BALA Nursing Shoes Review
In Partnership with Bala.
Table of Contents
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the medical world, and yet, I often wonder why they have to wear what they do. Comfortable doesn’t mean clunky anymore. After the infamous year-and-a-half the world faced, I think they deserve recognition more than anyone else.
Thankfully, BALA is here to provide nurses with the shoes they need. The brand’s sneakers are designed to meet and surpass the needs of a demanding nursing shift, aspiring to deliver comfort, mobility, and style.
I’ve seen the shoes before on an Instagram ad, along with their 17k social following. While scoping them out, I also noticed the brand’s name in quite a few popular publications like Shape and Travel & Leisure. There’s definitely some buzz about BALA, but are they really good shoes?
In this BALA nursing shoes review, I will examine the fabric of the company, their products, and customer experiences so that you can see if their shoes are worth slipping your feet into.
Overview of BALA
In 2020, Nike veterans Brian Lockard and John Eberle began working on a shoe designed specifically for nurses, because they believed nurses deserve the same comfort, performance, and innovation in their footwear as professional athletes. Considering they probably spend more time on their feet year round, I’d have to say I agree.
Before making the designs, they traveled all over the United States asking nurses what they needed from a shoe. The team then recruited a group of the top footwear designers and developers in the footwear industry to create a shoe that would serve all of the nurses needs with no compromises. The outcome was BALA Twelves. A shoe designed to stand up to the 12 hour nursing shift. BALA Twelves come with three key features designed specifically for nursing.
- A fluid resistant upper that protects the nurse’s feet from bodily fluids
- A high traction outsole designed specifically for hospital floors so it won’t squeak
- A rigid insole that provides all -day support through the arch
Also, I think they look great! Especially in contrast to most nursing shoes, which are often glorified clown shoes at best.
On top of that, since most nurses are women, BALA took extra care to tailor the shoes to specific contours usually found in women’s feet.
With all that firmly in mind, just ahead in this BALA nursing shoes review, I’ll go over some highlights of the company and their shoes before I actually take a look at their products:
- 1 functional design, 4 core colorways
- Their shoes aim to address every problem nurses have regarding footwear
- They’re in line with modern design sensibilities
- Developed with input from real-world nurses
- $20 gift card offered when you refer a friend
- Free shipping anywhere in the United States
Seeing as how the brand offers only one style of shoes, in this BALA shoes review, I’ll cover what makes each colorway unique.
BALA Twelves Shoes Review
But first, the basics: Each pair of BALA Twelves shoes features the Arch M-Brace, designed to support foot arches during those seemingly never-ending shifts.
They also boast strong fluid resistance and an underside that’s designed to hold onto hospital floors as tight as a baby grasping onto their favorite toy.
What’s even better is that the BALA Twelves are built to accommodate swollen and wider feet. I know how my feet feel after a long walk, I can’t imagine what a 12-hour shift would be like. As for comfort, the shoes’ HRS Cushioning absorbs the impact commonly found while sprinting between clients.
All BALA Twelve designs cost $150. Now let’s check out their 4 cool colorways.
BALA Twelves Nocturnal Review
I always gravitate to black. It’s guaranteed to match everything. The BALA Twelves Nocturnal are the black color variant. In contrast to the eye-catching colors of the Defy model, the Nocturnal shoes are sleek and futuristic.
I think the black makes the BALA Twelves Nocturnal look more like actual athletic shoes, perfect for nursing shifts that are bookended by trips to the gym.
Like today’s best sneakers, I’d even say the BALA Twelves Nocturnal could fit into a solid athleisure outfit when paired with leggings and a stylish oversized hoodie.
BALA Twelves Shade Review
The BALA Twelves Shade are the most unisex color in the brand’s lineup. The grey tones are soft and neutral. I particularly appreciate that the Twelves take a gender neutral stance, and I could see both men and women wearing any of the colors.
That’s a great thing, as it also means the BALA Twelves Shade can sneak into any outfit or pair of scrubs.
The light color shows off the subtle textural designs, such as the creases on the sides of the shoes. The level of detail that went into the BALA Twelves’ foundation is wonderfully accented by the Shade colorway.
The BALA Twelves Shade prove you can look good without needing to rely on bold hues.
BALA Twelves Daybreak Review
This has to be the brand’s most popular variant based on how often I have come across them on social media—even before writing this BALA nursing shoes review.
The BALA Twelves Daybreak feature a delightful teal top with grey undersides. Out of all of the featured colorways, this is the brand’s most definitive and it’s easy for me to see why.
Honestly, I think this is BALA’s best-looking product, so it’s no wonder I’ve seen it around. It’s eye-catching with a light color finish that allows the smaller texture flourishes to shine. It packages appeal, subtlety, class, and iconography into one hallmark product. Bravo, BALA.
BALA Twelves Defy Review
Defy is the warm BALA Twelve colorway. This limited production shoe is an eye-catching combination of crimson, pink, and gold, with a bright yellow underside.
The BALA Twelves Defy are the loudest out of all the offered colors. When you want to draw attention to your stylish sneaker selection, toss on a pair of these. You just might become the talk of the reception area.
They are a rather feminine shade pairing as the crimson isn’t too dark and the yellow and pink combination sparkles. With that being said, the design is clean, smart, mature, and athletic and I think it can be worn by anyone.
The BALA Twelves Defy aren’t overly fancy but their design is indeed chic. I would even sport them.
While this style has since been discontinued, BALA has replaced it with Flow White, an all-white design with neon tags. It’s pretty slick if you ask me.
Who are BALA Shoes For?
I’m pretty sure that BALA shoes are for nurses, but seeing as how nurse practitioners, postpartum workers, medical surgeons, and more have sung the shoes’ praises, I’d say they’re great for any medical position (or really any job that has you on your feet for hours on end).
After checking out the brand’s styles in this BALA shoes review, I found that the sneakers are sleek enough too that you could even wear them to the gym. Athleticism is in the BALA Twelves’ founding DNA, so why not lift some weights in shoes designed to carry the weight of the sick?
Who Designs BALA Nursing Shoes?
What’s special about BALA is the amount of work they do to connect amazing footwear designers and developers with nurses. The team at BALA believes that the key to making great shoes for nurses is bringing them into the design process.
And get this—the company even has a full-time employee whose primary job is to talk to nurses all the time, understand what they want, and connect them with the creative designers who make BALAs shoes. In terms of admirable shoe brands, I think this one takes the cake.
What Are Twelves Made Of?
The BALA Twelves have two layers made of different materials:
The outer layer, dubbed the “Shift Shield,” fights against moisture and exterior fluids. The inner layer supports foot shape and flexibility through a knit design. Both layers sit upon a polyurethane sole and a rubber base.
Can Men Wear Twelves?
Men can wear whatever they please, including the BALA Twelves. Since the Twelves only go up to size 11 men’s, I’ll note here in this BALA nursing shoes review that men with larger feet won’t be able to wear them.
Comparison: BALA vs. On
In this part of my BALA nursing shoes review, I will now pit the nursing brand against another popular movement-focused shoe company, On. I’ll briefly run through similar points for each brand so you can measure which one is the best fit for you.
- Engineered specifically for nurses
- One shoe model with four colors
- Only fits men up to size 11
- Only ship to the US
- Their flagship model, the BALA Twelves, cost $130
- Athletic shoes for hiking, jogging, running, and other activities
- Large variety of styles and colors
- Features men’s and women’s sizes
- Ships to more than 50 countries
- Prices range from $100 to over $250
On paper it may seem like On has the one-up over BALA. After all, they offer more products, more styles, and more colors. But keep in mind that On has a broad target audience.
While On develops shoes for multiple different exercise activities, BALA is one of the only shoe companies designed with nurses in mind.
Both companies are great shoe developers, so whichever company you decide to purchase from will be based on your preference and lifestyle. Plus, I think you’re likely to walk away happy with either.
BALA Nursing Shoe Reviews: What Do Customers Think?
No BALA shoes review would be complete without taking a look at what tried-and-true nurse experiences have to say about the shoes. To fill the gaps in my knowledge, I turned to the people whose opinion matters the most, BALA’s customers.
On the BALA website, many customers gloat about the Twelves’ comfort, design, and aesthetics. Sounds like a triple threat to me! One nurse enthusiastically touched upon what she loved in her review:
“I work as a nurse and have been looking for comfortable shoes to last me through the shift. I have tried many different brands that didn’t work for me. These were great from the start. With each shift they just get more and more comfortable… very happy to have a pair.”
Another BALA customer offered her story with the shoes that goes through as many peaks and valleys as a regular nursing shift:
“I bought them almost a month ago and had to return due to a protruding bone and the inside of the sneaker was pressing against it. Well, because I loved the look I tried them again and I’m so glad I did… they were very comfortable, so I figured I’d wear them as regular casual sneakers and plan to purchase the pink ones!”
A third review on the company’s website recounts how the BALA Twelves aided with the customer’s foot pains:
“These are by far my absolute favorite nursing shoes that I have tried! I have plantar fasciitis and these are the first pair of nursing shoes I have had that I do not notice any pain at all. My legs and feet do not hurt in the slightest after my long shifts multiple days in a row. Will be buying another pair for sure!”
Happy, happy customers. But what do people have to say about the shoes on external sites? Another hub with only good things to say about BALA are the testimonials featured on Nurse.org.
The website asked nurses about their experiences with the shoes and were met with much praise. Hospital workers across the board commented on the fit, the colors, how long the shoes last, and how they actually feel like they’re designed with nurses in mind.
One nurse gave the shoes a 4/5-star rating, saying that “The durability encompasses slip-resistant, style, and support all in one shoe!”
Another gave the shoes a perfect 5/5 stars and wrote “I could wear them all day and no complaints. I never had to adjust or remove. I also love the color I purchased. The grey is fun and versatile, yet the water-resistant design makes me worry-free at work and all the spills.”
Another 5/5 reviewer said she wore the shoes for an entire fortnight without having to change them once. “They’re cute and comfortable. As a nurse who has to respond and move quickly, I felt like I had shoes that could keep up with the physical demands of my work while not hurting my feet.”
To round things off in this BALA nursing shoes review, I popped over to Reddit, as they are the true home for footwear experts (haven’t you heard of r/sneakers?). I saw that the brand was quite popular there as well.
One Redditor adored the shoes, saying, “I have them and I love the comfort and fit. Only downside is how sweaty my feet are at the end of the day… I’ve heard paired with compression socks the sweat/stank is much lower!” Very good to know.
Another Reddit commenter chimed in quickly to share the love: “Came here to say this. There’s no hype! They’re the best shoes I’ve tried!! I sent some to my mom lol.”
Lastly, let me put some concrete numbers on the board to end this customer review section. Here is the aggregate score of the BALA Twelves from the company’s website: 4.3/5 stars based on over 2,171 ratings! That’s a lot of happy nurses and happy feet. I love to see it.
All in all, nurses and medical workers alike seem happy with their BALA shoes. I didn’t find much in the way of common negative feedback although some mention they’re quite narrow.
Is BALA Worth It?
How many times have you refused medical attention because your nurse was wearing ugly, grandma sneakers? Okay, maybe you’re not as picky as I am (kidding, of course), but truly, I’ve felt sympathetic towards the style sacrifices nurses have to make.
After all things considered in this BALA nursing shoes review, I believe that the BALA Twelves are worth the purchase, not only for their style but for their reported comfort and support.
BALA Promotions & Discounts
BALA offers a cool 15% discount when you sign up for their newsletter.
You can also share the BALA experience while reaping your own rewards by referring a friend. The brand will reward you with a $20 gift card which can be used on your next purchase.
Where to Buy BALA
BALA Twelves can be purchased through the brand’s website at weareBALA.com.
When was BALA Founded?
BALA was founded in 2020 by Brian Lockard, Caprice Neely, and John Eberle. Neely has since left the company, but they’re still in good hands.
What does ‘BALA’ mean?
BALA is the abbreviated form of balance. It refers to both physical balance-standing up on your own two feet and how nursing is a balancing act itself. Nurses occupy many positions in the hospital and balance being caregivers and authority figures.
Are Twelves Waterproof and Stainproof?
Yes, the shoes are waterproof. Their exterior is designed so that most liquids will fall right off of them.
Unfortunately, BALA can’t guarantee that their shoes are stainproof and they recommend wiping any fluids or potentially staining agents from your shoes as soon as possible.
Are Twelves Non-slip Nursing Shoes?
While getting to know the Twelves, I learned that these are pretty much the hiking boots of nursing shoes, in that they’re finished with rubber trends intended to maximize your stability. BALA shoes are as non-slip as they come.
Can I Wear Orthotics with my Twelves?
You can, but you shouldn’t need to wear orthotics. BALA shoes are designed to provide enough support as is. If you need the extra help, you can toss your orthotics into the bottoms of the shoes.
Where are BALA Shoes made?
The shoes themselves are manufactured in a Chinese factory, but they are planned and designed in the United States.
What Sizes are Available?
BALA offers all US women’s sizes, including half sizes, from size 5 to size 12 including half sizes. Men’s sizes range from 4 to 11.
I read that BALA shoes are true to fit but they are wider by design. That means that if you typically wear a half-size, it’s recommended that you order a size down.
What is BALA’s Shipping Policy?
The good news is that the brand offers free shipping to anywhere within the United States. The bad news is they only ship within the United States.
Orders can take 10 days to process before they get shipped out. Once your shipping is underway, BALA will send you a tracking link via email. All BALA shipments are done through FedEx.
You can make changes to your order up to 24 hours after you’ve placed it.
What is BALA’s Return Policy?
All of BALA’s returns are orchestrated through Happy Return. BALA accepts returns up to 45 days after products have been delivered. Unfortunately, there are no returns on shoes that have been worn in the workplace, which, I think is for obvious reasons.
How to Contact BALA
If you have any questions after reading this BALA review, you can reach out to the brand via the following methods of contact:
- Calling (909)-403-0954. They’re available from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm PST.
- Email at [email protected]
- Fill out the contact form offered on the brand’s website
Looking for more gear targeted towards nurses and healthcare professionals? Then check out the following brands: