Best Shoes For Physical Therapists: Stand Comfortably With The Right Footwear

This has been a difficult topic to research. When you cross-reference “shoes” with “physical therapist” you get sent to a lot of sites where physical therapists recommend shoes for their patients. But who recommends shoes for the physical therapist? You earned that DPT. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a “real doctor” because you are.

You know that sometimes the best way to manage pain and regain mobility is through exercise. Working with the patients means a lot of time on your feet plus strain from occasionally having to lift or move a patient. That means you need to start with a good pair of shoes.

best shoes for physical therapists

The Need to Follow a Dress Code

Comfortable and clean footwear is a fixed requirement for physical therapists. Whether it’s neat and clean sneakers or polished dress shoes, appearance matters in a job where you interact with a lot of people. Take care to opt for something that will not only get you through an engaging day but will also be stylish. Brown or black dress shoes are the right thing to wear to private offices and business meetings.

However, running and walking shoes are a more comfortable choice for the physical demands of the job. Always remember that not all facilities will let you wear running shoes, so remember to check in with your HR department or supervisor to see to it that you are making the right decisions.

What Kind of Shoes do Most Physical Therapists Prefer?

Most physical trainers prefer to wear sneakers whenever they can get away with it. A clog can split the difference. Shoes that leave any part of the foot exposed are not a good idea at all. They not only look unprofessional, but they’re very uncomfortable for someone who has to stand for long periods of time!

What’s more, they are not safe in this type of work environment. Trust me, when you are working with someone still trying to figure out how to work their wheelchair or someone with limited mobility and poor vision is trying to figure out their cane, you want your toes covered.

If you work in a gym or sports training facility, maybe no one will mind sneakers because they’re all athletes and wear the same things themselves. If you work in a hospice environment, you may be asked to dress a little more somber, as you might have to break some very bad news to somebody.

The Reviews:

Here are some recommended shoes as physical therapy apparel. The customers all seem to like these products so it is hoped that you will too. Remember that what could be the best shoe for someone else may not be the best shoe for you. Keep your personal needs in mind as you comparison shop and you will find the ideal shoe for your needs.

1. Skechers Performance Men’s Go Walk 4 Incredible Walking Shoe

Skechers Performance Men's Go Walk 4 Incredible Walking Shoe, Black, 9.5 M US

Skechers is a shoe popular among health care providing a community. It’s simple, efficient, comfortable and gets the job done. This is a slip-on which means you don’t have to worry about your hands getting dirty putting them on or constantly retying the laces.

Skechers provides innovative footwear for a variety of customers worldwide. They create a variety of style collections so that they can cater to the needs of any consumer. And this could be a style perfect for a physical therapist!

Features and Benefits:

The tapering midfoot design makes for improvement in arch support. The bamboo-lined footbed provides anti-bacterial odor control. The knitted mesh technology adds to odor control. The rubber sole provides flexibility.  The thick midsoles provide balance.

The innovative and highly responsive 5GEN midsole cushioning makes it easier to be on your feet all day. The shoes also come with a featherweight sock liner. The Gel-Infused Memory Foam offers extra comfort. The rubber Outsole should offer sufficient traction.

What We Like:

  • The shoe is breathable and comfortable.
  • They are lightweight.
  • The mesh fabric dries easily.
  • These shoes come in fifteen different sizes so you’re sure to find something that fits.
  • The intelligent technology keeps pain at bay.

What We Don’t:

  • The toe area is on the narrow side.
  • The color fades easily.
  • They have a tendency to squeak.

2. Saucony Women’s Cohesion 10 Running Shoe

Saucony Women's Cohesion 10 Running Shoe, Grey/Peach 7.5 M US

Most of the shoes for the physical therapist will just have standing and walking in mind. However, if for some reason you do have to take off at a run on the job, these are the shoes you want in your corner.

After all, someone could fall and need immediate help or someone might need to be rushed to the operating room or the zombies could attack. (The outbreak always starts in a hospital.)

The goal of Saucony has always been to create innovatively engineered systems that optimize performance in a specific activity. They focus on the shoes so you don’t have to!

Features and Benefits:

The triflex system on the outsole is a good shock absorption feature. The collar and tongue are padded for comfort. The rubber sole further absorbs shock and provides flexibility. The Heel Grid system provides a stable cushioning. The mesh upper aids in providing breathability.

What We Like:

  • There is a good amount of traction.
  • The shoes are breathable and comfortable.
  • The shoe is stable and durable.
  • There are many reflective elements.
  • This style is available in fourteen different colors so you are sure to find something to match your scrubs.

What We Don’t:

  • The cushioning is a bit stiff. May require a break-in period.
  • The grip does not hold up on damp surfaces.

3. TIOSEBON Women’s Athletic Walking Casual Mesh Work Sneakers

TIOSEBON Women's Athletic Walking Shoes Casual Mesh-Comfortable Work Sneakers 10 US Navy

Here is another streamlined and breathable slip-on from Tiosebon. These are people who are all for shoes with a natural design to better conform to your feet. They pursue designs that are simple, comfortable and natural as well as fashionable. When you want the breathability of a sandal but still need your toes covered, a Tiosebon just might be the shoe for you. They’re comfortable enough to wear without socks. It feels like you’re wearing nothing at all!

Features and Benefits:

The mesh upper, pigskin insole, and MD outsole make the shoe lightweight and comfortable. The Latex arch insert makes for adjustable support. The breathable and durable air mesh upper allows the foot to breathe. The Solyte midsole provides exceptional responsiveness and durability. The elastic collar makes for a snug but comfortable fit.

What We Like:

  • These shoes are comfortable and lightweight, making them perfect for walking.
  • The shoes dry off quickly.
  • The mesh is breathable and the shoe is overall very comfortable.
  • The slip-on design means clean hands and no laces.
  • There is a whopping thirty-three choice of colors so you will definitely find something you like.

What We Don’t:

  • Maybe too breathable. They are not water-resistant at all. If it’s raining but still rather warm, skip the socks.
  • There have been some complaints about chafing. They are maybe not good for people with Latex allergies or other skin sensitivities.
  • Not every color is available in every size.

4. New Balance Women’s WW577 Hook and Loop Walking Shoe

New Balance Hook and Loop 577 Shoe - Women's Walking Bone

New Balance is the company for people who would rather their shoes fit their feet than fit an image. Their goal is to help you meet yours. If your goal is to help others with their therapy, this cushiony shoe will help you get through the day.

They pride themselves in helping athletes excel, but perhaps they can also aid the people who aid the athletes. People were made to move. Help your patients learn to move better by wearing shoes that help you move.

Features and Benefits:

The hook-and-loop straps make it easy to put on and take off. The padded tongue and collar make the shoe more comfortable. The cushioning is shock absorbing. The Walking Strike Path outsole flex groove aids in walking.

The upper part is made of leather for better protection. The perforated detail makes the shoe breathable. The insole is absorbent to wick away moisture. The rubber outsole is flexible and has good traction.

What We Like:

  • It is available in narrow, medium and wide widths.
  • There is plenty of cushioning.
  • The traction is great.
  • The shoes are durable.

What We Don’t:

  • Some people find the tongue to be invasive.

5. Dr. Scholl’s – Men’s Brisk Light Weight Dual Strap Sneaker

Dr. Scholl's - Men's Brisk Light Weight Dual Strap Sneaker, Wide Width (11 Wide, Black)

And here is just what the doctor ordered for the doctor! William Scholl started by creating an open-toed sandal that was actually good for the feet. (It was the Sixties. It was open-toed or nothing.) Even today, Dr. Scholls makes a habit of blending fashion with functionality.

Their shoes feel as good at the end of the day as they do at the start of the day. They may look simple and the brand may make you think it’s all business but you would be surprised! Albeit pleasantly.

Features and Benefits:

A blend of mesh, leather, and man-made materials make a shoe that is protective yet breathable. The dual strap closures make for a snug fit. Air-Pillow Gel insoles make it easy to walk around all day in these shoes.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are very lightweight.
  • The padding is very soft and comfortable.
  • Velcro closures mean no laces to tie.

What We Don’t:

  • The construction quality of the soles is lacking.

Take Some of Your own Good Advice

Are you like Alice from Disney’s take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? Do you give very good advice but very seldom follow it? Ironically, the proverb “The cobbler’s children have no shoes” has bearing here. Doctors tend to make the worst patients because they believe they can handle anything.

Several films and television shows have the plot of the therapist (generally one in the psychiatry field because that makes for both good comedy and good drama) who can solve anyone’s problems but their own. Don’t make that mistake! Think of the shoe advice you would give a patient and take it yourself.

You, of course, do not need to be told how the choice of footwear can affect the rest of the joints in the body. You know that poor foot support can lead to debilitating pain in more than just the feet. What affects the feet affects the ankles affects the shins affects the knees affects the hips and so on. Rather than thinking of “the best shoe”, you should perhaps be thinking about “the shoe that’s right for me.”

What Kind of Foot do You Have?

Let’s start by looking at your foot and figuring out what posture category your footfalls under. Take a good long look at your bare feet. Examine the inside of your feet while they are not bearing any weight. You will notice one of the following.

  • You have a very noticeable arch in your foot.
  • Your foot has a slight arch to it.
  • You have no arch at all.

Look at the inside of your feet again while standing. You may need a mirror for this. The kind they have on the stools at shoe stores would work best. Does the arch change at all when you put weight on your feet?

If you have very high arches you want to make up for your under pronation and the fact that your feet just don’t naturally have a lot of shock absorption. A rigid flat foot needs more support than cushioning. Flexible flat feet need more stabilization. Keep all of this in mind when shopping for a new pair of shoes.

How to Clean Your Shoes

Though many of these shoes are made of fabric, machine washing is not recommended. It would be really bad if a perfectly fitting pair of shoes were to suddenly shrink. However, you do need to keep these shoes clean.

Not only will cleaning your shoes look better but when you are working with people who may already have compromised immunity you want to be as sanitary as possible. Hand washing shoes may sound like a hassle but it is actually very easy. Just follow these simple steps.

  • Start by removing all of the excess dirt from the upper and outsole by utilizing a small brush or towel.
  • Mix up a soapy solution by combining warm water and just a few drops of laundry detergent.
  • Dip your brush or cloth into the soapy solution. Wipe the affected area down. Apply a small amount of clean, warm water using the brush or cloth and brush or wipe off all of the excess soap.
  • Let the shoes air dry


Physical therapists are indispensable members of the health care community. They are leaders in health maintenance, rehabilitation, prevention and programs that promote wellness and fitness. You are someone who works well with people as a teacher and a leader. You are compassionate, resourceful, dexterous, empathetic, punctual and detail-oriented.

You are an organized problem solver. Now it is time to solve your own problem. You may have a lot of stamina given your job but it is not limitless. If you get the right shoes you will be able to concentrate more on your job. Your job is to help people walk again. Why not spend a few of your off-hours concentrating on your own walking?

Related Posts:

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top