Best Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain Illustration

The Best Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain (2024)

by | Updated: Mar 23, 2024

Nursing is an incredibly demanding profession, requiring long hours on one’s feet and constant movement throughout the day.

For many nurses, these physical demands can lead to back pain, a common complaint in the healthcare industry.

Selecting the right footwear can significantly alleviate this discomfort and promote overall well-being, enabling these selfless individuals to continue providing exceptional care to their patients.

In this article, we will explore the best shoes for nurses with back pain, taking into account factors such as support, cushioning, and slip resistance to identify the top choices that marry function with style and promote a healthy work environment.

Best Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 8 Women's Running Shoes

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 8 Women's Running Shoes

  • Meta-rocker technology
  • Slip-resistant outsole
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Budget Pick
Slow Man Women's Sock Sneakers

Slow Man Women's Sock Sneakers

  • Breathable and smooth fabric (like socks)
  • Non-slip and wear-resistant
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Upgrade Pick
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8 Women's Running Shoes

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8 Women's Running Shoes

  • Extended pull tab and foam padding
  • Shock-absorbing technology
Check Price
Best Clogs
Dansko Professional Slip-On Clog

Dansko Professional Slip-On Clog

  • Contoured footbed
  • Roomy toe box
Check Price
Best Running Shoes
Brooks Ghost 14 Women's Neutral Running Shoe

Brooks Ghost 14 Women's Neutral Running Shoe

  • Simplified midsole construction
  • Integrated shock absorbers
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Best Unisex
Crocs Unisex On The Clock Clog

Crocs Unisex On The Clock Clog

  • Enhanced arch support
  • Easy to clean
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Best Shoe Brands for Nurse with Back Pain

  1. Hokas
  2. Ryka
  3. Clogs
  4. Brooks
  5. On Cloud
  6. Asics
  7. OOFOS
  8. Skechers
  9. Nike
  10. Adidas
  11. Crocs
  12. New Balance
  13. Reebok

1. Hokas

Hoka One One has built a reputation for crafting high-quality footwear that provides exceptional cushioning and support, making them an excellent choice for nurses with back pain.

With their signature oversized midsole, Hokas deliver superior shock absorption and stability, reducing the strain on feet and joints during long shifts.

These lightweight shoes also feature breathable materials and a comfortable, roomy fit, ensuring that nurses can focus on their patients without being distracted by aching feet.

Our Top Pick
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 8 Women's Running Shoes Shoes

These are ideal for medical professionals due to their exceptional cushioning and support, which help alleviate foot fatigue during long shifts.

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2. Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe

The Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoes are a top choice for nurses seeking relief from back pain.

Designed specifically for women, these shoes boast a unique combination of comfort, support, and style, making them an excellent option for long hours on the job.

With their breathable mesh upper and seamless overlays, the Devotion Plus 2 offers a snug yet flexible fit, allowing for natural movement and ventilation throughout the day.

One of the standout features of the Devotion Plus 2 is the RE-ZORB active foam cushioning system. This innovative technology provides excellent shock absorption, distributing impact evenly across the foot and reducing stress on the spine.

The cushioning, coupled with the lightweight design, ensures that nurses can move comfortably and efficiently during their shifts.

Our Top Pick
Ryka Women's Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe

These shoes provide exceptional support, cushioning, and slip resistance, making them an ideal choice for nurses seeking relief from back pain during long shifts.

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3. Clogs

Clogs have long been a favorite among healthcare professionals, and it’s easy to see why. Known for their simple, slip-on design and wide toe box, clogs provide ample space for the feet to breathe and spread out comfortably during extended periods of standing and walking.

Many nursing clogs are made with easy-to-clean materials, such as leather or synthetic uppers, and slip-resistant outsoles for added safety on slick hospital floors.

Brands like Dansko and Crocs offer a variety of clogs tailored specifically to the needs of nurses, ensuring both comfort and durability.

Our Top Pick
Dansko Women's Professional Clogs

These are a popular choice for medical professionals due to their exceptional arch support and all-day comfort provided by the contoured footbed. The slip-resistant outsole and easy-to-clean leather upper also make them ideal for navigating the fast-paced hospital setting.

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4. Brooks

Brooks is a well-known brand in the running community, but their shoes are also an excellent choice for nurses who spend hours on their feet.

With a focus on cushioning and support, Brooks shoes feature innovative technologies like the DNA LOFT and BioMoGo DNA midsoles, which adapt to the wearer’s stride and provide personalized comfort.

These shoes also have breathable mesh uppers and a secure fit, ensuring that nurses can move with confidence and ease throughout their shifts.

Our Top Pick
Brooks Women's Ghost 14 Neutral Running Shoes

These are an excellent option for medical professionals, thanks to their responsive cushioning and smooth ride, which help reduce foot fatigue during long shifts.

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5. On Cloud

On Cloud is a Swiss-engineered brand that combines cutting-edge technology with sleek, modern design, making them an attractive option for style-conscious nurses.

Their patented CloudTec® sole technology provides a unique blend of softness and responsiveness, cushioning each step while still allowing for natural foot movement.

The lightweight and breathable construction, coupled with a supportive midsole and slip-resistant outsole, make On Cloud shoes an excellent choice for those seeking both comfort and performance in their nursing footwear.

Our Top Pick
ON Cloud Women's Cloudswift Sneakers

These are a great choice for medical professionals, as they provide superior cushioning and support through the innovative Helion™ superfoam, which helps reduce foot fatigue.

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6. Asics

Asics is a renowned brand in the world of athletic footwear, and their shoes have garnered a loyal following among nurses as well.

Known for their innovative GEL cushioning technology, Asics shoes provide excellent shock absorption and support, which is essential for long hours of standing and walking on hard hospital floors.

Additionally, their breathable mesh uppers and structured heel support contribute to an overall comfortable and secure fit. Asics offers a wide range of styles to suit the preferences of nurses, making them a popular choice in the healthcare industry.

Our Top Pick
ASICS Women's Gel-Kayano 28 Running Shoes

These are well-suited for medical professionals, as they offer excellent stability and cushioning with their GEL™ technology and FlyteFoam™ midsole. These features help reduce foot fatigue during long shifts, while the breathable mesh upper ensures lasting comfort in demanding healthcare environments.

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7. OOFOS

OOFOS is a brand that specializes in recovery footwear, which translates well to the demands of the nursing profession.

Their shoes feature proprietary OOfoam technology, which provides outstanding impact absorption and arch support, making them perfect for nurses who need relief during and after a long day on their feet.

OOFOS shoes also boast a soft, comfortable footbed that cradles the feet, promoting natural motion and reducing stress on joints.

With their slip-resistant soles and easy-to-clean materials, OOFOS footwear is a practical and comfortable choice for nurses.

Our Top Pick
OOFOS Women's Slip-on Sneaker

These sneakers are a solid choice for medical professionals because of their patented OOfoam™ technology, which provides superior shock absorption and arch support, reducing foot fatigue during long shifts. 

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8. Skechers

Skechers is a popular footwear brand known for its wide range of comfortable and stylish shoes that cater to various professions, including nursing.

With their focus on comfort, Skechers shoes often feature memory foam insoles, providing nurses with a cushioned and supportive base for their long shifts.

The brand’s breathable and lightweight materials, combined with their flexible and slip-resistant outsoles, make them an excellent choice for nurses seeking a balance of comfort, support, and durability.

Our Top Pick
Skechers Women's D'lux Walker-Infinite Motion Sneaker

These are a great option for medical professionals because they provide exceptional comfort and support through their Air-Cooled Memory Foam insole and lightweight midsole.

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9. Nike

Nike, a household name in athletic footwear, offers a variety of shoes suitable for nurses who prioritize comfort, performance, and style.

Many of their models feature advanced cushioning technologies that provide responsive support and shock absorption, making them ideal for extended periods of standing and walking.

Furthermore, their lightweight and breathable designs help keep feet comfortable and dry during long shifts. With a wide range of styles and colors available, Nike shoes can cater to the diverse tastes of nurses.

Our Top Pick
Nike Women's Low-Top Trainers Sneaker

These are lightweight and breathable but still provide excellent cushioning and support thanks to their responsive midsoles, helping to reduce foot fatigue while in the hospital.

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10. Adidas

Adidas is another prominent athletic footwear brand that has made its mark in the world of nursing shoes. Known for their innovative BOOST and BOUNCE midsole technologies, Adidas shoes deliver exceptional energy return and cushioning, reducing fatigue during long shifts.

The brand’s breathable and lightweight materials, combined with a supportive and snug fit, ensure that nurses can move with ease and comfort throughout their workday.

Adidas offers a variety of styles, from sleek running shoes to more casual options, providing nurses with footwear choices that cater to their preferences and needs.

Our Top Pick
Adidas Women's Ultraboost 22 Running Shoes

These shoes not only look great but they are also constructed with responsive Boost cushioning and a supportive Primeknit upper, which help reduce foot fatigue during long shifts.

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11. Crocs

Crocs have become a staple in the healthcare industry, providing nurses with practical and comfortable footwear options.

Known for their signature clog style, Crocs are made from a soft, lightweight Croslite material that molds to the foot, offering both cushioning and support.

The easy-to-clean, waterproof design makes them ideal for the demands of a hospital environment, while the slip-resistant soles ensure safety on wet or slippery floors.

With a variety of styles and colors available, Crocs cater to the diverse needs and preferences of nurses.

Our Top Pick
Crocs Unisex On The Clock Clog

These are an excellent choice for medical professionals because they feature a comfortable and lightweight Croslite™ foam construction with a slip-resistant outsole, ensuring both comfort and safety in the workplace. 

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12. New Balance

New Balance is a well-established athletic footwear brand that offers a range of shoes suitable for nurses and medical professionals.

Their shoes are designed with comfort and support in mind, featuring technologies such as the ABZORB and Fresh Foam cushioning systems, which provide excellent shock absorption and stability.

Additionally, New Balance shoes often have breathable mesh uppers and a roomy toe box, ensuring that feet remain comfortable and cool during long shifts.

With a variety of styles and widths available, New Balance caters to nurses with varying foot shapes and preferences.

Our Top Pick
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker

These sneakers are an ideal choice for healthcare workers due to their Fresh Foam midsole, which offers plush cushioning and support to help keep your feet feeling fresh while on the job.

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13. Reebok

Reebok, a reputable brand in the athletic footwear industry, offers a selection of shoes that meet the unique demands of nursing professionals.

Many of their models, such as the Reebok Floatride and Reebok Work series, boast advanced cushioning and support technologies, providing nurses with the comfort they need for extended periods of standing and walking.

Reebok shoes also feature slip-resistant outsoles and durable materials, ensuring safety and longevity in the challenging hospital environment.

With a range of styles to choose from, Reebok can meet the needs of nurses who value both performance and style in their footwear.

Our Top Pick
Reebok Women's Zig Dynamica Sneaker

The Reebok Women's Zig Dynamica Sneakers are well-suited for medical workers, as they feature a responsive ZigTech midsole for exceptional cushioning and energy return to protect your feet.

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Best Shoes for Females Nurses with Back Pain

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 8 Women's Running Shoes
Best Overall
  • Cushioned midsole
  • Breathable upper
  • Meta-rocker technology
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Padded tongue and collar
Dansko Women's Professional Clogs
Best Clogs
  • Stapled construction
  • Leather upper
  • Contoured footbed
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Roomy toe box
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8 Women's Running Shoes
Upgrade Pick
  • Lightweight mesh upper
  • Compression-molded EVA midsole
  • Early-stage meta-rocker geometry
  • Reinforced eyestays
  • Extended heel crash pad
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Best Shoes for Male Nurses with Back Pain

Brooks Ghost 14 Men's Sneakers
Best Overall
  • Segmented crash pad
  • BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning
  • Engineered mesh upper
  • 3D fit print overlays
  • Flex grooves in outsole
Adidas Men's Ultraboost Running Shoes
Best Style
  • Primeknit upper
  • Boost cushioning
  • Torsion system
  • Stretchweb outsole
  • Continental™ rubber traction
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7 Mens Shoes
Upgrade Pick
  • Lightweight mesh upper
  • Compression-molded EVA midsole
  • Early-stage meta-rocker geometry
  • Reinforced eyestays
  • Extended heel crash pad
If you click a link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

For male nurses, finding the best footwear means considering factors such as larger foot sizes, the need for more substantial support, and preferences in style and design.

The best shoes for men in nursing combine durability, cushioning, and stability, catering to the specific demands of the male foot.

Brands that excel in this category offer a wide range of options in terms of size, width, and style, allowing male nurses to find the ideal shoe that accommodates their unique needs and keeps them comfortable during long shifts.

Best Shoes with Support for Back Pain

Support is crucial for nurses who spend long hours on their feet, as it helps prevent foot fatigue, discomfort, and potential injury.

Our Top Pick
GDEFY Women's MATeeM Cross-Trainer

These shoes provide unparalleled support for medical workers with their VersoShock® technology, which not only absorbs shock but also helps promote proper foot alignment.

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The best shoes with support for back pain provide features such as a well-cushioned insole, adequate arch support, and a stable midsole, ensuring that feet are properly aligned and protected from strain.

In addition, these shoes often incorporate slip-resistant outsoles and durable materials, making them ideal for the demanding conditions of a hospital environment.

Footwear in this category is designed to prioritize support and stability, allowing nurses to focus on their patients without being hindered by foot discomfort.

Best Shoes for Back Pain from Standing

For nurses who spend the majority of their shifts standing, it’s essential to find shoes that offer superior cushioning, shock absorption, and overall comfort.

Our Top Pick
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8 Women's Running Shoes

The shoes are an excellent choice for healthcare workers who stand all day, as they offer superior cushioning and support with their compression-molded EVA midsole and early-stage Meta-Rocker geometry. 

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The best shoes for standing all day are designed to minimize the impact on the feet and joints, helping to reduce fatigue and discomfort over long periods of time.

These shoes often feature extra cushioning, breathable materials, and a comfortable fit that prevents pressure points and friction.

By prioritizing comfort and support, these shoes enable nurses to remain focused and comfortable throughout their demanding shifts.

Best Shoes for Back Pain from Plantar Fasciitis

Nurses who suffer from plantar fasciitis require shoes that provide targeted support and cushioning to alleviate heel pain and discomfort.

Our Top Pick
Gravity Defyer Women's G-Defy Mighty Walk Shoes

These shoes are an excellent choice for medical workers with plantar fasciitis, as their patented VersoShock® technology offers outstanding shock absorption and cushioning, which can help alleviate heel pain. 

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The best shoes for plantar fasciitis typically feature a well-cushioned heel, strong arch support, and a shock-absorbing midsole to minimize the strain on the plantar fascia.

Shoes in this category often incorporate orthotic insoles or contoured footbeds that help distribute pressure evenly across the foot, ensuring maximum comfort and pain relief for those coping with this common foot condition.

Best Shoes for Wide Feet and Back Pain

For nurses with wide feet, finding shoes that accommodate their foot shape is crucial for comfort and support during long shifts.

Our Top Pick
Dansko XP 2.0 Clogs for Women

These clogs are ideal for healthcare workers with wide feet, as they feature a roomy toe box and are available in wide-width options, ensuring a comfortable fit for those with broader feet. 

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The best shoes for wide feet offer a spacious toe box and a range of width options, allowing for a more customized fit that prevents pressure points and friction.

These shoes often prioritize flexibility and breathability, ensuring that feet remain comfortable and well-ventilated throughout the day. Brands that excel in this category cater to the unique needs of nurses with wide feet, providing an optimal balance of comfort and support.

Best Shoes for Flat Feet and Back Pain

Nurses with flat feet require shoes that address their specific support needs, such as providing proper arch support and stability.

Our Top Pick
ASICS Gel-Excite 9 Women's Running Shoes

These running shoes are beneficial for medical professionals with flat feet, as they feature a supportive design with ample cushioning, including the rearfoot GEL™ technology, which helps absorb shock and promote proper foot alignment. 

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The best shoes for flat feet feature structured midsoles, firm heel counters, and ample cushioning to help correct foot alignment and prevent overpronation.

In addition, these shoes often come with removable insoles, allowing for the use of custom orthotics for added support.

Footwear in this category is designed to cater to the unique demands of flat-footed individuals, ensuring maximum comfort and support during long nursing shifts.

Best Shoes for Nursing Students with Back Pain

Nursing students need shoes that provide comfort and support while also being budget-friendly and versatile enough for various clinical settings.

Our Top Pick
Hawkwell Women's Comfort Slip Resistant Nursing Shoes

These shoes are a budget-friendly option for students, as they offer comfortability and a slip-resistant design that meets the demands of clinical rotations.

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The best shoes for nursing students prioritize features such as slip-resistant outsoles, easy-to-clean materials, and a balance of cushioning and support that can withstand long hours of standing and walking.

In addition, these shoes often come in neutral and professional colors, ensuring that students can adhere to dress code requirements while still maintaining a sense of personal style.

Best for Pregnant Nurses with Back Pain

High-quality shoes are essential for pregnant nurses because, during pregnancy, the body undergoes significant changes.

Our Top Pick
Dr. Scholl's Time Off Women's Platform Slip On Sneakers

These sneakers are a great option for healthcare workers who are pregnant because they feature an insole with extra cushioning and support that helps reduce foot fatigue and discomfort.

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This includes the following:

  • Increased weight
  • Swelling
  • Shifts in the center of gravity

These factors can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and even pain in the feet, legs, and back.

Therefore, shoes in this category provide additional support, cushioning, and stability tailored to the unique needs of pregnant individuals, helping to alleviate discomfort and ensure safety during long shifts in healthcare settings.

nurse with back pain illustration

FAQs About Nursing Shoes for Back Pain

What Features Should Shoes for Nurses Have?

Shoes for nurses should have the following features:

  • Comfort: A cushioned insole and a well-padded interior to provide all-day comfort during long shifts.
  • Support: Adequate arch support and a stable midsole to help maintain proper foot alignment and reduce strain on the feet and legs.
  • Slip-resistant outsoles: To ensure safety on wet or slippery hospital floors.
  • Breathability: Lightweight, breathable materials to keep feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.
  • Durability: High-quality construction and materials to withstand the rigors of daily use in a healthcare setting.
  • Easy to clean: Shoes should be made of materials that can be easily wiped down or washed to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

How Often Should Nurses Replace Their Work Shoes?

Nurses should replace their work shoes every six months to a year or when signs of wear and tear become evident, such as the breakdown of cushioning, loss of support, or damaged outsoles.

This is essential for prevent back pain and lower body discomfort.

However, the frequency of replacement may vary depending on individual usage and the quality of the shoes.

Can Nurses with Back Pain Wear Running Shoes?

Running shoes can be suitable for nurses with back pain, as they often provide good cushioning, support, and breathability.

However, it’s essential to ensure that the running shoes also have slip-resistant outsoles and are made of easy-to-clean materials, both of which are crucial features for nursing footwear.

Why Do High-Quality Shoes Matter for Nurses with Back Pain?

High-quality shoes matter for nurses because they provide the necessary comfort, support, and durability required to withstand the demands of the profession.

Comfortable and supportive shoes can help prevent foot fatigue, back pain, and potential injuries, enabling nurses to focus on their patients and provide the best care possible.

Are Clogs Better Than Tennis Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain?

Both clogs and tennis shoes have their advantages for nurses, and the choice between them depends on personal preference and specific needs.

Clogs offer a simple, slip-on design, easy-to-clean materials, and a wide-toe box, making them a practical and comfortable choice.

Tennis shoes, on the other hand, provide more structure and support, often featuring advanced cushioning technologies and a secure fit.

It’s essential for nurses to choose footwear that meets their unique comfort and support requirements, regardless of the type.

Where to Buy the Best Shoes for Nurses with Back Pain?

To find the best shoes for nurses, consider exploring various sources, such as specialty medical uniform stores, which typically carry a wide range of nursing shoes and workwear tailored to the demands of the profession.

Online retailers like Amazon, Zappos, or the official websites of shoe brands offer a vast selection of styles and sizes, often accompanied by customer reviews.

Additionally, brick-and-mortar shoe stores and department stores provide the opportunity to try on different styles and sizes for the perfect fit. Don’t forget to check discount stores and outlets, which might have high-quality shoes at lower prices.

Final Thoughts

Investing in the right pair of shoes is an essential step for nurses battling back pain to achieve comfort and maintain their overall health during long shifts.

By prioritizing support, cushioning, and slip resistance, nurses can reduce the strain on their backs and experience a more enjoyable work experience.

The options discussed in this article represent the best choices available on the market today, offering nurses a variety of styles and designs to suit their individual needs and preferences.

By selecting the right footwear, nurses can focus on what truly matters: providing exceptional care to their patients and making a difference in the lives of others.

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.