Top 7 Best Shoes for Nurses with Plantar Fasciitis

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Quick Overview

Purchasing a comfortable pair of shoes is a must for any nurse. We are on our feet all day and the aches and pains caused by ill-fitting footwear should be avoided at all costs.

For anyone suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, the issue is compounded. Bad shoes will cause chronic pain that can make it very difficult to work at your best.

Thankfully, there are a number of shoes available today that help alleviates the pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis. In this review round-up, I shall look at some of the most effective ones on the market.

When looking to buy a comfortable pair of shoes that will help reduce the pain of Plantar Fasciitis, (or any type of foot pain for that matter), the most important factor to consider is the level of support the shoe offers.

Effective, shock-absorbing rubber soles are recommended. These need to be slip-proof too of course.

The shape of the arch is also important. Good support here will help reduce stress along the length of the foot.

As the pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis often begins at the heel, superior strength and fit here is a must. A memory-foam in-sole is also recommended, as this will adjust to the shape of your foot, offering greater comfort and cushioning qualities.

There is also the issue of space and breathability. To avoid the throbbing sensation that can occur from being on your feet all day, do not opt for a shoe that is too tight. Furthermore, allowing the foot to “breathe” slightly, will also help reduce any odor issues.

In this review roundup, I have taken a close look at 7 quality shoes that will assist nurses with Plantar Fasciitis. Some I have owned myself, others have been worn by colleagues. I have also taken into what customers have been saying…

Hopefully, one of these will put an end to any foot pain you might be experiencing during your working day.

The Reviews

1. Nurse Mates Women’s Dove Oxford

I bought a pair of these recently, and I have to say I am a massive fan. When I know I’m doing a long shift, these are my current go-to.

I don’t know about you, but I normally rotate through 2 or 3 different shoes at any one time, if I wear one for weeks on end I will admit, the odor issue can become a problem.

Anyway, back to the Nurse Mates. What is great about these is the slight give that they have. A tighter fit at first, they soon stretched to almost mold the shape of my feet.

The slip-on design is generally my favorite type (laces are a hassle I could do without), and as yet have not had any issues with the shoes falling away at the heel.

The sales page will give you details of some of the jargon associated with the manufacturer of the Dove Oxford.

However, in brief, the outer heel shell has a polyurethane core (whatever that means), and the EVA unit bottom has slip-resistant rubber inserts. These are very handy considering the odor problem I often experience and mentioned earlier.

What I can vouch for on the specs is the shock-absorbing protection. Nurse Mate has done an excellent job of making sure these shoes stop your feet from aching, swelling, or generally feeling uncomfortable when you are on them all day.

This nicely leads to what the Nurse Mates Dove Oxford is my top pick shoes for nurses with plantar fasciitis. The comfort levels are difficult to beat.

Whether you have issues with plantar fasciitis or not, I highly recommend these shoes to avoid needing to soak your feet in a hot bath after your shift, (but go ahead and do that anyway 🙂 )

DETAILS:
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Pull-On
  • Heel Height: 1.5
  • Heel Type: low-heel

2. BEST BUDGET: Crocs Unisex Specialist II Vent Clog

A list of best nurses’ shoes would not be complete without a pair of Crocs. They made my ultimate list several times in the roundup I published a few months ago, and this particular pair (Specialist II), is especially suited to those that suffer from plantar fasciitis.

On Amazon, you can purchase these in both men’s and women’s sizes, which is a real bonus (I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out here).

And as Crocs state, if you’re working long days and nights (ahem, that’s us yes) these shoes are designed for you.

So what does this mean beyond simple sales copy?

As far as the manufacture goes, Crocs have ensured that strength and support are the number one priority.

The shoes feature a thicker construction at the toes and metatarsal areas. There is also increased arch support which helps spread the weight of your body across the entire foot.,

For extra comfort, the shoes have a nubbed Croslite foam footbed. And to refer to the crocs marketing team once more, they provide “a massage-like experience with every step”.

Again, nurses with plantar fasciitis will love the roomy, yet supportive nature of the shoe design. Feet problems after a long, busy shift, will hopefully be a thing of the past after you start wearing the Unisex Specialist II Vent Clog.

DETAILS:
  • Outer Material: Rubber
  • Inner Material: Unlined
  • Sole: Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Height: 1.5 inches

3. MOST STYLISH: Alegria Women’s Keli Professional

The first pair of Alegrias to make my list of best shoes for nurses with plantar fasciitis, is the Keli professional.

The choice of styles available on this show is quite amazing. If you like something a bit more zany in the way of colors and patterns, this is the shoe for you.

Not only that but they are also available in a selection of premium leathers and finishes.

But what about comfort? That is an important issue here after all.

I am pleased to report that the Alegria Keli professional is an extremely well-designed nurses shoes.

The removable “Perfect Fit” footbed is a mix of cork, latex, and memory foam that perfectly envelops your foot for a cushioned, comfortable feel while offering the support a sufferer of plantar fasciitis requires.

The slip-on styling is convenient and adds that to the dual goring, this is an easy shoe to pull on and off.

The sole is made from slip-resistant polyurethane and is engineered so that pressure is reduced around the central metatarsal and heel.

The sole also provides superior shock-absorbing properties, reducing fatigue and stress along with the feet and ankles.

DETAILS:
  • Heel Height: 1 1⁄2 in
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Platform Height: 3⁄4 in
  • (Product measurements related to size 39 (US Women’s 9), width Regular.

4. BEST SNEAKER: TIOSEBON Women’s Athletic Lightweight Casual Mesh Walking Shoes – Breathable Running Sneakers

The TIOSEBON Women’s Mesh Walking Shoes are the ideal footwear for anyone that spends hours on their feet everyday and have problems with plantar fasciitis.

These light and airy shoes feature a slip-on design. Importantly, they also have a thick sole for superior shock absorption and less strain on the feet and ankles/.

The latex arch on the insert is designed to offer excellent support in the middle of the foot.

That aforementioned airiness comes from the comfortable mesh upper, that allows the feet to breathe.

The outer material is synthetic and easy to keep clean. The pigskin insole only adds to the overall comfort as your feet are cushioned against the shape of the shoe.

TIOSEBON may not be a well-known brand, however, this shoe is still worth checking out.

DETAILS:
  • Latex arch insert.
  • Lightweight and comfortable – mesh upper, pigskin insole, and MD outsole. PERFECT FOR WALKING.
  • Outer Material: Synthetic
  • Sole: MD Sole
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Height: 3 centimeters
  • Shoe Width: Medium

5. Sanita Womens Professional Oil Closed Leather Clog

The Sanita Polyurethane rocker bottom shoes are a quality shoe for those that really do need robust support in their footwear.

Those suffering from plantar fasciitis will especially appreciate the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) approved design that incorporates superior arch support and orthopedic construction on the inside sole.

The shoe features a carefully anatomically shaped footbed, along with a roomy toe box that allows for a more comfortable space for the feet.

Likewise, blood circulation is aided by the shape of the shoe.

The footbed of the shoe is lined with leather, while the slip-resistant polyurethane outsole not only helps keep you on your feet when working at speed, the flexible material is also great for absorbing pressure as you step.

DETAILS:
  • Outer Material: Leather
  • Sole: Manmade
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Type: low-heels
  • Shoe Width: Medium

6. Alegria Womens Debra Round Toe Clogs

Alegria is a brand that has been cropping up more and more when it comes to nurses’ footwear, hence them making my list twice. Affordable and comfortable it is easy to see why.

The Debra Round Toe is a handstitched pair of clogs that are ideal for those that like to slip their work shoes on and off with ease.

They feature a double elastic gore for easy in and out.

What’s really useful for the inevitable spillages on the ward is the stain-resistant leather upper.

Easy to wipe clean even against stubborn substances, I am not the only nurse in the world that will appreciate the robust outer on these shoes.

The non-slip rubber sole also comes into its own if your hurtling about the ward in a hurry. For the fashion conscience among you, they come in a range of unique prints.

For anyone with plantar fasciitis, the comfort levels will be a welcome treat. Another worthy addition to my top 7 picks.

DETAILS:
  • Hand-stitched
  • Double elastic gore for easy in-and-out
  • Outer Material: Stain-resistant leather upper
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Closure: Pull-On
  • Heel Height: 1.75 inches
  • Heel Type: no-heel

7. BEST PODIATRIC: Orthofeet Proven Plantar Fasciitis shoe

My final shoe for nurses with plantar fasciitis comes from Orthofeet.

This shoe is designed to offer orthotic support, with its premium orthotic insole. This features anatomical arch support as well as a cushioning heel pad.

The latter shapes the contours of your foot allowing for superior comfort as you walk.

This design also helps reduce pain at the heel, foot, and ankle, again making this a wise choice for sufferers of plantar fasciitis.

In fact, the list of ailments that these shoes can help with is long. Orthofeet claims that they can help with Metatarsal Pain, Knee Pain, Back Pain, and to enhance comfort for Sensitive Feet, Diabetic Feet, Arthritic Feet, Neuropathy, Plantar Fasciitis, Pronation, Metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma, Bunions, Corns, Hammer Toes.

Phew, that’s quite a mouthful. But you get my point. Specifically designed for those that have issues with their feet, these quality shoes will offer the support and comfort you need when spending long days at work.

DETAILS:
  • Outer Material: Synthetic
  • Closure: Lace-Up
  • Heel Type: low-heel
  • Shoe Width: M womens_us

What is Plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common medical condition that affects the feet. Predominantly causing pain at the heel, the ailment causes the inflammation of “fascia” on the base of the foot.

More specifically, it is the band of tissue that stretches from your heel, along the arch of your foot, and to the base of the toes.

The pain is normally at its most intense in the morning,(before the muscles and tissue have had a chance to stretch and warm-up) or after long spells of standing.

The latter, of course, can cause major problems for nurses who spend a long time on their feet during the day.

How to determine whether you have Plantar fasciitis?

Subjectively, you will suspect that you have Plantar fasciitis if you experience heel and base of the foot pain to a much larger degree than what comes with a normal long day.

The pain itself is more of a stabbing sensation, extremely targeted in the heel or along the base of the foot.

Consider when the pain is at its worst. If it hurts getting out of bed in the morning, or you feel the onset after longs spells of standing still (or walking just after a long rest), Plantar fasciitis may well be the culprit.

Nurses will generally feel more pain towards the end of the shift or moving again after a break.

What causes Plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia works as a shock-absorbing bowstring within the base of the foot. In healthy feet, it is the structure that supports the arch and takes the stress out of the normal act of walking (there’s a lot of weight directed there after all).

However, if overworked, a fact that happens to most medical staff, the plantar fascia becomes damaged.

Small tears appear in the structure of the plantar fascia. The stress exerted on the damaged tissue is what causes you the stabbing pain.

A vicious circle or stretching and contraction makes it difficult to heel and the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and more pain ensues.

Ways to prevent Plantar fasciitis?

Prevention of Plantar fasciitis is the same as actually reducing the impact of the condition should you get it; namely, appropriate shoes.

Such shoes are cushioned and provide superior support along the base of the foot.

Heel and arch support are especially important as these areas suffer the largest impact in normal, everyday standing and walking.

Buying orthotics to provide support is another way to help prevent Plantar fasciitis, however, these should be custom made for your foot by a podiatrist.

How to treat Plantar fasciitis?

If you are suffering from a torn plantar fascia there are a few ways that you can treat the condition:

Orthotics

Aforementioned orthotics are good for reducing the pain of Plantar fasciitis. In many ways they are the first line of treatment.

The inserts will offer superior support that will in turn reduce stress on the damaged area of the foot, giving it a better chance to heal.

As mentioned above, a custom made orthotic is the best cause of action. While an over the counter orthotic will help with prevention, they are not particularly effective if you already have the condition.

Splints

Splints can be worn at night in order to hold the foot at a flexed angle. This takes the pressure of the tears in the tissue, assisting in the healing process.

If you have Plantar fasciitis, your podiatrist will likely recommend both orthotics and splints in order to treat the issue. These are clearly preferred over more invasive procedures.

Cortisone

Cortisone shots directly into the heel will be a course of action should the above measures fail.

Although painful at first, it will reduce the long lasting pain caused by Plantar fasciitis and again, speed up the foot’s ability to heal..

Surgery

Should all else fail, you may have to undergo surgery. The form varies on the extent of the damage and intensity of the pain. However, surgery for Plantar fasciitis is rare.

What to look for when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis

nurse-heart-pulse

When choosing the best nursing shoes for plantar fasciitis there are a number of factors to consider.

Superior arch support

Superior arch support is the number one attribute you should look for in a nurses shoe if you have plantar fasciitis.

Robust support in this area will reduce stress on the ligaments, where the torn tissue is very likely to be. More stress here and the healing process will be delayed.

This is also the area that suffers some of the greatest impact if not supported by the insole of the shoe.

If you are working in a fast-paced environment, padding in the front section of the shoe will also be beneficial.

Heel support

A cushioned heel support will act as a shock absorber that will actually help reduce strain across the entire length of the foot.

As the pain of plantar fasciitis often sparks in the heel first, ensuring this area of the foot is as comfortable as possible, will help you throughout your working day.

You do not want unnecessary “play” here either. I.e the support and inside of the shoe should offer a snug fit (without being too tight) so that the heel doesn’t slip up and down or side to side. This movement will only exacerbate your pain and condition.

Slip Resistance

Slip resistance is very important for any nurse; if you have plantar fasciitis, even more so. A sudden slip on a wet surface will put a lot of strain on your feet, and may even cause it to contort in a way that can rip the tendons further.

Slip resistance good grip well help ensure you stay on your feet, safely, at all times.

Removable insoles

If you have plantar fasciitis, you should buy shoes with removable insoles. This will allow you to fit orthotics should you need. You will also be able to add over the counter soles with more padding.

Either way, having the flexibility to upgrade the shoe insole is a great feature for any nurse.

General, nurse specific requirements

best nurses shoes for men and women

While not deal breakers, the following shoe features are always good for a busy nurse that spends a large amount of time on their feet, plantar fasciitis or otherwise.

Lightweight

Lightweight shoes reduce additional pressure on feet. They will generally be more comfortable and with the right material, still soften the impact between your feet and floor.

Easy to clean

Spillages are common in a busy medical work environment. Having a shoe that is easy to wipe clean will increase its longevity.
Slip-on

As long as the support is there and the shoe does not slip on your heel while you are walking around, a slip-on can be beneficial. This will allow you to easily slip them on and off in those rare moments you have a break.

Stylish

Finally, there is always that element of style. Nurses’ shoes come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and pattern options.

If you can get a pair that fit well and are comfortable and offer the support you need for your plantar fasciitis, then any style options on top of all that is a great bonus.

A bit of individuality goes a long way to putting a cheer into your step…

References

  • Young CC, Rutherford DS, Niedfeldt MW. “Treatment of plantar fasciitis“. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Feb 1;63(3):467-74, 477-8. Erratum in: Am Fam Physician 2001 Aug 15;64(4):570. PMID: 11272297. [Link]
  • Strength training for plantar fasciitis and the intrinsic foot musculature: A systematic review” Physical Therapy in Sport, Volume 24, March 2017, Pages 44-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.08.008
  • S. S. Eun, S. Chachan, S. H. Lee, “Effectiveness of a Double Air-Cushioned Shoe Compared with Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis“, BioMed Research International, vol. 2020, Article ID 9468302, 5 pages, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/9468302
  • Natalia Gutteck, Sebastian Schilde, Karl-Stefan Delank. “Pain on the Plantar Surface of the Foot” Published online 2019 Feb 8. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0083
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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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