Nursing Shoes
May 16, 2006 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Help me make my hard working wife's feet happy. My wife is a surgery nurse and is due for a new great pair of nursing shoes. We'll be in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area in a few weeks. Anyone have any recommendations on a great place to buy such a pair of shoes in that area?
posted by killThisKid to Work & Money (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not in healthcare, but I have friends who are, and they (and I) absolutely LOVE crocs. ( They are butt ugly, but lightweight and very VERY comfortable. Since they are a pvb type vinyl, blood and other liquids do not stick or stain... Give them a shot...
posted by jwhowa at 8:08 PM on May 16, 2006

Most of the nurses I know wear variants on these kind of clogs. I don't know where you find them specifically in Minneapolis, but they're widely available online.

On preview: yep, crocs, the same general idea.
posted by melissa may at 8:14 PM on May 16, 2006

My wife ( a Veterinary Technician) has been a longtime evangelist for Dansko, but I have noticed her wearing her Crocs to work more and more often...
posted by Rock Steady at 8:19 PM on May 16, 2006

Try Earth shoes too. Unlike Danskos you don't run the risk of falling off them and breaking your ankle.

I shop at Fabulous site, fabulous selection and free shipping both ways! Order a few styles and keep the ones you want.
posted by fshgrl at 8:25 PM on May 16, 2006

Oh, and crocs are cheap, so if she hates them (or can't get past the "god, these are ugly" feeling) you haven't wasted but $30 US.
posted by jwhowa at 8:27 PM on May 16, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers thus far, you guys (as always) rock!

I guess I should note that part of the reason we want to go to an actual shop is so that we can get a knowledgable 'shoe professional' to recommend the correct size and possibly a good in-sole for her specific (pretty flat) arch.

She's suffered many a basketball injury, to the point that her ankles give out and don't even swell any more.

She needs professional help in the shoe department.

Her latest pair were ok, but after today she threw them away rather than try and wash out the blood 'one more time'.
posted by killThisKid at 8:57 PM on May 16, 2006

Sounds like two more reasons to try crocs... 1) I am flat footed as they come -- Crocs are super comfortable to me, like walking in butter conformed to my flat foot. 2) blood (in my case, it's fish blood since I'm a fisherman) rinses right off. No fuss, no muss. No soak in, no stain. I can't say enough good about crocs, and did I mention, they're $30 US, so if you hate them, big deal, you wasted $30... :)
posted by jwhowa at 9:08 PM on May 16, 2006

Shoes have been hit or miss for me in the Twin Cities. I recommend the malls, simply because there are lots of different shops. I tend to avoid the Mall of America like the plague, but it's definitely going to give you the most options. Just be sure you don't eat anything heavy before going in there, as it is a nauseating display of consumerism. Also, I've had luck at the Rosedale Mall. If you like, you can start at Rosedale, head South on Snelling, find some shops on University, then continue South towards the MOA. I honestly am not sure about "nursing" shoes, which is odd, because I've worked with lots of nurses.

Beyond that, and assuming you're vacationing, the Uptown area (namely along and north of Lake between Lyndale and Hennepin) has some shops, and otherwise can be a great place to go out to dinner or to a bar, go for a walk around one of several lakes (in some new shoes, perhaps), and visit the Walker Art Museum and Sculpture Garden.
posted by dsword at 9:29 PM on May 16, 2006

Response by poster: I lived in the cities for a few years... I've been to the MOA more than I care to admit.

I've also been to Rosedale quite a few times (I lived in Frog Town off of down town St. Paul).

We plan on doing window shopping on Hennepin and we will definately be hitting up a good cafe/coffee shop.

I just don't know of any good shoe stores, but I definately know the area.
posted by killThisKid at 9:48 PM on May 16, 2006

I've heard that it can help tired feet to switch shoes half way through a shift, particularly if it is a long shift. At the very least it is important to rotate pairs each day so they have time to dry out completely before being worn again.
posted by tbird at 10:03 PM on May 16, 2006

I am a glassy eyed Dansko evangelist--they're especially great for people who do a lot of standing in place like surgeons & nurses. The ankle turning thing is less an issue on smooth even indoor floors than uneven sidewalks or outdoor paths. They also make sandals and ankle boots, like these, which would remove the entire clog/ankle issue.
posted by tula at 10:09 PM on May 16, 2006

When i worked in the kind of store that trained me to be as much of a 'shoe professional' as your going to get in a retail environment, the most popular shoe for people who had to stand all day was the very nurse-esque New Balance 811. Its provides good stability, which keeps your back happy, and its pretty lightweight and very cushioned. (Doctors even sent their patients in with the shoe name written down on a prescription sheet!)
posted by Kololo at 11:09 PM on May 16, 2006

I agree with everyone on the Crocs recomendation. They are really good. They are so good, you should suspend judgement for a week and try them no matter how they look or what you think of the material that they are made of.

posted by bigmusic at 11:24 PM on May 16, 2006

Best answer: I used to work for a major U.S. women's shoe manufacturer, in the manufacturing end of the business, and I also worked for many years, at least part time, in retail women's shoe sales. I don't live in St. Paul or Minneapolis, so I can't offer any specific suggestions about stores in that locale, but maybe I can offer some other suggestions that will be useful.

First, if your wife hasn't had her feet measured in a while, it's important that she get someone who knows how operate a Brannock Device properly to help her. Both feet need to be measured, and as this is for working footwear for a woman who is on her feet all day, it should be done in the late afternoon, after she has been up and walking around for a few hours, and with stockings of her normal weight and type. Feet change size over the lifetime of an adult, as tendons and ligaments change elasticity, and as injuries accumulate.

With accurate Brannock Device sizing recommendations, your wife can consider fit questions. "A good fit" is a very subjective thing, particularly in women's footwear, for a number of reasons. First, fit acceptance is somewhat a conditioned response, in that, what we've come to accept as normal in the past, colors our view of what should be acceptable in the future. As an example, virtually everyone has a certain amount of size asymmetry between their feet, but many people have come to accept a tighter fit on the larger foot as normal, whereas others have learned that a loose fit on the smaller foot is normal for them. Sometimes, that is as a result of a person with an odd size wanting to be able to choose from a broader range of footwear in even sizes than in what would be a "correct" half size recommendation. So, your wife may actually measure up as an 8 1/2 "A" on her left foot, and a 9 "B" on her right, but have been wearing 10 Mediums in her favorite work shoes for a while, because she long ago developed corns, and now likes the looser fit of the larger sizes over her toes. She's actually become habituated to a poor fit, but that's now a "good fit" by her standards, despite what the Brannock Device might say. If she's ever going to get a better fit, she has to understand this, and be willing to experiment and adapt to get to a greater degree of comfort.

Next, for a person who has a history of ankle or foot injuries, it's important to get an understanding of how much pronation or supination she experiences in normal walking, and whether any excess pronation or supination she has is adversely affecting her stride mechanics. Looking carefully at the wear patterns of her old shoes can help to judge this, but if she's compensating for standing fatigue or corns or pressure points in her old shoes, such wear patterns may not be truly indicative of her actual gait mechanics. It will help to judge this if she can wear a skirt or shorts that leave her ankle and calf areas exposed to view when she walks, but unless she has obvious problems with her stride mechanics in trying on different shoes, improvements in stride provided by various footwear may be hard to see for those not trained. If it's obvious that she has some residual instability in one or both feet or ankles, stay away from thick soled shoes, or "clog" types of footwear, and get something with a full heel counter construction, as this will contribute to stable walking and standing, greatly reducing fatigue, and the chances of additional injuries from slips and ankle turning. In severe cases, custom orthotics may help, but if she's having that level of difficulty, she should be seeing a doctor about her problems, as orthotics should, in my opinion, be prescribed devices that are part of an ongoing program of follow up.

Finally, on the question of blood contamination in surgical footwear, I have to confess that this is pretty unique requirement. If a person's work shoes are routinely liable to be ruined by contaminants from the work area, I can see why she would be leery of spending money on conventional footwear, but I'm wondering if she got some great, comfortable shoes, if some kind of shoe covers wouldn't be worth wearing?
posted by paulsc at 4:02 AM on May 17, 2006 [10 favorites]

My brother is a chef and, along the same line as crocs, recommends the Birkenstocks that can be thrown in the dishwasher and/or hosed down.

He likes Danskos, but the inability to wash them makes them less practical from a day in, day out perspective. Plus, Birks and Crocs are far less expensive.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 6:00 AM on May 17, 2006

You could always try Nordstrom at the MOA, they always seem to have knowledgeable salespeople and the return policy can't be beat. Otherwise check out Schuler Shoes, I've had fittings there and been very happy with the service, selection and knowledge of the staff. It's like an old fashioned shoe store where they can recommend a shoe based on your foot. The only one I've been to is in St Louis Park at Excelsior Blvd and Hwy 100, but I believe there are others in the metro area. I don't know if they have nursing shoes specifically, but as others have noted there are several brands that might work for her. I know they carry Dansko for sure.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 6:13 AM on May 17, 2006

I guess I should note that part of the reason we want to go to an actual shop is so that we can get a knowledgable 'shoe professional' to recommend the correct size and possibly a good in-sole for her specific (pretty flat) arch.

I gotta third (fourth?) the crocs recommendation, and add that they do have arch support built in to the sole (as long as you get the real deal and not the knockoff version). My mother, whose feet used to hurt all the time, wears these all day long without a problem. And I've noticed more and more of my nursing friends wearing them. They love 'em. Before you go to a podiatrist and spend hundreds of dollars, give the crocs a try. Maybe she'll hate them, but you'll only be out $40.
posted by eleyna at 6:34 AM on May 17, 2006

I've bought shoes at Schuler (recently) and they do fittings with the Brannock Device. I shop at the Woodbury location, but the Har Mar one is probably easier for the original poster to find as he's familiar with Roseville already.
posted by Electric Elf at 2:28 PM on May 17, 2006

paulsc, great info! I'm a street vendor of 20 years and especially fussy about shoes for my high-arched feet because standing for 12 to 15 hours a day can be very painful without decent arch support. I also need slip resistance for rain and winter among other qualities that might be similar to a nurse's needs.

I love the croc style shoes. They ARE amazing, beautifully comfortable. Some brands have softer foam than others.

The thing is though that crocs wouldn't protect feet from getting covered in blood because crocs have holes all over the top and they're not really professional looking.

I suggest checking out this site, It's called Shoes For Crews. Those shoes are the nurse options. Perhaps a SPORT CLOG - WOMEN'S / WHITE Style #9067: $46.98, sprayed with silicone to make them blood stain resistant and some KIWI LEATHER SCUFF COVER - WHITE / 2.5 OZ. And you might consider adding Spenco flat foot arch supports.
posted by nickyskye at 5:08 AM on May 18, 2006

Some Crocs don't have holes all over them, they have come out with a line that is bit more professional looking and that don't have holes. Just sayin'.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:05 AM on May 18, 2006

alright, I'll add my voice to the chorus of recommendations for Crocs. They look like something designed by Mir-crazy hippies, but they are incredibly lightweight and comfortable. my feet do sweat in them a bit, but due to their non-absorbent construction, it's easy to clean up and doesn't reek. I recently developed tendonitis in my right ankle, and wearing crocs really does seem to help. almost makes up for my employer's cracks about "Shoes Of The Future". i think i'm going to buy another pair.
posted by dubold at 2:42 PM on May 18, 2006

The Burnsville Center Mall carries Crocs, it's 18 miles south of downtown Minneapolis at the I-35W and I-35E intersection at County Road 42 in Burnsville, MN.

Journeys Shoes also carries Crocs in Minneapolis, including Mall of America. Somebody who works in a hospital in Minneapolis and has flat feet said she liked them.

Hmm, would this company be a good investment?
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 AM on May 19, 2006

Crocs are good, but crocs don't breath -- that's why they have all the holes. If you get the hole-less crocs, get some good wool socks or prepare to have sweaty feet.
posted by daver at 9:39 PM on May 20, 2006

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