Standing on my feet all day, I find myself going through many shoes per year to find the perfect one. After all, a well-designed pair of shoes makes a huge difference, especially when it comes to your health.
In 2020, Brian Lockard and John Eberle decided to step up and solve this dilemma. They co-founded Bala Shoes to design performance footwear aimed specifically toward healthcare professionals.
In this article, you’ll find an overview of the company and what they offer, alongside a product review of Bala’s most popular shoe —Twelves Shade Gray.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bala was just an idea in progress. The co-founders, Brian Lockard and John Eberle, started by focusing on health workers’ problems and what they need from a pair of shoes.
Lockard and Eberle, the Nike alumni, used to work in the field of athletic shoes. They felt that health workers weren’t getting enough attention regarding the long shift they spend on their feet.
Thus, they needed to give these workers a pair of shoes to help them withstand the hardship of the job.
Lockard and Eberle traveled all over the U.S. and met with hundreds of employees in the medical field. They heard many stories and took notes about what the current shoes are missing.
Then, they hired a team of designers and developers to work on creating the perfect shoes for long periods of standing. Not only that, but the company also took female feet anatomy and morphology into consideration. After all, over 75% of healthcare workers are females.
In the first year of launching, Bala accomplished a revenue of $4 million, which shows how much needed these kinds of shoes were. Ever since then, the company’s profits kept soaring.
What’s even more interesting is that Bala continues to collect feedback and information from users every day. That’s to work on further developing the shoes and upgrading the user experience.
For example, with the constant demand for wider fit varieties, Bala released two varieties, which are:
What Does Bala Offer?
Bala offers a range of different-colored footwear specifically designed to provide comfort and support during hospital shifts. In fact, Bala shoes are among the list of nurse.org’s top 12 best shoes for nurses in 2022.
Overall, nurses work 12+ hours per shift and need something to wear all day other than those squeaky sneakers and clunky clogs. Bala has solved this issue by designing and producing a line of unique footwear.
Bala shoes offer features, including:
- Fluid Resistance: This is an enormous feature for protecting the feet from dirt, dust, and water. Moreover, the shoes prevent bodily fluids from seeping through their material. Plus, they’re super easy to clean.
- Squeak-free Grip: The rubber compound of the outer sole prevents slipping and provides maximum traction in all directions, all without the annoying screeching and squealing.
- Supportive Insoles: Bala shoes present the Arch M-Brace technology that supports the foot’s arch for maximum comfort. Even after standing for long periods, the insole’s material ensures a pain-free experience.
- Stretchy KnitFit: Another great feature is the knit fit that stretches and accommodates feet without squeezing them tightly. Furthermore, the toe box is wide enough to offer ultimate comfort.
- Excellent Cushioning: Bala shoes’ platforms offer the best cushioning for nurses’ feet during prolonged work shifts. The HRS cushioning system utilizes foam material to absorb shocks and reduce joint stress.
- Female Fit Consideration: Two sizing charts are available on Bala’s website, both for men and women. Despite that, the shoes’ fit is tailored with more inclination towards women’s feet contouring.
Twelves Shade Gray Product Review
“The Twelves” is Bala’s main footwear line, and it got this name from the typical nurse’s 12-hour shifts. At Bala’s online shop, there are currently seven varieties to choose from. This includes today’s shoes of interest, the “Twelves Shade Gray.”
This is the perfect pair of shoes for nurses who have to stay on their feet for most of their workday. Twelves Shade Gray, like all Bala shoes, provides the best support to your feet with excellent insoles.
Utilizing the M-Brace technology, the shoe insoles contain this cushioning material that’s not too harsh for feet with flat arches. Yet, it’s still supportive enough for feet with higher arches.
Moreover, with the shock-absorbing design, Twelves Shade Gray keeps the feet at maximum comfort levels all day long.
- ShiftShield outer shell
- KnitFit inner layer
- Polyurethane sole with arch M-Brace technology
- Rubber base with anti-slip Code Grip and silent traction
- HRS shock-absorbing cushioning
- Unique design to accommodate the female’s feet anatomy
Twelves Shade Gray consists of two layers: the KnitFit and the ShiftShield. The KnitFit is the layer that fits around your foot shape and hugs it like a glove.
The ShiftShield is the outer fluid-resistant layer that prevents any liquids from seeping through the shoes. Moreover, it keeps your feet dry and makes the disinfection process easier for you.
So, rest assured that your shoes won’t get ruined during that busy ER shift with all the bodily fluids flying around.
Twelves Shade Gray comes in a soft neutral gray with minimal color pops of red and cyan at the tongue and rear collar of the shoes. This makes it a perfect fashion choice that goes well with nearly any scrub color.
Plus, the colorful flap going over the shoe tongue and snapping in place helps keep the shoelace tied in place. So, no more stopping to tie your loose shoelaces.
The lines of the Twelves Shade Gray are sleek and stylish, which is a huge advantage. That’s especially in comparison to the ordinary grandma sneakers nurses usually are stuck with. Hooray, fashionable health workers!
Twelves Shade Gray performs just as great as advertised. They support your feet, provide comfort, and protect them as well. You may find some other shoes to be better than Bala’s in a certain aspect.
However, Twelves Shade Gray gives you the best of both worlds, which are the support of clogs and the performance of running shoes. While it’s hard for one pair of shoes to fulfill 100% of your needs, Twelves Shade Gray is almost there.
What’s more, the anti-slip sole feature makes your days of running around safer and worry-free. With the sock-like high collar, Twelves Shade Gray’s provides a snug fit, ensuring they never come off your feet.
Twelves Shade Gray is available for women in sizes five to twelve and men in sizes four to eleven. According to user experience, you should always go down a size when buying your Bala shoes. That’s because their fit is larger than your ordinary pair of shoes.
Who They’re For
Although originally targeted at nurses, Bala shoes can also be exceptional for all medical workers, like surgeons. In fact, these shoes are a great choice for everybody with a job where they’re required to stand on their feet for long periods.
With the sleek look and superior performance of Bala’s Twelves Shade Gray, it’s safe to conclude that they’re good enough to replace your every day sneakers. So, whether you’re going to the gym, the supermarket, or shopping, these shoes can support your feet perfectly.
Twelves Shade Gray costs $150 per pair with free shipping across the U.S. Fortunately when on sale, you can buy a pair of Bala shoes for as low as $95.
Bala also offers a 15% discount on their products when you sign up for their newsletter. In addition, if you refer Bala shoes to a friend, you get a $20 gift card to use on your next purchase from the brand.
- Extraordinary arch support
- Spacious toe box for extra wiggle room
- Excellent for chronic foot pain
- Perfect for shin splints
- Co-developed by nurses
- Easy to clean and machine washable
- A bit hard to slip on
- Only fits men up to size 11
As mentioned above, Bala ships the purchased shoes to customers all over the U.S. free of charge. However, if you’re living in another country, you might not be happy to hear that Bala only ships within the U.S.
In case you wish to make changes to your order after placing it, you only have a 24-hour window. Generally, a typical order takes up to ten days to process before shipping. After that, Bala sends you a link to track your order delivered through FedEx.
Bala accepts product returns within 45 days of purchase, only as long as you haven’t worn the shoes at your workplace.
A Final Thought
Bala shoes are revolutionary in terms of comfort, performance, and durability, not to mention how sleek their design is. They’re a huge success because they’re specifically aiming to fulfill the needs of health workers who have to stand for most of the day.
The Twelves Shade Gray is one of Bala’s excellent designs, as it comes in a unisex neutral shade with minor color additions. It combines Bala’s unique features, which makes it a great option for nurses.
In conclusion, Twelves Shade Gray, like all Bala shoes, provides a comfortable and safe experience. Aside from men’s limited sizing and being a bit difficult to slip on, Bala shoes have almost no drawbacks.