The 8 Best Tennis Shoes for Nurses [Ultimate Shoe Guide for 2021]

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Though tennis shoes were originally designed for tennis players, they’ve become popular footwear choices for many other people. Nurses and other health professionals benefit from the comfort, traction, and stability that these shoes afford. So what are the best tennis shoes for nurses?

Retail, culinary, construction, and medical professionals alike often look for the best shoes for standing all day. But nurses have to keep their profession in mind as well.

Our top pick for the best support tennis shoes for nurses are the Women’s Tree Dashers. They’re durable, easy to clean, easy to put on, and very comfortable in a professional setting.

OUR FAVORITE TENNIS SHOES FOR NURSES

Allbirds Tree Dashers

5/5

Incredibly comfortable and supportive tennis shoe made from renewable resources that’s machine washable!

Studying for the NCLEX? Start Here

The 8 Best Tennis Shoes for Nurses

Women’s Tree Dashers

5/5 Stars
5 of 5 stars

The Tree Dashers are our top tennis shoe pick for nurses by far. They go above and beyond in terms of comfort and support. Of all the shoes on the list, these are the easiest to clean and the most durable. Unlike many other shoes, the Tree Dashers are also made of environmentally-friendly materials.

The responsive design uses a scientific outsole pattern that maximizes stability while conserving energy. The SweetFoam material helps to absorb shock and correct your stride, while the natural rubber increases the overall slip resistance.

Rather than hooking into the outside alone, the laces are threaded through the shoe’s internal structure. This means that when you tighten them, you get a customized fit that conforms perfectly to the curve of your foot.

Additional features provide support and control. Heel locking technology prevents your foot from “sliding” in the shoe, so you’re less likely to injure your ankles. Meanwhile, the breathable upper delivers a constant stream of fresh air to your feet while remaining waterproof.

  • Tested by dozens of athletes who ran thousands of miles
  • One-piece eucalyptus upper is seamless and highly durable
  • Lightweight and breathable enough to prevent overheating
  • Energy-efficient foam midsole cushions and prevents fatigue
  • Merino wool in the heel supports and stabilizes the foot

Nike Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 36

4/5 Stars
4 of 5 stars

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Women's Running Shoe...

This running shoe is perfect for women with narrower feet. If you find that standard shoes are too roomy, the Pegasus may offer the snug fit you’ve been looking for. Women with wider feet may find the shoes too tight, though. The Pegasus shoes are built for athletes and great for nurses who do a lot of walking.

Each shoe has a Zoom Air unit installed in the midsole. This layer helps your feet bounce back from the ground, so you expend less energy walking the same distance that you usually do.

Also included are exposed midfoot cables. When you power walk or run at high speeds, these cables flex and mold the shoe to your foot. This maximizes stability and helps prevent injury in the workplace.

  • Available in 21 color combinations
  • Slim design conforms well to narrow feet
  • Zoom Air along the sole provides energy-efficient cushioning
  • Perforated mesh fabric provides maximum breathability
  • Midfoot cables snugly fit the shoe when running at high speeds
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Women's Running Shoe...
  • mesh
  • Perforations on upper enhance breathability in...
  • Full-length Zoom Air unit provides a smooth,...

Related: The 13 Best Shoes for Nurses

Brooks Women’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

4.5/5 Stars
4.5 of 5 stars

Brooks Addiction Walker White 7 2A - Narrow

These walking shoes come in three neutral colors and have the best synthetic leather. They are 100 percent man-made, including a synthetic sole. With the combination of support and slip resistance, the Addiction Walkers are the best walking shoes for nurses. If you do a lot of power striding between rooms, these are the shoes for you.

The rollbar technology guides your foot through your stride, preventing you from walking on the sides of your feet. This makes the design ideal for those with high arches and plantar fasciitis.

The outsole is uniquely balanced to encourage good posture and keep your feet stable. It’s an ideal design for those who stand for long periods of time.

Meanwhile, the BioMoGo DNA foam is responsive enough to adapt to your unique weight, speed, and stride.

  • Available in black, white, or gray
  • Man-made leather upper with a synthetic sole
  • Slip-resistant outsole with extra stability technology
  • Adaptable cushioning conforms to your foot’s shape and stride
  • Extra arch support to prevent overpronation and help plantar fasciitis

Brooks Addiction Walker White 7 2A - Narrow
  • SHOE SIZE: "B" = Medium width, "D" = Wide width,...
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal...
  • SLIP-RESISTANT, SECURE FIT: The forefoot MC Pod...

New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker

4/5 Stars
4 of 5 stars

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker,...

If you’re looking for a stylish work shoe, you’re in luck. This sneaker from New Balance provides all the support you need while boasting a stylish, aerodynamic design. Not only is the silhouette unique, but you also get your choice of 33 different color combinations and patterns!

The midsole uses lightweight REVlite foam. While it’s not as heavy-duty as some cushioning, it is light enough to make walking easy. Heavier shoes can sometimes cause fatigue when you have to walk several miles in a day.

The upper has a “bootie” construction, with fabric that hugs your feet like a pair of socks. According to the manufacturers, part of the goal was to create shoes that are cushioned but lightweight enough to feel like your feet are almost bare.

  • Completely synthetic upper with a rubber sole
  • 33 colors and patterns to choose from
  • Lightweight midsole cushioning conforms to your foot
  • Memory foam insert provides additional support and shock absorption
  • Mesh and synthetic material combine to create a super lightweight shoe

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker,...
  • Midsole Cushioning: These New Balance sneakers...
  • Underfoot Comfort: With an NB Memory Sole Comfort...
  • Sleek Design and Supportive Fit: Stay comfortable...

Skechers D’Lites Biggest Fan

5/5 Stars
5.5 of 5 stars

Skechers Sport womens D'LITES FRESH START Memory...

These shoes have the highest overall customer satisfaction rating on the list. In addition, they’re extremely versatile, with 44 different designs that can suit any aesthetic. A combination of leather and synthetic materials comprises the upper, while the midsole is made from cushioned EVA foam.

The collar and tongue are padded, preventing chafing when the shoes are worn without socks. The traditional lace-up construction provides a snug fit while being an affordable design. 

Despite the traditional design, the shoes are lighter than many cushioned running shoes, making them ideal for on-the-go nurses.

The Skechers D’Lites are also our #1 pick for the Best White Leather Nursing Shoes.

  • Mix of leather and manmade fabric with a rubber sole
  • One-inch platform adds height and cushioning
  • Padded collar and tongue prevent chafing against bare ankles
  • EVA foam midsole conforms to the shape of the foot
  • Each shoe weighs just 12 ounces, reducing fatigue with long wear

Sale
Skechers Sport womens D'LITES FRESH START Memory...
  • Lightweight ; 1 1/4 inch built in heel.
  • Flexible sole. D'Lites super lightweight shock...

Brooks Women’s Ghost 13

4.5/5 Stars
4.5 of 5 stars

Brooks Women's Ghost 13, Light Blue, 8.5 Medium

If your main priority is cushioning, you don’t have to look any further than the Brooks Ghost series. These athletic shoes are designed with enough cushioning to carry you through a long shift. They’re also available in 18 stylish colors and patterns ranging from neutral to vibrant tones.

These shoes have neutral support that utilizes DNA LOFT and BioMoGo cushioning. The combination allows for comfortable cushioning while still retaining a responsive feel.

Even though the shoes are lightweight, the materials are highly durable. The rubber sole can stand up to heavy use, while the perforated upper provides breathable comfort.

The Crash Pad shock absorbers offer an additional level of cushioning, preventing joint pain and fatigue during high-impact movement.

  • 18 colors and patterns to choose from
  • Multiple layers of supportive cushioning
  • Responsive and durable, helping you conserve energy
  • Built-in shock absorbers help reduce joint pain and fatigue
  • 3D Fit technology allows the shoe to conform seamlessly to your foot

Brooks Women's Ghost 13, Light Blue, 8.5 Medium
  • THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Ghost 13 is for runners...
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type...
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA...

Related: Guide to the Best Watches for Nurses

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 21 Running Shoes

4.5/5 Stars
4.5 of 5 stars

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 21 Running Shoes, 5M,...

These shoes have the best arch support on the list. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or joint pain, the arch support can help relieve inflammation and soreness. It can also prevent health complications from developing in the future. 

Available in 17 funky styles, this synthetic-and-mesh design is perfect for nurses needing extra support. The outsole has been reinforced with high-abrasion rubber in heavily worn areas, but the shoes remain lightweight since they aren’t fully reinforced.

Another helpful aspect of these shoes is the inclusion of reflective materials. The reflectors will catch on headlights and street lights in low-visibility conditions. Because of this, these shoes are an excellent choice for nurses who work night shifts.

The women’s Gel-Nimbus models have 3 extra millimeters of height. This tiny increment has a big impact on Achilles tendonitis and other forms of inflammation.

  • Synthetic and mesh upper with a fabric sole
  • Available in 17 brightly colored designs and patterns
  • Elastic foam layer creates bounce, making it easy to walk long distances
  • High abrasion rubber helps protect high-friction areas against wear and tear
  • Heel counter locks heel in place while the midsole provides extra arch support
ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 21 Running Shoes, 5M,...
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam...
  • AHAR Outsole - Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion...
  • Reflectivity - Contains reflective materials...

Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe

4/5 Stars
4 of 5 stars

adidas Women's Cloudfoam Pure, Ice Purple/Vapour...

These shoes will appeal to nurses who want an “easy on” option. They slip directly onto the foot, so you don’t have to worry much about laces. There are also dozens of different color combinations to choose from. The memory sockliner allows for barefoot wear, and the textile lining is soft against your feet.

The overall fit is specifically designed for the average woman’s foot. Rather than being roomy, the design conforms to the foot, holding it snug and secure. The shoes are ideal for people who walk and run long distances on a daily basis.

  • Slip-on design that doesn’t require lacing
  • Comfortable lining and memory foam sock liner, so the shoes can be worn barefoot
  • 100 percent textile upper with a rubber sole
  • Closely hugs the foot for extra stability and support
  • Available in 51 color combinations and patterns
adidas Women's Cloudfoam Pure, Ice Purple/Vapour...
  • Women's specific fit
  • Cloudfoam memory sockliner and textile lining
  • Easy, everyday runners

Related: Shop These 7 Cute Nurse Scrub Dresses 

How to Buy Tennis Shoes for Nurses

You might decide to do your own research into the shoes that will fit you best. These are a few of the factors to take into consideration when purchasing new footwear for work.

Slip vs. Nonslip

One of the most important things to learn is the difference between slip and nonslip shoes. Nonslip shoes are also called “slip resistant” shoes, which means that they resist slipping even on slick surfaces.

As a nurse, you probably spend a lot of your time walking on smooth floors. Sometimes these floors will have just been mopped. Sometimes they’ll be muddy from other people’s boots. Or sometimes they’ll be wet with spilled liquid.

Nonslip shoes help you get through your day-to-day work. Not only do they protect you from spills, they also provide the traction you need to get from Point A to Point B quickly.

Nurses often need to deal with emergencies. In such a fast-paced job, you don’t have time to be sliding across the linoleum tiles!

Shoes that are slip-resistant are designed with a combination of strong treads and rubberized soles. The rubber increases the grip against the ground, as does the tread pattern. You can look for shoes that have rubber soles such as Brooks Addiction Walkers or Skechers D’Lites

Brooks Addiction Walker White 7 2A - Narrow
  • SHOE SIZE: "B" = Medium width, "D" = Wide width,...
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal...
  • SLIP-RESISTANT, SECURE FIT: The forefoot MC Pod...
Sale
Skechers Sport womens D'LITES FRESH START Memory...
  • Lightweight ; 1 1/4 inch built in heel.
  • Flexible sole. D'Lites super lightweight shock...

In addition to natural rubber, some manufacturers use synthetic rubbers like PVC and PU to make their slip-resistant soles.

Shoe manufacturers test their shoes for slip resistance before they hit the market. You can often find the results of the tests on the manufacturer’s website or the product listing.

Support or Neutral

When you look at athletic shoes like running shoes and tennis shoes, you’ll often see them labeled as “support” or “neutral” designs. But what is the difference between these? And which is best for a nursing professional?

The truth is that neither is better than the other. It all depends on your personal needs.

Neutral shoes are best for people who:

  • Have high arches
  • Have inflexible feet
  • Walk on the outsides of their feet instead of stabilizing their weight

Neutral shoes come with a range of cushioning. With low cushioning, the shoe is responsive, which means that you can spring easily off the ground and feel the ground below your feet. With high cushioning, the shoe is soft, making it good for those who stand in one place for long periods of time.

Neutral shoes are built with a guide in the midsole. This bar or rail helps correct your stride so that you balance your weight equally. It also provides extra support for your arches. The Brooks Ghost, for example, is a neutral shoe design. 

Brooks Ghost 13 Grey/Blackened Pearl/Purple 8.5 B...
  • THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Ghost 13 is for runners...
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type...
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA...

Support shoes, on the other hand, are best for people who:

  • Have low arches or flat feet
  • Have very flexible feet
  • Have ankles that often rotate inward

They provide the opposite kind of help from neutral shoes. Like neutral shoes, they come with a wide range of cushioning. But rather than having a guide bar, a support shoe is designed with a wedge below the arch. This wedge props the arch up so it doesn’t collapse, which prevents the ankle from turning inward.

You can determine which type of shoe you need by using a mirror. Walk normally toward the mirror and watch your feet. Do your arches collapse? Do your ankles roll inward? Is there pressure on the outsides of your feet?

Answering these questions will help you decide which category of shoe you should be looking at.

Cushion

Another big component of athletic shoes is the cushioning. This is especially important for nurses. Since you spend most of your shift on your feet, you want enough cushioning to keep your feet and joints from becoming sore.

Cushioning comes in five different levels.

The maximum cushioning is Level 5. These are best for:

  • People who walk or run multiple miles daily
  • Runners and athletes who run long-distance races
  • New athletes who aren’t used to high-impact exercise yet

Nurses can walk four miles in a single shift. And that’s without considering double shifts and overtime. That’s a lot of wear-and-tear on the body, especially if you’re not used to so much physical activity.

Because of this, the best nursing shoes will typically lean toward higher cushioning levels. With that said, Level 5 cushioning may not be accessible to everyone. These shoes tend to use expensive technology, and they may run pricier than your budget.

For those who aren’t walking multiple miles every single day, there’s Level 4 cushioning:

  • Strong cushioning and maximum performance
  • Ideal for people who do short and medium runs
  • Ideal for people who spend most of the day standing or walking
  • Versatile cushioning built to last over many miles of use

This is more in the ballpark for those who want an affordable level of cushioning without all the bells and whistles.

Level 3 cushioning is the midpoint between full cushion and no cushion. It can be described as:

  • Good for daily racing and fast, responsive movement
  • Lighter weight than heavy cushioning while still supportive
  • More flexible than a fully cushioned sole
  • Recommended for people looking for a happy medium between full cushioning and a natural “barefoot” feel

Level 2 cushioning feels more natural. Shoes with this type of cushioning don’t offer a lot of support for all-day wear. They’re not highly recommended for nurses, and they tend to be preferred by competitive runners who want to feel the terrain below their feet.

Level 1 cushioning is the most natural. Shoes like this basically feel like walking or running barefoot. They protect your feet against sharp objects and debris, but they don’t provide any shock absorption or comfort. Nurses who wear these will tire quickly even though they’re the most lightweight shoe on the market.

Washable

For nurses, keeping a clean environment is more than personal pride: it can be life or death. It’s vital that you wash your shoes frequently to avoid transmitting bacteria, even if you’re not working in sterile operating rooms.

Before you purchase your shoes, you should have a sense of how often you’ll need to sanitize them. Then make sure you look at the manufacturer guidelines for taking care of the shoes.

Some tennis shoes and sneakers are machine washable, such as the Allbirds Tree Dashers . You can remove the laces and set them in the washing machine. They should generally be left to air dry rather than placed in the dryer.

Some shoes, especially those made with leather and synthetic fabrics, will not be machine washable. Smooth leather and synthetic mesh can often be wiped down or sprayed with sanitizing agents.

In many cases, you will need to remove the laces and wash them by hand.

If the shoes you pick are too difficult to clean, you’ll find yourself frustrated as you try to keep up with your work. You don’t want to sink hours of your time into scraping dirt out of the seams. Upkeep is an important component of nursing shoes.

Water Repellent

Another key factor to look for is whether the shoe is water repellent.

Water repellent shoes can resist moisture up to a point. If you submerge them in water, they will repel the moisture for a little while before finally absorbing it.

For nurses, every day brings something different. You never know when you’re going to need to work in wet or unsanitary conditions. Water repellent shoes can protect your feet from all kinds of moisture.

For the ultimate quality, it’s best to look for waterproof shoes. These are a step up from water repellent shoes in that they will never absorb water, no matter how long they’re submerged. They tend to dry quickly and have excellent insulation.

Waterproof shoes may be a little more expensive than water repellent ones. But if you frequently work in wet or unpredictable conditions, they’ll make a huge difference. That goes double for nurses who often work outdoors in rainy or snowy weather.

Hospital Requirements

Different hospitals may have different requirements regarding your footwear. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and dress code guidelines at your practice. If there are any limitations on the shoes you can use, or you’re asked to purchase a specific type of shoe, it’s best to know right away.

In the United States, OSHA outlines rules for workplace safety regulations. There are no specific OSHA rules for the footwear of healthcare workers. However, healthcare workers are exposed to certain hazards on a daily basis, and some of these are covered under OSHA.

OSHA does have many regulations about protective footwear. Rather than listing types of shoes, the guidelines simply specify that protection is needed if:

  • You might injure your feet with rolling or falling objects
  • You might step on sharp objects that pierce your sole
  • You may be exposed to electrical hazards

Nurses frequently work with heavy medical equipment, rolling objects, needles, and other sharp objects. Therefore you’re legally required to have protection.

OSHA also states that employers are responsible for protecting their employees from becoming ill. This means that personal protective equipment is required for all healthcare professionals who may touch another person’s blood.

Because OSHA doesn’t outline specific types of protective footwear, hospitals can create their own footwear policies. In general, you can expect to need shoes with an enclosed heel and toe, a thick protective sole, and some level of resistance to liquids.

Some hospitals may have more specific guidelines, though, which is why it’s important to double-check the policy. For example, if your hospital requires leather footwear, the Brooks Addiction Walkers will work better than the New Balance Nergize.

Brooks Addiction Walker White 7 2A - Narrow
  • SHOE SIZE: "B" = Medium width, "D" = Wide width,...
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal...
  • SLIP-RESISTANT, SECURE FIT: The forefoot MC Pod...
Sale
New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker,...
  • Midsole Cushioning: These New Balance sneakers...
  • Underfoot Comfort: With an NB Memory Sole Comfort...
  • Sleek Design and Supportive Fit: Stay comfortable...

Gel Inserts and Extra Support

With many tennis and running shoes, the included insole can be removed and replaced with a customized one. Many nurses use custom gel orthotics to provide support and relief for their foot issues.

Extra support may also be included in some designs. You might find support features such as:

  • A grippy texture in the toe that allows your toes to flex
  • Extra arch support to correct your stride
  • Increased outsole stability to prevent overpronation
  • Raised heel to absorb shock and soothe inflammation

Not everyone will need extra support. But if you have medical conditions like arthritis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, bunions, or muscle injuries, you’ll want shoes that can support your on-the-go career. The Gel-Nimbus running shoes have extra support for inflammation and pain.

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 21 Running Shoes, 9M,...
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam...
  • AHAR Outsole - Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion...
  • Reflectivity - Contains reflective materials...

Conclusion

Nurses can walk several miles in a single shift, and they spend most of their work day on their feet. But you also have to take special consideration of the requirements of your job.

Not only do nurse shoes need to be comfortable and supportive, they also need to be durable and easily cleaned. You’ll be wearing them all day, every day, so you can expect some wear and tear.

That’s why our top pick is the Women’s Tree Dashers. These shoes have everything you need to stay comfortable. They’re easy to sanitize, and they hold up under heavy use!

OUR FAVORITE TENNIS SHOES FOR NURSES

Allbirds Tree Dashers

5/5

Incredibly comfortable and supportive tennis shoe made from renewable resources that’s machine washable!

Happy shoe shopping!

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