Nursing is one of the most demanding professions in today’s workforce. It is a high stress job, with long hours, and clients who are in pain or sick. Few people go to the hospital or similar health care facilities when they are feeling well and in a great mood. Nurses get to deal with that stress from several people at a time. They also must make sure all their patients are receiving the correct medications in the correct amount and on time, as well as working with doctor’s and medical support staff to ensure appointments, surgeries, and other procedures are all taken care of efficiently. Nurses have usually spent a long time in school learning both the medical and administrative sides of their craft, and are expected to continue this stressful, tiring work year-round.
High arches are a condition many people suffer from, and usually causes pain, balance issues, and difficulty finding proper shoes. The medical condition known as cavus foot is the usual cause of high arches. This condition basically makes it so a person places above average pressure on the ball and heel during walking, standing, or running. It also causes the calf muscles to be extremely tight, an increased risk or ankle injury, and stiffness in the arch of the foot. All of these can be extremely painful, or at least cause discomfort or irritation during the course of normal work functions.
Many resources recommend orthotic shoes to help alleviate the symptoms of high arches. Others recommend shoe inserts. Still others recommend shoes or wedges with a 1-2-inch heel. However, for people in the nursing profession, not just any shoe is going to work. And heels or wedges are most certainly out of the question! Nurses need something that will stand up to the rigors of their job, shift after shift after shift.
What to Look For in Arch Support Shoes
So what does the proper shoe for a nurse with high arches look like? Well, it is more a question of function over form. It doesn’t have to look good, it just has to enable nurses to move around the hospital and perform their duties without needing to give a thought to pain or discomfort in their feet and legs. A supportive shoe for nurses with high arches needs to provide support to the arch (not all shoes do this), as well as provide stability for side to side movement of the foot. It can also help to have some padding between the foot and the ground. The biggest thing is for the nurse to go try on some shoes that support the arches and see what feels best. Like any shoe selection, there are some that are potentially better for you, but it is highly dependent on the person who needs support for their individual arch problem.
If you currently own a pair of shoes that you love or can’t seem to find a good pair of arch supportive shoes, a quality insole might mitigate some of your pain. Insoles for different conditions, such as over pronation or under pronation, are widely available at athletic stores. I would recommend going to a running shoe store to have them evaluate your stride to recommend a premade orthotic insole. They are relatively inexpensive and provide a good amount of cushion and correction to your foot. Alternatively, you can go to a podiatrist (foot doctor) and have your feet evaluated by a medical professional. They will most likely fit you for custom made orthotics. These might be hard or soft but will generally form to your feet or to the arch pattern the doctor thinks will be best for you. Its more expensive but may give you the result you are looking for.
The Top 5 Shoes for Nurses with High Arches
One of the top-rated shoes for any women who work on their feet is the Dansko Professional Clog. It provides enough space in the shoe to prevent pressure, there is enough room for the foot to breathe, has a wide base that supports a natural step, and a slightly elevated heel that helps those with high arches. It comes in a variety of color and material options. The PU options are probably a good choice for nurses, as they are easy to clean. They give you plenty of room for your toes and are designed to provide balance and shock absorption while walking. There’s a reason why most nurses and other medical professionals have these in their closet. They are extremely comfortable, durable, and let you focus on the task at hand without worrying about the pain in your feet.
- One of the top-rated shoes for working professional women
- Provides great support for those with high arches
- Leather or suede upper
- Lots of color and pattern options
- Small heel lift and platform help fight fatigue
- The roomy nature of the shoes might irritate some people
- Tend to run large
- Most expensive shoes on the list
Another clog style option, these shoes offer a strap over the top of the foot instead of the flat top of some others. It comes with a leather upper and poly urethane soles for durability and ease of cleaning. This one also comes in a variety of color and pattern options. These are specifically made with more aggressive arch support and are perfect for those with high arches. The insole is designed to be replaced, if desired. Custom orthotics can be made by a podiatrist, or many running shoes stores have a variety of options of premade orthotics that can support feet with high arches. Insoles might not be needed though, but that is up to the individual nurse and their feet.
- Adjustable top strap for those with high arches
- Cork and memory foam insole for great cushioning
- Poly urethane sole designed with a rocker design for walking comfort
- Slight heel lift for high arch support
- Open top may not be a good choice in a hospital
- Velcro closure may wear out quickly
- Some reports of squeaking while walking
- A few quality control concerns
Yet another clog option, these were designed specifically for health care professionals. With a leather upper, rubber lower, and an insole designed for stability and support for people who are on their feet all day. It claims to have “anti-fatigue technology.” While most descriptions don’t go into exacting detail of what that means, the reviews back up the claim that they help reduce fatigue and pain in the legs, feet, and back. The shoes have a 3M Scotchgard coating on them for easy clean up, which is definitely important in a medical setting. With the leather and rubber construction, these shoes are extremely durable, with some reviewers claiming to be still wearing theirs on a daily basis after 15 years.
- Durable leather upper and rubber sole
- Reasonably priced
- Respected shoe and boot manufacturer
- Micro suede lining and Scotchgard protection
- Discontinued for a while, quality concerns with new product
- A heavier shoe than others on this list
- New owning company may have reduced quality control
- Some complaints of squeaking when walking
For the male nurses out there, several options exist to keep you on your feet all day. While the above companies might make men’s or unisex clogs that men can be more than happy with, there are plenty of male specific shoes that would be a perfect solution for male nurses with high arches. These Merrell shoes are made of a leather upper and synthetic sole, with a waterproof membrane and air cushion heel to keep the feet comfortable and dry. The materials of the outer shoe are easy to wipe down, which is a great option for those in the medical field. Merrell is a respected shoe manufacturer, focused mostly on outdoors footwear, but this shoe is a great option for those working in hospitals. Unlike the women shoes listed above, the color choices are limited, but in the grand scheme of things that’s not such a huge sacrifice for a great and comfortable shoe. This shoe is a great option for those with high arches, as it has a robust arch support, heel cushion, and quality insole.
- Well respected company of outdoors footwear
- Waterproof membrane and external treatment
- Synthetic wrap around sole
- EVA foam molded foot support
- Size variability may require a change in size
- Multiple reports of getting the wrong shoe if order online
- Some reviewers have had durability issues
- Expensive shoes
Another great option for male nurses out there is this shoe from Keen. Another footwear manufacturer primarily known for outdoorsy products, this poly urethane slip on is a great option for nurses. Easy to clean, easy to put on quickly, and offers great support for those on their feet all day. These have a rubber sole with an aggressive grip, which is great for those who need to move around the hospital quickly. The insole region is built for comfort, with a combination of poly urethane, natural cork, and memory foam. This provides a high level of consistent all-day comfort, day after day. This insole and cushioning provide excellent support for those with high arches. Like the other men’s shoes in this list, color options are limited. However, its still a good choice for those who need to focus on taking care of business in the hospital, and not focus on the pain their feet.
- Extremely durable leather and rubber construction
- Aggressive grip profile
- Molded midsole provides support for high arches
- Sole extends over the toe box to provide extra protection
- Well respected manufacturer
- Requires break in period
- Potentially lower quality in newer production of the shoe
- Standard insole may not provide enough room for high arches
The final offering in this list is a unisex option, and one that many people may not expect. Croc’s are not usually a well-respected shoe brand. They are the shoes you throw on to pick up the thing you forgot at Walmart. However, this particular shoe is well recommended by nursing professionals due to its durable materials, slip resistant tread, light weight, and adjustable heel strap. The interior of the shoe is made of the Croslite soft foam and is formed to provide support to the arch of the foot. It is the least expensive option on the list, but its definitely a good option. Once again, it is up to the individual, but for half to a third of the price of some other options it could help alleviate your foot pain without breaking your budget.
- Inexpensive, but highly recommended
- Light weight
- Easy to clean
- All synthetic construction
- Adjustable heel strap
- Not as highly regarded brand
- Durability concerns
- Plastic sole doesn’t provide as much grip as other options
- Width options aren’t great
- Material is not breathable, so feet might overheat
The best thing to do when looking for nursing shoes for those with high arches is to go try them all on. The second-best thing is to get checked to see if insoles would help alleviate your pain and soreness. The combination of the two might just solve your problem. For those dedicated to the care of others who are in pain or suffering, a good pain of shoes can help them focus on the task at hand and not on their own foot pain and soreness. This list provides recommendations for both male and female nurses who suffer from pain from high arched feet. There are a whole variety of other options out there, but these are some of the highest rated, recommended, and reviewed shoes out there. Most of them are extremely durable and will last a long time. So, you will definitely get what you are paying for. This makes the final selection so important, because this pair of shoes might be providing you comfort for the next 10 years!