From running back and forth from one place to the other to extended shifts, nurses spend most of their time on their feet. And according to a survey published by the Journal of Occupational Health, neck pain, back pain, and foot pain are highly prevalent in the nursing profession. Without a doubt, most of these issues arise due to prolonged standing. Fortunately, you can minimize or prevent some of the issues that come with prolonged standing, by wearing the right pair of nursing sneakers. A supportive and comfortable pair of nursing sneakers will help your feet to relax while alleviating the stress throughout your back, neck and lower body. But with thousands of footwear options on the market, choosing a good pair of nursing sneakers can be overwhelming. To make your search easier, we’ve identified the most important features that a comfortable pair of nursing sneakers should have. If you are in the market for a comfortable pair of nursing sneakers, make sure it meets the following requirements.
As noted above, nurses spend the majority of their shift on their feet. Without proper footwear, you might end up with pain or discomfort in your feet, at the end of your shift. Therefore, choosing a comfortable pair of nursing sneakers should be a priority. In fact, it should be the first feature that you check. A comfortable pair of nursing shoes will keep your feet properly aligned, thus helping to alleviate the strain that comes with too much standing.
The level of comfort in a pair of shoes will depend on various factors such as size and fit, breathability, moisture protection as well as their weight. Regardless of the brand you choose, your nursing sneakers should fit well. They should allow your toes to wiggle comfortably while ensuring that your feet can breathe well. If your nursing sneakers have poor breathability, there will be a build-up of sweat, which might lead to blisters, unpleasant foot odors or foot infections.
When it comes to fit, it’s highly advisable to purchase your shoes later in the day, when your feet have already expanded. Also, make sure you wear a pair of socks when fitting the shoe. Weight is also a vital consideration when buying nursing sneakers. If the shoes you are wearing are heavy or clunky, they might accelerate the rate of fatigue. And when you are feet are tired, you might lose concentration in the middle of your shift. Besides buying comfortable and lightweight nursing sneakers, you can also enhance your overall comfort by adding a pair of compression socks, which will help to improve blood circulation. Whether you are buying shoes from a store near you or you have ordered them from an online shop, you should spend at least a day or two wearing them, to assess their comfort levels. If they are uncomfortable, then you should have them replaced right away.
Stability and Arch Support
Since nurses spend extended periods of their shift on their feet, having a shoe with a proper amount of stability and support is vital. Your nursing shoes should offer a decent amount of arch support and ankle support, to help eliminate or reduce issues of the leg, back and foot pain. Without the proper amount of support in these key areas, you might end up with serious medical issues in your future. You might even be forced to retire early if the pain in these areas is unbearable.
The amount of arch support you will need will depend on your pronation. There are 3 main types of pronation – normal pronation, overpronation and supination or underpronation. Understanding your pronation is vital when choosing shoes for standing all day. According to Medical News Today, overpronation refers to a situation where your foot rolls by more than 15% downward or outward. People with flat feet are also overpronators. Underpronation or supination, on the other hand, occurs if your ankle rolls less than 15% inwards when it strikes the ground. When this happens, it forces the foot to roll outwards, thus putting pressure on your toes and ankles. People with high arches are at risk for overpronation. Also, wearing unsupportive shoes can lead to overpronation. Overpronation can lead to shin splints while underpronation can contribute to various health conditions like ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis as well as various shock-related injuries.
Determining whether you have normal pronation, underpronation or overpronation is the key to choosing the right nursing shoes. Assessing shoe wear pattern should help you to determine your gait. If the sole of the shoes you’ve been wearing have more wear on the inner side of the forefoot and the heel, then it’s highly likely that you are an overpronator. And if your shoes have more wear towards the outside edge of the sole, then you are a supinator. If you are still unsure about your pronation, then you should visit a podiatrist. Nurses with overpronation should look for motion control shoes or nursing sneakers that provide additional arch support and stability. Overpronators can also enhance foot support by using custom orthotics. Supinators, on the other hand, can work comfortably with neutral arch shoes. If you supinate, you should go for stability nursing sneakers or shoes that offer a greater range of motion.
Clinics and hospitals have to be kept sparkling clean at all times. And this means that the floors are cleaned every couple of hours. Apart from that, the cleaning is usually done with detergents that allow the fastest possible clean-up. Therefore, such surfaces can be slippery, especially when they are wet. If you have to run from one place to the other, you will find it quite difficult when the floors are wet. And this is why nurses should look for nursing sneakers that have adequate traction. Make sure the outsole is grease, oil, and fat resistant. The outsole should also be flexible enough, to allow you to walk or move comfortably. If possible, choose a pair of nursing sneakers that come with a non-marking outsole.
Cushioning and Shock Absorption
Cushioning is also a vital factor to consider when you are purchasing nursing sneakers. Cushioning plays an important role in comfort and shock absorption. The padding of the ankle, collar, and tongue, all contribute to the cushioning of a pair of shoes. For instance, a padded tongue will cushion your feet against the pressure exerted by the laces. On the other hand, a padded collar will not only provide ankle support, but it will also ensure that your ankles are properly aligned. Also, make sure that the interior lining of the nursing shoes you intend to purchase, is soft and cozy. A hard lining might rub against your foot, leading to blisters and hotspots. A pair of nursing sneakers with an adequate amount of cushioning will be great for your feet, considering that you spend the majority of your day standing or walking.
The hospital environment has various types of unwanted fluids, including blood, saline, food materials, as well as liquid medications. Some of these materials are not only harmful to your health, but they can also stain your nursing sneakers permanently. And that’s why you should ensure that the shoes you purchase are equipped with water or moisture resisting capabilities.
Shape and Design
Nursing sneakers come in various shapes and designs, which can accommodate different types of feet. Skechers, New Balance, Brooks, Nike, K-Swiss and Asics are among the most notable companies when it comes to nursing sneakers. Each pair of sneakers has its own distinct benefits and cons, depending on your medical condition, feet dynamics, as well as the work surface. And if you are still confused about the type of shoe that you should purchase, it might be a good idea to consult a podiatrist. A foot doctor or podiatrist will then examine your foot to determine whether you have normal, or raised arches. With that information, the podiatrist will then recommend a pair of shoes that conform with your foot biomechanics. Healthcare facilities also have uniform policies. Therefore, it’s also advisable to consult your supervisor before purchasing a pair of nursing sneakers. Always remember that if you have to choose between two pairs of sneakers – one that is stylish but lacks comfort and another one that has basic looks but offers comfort and support, you should always prioritize your foot health over style.
The materials used to make nursing sneakers can determine their overall durability, flexibility, and ease of maintenance. Therefore, paying attention to the materials used will help you to choose the right pair of sneakers. Most nursing sneakers are made of leather and synthetic materials. Leather is known for its comfort and durability while textile is renowned for breathability and flexibility. Nursing sneakers made of textiles or synthetics, also tend to be lighter, compared to those made of leather. If you opt for nursing sneakers made of leather, you should ensure they come with a decent amount of stain protection. Make sure you first contact your supervisor if you intend to purchase nursing sneakers made of textile materials.
Choosing the right pair of nursing sneakers is one of the most important decisions that you can make – both for your career and your health. Considering that you will be spending long hours on your feet, you will need a pair of nursing sneakers that offer an adequate amount of comfort and support. Fortunately, there are numerous footwear options when it comes to comfortable nursing sneakers – if you know what you are looking for. At the end of the day, the choice is all yours!