With entire shifts on your feet, nursing is easily one of the most active jobs out there. While the work is undeniably rewarding, it's also incredibly demanding. Spending all day on your feet, moving quickly from patient to patient and acting with razor-sharp reflexes takes as much of a physical toll as a mental one, which is why it's so important to find footwear that provides maximum comfort.
When it comes to choosing the best nursing shoes, don't take a one size fits all approach. Instead, search for something that supports your unique anatomy and gait. To help get you started, this short guide runs through the best options to protect your feet during your busy daily life. What's more, we explain what footwear counteracts nasty performance-threatening ailments such as back pain, flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
Best shoes for flat feet
Flat feet, otherwise known as fallen arches, are a reasonably common issue where the entire base of your foot comes into contact with the ground as you walk. Usually, there's no need to worry. However, in extreme cases, they can lead to painfully stiff joints, ankle sprains and compromised balance.
Before resorting to painkillers and costly physiotherapist appointments, it's worth seeing if you can remedy the situation yourself by making more conscious choices with your footwear.
Wide, low-heeled shoes create a larger surface area as you walk, combatting any wobbliness, and arch supports evenly distribute pressure throughout the whole foot rather than overloading the toes and ankles. People with flat feet also tend to land heavy, so look for a cushiony base or insole that helps with shock absorption.
Best shoes for back pain
Have you ever thought about the connection between your spine and your feet? No? Perhaps it's time to start.
Your legs, more specifically your feet, carry the entire weight of your body, with every step reverberating through your spine. Back pain often occurs when a person unevenly shares weight throughout the foot as they walk, which over time leads to repetitive strain injuries.
Another cause could be overpronation, where the heel's outer edge lands first while the foot rolls inward onto the arch. When it’s not properly treated, the whole alignment of the spine is negatively impacted. That’s paired with a higher risk of strained muscles, ligaments and tendons in the ankle and knee areas.
Supporting your back requires ergonomic footwear, specially designed with cushioned soles and firm heel counters to control overpronation. Sturdy arch supports will also improve your posture by stabilising your legs and vertebrae.
Best shoes for plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament that connects your heel to your toes. It manifests as intense pain around the heel and arch, and in worst-case scenarios prevents people from moving at all. Despite its insidious nature, it's one of the most prevalent orthopaedic ailments, with an estimated 1 in 10 people suffering in their lifetime.
Alongside the standard advice to rest and ice your foot, there are special footwear features that can alleviate symptoms.
Wide shoes with low heels, dense insoles and heel pads soften every step and act as insulation between your foot and the floor. Ideally, the extra cushioning will be located around the midfoot to prevent impact on the heel, the most common place a person with plantar fasciitis will feel pain. For extra support, a firm heel counter minimises inflammation and stops the plantar fascia from over-stretching.
Best shoes for busy nursing shifts
Whether you’re a midwife or a critical care nurse, nursing is a naturally busy profession. For hectic shifts, it's essential to find a shoe that can effortlessly move with you, something that's ultra-durable, slip-resistant and enclosed. By prioritising these safety features, you'll avoid nasty slips, trips and falls while rushing between wards.
The material should also be lightweight and breathable. Not only will this boost the bearability of being on your feet all day, but it will also eradicate nasty overuse conditions such as athlete's foot, blisters and bunions.
Best shoes for men
A good pair of nursing shoes for men are particularly tricky to come by, mostly down to style considerations. While it might sound superficial to focus on fashion, it really isn’t. When you feel content in a pair of shoes, both practically and aesthetically, you're likely to perform better at work. Alongside this, mean often have larger feet, which require a wider fit with more wiggle room for toes.
Finding the right fit
While footwear for nurses might seem like a small part of your uniform, it can have a significant impact on how you do your job and how you feel throughout the day. That’s why it’s so important to find the right fit.
At Toffeln, we’ve devoted our time to creating an exceptional range of fully-compliant, lovely looking footwear for healthcare professionals, led by the latest biomechanics research. Browse our full range of nursing clogs, trainers, shoes and boots now.