Public service announcement: Justine Bednarski is a closeted shopaholic (pun intended). Aside from not owning enough hangers for the surplus of tops I have somehow accumulated, my kryptonite lies in the hands of the shoe gods. Although trendy, my riding boots, Peter Sheppard sandals and strappy wedges weren’t quite the style of shoe appropriate for the pre-clinical and clinical settings of dental school. Upon matriculating to the Ohio State University College of Dentistry, I was informed of the dress code policy, which included appropriate shoes to be worn at school. “All enrolled students wearing scrubs in the clinic are required to wear steel grey OSU scrubs. Shoes must be non-permeable to sharp objects, the top of the foot must be completely covered, and heels must not exceed 2.5 inches. Shoes must be scarlet, grey, white or a combination.”
Now that I had an excuse to buy new shoes (not that you ever need an excuse), I decided on a stable pair that would provide the greatest amount of comfort. Besides stepping out in style, shoes worn in the clinical setting must abide by OSHA guidelines. While working in clinic or pre-clinic where sharp instruments are regularly used, all persons must wear closed-toe shoes as personal protective equipment.
It was surprisingly challenging to find a women’s pair of shoes in scarlet, grey, and/or white, but I ultimately chose a pair of Brooks tennis shoes. Amongst my classmates, most students went a similar route and chose tennis shoes. These included brands like Nike, Adidas, Mizuno and Asics, to name a few.
Due to the strict guidelines at Ohio State, I researched what students at other schools prefer to wear on their feet. At the Dental College of Georgia, students in their first three years of school typically wear athletic shoes. Some however, have ventured into Dansko territory (Dansko’s website advertises a wide variety of styles, including clogs, sandals, boots, heels, flats and sneakers). When Georgia students enter senior clinic, they have the option of wearing business casual attire instead of scrubs. Men often wear loafers and women wear flats covering the toes in senior clinic. At the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, students wear athletic shoes or Dansko professional clogs. There are no guidelines on color or style, but shoes must abide by OSHA guidelines.
Shoes are a fun way to spice up your wardrobe – one of the few ways to express yourself and showcase your personal style in a sea of scrubs. If your school has strict guidelines on shoe attire like mine, another option to enhance your wardrobe is with a plethora of fun-colored socks. No matter the style, shape or color, remember to choose a shoe that will provide comfort. You will undoubtedly be running around all day in them. To provide the best care for your patients, you need happy feet!
~ Justine Bednarski, Ohio State ’18