Best Shoes for Physical Therapists
Not all shoes are made equal—especially when it comes to those in demanding jobs. As one of the modern heroes who supports us during our lowest times, physical therapists deserve only the best foot support in return.
The search for the best work shoes for physical therapists may sound simple, but it’s not. After all, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. From grip and stability to comfort and arch support plus and everything else in between, it’s easy to sacrifice one for another.
But you can’t cut corners on your foot health—not when you’re the one serving as a shining example and inspiration of good health for your patients.
Take care of your feet while taking care of your patients with the best tennis shoes for physical therapists from KURU!
The features you need to look out for when on the hunt for the best shoes for physical therapists will be largely similar to what nurses and doctors need. Although your workplaces may be different, there are still plenty of similarities in workplace environments and demands.
Here are the top footwear features you need:
- Grip: Good grip is non-negotiable for physical therapist shoes. Grip is what helps prevent you from slipping, sliding, and falling as you assist and lift patients. Look for shoes with rubber soles for maximum grip and slip resistance.
- Cushion: If you want the most comfortable work shoes for physical therapists, you need proper cushion and shock absorption. Like nurses, you will likely be standing and walking around for long hours so you need something to soften the strain.
- Comfort: Cushioning isn’t the only thing that affects comfort. Look for shoes with a breathable upper material and a wide toe box as well. You don’t want your toes feeling cramped or sweating all over the inside of your shoes.
- Arch support: Proper arch support can help improve your grip and stability. In turn, better balance will help you help patients better while also ensuring their safety during their physical therapy sessions.
Find out what types of safety or ergonomic hazards physical therapists face that can lead to foot injuries.
Healthcare workplace settings are rife with job safety hazards. In fact, hospitals in the U.S. are one of the most hazardous places to work in—with a whopping 221,400 recorded work-related injuries and illnesses in 2019, translating to approximately 5.5 injuries for every 100 employees.
For physical therapists, whose roles involve movement, pain management, and hands-on therapy of patients, these hazards often revolve around physical exertion. Discover the safety and ergonomic challenges faced by physical therapists that can lead to foot injuries:
- Diverse Range of HazardsDepending on the specific job, injuries in healthcare settings can encompass sharp injuries, chemical or drug exposure, extreme stress, allergies, and even incidents of patient violence.Diverse Range of Hazards
- Musculoskeletal StrainPhysical therapists frequently handle patients, leading to musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, especially when required to perform heavy manual lifting during patient transfers and repositioning.Musculoskeletal Strain
- Ankle and Foot ConcernsAnkle and foot injuries are a common concern among physical therapists, particularly due to repetitive strain and the prevalence of inadequate footwear quality.Ankle and Foot Concerns
Healthcare Industry Facts and Stats
We take a look at some facts and stats you might not have known about footwear worn by physical therapists.
- A survey shows that 62% of healthcare professionals consider footwear important to prevent foot injuries.
- Wearing superior grip-rated footwear helps reduce the rate of accidental slips by 37%.
- Slip-resistant shoes for physical therapists and other healthcare professionals help lower the rate of falls due to a slip by 49%.
- A study linked low shoe comfort scores with a higher prevalence of foot and ankle pain among healthcare workers.
- A survey found that 12% of homecare workers, including physical therapists, experience slips, trips, and falls within a year.
- Slips, trips, and falls account for a significant portion, 26%, of lost workdays due to nonfatal injuries among healthcare professionals in nursing care facilities.
Learn how to best protect your feet in the healthcare industry.
Foot injuries are one of the most common work-related injuries in the U.S. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that over 53,000 workplace foot injuries occur annually. A survey shows that typical work-related foot injuries range from plantar fasciitis and stress fractures to ankle sprains, bunions, and heel spurs.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent such injuries:
- Always warm up before doing any heavy lifting or strenuous activityGoing on a slow jog before work or doing light stretches for at least two to three minutes goes a long way to prevent foot or ankle injuries.Always warm up before doing any heavy lifting or strenuous activity
- Develop an exercise or fitness plan for the weekendsThis will help you strengthen your muscles and improve your balance, which will aid when lifting and assisting patients.Develop an exercise or fitness plan for the weekends
- Wear shoes that fit your foot needs and foot typeIf you have flat or low arches, make sure to wear shoes that offer superior arch support and stable shoe heels.Wear shoes that fit your foot needs and foot type
- Always wear socks with your shoesThis adds cushioning and prevents your feet from rubbing directly on the shoe lining, which can irritate your feet and cause blisters or other injuries.Always wear socks with your shoes
- Consider wearing compression socks after workIf your feet and legs hurt after a long day of working, compression socks may help boost circulation and reduce swelling in the legs and ankles. This will help you face the next work day without lingering soreness.Consider wearing compression socks after work
- Make sure to replace your shoes regularlyBuy new physical therapist shoes once the tread or heels wear out. Check the state of your shoes every six months or more frequently if you are often on duty.Make sure to replace your shoes regularly
- Listen to your bodyNever push through your foot pain or any type of body pain. Dismissing body aches and lingering pain, especially when it worsens when you do so, can lead to worse injuries.Listen to your body
- What shoes do physical therapists wear?
Physical therapists may wear black dress shoes, flat shoes, or leather nursing clogs if they mainly work on administrative duties and meetings. But for the more physically demanding side of your job, it’s better to go for running or walking shoes.
Similar to nurses and other healthcare professionals, the most comfortable shoes for physical therapists (PTs) are often athletic or running shoes with a lot of grip.
Running or tennis footwear are good shoes for physical therapists because of the comfort and arch support they offer. They help PTs prevent sore feet and ankles after long days of walking, standing, and assisting patients at work.
Physical therapist shoes need to be non-skid and well-constructed for heavy use and load, too. This allows PTs to transfer or lift patients better and prevent slips, falls, or any other accidents while doing so.
It also doesn’t hurt that these shoes are easy to clean and easy to find or buy. This makes them highly practical for PT and other healthcare settings.
- I just received a pair of your shoes and my feet are sore/hurt after wearing them. Why is that?
Some customers experience tenderness when they first start wearing a new pair of KURUs. That’s ok! Your body may need time to adjust to the new levels of anatomical support you experience with our patented KURUSOLE technology. Our shoes are also designed to mold to your unique foot shape, which takes a bit of a break-in period.
To help mitigate this, we suggest you follow our break-in procedure, including wearing your KURUs for a couple hours per day around the house in the first couple of weeks as they break in and form to your foot.
- How is the arch support of KURU shoes?
KURU shoes deliver excellent arch support without the need for thick inserts or expensive, custom orthotics.
Superior arch support starts with our patented KURUSOLE technology, which delivers natural cushioning and dynamically hugs your heel with every step. Every foot is unique, and our ULTIMATE INSOLES adapt to fit your needs by using your own body heat to custom-mold to the shape of your feet over time.
The corrective nature of our superior arch support is designed to neutralize your weight distribution and place your foot in the best anatomical position. This support can take some getting used to. We suggest slowly breaking in your new shoes over the course of 2–3 weeks.
- Does the KINETIC qualify as a slip resistant shoe?
- Are your shoes considered orthopedic shoes?
While our shoes are not currently considered orthopedic by a medical standard, we have received thousands of positive reviews from customers who say their KURU shoes with good arch support helped reduce or eliminate their pain—from plantar fasciitis to bunions.
Each of our shoes feature a wide toe box, superior arch support, shock absorption and patented heel technology, engineered for pain relief.
At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.
Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.
The patented KURUSOLE is our hidden gem in each KURU shoe. It gently cups your heel, keeping your fat pad in place to minimize wearing. …Show More
The patented KURUSOLE is our hidden gem in each KURU shoe. It gently cups your heel, keeping your fat pad in place to minimize wearing. It then follows the curve of your foot to your arch. This gives you greater support when walking or carrying heavy loads. Additionally, the KURUSOLE dynamic flexes with each step for continuous support and protection with each step you take.…Show less
The KURUCLOUD midsole is the foundation of our unique three-part technology for Pain Relief Beyond Belief. It’s made from lightweight …Show More
The KURUCLOUD midsole is the foundation of our unique three-part technology for Pain Relief Beyond Belief. It’s made from lightweight EVA foam which gives it plenty of bounce and a weightless feel. KURUCLOUD’s cushioning and optimal shock absorption helps us make one of the most comfortable work shoes for physical therapists.…Show less
The ULTIMATE INSOLE rounds off our three-part technology. These insoles are the main reason why KURU footwear make comfy shoes for physical therapists. …Show More
The ULTIMATE INSOLE rounds off our three-part technology. These insoles are the main reason why KURU footwear make comfy shoes for physical therapists. Made of durable dual-density polyurethane foam, it has both firm arch support and soft, comfy areas for optimal foot health. The material also retains its bounce and cushioning longer than EVA foam insoles, while slowly molding your foot shape for a custom fit.…Show less
The patented KURUSOLE is our hidden gem in each KURU shoe. It gently cups your heel, keeping your fat pad in place to minimize wearing. It then follows the curve of your foot to your arch. This gives you greater support when walking or carrying heavy loads. Additionally, the KURUSOLE dynamic flexes with each step for continuous support and protection with each step you take.
The KURUCLOUD midsole is the foundation of our unique three-part technology for Pain Relief Beyond Belief. It’s made from lightweight EVA foam which gives it plenty of bounce and a weightless feel. KURUCLOUD’s cushioning and optimal shock absorption helps us make one of the most comfortable work shoes for physical therapists.
The ULTIMATE INSOLE rounds off our three-part technology. These insoles are the main reason why KURU footwear make comfy shoes for physical therapists. Made of durable dual-density polyurethane foam, it has both firm arch support and soft, comfy areas for optimal foot health. The material also retains its bounce and cushioning longer than EVA foam insoles, while slowly molding your foot shape for a custom fit.
Fine, We’ll Tell You Our Secret
What makes KURU different? Every KURU shoe comes with built-in patented KURUSOLE tech—a foot health game changer.
While other shoes are flat on the inside, KURUSOLE is shaped like your foot to hug and prevent fatigue and pain.
My foot pain is going away after 2 weeks of wearing my Kuru shoes. I am very pleased with my new Kuru shoes. I was getting a little desperate in trying to find a comfortable shoe and from the moment I stepped into the Kivi I knew I didn’t have to look any further. I stand all day long in my work as a physical therapist and need both a shoe with good support but also shock absorption. I know I will be recommending this shoe to some of my patients.”
Very comfortable! I love these shoes! I’m a physical therapist and stand, walk, and demo/perform dynamic exercises with clients all day long on cement floor. These shoes have me feeling very good by the end of the day instead of sore, fatigued, and stiff in my feet. I highly recommend these for anyone who is active on their feet from those doing athletics to just lots of walking.”
The best in my closest…buy it if you have plantar fasciitis. I have thousands of dollars of good well made comfort shoes in my closest. I am a physical therapist with chronic foot pain. These are the only shoes I wore on my “good” foot while non weight bearing on a partial plantar fascia tear. I am certain that this helped by overused “good’ Foot with plantar fasciitis. I will only wear this shoe on my “bad foot” once I get our of my CAM BOOT. This is by far the best most comfortable shoe I have ever worn and I have worn many other very good expensive comfort shoes. I am ordering 2 more pairs so i have some variety as my left foot continues to heal. So well worth the money!! Runs pretty true to size., perhaps a tiny bit small. (or because it is a high top i can do a bit big) .I often wear 9.5 and sometimes a 10. Wearing a ten in this, but the other Kuru’s I got that say true to size I will need a 9.5.”
Saved my heels! After 2 yrs and 9 different professionals (medical doctors,podiatrist, physical therapist, chiropractor massage therapy) heel pain is finally gone! I wish I had tried these first!”
Awesomely Comfortable. This is my 4th different sneaker that I’ve ordered from Kuru. It is so comfortable and light weight. I’m recovering from ACL reconstruction and my physical therapist recommended that I get new shoes because I’ve worn out the ones I wear daily (I stand all day at work). I absolutely love these shoes it!!”