Bedside Nurses- Comfortable Shoes- A Review
It is so important for our feet to be comfortable in order to do our job well! This post will be about my experience with 4 types of shoes: Birkenstock Alpro G500, Dansko clogs, New Balance walking shoes, and Crocs. I know that comfortable shoes for nurses and other health care workers is always a topic of interest and what works for one person does not always work for another. The key features of a good shoe for me are proper arch support, enough space in the toe box for your forefoot, enough flex in the shoe for walking, and overall good fit. The risk of inadequate arch support and fit can lead to chronic and annoying problems like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and back pain.
My favorite ones to date while working in the healthcare setting have been my Birkenstocks, not the sandals, but the closed toe kind called the Alpro G500. It has poly-coated leather that resists stains and has lugged soles that provide good traction on wet surfaces.
Pros of the Birkenstock Alpro G500
1. They are great for people with wide feet
2. They don’t show wear or age as much as sneakers do because they are black. They also come in white.
3. Great contoured foot bed with an arch support, and I feel very stable due to the wide toe box and sole. Firmer sole.
Cons of the Birkenstock Alpro G500
1. They are pricey, $160, but many are willing to invest in a good pair of shoes to be happy at work!
2. They require some break in time, but for me it is well worth the comfort level day in and day out.
3. If you do a lot of squatting or flexing of the feet and kneeling at work as I do, there is a risk that the strap that holds the shoe on of breaking/splitting. I have had to send mine back to get them repaired.
I have found Danskos to be very well made also, but they have not worked well for me because of my high instep, high arches and wide feet.
The pluses I’ve heard and found with Dansko clogs:
1. They can last a VERY long time (years) and provide great support for the arch and sole of the foot.
2. They come in a lot of styles and colors.
3. They are great for people who are on their feet for very long periods of time.
4. Many individuals who start with Danskos for work get a lot of relief with their back pain.
The cons I’ve heard and experienced with Dansko clogs:
1. Pricey, ranging from 119.95-149.95 depending on the style that you get, and the vendor.
2. Narrow heel, which can place some with unstable ankles at risk for ankle sprains, especially if your job involves a lot of position changes, pivoting, and walking.
3. Long time to break in. Dansko shoes are pretty stiff when you first purchase them, and the break in time can take months depending on how much you use them, whether on a regular daily basis or just a few times per week.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Dansko Clogs have a rocker bottom design so it does affect your gait slightly because of the slightly rounded design of the sole. Despite this there are true believers that Danskos are the best shoes for healthcare workers and nurses that are on their feet for hours on end.
New Balance Sneakers have been a favorite of mine to wear at work. I use the walking style shoes in a wide D.
The Pros of New Balance Sneakers:
1. Minimal break in time required. They are very comfortable right out of the box.
2. Good cushion and support
3. Less expensive depending on the style of shoe that you get. Roughly the price range for New Balance walking shoes ranges from 59.95 to 119.95 depending on the style you get.
The Cons of Sneakers in General:
1. If they are white, as many health care workers uniforms require, they will show their wear and grime more quickly.
2. They usually need replacement more frequently because the supportiveness of the sole goes downhill more quickly compared to clog type shoes. Similar to running shoes, sneakers should be replaced every few months in order to maintain proper support for your feet.
3. The cost of replacing sneakers every few months can add up over time.
I have used Crocs briefly in the past, but I have found that they do not let your feet breathe much at all, so I switched to one of the above kinds of shoes.
Pros of Crocs
1. Inexpensive 28.95 – 38.95 depending on the vendor.
2. Lightweight and flexible- great for when you have to kneel or crouch or walk quickly.
3. Easily washable
Cons of Crocs
1. Not very breathable, unless you have the kind with the holes in the front of the clog, which is not a good idea if you work in the hospital setting.
2. While the arch of the sole is comfortable, I found it did not provide enough support for my feet during the day and I felt like my feet had to work harder than normal because of the “squishiness” of the sole.
Out of the above types, my top pics are 1. Birkenstock Alpro G500 2. New Balance 3. Dansko 4. Crocs. When I have a new pair that are stiff, I try to wear them at home for a few hours at a time for a week or two to ease my feet into getting used to them before I spend a full day with them at work. The keys for me are arch support, room in the toe box, contour of the foot bed, and flexibility of the shoe. Leave me a comment and let me know which ones have worked for you on my Facebook page
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