why do Doctors wear crocs?

Crocs are a popular shoe brand for doctors mainly because of how easy they are to clean and sterilise. Working in medicine exposes people to blood, urine and other fluids that can easily stain clothes and footwear. The foam material that most Crocs are made from can easily be machine or hand-washed clean with no further damage to the shoe.

Another reason why some doctors wear them is comfort. Lightweight and breathable, most Crocs designs remedy the excessive sweating that goes with walking around a hospital ward all day.

I wear Crocs-style clogs myself because my Bulgarian medical school makes it mandatory. That way we keep the shoes we travel to the University hospital in separate from the rest of our gear.

If I had the choice though I’d probably opt for a closed toe sneaker style-shoe like those I’ve recommended in the past. Personally, they fit my flat-feet a little better than the open-heeled clogs. But, having recently seen procedures like lumbar punctures in the neurology wards, I understand the rationale behind doctors choosing Crocs a little more!

Both blood and cerebral spinal fluid is a lot easier to clean off the foam of Crocs than it would be mesh sneakers.

Are Crocs Free for Doctors?

In most cases doctors usually have to pay for their own Crocs. Some public hospitals in the UK however, specifically those I’ve done some work experience in myself, have all provided Crocs to their orthopaedic surgeons and surgery ward nurses at no expense. So the answer is really case-dependent.

Some doctors might be able to score free Crocs in exchange for promoting the brand on their social media channels or blogs. Others might be issued some as supplied uniform by the private hospitals or clinics they happen to work in. Usually though, someone, somewhere, is footing the bill.

Another thing to consider are hospital rules. Doctors that might be issued a free pair of Crocs are unlikely to be able to take them home or wear them casually outside of their place of work because of strict hygiene protocols. It’s very rare doctors would be given free crocs to wear around their house!

Why Are Crocs Banned in Hospitals?

According to a 2011 article in Business Insider, Crocs were reported to have been banned in certain hospitals across the US, Canada, Sweden, Austria and UK. Done so to avoid “sharp objects piercing Crocs and other similar footwear”, it seems the rules have been relaxed a little since then.

Thanks to several petitions from doctors and nurses alike, who argued that the shoe was a favourite due to its aforementioned comfort and ease of cleaning, the ban, in most places, has since been overturned. Reports that nurses in certain Trusts of the British NHS are still denied their use due to health and safety regulations still persist however. So bans on Crocs, in some places at least, may still be upheld.

Why Do Surgeons Wear Clogs?

Clogs are perhaps Crocs most famous design with their open heel and strap. Surgeons wear them as they’re a great fit for the operating theatre in that they can be rinsed and cleaned down easily after traumatic procedures.

Other reasons surgeons wear clogs include the following:

  • Durability: clogs are made from long-lasting foam resin known as Croslite. As an injection-moulded EVA foam, they’re known to stand up to thousands of hours of use as well as withstand multiple washings and sterilisation. Clogs rarely wear down, fray or warp.
  • Grip: moving around an operating theatre can be precarious with all the machines, instruments and bodies on the line. The grip and tread of clogs make it that surgeons are as stable as possible. The fact clogs don’t require lacing or fastening reduces the risk of trips and falls also.
  • Ergonomics: due to Croslite technology Crocs’ clogs shape the wearers foot without any pinching or overhang. For a surgeon who might be on their feet for several hours, that’s another key benefit. The extra support of clogs is also said to reduce back pain.

Why is Footwear Important in Medicine?

Medicine can be an active line of work. Doctors and nurses are both expected to attend appointments, meetings and procedures as well as move around different areas of a hospital or clinic. Strong footwear then, given such commitments, is a necessity.

Other reasons why footwear is important in medicine come down to the possible risks of the environment. Shoes that are prone to breakage could cause injury not only to the wearer but also to fragile patients who might find themselves in the proximity of a stumbling doctor or nurse. Machines, likewise, could get damaged by a falling healthcare worker.

Finally hygiene is a fundamental reason for the significance of footwear in a health-based setting. Due to issues of contamination and the spread of communicable disease, it’s critical that shoes can be cleaned and sterilised effectively in order to minimise further spread of disease.

Note: this is the same reason we also wear scrubs!

Summary

Crocs are a solid choice of shoe for doctors due to ergonomics, durability and the ease of cleaning. As a med student with his own pair, I finally understand what the fuss is all about.

Image Credit: Duncan Chen at Flickr