One of the things you learn first-hand in clinical is that a nurse needs to be able to hit the ground running. A nurse can clock several miles in one shift, darting back-and-forth between patients and the nursing station. While you support your patients, you need a good shoe that’s going to support you.

Comfortable shoes are fairly new to nursing uniforms. “Back when I was on the nursing floor, we couldn’t wear tennis shoes or gym shoes,” says Cindy Malinowski, sequence leader for our RN-BSN program. “We had to wear nursing shoes, and there wasn’t enough support. So by the end of the day, your feet and your back would ache.”

Today, the typical nursing shoe is an athletic shoe, usually in all white or all black. To find a good nursing shoe, look for one that:

  • is slip-resistant;
  • has a stable, cushioned sole;
  • is easy to clean;
  • has good arch support, or room to add an orthotic insert for more comfort;
  • is breathable; and
  • meets your workplace’s requirements.

Mennonite College of Nursing students and faculty report getting their shoes from the Sole Savers, a shoe store operating out of a podiatrist’s office, as well as Shoe Carnival, Adrian’s Shoes & Repair, and various running stores. Here are our top brands to look out for:

  • Dansko
  • Alegria
  • Nike
  • Asics
  • New Balance
  • Vionics

MCN senior James Kramer was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Nike Pulse shoes he pre-ordered, which have since sold out. The shoes are one of many lines created with health care providers in mind, and this shoe in particular was designed by pediatric patients at a children’s hospital.

Whichever brand you choose, you may want to grab two pairs for your workday. Shoes often lose cushioning after about six hours of wear, which is why your feet might be aching halfway through your shift.

“I’d go cheap on my scrubs, but never with shoes,” says Gloria Prince, who is the sequence leader in our traditional BSN program. “If your feet are sore, then your back and hips are, too, and you’ll end up with even bigger issues down the road.”

For a nurse or anyone else who spends a significant amount of time on their feet, the right shoe is just as important to healthy living as a well-balanced diet. To take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. “Believe me,” Prince says, “30 years in the field and I wouldn’t still be on my feet without good shoes.”


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