A Tale of Bad Shoes!

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Like many nurses, the search for the “perfect” shoe has been an ongoing adventure for me. Most of the time, I try new shoes, they end up hurting and I switch with little or no fallout…except for the time my shoes completely embarrassed me AND hindered my nursing.

I’d bought some clogs that were expensive but everyone was wearing them and raving about how comfortable they were. I should have known there’d be problems when, on my first night sporting them, my feet felt like they were caught in some kind of restrictive leather vise. Plus I felt like I was towering on stilts—I rose from a tall 5’9 to a towering 5’11.  I felt like a giant with really heavy and sore feet.

An hour into my shift, my feet were absolutely throbbing. My co-workers continued to reassure me that I just needed to “break them in.” I was skeptical but not willing to throw in towel after spending 120 bucks.

Then, at about 3AM, one of our emergency call lights when off. The room in question was 10 rooms away from where I was stationed at a desk–with my feet propped up. There was a real problem happening in that room, so I bolted out of my swivel chair and proceeded to run down the hall, anticipating a crash c-section. Coming towards me was one of the new 1st year intern guys—he was shorter than me, thinner than me, and obviously not aware that he should be running towards the room as well.

The moment I reached his side, my feet twisted sideways on the shoe heels and I toppled over. In slow-motion, I sprawled out on the floor, taking the intern down with me. In an attempt to right myself, I stomped hard on one of his hands with the rock-solid heel of my shoes. He yelped, which halted the progress of two other residents on their way to the emergency. We hoisted up off the floor and then everyone ran off without me. Yanking off the offending shoes with an oath, I found a twisted and swelling ankle to compliment my poor plantars.

That resident never really spoke to me again and I NEVER wore those shoes again. In fact, I just found those dang clogs on my closet floor in their box and have successfully listed them on Ebay in “near-new” condition. Good luck to their new owners!

Do you have your own tale of shoe woes? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I wear Hoka running shoes. Great from day one,no break-in period needed, and my feet don’t hurt even after being on them most of my 8 hour shift!

  2. I tried wearing Dansko brand shoes. They absolutely killed my feet! I now wear a stabilizing running shoe. Seems to work the best for me.

  3. I have tried many different types of nursing shoes, clogs, and tennis shoes. My favorite pair were Mediplogs navy blue. They are orthopedic clogs washable made in Germany. Unfortunately have not been able to find in the US anymore. I did buy a pair of LaForst Jodie – black leather- comfortable- under $40. Just purchased my second pair. I also just bought my first pair of Algeria. I like them but love the LaForst.

  4. I have been a nurse for 20 years and the most comfortable shoe I found are Crocs, the work ones without holes and the non slip soles. I have worn these for over 15 years and can actually run really fast in them. The other staff like to kid with me about them, but I have a couple others that have joined my side! I rock them loud and proud!

  5. I had the same experience with those clogs—agony. I donated them to someone else. However, my daughter just loved them. I am still a fan of Nurse Mates….

  6. When began nursing we all wore Clinic’s duty shoes, leather, supportive and comfortable. They required polishing and buffing to shine! Very expensive at $38.00!
    Later I found white Birkenstock’s:laced up and also polished up nice.Even more expensive at $125.00 Wore them until I retired in 2013.

  7. Floor nurse for over 20 years. When I started nursing I was suffer from plantar fasciitis and could not find shoes that helped. I had the orthotics made for my feet that actually made it worse. I tried many types of shoes and finally found Algeria’s. They are my saving grace for my feet. Cortisone injections improved my plantar fasciitis before I discovered Algeria’s, but it has not come back!

    • I’m a “seasoned”nurse as well, and regarding plantar fasciitis, I went to a new sort of physical therapy place and essentially they had me roll my heel over a raquet ball several times and day…and the pain is gone. (Airosti, but there are several short-term PT sort of therapies that use the same technique). You can also find the technique on YouTube.

      I wear New Balance runners with the darn $75 inserts…heaven to my feet!

  8. I’ve recently discovered Altra running shoes and love them!! I have three pairs, one I was wearing to work before covid. Now I wear the super uncomfortable clogs bc I can spray them down. But I miss my Altras.

  9. Bedside Nurse for 15 years, flat feet and plantar fasciitis…. these things do go together but thank the Lord for whomever invented MBT’s.!!!!
    A supportive insole is the icing on the cake

  10. I now wear white leather cross training shoes…they cost $120-150 a pair but I stick with the same brand/model so have almost no break in time. Unfortunately a pair only lasts about 6-8 months and I like to have 2 pair so I can rotate them.

    Does anyone remember the old white leather Clinic shoes? …cost about $75 for the last pair I bought. They were soooo comfortable and lasted forever. But of course you had to leather clean and polish them!

  11. I also conceded to buying and wearing a pair of the leather vise, clog like, shoes, as I needed something non-porous to wear in the hospital, and my usual high quality, extra wide, sneakers, that feel wonderful are cloth. They weren’t uncomfortable when I tried them on (and spent $120 “on sale”) but as the first day wore on, my poor toes started to feel squished and raw. As I walked my feet slapped hard and loud on the floor, as the bottoms were so rigid my feet did not move naturally. I also heard the tales that they were so great and just needed to be broken in. While I was uncomfortable, I was able to tolerate the pain, enough to continue wearing them and test this break in theory. After about 3 weeks I started having terrible knee pain. If I attempted to squat down, then pain would shoot through my leg, and would linger for several minutes. Stairs were crippling. As I am a PT and need to squat constantly this was unbearable. I have never had knee problems before, and I luckily made the connection between the pain and the shoes, or I would have been running to the orthopedic surgeon, it was so bad. In less than a week of not wearing those torture devices, the pain was gone and my knees were back to normal. Never again!

  12. Your bad shoes are my godsend. Best, most comfortable, “leather vice” I have ever worn. Since I started wearing them I have never had sore arches, knees or legs. I need more support than a tennis shoe-which, if I tie tight enough to be supportive, cause my toes to become numb and these are perfect. Many pairs of D****o clogs have been bathed in puke, amniotic fluid and blood while on my feet and now I wear them almost exclusively outside of work too-so we can add mud and horse poop to that list! I’m so sorry you had a horrible (but funny) experience!

  13. One thing my mother told me – she was a beautician – was to take care of my legs and feet, and always wear good shoes. I did take that advice and if shoes were uncomfortable when I tried them on – I didn’t buy them. I also wore (white) support hose for many years. I have wide feet to begin with and have inherited my dad’s bunions, which makes finding comfortable shoes even harder. Luckily I’ve found a mail order shoe site that carries a brand and style I really like, and I’ve probably gone through about 4 pairs sine I’ve found them. (I simply wear shoes out!)
    My former husband used to get on my case about buying good (and sometimes pricey) work shoes and replacing them. Then, when he was between jobs, he took a temporary job as an orderly – and after two days he was complaining about his knees hurting. I told him it was his cheap shoes. Once he got a decent, supportive pair of shoes, the knee pain stopped. And so did his complaining about my buying work shoes.

  14. I, too, have a similar story. While working in a busy dialysis unit, I was wearing my new, nearly $200 pair of memory foam, make me taller, cutesy clog-like nursing shoes. I really enjoyed the fact that at my 5’2″ stature these made me feel tall. I am a fast walker naturally but in these shoes, I had to adjust my gait as I was concerned that I would twist my ankle due to some near misses prior. On this particular day, I was looking across the unit while fast walking and walked into a column that is part of the layout in the unit. I was knocked square on my bottom and my shoes came flying off my feet and near a patient’s station. Needless to say, those shoes were donated to a thrift store. I still wear comfy, cute shoes but they are not a health and safety hazard.

  15. To me a good shoe is one that does not require breaking in. I will take he shoe home and trial it with shoe covers for a day before wearing them to work. I have this thing about sore feet.


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