Best Shoes for the Operating Room

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Hoka shoes are one of the best shoes for the operating room, surgeons and OR nurses. I have personally worn Hoka One’s on my feet all day in the operating room for a while now, and they did the trick.

However, there are a lot of different shoes that you might see in the OR. Depending on what type of job you have, you might want a more protective shoe, or you might want one you can walk on comfortably.

Regardless of your position, if you’ve ever worked in surgery or the operating room before, then you’ll know that it is incredibly important to have good shoes. Whether you are a nurse, resident, surgeon or other operating room team member, you need to have supportive shoes.

Scrub techs, scrub nurses, and surgeons are standing in one spot for several hours (sometimes up to 12-20 hours). And, your feet can become easily fatigued. So, finding the best operating room shoes can be vital to having a healthy work life.

What to Look for in Operating Room Shoes?

There are a few things you should look for when researching the best operating room shoes. Typically you’ll want a shoe that provides a lot of support, comfort and protection.

  • Comfort: Obviously comfort is huge when it comes to OR shoes, because you’re standing a lot!
  • Waterproofing: Waterproof shoes can come in handy when working in surgery because there is always potential for fluids to splash on your shoes.
  • Protection: There’s always a chance of a sharp object falling towards your feet, so having good protective shoes is very important.
  • Style: Always have to look stylish when at work!
  • Slip-On: Easy to slip-on and slip-off can be important for operating room nurses. You might need to switch footwear depending on what role you are in for the case.
  • Durability: You need your operating room shoes to last for long days, you don’t want them to start falling apart on you.

What are the Best Operating Room Shoes for Nurses?



With the slogan “We Are Pain Relief”, HOKA ONE ONE has become an extremely popular shoe among nurses. And, for operating room nurses, they are no exception.

The biggest attribute of the HOKA shoes are their enormous sole’s. They have very thick soles that help shield you foot (and arch) from injury, pain, and fatigue. In addition, they are one of the best shoes to help with plantar fasciitis.

Firstly, HOKA uses a cushioned midsole that provides shock absorption, comfort and support. They also use the meta-rocker that helps aid with the natural human gait cycle propelling you forward with every step. It also helps to reduce the height difference between your heel and toe.

Snibbs Spacecloud Shoe


In my opinion, the Snibbs Spacecloud shoe is an awesome choice for an operating room shoe. It provides exceptional grip, protection, and comfort all-day. Additionally, they have super soft foam inserts that help a lot when you are standing all day (read our full Snibbs Review).

However, when it comes to choosing the best OR shoes for nurses, it depends on what role you are in. Depending on if you’re the scrub nurse or circulating nurse for the day can impact what shoes you pick.

However, if you’re in the circulating role, then you’ll probably want a more walking friendly shoe. While the circulator, you’ll most likely doing a lot of running around, so a more comfortable “running” shoe can be beneficial. You probably won’t encounter many hazardous fluids or sharp objects directly affecting your feet.

Secondly, they have a special foot frame that helps cradle your foot like a car seat. And, then they tack-on a few more technologies that help you reduce pain, increase ease of step, and overall provide more comfort.

I have worn Hoka’s in the operating room for a few years now, and have really been impressed with their comfort and usability. However, they do have some issues with getting worn-out quickly. But, on the other hand, I do wear them for 12 hours a day, 3 days a week, so that’s expected.

Gravity Defyer


One brand we had not heard of before is Gravity Defyer. Similar to HOKA ONE ONE, they use a special spring-shock technology to help prevent foot injury, pain, and provide excellent comfort. You can easily walk around in these shoes all day with no issue, and even stand in one place for a while.

Gravity Defyer shoes have VersoShock technology, seamless interiors (for sensitive feet), removable insoles, and special rocker soles to help support your midfoot. These also should be great shoes for plantar fasciitis as well as nurses on their feet all day.

Nike Zoom Pulse (Healthcare Shoes)


The Nike Zoom Pulse shoes are awesome new releases. When it comes to the Best Nike Nursing Shoes, they are one of the top competitors. Not only are they made specifically for healthcare providers, but they are made by one of the best shoe designers around.

Nike uses all of their innovate running, sports, and lifestyle technology to make an awesome healthcare shoe. While they can run a bit on the pricey side, you won’t be disappointed with their support.

“Built for and tested by nurses”, they should keep you going throughout any length of nursing shift!

New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker


The New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker is a great option for circulating nurses on the move. These shoes provide excellent mobile support along with a stylish outlook.

They have midsole cushioning that is extremely lightweight, but responsive. And, a memory foam sole insert for the highest levels of all-day comfort. Additionally, New Balance offers a sleek modern design that will surely impressive your friends.

Finally, you can color match these shoes to pretty much any nursing scrubs that you have.

adidas Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe


adidas makes some awesome running shoes. Which, in-turn, means that make some great operating room nurse shoes as well! The Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoes are stylish, lightweight and comfortable shoes that any nurse can be happy with.

They have a high platform for maximum support, Cloudfoam memory sockliner for comfort and a sleek design for modern style. Additionally, they come in a multitude of colors to support any color combination you’re going for!

Best Operating Room Shoes for Scrub Techs (Surgical Techs)

If you’re in the scrub role (scrub tech or nurse), you will be standing for long periods of time throughout the shift. So, you should have a thicker more protective shoe. You need to be aware of fluids and sharps falling from the surgical field.

Nurse Mates


Nurse Mates are another very popular shoe for the operating room. They are awesome support for scrub techs, scrub nurses, or surgical techs who are standing for long periods of time. In addition, you also get maximum protection from both sharp objects and spills (fluids).

Nurse Mate shoes feature a massive synthetic sole, Pillow Top footbed, active moisture management, and a stain resistant material. They also have a very grippy bottom portion, so that you shouldn’t slip in spills.

Dansko Professional Nursing Clog


Dansko Nursing Clogs are the classic example of operating room nurse shoes. They are incredibly supportive and protective for all nurses and scrub techs. While they only make women’s shoes, Dankso’s are a great option.

They are made from 100% leather with a polyurethane sole and reinforced toe protection. If any sharp objects, gross fluids or anything else falls, your feet will be protected in Dansko’s. In addition, they have a PU outsole with rocker bottom to help propel your foot forward during gait along with shock absorption.

Dansko’s are an excellent choice for nurses or scrub techs who are on their feet all day.

Best Operating Room Shoes for Surgeons

Surgeons are similar to scrub techs (or nurses) in that they are standing very close to the surgical field. This introduces several potential problems, including fluids or sharps falling onto your feet. Along with other issues with standing in a single spot for potentially several hours at a time.

Surgeons need shoes that have good protection, durability, and relief when standing in a single spot for long periods of time. You also might want a shoe that gives you good mobility for rounding on patients on the floors (if you don’t plan on switching shoes after cases).

These shoes might also work well for medical students observing procedures. They can give them the ability to protect their feet, while avoiding fatigue.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, my favorite operating room shoes are the Hoka’s. They provide excellent support if you are a circulator, and keep you moving on your feet all day long.

While some nurses, residents or surgical tech’s might have different opinions, most can agree on a few things. Operating room shoes need to be comfortable, durable and most importantly protective of your feet!

Check out some more of our nursing shoe guides:

CHECK OUT  Best Shoes for Nurses

Full Time Nurse

Striving to help nurses and nursing students succeed.

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