Because they still only account for about 15% of U.S. nurses, you might think there aren’t a lot of choices for the best nursing shoes for men. You’d be wrong.
Since the early 70s, men have made great strides in the nursing profession. Overcoming stereotypes and perceptions that nursing is a women’s only career, men are proving that they have much to contribute as nurses.Many companies are realizing this fact and are including men’s designs in their product lines. Whether you go with a clog from Dansko or a work shoe by Skechers, male nurses have lots of great options for footwear that are perfect for working on your feet for 12 – 16 hours a shift.
We’re going to give you the 10 top-rated nursing shoes as rated by male nurses and separate them by category. We’ll also include links to buying options.
Dansko Men’s Professional Clogs – BEST OVERALL
The Dansko Professional Clog is worn by nurses of both genders in hospitals and clinics across the world. Their sturdy leather upper, EVA cushioned midsole, rocker bottom, and easy slip-on design makes them the top contender in every nursing shoe category.
The roomy toe box, snug fit, and compression-molded cushioning midsole and heel makes the Dansko Professional Clog perfect for those long days on your feet. The full-grain leather upper gives you plenty of protection and is easy to clean.
- Full grain oiled leather upper
- EVA compression-molded midsole
- 2” cushioned heel
- Rocker bottom
- Roomy, reinforced toe box
- Grippy sole
Pros: comfortable, sturdy, cleans easily
Cons: price, not as breathable as mesh
Crocs Specialist II Clog – BEST OVERALL (RUNNER UP)
It was hard to call the Crocs Specialist II Clog a runner up because it’s also one of the most worn (and recognizable) working shoes by both male and female nurses. With the famous Crocs roomy feel, cushy contoured footbed and great arch support these are a go-to nursing shoe. The Specialist II has a toebox that lacks the ventilation holes of standard Crocs, instead giving you more protection from spills and falling objects. But when you’re on your feet all day, your feet will thank you for wearing these shoes.
- Roomy, enclosed toebox
- Contoured footbed
- Raised heel
- Made for work environments
Pros: comfortable, easy to wear, extremely easy to clean
Cons: not as breathable as regular Crocs
Merrell Encore Gust Slip-on – MOST COMFORTABLE
When you want extreme comfort, The Merrell Encore Gusts slip-on is the perfect shoe. With a nice, roomy toebox, slip-on design, EVA compression-molded midsole and Ortholite footbed, they’ll feel more like a house shoe than a work shoe. The full-grain leather upper provides protection that’s easy to clean and the M-Select Grip sole ensures that you’ll have a stable, safe platform for standing.
- Leather upper
- 2” air-cushioned heel
- EVA midsole
- Ortholite footbed
- Breathable mesh lining
- Slip-resistant outsole
Pros: very comfortable, stable, good cushioning
Cons: limited colors, heel is partially exposed
New Balance 623 V3 Cross Trainer – BEST TENNIS SHOES
It’s a close second for comfort with the New Balance 623 V3 Cross Trainer shoe. New Balance puts a lot of research into their comfort technology with the ABZORB shock-absorbing heel and, IMEVA midsole and cushioning insert. It all adds up to a comfortable, versatile and sporty shoe that’ll keep your feet happy all day.
- Leather upper
- ABZORB cushioning
- IMEVA midsole
- Grippy outsole
- Sporty design
- Wide sizes
Pros: good cushioning and support, impact resistant, easy to clean,
Cons: limited colors
The third offering – New Balance 623 V3 Cross Trainers perfectly combine athletic technology with understated style perfect for the workplace. They’re lightweight, stable and move well. The EVA footbed, IMEVA midsole and ABZORB heel handle all the shock and punishment a 12-hour shift can dish out, warding off pain and fatigue.
- Heel tab for easy on and off
- Breathable mesh lining
- Grippy sole
Pros: lightweight, shock-absorbing heel, breathable
Cons: might not be best for wide feet
Hoka One One Rincon – MOST BREATHABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT
The Hoka One One Rincon 6 isn’t just one of the lightest running shoes on the market, it’s also nice and breathable. Coming in at only 8 oz per shoe, it’ll be easy to forget you’re even wearing shoes. They didn’t compromise on comfort however; these runners have a generous and cushiony EVA midsole and heel that absorbs all the shock with each step.
- Breathable, single-layer mesh upper
- Padded collar with heel pull
- Full-compression EVA midsole
- Meta-Rocker sole design
Pros: very light and breathable, great cushioning, rocker sole
Brooks Addiction Walker – BEST FOR WIDE FEET
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than a narrow, pinchy pair of shoes. For male nurses with wide feet, the Brooks Addiction Walker not only gives you sizes up to extra wide, you get supreme comfort and support as well. With a full leather upper, BioMoGo DNA cushioning and Extended Progressive Rollbar support system, they’re the perfect shoe to go the distance on long shifts.
- Leather upper
- BioMoGo DNA cushioning
- Rollbar support system
- Lace-up design
Pros: wide sizes, lots of cushioning and support
Cons: limited colors, not as breathable as mesh
Keen Utility PTC Slip-On – BEST FOR STANDING ALL DAY
Do you spend most of the workday on your feet? Well, you want a shoe that’s got a solid footbed, roomy toebox, cushioning sole and shock-absorbent insole. The Keen Utility PTC Slip-on gets straight A’s across the board. This full leather upper not only gives you the protection and stable slip-resistant platform you need, but the EVA compression-molded and cork midsole forms to your foot to provide all-day comfort.
- Full leather upper
- EVA compression-molded and cork midsole
- Oil-resistant and slip-resistant outsole
- Memory foam insole
Pros: lots of cushioning and support, roomy, protection
Cons: not as breathable as mesh, limited colors
Skechers Work Flex Advantage – BEST BUDGET CHOICE
The Skechers Work Flex Advantage gives you great performance at an unbeatable price. The lace-up, leather and mesh upper has a roomy toebox for comfort, provides protection and cleans up pretty easily. The midsole is made with Gel infused memory foam for great all-day cushioning and the outsole is OSHA compliant slip-resistant for a sure grip on all surfaces.
- Full leather / mesh upper
- Gel Infused Memory Foam inserts
- OHSA-compliant slip-resistant soles
- Relaxed, roomy fit
Pros: affordable price, slip resistant, cushiony
Cons: limited colors, may wear with heavy use
New Balance 411 V2 – BEST FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS
New Balance does it again with the 411 V2 walking shoe. It has the same CUSHNB midsole, comfort collar and heel pillow insert for a ride that’ll take all that pain-inducing shock off your suffering feet – plus the insert is removable if you want to replace it with your own personal orthotic. The comfort tech and the removable insert is why the 411 V2 is perfect if you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis.
- Leather and mesh upper
- CUSHNB midsole
- Heel pillow
- Padded collar
- Grippy sole
- Arch support
- Removable insert
Pros: great support and comfort, removable insert, roomy toebox
Cons: limited colors
Birkenstock Unisex Professional Tokyo – BEST FOR FLAT FEET
While great for flat feet, the Birkenstock Professional Tokyo is just a reliable and comfortable all-around shoe for nurses. The molded EVA and cork footbed conforms to your foot to give you that custom-feeling fit that Birks are known for. The full leather, roomy toebox gives you wiggle room plus protection and the outsole is slip-resistant.
- Full leather upper
- EVA molded and cork midsole
- Slip-resistant outsole
- Heel strap
Pros: molds to your foot, foot protection, easy to clean
Cons: heel is exposed, strap may rub some feet
**BONUS**: BEST NIKE SHOE FOR MALE NURSES
Aw, you know we couldn’t let you go without giving you a Nike shoe. One of the most consistently high-rated shoes among male nurses is just about anything Nike. The Nike running line has lightweight, breathable fabrics to keep your feet cool plus thick, cushiony soles with good arch support for comfort.
So here’s your best Nike pick for male nurses:
Nike Air Max LTD3 Running Shoe
There’s not much that beats Nike’s Air Max cushioning heel for comfort when you’re on your feet for a 14-hour shift. The leather/synthetic mesh upper is durable while remaining breathable. Flex grooves along the outer sole give you great flexibility and range of motion and a foam core midsole give both support and extra shock absorption.
- Air Max cushioned heel
- Synthetic leather/mesh upper
- Foam core midsole
- Flex groove sole
Pros: durable, colors include all white, Air Max cushioning
Cons: not as breathable as full mesh uppers
Regardless of which one you choose, all the shoes on this list are winners. And just because we categorized each one, many of these shoes will do double-duty for a wide variety of work conditions, foot types, and comfort levels.
Now, if you’d like to stick around a bit, here’s a quick guide to help ensure you get the right nursing shoe and a proper fit.
A Quick Buying Guide To Men’s Nursing Shoes
Maybe you had a look at all the shoes above and are thinking they all look great – so how do I choose which one is best?
They’re all great choices and will serve you well as a nursing shoe, especially, you know the ones that are specifically made for nursing. But there are some things you need to take into account when you make your purchasing decision.
So we’ve got a quick men’s nursing shoes buying guide that’ll help you get the shoe with the best fit, comfort, and performance. But first, let’s look at what buying the wrong shoes will get you.
Problems The Wrong Shoes Can Cause
You ever had a pair of shoes that just didn’t fit quite right? Sure, of course, you have.
Man, those shoes looked so great when you tried them on and strolled around in front of the mirror – I would say at the shoe store, but nowadays we all seem to be buying everything online, which makes choosing the right shoe even more important.
But to the point – you wear the shoes for a while and they never feel like they break in right. Or they’re tight around your toes. Or they rub and have hotspots.
Maybe they don’t have great arch support or cushioning. It can be a lot of different reasons the shoe is wrong, but when the shoe is wrong, it adds up to more than blisters.
Those shoes that are wrong for your feet (especially if you have foot problems) can cause a lot of problems, like:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Ankle pain
- Calf pain
- Knee pain
- Lower back pain
- Foot fatigue
- Swampy feet (if you sweat a lot and the shoes have poor ventilation)
So, it’s important to put a little thought into your purchase – more so for a nurse since they spend so much time on their feet. And you want those hardworking feet in shoes that’ll work as hard as you do while keeping your feet supported, cushioned and comfortable.
So what makes a men’s shoe great for nursing? Let’s break it down.
What To Look For In A Men’s Nursing Shoe
You probably saw quite a few similar descriptions in the shoes above – that’s because they all share many of the same features that all great men’s nursing shoes share. These are the features that you look for in a good nursing shoe for men.
These are 5 things that most work shoes for people who spend a lot of time on their feet share. A non-slip sole, good arch support, shock-absorbing cushioning and heels, a stable platform and good ventilation.
Here’s those 5 things in more detail:
- Non-slip sole
There’s lots of slip hazards to run into when you’re a nurse. You’ll run into everything from bodily fluids to a puddle from a leaking IV – and if you don’t have non-slip soles, it’s a recipe for disaster. A disaster not just for your own health and safety, but your patients’ as well. The last thing you need is to have your foot slip when you’re helping move or reposition a patient.
- Arch support
The arch of your foot bears between 200 – 300 thousand pounds of stress every mile it walks. On an average shift, a nurse will walk about 4 miles which equals up to a total of 1.2 million pounds of stress. If your shoes have bad arch support, you’re going to feel it. You need shoes that support the entirety of your arch throughout the midsole – if not, you could end up with fallen arches and flat feet.
- Shock-absorbent cushioning
All those steps above? Your heal is smashing down over and over. If your shoes don’t have shock-absorbent cushioning and a thick cushy heel, you’re going to feel it.
Bad arch support and inadequate cushioning in your shoes is one of the main factors contributing to the development of plantar fasciitis. You want shoes that have a good stiff, shock-absorbent midsole made from a custom EVA memory foam and a heel that is thick and padded to take all that punishment instead of your foot.
- Stable platform
A shoe with a wide, balanced sole is going to give you the kind of stable platform you need while both standing and walking. It’s especially important in more demanding tasks like moving patients or lifting heavy things.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good ventilation and breathability. A long shift of 14 – 16 hours in a shoe that feels like you’re wearing plastic bags on your feet is no bueno – you’ll definitely feel it and it can make it easier for your feet to blister or have other problems.
How To Find The Best Fit In Your Nursing Shoe
Ok, I think we’ve established how important it is to choose a nursing shoe that has the right qualities. You know what you want, have found a shoe that meets all your criteria and are ready to purchase.
All you need to do is slip it on and walk around a bit, right? Not exactly, if you want a really comfortable true fit that’s going to last you all day long.
Here’s a couple of tips that’ll help you get the best fit possible:
- Measure your foot
Sure, everyone knows what size their foot is, but as you age the size of your foot can change. There are different ways to measure your foot from standing on a piece of paper and tracing your foot to using a tape measure but the most reliable method is going to a shoe store and using their metal shoe sizer.
Measuring your foot isn’t just for its length – width is also critical to getting the right size. If you have wide feet, you’re going to have to be more accurate with your sizing because narrow shoes are NOT comfortable.
- Try your shoes on at the end of the day
The foot that slips into your shoe in the morning isn’t the same foot at the end of your shift – that’s because your foot swells as the day goes by and the longer you’re on your feet.
To make sure you get a fit that’s going to fit you all day long, try your shoes on at the end of the day.
- Wear your work socks
You want to try your shoes on with the type of socks you wear to work. Sock thickness can make a world of difference in the fit of your shoe. And if you’re on your feet all day, you’ll want a thicker, more absorbent sock that’s going to wick moisture away from your foot.
- Size for your big foot
So much for body symmetry. Everyone has one foot that’s larger than the other – usually your dominant foot. That’s the foot you want to size your shoes for.
- Sizing varies between brands
No two brands size their shoes the same way. You may wear a 12 in Nike but an 11 in Adidas. Recognize and research the sizing conventions between the different brands.
- Your shoes should fit snug at first
Your shoes need to fit snugly when you first buy them – not tight. Snug means your arch and heel are hugged and don’t move when you walk while your toes have plenty of room for wiggling. Over time your shoes will break in and feel less tight.
If you use these 6 tips, you’re going have a much higher probability of getting shoes that’s going to fit well out of the box, not give you any problems and get even more comfortable as they break-in.