Sneakers for Nurses – How to Choose the Correct Fit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Sneakers are a great option for nurses that spend all day on their feet. They provide comfort and support, and these days a lot of design advancement to help with the health of your feet.

However, all of this can go out of the window if you end up buying sneakers that aren’t the correct fit.

Wrong shoes can cause a lot of discomfort and can also lead to conditions such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, calluses, corns, and hammertoes.

So how do you go about ensuring you’re buying the right size sneaker for you?

That’s exactly what we will look into today.

How can you tell that your sneakers fit correctly?

It is not good enough just to opt for sneakers that are stated as your shoe size and expect that they fit correctly.

Where you can, you should try them on before you buy. This means that you can go through the following tests, to see if they feel good.

Correct fitting sneakers will:
  • Fit snuggly, while not being too tight or too loose.
  • Will feel secure around the heel without slipping or being too tight
  • Your toes should be able to wiggle at the end of the sneaker without being squeezed
  • Have enough width so that your foot feels comfortable at the widest part
  • Do not feel cramped overall (while not being too loose)

How to purchase correct fitting sneakers for Healthcare Work

nursing and footwear

1. Measure your feet

Knowing your foot size exactly is the first step. You may think that you’ve been a size 5 for years, however, as you get older, your feet do alter in shape and size.

Use a tape measure at home or in your local sneaker store, utilize one of their foot measuring devices to get the exact dimensions.

2. Have socks on when sneaker fitting

You should also have your normal socks on (i.e the thickness and style you normally wear) when trying sneakers on.

If you use compression socks with standard socks on above them, while carrying out your nursing duties, do the same when trying on shoes for work.

3. Remember, your feet swell after a long day

Due to the fact your feet swell after a long day (due to fluid retention), it is better to shop for sneakers after work if you can.

This will ensure you’re trying on shoes while your feet are at their largest.

4. Press the tips of the sneakers to test their roominess

It is important that there is a little space at the end of the sneaker so that your feet are not too cramped.

A simple test you can do to check this is to press the tip of the sneaker with your finger at the point where your big toe ends.

If you can press down and have space at the end of your big of about 10mm (3/8inches), you have sufficient roominess in the sneaker.

If your big toe is pressing right against the tip of the shoe, they are too small.

5. Finger test at the ankle

Another finger test you can carry out is at the ankle. With the sneakers on and fastened, slide your index finger between your heel and the shoe’s heel counter.

You should be able to slide the finger in with relative ease. It will feel secure, but not overly tight on your finger. If it is, the sneakers are too small.

If it is too loose and you wiggle your index finger around without any obstruction, your shoes are too large.

6. Shoe Width & Length Overall

Avoid buying shoes that are too tight expecting to wear them in. The width and length need to be the right fit from the start.

Especially as you will be working in a busy healthcare environment and will be on your feet all day from the very first point of wearing the sneakers.

7. Final steps, (literally)

The final test is to simply walk around with the sneakers on. Don’t just walk 3 meters in one direction and sit down again.

Use this time to pace around the shop for a minute or two. Nobody will mind. Take as much time as you need to flex your feet within the sneakers and to see how they feel while walking, taking a leap etc.

If they chafe or they feel tight or even too loose, this shoe size is not for you.

Essentially, it is important to take your time and ensure that the sneakers fit correctly before you buy. You’ll be thankful in the long term because the right shoes go a long way to preventing foot discomfort and pain, which we nurses can all too often suffer with.

About Hannah Drake

Hannah Drake, RN, CSP is a registered nurse and owner and founder of Nurse Focus. Her nursing career spans almost two decades, and in that time she has developed her skill base across a variety of settings, including med surg nursing, clinical informatics system administration and implementation, and healthcare community management. Contact Hannah.

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