7 Best Hoka Shoes for Nurses, According to Pros 2023

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There’s no denying that being a nurse is physically demanding, especially on the body. In fact, a study by The National Library of Medicine found that, on average, nurses walk a staggering three miles during a 10-hour shift, with some walking up to as many as five miles in that time. That’s not even accounting for the hours upon hours of standing they do all day, too. So it “stands” to reason that they need undeniably comfortable shoes for the 5ks and marathons they’re walking each week. As such, many nurses turn to Hoka—the popular footwear brand approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)—for shoes that will comfortably and reliably get them through every shift. Below are the best Hoka shoes for nurses, according to actual nurses and podiatrists, too.

Experts In This Article

What are the most important features nurses should look for in a pair of Hokas?

Hokas trump other nursing shoes for a ton of different reasons, but if it had to be narrowed down, here are the top three:


Above all else, comfort is key during a nursing shift. “I love Hokas because they are just the most comfortable shoe ever,” says Jenny Kanelos, RN, a nurse based at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. “I went through all the other brands of running shoes looking for something that would help, but nothing worked until I found Hoka.”


The plush, shock-absorbing insole in Hoka sneakers helps to provide much-needed cushioning during long shifts. “The goal of cushioning is to provide shock absorption, provide comfort, reduce the impact and stress on your feet, and to help protect your feet,” says Jason Spector, DPM, MS, AACFAS, a podiatrist based in Bradenton, Florida.


“Nurses don’t want to be slipping on something funky in the operating room,” says Allison Willkom, DPM, AACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon at Family Foot and Ankle Clinic in Anoka, Minnesota. “Hokas can be good as the outsoles—the layer that comes into contact with the ground—are usually made from a rubber compound with a patterned design, and this helps to offer grip on various surfaces.”

What are the best Hokas for nurses with flat feet?

People with flat feet should look for shoes with additional support and control. One Hoka style in particular, the Arahi 6 ($140), features the brand’s patented J-Frame™ construction, which helps combat overpronation—when the arch collapses downward. “Arahi is a good choice for nurses with flat feet as the shoe is lightweight and has good stability shoe that provides support,” says William D. Spielfogel, DPM, of Hamilton Foot and Ankle Associates in New York City. “It’s also a great choice for standing all day.”

Now that you’re armed—or footed, as it were— with some information about why Hoka sneakers are the best shoes for nurses, here’s a look at the seven styles to pair with your scrubs.

The best Hoka shoes for nurses

hoka arahi 6

Arahi 6 — $140.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Available men’s sizes: 7-15, in half sizes and wide widths

“Those with flat feet are typically those that need extra arch support or stability,” says board-certified podiatrist, Anne Sharkey, DPM. The Arahi 6 is an overwhelmingly popular choice when it comes to the best Hoka nursing shoes. As mentioned above, it’s an ideal choice for nurses with flat feet who need extra cushioning. It features the brand’s trademark J-Frame™ cushioning while remaining lightweight and flexible, while the mesh upper offers zones of breathability—perfect for walking, running, and standing during long shifts.

Colors: 12

  • Extremely stable—great for overpronation  
  • Balanced cushioning throughout the midsole  
  • Great for both walking and running  
  • Wide range of colors and sizes
  • Runs big—size down  
  • Not all colors are available in both widths

hoka bondi 8

Bondi 8 — $165.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Available men’s sizes: 7-16, in half sizes, wide, and x-wide widths

For a bouncy, billowy feel that lasts throughout long shifts, try the Hoka Bondi. Kanelos, who has high arches and wide feet, raves about this specific sneaker. “My feet do not hurt at all at the end of my shift,” she says of wearing these during work. “It’s actually really incredible considering I can walk 5-10 miles.” The Bondi features engineered mesh construction for breathable comfort and a rear crash pad that keeps the foot balanced from heel to toe.

Kanelos says she keeps two to three pairs in her rotation at all times and buys new pairs every three to four months. “I literally have six pairs in boxes in my closet ready to go,” she says. “They’re my work shoe ride or die.”

Colors: 21

  • Most color choices available for both regular and wide widths  
  • Recommended by multiple podiatrists and nurses for their comfort level  
  • Rear crash pad helps with balance while walking
  • Neutral stability may not work well for those with flat feet

hoka clifton 9

Clifton 9 — $145.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Available men’s sizes: 7-15, in half sizes and wide widths

If you suffer from foot pain, it might be time to look for a shoe with a forefoot rocker or toe spring. This is a thicker or rounder heel, which helps ensure the wearer won’t have a flat surface underfoot. “As a general rule, if you have any heel pain or forefoot pain, look for the models with more cushion as well as a forefoot rocker,” Willkom recommends.

She likes the Hoka Clifton 9, which combines its Meta-Rocker sole with a compression-molded EVA foam midsole and a breathable mesh upper. What does this mean for that 12-hour shift? Undeniable comfort and mobility, no matter how much standing and walking you’re doing.

Colors: 14

  • Balanced Meta-Rocker sole helps with pain from flat feet  
  • Lightweight and breathable  
  • Wide toe box is good for wider feet

hoka gaviota 5

Gaviota 5 — $175.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Available men’s sizes: 7-15, in half sizes and wide widths

The Hoka Gaviota 5 is a favorite among multiple podiatrists for its comfort level. It combines Meta-Rocker and H-Frame™ Technology to help stabilize your stride. Willkom, Spector, and Sharkey all love this style and recommend it for nurses who are looking for extra support and control from their shoes. “I like the Gaviota as it provides the highest degree of stability and cushioning,” Spector says. He likes that it also has increased shock absorption, provides comfort, and reduces the impact on the foot, which “may help during long periods of standing and walking.”

Colors: 5

  • Provides maximum stability for both walking and standing  
  • Cushioned EVA midsole
  • Fewest color choices available, with only one neutral shade  
  • Pricier than other Hoka styles  
  • May require a break-in period

hoka rincon 3

Rincon 3 — $125.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Available men’s sizes: 7-16, in half sizes and two widths

“One of my favorites is the Rincon 3 because it’s got the most support-to-weight ratio,” says Jessica Sites, a nurse based in Palm Harbor, FL. “It really absorbs the shock of walking the hallways all day.”

This Hoka sneaker is extremely lightweight, durable, and breathable, thanks to its vented mesh upper, compression-molded foam midsole, and treaded rubber outsole. It also features the brand’s Early Stage Meta-Rocker geometry to help reduce foot fatigue on the go. And with almost 20 different colors available, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find at least one (or two, or three) that make you immediately add them to your cart.

Colors: 19

  • Available in a wide variety of colors  
  • Extremely lightweight  
  • Vented mesh upper offers extra breathability for long shifts  
  • Less expensive than other Hoka styles
  • Not all colors available in both widths

speedgoat 5 gtx

Speedgoat 5 GTX — $170.00

Available women’s sizes: 5-11, in half sizes and one width

Available men’s sizes: 7-14, in half sizes and one width

While a trail sneaker may not be the first thought when it comes to nursing shoes, this is actually a considerable choice for those coming into contact with slippery surfaces and—let’s face it—less than ideal substances. Dr. Howard E. Friedman of Suffern Podiatry recommends a trail and hiking shoe like Hoka’s Speedgoat 5 GTX, which sports moderate cushioning and a relatively lightweight silhouette that will help you slog through a long, 12-hour shift.

“While working in the ER is not the same as hiking the Appalachian Trail, a trail shoe is more rugged and will likely last longer and hold up better over longer, demanding days and nights,” he says. Plus, the GORE-Tex fabric helps keep moisture at bay, while the Vibram® Megagrip with Traction Lug outsole provides extra traction on slippery surfaces.

Colors: 2

  • Shoe construction helps keep wetness and debris at bay  
  • Traction helps with slippery surfaces
  • Only comes in two colors  
  • Not available in wide widths  
  • Pricier than other Hoka styles

hoka restore tc

Restore TC — $110.00

Available sizes: M4/W5-M14/W15, in whole sizes and one width

For those nurses who want a more unique Hoka shoe, turn to the Restore TC. “It’s extremely comfortable and offers great support, making it great for long shifts,” says Sites. The slip-on silhouette is not only designed with a full-knit sock for what Hoka calls “barefoot-friendly breathability,” but features partially sugarcane-based EVA in both the insole and outsole. While the neutral stability may not work for people who need a maximum level of support, the plush level of cushioning helps you feel like you’re walking on clouds, even on hours 11 and 12 of a long overnight shift. To note: this particular Hoka sneaker is offered in unisex sizing, with full sizes only, so bear that in mind when shopping.

Colors: 4

  • Unisex style and sizing  
  • Least pricey style on this list  
  • Plush cushioning offers supreme comfort for long shifts
  • Limited range of colors  
  • Slip-on silhouette may not work for all nurse settings  
  • Neutral stability offers less support than other Hoka styles

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Hendrich, Ann et al. “A 36-hospital time and motion study: how do medical-surgical nurses spend their time?.” The Permanente journal vol. 12,3 (2008): 25-34. doi:10.7812/tpp/08-021

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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