Purchasing a comfortable pair of shoes is a must for any nurse, especially if you have flat feet. The aches and pain that can occur along the base of the foot due to inadequate arch support, can be really debilitating.
Ill-fitting shoes will make it very difficult to work at your best.
Thankfully, there are a number of shoes available today that help reduce the pain caused by flat feet. In this review round-up, I shall look at some of the most effective ones, that do just that.
When looking to buy a comfortable pair of shoes for flat feet, the most important factor to consider is the level of support the shoe offers.
Effective, shock-absorbing rubber soles are recommended. These should be slip-proof too.
The shape of the arch is vital as this is the area that causes pain in flat-footed individuals. Good support here will help reduce stress along the length of the foot.
Superior strength and fit is also a must. A memory-foam in-sole will increase comfort levels while adjusting to the shape of your foot to increase stability and support.
There is also the issue of “breathability”. The shoe should be made from materials that help reduce any odor issues. You will be wearing them for hours at a time after all.
In this review roundup, I have taken a close look at 7 quality shoes that will assist nurses with flat feet. Using a combination of customer reviews, comments from friends and colleagues, and on more than one occasion, shoes I have worn and tested myself, this is my definitive list of shoes that will help reduce your aches and pains.
1. BEST FOR WOMEN: Dansko Women’s Patti Clog
My top choice shoe for nurses with flat feet is the Dansko Women’s Patti Clog, (this one also made my ultimate list published here).
Not only do they look good, but they also have a removable, triple-density EVA footbed. You hear the word ergonomic thrown around a lot when it comes to specialist shoes, however, it is difficult to fault the design on the Patti, when it comes to superior comfort for those with flat feet.
The extra arch support helps to reduce stress and fatigue, which, as we know, is the bane of any nurse working long shifts.
Furthermore, the waterproof, breathable membrane makes sure that odors are kept at bay, and the feet are protected from any spillages. The waterproof leather’s outer protects things even further.
Sure, they might not be as stylish as some of the other shoes in this list, but as far as comfort goes, they are hard to beat.
If you are a busy nurse with flat feet, finding it difficult to find shoes that help, I recommend that you check the Patti clogs out.
2. BEST FOR MEN: Keen Utility Men’s PTC Slip-ON II-M
My top choice for men is based on the excellent customer reviews on the Keen Utility Men’s PTC slip, and the fact a good friend of mine swears by them.
KEEN has been producing top quality footwear for the workplace for years, and it shows in the design they have used here.
This is a robust men’s shoe with an oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole. Ultimately, they are waterproof and provide excellent traction with the floor.
So much so, they meet what is called ASTM F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards. Yawn, okay that might be a bit more information than you need. The upshot is, you will not slide around the ward like an ice skater when moving at speed.
The leather upper is also stain-resistant, so spillages will not be such a pain.
But what about comfort levels and appropriateness for those with flat feet? I am happy to say this covered by the removable KEEN. Cush PU (polyurethane), memory foam footbed.
We all know how great memory foam is. Forming to the shape of your foot, this removable insert offers superior arch support and much-needed shock absorption.
I won’t say it will feel like you’re walking on air, (because it won’t), but if you normally suffer when on your feet all day, the Keen Utility shoe will definitely help.
Other features such as the stability shank, elastic panel, and compression-molded midsole add to the overall sturdiness. Safety levels are also increased via the KEEN Patented Toe Protection section of the shoe.
I mean the list goes on… my top choice for male nurses with flat feet by a long way.
3. Hawkwell Women’s Lightweight Comfort Slip Resistant Nursing Shoes
A simple and effective lightweight nurses shoe from Hawkwell is the next one to make my list.
Featuring a classic, slip-on design these are comfortable without the fuss. The synthetic tumbled leather uppers are durable but not as robust as other designs in my top 7.
However, this soft upper is treated with a stain-resistant finish and is very easy to clean, which all nurses will appreciate.
The neutral arch design is great for flat feet and is lined with soft foam padding that will help reduce strain and fatigue throughout the day. The removable insole is also great should you want to opt for custom orthotics or just change the insole for something off the shelf.
I personally find the simple design quite stylish and have owned a pair of Hawkwells in the past myself, (one of the reasons these have made my list).
And let’s not forget the lightweight EVA sole, another factor that helps reduce the strain on your feet, while ensuring you have the protection you need.
- Related Content: Top 25 Best Shoes for Nurses (ULTIMATE GUIDE)
4. ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes
The first of my sneaker style shoes for nurses with flat feet is this from the trusty ASICS, (I’m not someone that jumps to the tune of the major designer brands, hence Nike or Adidas rarely making my lists).
Featuring a comfortable design for those with flat feet, the sneaker incorporates a FlyteFoam Lyte Technology that offers optimum support if you have low arches and overpronation.
This comes from ASICS lightweight midsole formulation. Using their own sales copy, this “ provides continuous cushion thanks to organic nanofibers!”
The 45-degree full-length SpevaFoam base provides a soft platform for the foot, which helps ensure strain and fatigue are kept at bay, throughout the day.
Other “ergonomic” (there’s that word again) features include the I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology. This incorporates a shoe design that enhances the foot’s natural gait from heel-strike to toe-off.
Finally, there is the Dynamic DuoMax Support System. This is yet another design feature that aims to enhance stability and support.
Put all that together and you have an extremely comfortable shoe, with a superior design ethos. A highly recommended sneaker if you are a nurse with flat feet.
5. Birkenstock Unisex Professional Tokyo Super Grip Leather Slip Resistant Work Shoe
In my opinion, this is one of the most stylish shoes on the market for nurses with flat feet. It is also unisex, so both men and women can bask in its sleekness.
Yes, there are definitely flashier options available, and normally I am a proponent of a splash of color on the ward, however, there is something about the simple leather work shoes that I really like.
There’s no disputing the fact that Birkenstock knows how to put a shoe together. This premium brand from Germany has come up trumps with this one overall.
Providing great arch support, the comfortable inner belies the tougher looking leather exterior on this work shoe.
Featuring a leather sole with EVA/rubber superior grip finish, this is a shoe that will keep you on your feet in slippery conditions.
The contoured cork footbed is shaped to assist those with flat feet problems, helping to ensure that a long working day doesn’t end in pain.
The genuine leather upper is where the Birkenstock quality really shines through. There’s no escaping the fact you are wearing a premium shoe when you look at the finish of these.
The end result is a durable, stylish work shoe that will suit nurses with flat feet that will pay a little extra for their footwear.
6. BEST SNEAKER: Orthofeet, Foot and Heel Pain Relief, Orthopedic Sneakers
While the ASICS reviewed above is a great sneaker for flat-footed nurses, this offering from Orthofeet is my number one choice. (I also chose these as the best sneaker for nurses with Plantar Fasciitis.)
Ergonomics and technology play a large role in this. The guys over at Orthofeet have really sat down and thought long and hard about the needs of those with foot ailments.
The list of features incorporated into this shoe is long.
From lightweight ergonomic sole complete with air cushioning to the superior orthotic insoles; comfort and shock absorption are a high priority when it comes to Orthofeet’s design ethos.
For flat feet nurses, these really hit the mark. The shoe features an anatomical arch for greater support. There’s also a wide & roomy toe box to create a comfortable, non-binding fit.
Should you want to enhance the shoe further with your own custom made orthotics, it even has an extra depth design (with removable insoles), so that fresh replacement insoles can be fitted with ease.
So confident are Orthofeet that these shoes will be the answer to your flat-footed prayers, they offer a 60-day wear test, with free shipping and returns for anyone that is unsatisfied.
Essentially, if you have flat feet, and sneakers are your preferred style of work shoe, these are the ones to buy.
- Related Content: Top 7 Best Shoes for Nurses with Plantar Fasciitis
The final entry in my list of best shoes for nurses with flat feet, comes from good old Crocs.
While the style here might not suit all tastes, there’s no arguing with the amount Crocs have managed to shift.
This is an extremely popular clog with almost 16,000 reviews on Amazon at the time of writing. Considering these hover in the region of an average of 4.6 out of 5, you know they have got something right.
So what are the details? Well, specifically designed for nurses or chefs, there are many that have stood in these before you.
These easy to clean, slip-resistant clogs are perfect for the busy workplace. Stains are not an issue and the lightweight design provides enough support to see you comfortable throughout the day.
Made from 100% Croslite and featuring a synthetic sole, there’s nothing hi-tech going on here.
For flat footed wearers, the strong sole offers the shock-absorbing qualities you need over a long shift. There’s also extra protection at the toes so that wayward falling objects do not cause issues.
Yes, there are superior shoes available when it comes to the ergonomics for flat feet, however, as long as you opt for the correct size, you will not be disappointed with these.
And what list of nurses shoes would be complete without a good pair of Crocs?
What are flat feet?
Flat feet are simply a postural problem where the foot does not have a defined arch on its base.
This results in the full length of the foot are flat with the ground. Up to 25% of the population is believed to have flat feet, (having just one foot or both constitutes as having the condition from a medical perspective), so it is definitely very common.
What causes flat feet?
Family history and nerve damage are the two main causes of flat feet. The first is clear; you have inherited the gene from one or both of your parents and your foot is just shaped that way.
Nerve damage from an injury or arthritis causes flat-footedness, by changing the tension in the ligaments that line the base of the foot.
With decreased strength in the ligament, the fibers within the tissue are no longer tense enough to create an arch.
It is also common for pregnant women to develop flat feet due to increased elastin and other hormonal changes and their effects within the body.
Although rare, health problems such as diabetes and obesity can also cause flat-footedness, again because of changes within the body tissue, nerves, and muscle.
- Related Content: Best Skechers for Nurses [Women’s & Men’s Reviewed]
How do you know if you have flat feet?
The “homebrew” way of finding out if you have flat feet is to stand in some paint and then press your wet foot onto a piece of paper.
The more of an imprint you leave, the more flat-footed you are.
Should you want a professional opinion, a good old doctor or local podiatrist will be able to help.
- Related Content: Health Risks From Standing On Your Feet All Day
What to do when buying shoes for flat feet?
Use Insoles Made for Flat Feet
The first point is the most obvious; simply look for shoes that have been designed for flat feet, or at the very least allow for you to add an orthotic insole to help with the problem.
There are now a number of shoe options available that cater to flat feet. Whether it’s sneakers, nurse clogs, work shoes, or dress shoes you will be able to find specific shoes to help.
But they are not the style I like?
This can be a problem, as clearly, buying shoes specifically for flat feet does narrow things down.
However, even if in the range available you are still not content, most shoes today allow for orthotics.
Buy a separate insole for flat feet and insert them into the shoes you like, or better still, visit the podiatrist and have something custom made for your foot.
Allow Enough Toe Space
The space between your big toe and the tip of the shoe is another important consideration.
A full thumbnail space is a good gauge (with socks on), as this will prevent the toes from rubbing up against the end fabric of the shoe.
If the shoe is too tight, you will feel the impact of every step so much more, (not good if you are a nurse on your feet all day long).
The rubbing of the toe against the shoe will also cause discomfort.
And while there is an argument that a shoe will expand slightly after being worn, you do not want your toes being the cause of this.
Aim for a centimeter or two of space and you will appreciate it.
Consider Wider Styles
Selecting wider styles will also make a difference if you have flat feet. The larger surface area to the ground offers more support, which in turn provides greater comfort.
If your favorite pair does not come in a wider style, going up a size may offer a similar benefit.
However, you do not want the shoe to be oversized to a degree where the fit is too loose. The extra “play” that you will experience will reduce comfort levels, rather than increase them.
Try Shoes Later in the Day
If you are shoe shopping on the high street, try to time your visit for later in the day. This is to cater to the fact your feet swell during a long day of work.
If you buy a pair that fits perfectly while your feet are at the most fatigued, you know you are on the right track.
You will be able to find the best shoes that offer the most comfort and support when you need them most (at the end of the workday).
That same pair will suit you at the beginning of the shift too.
Consider the types of socks you generally wear
If you are someone that likes to wear hiking socks you must allow for that extra thickness when choosing the correct size shoe.
Thick socks will cause more throbbing and discomfort if the shoe being worn becomes too tight, during the workday.
Conversely, a thin cotton sock may mean you will need to pick a shoe size closer to the size of your feet.
By keeping in mind this issue, you will be more accurate in your selection
Comfort & Stability
As you can see, the majority of the tips above concentrate on shoe size. You will want to get this right.
Beyond that, if you are buying shoes that are not specifically designed for flat feet, you just need to ensure that they have ample support in the sole (sneakers are great for this because of all the shock-absorbing technology that goes into them).
Breathability is another factor as this will reduce the swelling caused by the pressure of being on your feet all day. The materials used and the design of the shoe all help here.
And as mentioned earlier, if all else fails, a shoe that has a removable insole will mean you can use something that offers a better fit and more support – the two variables that will ensure you have the best shoes for flat feet.
- “In-shoe pressure distribution in “unstable” (MBT) shoes and flat-bottomed training shoes: A comparative study” Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, [Link]
- “Flatfeet: Biomechanical implications, assessment, and management“, The Foot, Volume 38, March 2019, Pages 81-85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foot.2019.02.004
- “Effects of Artificial Texture Insoles and Foot Arches on Improving Arch Collapse in Flat Feet“, Sensors 2020, 20(13), 3667; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133667