Our Top 7 Picks of the Best Shoes for Surgeons

Are you a busy surgeon who doesn’t get much time to look for the most comfortable footwear? It’s tough; standing in the operating room, running to emergencies, checking on patients — all the time on your feet.

We’re here to help with our in-depth reviews of the best shoes for surgeons.

Let’s look at what comprises the right footwear and detail our top 7 picks for the operating room.


Here Our Top 7 picks for the best shoes for surgeons for men & women

1. Merrell Encore Slip-On Shoes

These slip-on clog style shoes have full-grain leather uppers and rubber soles for traction. They have shock-absorbing air cushioning and molded EVA footbeds. Flexible arch support from the OrthoLite insoles helps prevent your feet, legs and back becoming fatigued.

Merrell Men's Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe,Smooth Black Leather,10.5 M US
  • Polished slip-on with supportive sole unit and padded collar
  • Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock. Compression molded EVA footframe for stability and comfort
  • Ortholite footbed
  • Breathable mesh lining wicks to keep feet dry
  • Molded nylon arch shank

Merrell Women's Encore Q2 Slide LTR Climbing Shoe
  • Full grain leather
  • Qform 2 comfort technology
  • Nylon arch shank
  • Air Cushion comfort
  • EVA footbed


2. Skechers Slip-Resistant Mcallen Slip-Ons

Skechers brings us slip-on work shoes with mesh uppers, which are water and stain-resistant. Slip-resistant rubber outsoles are also included. Comfort comes from a padded collar and memory foam footbed, bolstered by a flexible, lightweight midsole. They have a rating for protection from electrical hazards.

Skechers Men's Flex Advantage Sr Mcallen
  • Slip-on shoe work shoe featuring mesh fabric upper and slip-resistant traction outsole
  • Elastic Double Gore
  • Slip Resistant
  • Memory Foam comfort footbed
  • Electrical Hazard


3. Dansko Professional Leather Clogs

These surgery clogs have enclosed heels to allow for movement up and down while giving lateral support. The leather uppers, sock liners and PU foam footbeds allow your feet to breathe while a padded instep collar provides comfort on the move. The rocker-style bottoms offer shock absorption and help prevent tired feet.

No products found.

Dansko Women's Professional White Box Clog 4.5-5 M US
  • Unique comfort features include a roomy toe box with plenty of “wiggle room” for your toes
  • Contoured footbed to support your arch and match the natural shape of your foot
  • Rocker bottom that reduces fatigue and assists with forward motion while walking
  • Protective TPU heel counter allows the heel to move up and down freely while providing lateral stability


4. Keen Utility PTC Slip-Ons

Oil and slip-resistant outsoles keep you steady on your feet in these work shoes for both female and male doctors. An enclosed heel offers comfort and protection and a stability shank helps with support. Cushioning comes from an insole of polyurethane, cork and memory foam that molds to your foot.

KEEN Utility Men's PTC Slip On 2 Low Height No Lace Chef Food Service Shoe, White/White, 7 Medium US
549 Reviews
KEEN Utility Men's PTC Slip On 2 Low Height No Lace Chef Food Service Shoe, White/White, 7 Medium US
  • SAFETY FIRST: Features a soft toe built to work in tough conditions and KEEN Patented Toe Protection, where the shoe outsoles wrap up and over the toes for ultimate protection
  • COMFORTABLE: The PTC Slip On 2 features a combination of recycled PU (polyurethane), cork, and memory foam that contours to your feet and adjusts for the perfect cushioning throughout the day
  • STABLE FOOTING: The oil- and slip-resistant non-marking outsoles keep your shoes on the ground so you can work with confidence; meets ASTM F1667-96 Mark II non-slip standards
  • WORK ALL DAY: With features like a stability shank, elastic panel, and compression moulded midsole, you can work all day without breaking a sweat
  • EXTRAS: Features a water- and stain-resistant leather upper, removable footbed, and leather lining

KEEN Utility Women's PTC Slip On 2 Low Food Service Shoe, Madder Brown/Madder Brown, 5 Medium US
  • Meets or exceeds ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards
  • Medial side gore for comfort and fit
  • Slip-on design
  • KEEN.Cush PU and memory foam footbed
  • Non-marking oil and slip resistant rubber outsole


5. K-Swiss ST329 CMF Training Shoes

For those that would prefer lace-up athletic sneakers for standing in the operating theater, these from K-Swiss could fit the bill. They have leather uppers and durable outsoles with a sturdy tread for traction. An EVA midsole and molded sock liner give cushioning and comfort.

K-Swiss Men's ST329 CMF Sneaker, White/Black/Silver, 6.5 M
  • UPPER: Supportive leather upper
  • OUTSOLE: Durable rugged and luggy outsole with lots of traction
  • COMFORT: Lightweight rubber formula outsole and an improved midsole compound for lighter weight and enhanced cushioning
  • ORTHOLITE SOCK LINER: Keeps feet cool and minimizes the effects of perspiration
  • ICONIC FASHION: It’s unique chunky profile has made it appropriate for today’s fashion runway

K-Swiss Women's ST329 CMF Sneaker, Gray Lilac/Marshmallow, 6 M
5,014 Reviews
K-Swiss Women's ST329 CMF Sneaker, Gray Lilac/Marshmallow, 6 M
  • UPPER: Supportive leather upper
  • OUTSOLE: Durable rugged and luggy outsole with lots of traction
  • CUSHION: Lightweight rubber formula outsole and an improved midsole compound for lighter weight and enhanced cushioning
  • ORTHOLITE SOCK LINER: The unique open-cell structure of OrthoLite foam creates a moisture management system, helping to move moisture away and provide a cooler, drier, healthier environment
  • ICONIC FASHION: It’s unique chunky profile has made it appropriate for today’s fashion runway


6. Alegria Women’s Paloma Flats

We have one here for the female surgeons among us. This Mary Jane style, while pretty, is still practical with a leather upper and lining to allow for better airflow. American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) approved, it has a platform rocker outsole to encourage good posture and a footbed that contours to your foot.

Alegria Women's Paloma Mary Jane Nurse Shoe Clog Comfort Leather Black 4 M US
  • UNPARALLELED COMFORT. Experience unmatched comfort with the Alegria Paloma. Featuring a cushioned footbed with a patented ergonomic design, these shoes provide exceptional support with a mild-rocker to help alleviate pressure points, ensuring all-day comfort for your feet.
  • PREMIUM MATERIALS. Crafted with high-quality leather, the Alegria Paloma exudes both durability and style. The luxurious materials not only enhance the shoe's aesthetic appeal but also promote breathability, keeping your feet cool and fresh.
  • SLIP-RESISTANT OUTSOLE. Step with confidence, thanks to the slip resistant outsole of the Alegria Paloma. The specially engineered rubber tread provides excellent traction on various surfaces, making these shoes ideal for healthcare professionals, restaurant workers, and anyone seeking reliable stability.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE FIT. Achieve the perfect fit with the Alegria Paloma's adjustable features. The shoe boasts a convenient buckle closure system that allows you to customize the tightness according to your preference, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit every time.
  • VERSATILE STYLE. The Alegria Paloma combines comfort and style effortlessly, making it a versatile choice for any occasion. With unique hardware ornament on every color, there's a stylish statement in every trending outfit combination. Whether you're at work, running errands, or enjoying a night out, these shoes elevate your outfit with their timeless design and trendy color options.


7. Crocs Specialist Clogs

Love them or hate them, Crocs are a popular choice among many health care workers, including surgeons. They’re lightweight, offer adequate traction and are comfortable for intense days in the surgical unit. These shoes are easy to clean as well. Wear the pivoting heel straps up or down.

Crocs unisex adult Specialist Ii Clog, Black, 8 Women 6 Men US
  • Find Your Size: We recommend sizing down (e.g. if you are a 7.5, size down to a 7)
  • The Perfect Work Crocs: Do your shoes live up to your career specialty? The Specialist II clogs are the Crocs work shoes men and women need because they are perfect for long days and nights
  • Easy to Clean: Crocs Specialist II Clogs are easy to clean by just using soap and water and allowing for a quick dry
  • Certified Comfortable Shoes: Crocs that are fully ASTM F2913-11 tested, CE certified. Meets or exceeds EN ISO 20347:2012, OB, SRC. Designed with food service, hospitality, and healthcare workers in mind, making great nursing shoes or chef shoes
  • Shop with Confidence: Crocs products are backed by our 90-day manufacturer's warranty for high quality and authenticity. Terms and conditions apply


Reviews of the Best Operating Room and Surgery shoes/clogs

Shoes that support your feet and keep them comfortable are a must when you stand for long periods. Here are our top picks of surgery shoes for male and female doctors.

1. Merrell Encore Slip-On Shoes

Merrell has been bringing us quality shoes for over 30 years.

For men:


The company mainly produces footwear for active outdoor pursuits, but these shoes are a good option for surgeons.

This slip-on clog design comes in styles for men and women in black or brown leather.

For women:



The sizes you can choose are 7.5 to 15 for men and 5 through 11 for women. The men’s shoes are only available in one width fitting, while the ladies come in a choice of two, medium and wide.

Both styles have an M-Select GRIP sole for slip resistance and stability. A moisture-wicking mesh lining keeps feet fresh and allows them to breathe.

Merrell placed proprietary air cushioning in the heels which absorbs shock. Nylon arch shanks and molded EVA foot frames help support your feet. This is essential when you’re standing for long periods.

The insoles differ between the men’s and women’s shoes, but they both have the support and cushioning for your arches—this can reduce fatigue in your feet, legs and back.

It seems the GRIP technology stands up quite well on most surfaces, but take care of very wet, slippery floors. Getting the right size could also be a challenge, some find they run large and others small.

It’s also worth noting there’s an updated version of these shoes available with all the same great features.

Here’s a doctor’s video review of these shoes.



  • Cushioned and supportive.
  • Easy slip-on style.
  • Breathable lining.
  • Leather uppers.


  • Might not grip on very slippery surfaces.
  • Sizing could be a challenge.
These slip-on clogs offer great support and cushioning for surgeons. They’re slip-resistant, help prevent foot, back, and leg pain, and have shock absorbency. Breathable leather uppers keep feet fresh and are easy to clean.


2. Skechers Slip-Resistant Mcallen Slip-Ons

These are good shoes for male doctors to consider wearing in surgery. The sporty design offers lots of great features for all-day comfort. They come in sizes from a 7 through to a 15, including wide and extra-wide options on offer for some.



The synthetic uppers are hard wearing and also water and stain-resistant. They have a diamond-patterned mesh panel that lets air to your feet so they can breathe. There’s also an elastic panel making these shoes easy to put on and take off.

Lightweight FlexSoles at the bottom of the shoes combine with memory foam insoles to give cushioning and support to your feet. The rubber outsoles are slip-resistant providing excellent traction and the shoes are rated for electrical hazards.

They’re roomy and offer plenty of wiggle room for your toes.

On the downside, while many find these shoes comfortable, the longevity might be questionable. The sole could start separating less than a year after regular use. It also seems they tend to run on the large side, so be aware of this when deciding the size you want.

This video shows some of the features of Skechers work shoes.



  • Water and stain-resistant uppers.
  • Anti-slip soles.
  • Memory foam and EVA foam cushioning.
  • Rated for electrical hazards.


  • Soles might be prone to early wear.
  • Tend to run large.
If you have an aversion to clog-style footwear, these could be good shoes for male doctors. They’re non-slip, have water and stain-resistant uppers, and are electrical hazard rated. Lots of cushioning and support complete the package.


3. Dansko Professional Leather Clogs

Dansko (meaning Danish shoe) was founded in Pennsylvania in 1990. This employee-owned company produces several shoes based on the clog design.

For men:


This model is available for men and women. The sizes to choose from are 10 to 15 for men and 4.5 to 13 for women. Female surgeons have a choice of width fittings as well, regular or narrow. There are also color choices, black or brown for men, and black or white for women.

For women:



Unlike open-backed clogs, these have a protective heel counter that allows your heel to move up and down but safeguards against lateral movements. This offers your feet more stability in the shoes.

The heel height is 2 inches with the shoe’s platform measuring approximately 0.75 inches.

Leather uppers, leather sock liners and polyurethane footbeds allow your feet to breathe keeping them fresh. The instep has a padded collar for comfort when walking or standing. A roomy reinforced toe box gives you lots of wiggle room while protecting your toes.

The rubber soles have shock absorption and cushioning for comfort. Rocker-style bottoms and wide heels help keep you stable on your feet.

It appears these shoes need some time to break-in, many find them tight across the instep from the get-go. Also, check your size; these tend to run small, so you might need to size up.

This video highlights the features of Dansko clogs.



  • Protective heel counter.
  • Rocker-style sole for stability.
  • Roomy toe box.
  • Padded collar on the instep.


  • Might need some breaking in.
  • Sizes tend to run small.
These clogs have a supportive heel counter to help protect heels. The leather uppers, sock liners and PU midsoles allow your feet to breathe with ample airflow. A rocker-style sole and wide heel offer further stability.


4. Keen Utility PTC Slip-Ons

Keen is known for producing quality work shoes for many professions. This surgery shoe looks great, as well as being practical.

For men:



There are styles for men and women with sizes including a 7 to 14 and 5 to 11 respectively. The men’s come in black and white, while women have a choice of black, white, blue and two shades of brown.

For women:


A grip rubber outsole is oil and slip-resistant. It’s also non-marking with plenty of tread for traction.

The water and stain-resistant uppers are leather and have elastic panels at the side of the instep for easy on and off. Inside the shoes are removable footbeds made from a blend of polyurethane, memory foam and cork. This molds to your feet as you walk, giving you support and providing cushioning.

EVA midsoles and stability shanks help bolster your feet when you’re standing in surgery for hours.

There are always some negatives and it appears that the insoles in these shoes lack durability and might need replacing often. They also seem to run large, so you might need to downsize.



  • Available for men and women.
  • Rated as oil and slip-resistant.
  • Removable cushioned insole.
  • Water and stain-resistant leather uppers.


  • Insoles might need replacing often.
  • Sizes might run large.
Rated for oil and slip resistance, these shoes have water and stain-resistant leather uppers. The removable insoles are cushioned and mold to your feet for comfort and support. An EVA midsole and a stability shank further strengthen the sole.


5. K-Swiss ST329 CMF Training Shoes

Some of you might prefer lace-up athletic shoes for working in the operating theater. If so, these sneakers from K-Swiss could fit the bill.

For men:



There’s a range of colors, 17 for men and 14 for women: chili-pepper red and dark blue among the more unique options.

The sizes run from a 6.5 to 15 for men and a 5 to 11 for women. Men also have the choice of a regular or wide fit.

For women:



The leather uppers are breathable and the lacing system holds them securely in place. There’s a memory foam footbed that molds to your foot for support and provides cushioning just where you need it. The midsole is made from EVA to supply more comfort and shock absorbency.

A rubber outsole with a sturdy tread for stability completes the features.

These shoes appear to come up on the narrow side so they might not be suitable for very wide feet. It also seems that while some love the memory foam insoles, others don’t. Looks like the jury might be out on that specification, so we recommend you try them on before fully committing.



  • Leather uppers.
  • Secure lacing system.
  • EVA midsole.
  • Rubber outsole for traction.


  • Fit runs narrow for some.
  • It seems memory foam insoles are either a love-or-hate thing.
If you want a sneaker-style shoe, then this offering from K-Swiss could be for you. They have leather uppers, a secure lacing system and memory foam insoles. The rubber outsole has a sturdy tread for stability.


6. Alegria Women’s Paloma Flats

Female surgeons who want something with a bit more style than a clog or lace-up, but still want comfort, will love the Alegria Paloma.



This Mary Jane shoe is available in an extensive range of colors if you’re allowed to step away from the usual black. There are a whopping 76 different choices and some are quite bold including a snake print, hearts and more.

The uppers and linings are leather, allowing feet to breathe, which keeps them dry and fresh. These shoes secure with hook and loop fastenings for an adjustable fit. Sizes range from 4 to 14, with a wide fitting on offer as well.

There are removable memory foam, cork and polyurethane footbeds that mold to your feet’s natural contours. The sole is a rocker style for ease of movement when walking and the heel height is 1.5 inches.

An overall platform measures at around 1 inch.

These shoes have arch support and a roomy toe box. They’re also approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

They might run on the small side so be prepared to order either a half size up or go for a wide fitting. Some also find the shoes tend to squeak.

This manufacturer’s video shows you these shoes in action.



  • Huge range of color choices.
  • Leather uppers and lining.
  • Removable contour forming footbed.
  • Rocker sole.


  • Might run small.
  • Have a tendency to squeak.
When you want something other than the standard clog style worn by many surgeons, these shoes are pretty and practical. There’s a huge choice of colors for the leather uppers. A cushioned insole provides comfort while the rocker style sole gives stability.


7. Crocs Specialist Clogs

No review of the best operating room shoes would be complete without looking at the iconic Crocs. We’ve all seen them on Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black or ER, but do surgeons really wear them? It would appear the answer is yes, but not the classics you or I wear for gardening or the beach.



Specially designed for the workplace, these Crocs have higher heels to protect your feet. They come in sizes 6 to 17 for women and 4 to 15 for men. There are only two colors available, black and navy.

These lightweight shoes have non-marking soles and enhanced support for your arches. The area beneath the metatarsals (the bones that connect your toes to the back part of your foot) is also thicker.

Constructed from a proprietary Croslite foam, this cushions and supports the feet. The pivoting heel strap can be worn to give a more secure fit, or pushed over the instep for a clog style slip-on.

These shoes are easy to clean and don’t have any holes in the uppers, unlike your everyday Crocs. On the downside, the lack of airflow can make your feet sweaty.

There are no half sizes on offer and the manufacturer recommends sizing down if you fall in this category.



  • Enhanced arch support.
  • Thicker in the metatarsal area.
  • Croslite foam construction.
  • Pivoting strap for a secure fit.


  • Might make your feet sweat.
  • No half sizes available.
Crocs might not be the prettiest or most stylish shoes for surgeons, but they’re practical. This enclosed version has the support and cushioning for standing long hours and they’re easy to clean.


Do Surgeons Need Special Shoes?

Some professions require special shoes. Construction workers need steel toe caps; electricians need protection from electrical hazards and so on. However, when it comes to surgeons, there are only a few requirements.

Firstly, the toes and upper foot should be enclosed to protect from hazards like dropped needles, syringes and scalpels. This will also stop bodily fluids from the patient getting on your feet.

Secondly, your shoes should be comfortable, supportive and anti-slip. Standing on your feet for a long surgery can lead to pain in the legs, feet and back. You want to be able to concentrate on your patient and not worry about your discomfort or slipping on a wet floor.

Finally, shoes should be easy to clean. As gross as it is, there are times when you can’t avoid blood or other contaminants getting on your footwear.


What to Look for in the Best Shoes for Surgeons

Spending long hours standing in the operating room, walking the hospital corridors or running to an emergency can take a toll.

The best operating room shoes help prevent that nagging pain in your back, legs and feet. This lets you keep your mind on your job.

Here are some of the features to look for in surgery shoes and clogs:

  • Comfort: This is going to be an overriding factor in your shoes for surgery. Look for cushioning from EVA or memory foam in the insoles and midsoles. Some doctors will be more comfortable in sneakers while others prefer slip-ons.
  • Support: Part of preventing foot, leg and back pain is having good support for your feet. Checkout the arches to make sure they feel right. Look for a good foundation from an EVA midsole, proper heel support and a sturdy rubber sole.
  • Protection: While you don’t need steel toe caps, you do want a level of protection for your feet. Look for shoes that enclose your forefoot made from leather or another durable material.
  • Traction: Full contact with the floor from a rubber sole with good tread is necessary for times when the operating room floor is wet. Look for slip-resistant soles which will keep you on your feet when the floors are slippery or when running to a patient.
  • Breathability: Hot, sweaty feet don’t feel comfortable. Keep an eye out for materials like leather or mesh that will allow your feet to breathe and stay dry and fresh. This also helps keep bad smells at bay.
  • Easy to clean: The operating room can be a messy place. Look for uppers which are water and stain-resistant and can clean easily.
  • Style: Choosing shoes you like the looks of means you’re more likely to wear them. That aside, you’ll also want something easy to take on and off. That way, when you want to give your feet a breather, you can slip out of your shoes — great for those hard-earned rare breaks.
  • Durability: A budget pair of sneakers for the operating room might mean they won’t last long. When you get a comfortable pair of shoes, you’ll want them to be durable and the chances are they’re going to cost you a bit more. Look for leather uppers, comfort insoles and heavy-duty outsoles. It’s worth it.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Shoes Do Surgeons Wear?

Footwear for surgeons needs to be comfortable, supportive and protective. Many favor clog-style shoes that are easy to slip on and off but still have the features they need. Other types on our list include lace-up trainer shoes and flats.

Some even have dedicated shoes for surgery, which they use only for that purpose, changing them out for other hospital duties. If this is the case, you can choose two different styles accordingly.


Do Surgeons Wear Crocs?

Crocs are a favorite go-to shoe for surgeons. They’re lightweight but comfortable and supportive. These are also straightforward to clean, a must-have after a messy day in the operating room.

Here’s a video of a surgical resident’s opinion of Crocs Bistro clogs.


Are There Official Guidelines for Surgeon’s Shoes?

There are some recommendations that should be considered when choosing shoes for surgery. Ones made of soft materials or open-toed sandals aren’t suitable attire. Neither are high heels for the ladies.

Rubber or leather shoes offer a good level of protection for the feet. When worn without covers, you shouldn’t wear them outside that sterile area. You should clean your footwear as soon as possible following contact with gross contaminants (blood, feces and other bodily fluids).


Can Surgeons Wear Boots in the Operating Room?

Yes, they can. Just like any other footwear, as long as they’re comfortable, support your feet and give traction. Especially messy surgeries might be more suited to waterproof rubber boots.

You could try some of these from Servus. They’re flexible with lots of built-in support and comfort features. The boots are also 100 percent waterproof and slip-resistant.



Can Surgeons Put Insoles in Their Shoes for Added Comfort?

Absolutely! Maybe the insoles in your existing shoes are wearing before the shoes do, or the factory insoles aren’t suitable for your feet. Changing out the insoles for some new ones can give you the support and comfort you need.

You can find out more in our article about the best insoles for standing all day.


Time to Head to the Operating Room

As surgeons, you have a difficult and sometimes stressful job. Taking away outside worries can help make your tasks easier. Having the best shoes for surgeons will ensure your feet are comfortable, supported and stable.

Any of the shoes we have highlighted can cope with the rigors of the operating room and hospital life — the ones you choose comes down to personal taste and preferences.

We hope you enjoyed our guide and found it useful. Please leave us a comment and don’t forget to share with your colleagues so they can benefit as well.



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