The Hoka Bondi comes in 11 colors in women's sizes 5-12, and in 12 colors in men's sizes 7-16.
ASICS running shoes
"For shoes I love ASICS, anything bright and colorful, definitely suitable for running." — nurse Bethany Gayda
These ASICS Gel-Venture 8 running shoes come in 28 colors in women's sizes 5-12, with wide options, and in 25 colors in men's sizes 7-15 with wide and extra-wide options.
"The shoes that I love for work are Veja sneakers. I wear them when I go up for outreach/wound care. They [contain] ethically [sourced] materials [and are] responsibly made. Very comfortable and have lasted now for about 4 years." — Jen Field, a nurse in a drug and alcohol detox facility
These Veja Rio Branco sneakers come in four colors in women's sizes 5-11 and men's sizes 8-12.
"I love to wear Crocs when I’m at work! I personally find them to be comfortable, ideal for long periods of walking and standing, and they’re easy to clean off at the end of a shift. I love that that come in fun colors and “themes” so I can express myself with my leopard print, super glittery or Lisa Frank-printed shoes. They really speak to my personality and my patients and their families have something to laugh about during an extremely difficult time! Just another way to stay comfortable and cool, and bring a little light in darkness to my patients." — Keri Georgilas, critical care nurse
These Lisa Frank-style crocs come in women's sizes 5-12 and men's sizes 3-13.
"Cloves are the one branded as a 'nursing shoe' because they’re waterproof, easy to clean, etc. I wear them, they’re relatively comfy. Being waterproof is one of the reasons I like them. No pee or blood in my socks!" — nurse Katherine Glick
Clove Classics come in 26 colors in women's sizes 5-12.5 and men's sizes 7-13.
Clarks Un.Loop slip-on shoes
While not specifically recommended by any of the nurses that we interviewed, longtime comfort footwear brand Clarks is a known favorite brand among medical professionals — or anyone whose job involves standing for extended hours. The brand’s Un.Loop leather slip-on is a comfortable and even stylish option that features a removable cushioned footbed and breathable interior that promises all-day support in addition to a bit of flair.Promising Amazon review:
“I am an ER nurse who is on my feet for 12 hour shifts, so I am always on the search for COMFORTABLE shoes. I have decided through much trial an error that Clarks are the best. I have 4 pairs of their shoes and these were my latest purchase. The problem with some comfortable shoes are they are hideous. These are stylish and comfortable to work in. Although I would wear these as well to run around in on my days off too. You cannot go wrong with these shoes.” — cdafft
Promising Clarks review:
“I have been purchasing this style for what I believe is the last decade. I’m on my third pair. Just picked up my 4th as my others are finally showing wear and tear. So comfortable. Durable. Can wear them at work where I can be on my feet for 8-10 hours. I have slightly narrow feet and a narrow heel which makes finding shoes that fit well a bit of a hunt. Dressy enough but still casual. I hope this style is never discontinued!” — LH-MN
Adidas Cloudfoam 2.0 sneaker
Another reviewer-vetted pick comes from Adidas — the brand’s popular Cloudfoam style is a hit among nurses
, according to numerous reviews on Amazon. Adidas offers them in sizes 5-11 and in 18 colors.Promising Amazon review:
“I love how bright white these shoes are. I’ll probably wear them indoors only to keep them that way. I ordered white and black. I’m a nurse so I’m in sneakers daily. I also have a toddler and wanted a pair of sneakers to wear when we go on walks or play outside. The seller shipped quickly and I’m so pleased I got both pairs on sale.” — Amazon Customer
Promising Adidas review:
“As a healthcare professional, I spend a lot of time on my feet and need a shoe that can keep up with my demanding job. The Adidas Cloudfoam shoes have been a game-changer for me. These shoes are incredibly comfortable and supportive, which is essential for me when I'm standing for hours on end. The Cloudfoam technology in the midsole provides excellent cushioning and absorbs shock, which has helped to reduce fatigue in my feet and legs. The lightweight and breathable mesh upper also helps to keep my feet cool and dry during long shifts. One of the best things about these shoes is their affordability. As someone who is always on a budget, I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable price point considering the high level of comfort and quality construction. I also appreciate the stylish design of these shoes, which allows me to feel confident and professional while on the job. Overall, I highly recommend the Adidas Cloudfoam shoes to anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, especially healthcare professionals. These shoes are comfortable, supportive, and affordable, making them an excellent investment for anyone looking for a reliable and stylish shoe for work or everyday wear.” — Sponcer