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Why Do Doctors Wear Crocs? Uncovering The Surprising Truth

Why Do Doctors Wear Crocs? Uncovering The Surprising Truth

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

In hospitals and other medical environments, one might often notice that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals tend to wear Crocs as their preferred choice of footwear.

This raises the question, why do doctors wear Crocs?

Doctors wear Crocs because of their comfort, durability, affordability and the fact that they’re easy to clean. Medical professionals such as doctors, nurses and surgeons need a shoe that will provide comfort and support over a long shift while also being resistant to stains and spillages.

I’ve actually only recently had to replace a pair of Crocs I use for my work in the hospital!

In this article, I’m going to explore the different factors that contribute to the popularity of Crocs amongst medical professionals and which make them the ideal shoe for long shifts and demanding environments.

The Evolution Of Footwear In Medical Practice

You might be surprised to learn that healthcare professionals often wore a form of clogs long before Crocs entered the market.

Traditional Clogs

Traditional clogs have been a staple in the medical field for many years.

They’ve been favoured by healthcare professionals due to their support, comfort, and ease of use.

Clogs typically have a wooden or leather sole, with a closed toe and an open back, making them easy to slip on and off.

In addition, their sturdy design provides support for hospital staff who are required to stand for long periods and handle patients.

Clogs were often worn due to their durability and the protection they offered from spills and other contaminants.

In the past, they were made of materials that were resistant to staining, such as leather, making them a perfect choice for medical environments.

Transition To Crocs

In more recent years, the medical profession has seen a transition from traditional clogs to the use of Crocs, a brand of foam-based footwear.

Crocs have gained popularity among doctors and other healthcare workers for several reasons, that I’m going to explore in the next section.

Crocs hanging in a shop

While still technically a type of clog, the switch to Crocs signified a shift in focus towards comfort, safety, and convenience over the more traditional wood and leather shoe.

The benefits of Crocs have now been recognised by healthcare workers worldwide, leading to widespread adoption in various medical settings.

The Reasons Why Doctors Wear Crocs

While they may not be the most fashionable choice of shoes, there are several very good reasons why plenty of doctors choose to wear Crocs.

Why Doctors Wear Crocs Pixel Infographic

Comfort and Support

Doctors often work long hours standing or walking, making comfortable footwear essential for their well-being.

Crocs provide cushioning and arch support, reducing strain on the feet and legs.

If you’ve never worn a pair, you won’t understand… but trust me, they’re a lot more comfortable than you might expect!

The lightweight foam-type material they’re made from also contributes to the overall comfort of wearing them for extended periods of time.

As a medical professional, you can actually find yourself doing a fair amount of walking over a shift in hospital as you go from ward to ward.

With this in mind, it’s much more preferable to have a light, comfortable shoe compared to a big heavy boot.

Easy to Clean

Hygiene is a top priority in a medical environment, and Crocs, made of rubber, are incredibly easy to clean.

They can be wiped down with a damp cloth or even washed with soap and water.

The ease of cleaning helps ensure the footwear remains sterilised, protecting both doctors and patients from potential infections.

The less glamorous side of working as a doctor, nurse or any other healthcare professional is that you will at some point find yourself with something spilt down you- whether that be food, drink or bodily fluids…

In these sorts of situations, you want footwear that can be easily washed- not something that will be ruined or carry a stain for years to come.

Slip Resistance

Hospitals and other medical facilities can have smooth, wet floors, increasing the risk of slips and falls.

This could be a wet floor due to blood, vomit, urine or the fact that it’s just been freshly washed.

Crocs feature a slip-resistant sole, providing doctors with the necessary traction to navigate their workplace safely.

The last thing you want to do mid-shift is slip over in a puddle of something unsavoury!

While it might not be something you generally think about in a shoe, Crocs do a great job of gripping onto the smooth hospital corridors.

Ventilation and Odour Control

Crocs have ventilation holes that allow for better air circulation, reducing the accumulation of moisture and odours.

This feature is especially crucial in medical environments where temperature and humidity can vary.

Proper airflow helps keep doctors’ feet dry and comfortable throughout the day- which makes a big difference to how you feel at the end of a shift.

If working in an operating theatre, it is however best practice to wear shoes that don’t have any holes on the top of them.

This just reduces the small chance of a sharp surgical instrument being dropped and going right through the shoe to impale your foot!

Durability

Despite being lightweight, Crocs are quite durable, making them well-suited for the demanding nature of medical professional work.

They withstand frequent cleaning and potential exposure to harmful substances, offering long-lasting footwear solutions for doctors.

Any shoes people use for their work have to be able to withstand a lot of abuse- and healthcare professionals are no different.

As I mentioned, this is everything from significant miles from walking all over the hospital every shift to spills, stains and washing.

The fact Crocs can maintain a clean appearance even after exposure to spills and splashes is one of the main reasons people don’t have to throw them out and replace them every 2 weeks!

No Laces

Crocs don’t have laces, eliminating the need for frequent tightening or adjustments.

This feature allows doctors to focus on their work without worrying about their shoes becoming untied or causing a trip hazard.

The convenience of slip-on footwear also saves time when changing footwear for different procedures or leaving the workplace.

Surgeons frequently transition from the operating theatre (where you wear specific ‘clean’ shoes) to the ward (where you wear other shoes) and the ability to quickly transition footwear without having to fiddle about with laces is a big bonus.

Affordability

Finally, Crocs are an affordable footwear option, making them accessible to healthcare professionals at all levels.

High-quality shoes that cater to the specific requirements of the medical field can be quite expensive- Crocs offer an economical alternative without compromising on essential aspects like hygiene, comfort, and safety.

While I think name-brand Crocs have actually gone up in price over the last couple of years, there are loads of off-brand options you can buy from almost any supermarket.

While they won’t have the Crocs logo on them, the good ones are pretty much identical in every other aspect.

This means everyone from a day 1 healthcare assistant to a 10-year consultant surgeon can afford and easily get ahold of quality professional footwear.

Potential Drawbacks

Although I do genuinely think Crocs are great, there are definitely some potential drawbacks to wearing them at work.

Professional Appearance

While Crocs may be comfortable and practical for medical professionals, one potential drawback is their perceived lack of professionalism.

Some patients may find the casual footwear choice to be unprofessional, which could potentially affect their level of trust in the doctor’s expertise.

Furthermore, some institutions may have strict dress codes or expectations for their staff that may not align with the wearing of Crocs, requiring medical professionals to opt for alternative footwear options.

I think as they become more widely adopted people are beginning to appreciate they are a professional footwear choice, but there will definitely be some patients and hospitals out there that don’t share this view.

Safety Concerns

Another issue that may arise when doctors wear Crocs pertains to safety concerns.

Even though cleaning Crocs is relatively easy due to their rubber material, they are not as protective as traditional closed-toe shoes.

For instance, accidental needlestick injuries or dropped surgical equipment could cause harm if the shoe does not provide adequate protection.

The worst-case scenario I alluded to earlier would be if a needle or scalpel fell right through one of the holes generally on the top of Crocs.

A few hospitals I’ve worked in use a shoe very similar to Crocs for their operating departments, but they have a smooth top without any ventilation holes reducing this small risk of injury.

Equally, there is an argument to say Crocs aren’t ideal for preventing foot pain over long periods of use.

Shoes that bend in the shank, as Crocs do, are more likely to cause pain and overuse injuries over long periods of wear.

This could potentially mean that Crocs may not provide sufficient arch support for long hours of standing and walking, contributing to discomfort and potential foot problems over time for doctors and other medical professionals who wear them.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the choice of Crocs by doctors is a practical decision rooted in the necessity for comfort, convenience, and affordability in their demanding work environment.

Crocs satisfy these requirements by offering support, stain resistance, and durability for those saving lives and catering to patients’ well-being.

While they may not be the height of fashion, they do their job incredibly well which is undoubtedly the reason why these simple shoes have become a worldwide hit in the medical community.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.