hoka vs brooks for nurses: Check 6 Differences Before Buying

The hectic work routine of nurses makes them deserve comfortable shoes that won’t hurt their feet at the end of the day. While regular shoes are comfortable, they aren’t suitable for all-day standing and working.

That is why we asked several nurses to collect real data about the shoes they prefer. As we guessed before, Hoka and Brooks were the top priority of all nurses. The maximal cushioning of Hoka and the arch support of Brooks appeals to everyone.

But, are you also a nurse and have to choose between one? Well, we have a whole review ready for you, which contains real customer reviews and our testing experience.

So, let’s continue to find out more about these brands.

Hoka Shoes Overview

The thick cushioning of Hoka shoes is the primary reason for their popularity. Hoka has combined lightweight cushioning with a plush feel for smooth rides.

The thick and cushioned midsoles keep your feet comfortable throughout by absorbing impact. As the job of nurses demands standing, the cushioned sole keeps the feet comfortable. The meta-rocker design also encourages smooth heel-to-toe transitions. We love this feature as nurses don’t have to forcibly run, walk, and stand for short intervals.

The thick cushioning and meta-rocker design allows them to move quickly.

Now, let’s move to the key technologies of Hoka shoes. The midsole consists of ProFly foam that won’t break down even after all day standing and running. As discussed earlier, the early-stage Meta-Rocker technology is another plus. 

The Ortholite insoles are another plus for nurses. They provide extra support and comfort to the feet during long hours of standing and walking. Apart from this, the moisture-wicking fabric of insoles prevents sweating during the day.

Brooks Shoes Overview

The ample cushioning and shock-absorbing capabilities make Brooks shoes unique. This feature allows the shoes to provide medial and arch support. Thus, Brooks shoes are ideal for runners who prefer stability and structure. The support mechanisms also help in absorbing shock and impacts.

Another unique feature of Brooks shoes is their sturdy materials. Upon testing, we noticed these shoes are highly durable and give the same new-shoes feel every time!

The key technologies of Brooks shoes include BioMogo DNA midsole that offers adaptive cushioning. This padding has a soft feel, and nurses feel comfortable even after standing the whole day.

We love the GuideRails support. This technology makes us feel it was made especially for nurses! This feature supports the knees, hips, and joints. It prevents pain in these areas after constant standing and running. Apart from this, the segmented crash pad flexes to match the foot strike.

Another unique feature of Brooks shoes is the DRB Accel shank that increases torsional rigidity. This feature best suits a nurse’s working environment. As they face constant movements and slippery areas, the shoes prevent slipping and twisting the foot.

Comparing Hoka vs Brooks for Key Factors

Want to know more about Hoka vs Brooks and get a detailed comparison? Let’s get going.

hoka vs brooks for nurses

1. Cushioning and Shock Absorption

While Hoka stands at the top for its plush cushioning, Brooks also has adaptive cushioning to keep the feet comfortable.

When we say Hoka shoes have an extremely soft feel, we mean it. We love the plush feel and comfort the shoes give upon wearing them. The best thing about this cushioning is that it does not wear out or compress quickly. You can wear Hoka shoes every day to work and still make them last for months!

Brooks shoes have adaptive padding at the right places to give optimal support. The padding of Brooks is not too much, but more than enough to provide a soft and snug feel to your feet.

The DNA Loft padding in Brooks shoes also provides extra support. This is especially helpful for standing all day. While preventing pain, this midsole cushioning also offers a bouncy feel due to its soft cushion.

While both shoes are great on their own, Hoka is a great choice if you prefer cloud-like cushioning. These shoes really make you feel like walking on the clouds!

On the other hand, Brooks also provides support and cushioning. These shoes stay on the lighter side without being too squishy.

2. Support

While stability and support are the hallmarks of Brooks, Hoka prioritizes cushioning more.

During the test run, we realized that Brooks offers more structured support in stability shoes. This is probably due to the Guide Rails technology. This mechanism adapts to your feet and works to keep the feet in the middle while running. As your feet are aligned inside the foot, they won’t move sideways. Thus, this technology aims to prevent overpronation.

On the other hand, we noticed that Hoka prioritizes cushioning over pronation control. In fact, the primary support mechanisms are the midsole cushioning and meta-rocker design.

However, the arch support of Hoka shoes is great due to this padding. Nurses who want arch support to manage long working and standing hours can choose Hoka shoes to prevent pain. Also, the cushioning is soft and comfy enough to prevent heel and back pain that arises from lack of support. Still, they have great shock-absorbing capabilities.

We recommend Brooks shoes for nurses with fallen arches and overpronation issues. The adaptive support mechanisms of Brooks shoes will be the ideal feature you need for standing and walking all day. Hoka shoes are better for neutral runners. They also suit nurses who prefer cushioning and don’t need enough support to correct their postures.

hoka challenger 7 SHOES

3. Weight

When we want extra features, we often have to compromise the weight of running shoes. But, Hoka and Brooks have still tried to keep the weight within a limit to ensure maximum comfort and support.

While different models of both brands will have different weights, we noticed that Hoka shoes tend to be heavier. Hoka uses lightweight cushioning. But, other features combine to add more weight to the shoes. The average weight of Hoka running shoes is around 9 lbs.

On the other hand, Brooks shoes weigh 9 to 11 lbs. on average. While the weight of Hoka and Brooks shoes seems to be the same, Brooks still has lightweight options in running shoes.

Thus, Brooks shoes are the best choice for nurses who are always on the move. The lightweight models and support mechanisms will provide a lightweight feel.

Hoka shoes are great for nurses who prefer pillowy softness despite the extra weight.

4. Durability

Regarding durability, Brooks shoes are famous for their exceptional features. As Hoka shoes focus more on cushioning, they tend to compress with time.

However, both shoes use great materials that can withstand excessive wear and tear.

With their exceptional support mechanisms, Brooks shoes are reputed to be long-lasting and durable. We also noticed that Brooks shoes don’t show early signs of wear and tear on the outsoles, even on tough terrains. Thus, we believe that Brooks shoes will be ideal for nurses walking miles on hard hospital floors.

Hoka shoes also have great outsoles and rigid lugs. The only downfall we noticed was the extra-soft cushioning. Although the shoes will feel soft in the beginning, they are more prone to being compressed due to excessive use. 

But insoles can go a long way if your shoes still look fresh. Also, we observed that the extra cushioning of Hoka still provides comfort even after compressing. So, you don’t have to worry about losing the plush feel after a few months!

brooks glycerin 20

5. Fit and Sizing

While Brooks shoes are often true to size, Hoka shoes tend to run small.

Whether the shoes are true to size will depend on your foot shape. Most runners believe Hoka shoes run small because of their smaller toe box. But, if you already have narrow feet, you will order your regular size in these shoes.

On the other hand, Brooks shoes have their regular fit that is true to size. But if you have wide feet, Brooks has still got you covered! Most Brooks models have wide and extra wide sizes, and you can opt for them as well.

The best idea is to try shoes of both models to determine what fits the best. For wide feet, you should also try the wide and extra wide options in Brooks shoes. For Hoka shoes, you can consider sizing half a size up to avoid a snug fit in the toe box.

6. Hoka vs Brooks for standing all-day

While both shoes are ideal for standing all day, the ones you choose will depend on your preference and style.

Hoka shoes have super thick midsoles that absorb impact, which is ideal for standing. Even after standing for several hours, your feet won’t feel numb because the cushion will cover your feet for a soft feel.

Brooks DNA cushioning also adapts and cushions. In fact, the cushioning of Hoka shoes combines with the support mechanism.

Thus, in terms of cushioning, the plush feel of Hokas compares to the firm Brooks foam. While Hoka shoes have plush cushioning, Brooks focuses more on stability. Hoka shoes have maximal padding in the midsole. Brooks shoes have the right amount of padding in the heel counter and other areas.

However, we still advise nurses to prioritize shoes with ample forefoot padding and heel cushioning. For additional comfort, we recommend using gel inserts or orthotics. But, it is better to avoid cheap shoes with minimal cushioning that will quickly cause foot pain and fatigue. Such shoes might feel good in the beginning, but they can cause several problems with time.

We also recommend replacing shoes regularly to maintain supportive cushioning. This is because the padding may compress with time, especially when you’re wearing shoes all day.

hoka rincon

Looking for the ultimate footwear for nursing shifts? We’ve already explored the top contenders in our comprehensive comparison of Hoka vs. Brooks, but there’s more to discover. Dive deeper into this footwear showdown in our dedicated ‘Hoka vs. Brooks‘ article to find the perfect fit for your nursing journey.

As a nurse, when should you choose Hoka shoes, when should you choose Brooks shoes?

Hoka shoes are ideal for nurses who prefer cushioning over weight. Brooks shoes will suit nurses who want more support and stability due to fallen arches or health issues. 

We recommend Hoka shoes for nurses who desire maximum cushioning and ultrasoft comfort underfoot, even if the shoes are heavier. The thick midsoles provide a “walking on clouds” feel that helps fight fatigue. It also prevents the numb and tired feeling at the end of the day.

We recommend Brooks for nurses who need more support and stability to correct overpronation, fallen arches, or knee/hip issues. It is because Brooks offers firmer cushioning with structured guidance. The firm heel counter, lightweight design, and optimal padding make them ideal for people with foot problems.

The thing is, it is better to try both brands to determine personal preferences. You should still remember that Hokas tend to fit narrower than Brooks, and trying the shoes will help you get the correct size as well.

Pros Tips Choosing the Right Model of Hoka or Brooks Shoe

First things first, the right model for your feet will be the one that suits your preferences. These include your personal needs, preferences, and running styles.

While choosing running shoes, you need to consider your foot shape and running style. This means you need to check if you have neutral pronation or over pronation. 

In neutral pronation, your foot rolls slightly inwards but not enough to make you prone to injuries. Such runners have an S-shaped pattern on their shoe soles. Overpronation means that your feet roll inward while walking and running. While neutral pronators can wear any shoes, overpronators need extra cushioning and support.

Apart from this, you should consider your cushioning preferences. Some runners like the soft and cushy feel of the midsole. Others prefer firm padding for maximum support. Also, don’t forget your mileage and usage demands. All-day work will require durable shoes.

We also recommend checking user reviews and feedback. This will help you get information on what nurses and other wear-testers report. You should also focus on finding relevant feedback on fit, cushioning, and support. They are important features for nurses. Checking for issues with durability and sizing is also a good idea.

Apart from the running style and user feedback, don’t forget to consider your personal needs and preferences. The fit, comfort, and underfoot feel of the shoes are paramount features. Thus, you should not compromise on these features as they impact your daily routine. Depending on your preference, you should reflect on the shoe technologies that can benefit you the most. This also includes daily activities, like walking or standing all day.

The best way to find the right shoes is by trying them on. All models of Brooks and Hoka will have different features, and their fit will be different as well. So, you need to judge the comfort and fit for yourself. We recommend ordering half a size up if the shoe is tight or looks snug in the forefoot. You can also consider wider sizes.

Another idea is to shop and try shoes at the end of the day. At this time, your feet are already swollen a bit due to constant work. This foot shape is the one you need while trying shoes.


The right Hoka vs Brooks model for you will depend on your preference and needs. While Hokas excel in cushioning and comfort, Brooks are highly durable and supportive shoes.

As the routine of nurses demands standing all day and moving, both Hoka and Brooks models can serve their purpose. However, the model you choose will depend on your needs and the features of the shoes.

Therefore, we recommend trying on shoes from both brands to get the best fit. After all, your feet need to accept the shoes to make them work!

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