20 Best Shoes For Surgeons & The Operating Room 2018

You’ll agree with me that if you’re doing like 5 to 10-hour surgeries or a microsurgery, you do have to be as comfortable in the operating room as possible.

There are 3 types of shoes that are great for surgeons and the operating room: clogs, slip-ons and athletic shoes.

Keep reading because I have reviewed 20 best shoes for surgeons and I’m pretty sure you’ll find the one that suits your needs.

But first …

Your ideal shoes should

  • be comfortable to wear
  • be comfortable to stand on the whole day if necessary
  • offer good support and stability
  • be slip-resistant
  • protect your feet from blood and needle sticks, dropping knives, syringes, scalpels ...
  • be sterilizable if possible
  • make it easy for you to slip your foot out during surgery, move your toes around, stretch your arches, and sometimes just to cool your feet off (when it's 72 in the OR and there are hot lights on you for 6 hours)

Featured Recommendations

Dansko Women's Professional

  • Seal of Acceptance from APMA
  • great all-day comfort
  • built-in arch support
  • Chevron Square Right
    memory foam footbed
  • Chevron Square Right
    slip-resistant outsole

Merrell Men's Encore Gust

  • Aegis antimicrobial treatment
  • Chevron Square Right
    slip-on design
  • Ortholite footbed
  • slip-resistant outsole
  • soft leathers

Brooks Addiction Walker

  • PDRB support system
  • BioMogo midsole
  • Soft fabric lining
  • durable HPR Green outsole
  • Chevron Square Right
    Lace-up or velcro

20 Best Shoes For surgeons

SLIP-ONS & CLOGS

Merrell Men's Encore Gust 

4 surgeons talk about their experience with the Merrell Gust. Read their reviews on Amazon.

The Merrell Encore Gust is made with incredibly soft leathers. It features a little bit of added cushioning all around the collar area.

It has a slip-on design which is super convenient. There’s an Ortholite footbed that’s removable and offers some added cushioning and support.

There’s an Aegis antimicrobial treatment on the inside to help fight odor.

The Gust features a very shock absorbing midsole. It has a durable Encore sticky rubber on the outsole with a really nice tread pattern.

The Merrell Gust is a great option for you if you like to slip your feet out of the shoes to keep them cool.

The Merrell Gust slip-on shoe is great for people who spend hours daily in the OR on their feet becasue:

  • It's safe (protects your feet from sharp items),
  • It's incredibly comfortable and super lightweight
  • It's very supportive (particularly if you’re doing a microsurgery and you’re standing under the scope for a number of hours)
  • It keeps your feet cool
  • Its surface is easy to clean 
  • It's very durable 
  • CONS

    • They squeak a bit bu
    • They squeak a bit, but after the breaking period, the squeak goes away
    • Limited colors
    • Minus Circle
      Not very grippy on wet metal plates or polished granite

    Dansko Women's Professional Mule

    All Dansko professional clogs carry the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). 

    The Dansko Professional Mule is one of the best shoes for female surgeons.

    It has the same great all-day comfort benefits as Dansko’s professional clogs with a few extra features some people either need or prefer.

    Comfort

    When you first put your foot in, you’re going to feel it’s so supportive thanks to its built-in arch support. And the next thing you’re going to notice when you put it on is the extra padding on the top of your foot.

    As you slip your foot into this shoe you will feel a soft cushy footbed which has memory foam providing comfy support heel to toe. The footbed is even removable to accommodate most orthotics.

    The curved upper is designed to follow the natural contour of your foot. The instep collar is generously padded for confort when walking while the roomy reinforced toe box allows your toes to wiggle and spread out.

    This clog has a slip-resistant outsole and has been tested on dry, wet and oily wet surfaces making it a great choice for a variety of indoor workplace environments.

    A SPECIAL HEEL COUNTER

    The rounded heel counter acts like a natural shoehorn which allows your heel to move up and down freely just like a backless clog.

    The heel counter features a little space called the heel keeper which is supposed to secure your foot in place but not touch.

    For first-timers, this movement may take a little getting used to, but soon it will feel like a second nature.

    Should you get this clog, you’ll feel like if it is too big. It’s not too big, it’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

    If you still have doubts, just wiggle your foot and I can assure you the clog will not fall off and feels very secure.

    Dansko say that people need that extra room in the heel area because it allows air to move through your shoe and allows your foot to breathe.

    This Dansko clog has a rocker motion propelling your feet forward. The construction and support of this shoe will help keep you going all day even during long hours of standing or walking. 

    Who wears the Dansko Professional?

    Apart from surgeons, doctors and nurses, everyone can wear the Dansko. They provide comfort, cushion and support for people who are on their feet for long hours in the day. 

    It’s also great for anyone who wants to be on their feet all day and is looking for firm comfort on their foot. It’s also great for you if your foot is a little wide and you just need that extra support.

    So the Dansko is great for any type of occupation that requires standing all day or even for a stay-at-home mom who’s just really active and is out the door all the time.

    sizing

    If you’re a size 8, you’re going to get a 38. If you’re a 7.5, you’re still going to get the 38 and it will fit. So if you’re a half size, size up to the the next whole size.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a surgeon, a criminal investigator, a television host, a nurse, a teacher … if you’re on your feet a lot, Dansko really helps out. 

    Dansko currently produces three types of leather : the Cabrio, the Box, and the Oiled.

    CABRIO LEATHER

    The Cabrio leather is a shiny polished leather upper. It can be worn for work because they make it really well. This leather isn’t meant for heavy-duty use but most people do it anyway because it feels really tough.

  • High gloss polish
  • Medium break-in time
  • Suitable for light work use
  • BOX LEATHER

    This is the toughest of the three and is in the middle of the shininess. It’s the hardest and the toughest and it was originally meant for doctors, surgeons, nurses, chefs, institutional use, etc.

    That’s mainly where the Dansko company and all their great reputaion came from.

    All the people that are on their feet all day wear this clog for 18 hours straight and it keeps their feet feeling great. This clog also helps these people with their back and foot problems.

    All these clogs have the same bottom, but if you’re looking for something for work in a tough environment, the Box leather upper is probably the one you need.

  • Touhest of three leathers
  • Longest break-in period
  • Medium gloss finish
  • OILED LEATHER

    It has a decent nap on top and you can actually see there are slight imperfections on the leather. That’s actually not an imperfection, it’s just that the oil has been moved around.

    The oiled leather breaks in the quickest, but because it’s much softer and much more oiled at the surface, it accepts stains and outside materials much more easily.

  • Oiled finish least glossy but has excellent texture
  • Oiled leather can be re-oiled to preserve color, even if scratched
  • Commonly mistaken as ‘nubuck’ or ‘suede’
  • Least break-in time, but easiest to stain due to no gloss
  • The ‘classic’ Dansko look
  • CONS

    • They squeak a bit but a
    • a bit hard for wide feet (order a wider size)
    • added height of 2" tends to bother people with really bad knees
    • Minus Circle
      difficult to run in (you won’t make it if aliens invade)
    • Minus Circle
      sizes may vary

    Dansko Women's Wide clog

    All Dansko professional clogs carry the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

    This Dansko Wide Professional is just the same as all Dansko professionals except it has a little more room for those with a little wider foot.

    It also has an anatomically correct footbed which is padded providing superior arch support.

    And don’t forget about the signature rocker bottom platform that propels the foot forward with every step taking stresses off the knees and back.

    The Dansko Wide also has an antimicrobial sock lining and a slip resistant outsole perfect for the workplace.

    It also has a generously padded instep collar which provides comfort for the top of the foot.

    The Dansko also features a polyethlene heel which acts as a natural shoehorn as your heel lifts in and out of the shoe with every step.

    FIT

    A good fit tip with the Dansko Professional is that the instep collar should fit snugly around the top of the foot, your heel should lift in and out with every step and you have plenty room in the toebox for your toes to wiggle.

    A good rule of thumb is that you should have a pinkie's worth of room between your heel and the back of the shoe. 

    CONS

    • They sq
    • Wide fit is not that wide. Try them on in the store before you buy.
    • They are handmade and fit might vary from shoe to shoe.

    Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip
    (Women & Men) 

    The Merrell Jungle Moc carries the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. 

    Read Pablo Marrero's review on Amazon.

    The Jungle Moc was really created as an after sport shoe. So you might be on a hike all day and then you come home and the Jungle Moc is what you want to slip on.

    But Merrell are known for their great comfort and people just started buying them to bring comfort to their workplace.

    So surgeons, nurses, teachers, chefs and every person whose job requires them to be on their feet all day long just tried the Jungle Moc on and immediately fell in love with the shoe’s right-out-of-the-box comfort.

    The Merrell Jungle Moc is designed to slip on and be ready for both the operating room and the office as well.

    Click to Tweet

    Over the past 17 years, the Jungle Moc has been Merrell’s number one best-selling style.

    This shoe is designed to slip on and be ready for both the operating room and the office as well. 

    The Jungle Moc has a a waterproof full grain leather upper that is really sturdy and will keep your feet protected from those outside elements.

    The upper has stretchy goring on both the medial and the lateral sides with no laces to worry about, which makes this shoe really easy to slide on and off.

    The upper is treated and lined with an Aegis Antimicrobial solution to keep smells away.

    The toe features some abrasion resistance to help protect your toes from hitting any hard objects. The toe is a composite safety toe that gives you all the protection you need without all the weight.

    The footbed offers a good amount of cushioning.

    The midsole is made out of EVA to keep it lightweight but still give you that bounceback and energy return that you need.

    What’s With Air Cushion?

    One of the things that’s so signature of Merrell is the Air Cushion technology.

    The Jungle Moc features Merrell’s Air Cushion right under your heel which acts as a little trampoline for that heel giving you a lot of shock absorption.

    So the air cushion is actually captured inside the soles so that when you step down, you’re going to get some relief while all the EVA running through the midsole as well is going to help you feel that cushion.

    The outsole features an M-Select rubber compound that is both oil and slip-resistant and it’s also EH rated.

    CONS

    • They squea
    • Soles are slippery on wet surfaces.

    Birkenstock Boston Clog

    THE UPPERS

    The Birkenstock Boston is one of the staple styles from Birkenstock and it comes in a huge variety of colors and uppers : suede, oiled leather, smooth leather, nukuck leather, birkibuc and birko flor. The birkibuc and birko flor are Birkenstock’s non-leather alternatives.

    The one in the picture is suede. It’s a thick but very supple leather that was designed without any additional dyes so as to keep the leather breathable, durable and comfortable.

    THE FAMOUS BIRKESTOCK FOOTBED

    Whichever pair you pick, you’ll get the anatomically correct cork and latex footbed, a design originated by Birkenstock, that features:

  • A raised toe bar to help encourage the natural gripping motion of your foot
  • A deep heel cup that helps support the padding of your foot, distribute your body weight evenly over the whole foot, and to ensure proper foot enlignment providing you with optimal support.
  • A spacious toe box that allows your toes lots of room to move.
  • Over time, the footbed will break in and mold to your foot giving you support made just for you.

    THE OUTSOLE

    The outsole is made of EVA so it’s lightweight, flexible, durable, and shock absorbing.

    Need extra cushioning? 

    If you need a little bit of extra cushioning, the Boston is also available at a soft footbed version which has a layer of memory foam over the cork for a little bit of extra softness. 

    sizing

    The Boston tends to run a little bit big so if you’re between sizes, I do recommend the next size down.

    MAINTENANCE

    To extend the life of your Birkenstocks and any cork shoes, I do recommend moisturizing the cork with products like Kelly’s Cork Renew

    The Birkenstock Boston model featuring smooth leather are easy to clean with CaviWipes if/when they get dirty at the end of a case.

    The Boston clog, which has been featured by Birkenstock for the last 30 years, is actually based on the Birkenstock design that has created happy feet for over 200 years.

    Make sure you read "33 Best Sandals For Plantar Fasciitis"

    CONS

    • They squeak a 
    • Clog runs a bit wider.

    KEEN Utility PTC Slip On 
    (Women & MEN)

    Keep your feet protected and comfortable while you’re in the operating room with these sleek shoes.

    The Keen Utility shoe has a waterproof and stain-resistant leather upper along with a protective toe round for security. 

    It has some decent flexibility at the toe and an easy slip-on design with a convenient panel of goring on the medial side to give you some room for movement while providing you with a secure fit.

    The Keen has a smooth leather lining for an abrasion-free wear along with the Keen Cush PU and memory footbed that is removable so you have the possibility to use your own orthotics.

    But the Keen insole is great because it’s going to give you lots of underfoot support. It’s soft to the touch, has got perforated details for breathability, and even features some decent arch support.

    The Keen Utility shoe has a compression molded EVA midsole that’s going to give lots of underfoot comfort.

    It all sits on an oil and slip resistant non-marking rubber outsole for a more pleasurable walking experience.

    Last but not least, the Keen Slip-on shoe meets the American Society for testing and the mark II non-slip testing standards so you can ensure you’re getting some safe and reliable shoes.

    Keep your feet comfortable and secure wih these reliable shoes from Keen. 

    CONS

    • They squeak a 
    • The insole is not very durable.

    Alegria Women's Keli 

    The Alegria Keli is Alegria’s number one style in their entire collection.

    Alegria have started out as an orthopedic footwear company. So they started out designing and manufacturing shoes for the working professional: people who are on their feet 9, 10, 12 hours a day like surgeons, nurses, salon workers, teachers, restaurant workers...

    For decades, Alegria have supported these people's feet and now Alegria are bringing different styles so that everyone can have just as comfortable feet no matter how long you stand on them.

    What makes Alegria shoes the choice of professionals that have to be on their feet from morning till night ?

    These shoes feature a ½ inch bottom which is slip-resistant and stain resistant as well.

    THE FOOTBED

    The best part about Alegria shoes is the removable footbed. So there’s a patented interlocking footbed that is a combination of soft polyurethane cork and memory foam.

    What does this conbination do?

    This combination gives you customized comfort from heel to toe. Within a short period of time of wearing the Keli, you'll actually get the footbed to comform to the botton of your foot.

    What’s even more beautiful about the footbed is it features ample support through the arch area.

    Walking all day is less painful than standing all day because all the weight of your body is centered on your feet and without good arch support and even weight distribution, you’ll start having issues.

    The comfort doesn’t end there …

    The collar and the heel are padded which makes the Keli so easy to wear. The heel doesn’t just cover your heel, but it’s actually fitted to a woman’s heel.

    The padded instep across the vamp and the double goring on either side stretches and gives even more room for wider feet or feet that tend to swell at the end of the day.

    The goring also makes the shoes easy to just slide your foot right into and go.

    The Keli sits on Alegria’s career fashion outsole bottom. The bottom has a very gentle mild rocker outsole motion and it also features two slip-resistant rubber inlays to prevent slippage at work or wherever life takes you.

    CONS


    Calzuro Autoclavable Clog 

    The Calzuro clogs are the only clogs that can be sterilized in the autoclave up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. They are machine-washable, and anti-stain as well.

    Click to Tweet

    Read what Alex C from Amazon says about Calzuro clogs.

    Calzuro clogs are great for anybody who’s going to stand on their feet for long hours. This includes doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, vets, chefs and many other professional workers.

    Surgeons love the Calzuro because of the ½ inch heel which aids correct posture which in turn reduces fatigue and this feature is recommended by podiatrists.

    AUTOCLAVABLE

    Calzuro clogs come in 13 fun practical colors and are the only footwear that can be sterilized in the autoclave up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

    As you know, anyone working in the OR or any facility don’t want to take the contamination home or out of the office. So Calzuro is the answer.

    Can you wash these if you don’t have access to autoclaves ?

    Yes, you can. Calzuro shoes are washable, they’re dryer safe and they can be washed in the commercial dishwasher for anyone in the culinary profession.

    Accessories

    There are two accessories, the heel strap and the Comfort Insole. The insole is machine-washable and can also be put into the autoclave as well. 

    You can even fit it into other shoes and boots for the extra comfort and arch support.

    THE FIT

    Calzuro shoes are Italian made and sizing is a bit diffenrent than the US sizing. 

    CONS

    • They squeak a 
    • a little too tight over the top part for wide feet.
    • slightly unstable when stepping laterally.

    Klogs Women's Naples Mule

    Read what Amanda and Lynn A Conant from Amazon say about the Klogs Naples

    VERSATILITY

    The Naples can pull double duty. It's great for work or the weekend because its streamline design and the wide array of colors and patterns are versatile and fun.

    This shoe is super sweet with an easy to wear modern silhouette.

    FUNCTIONALITY

    There is a reason health care workers and waiters trust the Nalples for their longer shifts.

    The contoured footbed and the outsole work together to provide excellent arch support, shock absorption and slip-resistance.

    GREAT QUALITY

    Full grain leather uppers are built to last. Thoughtful additions like a padded collar and a roomy toe box are what epitomize quality construction and thoughful design.

    COMFORT

    The Klogs Naples features dual goring inserts on either side for a stretchy secure fit.

    The interior is nicely lined for comfort next to the skin with a removable latex free contoured cushioned footbed that’s been treated completely to be antimicrobial to keep your feet feeling fantastic.

    Light weight and stability

    The midsole design is made up of lightweight polyurethane and helps absorb shock while the outsole is a maximum slip-resistant outsole that gives you stability on even wet and oily situations.

    CONS

    • They squeak a
    • squeak on certain floors.
    • some colors tend to wear quickly.
    • Minus Circle
      run large (half size up).

    Timberland PRO Women's Renova 

    Keep your feet protected with the Timberland Renova. They have a durable full grain leather upper that’s been treated with the 3M Scotchgard protector to provide stain resistance.

    They have and easy slip-on construction with panels of goring to give you some stretch and movement.

    The interior features a smooth lining with a Bi-Fit Tri-density footbed that is going to help cradle your feet giving you lots of arch support and comfort.

    The Renova also have this great odor control technology that’s going to help with moisture management to leave you with nice and fresh feet.

    This shoe has a heel-to-toe rocker that is going to give you lots of comfort, reduce forefoot pressure and control proper joint motion.

    This all sits on a non-marking crepe slip-resistant outsole that’s going to give you a good grasp on a variety of surfaces.

    The Timberland also features the Timberland Pro Anti-Fatigue technology to give you superior shock absorption and comfort so that when you’re standing on your feet all day long, you’re going to feel great. 

    CONS

    • They squeak a
    • chestnut color quickly gets the "worn-in" look.
    • does not come in an array of colors or styles.
    • Minus Circle
      insole is not removable.

    OOFOS Unisex OOcloog Clog

    Read what this ICU nurse and her two daughters (a surgeon and a cashier) say about the OOcloog.

    The Oofoos clogs are originally designed for athletes who are looking for recovery footwear to just soothe and reinvegorate their feet after a tough workout.

    But surgeons, doctors, nurses, chefs, etc have found these clogs ideal to provide the comfort and support they need for their workplace.

    The OOfos OOcloog has a man-made upper that’s super soft and flexible to the touch while the inside features a really smooth lining that also features moisture and odor-resistant materials to help you stay fungi fresh and away from all that stink.

    OOFOS CUSHIONING TECHNOLOGY

    Providing 37% more impact absorption than existing EVA materials, the Oocloog provides unparalleled cushioning to recharge and