Should Nurses Wear Running, Training, or Orthopedic Shoes?


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Nurses are caregivers of the hospital. Without them, patients will not be given the proper care they need. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Permanente Journal, an average nurse walks about 3 miles in a 10-hour day shift.


With that amount of constant movement, you can already tell how important it is for nurses to wear shoes that are both comfortable and functional. But what kind of shoes are appropriate for the job?
Orthopedic Shoes

Relevance of Wearing Good Nursing Shoes

Wearing the right kind of shoes, especially for jobs that call for a lot of walking, is imperative. After all, the condition of our feet affects the rest of the body. Tired feet could mean the inability to perform our best, which for a nurse’s case, can be fatal to patients.
Good nursing shoes should be able to help maintain their correct posture. It should allow for a natural range of motion for the foot. It should not cause any pain to the ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. More importantly, good nursing shoes should keep the nurses away from accidents and injury.

Additionally, wearing good shoes could substantially enhance a nurse’s performance in terms of added speed and endurance. Remember, nursing is an important and demanding profession. Wearing appropriate shoes could go a long way to enhance the quality of patient care.

Qualities That Make For Good Nursing Shoes

When deciding which shoes to wear, a nurse should consider two factors: general qualities and his personal considerations.

The general qualities that a nurse should look for in shoes are pretty much connected to the reasons in the preceding section:

  1. It should be lightweight so it won’t literally be a burden to wear;
  2. It should be able to protect both the feet and socks from any fluids spilling in the course of the shift;
  3. It should be durable to withstand long hours of hard work;
  4. It should have good support at the back; and
  5. It should be easy to clean and maintain to afford the nurse the time to rest instead of cleaning it up and for sanitation purposes.

The personal considerations are, of course, personal but the following factors should be considered when choosing shoes:

  1. Personal biomechanics or how skeletal and muscular systems work under different conditions;
  2. Medical history, including past and current injuries;
  3. Weight;
  4. Fit of the shoe and whether it is comfortable to wear; and
  5. The frequency of usage, to gauge whether to have multiple pairs or to replace at least twice a year.

Running VS Training VS Orthopedic Shoes for Nurses

The truth is there is no one correct answer to what the best shoes are for a nurse, as this depends on the various general qualities of what makes a good pair of shoes vis-à-vis the personal considerations of the nurse.

We can, however, go through the benefits of running, training, and orthopedic shoes to give you at least an idea on which one suits you best.

Should Nurses Wear Running Shoes?


A good pair of running shoes is a must for its midsole foot cushioning, arch support, and aiding in the prevention of injuries.

The midsole cushioning is one of the most important benefits of using running shoes, mainly due to its help in reducing the stress placed on the heel, ankles, and toes. This feature basically makes running comfortable and a lot safer for the runner. Additionally, midsole cushioning helps prevent knee, hip, and back pains.

The arch support, on the other hand, is best for flat-footed nurses. Both midsole cushioning and arch support also help prevent injuries including tendonitis, stress fractures, and joint pain. These are features that a nurse can definitely benefit from, provided the intensity of their profession.

Benefits of Training Shoes

The most prominent benefit of training shoes is that it basically covers all activities. It is versatile, durable, and functional. A nurse would find it comfortable when using it for running, walking, and engaging in multiple activities.

While a pair of training shoes is breathable, it is quite heavier than a regular pair due to its multipurpose design. Therefore, it will tend to have a thicker, heavier sole than, say, walking shoes. Additionally, it has more support as it is built to tread multiple surfaces.
That said, between running and training shoes, nurses might consider choosing the former. The reason for this is that while their profession calls for long hours of walking and perhaps a little running once in a while, they do not necessarily have to endure uneven grounds.

Benefits of Orthopedic Shoes

Wearing orthopedic shoes can positively affect the body and, in some cases, even treat ankle injuries. It can also help ease leg, hip, and lower back pains. Orthopedic shoes or an orthotic provides arch support and lessens the strain on specific areas of the foot.

Other benefits of wearing orthotics include reconditioning the ability to walk or run by reducing the pain causing the foot problem, enhancing the stability of unstable joints in both ankle and foot, easing hip and back problems, and preventing certain foot deformities.
Based on its benefits, it would seem that the purpose of orthopedic shoes is more of reducing bodily pain. While this can be useful to some nurses who are suffering from such pains, not all nurses can find this useful. Therefore, between running shoes and orthopedic shoes, running shoes appear to be more advantageous for nurses.

As mentioned, the best choice of which shoes to wear as a nurse depends on their needs and preferences. But now that we have listed down the different benefits of each type of shoe, we can surmise that running shoes may be the best option for a nurse.

It is not as heavy as training shoes and, therefore, can be worn in a longer period of time—considering nurses usually work 10 hours a shift. On the other hand, orthopedic shoes appear to be more on the healing side, which means it only benefits certain nurses with muscular problems.

What do you think is the best pair of shoes for a nurse? Or is there any other type of shoes that you find more suitable to wear for duty? Tell us your thoughts.


This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Healthtian does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, read more.


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