When you spend the entire day on your feet, you want a sturdy pair of shoes that won’t fall apart, make you slip, or leave you with aches and pains.
But what exactly is the best brand of shoes? Do you go for runners that could also push Olympic athletes to a gold medal, or can you get away with a $40 pair of shoes from a major retail outlet?
They’re questions best answered by the people on the ground – aged care workers. The best shoes for aged care have been debated quite a lot recently in our Aged Care Workers Support Group so we’re sharing their hot tips and recommendations to help you.
Before we get to the brands, what exactly should you be looking for in a shoe?
HelloCare has previously spoken to one of Melbourne’s most experienced podiatrists, Heather Young, who said that aged care workers should look for shoes that have a:
Meanwhile, you also want a shoe that is waterproof (or water resistant), anti-slip and has heel and arch support to suit your own needs. The last thing you want is a bad pair of shoes causing pain, corns or ingrown nails!
And if you do suffer from plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the foot) or other serious foot concerns, make sure you speak to a podiatrist or specialist before purchasing your shoes.
Now, if you’re ready to find that next pair of shoes for long days in aged care, let’s get to it. This is our shortlist of the best shoes for aged care workers based on their recommendations!
From more than 200 comments, Brooks runners were arguably the most popular shoe choice for our support group members.
Designed for running and regularly recommended by podiatrists, Brooks have a lot of cushioning, a comfortable heel and the right amount of stretch. While they may come in at $200+, Chris said they’re “worth every cent” and she’s “worn nothing else for years”.
So if you have a little more cash to splash, Alexandra said it felt like she was “walking on clouds” when wearing her pair of Brooks. That’s a big call when she averages 17,000 steps per day!
The only downside is that some of our group members said Brooks are slippery in the wet so if you are working in personal care you might want to stick to shoes that are grippy and waterproof.
Another popular option is Hoka. Hoka running shoes come in a similar price range to Brooks and are “the bee’s knees” according to Regan, while it’s like “wearing clouds on your feet” for Belinda (and yes, we can see everyone loves the cloud metaphors!).
They’re lightweight and durable, although some commenters said Hoka shoes do have slightly less arch support than Brooks, this could suit you more.
Sarah also backed up the Hoka love, pointing out that many podiatrists recommend the brand and once she swapped to Hoka from New Balance her plantar fasciitis stopped flaring up.
Ask anyone in aged care or nursing and chances are they have worn or still wear Sketchers. Durable, comfortable and grippy, Skechers are popular shoes for everyday wear.
But be warned – there are some red flags! For one, our resident podiatrist, Ms Young, said they are too flexible and your foot has to work harder when walking, lifting or pushing.
But some commenters said it’s just about finding the right Skecher for your feet. Lisa pointed out that some just aren’t up to standard so you want to avoid the bargain-basement pairs.
That way you can enjoy the durability of Skechers – Jenny said she enjoyed just over three years of use from her Sketchers even when she was on her feet all day long in residential aged care.
Jade also said that her Skechers proved to be far better than a $270 counterpart, and she was a big fan of try before you buy.
Concerned about arch support or plantar fasciitis? ASICS are easily in the top three alongside Hoka and Brooks for the best support there!
With dedicated styles designed for nurses and carers, ASICS have grip, breathability and heel support. For Heather, they “ticked all the boxes requested by my podiatrist” while they give Victoria’s feet “the support they need”.
ASICS are also incredibly popular as they are well suited to orthotic inserts, providing an extra layer of comfort and support.
It’s clear that aged care workers are a diverse group and they love a lot of shoe brands. New Balance, FILA and Nike received plenty of compliments, as did King Gee, Doc Martens and Hush Puppies.
Allanah loves her Nike TNs, claiming they’re the perfect upgrade from Skechers and “since wearing my TNs I haven’t had problems with my feet”.
King Gee is another much-loved non-slip shoe, described as “so comfortable and a good price” by Vivienne, while Melissa swears by her Doc Martens after four years, “Still great condition and I never get sore feet”.
After something a bit left field? Kaci loves her Converses! Although Converse shoes are often associated with skaters and teens, they could be an option if you’re not a fan of athletic shoes. In addition, as both Converse and Doc Martens are flat soled, if you use inserts/orthotics you might find that gives you the support your feet need.
If you’re still feeling unsure about which brand is right for you, ask your friends at work for their recommendations. Or, head to your nearest shoe store and try on a wide variety of footwear. See what feels comfortable and is best suited for a day in your life.
What’s your favourite footwear for aged care? Share your own recommendation in the comments below!