The biggest waste of money in nursing school is… No, not ATI… but all-white nursing shoes. Dear God, these things are hideous. I really think much of the uniformity of nursing school is old-fashioned. At least they don’t make us wear the white, starched nursing dresses anymore! Anyway, I digress…
As part of our uniform, we are required to wear all-white nursing shoes. We will be standing for 6 to 9 hours a day in said shoes. Sometimes we will be darting around the hospital unit, caring for our patients. On a few of those days, we will be standing the entire 6-8 hours observing a surgery in the OR, standing while observing the birth of a newborn, or standing while training on [insert computer charting system name here]. Not to mention they are a (bleep) to keep clean.
If you’re an ‘older’ nursing student like me, or if you have lower back problems, or both, finding shoes that work for everything is a HUGE challenge! Since January 2015, I have spent $440 on 5 pair of nursing shoes. Every time I go to try these shoes on, they fit great in the stores!! Please don’t think I neglected to try them on, or bought shoes that fit wrong in the store. Here’s what I have found. Mind you, these are NOT in order of ranking; simply the order I have purchased them.
#1. The Dansko Professional Box – White
These shoes ran me about $120. While many people on different nursing websites have raved about this shoe and it’s slightly younger sister, the Professional XP, I have one huge gripe about them: the rigid leather on the top of my foot. These shoes do NOT give. They do NOT stretch, and you may have to try on 25 pair in your size to get a pair that work for you. Here’s the thing… my feet swell. They swell whenever they want to; and yes, I do wear compression socks. So, the beginning of the day is blissful. These shoes have EXCELLENT arch support for those with high arches. My feet feel like they are cradled in the perfect position – for half the day. After a few hours, my feet start to swell and these shoes become death traps. The top of my foot swells and gets tingly. When I take the shoes off, I have HUGE indentations (and sometimes bruises) from where the shoe was too tight after my feet decided to impersonate sausages. A few of my classmates (who’s feet do not swell) have said the same thing… major indentations and bruises on the top of the foot.
#2. The KLOGS Naples – White
These shoes ran me about $130. Cinderella thought she had found her shoe! Oh, the comfort! The elastic let me sausage feet swell when they needed to! But wait, my wide-ish feet got a little pinched on the sides while I was breaking these bad boys in. Once they were broke in, they were brilliant. Yes, they squeaked something fierce on the waxed unit floors, but good God, they were comfy. Fast forward 75-100 clinical/ volunteer hours: the padding on the heel is no longer comfy. My calcaneus hurt so bad after standing for an hour or so. Yes, I’m a heavier girl, but I should still be able to go more than 100 hours of wear before her shoes crap out on her, shouldn’t she?
#3. The Softwalk Grey’s Anatomy Meredith – White
Meredith Grey. The Renee Zellweger of the modern medical television drama. Always having some kind of personal crisis, always looks like she sucked on a lemon. I should have known these shoes named after her would be lemons, too! These things set me back another $120. Super cute clog-y look? Check. Squishy padding with extra arch support? Check. Elastic on the bridge of my foot to allow for… expansion? Check. Felt amazing in the store? Check. They didn’t squeak on the waxed floors (huge pet peeve of mine). But after a 6 hour shift, I had worn my heels raw through my compression socks. They have very narrow heels. My bony heels don’t like that, apparently. Could going up on size help? Probably. But I think it may make them slide around too much. Can I return them? Of course not! Once the soles are dirty, you’re S.O.L.! Good bye, $120. Six hours. SIX HOURS. I’ve loss less at the blackjack tables in six hours.
#4. The Sketcher GoFit Ace – White
Yoga mat soles? Whaaat? That’s gotta be good for you, right? FFS, I’m going Namas’cray with buying new nursing shoes that I will wear until January 2017 then throw in the back of my closet, never to be seen again. All white? Blech. LUCKILY I went to the Sketchers Outlet during a Buy One Get One 50% Off deal. I got these shoes for a whopping $15. So… they’re pretty comfy! They don’t pinch my feet and they don’t squeak on the floors. They do have this weird rounded shape to the tread and sole, but I’m thinking that’s a good thing. The arch support is non-existent, so I’m thinking I may throw a pair of arch inserts in there. They were $15! It’s worth a shot.
#5. The Sketcher Synergy Elite – White
Okay, so the memory foam feels pretty incredible. My feet have all the room they want to stretch out and be as sausage-y as they need to be. (Yes, I know that’s not good.) They don’t squeak, they don’t pinch, they don’t give me bruises. They were $50. They don’t have arch support. Lots of my class mates have dumped their Danskos and kicked their KLOGS to the curb for these cheap dates. I’m not sure if I can commit, but I’ll see how things go. I’m starting to develop shoe commitment issues. (Does that mean I’ll start accumulating a bunch of really cute shoes that I just wear for a night because they match my one outfit? But then I wake up in the morning feeling horrible regret and can’t stop thinking that they just don’t fit right? That they’re cute, but not really my style? And if they hurt me that much after one night, can I take the abuse long term? Maybe I just need to get used to them. Maybe I can pawn them off on my best friend… they’re totally her type… they’d totally hit it off…) Hello! Back down to earth…
Anyway… I wish companies like Dansko would realize that not all nurses have a perfectly formed, non-edematous, level-heeled foot. I love your arch support Dansko, but KLOGS gave the bridge of my foot room to breathe. And Sketchers made my feet feet like I was stepping on billowy clouds. Why can’t we have the best of all worlds in a hideous, all-white nursing shoe for the most tortuous 4 semesters we will ever experience?
So tell me… what nursing shoe have you found that works for you?