If you work at a hospital, rehab, or SNF, you’ll notice that most PTs, OTs, nursing staff, and other health care workers wear Nikes.
Nikes have been around forever, so why do healthcare workers wear Nikes?
Nike has never stopped trending as a shoe brand, and most healthcare workers wear Nikes, because they’re comfortable, they look good, and everyone else in healthcare is wearing them.
They also go well with scrubs and the typical business casual clothing (Polos) worn in outpatient settings.
The Nike Air Zoom Pulse
Nike’s are actually trending so well in healthcare that Nike created their own health care shoe called the Zoom air pulse.
I’ve been wanting the Nike Air Zoom Pulse since I first heard about them in 2019, but they weren’t for sale on Nike’s website until the end of 2020.
In November of 2020 I finally grabbed a pair for $120 USD, because I wanted to know if all the hype was true .
So are the Nike Air Zoom Pulse any good for health care practitioners?
Here are my thoughts on what I liked, what I didn’t like, and how they compare with my other Nikes.
Nike medical discount for PT and OT
If you’re a health care worker, you can qualify for the Nike medical discount. Nike uses Sheer ID, and all you need is proof that you work as a healthcare practitioner (badge, paystub, etc).
With the discount you get about 10% off. The best part about the discount is you can use it more than once. Here’s the quote from Nike’s facts page.
Can I use the discount more than once?
Yes, you can receive the discount once every seven days, but you’ll need a new promo code each time. When you verify your status, you’ll be issued a promo code that can be used only once. When you’re ready to shop again, you can re-verify your status and receive a new promo code after seven days.
If you want an additional discount you can use Rakuten.
Rakuten is a business that makes money from referring you to other businesses. They usually offer an 8% discount for Nike, but I’ve seen it up to 15% off. Click here to use my referral code for $25 off.
Is the Nike Air Zoom Pulse the best shoe for nurses, doctors, and therapists?
If you’re a nurse, doctor, or therapist you’re on your feet all day long, and you need something easy to get on, comfortable, and clean. Dankso has been the leader in making great shoes that fit this description, but the problem is they’re ugly.
If you want to know what clothes are trending in healthcare, I have an article about it here, but for shoes, most nurses, therapists, and doctors wear Nikes.
I’ve been wearing my Nikes for the last 3 years, and they’ve been great. The only problem is that they’re made from cotton and they don’t slip on easily. That’s why I’ve been so stoked to try out the new Zoom Pulse.
Nike Air Zoom Pulse Review
My normal shoe size is around 10-10.5, and I always buy 10.5 Nikes, so when I bought the new Zoom Pulse I decided on 10.5.
The Nike air Zoom Pulse comes in 3 colors: All black, black/teal, white, and grey/pink.
As a guy who doesn’t wear teal too often I decided on black.
At first sight, the black Nikes look a bit boring. I wish they had more white highlights or at least a white Nike logo. You wouldn’t know they were Nikes.
I realize some people may like that, but I didn’t.
I’ll admit some of the other colors have a better design, but they weren’t masculine enough for me.
The colors and aesthetics are much better suited for women.
The sock problem
If you buy the Zoom Pulse you may need all new socks. The design of the shoe makes your socks stand out with the low profile.
Because of the design, I couldn’t find a decent pair of socks that would work well with my jogger scrubs.
I tried the no show socks, but it just looked like I wasn’t wearing socks. I tried wearing ankle socks, and it looked worse. The problem with the shoe design is the ankles are so low that socks become much more visible.
The does design is also too thick for the no-show sock profile.
The Nike Zoom Pulse is comfortable, but the shoes felt uncomfortable too large for my feet. This is another reason why I thought they looked weird with low-show socks and joggers.
The Zoom Pulse would look much better if it had the thin design of the Nike Free 3.0.
Long Term Wear
Another thing I disliked about the Nike Air Zoom Pulse was long term wear. This could be my fault, because I may have purchased the wrong size, but the shoe was always moving. I had to constantly adjust the shoe throughout the day.
After one day, I had a blister on the back of my heel. I can’t remember the last time a shoe gave me a blister.
It’s possible if I got a half size smaller, I wouldn’t have this problem, but after being disappointed about how the shoe looked, felt, and fit, I decided to return them.
Nike Air Zoom Pulse Pros and Cons
- Easy to slide foot in with ease
- Synthetic exterior barrier to block contaminants
- Easy to wipe down with disinfectant wipes
- Good arch support
- Not too wide or too narrow
- 60 day free return policy
- Plain design
- Few masculine options
- Require low show socks
- Looks large on smaller feet
- May cause blisters
The Nike Air Zoom Pulse needs work. I wouldn’t recommend these shoes unless you can find a good fit and socks that work well. They also just don’t look that cool.
If Nike makes another shoe for healthcare workers, they really should use a design that already works well. For example, make a synthetic version of the Nike free RN and use elastic shoe laces.
For now, I’m still on the search for the perfect healthcare shoe. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.