If you literally never want to sit down on the job, a nursing career may be for you. When you think about jobs requiring a lot of standing, some obvious ones, like cooks, cashiers, and bartenders, come to mind. And when you picture people sitting around at work all day, you probably picture accountants and maybe even bus drivers. But what about nurses? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average American worker spends just 39% of the workday sitting and 61% on their feet. That same study showed that nurses are on their feet for 71.9% of their workday and sit for just 28.1% of it. Standing in one spot all day is one thing, but nurses are constantly walking throughout their day, especially nurses who work at hospitals bouncing from patient to patient. A study by the National Library of Medicine reported that the average distance walked during a 10-hour nursing shift is 3 miles, with some nurses walking as much as 5 miles daily.
While there are many demands that a nursing career may physically place on a person’s body, it should be no surprise that one of the most common nurse health complaints is foot pain, as shift lengths for most nurses are at least 12 hours long. According to Nurse.org, the more hours that health care professionals are required to stand each shift, the higher the risk of adverse health outcomes, including, but not limited to, leg and foot pain, lower back pain, fatigue, cardiovascular issues, and pregnancy-related health issues. While there are many ways to help alleviate foot pain, like stretching, compression socks, and maintaining good hydration, the key to avoiding many problems associated with foot fatigue starts with choosing good, quality footwear. Here are some of the best nursing shoes, popular with both home health care nurses and hospital nurses.
Budget-Friendly Options: New Balance Women’s 608 V5 Cross Trainer and the New Balance Figs
Many of the shoes that advertise themselves as “nursing shoes” range from $90 to $130, but several options will give you good quality at a much lower price point. When researching footwear for nurses, you may notice one brand of sneakers that comes up time and time again, proving you just can’t beat a classic. These are the tried-and-true kicks from New Balance. Two types were designed specifically for nurses: the New Balance Women’s 608 V5 Cross Trainer and the New Balance Figs. They boast features such as a super-cushioned base, comfortable foam near the ankle, a flexible outsole, and stain-resistant leather uppers. But the best part is that they come in at a much more attractive price than other pairs of shoes, ranging from $49.99 to $79.99. “I have worn nothing but New Balance for close to 25 years,” writes a nurse who works 12-hour days. “If you have a job where you are constantly on your feet, this is the shoe for you…they are true to size, and after working long hours my feet don’t hurt.”
Nurses Choice: Bala Twelves
Given all the time nurses spend on their feet and walking, it goes without saying how important a comfortable pair of shoes can be. And while there are many excellent nursing shoe options, the Bala Twelves are the clear-cut favorite. According to their website, tens of thousands of nurses and biomechanics experts pitched in to help design the Bala Twelves sneaker. The result is a “uniquely crafted shoe based on female foot morphology and packed with nurse-specific features,” such as high traction and support, fluid resistance, and machine washability, to name a few. And the name reflects the all-day comfort they provide to nurses who are grinding out those 12-hour shifts and need supportive and comfortable footwear. So, if you are looking for a shoe not just endorsed by nurses but created by nurses that have literally “walked the walk,” these may be the shoe for you. But, of course, at $150, the Bala Twelves may be best for your feet, but maybe not your wallet.
An honorable mention must be given to clogs. No matter where you work, you are more than likely to work with a few RNs who still prefer the good old-fashioned clog. Whichever option you choose, whether they be top-of-line, budget-conscious, or practical “old reliables,” protecting your feet is paramount as a healthcare worker. And choosing good quality footwear will be one step in managing some of the body impacts of a job that is rewarding, but keeps you on your toes every day, both literally and figuratively.