Since you are on your feet the entire day, having the right pair of shoes is not a luxury. You can’t afford to cut costs. Poor shoes lead to a variety of physical issues such as shin splints, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and iliotibial band syndrome — all without considering the pain in your back and knees.
Why are Shoes So Important?
When your shoes are right, you feel better. When you feel better, you are better at taking care of those that need you. A good pair of shoes changes the way you feel, and that makes every day better. So, what should you look for in the best shoe possible?
Let’s cut to the chase; you are on your feet most of the day. Over time, that causes massive foot fatigue which leads to discomfort from all your daily activities. Everything involved in patient care needs to be done: lifting, pulling, walking, running. At your best, it is better in a comfortable shoe. Getting the right shoe makes all the difference in the world. Some shoe stores will professionally measure your foot (please, avoid Walmart). With a shoe that compliments your foot type rather than complicates your ability to walk comfortably, everything gets better. People see you as a professional; you should see an expert in finding the most comfortable shoe for your specific feet.
Being comfortable is great, but you need support for your legs and back. The key is finding the right support in your shoe so that you have the stability you need throughout your day. This is vitally important considering the amount of lifting you do each day. Having a stable, supportive foundation makes all the difference in feeling good all day long.
You want to look at thickness, materials, strength and flexibility. For those with pronation (you put weight on the inside of your feet) or supination (you put weight on the outside of your feet), there are shoes specifically tailored to your gait. Having the right support for your foot type helps to mitigate injury and accidents. All of which affect your quality of life at work and home.
You have a comfortable shoe that gives you adequate support for your foot type; now you need to make sure it is slip-resistant. Honestly, you walk through a lot of things that make most mortals queasy. All of them can make an otherwise normal floor slippery as a sheet of ice.
This is why you want to make sure it can hold up to nurses. You work in a hazardous environment. Everything imaginable has been on the floor, including the cleaning solutions, which can make an otherwise mundane day bad in a second. Making sure you have the right sole that is slip resistant without being overly thin or soft helps to keep the chances of being injured at bay.
Making sure you have the right sole that is slip resistant without being overly thin or soft helps to keep the chances of being injured at bay.
Over the course of a day, you may come into contact with slippery floors and slick surfaces. That can increase the probability of injury. By making sure your nursing shoes have proper anti-slip protection, you can minimize the chances of getting injured due to a fall.
Make sure that you choose a shoe with a proper sole that is flexible enough to comfortably walk in, but not overly soft or thin as it can increase your chances of getting hurt.
In healthcare, everything can potentially land on your foot. Protecting your feet is critical. We have all kicked the end of the bed accidentally. Knowing how bad that feels, proper protection for the toes is essential.
This is a time that might benefit you to have two pairs of shoes at work. This way, you can change when conditions are more likely to find your toes in a compromised place. To make that less likely, you need to look at the effects of dropping something on your toes in your comfortable, supportive shoe. If it goes through, you might want to keep looking.
Actually, yes, style is kind of important, but it is not the most important. These days work attire is being mandated by administration to give a uniform look to the department/facility. Being able to add a little flare is a good thing. Think in terms of something that offers you personalization without standing out. It is fun. And given what you do all day, a little fun is something everyone can appreciate.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Cost?
A good pair of shoes that meets all these criteria does not have to break the budget. Your shoes are an investment. Remember, you get the value in long-term back and knee injury prevention.
Given the copious amount of work you do daily, your shoes are one of the most important purchases you make. They will impact comfort, performance, and long-term health. Those are benefits that will outweigh shoe costs over time.
In the end, having to replace less expensive, inferior shoes can cost as much as purchasing the right footwear with the right match to your foot type.
Should you invest in two different nursing shoes?
The best way to get the most out of your shoe’s life is to have more than one pair. Yes, it is more expensive, but the long-term savings to your knees and lower back will be more than compensated for the added costs.
The best way to get the most out of your shoe’s life is to have more than one pair.
It is also a good idea to choose shoes for a specific task. Shoes worn at work should be different than the ones you wear at home. It may also be a benefit to have shoes that are better for standing/walking than for sitting. Acting on the difference can save a world of hurt.
Plan to Replace
You may not realize it, but before you start wearing your shoes, they are already aging. Older shoes that are discounted can have less air in their cushioning. Many are being discontinued because of a better construction process. Be mindful that shoes are held together with glue, which dries out quickly, causing seems to loosen, leading to less support, which is terrible.
The good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes every 300 miles. How do you calculate that? Realizing that most nurses up on their feet are walking around 5 miles a day (10,000 steps approximately), not to mention the time merely standing. Weight can also affect the cushioning and support of the shoe leading to a shorter life span. In general, think in terms of replacing your shoes every 2 to 2 ½ months. Remember, just because they look good does not mean they are providing the support you need to be on your feet.
What do you think? Are your shoes that best? We would like to know what shoe works best for you and why. We will share that with other nurses to help limit injuries, reduce fatigue and help you have a better day.