How Often Should Nurses Replace Shoes?

For nurses and anyone working in a hospital, shoes do not just have an aesthetic function. They especially have a protective role besides needing to be comfortable for an entire day or night of pacing up and down. Because of the nature of a nurse’s job, involving plenty of walking and standing, a good pair of shoes is not negotiable. And you need to know how often should nurses replace shoes.

Using a wrong pair can cause you pain and injury on your back or predispose you to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel and knee pain, shin splints, and hip and low back pains. One sure way of avoiding all these complications is selecting a comfortable pair of shoes; one that can support your body and feel comfortable while you work.

So how often should nurses replace shoes?

A general rule of thumb for how often nurses should replace shoes is every 6 months or twice a year. You may want to change your shoes or insoles sooner depending on your shifts and workloads. You can know that it’s time to replace your shoes if you experience any of the following:

  1. Your shoes’ sole is perforated and lets in water and moisture, exposing you to germs and infections.
  2. You don’t feel that the shoe is giving you the needed support for your body and you feel uncomfortable.
  3. You’ve always used snickers and they require you to wash them every week to keep them neat. You think it’s time to try the famous Danskos.
  4. You’ve noticed a tear on the side of one shoe and the sole of the other is extremely crooked with wear.
  5. You’ve always walked safely on the wet floor of the hospital but the other day you tripped and fell. Your sole is worn out.
  6. You bought a pair of cheap synthetic shoes and you are consistently feeling sweaty on your feet. It’s time to change them for a leather pair.
  7. You thought you bought your fit but two months down the line your shoe is loose and you literally have to drag it along.
  8. You have recently been injured at the toe and you need a pair of shoes with a wider fitting.

Qualities of a comfortable and supporting pair of shoes

In order to understand how often should nurses replace shoes, you’ve got to understand what makes a good shoe in the first place. Shoes may be tested for comfort and support on 4 key qualities: Biomechanics, your weight, the status of your foot and leg, and the shoe fit.


Biomechanics refers to your foot type and your gait. These have everything to do with the support that your feet give to the rest of your body. When you walk, for example, your feet take in all the weight of your body and have to provide the push to take each step. Two biomechanical motions allow this dynamic. First, Pronation means that your foot rolls in to absorb your weight at every step. Second, the foot rolls back to set your arch bones and create a lever for moving forward. This second motion is known as Supination.

If your foot rolls in or out excessively, you will begin to complain of pains in your legs and feet. And this may be about the type of shoes that you pick. Shoes are categorized as Motion Control, Stability or Cushioned shoes. If you have flat feet (low arch) motion control shoes will help with the pronation and supination motions. People with a high arch should choose cushioned shoes while those with a normal arch should go for stability shoes. Understanding these differences will make you change the commonplace idea that a hurting shoe should necessarily be cushioned


The force that your feet exact to propel your movement is equivalent to the weight of your body. If you have extra weight, your feet will generate greater force for movement. You, therefore, need a pair of shoes that cushions your feet from shock and offer stability and balance.

The condition of your feet

If you have injured feet or have been injured in the past, you will need an extra dose of support for your feet. This means choosing a pair of shoes that can help you support your body until your foot regains its usual strength.

Shoe fit

Most of the time, we buy shoes considering the usual size that we have always won and without trying them out. Surprisingly, people have bought their usual shoe size and found them tighter or larger than usual. Wearing such shoes does not help the support and propel functions of your feet. Your feet will instead need to support the shoe before they can do their pronation and supination dynamic. Try your shoes always when buying them and seek the assistance of an expert if you have a special foot.

A good pair of shoes for a nurse

All the four qualities of a good pair of shoes are an important guide for nurses. A pair of shoes that propel your movement, supports your weight, addresses your feet injury issue, and fits right is a good choice for your busy nurse’s schedule. Away from these four qualities, however, there are other specific qualities that nurses should bear in mind when buying shoes. Here’s your nurse’s shoe test list.

Quality material

An ideal nurse’s shoe should be made of leather for the upper part and rubber for the sole. These serve the functions of durability, comfort, and a light shoe that can be worn for the entire hour of a day or night shift.

Style and maintenance

Nurses will often choose between clogs and snickers. Clogs may lack style but are easy to wear and maintain. Snickers may provide style but are difficult to maintain. Considering a nurse’s schedule, clogs top the list of two.

Non-slip shoes

Hospital floors are consistently being cleaned. A nurse who walks constantly on the wet floor with slippery shoes risks falling and resultant injuries.

Waterproof shoes

It would not only be uncomfortable but also unhealthy to keep damp shoes for an entire day. Good nurses’ shoes should be waterproof on the top and strong enough at the sole to avoid punctures and let in water and moisture.

Easy cleaning

With the nature of tasks that nurses do in a hospital, shoes can easily pick dirt. A nurse’s shoes should be easy to clean in such a way that it is possible to do so daily if need be.

Closed and yet ventilated

The general rule for nurses’ shoes is that they have to be closed. And while that might mean your feet will be cooped up all day, choosing leather shoes permits in more air than synthetic options.

Shoe weight

Imagine that you had to lift a patient a few meters from the operating table to the bed.  Picture yourself doing that while dragging your heavy stepping boots. It would be like lifting a double weight. Good nurses’ shoes are light enough to avoid dragging yourself on the corridors of the hospital while dragging along your heavy shoe.

Whichever of these is your case, support and comfort are the synthesis for a good nurse’s shoe and will make your workday more bearable.