HOW TO MAKE THE BEST NURSING SHOES MORE COMFORTABLE WITH NEW STYLE METATARSAL PADS THAT NEVER GO FLAT!
As everyone knows nurses and all medical workers work long shifts at the best of times, and even longer now in the spring of 2020 fighting the corona virus pandemic. Wearing good shoes is very important. Nursing shoes must keep feet cushioned, supported and stabilized for long activity filled shifts involving walking and standing on hard flooring and sometimes having to move quickly in slippery conditions. They should be easy to clean as needed during or after a work shift and easy to put on and remove quickly without the need to use hands so hands can be kept clean.
Individual foot configurations determine which shoes fit best and are most comfortable. Many people find it difficult to get a perfect fit which is why nursing shoes should be roomy enough to be customized with contoured *PORON rebounding ball of foot cushions. Clog style shoes sometimes need PORON or other soft foam padding under the vamp to protect the top of the foot. Adding custom cushioning is the only way to make working shoes optimally comfortable and stable during long work shifts. A poor fit is the main reason nursing shoes cause foot pain, unlike high heels where the foot is on a slant and weight shift to the ball of the foot is the number one source of discomfort. *PORON is a trademark of Rogers Corporation. Contoured PORON Ball of foot cushions with toe grips are sold by Killerheelscomfort.com and thin flat PORON insoles are sold by Footpetals.com
Four nursing shoes made by Danesko, Alegria and Skechers shoe manufacturers were analyzed in detail. Information about the wear ability of the shoes was collected from Amazon customer reviews. The four shoes selected are in the number 1 and 2 positions in the lists of ‘Top Ten Most Comfortable Nursing Shoes by nurse theory.com and ‘10 Best Nurse Shoes in 2020 [Review and Guide] by shoeadvisor.com
WORK SHOES FOR NURSING
Exactly how and what makes a shoe comfortable is very important to know for health workers. The following quote from Nurse Theory describes the physically hard work done by nurses and their need for excellent work shoes. “As a nurse you spend all day on your feet moving around, walking, and lifting heavy objects, which places stress on your back, knees and feet. And because you spend all day on your feet it is important that you invest in a good pair of comfortable and supportive nursing shoes. Comfortable, supportive nursing shoes not only provide you with a relaxing fit, they also minimize stress throughout your lower body and back as well as provide you with a good amount of protection.”
Additional information about some of the dangers in nursing work comes from an article posted by ‘Comforting Footwear.’ “Nursing is among the worst industries for injuries. Most of those can easily be avoided. After all, cords can be picked up, spills can be cleaned, and improper fitting shoes can be replaced. The latter is one of the easiest options to not only avoid slipping and tripping, but to reduce the risks of personal pain and suffering caused by blisters, bunions, hammer toe, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and continual joint pain.”
RECOMMENDED NURSING SHOES
The shoes recommended as work shoes for nurses are clogs or mule like clogs and other style of slip on shoes. The primary problem of clogs and mules is the fit. If the clog is too loose, there’s a foot flop going on and blistering occurs. But if the clog is too tight, foot health problems galore develop – from corns and bunions to plantar fasciitis and tendinitis.” While fit is a problem for both, runners and slip-ons that have closures of laces or elastic are easier to customize to fit better to a unique foot. Slip-on runners or other slip-on shoes are lighter in weight than clogs making them less likely to cause foot problems from wearing heavy unstable shoes such as losing a shoe or suffering top of foot bruising.
WHAT MAKES A SHOE FIT BADLY?
Even highly recommended shoes have problems. The two best shoes recommended by Nurse Theory are: # 1. Danesko Women’s Professional Mules and #2. Skechers Sport – Women’s Premium- Premix Slip-On Sneaker. The two best shoes recommended by Shoe Advisor are: # 1. Danesko Women’s Professional Clogs and #2. Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On. The biggest problems for all these shoes is a bad fit. A bad fit becomes even more common for shoes bought on-line. It is difficult for shoe manufacturers or website editors to accurately recommend shoes, that are available in a finite number of designs and sizes - for an infinite number of foot configurations –of wide, narrow, high arch, low arch, long toes, short toes, narrow heel, wide heel, thick and thin feet. Even highly rated shoes that are the correct shoe size for the wearer, will perform poorly for many wearers with healthy feet due to everyone having different foot configurations. For example two people with the same shoe size of US 9 may have different distances from the tips of the toes to the ball of the foot, although both people will have the same overall foot length of 10 inches from toes to heel.
THE MAIN CAUSE OF FOOT PAIN IS A BAD FITTING SHOE
Pain and discomfort from a shoe that is well designed, is nearly always because a shoe is too tight or too loose for the wearer in some part of the shoe. Pain and discomfort from a shoe with a poor design may include pain from stiff uppers, an inflexible sole, a vamp that is too low or elastic that is too tight for a normal foot, or poor quality cushioning such as memory foam that flattens after only a few months of use. A design flaw in some women’s shoes is a wide heel that is modelled on a scaled down man’s shoe last made for male foot proportions.
HOW SHOULD A SHOE FIT?
A ‘perfectly fitting’ shoe should feel a little bit loose when your foot is cool. Always buy shoes that fit perfectly right away and are not tight anywhere, especially at the toes. The toes should not touch the front of the shoe and should have wiggle room. The heel should fit snug but not tight. If in doubt about sizing or if you are in between sizes always go up – never down. Do not expect to make a shoe fit by stretching it or ‘breaking it in’ except under very specific circumstances such as ‘spot stretching’ a leather shoe to make room for a bunion or breaking in a new shoe by wearing it around the house for a few hours to check for rub spots or rough places so you can fix them by gluing moleskin or a sheet of thin foam over the spot. If your foot is in pain when you are ‘Breaking in’ a shoe you may be causing permanent nerve damage to your feet or distortion of your foot bones.
A properly fitted shoe should not cause any pain or discomfort to the foot even when it is brand new. It should have a roomy toe box, a heel that is snug but not tight, and a smooth lining that holds the foot firmly along both sides around the arch area of the foot and at the vamp. The underside of the vamp can be made soft, if it is rough, by gluing a thin piece of foam to it. Contoured PORON ball of foot cushioning from Killerheelscomfort.com can be added under the ball of the foot to fill the gap between the foot and the vamp of the shoe for a better fit in the arch area for a slim foot plus provide the foot with a toe grip to keep shoes from falling off. A properly fitting shoe has a ¼ inch gap between the vamp and the top of the foot. It is especially important that mules or clogs fit properly at the vamp because the weight of the shoe is being lifted up by the top of the foot at each step. Always buy shoes that fit well. Take the advice of Stuart Weitzman, a famous shoe designer, who has said never buy a shoe that doesn’t fit well right away at the shoe store. He also has said the only adjustment you should do to a shoe to make it more comfortable is to put in a foam insert. (Vinyl, gel or plastic/rubber inserts are less suitable as they are more bulky, slippery and hard).
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE CLOGS AND SLIP-ON SHOES TO FIT BETTER
It has only been since 2015 that a new invention of contoured ergonomic shoe inserts made from PORON, a rebounding foam have been available to customize shoes to unique feet. These ball of foot pads can be easily and permanently added to shoes function like ‘custom orthotics’ because they are adjustable to the specific angle and contours of each individuals’ feet. The small cushions are designed to not crowd the shoe. Their patented toe grip preserves the balance and propulsion functions of toes and helps to keep shoes on feet. The inserts are ergonomically designed to take up minimal space and fit easily into any normal fit or loose shoes sized 7-10. They are not suitable for tight shoes. They are soft and cool on bare feet or thin socks. Their polyurethane rebounding foam makes them an excellent replacement or additional cushioning for shoes where the original shoe insole is hard or has flattened through use.
PROBLEMS OF NURSING SHOES (CLOGS & SLIP ONS) ACCORDING TO AMAZON CUSTOMERS
The most common problems of the top styles of nursing shoes – the clog and the mule style clog, and the slip-on shoe will be discussed using the words in reviews by verified Amazon customers. (Many reviews relating that a customer bought shoes in the wrong size, or errors in shoes’ sizing were not used).
Each clog and slip on shoe has its’ admirers who wrote about its’ merits and critics who wrote about its’ faults. Both positive and critical reviews have been analyzed to develop an understanding of how each style of shoe succeeds or fails to deliver the foot comfort the wearer expected. It is through these reviews that the reader can see there is room for improvement for achieving better fitting and more comfortable nursing shoes.
Fixes for the problems of nursing shoes are detailed in the section as ‘Best Tips for Comfortable Shoes’ that follows the italicized Amazon customer reviews that the tips are based on. The Danisko professional mule and the Danisko professional clog are presented in four groups that detail customer experiences as Positive or Negative or discuss Fitting issues or the subject of Breaking In clogs and mules.
Selected Positive Experiences’ of Wearers of Danesko women’s professional clogs and women’s professional mules
I've worn these nearly every day to work for months now and have had no problems. I need a firm footbed, so the Dansko Professional Mule is perfect for support.
I love Danskos because they "fit" my feet and the need for a higher arch support.
Best scrub shoes, hands down. Amazing quality, comfort and fit.
I love these for work. Help with lower back and foot pain during long days on my feet at work.
I work in the health field so being on your feet all day is hard. Love these shoes, great support through a long day on your feet.
I’m a nurse that works 12 shifts and these shoes are perfect for standing on your feet
Hands down the best shoe for health professionals. The color is gorgeous! The arch support is perfect!
As an ER nurse, these are wonderful for those 12 hr shifts on your feet. Helped so much with my back and knee pain
I traditionally wore a high quality runner like Brooks. Two issues with this: 1) I don't believe runners were designed to be worn for 12+ hours, and I had very sore feet by the end of the day. Furthermore, I would only get about 6 months wear out of them before it was time to chunk them.
*Dansko clogs are far superior. They are completely comfortable, and have excellent shock absorbing potential, which cuts down on back pain after working long hours standing.
They have good treads for traction during patient transfers back to the floor after surgery!
I feel I stand and walk with better posture in these shoes!
I work in a hospital and my feet and legs don't hurt and are not tired. I ONLY wear Dansko's at work or if I know I am going to walking all day.
Roomy toe box and fits well.
The extra foot room gives your feet space so they don't swell
I work retail 40 hours a week. These shoes have aided in repairing my planters fasciitis.
Sole is hard but shape is comfortable.
Really nice, comfortable and attractive. Hard though. Can't use sole inserts in these without making them too tight.
Selected Negative Experiences’ of Wearers’ of Dansko women’s professional clogs and women’s professional mules
the sole is a mutant hard plastic with no cushioned sole. They're the hardest, heaviest, brick of a shoe that's ever existed.
Fits as expected, however, when you clean them as danskos are meant to be (nurses work with bodily fluids) like half the color came off.
The shoes rubbed the back of my feet and pinky toe to blisters. I also almost fell twice because they are high.
Hate the shoes. Too stiff. Like walking with wood around my feet Not at all flexible!
At first they were great. Supportive, not hard to break in... However I was constantly tripping in them. …I was …walking and or running for 13 plus hours a day… I stopped wearing them after I tripped in them too many times and fell.
This shoe hurts after wearing a while bc the top of your foot rubs against the inside of the shoe.
They’re SO big I can barely keep them on while walking. Gonna try some stick-on padding …see if that helps
It is stylish and had arch support. However, it was heavy, hard as a rock and hurt my corn. Even through corn pads, it had no give.
Great support for the bottoms of your feet, but the clogs are very heavy and will hurt the top of your feet pretty badly.
I have high arches and since the material has no give, the shoe cuts into the top of my foot. The toe box leaves plenty of room for my toes and the fit in the heel feels fine, but across the top of my foot kills me every time I take a step and flex my foot.
The shoes were very comfortable and stylish! My only complaint is the ease that you may turn your ankle over. …others…have reported some injuries to the ankle.
Wearers’ experiences about the fit of Danesko women’s professional clogs and women’s professional mules
Rocks for your feet Try on in a store. Were much too tight in the front though a bit loose in the back Loved how they looked, but I was so disappointed in the lack of comfort
I did get fitted for my first pair and the clogs are to have 1/2 inch space at the back. The arch should line up perfectly...that's your size. the top part of your foot burns periodically. I think it's just the nature of how your foot has to adjust.
I have wide feet and high arches and these feel so supportive during a long shift! I wear solid compression socks with them and they fit beautifully! They have good treads for traction during patient transfers back to the floor after surgery!
I love both the color and support of these clogs! They are great for being on your feet all day. I did have To buy a size up from my original size though, I am usually an 8 (38) and went up to a 9 (39).
I always order a 40 now (one size up from my usual shoe size) and they always fit well. They’re slightly loose but I can still run and they don’t fall off. Plus the anatomical foot bed seems to work even better now. My feet are so happy.
If you are unsure of which size to get, definitely err on the side of caution and get a 1/2 size up. Since they are very hard and stiff, you don't want the back of your feet to actually touch or it will hurt and give you some serious blisters.
Make sure you don't buy them too small. Your heel is not supposed to touch the back of the shoe. Your heel has to be able to freely move up and down when you walk because the shoe won't move. I can work in these for 12-14 hours without my feet and legs hurting.
Wearers’ experiences about breaking in Dansko women’s professional clogs and women’s professional mules
They require a lot of wearing in to make them comfortable.
These are super comfortable once you break them in. I’m on my feet all day and constantly moving around. I’ve tried different sneakers with different insoles and none of them have worked for support.
Took about 5 days to mold to my feet and feel comfortable but now I can wear them my entire shift and I am on my feet the whole time. I do wish the insoles were a bit more padded but shoe fits true to size and I like that it’s not narrow.
Usually wear a 10 wide, these 11.5 are perfect. I always thought memory foam and cushioning blah blah were better for your feet. These are a lifesaver. It took a little over a week for my feet to adjust to the firmness.
The shoes are very comfortable - once they've been broken in. Don't worry if they're a bit tight, it'll take about 3 weeks for them to stretch and soften up.
At first, they hurt the top of my feet for a few months, but then my bone sticks out sort of high. It took about 2-3 months to break in. But now, they’re super comfortable! I wear them for my 8hour shifts as a nurse, and my feet don’t hurt anymore
I spent 2 months trying to break into it. No luck !! It hurts my feet even more.
Selected Positive experiences of wearers of Skechers Sport Women’s Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneaker
Love them, fit perfect, Skechers are a great product, very durable and light on your feet.
Fits very well. Looks good like lace-up runners and are very comfortable.
Maybe a little snug but I'm sure they will loosen off with wear! I love them! I may buy the same again but the ones that are opened in the back!
I have a pair of Skechers that are going 4 years strong now and I absolutely love them. They look like Danskos but for a fraction of a price. After a couple years of wear I bought an (orthotic) insert and omg it's like I'm walking on a cloud.
Great support for someone on their feet all day. Use a shoehorn to get them on or you will be exhausted wrestling with them to get them on your feet as no laces.
Super cute, slip on walking shoe! Highly recommend, just order a 1/2 size up.
They are comfortable and provide great support. My feet never ache after wearing them. Love a good slip on that doesn’t loosen to quickly
Selected Negative experiences of wearers of Skechers Sport Women’s Premium-Premix Slip-On Sneaker and Skechers shoes with memory foam cushioning
they're so comfortable in the beginning, and the slip-on factor is really nice. but once the shoe is worn in a bit, the memory foam is not the highest quality, so it will form to your feet the way they are (as opposed to helping reinforce support for posture or feet pain when standing all day long).
These got floppy in the ankle area way too quick, I've owned them less than a month.
No arch support in any way
Easy to clean, comfortable, but the arch in is a little high
I think the memory foam may be a very thin layer about 1/2 inch thick, layed on top of the lining.
My toes started to hurt and feel pinched after a few hours.
The first couple hours was fine with these but my feet were burning and sore as all hell by hour 8 of my 12 hour shift.
I’m a nurse, so I wear through these shoes super fast. By wear out, I mean lose the cushion and arch support.
the cushion falls flat and leaves my feet and legs feeling tired.
At first, they were great. It was like walking on a cloud. Very comfortable. Now almost 3 months later, they've lost the comfortability they had. Now my feet ache from standing for more than 5 hours.
The memory foam insole is too soft to give the proper support.
Elastic doesn’t stretch wide enough to allow (foot) to go in.
I can't get them on without a shoe horn! The elastic is really tight. Hopefully they will loosen up over time and I'll be able to just slip them on
they ended up hurting my feet more than the 10 year old sneakers I've been trying to replace. I even tried these with gel insoles but no luck. My heels were hurting so much that I found myself constantly finding excuses to sit down, not something you can really get away with in a busy hospital.
these are lack in cushion, support, and just overall comfort.
The shoes are very uncomfortable and painful. It started to hurt right when it was put on since the tongue section feels like it’s cutting and stabbing my ankle. My toes were squished. I could barely stand the pain after two hours.
Shoe fits fine, but the insoles are Hard As a Rock! I can wear these for a couple hours before my feet tell they need something with a little cushion. I removed the insoles and replaced with Dr Scholl gel inserts...still too hard.
Selected Positive experiences of wearers of Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On
The first time I wore these shoes I wore them for 12 hours. At the end of the day, my feet were sore but not as sore as they normally were. These shoes did have quite a bit of support.
I wear them for work and they feel great on my feel. No slipping off and not too tight. I cant wear Danskos because they are tight over the top of my foot and my toes go numb. I have high arches.
Very comfortable, have really alleviated heel pain from working long hours on my feet.
Great shoe, gives me arch support and solid footwear. I wear them all day with no discomfort.
The 10 toe box was wide and slipped a little but ok with compression socks. My toes had room in the length and width and they're very comfortable when worn.
I love them.. great for people on their feet all day.. only wish they came in half sizes!
These are the only shoes I can wear for work that don’t kill my feet or back!!! I’ve tried every tennis shoe out there and I almost broke my neck in Danskos.
If you have high arches and a wide foot, Alegrias are the only shoe to buy. They are just the best when you're on your feet for long periods.
They have a cork bottom to help with shock absorption. I am a nurse and work long days on my feet. These are the only shoes I can wear for 13-14 hours straight and my feet do not hurt at the end of the day!
I slipped out of them slightly but then I started reading...you need a pinkie width between the back of the shoe to allow the rocking feature to occur.
Best nursing shoe by far in my opinion! I have one other pair that I’ve had for six years I just replace the inserts. I tried many types of tennis shoes to get away from the clog style but none worked for my bunion pain.
Selected Negative experiences of wearers of Alegria Women’s Debra Slip-On
The arch isn't in quite the right place for my foot so that causes a little discomfort too. …as soon as I stand still my feet hurt a lot.
I need a lot of cushion in the soles of my shoes and these do not offer it; they are not for me.
(the heel also kept popping off my foot so my foot was always moving in the shoe) and even with thicker socks, my foot wouldn’t stay in the shoe, and my toes were so sore and raw i started to bleed.
When I first put them on they were amazingly comfortable. Then I started walking. There is no give in the top of the shoe so they become extremely painful on the top bones of my feet after about 10 minutes.
I did not like the blisters on the balls of my feet I got from wearing them after 2 days. Ouch!
The shoe get wider quickly and my foot was going side to side and it was very painful
Length was perfect but too wide. I have a medium/average width foot and these slipped up and down on my heel way to much. I even tried some heel inserts but didn't help. Had to return.
Very comfy on the foot bed and great fun pattern but they kept slipping up and down my heel and I knew that i would not be comfy all day
How to make the best nursing shoes even more comfortable for health care workers during their long work shifts fighting the Corona Virus pandemic
Below are solutions for the problems of clogs and slip-ons complained of by wearers and the specific shoes that they criticized:
Hard insoles in shoes can be cushioned with contoured rebounding PORON ball of foot cushions that cushion with soft foam and fit into a small space
Sole is hard but shape is comfortable (Dansko - clogs)
Shoe fits fine, but the insoles are Hard As a Rock! I can wear these for a couple hours before my feet tell they need something with a little cushion. I removed the insoles and replaced with Dr Scholl gel inserts...still too hard. (Sketchers - slip-ons)
Took about 5 days to mold to my feet and feel comfortable but now I can wear them my entire shift and I am on my feet the whole time. I do wish the insoles were a bit more padded but shoe fits true to size and I like that it’s not narrow. (Dansko - clogs)
Really nice, comfortable and attractive. Hard though. Can't use sole inserts in these without making them too tight (Danesko - clogs)
The sole is a mutant hard plastic with no cushioned sole. They're the hardest, heaviest, brick of a shoe that's ever existed. (Danesko - clogs)
Great support for the bottoms of your feet, but the clogs are very heavy and will hurt the top of your feet pretty badly. (Danesko - clogs)
I did not like the blisters on the balls of my feet I got from wearing them after 2 days. Ouch! (Alegria slip-ons)
Unstable shoes or shoes that fall off can be cushioned plus stabilized with contoured PORON ball of foot cushions that have a toe grip to stabilize the foot inside shoes like clogs or mules
At first they were great. Supportive, not hard to break in... However I was constantly tripping in them. …I was …walking and or running for 13 plus hours a day… I stopped wearing them after I tripped in them too many times and fell. (Danesko - clogs)
They’re SO big I can barely keep them on while walking. Gonna try some stick-on padding …see if that helps. (Danesko - clogs).
It is stylish and had arch support. However, it was heavy, hard as a rock and hurt my corn. Even through corn pads, it had no give. (Danesko - clogs)
(the heel also kept popping off my foot so my foot was always moving in the shoe) and even with thicker socks, my foot wouldn’t stay in the shoe, and my toes were so sore and raw i started to bleed. (Alegria slip-ons)
Length was perfect but too wide. I have a medium/average width foot and these slipped up and down on my heel way to much. I even tried some heel inserts but didn't help. Had to return. (Alegria slip-ons)
*Very comfy on the foot bed and great fun pattern but they kept slipping up and down my heel and I knew that i would not be comfy all day. (Alegria slip-ons)
Memory foam type cushioning that has flattened in use can be replaced with rebounding PORON foam ball of foot cushions to improve comfort in slip-ons
They're so comfortable in the beginning, and the slip-on factor is really nice. but once the shoe is worn in a bit, the memory foam is not the highest quality, so it will form to your feet the way they are (as opposed to helping reinforce support for posture or feet pain when standing all day long). Sketchers slip-ons
I’m a nurse, so I wear through these shoes super fast. By wear out, I mean lose the cushion and arch support. (Skechers slip-ons)
At first, they were great. It was like walking on a cloud. Very comfortable. Now almost 3 months later, they've lost the comfortability they had. Now my feet ache from standing for more than 5 hours. (Skechers slip-ons)
They ended up hurting my feet more than the 10 year old sneakers I've been trying to replace. I even tried these with gel insoles but no luck. My heels were hurting so much that I found myself constantly finding excuses to sit down, not something you can really get away with in a busy hospital. (Skechers slip -ons)
Lessons learned from making work nursing shoes comfortable applied to casual and walking shoes
Although working nursing shoes are worn under conditions that are the ‘acid test’ for what makes for a comfortable clog/walking/running shoe worn for 12 hours plus on hard surfaces - even on concrete- the lessons from the Amazon reviews are widely applicable to all walking shoes even if they don’t need to be donned and doffed in seconds, or have to cleaned several times daily of, as one reviewer wrote, ‘bodily fluids.’
Putting those two considerations aside of fast removal and quick clean-up, what remains is that any walking shoe whether it is worn to do shopping, walking the dog, playing sports, hiking or running a marathon should do the same core things well which are to, 1. protect the foot, 2. keep the foot comfortable by reliably cushioning it, 3. allow for unimpeded normal foot functions for walking and running and, 4. Stabilize the foot inside the shoe to keep it positioned at its’ optimal position as the shoe designer intended without heel gaps, pinched toes or other discomforts.
PS to get your FREE FREE FREE ball of foot cushions email me, Virve, a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me who your favourite health care worker(s) is/are who received your gift! Include your address so I can send you the ball of foot cushions. I will write back to you right away to tell you if you are in the first 25 responses. Good Luck.
Ball of foot cushions have many problems. Too bulky, too hard, don't hold the foot back from sliding forwards and don't stick - even falling out of a shoe! Since 40% of ball of foot pad reviews on Amazon are fake making a good buy is difficult. This chart is based on analysis of 600 reviews to help you.