19 Best Shoes For Surgeons & The Operating Room (2022 Update)

best-shoes-for-surgeons-operating-room

In today’s article, we’ll be reviewing 19 best shoes for surgeons and the operating room in 2022.

If you’re doing 5 to 10-hour surgery or microsurgery, having aching or sore feet is the last thing you would want.

Surgeons need shoes that are more than just stylish. Your shoes need to be safe, practical, and super comfortable because you’re going to be standing for large amounts of time while you operate.

Surgeons might also need multiple pairs of shoes because you don’t want to bring dirt and bacteria into the OR or take blood home.

With the shoes below…

  • You won’t have to worry about your footwear being uncomfortable, confining and constrictive, or unsupportive 
  • You’re going to go back home with happy fresh-feeling feet
  • You’re going to have no knee pain, no foot fatigue, no heel pain, no back pain, and no sore feet

Sounds interesting?

Let’s dive right into it…

Best Shoes for Surgeons

We’ve actually asked a lot of surgeons about the OR shoes they’ve been using day in and day out for years, and we’re happy to start with the top three picks if you’re in a hurry…

Our top overall pick is the Merrell Encore Gust, the top pick for women is the Dansko Professional Clog, and the top athletic shoe pick is the Hoka Bondi.

Top Overall Pick

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Merrell Encore Gust – Top Overall Pick

Why the Encore Gust is great for you:

  • One of the most comfortable shoes you could wear for hours on end (especially after years of abusing your feet)
  • Great for standing in the OR all day every day
  • Great if you’re going from OR to ER or from hospital to hospital
  • Slip-on design (easy on and off without taking extra time to tie)
  • Looks nice to wear at home or around town
  • Super easy to clean no matter what you get on it
  • Great quality and pretty much indestructible

Top Pick for Women

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Dansko Clog – Top Pick for Women

Why the Dansko Clog is great for you:

  • Super comfortable to wear for long hours
  • Impressive solid support all around
  • Offers comfort in a stylish package (can blend in with your outfit)
  • Slip-on design makes it really easy to throw on when you’re running out the door
  • Super fun colors and prints to show off your personality
  • Textured outsole makes it grippy and secure
  • Plenty of room to accommodate wide feet
  • Can even fit tiny little feet and high-arched feet
  • Platform/heel provides added height, which is great for shorter ladies
  • Very durable

Top Athletic Shoe Pick

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Hoka Bondi - Top Athletic Shoe Pick
Hoka Bondi – Top Athletic Shoe Pick

Why the Hoka Bondi is great for you:

  • Superb cushioning, comfort, and shock absorption (like walking on marshmallows!!)
  • Great support for even 12+hour shift days
  • Nice & breathable if your feet tend to sweat in the heat
  • Great padding all around
  • Fits like a glove yet offers plenty of wiggle room in the toe box  
  • Really lightweight yet sturdy and long-lasting
  • Great relief for a lot of other foot issues
  • Stylish to wear as your daytime shoe
  • Fits even narrow feet

Still in a hurry? These are 8 clogs, slip-ons, mocs, and athletic shoes quickly compared.

8 Best OR Shoes (Comparison)

Merrell Calzuro Dansko Hoka
merrell-encore-gust-comparison-table calzuro-auroclavable-clog-comparison-table dansko-professional-clog-comparison-table hoka-bondi-comparison-table
Supple leather Latex-free polymer 3 types of leather Water-resistant leather
Removable footbed No footbed Removable footbed Removable footbed
Great cushioning Excellent support Great arch support Cushioned & bouncy
Sticky rubber outsole Slip-resistant outsole Slip-resistant outsole Slip-resistant outsole
Easy to clean Can be autoclaved Easy to wipe clean Easy to clean
True to size Runs small Runs small Size up
price price price price
Brooks Keen Oofos Alegria
brooks-addiction-walker-comparison-table keen-utility-ptc-comparison-table oofos-ooclog-comparison-table alegria-keli-comparison-table
Supple leather Water-resistant leather Malleable Oofoam Padded leather
Removable footbed Removable footbed Smooth footbed Replaceable insole
Supportive midsole CmEVA midsole EVA cushioning Rocker midsole
Skid-resistant outsole Slip-resistant outsole Shower-ready outsole  Slip-resistant outsole
Easy to clean Easy to clean Easy to clean Easy to clean
Runs small Runs small Runs small True to size
price price price price

Now, let’s briefly touch on these shoes separately and then give you the jump link if you want to read the detailed review of the shoe that better matches your needs.

Best clogs, mocs, mules, slip-ons for Surgeons

Merrell Men’s Encore Gust 2

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The Encore Gust is going to give you great cushioning, comfort, and arch support to stand for 10-12 hours at a time and still go home with happy feet.

It has a slip-on design which is super convenient if you like to slip your feet out of the shoes to keep them cool during surgery.

Also, the back of the heel is high enough to prevent the shoe from slipping off during walks.

It’s made with a very durable full-grain leather upper that’s really easy to maintain. Plus, the shoe has a removable cushioned footbed and ample space to accommodate your custom-made orthotics.

4 surgeons talk about their great experience wearing the Merrell Encore Gust. Read their reviews on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Dansko Women’s Professional Clog

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dansko-professional-clog

All Dansko professional clogs carry the Seal of Acceptance from APMA. Dansko make some of the best clogs for surgeons, scrub techs, female doctors, and nurses.

The clog provides comfort, cushion, and support for surgeons who are on their feet for long hours and looking for firm comfort.

It’s also great if your foot is a little wide and you just need that extra support underfoot.

The removable footbed is soft and cushy and it allows ample room to accommodate most orthotics.

Plus, the slip-resistant outsole and the rocker geometry are designed to propel your feet forward and keep you going all day.

Surgeon Jeff loves Danskos for his 8-10 hours a day in the OR 2-3 days a week. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Merrell Jungle Moc
Men Women

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merrell-jungle-moc

Over the past 24 years, the Jungle Moc has been iconic in Merrell’s line. As one of the best shoes for surgeons from Merrell, the Moc carries the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Merrell designed the Jungle Moc for trail purposes, but a lot of surgeons started buying this style to bring great comfort and support to the OR.

It has an easy on-and-off design thanks to the stretchy goring on either side. Plus, the easy-to-clean yet sturdy leather upper keeps your feet protected from sharp items and bodily fluids.

The footbed is cushioned and totally removable so you can put in your own orthotics if you really need one.

Hospitalbug says the Merrell is the perfect option for surgeons thanks to the excellent cushion and arch support. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Keen Utility PTC Slip On 2
Men Women

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The Keen PTC Slip-on shoe meets the American Society for testing and the MARK II non-slip testing standards, which means you’re getting some safe and reliable surgeon shoes.

As a great alternative if you can’t stand the looks of Danskos, the Keen looks good and feels good right out of the box.

The Keen Utility shoe is waterproof and the finish is fluid resistant and cleans up easily without leaving a mark. The leather upper adds a touch of style and finish and the shoe is wide without feeling sloppy

The inside is smoothly lined while the removable memory footbed can accommodate your own orthotics easily.

Rob says that out of the OR shoes he’s gone through, the Keen PTC has been the best. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Calzuro Autoclavable Clog
Men Women

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Calzuro-Autoclavable-Clog

You’re looking at one of the best autoclavable and easy-to-clean shoes for surgeons, surgical techs, and surgical residents.

Calzuros are just extremely functional, lightweight, supportive, comfy, and a go-to shoe for standing for long stretches of time.

The instep is perfect and hugs your arches while the heel is just the right height. Plus, the footbed provides excellent support and the whole package is very durable.

This surgeon has been a fan of the Calzuro for a whopping 20 years. san

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Birkenstock Boston
Men Women

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The Birkenstock Boston is one of the best shoes for surgeons from Birkenstock, especially if standing on concrete all day is killing your feet.

Once the anatomically correct cork footbed breaks in and molds to your feet, you’re going to get that made-for-your-feet type of fit offering you great comfort and support for the OR.

Available in regular and narrow widths, the Boston is also available in a soft footbed which is softer than the regular hard footbed and requires little to no brea-in period.

A. Sanders finds the Boston great for standing for long periods in the operating room. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Oofos Unisex Ooclog

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OOFOS-Unisex-OOclog

Originally designed for athletes looking for recovery footwear to reinvigorate their feet after a tough workout, the Ooclog has found a way into the heart of surgeons, doctors, nurses, chefs, etc.

The Ooclog is just like pure heaven for your heels if you have Plantar Fasciitis flare-ups.

It is super soft and is going to provide a superb level of cushioning that’s going to feel like walking or standing on an antifatigue mat in the OR all day long.

The amount of springiness, comfort, and relief you’re going to get with these is absolutely unbelievable. Again, feeling like a warm hug to your feet, the Ooclog is just like walking on fluffy marshmallows but with support!

A surgeon, a cashier, and their ICU nurse mother love the Oofos. Read their review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Alegria Women’s Classic Clog

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Alegria-Classic-Clog

Alegria has been making some really comfortable shoes for female surgeons.

They’ve successfully married the stability of a flat stable outsole with a rocker design to effectively turn each step into a natural motion, propel you forward, reduce foot fatigue, and reduce heel and metatarsal pressure.

Thanks to the rocker bottom geometry, your legs are going to stay fresh after 12+ hours of standing in the OR. Plus, this technology makes Alegrias great shoes for some foot issues in the large toe joint like Hallux Rigidus or Limitus.

Nurse Nikell loves the Alegria for the OR and her foot issues. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Alegria Women’s Keli

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Alegria-Women's-Keli

Alegria started out as an orthopedic footwear company manufacturing shoes for the working professionals who are on their feet 9, 10, 12 hours a day like surgeons, nurses, vet techs, salon workers, teachers, restaurant workers…

The Keli is Alegria’s number one style in Alegria’s entire collection. This is a great option if you’re looking for a shoe with thick insoles, especially in the heel.

So, surgeries are going to be really comfortable yet stylish if you’re wearing the Keli which is going to protect your feet from feeling weary at the end of a long day.

Last but not least, the memory foam footbed is removable and totally replaceable.

Nurse Christine recommends the Keli for the OR and 12-hour shifts. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Klogs Women’s Naples Mule

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Klogs-Women's-Naples-clogs

The Naples is one the most comfortable shoes for people whose long hours in the OR are tough on their feet.

This is a super sweet option with an easy-to-wear modern silhouette thanks to the dual goring panels that provide a stretchy yet secure fit.

Klogs has been incredibly popular with people working in healthcare, hospitality, and other industries where you’re required to be on hard surfaces for long periods of time.

It has a slip-resistant outsole to make sure you stay confident while you’re in the OR. The interior is nicely lined while the TRUComfort contoured cushioned insole is totally removable and provides support underneath the arch.

This surgeon says the Naples is great for Plantar Fasciitis and big orthotics. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Timberland Pro Women’s Renova

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Timberland-Pro-Women's-Renova

From surgeons and healthcare professionals in general to hair stylists to flight attendants and busy moms, Timberland try to build shoes to help get you through long hours on foot.

With their anti-fatigue technology, meticulous attention to detail, and 30-day comfort guarantee, Timberland creates super comfy shoes for women who make their living caring for others.

Treated with 3M Scotchgard protection for stain resistance and easy cleaning, the Renova has an easy slip-on and stretchy design for when your feet swell at the end of the day.

The Tri-density footbed cradles your feet with lots of arch support and comfort.

This ICU unit nurse wears the Renova for her 3 straight 12 hr shifts. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Sanita Professional Clog
Men Women

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Sanita-Professiona-Clog

Since 1907, Sanita has provided the world with Danish clogs that are handcrafted in their European factory. Although they look exactly identical to Danskos, Sanitas are actually softer, lighter, and less expensive.

Sanitas are really great for extended hours in the OR and most people won’t have to take them out to stretch their toes.

They’re also really easy to clean, slip-resistant, professional-looking, impermeable, durable, and a great value for the money.

The clog’s rocker bottom technology effectively reduces pressure in the medial and central forefoot and in the toe area compared to conventional shoes.

This podiatric surgeon has been wearing Sanita clogs for 15 years. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Easy Spirit Women’s Traveltime

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easy-spirit-traveltime-mule

With the Traveltime, surgeons will get all the comfort, flexibility, cushioning throughout the EVA midsole, and great traction of your favorite sneaker.

Unlike those big bulky mules or huge athletic sneakers, the Traveltime is streamlined and feels elegant and elevated.

But the best part about this is you don’t even need to look down to get it on or kick it off, which is super convenient when you just want to cool your feet down in the OR.

This is such a solid workhorse of a shoe, but it does still keep a feminine silhouette. Not only that, if you do use an orthotic, you can pop the insole out and put your own in.

Judy loves how comfortable and supportive the Traveltime is for her 12+hour shifts. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Hoka Bondi / Bondi LTR / Bondi SR

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Hoka-Bondi-SR

The Bondi feels like you’re standing or walking on clouds, which is great for surgeons standing all the time in the OR.

The superior level of cushioning, bounciness, maximum comfort, and support all make the Bondi great shoes for metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), sore feet, Plantar Fasciitis, and overpronation issues.

The Leather (LTR) and Slip Resistant (SR) versions are slip-resistant, water-resistant, and easy to clean.

They’re also roomy through the toebox, which is great for swollen feet, wide feet, bunions, hammertoes, etc.

This nurse finds this Hoka to be sturdy, comfortable, and long-lasting. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Adidas UltraBoost 

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Adidas-UltraBoost

Just like the Hoka Bondi above, the UltraBoost is one of the comfiest shoes you can get for the OR or standing all day.

The Boost cushioning is almost like walking on a thick rubber mat. However, the midsole is not mushy to cause foot fatigue.

The sole is impressively supportive, durable, and great for standing, long-distance walking, running, and everyday use.

To protect your athletic shoes in the operating room, you may want to get some really good covers.

This cath lab nurse is comfortable standing on her feet for 8+ hours a day. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

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This is one of New Balance’s comfiest shoes for the OR. The 1080 fits into the category of top-class shoes with luxury cushioning and focus on comfort.

It has a great fit and it is very comfortable even for the longest shifts. The overall fit is great. The knit upper, the liner, the tongue, and the heel collar all feel a lot more plush and have a great next-to-skin feel.

The 1080 is wide-feet friendly thanks to its stretchy yet snug upper.

This nurse can wear the 1080 for 20 hours straight with no pain afterwards. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Brooks Addiction Walker
Men Women

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Brooks-Addiction-Walker-leather

As one of the best surgeon shoes, the Addiction Walker is very comfortable, cushioned, and supportive for those long hours in the OR. Zero blisters, zero hot spots, and no foot issues whatsoever!

The Addiction is one of the best shoes on this list that fits and feels great right out of the box. It has a roomy toe box and the outsole is going to give you great traction and skid resistance.

The high-quality full-grain leather is going to give you a great in-shoe feel.

This ICU nurse says the Addiction is great if you do more standing than walking. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Saucony Women’s ProGrid Integrity ST2

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Saucony-Women's-ProGrid-Integrity-ST2

As one of the best surgeon shoes, the Saucony is super comfortable and supportive.

It’s not going to push on top of the foot because the instep is nicely padded and it’s going to leave your feet happy at the end of the day.

It’s also one of the best shoes for doctors right out of the box. It’s going to cradle your foot with no rubbing, no pinching, no sliding, and no blisters anywhere.

Jennifer never thought she could wear anything but Danskos in the operating room until she tried the Integrity ST2. Read her review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

New Balance 577
Men Women

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New-Balance-577

As one of the few shoes on the market accommodating 4E feet, the 577 is one of the best New Balance shoes for surgeons thanks to its wide toe box and really good comfortable fit out of the box.

You’ve got impressive support, stability, and comfort in a shoe that is really easy to put on thanks to the awesome hook & loop feature.

The velcro straps are great for someone who likes to slip on their shoes without having to bend over or anyone that has a hard time putting shoes on.

Terry stands for 8 hours a day and loves the straps. Read his review on Amazon.

Jump down to the full review (+ pros & cons)

Merrell Encore Gust 2

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The Encore Gust is made with an incredibly soft and supple yet very durable full-grain leather upper that’s really easy to maintain.

It also features a little bit of added cushioning all around the collar area and the inside is super comfy with or without socks. Talking about socks, the inside is treated with an Aegis antimicrobial treatment to help fight odor.

Footbed, Midsole, Outsole

There’s an Ortholite footbed that’s removable and offers some added cushioning and support. The inside offers enough space to accommodate your custom-made insoles.

The Gust features a very shock-absorbing, soft, and flexible cushioned midsole, which is going to take a lot of strain away from the balls of your feet and allow you to stand and walk longer without any discomfort.

Everything sits on top of a sturdy sticky rubber outsole which seems indestructible and has a really nice tread pattern.

merrell-encore-gust-outsole

Pros

  • Really comfortable and supportive for people who spend hours daily on their feet in the OR
  • Really safe (protects your feet from sharp items)
  • Incredibly comfortable & super lightweight
  • Super easy to put on and off
  • Keeps your feet cool
  • Durable full-grain leather is easy to clean & maintain
  • Removable footbed
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Squeaks a bit (goes away after the break-in period)

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Related: 

Dansko Professional Clog

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Danskos are comfortable

Aside from surgeons, doctors, and nurses, everyone else can wear Danskos.

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

The footbed is soft and cushy and has memory foam providing comfy support from heel to toe. The insole is removable leaving ample room to accommodate most orthotics.

The curved upper is designed to follow the natural contour of your foot. The instep collar is generously padded for comfort when walking while the reinforced roomy 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.

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How Danskos Should Fit 

The rounded heel acts like a natural shoehorn that 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 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 fit.

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

Dansko says 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.

Here’s a video where they explain how their clogs should fit…

Dansko 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 next whole size.

Uppers

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

All of 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.

Box Leather

  • Originally meant for doctors, surgeons, nurses, chefs, institutional use, etc.
  • Hardest and toughest of three leathers
  • Good for work in a tough environment
  • Longest break-in period
  • Medium gloss finish

Cabrio Leather

  • Shiny polished leather upper
  • Suitable for light work use not heavy-duty use
  • Medium break-in time

Oiled Leather

  • Least glossy but has excellent texture
  • 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
  • Has the ‘classic’ Dansko look

Combined with a rocker geometry designed to help propel your feet forward, the construction and support of the Dansko clog will help keep you going all day even during long hours of standing or walking.

Overall, 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 is probably your go-to shoe.

Pros

  • Super comfortable and breathable
  • APMA approved
  • Provides impressive comfort, cushion, and support for all-day wear
  • Great for wide feet thanks to the reinforced roomy toe box 
  • Soft and cushy footbed
  • Removable insole
  • Slip-resistant outsole (tested on dry, wet, and oily wet surfaces)
  • Comes in three different types of leather
  • Super durable

Cons

  • A bit hard for extra wide feet (order the Dansko Wide below)
  • Height of the platform may bother people with really bad knees
  • Takes some time to get used to the shoe’s heel system

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Dansko Women’s Wide Clog

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This Dansko Wide Professional is just the same as all Dansko professionals except it has a little more wiggle room for those with wider feet.
It also has an anatomically correct footbed which is padded and provides superior arch support.

And don’t forget about the signature rocker bottom platform that propels the foot forward with every step taking impact 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 polyethylene 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 Wide 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 should have a pinkie’s worth of room between your heel and the back of the shoe.

Cons

  • Fit is not that wide though (try on before you buy online)
  • Handmade and fit might vary from shoe to shoe

Merrell Jungle Moc

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merrell-jungle-moc

Merrell builds the Jungle Moc with the same attention to design and technical cushioning that they use in their trail shoes:

  • Ortholite anatomical footbed
  • Compression molded Eva midsole
  • Foot frame with arch support
  • Jungle Runner sticky rubber sole

So, surgeons, nurses, and every person looking for a shoe for all-day wear have tried the Jungle Moc on and immediately fell in love with the shoe’s right-out-of-the-box comfort and support.

Upper & Inside

The Jungle Moc is designed to easily slip on and off (stretchy goring) and be ready for both the operating room and the office as well. It is really sturdy and will keep your feet protected from those outside elements.

The suede leather upper is treated and lined with a breathable Aegis Antimicrobial solution to keep your feet fresh and keep smells away.

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

The footbed offers a good amount of cushioning while the contoured insole is totally removable so you can put in your own orthotics.

Fit-wise, the Merrell Jungle Moc is a normal width fitting and fits like a glove. 

Midsole & Air Cushion

The EVA midsole is lightweight but still gives you that bounceback and energy return that you need. It has some flexibility, but it’s still on the firmer side for support.

The Moc also features the Air Cushion technology which is so signature of Merrell. This is basically positioned right under your heel and acts as a little trampoline for that heel giving you a lot of shock absorption.

In other words, 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 is going to help you feel that cushion.

In short, the midsole/Air Cushion combination is going to provide stability, absorb shock, and carry your foot in a protective cocoon of all-day comfort.

Outsole

The outsole features an M-Select sticky hiking grade rubber compound that is both oil and slip-resistant and it’s also Electrical Hazard-rated.

The amount of grip and traction provided by the outsole makes the Moc secure when you’re out and about on the street.

merrell-jungle-moc-outsole

Overall, if you’re looking for a really lightweight convenient, easy, casual shoe, the Merrell Jungle Moc is the one for you.

It’s also great for right after you get off the trail from hiking, biking, everyday walking, or anything else you do outside.

Last but not least, the Merrell Jungle Moc is one of the best shoes for anesthesiologists, as well.

Pros

  • APMA approved
  • Great for long hours of wear, standing, and walking
  • Quick to break in
  • Quick to get on and off
  • Great fit and ergonomics
  • Super versatile shoe (OR, office, daytime city walking, trails, etc.)
  • Super comfortable and supportive
  • Offers great traction
  • Keeps you warm and dry in winter
  • Arch and heel support are great
  • Great if you have flat feet or if you need a high firm arch
  • A handy pull tab (large enough for bigger fingers)

Cons

  • Nearly impossible to find in local stores
  • Runs slightly small (half size up)

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Here’s an excellent 4-year review of the Merrell Jungle Moc done by Andrew Rock

Keen Utility PTC 2

Keen-Utility-PTC-Slip-on

Wide-foot friendly

The shoe also has a protective toe round for security and is wide-foot friendly without feeling sloppy or bulky.

So, if you have wide feet or even wide toes and you’re looking for an adequate wide shoe that isn’t exceptionally ugly, The Keen PTC is a great option to try.

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.

Footbed

The Keen has a smooth leather lining for 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.

The footbed is going to give you lots of underfoot support and form to every contour of your foot allowing maximum support and comfort for all-day wear.

The footbed is soft to the touch, has got perforated details for breathability, and even features some decent arch support.

Midsole & Outsole

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

The oil and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole is exceptionally grippy and provides that extra confidence you need on a variety of surfaces.

The heel bites the ground really well, but it can also grip the shoe covers when you’re trying to pull them up over the back of your shoe/legs.

Keen-Utility-PTC-Slip-on-outsole

Keep your feet protected, comfortable, and secure while you’re in the operating room with these sleek OR shoes from Keen.

These might not be making any fashion trends in your book, but they are probably the most comfortable shoes you’ll ever own.

Pros

  • High-arch and wide-foot friendly without feeling, sloppy, bulky, or ugly
  • Good arch support and comfort for all-day wear 
  • Comfortable right out of the box (but gets even more comfortable with wear)
  • Exceptionally grippy (no issues with slipping even on roofs or up and down ladders)
  • Waterproof and super easy to clean
  • Looks good, feels good, and breaks in very easily
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Insole is not very durable

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Calzuro Autoclavable Clogs

Calzuro-Autoclavable-Clog

Pro Tip

The company recommends you wash the shoe before you start wearing it. You really need to do that because the rubber seems to be initially lined with some weird greasy substance.

Also, a lot of people say thin compression socks work great with Calzuro shoes.

Autoclavable & Super easy to clean

As you know, anyone working in the OR is prone to every substance known to mankind. So, if you don’t want to take the contamination home, Calzuro is probably the only footwear that can be sterilized in the autoclave up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

But can you wash Calzuros if you don’t have access to autoclaves?

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

Overall, you’re going to love that your Calzuros are extremely easy to clean and disinfected with anything from soap and water to bleach wipes. Just wipe them down with a bleach wipe, let them dry, and give them a rinse.

Accessories

The company also sells two pieces separately:

  • A Comfort Insole for extra comfort and arch support (machine-washable, autoclavable, and fits into other shoes & boots) 
  • A heel strap for a fast pace work environment

Calzuro is easy to slip into

Calzuros are super easy to slip into and out of, which is a huge plus if you want to take your foot out of the shoe to get some air and wiggle your toes easily without touching the shoe. 

Fit & Colors

Calzuro shoes are Italian made and their sizing is a bit different than the US sizing. Use their conversion size chart and you’re good to go. For example, a US 8-8.5 translates to 37/38 Italian.

In terms of colors, Calzuros come in 13 fun practical colors.

Overall, as one of the best clogs for surgeons and doctors, the Calzuro is your go-to shoe if you’re figuring out how to conquer those long days on foot.

Pros

  • Sterilizable in the autoclave
  • Washable & super easy to wipe clean
  • Extremely functional & comfortable
  • Lightweight & easy to put on and off
  • Supportive through the footbed
  • Great for standing all day
  • Very durable
  • Available in 13 colors

Cons

  • A little too tight over the top part for wide feet
  • Slightly unstable when stepping laterally

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Birkenstock Boston

birkenstocks-boston

Upper

The Birkenstock Boston is one of the staple styles from Birkenstock and it comes in a vast variety of colors and uppers:

  • Suede
  • Oiled leather
  • Smooth leather
  • Nubuck leather
  • Birkibuc
  • Birkoflor

The birkibuc and birkoflor are Birkenstock’s non-leather alternatives, but the leather upper construction is high quality and durable.

The one in the picture is a thick but very supple leather that was designed without any additional dyes to keep the leather breathable, durable, and comfortable for surgeons.

In terms of width, the Boston is available in the normal/regular version and the narrow version. So, if you’re looking for something more fitted if you have narrow feet, definitely go with the narrow version.

But if you have normal feet or wider feet, the regular version is going to work for you.

Comfortable Cork Footbed

Whichever pair you pick, you’ll get the anatomically correct cork and latex footbed which is a design originated by Birkenstock and 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 ensure proper foot alignment providing you with optimal support
  • A spacious toe box that allows your toes lots of room to move

Arch Support

The Birkenstock footbed actually provides support in three areas:

  • Medial arch (under the curve of the foot)
  • Metatarsal arch (ball of your foot)
  • Lateral arch (outside of your foot, in front of your heel) 

Break-in Period!!!

All Birkenstocks are not the most comfortable things right out of the box. The footbed is going to be firm and hard at first.

However, the more you wear the Boston, the cork footbed starts to break in and soften a bit and finally molds to the individual shape of your feet over time giving you that made-for-your-feet type of fit and excellent support across the entirety of your foot.

Most Birks are made from thick suedes and full-grain hides and so the upper also needs to be broken in. You may want to wear socks before the leathers become soft next to your skin.

But if it’s really hard for you or you need a little bit of extra cushioning, the Boston is also available in a soft footbed version which has a layer of memory foam over the cork for a little bit of extra softness.

While the soft footbed has little to no break-in time, it might feel smaller due to the extra padding on the footbed.

Here’s our comparison of the Birkenstock soft footbed vs regular footbed.

Outsole

birkenstocks-boston-outsole

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

Sizing & Fit

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

But how should the Birkenstock fit?

You should have a little extra room in front of the toes and behind the heel to maintain correct support under your arches.

Maintenance

With proper care and maintenance, your Birkenstocks can last you for years. Some people have been wearing their Birks since the 80s.

If the cork starts to take some damage, I do recommend moisturizing the cork with products like Kelly’s Cork Renew to fill in the damaged area.

The Boston with the smooth leather upper is easy to clean with CaviWipes if/when they get dirty.

But the greatest thing about the Boston and all Birkenstocks is that they’re super durable and 100% repairable!

The Birkenstock Boston has married function and comfort for over 30 years using the design that has created happy feet for over 200 years.

Pros

  • Shock absorbing and supportive for standing all day in the OR
  • Available in a lot of leathers & non-leather alternatives
  • High quality and durable
  • Available in narrow and regular widths
  • Great support in the arch and ball of the foot 
  • Raised toe bar, deep heel cup, wide forefoot
  • Leather version is easy to clean
  • Cork can be resealed
  • Outsole is super durable and can be totally replaced

Cons

  • Clog runs a bit wider
  • Regular footbed needs to be broken in (patience!)

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Oofos Ooclog

OOFOS-Unisex-OOclog

Upper & Inside

The shoe has a soft and malleable upper material which is going to provide plenty of wiggle room and stretch through the toebox so your toes aren’t constricted at all during those 12+ hour surgeries on your feet.

However, the toebox isn’t too loose or too tight and the midfoot is sufficiently narrow to keep the clog from sliding off.

The upper also has three big ventilation holes on the medial side to make the shoe a bit more breathable so your feet aren’t soggy like in some rubber shoes.

These holes aren’t going to provide the best breathability possible, but every breeze is welcome, of course.

The inside is really smooth and also features moisture and odor-resistant materials to help you stay fungi fresh and away from all that stink.

Last but not least, the upper is super easy to wash, sanitize, or wipe down.

Cushion/Support Combo

Most shoes that offer support do that using an arch that feels like a lump under your foot.

The Ooclog has a significant arch area that’s a bit elongated to fit the contours of your arch a little bit better and offers the perfect combination of support and extra cushion, which is hard to find.

If the arch area feels a bit too high or hurts at first, it’s going to break in after a few days of wearing and eventually fit your arches like a glove.

The EVA cushioning provides tons of impact absorption, which is a great way to rejuvenate your feet while promoting your foot’s natural movement and joint alignment.

Everything sits on top of a durable outsole which provides the comfort and support you need.

OOFOS-Unisex-OOclog-outsole

Last but not least, the Ooclog has a shower and beach-ready build and it’s also built with an easy-to-slip-on design because the last thing you want to do is struggle to get into your shoes.

You can also wear them when you’re gardening or having to walk in damp places. Just hose them off when you’re done.

From all-day standing at the operating theater to relaxing after a hard run, the Oofos Ooclogs provide the soothing relief your feet will love.

Pros

  • Great for Plantar Fasciitis
  • Super soft (not mushy) yet supportive
  • Offers tons of springiness, comfort, relief, and impact absorption for standing all day
  • Wide through the toebox yet not sloppy
  • Moisture and odor-resistant
  • Super easy to wash or sanitize
  • Easy to slip on design
  • Has a shower and beach-ready build
  • Durable

Cons

  • Rubber may make your feet (wear socks if it’s a problem for you)
  • No half sizes (size up not down)

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Alegria Classic Clog

Alegria-Classic-Clog

Upper

The soft high-quality leather upper doesn’t rub anywhere and it comes in a variety of prints, textures, and colors to fit your outfit.

The unique adjustable buckle strap provides a comfortable stylish custom fit while the leather lining is soft and inviting. Plus, the backless design means the clog is quick and easy to slip on.

In terms of looks, these are nothing short of AMAZING! You’re going to enjoy the cute design and colors. You can wear these with scrubs, business casual attire, or jeans.

Footbed & Arch Support

Loaded with cork, memory foam, and latex, the footbed creates the perfect fit by providing a super cushiony and comfy feel. But the best thing is that the footbed is totally replaceable.

You can always call Alegria to get new insoles if your old ones start to show some wear, which is like having a brand-new pair of shoes.

Or, you can remove it and slide in your preferred custom orthotics if you need more support.

The memory foam actually allows the insole to mold to the contours of your foot and arch and provides the ultimate comfort for extra long hours on your feet.

To add to the comfort of the shoe, Alegria makes their footbed using materials designed to keep your foot feeling dry and fresh even on hot days.

In terms of support, the Alegria clog has excellent arch support right where it should be, which makes it a good shoe for people with bad knees.

Overall, the footbed is surprisingly supportive and comfortable.

Outsole

Alegria-Classic-Clog-outsole

The outsole is engineered to provide a natural and healthy anatomically correct rocking motion by promoting perfect posture to reduce stress on muscles and joints.

In terms of durability, the rubber outsole is sturdy and measures 1.5 inches at the heel and slips downward to the toe. It’s also a really well-constructed shoe that will last forever.

Overall, the Alegria Classic Clog is beautiful, lightweight, stable, versatile, durable, and even more comfortable than house shoes!

This is your go-to shoe if standing or walking for extended lengths of time day in and day out is tiring and achy for you.

Pros

  • Rocker technology reduces foot fatigue & propels you forward
  • Excellent arch support
  • High-quality leathers and construction
  • Plush & super comfortable cork, memory foam, and latex footbed
  • Removable & replaceable footbed
  • Footbed is treated to keep your foot dry and fresh
  •  Stable platform
  • Lightweight & versatile
  • Durable

Cons

  • A bit pricey but worth every penny

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Alegria Keli

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Alegria-Women's-Keli

Why is the Alegria one of the best operating room shoes?

  • ½-inch stain-resistant bottom
  • Outsole with two slip-resistant rubber inlays to prevent slippage in the OR 
  • Two elastic gores for easy in and easy out
  • Soft padded collar that grips your heel
  • Removable and replaceable insole
  • Gentle mild rocker outsole motion    

Footbed

The best part about Alegria shoes is the patented interlocking removable and replaceable footbed. The footbed is a combination of soft polyurethane cork and memory foam. You can either use their medium or their wide-width insert depending on your foot needs.

What does this combination 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 soft footbed to conform to the bottom of your foot.

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 footbed in the Keli actually features ample support through the arch area to give flat feet and high arches the right amount of support.

Last but not least, most people find the insole really good and don’t need to put any other orthotic arch support in these.

The comfort doesn’t end there …

Upper

Right out of the box, the upper feels really good.

  • No blisters
  • No tender spots
  • No cramping

The collar and heel are padded, which makes the Keli so secure 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, the spacious toebox, and the double goring on either side give even more room for wider feet or feet that tend to swell at the end of the day.

The goring also makes these shoes easy to just slide your foot right into and go while the wider forefoot is great for bunions.

If you have a high instep, the top might feel a little tight and put pressure on the top of your foot. But the leather will conform to your instep and eventually get more comfortable.

Outsole

Alegria-Women's-Keli-outsole

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 in the OR or wherever life takes you.

So, the soles are grippy so you feel very confident wearing these on slick or wet floors. 

The platform is wide enough to provide plenty of support without looking goofy, which is great for big girls.

All in all, cute and fashionable yet really comfortable and supportive, the Alegria Keli is a pleasure to stand and walk around in, especially if you can’t stand Danskos.

Last but not least, the Alegria Keli is one of the best shoes for doctors as well.

Cons

  • Some colors and patterns are not very durable
  • Runs a little bit small (size up)

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Klogs Naples

Klogs-Women's-Naples-clogs

How do Klogs ensure that long-lasting comfort?

It starts with their TRUBase outsole, the foundation of the shoe…

Outsole & Midsole

Klogs-Women's-Naples-clogs-outsole

Made out of durable polyurethane, the TRUBase outsole gives you a lot of support underneath the arch but also flexibility so that your feet actually move with the shoe.

Underneath the TRUBase outsole is their patented PURGrip tread. PURGrip is slip resistant on wet and oily surfaces meaning that you can stay confident while you’re on the move.

Overall, the midsole/outsole design helps absorb shock and gives you stability on wet and oily surfaces.

Insole & Interior

Every Klogs clog features a nicely lined interior for comfort next to the skin and a removable TRUComfort contoured cushioned insole.

This insole has got support in the heel for stability but then also supports underneath the arch.

That support is really good for your posture and helps to ensure that you feel good after many hours on your feet.

TRUComfort also has a lot of cushioning and that cushion seems to be durable. Plus, the footbed has been treated completely to be antimicrobial to keep your feet feeling fantastic.

Clog Fit

Clogs in general are designed to be a little bit loose on the foot. Your toes should be able to wiggle inside and your heel should be able to move freely up and down at the back of the shoe.

About a pinky width between the heel and the back of the shoe is what you’re looking for.

The reason companies do that is because when you stand for long periods of time, your feet tend to swell, and so after 12 hours on a hard surface, you don’t want clogs to be strangling your feet at the end of that long day.

Versatility

The Naples can pull double duty. It’s great for the OR or the weekend because it has a streamlined design and comes in a wide array of colors and patterns, which makes it super are versatile and fun.

So, if you haven’t already tried a pair of Klogs, do yourself a favor, put them on, walk around, and experience comfort that outlasts the day.  

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

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 thoughtful design.

Pros

  • Easy-to-wear modern silhouette
  • Dual goring provides a stretchy yet secure fit
  • Great arch support & shock absorption
  • Slip resistant
  • Offers a lot of wiggle room
  • Comfortable next to the skin
  • Supportive insole (+ antimicrobial treatment)
  • Very versatile
  • Durable rubber outsole

Cons

  • May squeak on certain floors
  • Takes some time to get used to the shoe’s heel system
  • Runs large (half size up)

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Timberland Pro Renova 

Timberland-Pro-Women's-Renova

Upper & Interior

The Renova is made with a durable premium full-grain leather upper and treated with 3M Scotchgard protection for stain resistance and easy cleaning.

The shoe has an easy slip-on construction with panels of goring to give you some stretch and movement for when your feet swell at the end of the day.

The interior features a smooth lining with a Bi-Fit Tri-density footbed and an anti-fatigue mat to help cradle your feet giving you lots of arch support and comfort.

The anti-fatigue technology gives you all-day standing comfort, leg and back support, and shock absorption.

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

Rocker & Soles

Combined with a midsole that offers a lot of energy return, the rocker bottom is going to give you lots of comfort, reduce forefoot pressure, and control proper joint motion.

Thanks to this rocker geometry, the forefront doesn’t have to flex or work, which results in significantly less strain and less fatigue.

foot's-rocking-motion

The midsole has this cone perforated design resulting in less material and lighter footwear.

The molded cones inside the midsole collapse in and bounce back giving you all-day support, comfort, and superior shock absorption so that when you’re standing on your feet all day long, you’re going to feel great.

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

Timberland-Pro-Women's-Renova-outsole

Not only are the shoes exceptionally comfortable, but they’ve chosen their newest leathers with the latest fashion trends in mind so you’ll feel comfortable and look great too.

Pros

  • 3M Scotchgard protection (stain resistance & easy cleaning)
  • Easy slip-on construction (goring)
  • Footbed provides a lot of comfort, shock absorption, & support
  • Great anti-fatigue technology
  • Rocker technology helps reduce forefoot pressure
  • Midsole offers lots of energy return
  • Great 30-day comfort guarantee
  • Durable premium full-grain leathers
  • Smooth lining 
  • Odor control technology
  • At least 50% recycled PET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate)

Cons

  • Chestnut color gets the “worn-in” look quickly 
  • Does not come in an array of colors or styles
  • Insole is not removable

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Sanita Professional Clog

Sanita-Professiona-Clog

Rocker & Outsole

For starters, Sanita offers a stable heavy-duty non-slip rocker bottom outsole.

But what is a rocker bottom and why is it good for your feet?

A rocker bottom is one of the most recommended footwear outsoles by podiatrists because of its effective pressure relieving motion and ability to propel you forward.

According to this study, compared to the conventional shoe, rocker shoes helped reduce pressure in the medial and central forefoot and in the toe area by ≈30%. 

Also, rocker bottoms have been proven to limit ankle and midfoot motion reducing force on the heel as your heel strikes the ground allowing your foot to roll faster and with less pressure.

This makes all clogs with rocker bottoms great for people with arthritis, bunions, or more simply experiencing excessive pressure on their feet.

Because of this, the Sanita clog is certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association and is recommended by doctors worldwide.

The sole feels a bit hard but remains comfortable all day because of the undying arch support.

Sizing & Fit

The Sanita clog runs smaller than expected and you’ll need to either go up a size and a half or a size. So, if you are 7-1/2 or an 8, get the 39. And if you are 8-1/2 or 9, you will need to get the 40.

If you get the wrong size, the top of the clog can be tight on your foot, especially if you’re wearing thicker socks.

If you don’t know that already, when you start walking in clogs in general, you’ll feel the back of the clog going up and down.

Don’t ship them back because that’s exactly how clogs are supposed to fit, unlike fitted shoes.

However, proper-fitting clogs will stay on securely and not slip off your foot.

The clog should not feel tight across the instep yet not loose or sloppy either. The area across the instep is what keeps the clog on while the heel and forefoot are to let your feet move freely inside and not press against the inside wall.

But if your clogs are tight across the top of the foot, that area will ease a little and feel even more comfortable with wear. The leather will eventually mold to your feet and fit just like a glove.

Or, you can always get a shoe stretcher spray and a pair of shoe stretchers. It works perfect!

So, for the most comfortable fit, you should have a pinky finger distance between your heel and the back of the clog. You should also have plenty of room in the toebox area with the instep collar being the snuggest part of the shoe.

Outsole

Sanita-Professiona-Clog-outsole

The clog has rubberized slip-resistant tread certified to the highest standards by both the SATRA and ASTM associations specializing in workwear shoes.

On the plus side, the clog feels very well made and will certainly last a long time, maintaining arch support.

Upper & Leathers

Sanita makes sure to offer the highest quality leathers and superior tanning methods to ensure flexible strength and outstanding colors you’ll love. Plus, they also offer some vegan options for the vegan-conscious shopper.

The shoe offers adequate room in the toe box.

FYI, patent leather and printed leather are the easiest to get scuffed or cracked while oiled leathers stay looking good the longest.

In terms of looks, Sanitas look really nice and you can actually wear them with both scrubs and slacks.

Whether you’re on your feet all day in the OR or you’re just giving your feet a break, the Sanita Professional clog is the perfect choice for customized comfort. It’s going to help improve your posture and relieve your back and foot pain.

However, these are not the best to wear for long-distance walking over uneven terrain as you’re likely to twist your ankle. 

Pros

  • APMA approved
  • Softer, lighter, & less expensive than Danskos
  • Great for prolonged hours in the OR
  • Great arch support
  • Adequate room in the toe box
  • Lets your feet move freely inside
  • High-quality leathers
  • Easy to clean
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Rocker bottom relieves pressure and propels you forward
  • Also comes in vegan versions 
  • Durable

Cons

  • Takes some time to get used to the shoe’s heel system
  • Runs small

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Easy Spirit Traveltime

easy-spirit-traveltime-mule

The Traveltime has been the top-selling style for Easy Spirit for about 15 years. Let’s break down the things that make this Easy Spirit style one of the best shoes for the operating room.

Easy on and off

The upper features an open-back design which makes it super easy to slip on and off.

With the Traveltime, you have no laces, no buckles, and no strap on the back, but they really do stay on your feet.

This is very convenient when you’re doing an operation and just want to cool your feet down.

A mule with a heel cup

The brilliance of the design of the Traveltime is all about that heel cup and the upper. The Traveltime has got this great heel cup around the back so your foot stays nice and secure.

The heel area has been designed so you don’t have to clench your toes to stay nicely in this open-back mule.

You can wear your Traveltime with your compression socks or stockings and you won’t have to grip your toes as well. It’s a nice secure feel.

Comfortable

The Traveltime has a generously padded footbed designed to provide extra cushioning at the heel where you need it most, impressive comfort, as well as shock absorption.

It also offers wonderful contouring so you get the support you need from toe to arch to heel.

Your toes are going to get to lay comfortably in the footbed and you go about your day without having to worry about your footwear.

The footbed is even perforated so that air flows nicely throughout the closed-toe portion of the shoe.

Not only that, if you do use an orthotic, you can pop their insole out and put your own in. It’ll work beautifully for you.

Easy Spirit has taken comfort to a whole new level by providing cushioning all around the upper.

It’s got nice padding around that collar and tongue so that you slide in these easily and comfortably.

Last but not least, you have a soft and breathable fabric lining that feels great to the touch.

Lightweight

The Traveltime is crafted with lightweight materials that don’t skimp on performance. The compression-molded multi-surface sole provides stable sneaker-like traction that weighs in at just 6oz.

Outsole

easy-spirit-traveltime-mule-outsole

The bottom has a durable rubber outsole that’s going to give you tons of grip, traction, and flexibility.

Superior comfort and style make the Easy Spirit Traveltime one of the best shoes for surgeons and standing all day.

Pros

  • Mule with a heel cup (nice and secure)
  • Streamlined design & cushioned collar & tongue
  • Easy to get on and kick off
  • Similar to sneakers in terms of comfort
  • Flexible midsole
  • Generously padded contoured footbed (removable)
  • Impressive comfort and shock absorption
  • Fost and breathable lining
  • Grippy, durable rubber outsole

Cons

  • Runs narrow
  • Seam durability

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These were some of the best clogs, mules, and mocs for surgeons in 2022. Surgeons and doctors swear by athletic shoes and find them really comfortable and supportive.

Let’s talk about some of the best athletic shoes for the operating room.

Best Athletic Shoes for Surgeons

To protect your athletic shoes in the operating room, you may want to get some really good shoe covers.

Hoka Bondi

Hoka-Bondi-SR

The Bondi would be great for surgeons, chefs, waiters, teachers, etc where there’s a lot of blood and urine, a lot of soap, a lot of wet surfaces, and a lot of concrete.

You’ve got three versions…

The Bondi SR has been tested against industry standards so you aren’t slipping around while you’re in the OR. It’s been tested on water, soap, and oil.

The Bondi SR has a couple of notable features. It’s got a…

  • Very comfortable leather upper
  • Very comfortable padded tongue
  • Very comfortable padded heel

Midsole

In short, the midsole is superbly cushioned and offers excellent shock absorbency. It actually feels like you’re walking on a purple memory foam bed.

Most importantly, the Bondi has a really soft full-length EVA midsole that people love the most about Hoka shoes.

Obviously, the midsole has a big stack height and you might be thinking that it’s going to be unstable to walk or stand in.

Not really. Hoka designed the midsole in a way that your feet are going to sit in the midsole and not on top of the midsole to make sure your feet are as stable as possible.

Upper

The leather upper is well crafted and easy to keep clean. Just make sure you spray some protection on them before you wear them.

The upper is water-resistant which, again, will help with those fluids that you may become in contact with while you are at work.

Another great thing about the Bondi is it’s generously roomy through the toebox. So, when your feet start to swell, they’ll have plenty of room to splay, which is great for hammertoes and bunions.

However, even though the shoe is wider in the toe box, it still fits snug around your midfoot.

Outsole

Hoka-Bondi-SR-outsole

Down on the bottom, there’s a grippy slip-resistant outsole which will give you all the traction that you need.

The Bondi feels extremely comfortable, true to size, and stylish. It’s super supportive through the arch, which will feel like heaven, especially for those really long shifts.

The Bondi is probably going to be the comfiest OR shoe you’ve ever owned.

Pros

  • Feels like you’re standing clouds in the OR
  • Super cushioned, bouncy, impressively comfortable, and supportive
  • Great for a lot of foot issues
  • Water-resistant leather
  • Generously roomy toebox (great for wide and swollen feet)
  • Grippy slip-resistant outsole

Cons

  • A bit expensive

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Adidas Ultra Boost

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Adidas-UltraBoost

Midsole

This Adidas Boost midsole is the part that surgeons actually love. This is what makes the UltraBoost one of the most comfortable shoes for doctors standing all day.

It is still the same midsole technology that we know and love from Adidas. The good news is this new midsole has 20% more Boost than the previous UltraBoosts. More Boost, more comfort.

The Boost midsole is so squishy, it feels fantastic underfoot, supports collapsed arches, and just makes standing for 12+ shifts so easy, comfortable, and effortless. 

Upper

The UltraBoost has a Primeknit upper. Like the Boost midsole material, Primeknit is a staple of the UltraBoost. Even though they change it every year, it does remain relatively the same.

The Primeknit is still obviously stretchy and soft, but it’s going to give you a sock-like fit and it is going to hold your foot in place a little bit better than most athletic shoes.

The new midfoot cage just looks better and cleaner than the mesh that they had on the UltraBoost 19.

Not only that, but this midfoot cage also has some TFP detailing…

TFP

TFP (Tailored Fabric Placement) are thick embroidered-looking details around the edge of the toe.

These are designed to actually contain your midfoot area a little bit better and give you a lot more stability and durability around those areas.

Tongue & Heel

The heel provides a lot more stability, which really keeps you from sliding around on the heel and really keeps the Boost from being too mushy.

On the front half of the shoe, you’ve got this Primeknit tongue which you can actually pull to get your foot very easily into the sneaker. Then on the back half of the ankle, you actually have a padded neoprene material.

Not only does this extra padding around the heel feel nice against your foot, but it also holds your foot in place better because it pushes your foot towards the front of the shoe.

Speaking of which, your foot is just up against raw Primeknit, which, again, gives you a very sock-like and comfortable fit.

As I mentioned earlier, the Primeknit isn’t as stretchy and feels a tiny bit tighter than the UltraBoost 19.

So, for performance purposes, this is actually a better-fitting shoe and I think it’s actually going to be better for running in than the UltraBoost 19.

The UltraBoost 20 does seem to fit true to size. However, if you have wider feet or you prefer a fit that isn’t so snug, maybe go up a size.

Outsole

Adidas-UltraBoost-outsole

The UltraBoost has the Continental Stretch Web outsole which is extremely comfortable underfoot. It feels a lot smoother than regular UltraBoosts outsoles.

Then, there is a new torsion system spring in the midfoot, which helps prevent torsional twisting and helps propel you forward.

Get ready for plenty of support, comfort, softness, quality, and durability.

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New Balance 1080

New-Balance-Fresh-Foam-1080v11

This is New Balance’s shoe that fits into the category of top-class shoes with luxury cushioning and focus on comfort. It has a great fit and it is very comfortable even for the longest shifts.

The overall fit is great. The knit upper, the liner, the tongue, and the heel collar all feel a lot more plush and have a great next-to-skin feel.

Upper

If we take a look at the specific changes made, the most important update is related to the upper. It has become more breathable and more flexible in the toe box.

Also, the weaving in the sides is now stronger, which adds more side-to-side stability and provides a more solid hold on the foot.

The New Balance 1080 is wide-foot friendly because it comes in wide and extra wide.

Overall, the upper is a nice construction and just molds to your feet comfortably. New Balance has changed the stitching around the upper and they’ve made the shoe a little bit more malleable to stretch.

They’ve also softened up the heel counter which now has a little bit less rigidity through there.

Midsole

The midsole is still designed with that very nice Fresh Foam X that runs through the whole midsole.

Fresh Foam X is really plush and pillow-like but still a bit firm, which I personally think finds an almost perfect sweet spot between soft and firm.

The laser-perforated hexagons on the midsole do finetune the softness of the sole in different areas.

Outsole

New-Balance-Fresh-Foam-1080v11-outsole

The outsole has different traction patterns with some raw foam exposed in some places.

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Brooks Addiction Walker

Brooks-Addiction-Walker-leather

Outside of the OR, the Addiction Walker is comfortable for long-distance walking, gym workouts, and casual wear.

Upper

Depending on the color you decide to go with, you’re going to get a few different upper materials. The full-grain leather is going to supply you with tons of cushioning.

With this nice upper, you do have a fabric lining that’s very soft to the touch so you’re going to get a great in-shoe feel.

And like all Brooks shoes, the Addiction Walker is probably the best shoe on this list in terms of fit.

The upper offers plenty of width through the toebox area, which is great for wide feet and some forefoot issues like bunions.

Last but not least, the Walker is very stable and solid in the heel and won’t let your feet ‘wobble’ from side to side. 

Comfortable Midsole

The Addiction Walker has tons of technology that goes into it thanks to the HydroFlow technology which enhances that full-length Innovative BioMoGo midsole which is iconic to Brooks.

The midsole provides great shock absorption, a smooth ride, and maximum support.

The Walker provides the support needed through the extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB) which is a support system for your entire body and not just your arches.

PDRB and the MC Pod Configuration give you great arch support, especially for flat feet and overpronation issues.

Overall, the midsole provides similar support and cushioning you’re going to get from Brooks running shoes.

Sturdy Outsole

Brooks-Addiction-Walker-leather-outsole

Everything all sits on a durable HPR Green outsole which is very environmentally friendly. The outsole is going to give you premium wet and dry traction and skid resistance.

Whether you’re in the operating room or just you’re outside running your daily errands, you’ll know you’re going to be protected by the Addiction Walker from Brooks.

Pros

  • Super comfortable for long walks and all-day wear
  • Features a great stabilizing component for overpronation issues
  • Adequate arch support & foothold
  • Long-lasting midsole cushioning
  • Full-length PDRB technology guides your foot during the heel-to-toe transition
  • Full ground contact design makes the shoe balanced and stable 
  • Wide enough to accommodate custom orthotics
  • Hard-wearing rubber outsole
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Doesn’t seem to breathe the greatest
  • Previous version seems to be better

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If you’re into running, make sure you check out this comparison review of the Brooks Ghost 10 and the Glycerin 15.

Saucony ProGrid Integrity ST2

Saucony-Women's-ProGrid-Integrity-ST2

The Integrity is also flexible and provides comfort for even extreme powerwalking.

The Saucony Progrid Integrity is great if you:

  • are on your feet up to 12 hours a day. (perfect for the OR)
  • stand on concrete all day
  • walk for long periods/extensive walking
  • are healing from a stress fracture

This shoe accommodates and works perfectly with all types of orthotics and offers all the motion control and support needed for long power walks.

The soles help propel you forward as you walk and offer an excellent grip on any surface making you feel secure.

Midsole

It has a full-length compression-molded EVA midsole. The midsole and outsole have a Walk-Trac system for smoother transitions.

The Heel ProGrid System in the heel absorbs impact and shock for even more comfort. It provides fantastic and properly placed arch support, heel support, awesome cushioning, stability, and motion control.

Women’s Last

It’s designed on the women’s last and provides lots of toe room without being boxy.

Upper & Inside

The Integrity has a super soft and pliable full-coverage leather upper which is comfortable right out of the box with little to no break-in time.

The toe box is wide, deep, and tall enough for your toes not to rub on the top of the toe box or feel squished together.

However, the wide fit does not make the Integrity ST 2 look abnormally large or feel sloppy in the toe area like many wide orthopedic brands.

In terms of the ankle area, the shoe offers plenty of ankle support while the ankle cut is the right height not to rub your ankle bones.

Compared to the Integrity ST 2 which is wider and has a more rounded silhouette, the Saucony Progrid Omni is narrower and is more on the pointy side.

Plus, the heel on the Integrity is super secure and does not slip at all.

Available in extra extra wide, the Integrity’s deep wide toe box is going to be great for thick wide feet, crooked toes, bunions, Tailor’s bunion, and sensitive toes in general.

The Integrity has a removable insole and the inside is completely compatible with orthotics if you decide to remove the insole and slide your inserts in.

The footbed is well padded and provides really good support just where you need it. This makes it possible to walk on the treadmill without worrying about your joints and knees.

Outsole

Saucony-Women's-ProGrid-Integrity-ST2-outsole

The ProGrid has a non-marking, non-skid XT carbon rubber outsole. Sturdy rubber is positioned in high-wear areas to make you feel very secure and confident on any surface. 

Plus, the outsole tread is not too thin that you feel every pebble on the sidewalk. 

With nice and heavy stitching, cushioning, and stability, the Saucony Pro Grid Integrity is one of the best-fitting shoes you can get for those long hours in the operating room

Last but not least, the Integrity ST 2 is a good option if you’re looking for a shoe with a wide toe box, narrow heel, and a high arch.

Sizing

You may want to order a half size larger.

Pros

  • Designed on women’s last
  • Super comfortable, flexible yet supportive
  • Padded footbed
  • No rubbing, no pinching, no sliding, no blisters
  • Cushioning absorbs impact and shock
  • Removable insole (inside is perfect with all orthotics)
  • Excellent grip on any surface (security)
  • Provides lots of toe room without being boxy
  • Super soft pliable leather upper
  • Plenty of ankle support
  • Available in extra extra wide
  • Non-skid XT carbon rubber outsole

Cons

  • Limited color choices

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New Balance 577

New-Balance-577

Upper

The NB 577 has a ton of reinforced stitching on the upper, which makes it really sturdy and durable. Plus, it’s all leather meaning it’s going to be much easier to clean and polish.

The forefoot provides plenty of room for large feet, sore big toes, and duck feet. 

The tongue is sturdy and doesn’t curl up and the velcro straps are not too long nor too short. They are strong and sewn tightly to the side of each shoe.

The soft lining on the inside feels great to the touch while the Achilles notch gives you added comfort as well. The footbed is entirely removable and has a ton of shock absorption and support.

Midsole & Outsole

The EVA midsole helps dissipate the shock and helps you to stand and walk better and longer. Plus, the Abzorb cushioning makes this a great walking shoe. 

The outsole has some texture with a Walking Strike Path designed specifically for walking for 12+ hour shifts. It’s also going to provide durability and grip on a variety of surfaces.

New-Balance-577-outsole

The New Balance 577 is really stable, really comfortable, really well-made, easy to tie, easy to put on and off, provides just the right amount of arch support, and it’s going to be a good-looking shoe.

Pros

  • Available in 4E
  • Provides a ton of shock absorption & support
  • Comfortable fit out of the box
  • Roomy toebox for large feet, sore big toes, duck feet
  • Really comfortable lining
  • Removable footbed
  • Awesome hook & loop straps
  • Easy to clean and polish
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Grippy & durable

Cons

  • Velcro straps might be short for really wide feet or high insteps

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Where to buy the best OR Shoes

Merrell Calzuro Dansko Hoka
merrell-encore-gust-comparison-table calzuro-auroclavable-clog-comparison-table dansko-professional-clog-comparison-table hoka-bondi-comparison-table
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Brooks Keen Oofos Alegria
brooks-addiction-walker-comparison-table keen-utility-ptc-comparison-table oofos-ooclog-comparison-table alegria-keli-comparison-table
price price price price

Frequently Asked Questions

What features should surgeon shoes have

Your shoes should…

  • Be comfortable to wear in the operating room
  • Be comfortable to stand on the whole day if necessary
  • Offer good support and stability
  • Be slip-resistant
  • Be able to 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)

What shoes do surgeons have to wear?

There are no specific brands surgeons have to wear to be comfortable in the OR. Just get a shoe that’s comfortable underfoot, supportive, shock-absorbing, slip-resistant, easy to wash and sanitize, and easy to get on and off. The Dansko Professional clog, Merrell Encore Gust, Brooks Addiction Walker, Calzuro, and Crocs are some of the best shoes you can get.

Why do surgeons wear special shoes?

Surgeons wear shoe covers which are designed to protect their shoes from body fluids and prevent contaminating patients and fellow staff with tracked-in dirt and microbes thanks to the materials they’re made out of. Plus, shoe covers have a grippy texture for security on various floors.

Why do surgeons wear Crocs?

Some surgeons love the Crocs Bistro clogs because they’re lightweight, extremely comfortable, super easy to clean, and spill-proof in case bodily go on your feet. The Bistro is not your standard Crocs that have tons of holes. It has a closed toe box to better protect your feet in the OR.

The material used provides a lot of cushion when standing in the OR for countless hours. The Bistro is quite roomy yet still holds your foot in nicely.

Why do surgeons wear cowboy boots?

Some surgeons like to wear cowboy boots in the OR because these boots feature a built-in heel lift or drop which helps reduce stress on the Achilles tendon area.

Brady Rhodes, DPM, a specialist in foot and ankle surgery and faculty member in the Podiatry Residency at JPS in Fort Worth says, “I wear them all the time,” Cowboy boots “give you a built-in heel lift,” which reduces stress on the Achilles tendon

Can surgeons wear flip flops?

I don’t think flip flops are the best kind of footwear for surgeons. Flip flops don’t provide enough cushion to stand all day, arch support, or proper cover from the elements and bodily fluids.

Why do surgeons wear clogs?

A lot of surgeons love clogs because they’re super supportive, they’re comfortable to wear for long hours in the OR, and they’re safe.

So, there you have it. We did our best to bring you guys some of the best shoes for surgeons in 2022. If we’ve missed a shoe you really think works great in the OR, please let us know down below in the comments.

Until then, stay safe and see you in the next one 🙂

About Eric

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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