When looking for shoes for surgeons, there are many criteria to consider. First, it must be a shoe that is comfortable to wear—especially one that can be worn while standing or walking most of the day.
It must also be a shoe that can keep the wearer from slipping on wet surfaces, can be washed or wiped down easily when encountering fluids or substances, and have a certain amount of “style” with scrubs.
The decision can be hard, so we took an in-depth look at seven of the best shoes for surgeons—the good, the bad, and the opinions. After our research, check out our top recommendation Dansko Women’s Professional Mule.
They are no-nonsense, easy to clean, comfortable on foot, and basically, like the older stylish cousin of the ever-popular Crocs. We like that both men and women can enjoy this smart design in the operating room.
Take a look at the rest of the reviews to find out which shoe would be the perfect match for you!
Best Shoes for Surgeons
1. Dansko Women’s Professional Mule
Dansko is a well-known name in the medical world, and for a good reason! Their line of comfortable, supportive, and well-made clogs have stood the test of time with many doctors and nurses!
This style of clog for women comes in a variety of whole and half sizes and various leather colors and styles. They can all be cleaned off with a damp cloth.
For those who have to be on their feet all day, the polyurethane sole adds 2″ of lift to the heel, keeping your weight centered in the middle of the foot and relieving pressure on your arch.
Along with the heel lift, a rocker bottom sole and wide heel strike allow for stability and comfort when walking or standing.
The reinforced toe box offers protection from heavy and sharp objects while also providing wiggle room for even the widest of feet.
A memory foam footbed is the final comfort measure, providing a structured cushion for those on their feet all day.
Reviewers had great things to say about these shoes—which are very well-loved in the medical community! They loved the colors available, how easy they were to clean, and of course, the comfort they offer!
Many found that finding the correct size could be difficult and reminded buyers to find a pair that allowed some space between the heel and the back of the shoe for a proper fit.
- These clogs come in a variety of half and whole sizes and widths to fit many feet.
- The leather material can be easily cleaned, is durable, and stylish in scrubs and after-work clothes.
- The sole of the shoe is constructed to make standing and walking as comfortable and stable as possible.
- The toebox lets toes have room to stretch out and prevents things like bunions and ingrown toenails.
- These shoes are not washable, so they may not be a great choice for areas that may have lots of fluids involved.
- The high heel of these clogs can sometimes lead to rolled ankles in those with balance issues.
- Some wearers find it hard to find the correct size due to the different fit of these shoes and their handmade quality.
When looking for the best shoes for surgeons, you definitely can’t go wrong when trying a Dansko clog. Their comfort and durability alone are enough to make them the perfect fit for the surgeon’s life!
2. Merrell Men’s Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe
These no-nonsense shoes for men come in black and brown leather color choices, along with the whole and half sizes in medium widths.
They have the looks and style of a dress shoe but are equipped with a heavy-duty, GRIP sole on the bottom that provides comfort and traction.
The mesh lining keeps the foot dry, and the slip-on style is easy to take on and off but still stays on your foot throughout the day.
For comfort, there is air cushioning in the heel and an Ortholite footbed—the types of things that anyone on their feet all day!
Many reviewers, some in the medical field, have been faithful wearers of these shoes. Some found that they ran a bit big, so make sure to buy from a place that offers returns!
Some reviewers didn’t think that the non-slip sole lived up to its promises, and recommended more of a kitchen shoe if that’s what you’re looking for.
Others have found the quality of these shoes to go down over the years, which is worth considering when looking to invest for a pair of surgeons shoes.
- These shoes come in full-grain black or brown leather and will look dressier than some other shoe options.
- The shoe is equipped with comfort measures in the heel and footbed.
- The mesh lining helps keep sweaty feet dry throughout the day.
- These offer a secure fit with the ease of a slide-on design.
- Some users complained that the quality of these shoes has gone down over the years.
- Others found that the non-slip sole didn’t offer enough traction for slippery work conditions.
- These are not a very stylish option, so they may not work for those that want to make a great impression.
If you’re a surgeon who needs a pair of shoes that can keep you comfy and dressy throughout the day, these seem like a good option to try.
Since they’re not washable, they may not be a great choice for surgeons who are around fluids, and the non-slip sole isn’t well-reviewed by wearers.
3. OOFOS Unisex OOcloog Clog
These next shoes are for both men and women and come in whole sizes in a variety of matte and shiny patent colors.
On first glance, these seem like a hole-less version of the classic Croc slip on. They have a rubber sole and are machine washable.
On the inside, however, they employ an OOfoam footbed that is said to absorb 37% more impact than traditional footwear.
Reviewers back up these claims to comforts of this OOcloog Clog—many in the medical profession have shared that, while these may not be the most stylish option, they are definitely worth it on those long shift days.
They seem to be especially good for those with high arches who need extra support, as they are equipped with special cradling in the footbed to give that needed support.
- These shoes are unisex and come in a large array of sizes.
- They are machine washable and slip resistant.
- The footbed is extremely supportive and comfortable, especially in those with high arches and plantar fasciitis issues.
- These only come in whole sizes.
- Some buyers found that the shiny material cracked and peeled after just a few uses.
Overall, these look like a great option for surgeons who want a washable, no-nonsense shoe that can give comfortable support and look good with scrubs—definitely one of the best shoes for the operating room.
4. Birkenstock Boston Suede Clogs
A classic in the medical profession, the Birkenstock clog offers comfort and a unique, if not acceptable, style to any surgeon looking for great support and comfort in the office.
They come in a variety of colors and materials, mostly suede and oiled leather. The sizing is European, something to keep in mind when buying these for the first time.
The contoured cork footbed is what sets these apart from other shoes. This stiff material offers a lot of arch support, but over time will form to your foot and offer you personalized support in all the areas you need it.
Because of this, they can be uncomfortable to wear in the beginning—there is a breaking in period needed.
The cork footbed does not do well in wet conditions, so these would not be a great shoe around fluids or when commuting in snow or rain.
- These shoes come in high-quality leather and suede materials on the uppers.
- The cork footbed will be supportive and form to your foot’s needs.
- The toe box is roomy and won’t cramp toes or cause issues like bunions or ingrown toenails.
- The cork footbed of these shoes will not perform well in wet conditions.
- Some found these shoes too uncomfortable to wear, even after breaking in.
- These are not washable, so they may not be a good choice for the operating room.
Many medical personnel has used Birkenstock clogs for decades and love them. For surgery, they may not be a good choice because they aren’t washable and are slip-on. However, they would make a great choice for the office!
5. Dansko Men’s Professional Cabrio Clog
We’ve looked at the classic Dansko clog for women, but here is the men’s version. It features a lot of the same styles, but only comes in brown and black oiled leather—sorry guys, no leopard print for you!
These clogs come in half, and whole sizes in European sizing and the sizing can be a bit different if you’re new to Dansko or clogs in general. The back of these shoes should not touch your heel if you are wearing the right fit.
The rubber outsole and the contoured leather insole help put these shoes in the extra-comfy category.
To make these comfortable while standing, the shoe features a 2″ platform sole with absorbs shock when walking, and a rocker bottom sole to help gait and take the pressure off the heels when standing.
Many reviewers, most in the medical profession, highly recommended these shoes! They loved how comfortable they were, how easy they are to keep clean, and the way they contour to their feet.
Some found that they needed to order a much larger size in the European sizing to find the perfect fit.
- These shoes offer a lot of comfort measures, from rocker bottom soles to plush leather inserts.
- The shoes are made to contour to your foot with use.
- The shoes are high-quality leather but easy to wipe down and keep clean.
- They have a non-slip sole for slippery situations.
- These shoes may be difficult to find the right size at first.
- Some have found that Danko’s quality has gone down in recent years.
Like we said for the women’s version, these are a well-loved and reviewed shoe amongst the medical professional world, and their comfort and nice looks made them one of the best shoes for surgeons!
6. Calzuro Autoclavable Clog without Upper Ventilation
Another rubber shoe offer, this clog by Calzuro looks a bit like other clogs like Crocs, but with the addition of a more smooth uppers surface and a 1.5” heel for support.
These come in a large variety of colors. They are Italian made, latex free, and slip resistant.
As mentioned, they offer a 1.5” heel that helps keep your weight evenly distributed when on your feet all day.
One of the huge perks of these shoes is that they are able to be washed in a washing machine, with bleach, or sterilize in the autoclave.
A lot of nurses and doctors found these Shoe to be a more affordable but just as comfortable option to Danskos. They also liked how easy it was to sterilize them.
Some found that the insert shredded in just a few weeks of use, but they felt the shoes were just as comfortable without them as with.
- These shoes come in half and whole sizes and in a large variety of both basic and bright colors.
- They offer a 1.5” heel for support.
- You can purchase a back strap kit for only $5.
- They are able to be washed and sterilized.
- These are a medium width, so may not be a great fit for a wide.
- The foam insert does not last longer than a few weeks.
- These were not a comfortable fit for all wearers, according to reviews.
Because they’re sterilizable, these shoes are a great option for someone who wants a shoe that can handle a lot of body fluids. They may be better suited to someone who sits more of the day than walks or stands, though.
7. Alegria Women’s Paloma Flat
Last but not least, this Mary-Jane style flat by Algeria comes in many bright and fun patterns and colors to match all personalities and sets of scrubs.
They come in half and whole sizes, and both wide and regular widths. The company sells replacement insoles for all sizes and widths, and reviewers have said the insole is thick and comfortable.
The shoes are leather with a rubber sole. There is a 1.5” heel on top of the 1” platform. The platform helps absorb a lot of the shock and pressure when walking and standing. There is also a slight rocker bottom to the sole.
Many of those with wide feet and arch issues found these to be extremely comfortable shoes to wear both when standing and walking for many hours a day.
You may see our guide more discussion about shock absorbing shoes for lessen pressure and feel comfortable to your feet.
- These shoes come in half and whole sizes and both wide and regular widths.
- The insole is thick and cushioned and can be replaced when needed.
- The leather material is durable and comes in many fun patterns.
- The platform, heel, and rocker bottom all work together to give comfort to feet all day.
- The leather material may not be easy to clean, depending on what substances and fluids you encounter.
- The Velcro strap could hit the top of your foot at a bad place, depending on your arch.
- Some found the toe box to be too cramped, especially if they were dealing with things like bunions.
These look like another great option in the leather shoe lineup, and maybe one that’s a bit easier to walk in than the higher-platformed Dansko clogs.
What to Look When Buying Shoes for Surgeons?
The fit of the shoe is one of the most important aspects of finding a great shoe for surgeons.
Starting at the heel, a structured heel cup will allow the foot to have stability and support.
The width of the midsole should be large enough that the foot doesn’t feel squeezed or cramped, but is also not able to move around in the shoe.
At the toes, a wide enough toe box will ensure that you avoid things like a blister, bunions, and ingrown toenails.
You’ll also want to watch for what the shoe does to the top of your foot, which can often be determined by how well the shoe supports your arch.
Those with high arches will want uppers that allow for their foot to be support from beneath without rubbing on the top.
Because of the balance with simplicity and ability to be cleaned and the comfort needed for surgeon’s shoes, many shoes for surgeons don’t offer as much support as some other types of shoe may.
A platform can be helpful in putting some cushioning structure and space between your foot and the ground when standing and walking.
A heel can help move your weight forward and evenly distribute it amongst your whole foot.
The insole needs to be slightly cushioned, and have the proper support for your arches.
Since these shoes will be worn for long shifts, multiple days in a row, it’s essential that they be durable.
Rubber and leather are both extremely durable substances which most of the shoes for surgeons are made of. Leather may eventually crack if not cared for.
A rubber sole is a great start to finding a slip resistant shoe—an essential feature for those who work around many substances and fluids, like surgeons.
The treads on the sole will help determine if the shoe “grips” the surface of the ground, even in wetness.
If your support and fit are right, comfort is a guaranteed bonus in finding a shoe that can keep you on your feet for hours a day.
Things like platform, rocker bottom soles, foam or leather insoles, and wide toe boxes are all key features to look for when determining the comfort of a shoe for surgeons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the best material for shoes for surgeons?
A. Many surgeons need a shoe that is, first of all, comfortable but will also hold up well in the workplace.
Rubber is a popular shoe material because it can be easily sanitized.
Leather is another good shoe choice because it will mold to the feet for comfort after a breaking in period, it’s durable, and it can be wiped off.
Q. How can I sanitize my shoes?
A. You can wipe the rubber soles of your shoes with disinfectant to sanitize them after work.
If the entire shoe is rubber, like Crocs, they can be sanitized with bleach or an autoclave.
Q. Are certain shoes better for standing or walking?
A. Any type of shoe that takes the pressure off your heels and arches will be comfortable for standing for long periods of time.
Shoes with a platform also absorb a lot of the shock that comes when your foot strikes the ground.
Rocker bottom soles can be very comfortable for those who do a lot of walking, but they may be tiresome to wear when standing a lot, as they force you to balance to correct gait issues with a right shoe for standing all day lessen your pressure on feet and avoid pain.
Q. What is the benefit of wearing a clog-style versus a tennis shoe?
A. Tennis shoes are great for walking and running, as they have a lot of features to fit securely, like laces and mesh interiors, and their soles seek to balance and correct your running gait.
However, these features are not always needed when in the medical profession and can lead to foot pain and soreness.
Athletic shoes are also not as easy to sanitize and wash as the other options available in this list.
Surgeons are involved in helping people heal and thrive all day, but often it can be hard to take care of yourself during the long hours standing and walking between rooms.
You can start making sure you are in tip-top shape to help your clients by taking care of yourself from your feet on up—and a great pair of supportive, comfortable, durable shoes is the best way to do that!
- Choosing the right shoe, by betterhealth