Choosing the Right Footwear for Care Workers: Tips and Recommendations

From our top five care worker footwear list to expert tips and relevant industry insights, discover what makes the best footwear for care workers in this blog.

If you knew you were walking over a marathon a week, the first thing you’d invest in would be a good-quality pair of shoes.

And seeing that healthcare assistants average 63,504 steps (28.95 miles) each working week, as a care worker, your footwear choice might just be the most significant decision you make this year.

But what features make the most comfortable, practical and supportive footwear for care workers on the market?

Let’s explore.

The Importance of Footwear for Care Workers

Wearing the correct carer shoes in adult social care is not just a throwaway formality, it’s an essential working tool. Because with some types of care work involving 12-hour shifts, you need something comfortable to wear when most of that time is on your feet.

Alongside standing, you can expect to be walking a lot while fulfilling your various tasks. From washing and dressing clients to shopping and attending appointments, most of your days are spent on the move and require the appropriate footwear.

Not investing in appropriate footwear can cause injury and accidents. The impact of inferior footwear on care workers is known to cause back injuries, nerve damage, joint pain, and arthritis.

Therefore, investing in the correct footwear early on in your career is crucial as it supports your physical health while sustaining your capabilities as a care worker.

Beyond your own physical health, the wrong footwear can also cause serious problems for your clients if you’re liable to slip or injure yourself at work while they’re in your care.

Do Care Workers Have to Wear Shoe Protectors?

Shoe protectors like steel toecap boots or trainers are unnecessary to wear as a carer. If you opt for protective work shoes, the weight might become uncomfortable in time, but they protect your feet from accidents like falling items or rolling wheelchair wheels.

The NHS guidance for nurses and healthcare assistants is to follow common sense with the following guidance:

“Wear soft-soled shoes, closed over the foot and toes […] Closed shoes offer protection from spills and dropped objects. Open shoes risk injury or contamination for staff.”

As long as the shoe is covered across the toe and heel, you have enough protection to fulfil your daily tasks and avoid any potential minor injuries.

Care Worker Footwear Checklist: 4 Key Tips

Now that we recognise the importance of investing in the right footwear for care workers, what features make the best carer shoes?

Slip Resistance

First and foremost, the last thing you need as a care worker on your feet is to fall over. To avoid slipping, you should be investing in shoes with a sole tread pattern and sole compound to support your stability.

Staying strong on your feet is also crucial when you’re helping clients with their mobility. Bad shoes won’t just endanger you but potentially impact and injure your clients.

Toe Protection

Open-toed shoes like sandals, however comfy, especially in the summer, are unsuitable as care worker footwear. No toe protection will place you at direct risk of injury if something heavy or sharp falls onto the front of your foot.

Foot injuries are the most common worker’s compensation injuries, with fractures, breakages and heel damage particularly prevalent.

Closed Heel

Likewise, with toe protection, you should invest in a closed-heel shoe to protect the back of your feet. A closed heel will protect the rear while offering a more hygienic option by preventing any on-the-floor fluids from touching your feet.

Crocs have become a popular work shoe across various industries, including healthcare. However, Crocs without a closed heel and just a strap are not recommended care worker footwear. If you are to invest in a pair of Crocs, buy ones that offer a closed heel for protection and hygiene purposes.

A closed heel will also help support your balance and proportion your weight during your hours spent standing and walking.


When it comes to care worker footwear, comfort is much more than a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Ensure the shoes you purchase are comfortable with the necessary padding and high-quality materials. You will find the central comfort in the sole, and you want the sole to be firm rather than flexible and thick rather than thin to cushion your feet from the ground and provide stability.

5 of the Best Footwear for Care Workers

Here is a selection of five footwear options we recommend for care workers ranging in price and style:

Elevate – £52

Marketed as comfortable shoes designed especially for nurses, care workers and healthcare professionals, the ‘Elevate’ shoe offers a washable, anti-slip and anti-static professional work shoe.

Available in a variety of colours and with additional height for extra comfort, Elevate footwear has EN ISO 20347 accreditation and the highest level of slip resistance SRC.

HOKA Bondi 8 – £150

What’s known as the “ultra-cushioned game-changer” in the footwear world, HOKA Bondi running shoes have become a firm favourite for nurses and healthcare professionals in the US due to their comfortable, lightweight and durable qualities.

Available for men and women, HOKA shoes are designed mostly for movement such as running and hiking which is why they function so well as professional care worker footwear.

Crocs On-The-Clock Work Slip-On – £44

Combine comfort with causal with these Crocs On-The-Clock Work Slip-On. At a more affordable price, these shoes come with an enclosed toe and heel to meet workplace standards with accreditations that comply with EN ISO 20347:2012, OB, SRC.

New Balance MX608V1 – £100

Sold as a unisex trainer, the New Balance MX608V1 offer incredible support and durability. The lightweight EVA foam provides cushioning in the midsole and heel to increase comfort. Plus, a unique ‘ABZORB’ feature absorbs impact.

With leather protection on top and a solid rubber outsole, you also have a durable shoe that should stay resilient throughout the year.

Asics Gel-Nimbus – £175

Asics Gel-Nimbus are a variation of running shoes with an extra cushioned sole for comfort and durability. Starting from £175, these are no cheap options for your feet but will tick all the boxes for any care worker needing footwear.

Find Your Feet with a New Career in Care

At Herefordshire Cares, we help match enthusiastic, kind and caring individuals with their dream roles in care work. Based in Herefordshire, we have a strong network of healthcare clients across the county who offer various career opportunities in adult social care.

From home carers to care assistants and support workers, we have multiple positions available on our vacancies page, which we regularly update with new roles weekly.

Contact us for more details about how we can put you in touch with a prospective employer, and visit our news and blog page for more industry insights.