You, the chef, are the mastermind behind every mouthwatering dish that goes out the door. It took you a long time to stand at the stove and prepare that meal. You probably avoided running into a teammate who was carrying a pot of boiling water because you heard a loud cry of "hot behind." Another possibility is that you came to a complete halt because of a grease stain on the floor. While accidents involving liquids may not happen every day, a chef's daily routine typically involves standing for at least 10 hours on hard concrete floors.

Top Picks from The Spruce's Menu

The Birkenstock Professional Birki tops our list because it has been tried and tested for decades by working chefs. The New Balance Slip Resistant Shoes provide the optimal compromise between convenience and security for the kitchen.

In commercial kitchens, tiles or concrete with mats serve as the working substrates. However, there are some places where mats aren't always necessary. After decades of service in commercial kitchens, Menu for You proprietor Vahé Mekhitarian has concluded that "concrete is a killer for your feet, knees, and back."

Feet become tired from standing and walking for long periods of time, which can lead to other problems such as backaches and sprains. Having your favorite knife with you on the job is important, but having the right shoes to support your body is just as crucial. Therefore, we inquired as to the preferred footwear of veteran chefs in order to lessen exhaustion, heighten security, and facilitate movement around a hectic kitchen.

Professionals in the food service industry compiled this list of the best shoes for chefs.

The Things That We Enjoy

  • Fits the foot like a glove

  • Normal distribution of body fat

  • High back

Disliked Features

  • Some individuals may find the toe box to be excessively roomy.

  • Rapid deterioration of insoles

These, known affectionately as "Birkis," are wildly popular in commercial kitchens. These polyurethane clogs are highly recommended by chefs because they are resistant to oil and grease.

The cork insoles are what sold me on them. According to Denver's Il Posto's executive chef, Zachary Patz, "they form to the shape of your foot after a week or so, and in that respect become personalized." He elaborates, "They're still slip-ons, but they have a high back to keep my foot inside."  

The Birkenstock's roomy toe box and wide insertion point allow the foot to splay comfortably. Clean and disinfect the polyurethane insole whenever it gets dirty.

At the time of publication, the price is .00.

Polyurethane construction; offered in dark blue, brown, and black; slip-on design.


Various Things That Appeal to Us

  • Absorption of force

  • Can be purchased in a variety of vibrant hues

  • Neutralization of Off-Patches

Disliked Features

  • Slow to penetrate

  • Susceptible to rolling their ankles

For long periods on one's feet, nothing beats the Dansko Professional Leather Clog for comfort and support. Those who suffer from flat feet will appreciate the memory foam footbed's superior arch support.

Executive Chef Denis Zvekic of Denver's Kachina Cantina recommends Dansko shoes for preventing foot and back pain while standing for long periods of time. If you wear them constantly, he says to get a new pair every year.

At the time of publication, the cost is $130.

Box Leather, polyethylene; Variable colorways; Slip-on design.

Crocs On The Clock Work Clog

Our Favorites

  • Free-flowing and comfy

  • Soft, padded insoles

  • Closed-back and snug

Things We Dislike

  • It's not efficient to increase or decrease in half sizes.

  • Potential ineffectiveness with particularly high arches

Water-friendly and extremely lightweight, Crocs are a popular shoe choice. Light and comfortable as before, but now with an enclosed toe and heel to satisfy professional kitchen regulations. Shoes can be cleaned with soap and water and have a nonslip sole. The nonslip treads make them suitable for the kitchen and ensure your safety, and the high arch support is welcome, too.

Chef Jason Maybee, a 25-year veteran of the culinary world and a member of the Denver Chefs Collaborative, says he wears Crocs because of their comfort. If you're used to wearing clogs that require breaking in, you won't mind the lack of break-in time with these. He raves, "These shoes are so soft and comfortable that I can wear them for an entire twelve hour shift."

Published price is $34

Croslite (closed cell resin) construction; slip-on design; a choice of black, white, navy, and tie-dye colorways.

SAS Patriot Nonslip Shoe

Our Favorites

  • Insole that wicks away moisture

  • Reduction of impact force

  • Custom sizing available from trained professionals

Negative Aspects

  • Constrained space for the toes

  • Inconvenient to clean

Colorado business owner Madhoo Seth, who runs the restaurants Roots and The Gourmet Kitchen Catering, favors the SAS Patriot brand of footwear. She explains, "SAS is the best shoe for me as I have very long days, and in addition to working in the kitchen, I have to be at events for weddings." After ten years of daily wear, my pair of SAS shoes are still going strong. "

If you're looking for the best fit and comfort from your new pair of shoes, SAS suggests getting fitted by a professional in one of its stores. The moisture-wicking layer and the anti-friction lining of the cool footbed work together to keep your feet comfortable and dry all day long. Cushions can be removed and they won't smell.

Cost as of publication:

Leather upper; available in black; slip-on style

New Balance 626v2 Industrial Sneakers

That Which Satisfies Our Tastes

  • Cushioning for the arches that is not overly strong

  • To provide shock absorption for the heel

  • The sole is resistant to oil.

Disliked Features

For the kitchen, you may at times prefer a shoe with a more athletic appearance. This New Balance pair of work shoes has a sporty look and provide a comfortable fit for a full day's wear. The 626v2 sneaker's all-leather upper ensures durability, while the sneaker's cushioning and compression resistance keep your feet feeling great all day long.

The shoes' slip-resistant outsole provides traction, making them a good choice for the kitchen. These shoes combine the comfort of a sports shoe with the safety features of a kitchen shoe, making them an attractive alternative to the traditional chef's shoe.

To purchase for .00 at the time of publication, click here.

Lace-up, athletic style; leather and rubber upper; available in black and gray


Our Favorites

  • Foot space that's plenty big

  • Resistant to High Temperatures

  • Versatile

Disliked Features

Chef Justin Ryan Fulton, a freelance consultant and industry veteran who has held positions as executive chef at Pernoi in Birmingham, Michigan, and chef de cuisine at French Louie in Brooklyn, describes the Blundstone as "the tough, total coverage shoe [that] protects against all the hazards of the kitchen." New York In addition to being a highly protective shoe, this pair also provides outstanding support and is incredibly comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. "

These Blundstone unisex work boots have a steel shank for support and a slip-resistant sole and waterproof leather upper for safety. The shoes feature an antibacterial, washable, and breathable removable footbed with excellent arch support.

Retailing for $230 as of this writing.

Oil-tanned leather construction; available in black and brown; slip-on style.

Dr. Martens 1460 Slip Resistant Service Boots

Our Favorites

  • Worker fatigue prevention

  • Comfortable and supportive footbed

  • Improved holding power

Negative Aspects

  • Wears in gradually

  • Not even water-proof

You can wear these shoes to the office or to the park. There is a lot of support and grip in these boots, and they are slip-resistant. Outside the kitchen, they make a stunning accessory. You won't have to stop to change your shoes if you find yourself frantically dashing from the kitchen to events.

Designed with heavy-duty, water-resistant leather, Dr. Cleaning a pair of Doc Martens is a breeze. They are uncomfortable for the first few days but break in easily. The shoes can be worn in a variety of settings, allowing you to express your personality while also keeping you secure and comfortable on the job.

As of this writing, the price is $170.

Lace-up; leather and synthetic uppers; available in white, black, and cherry red

Adidas Originals Cloudfoam Advantage Sneaker

Our Favorites

  • Extremely Gentle and Relaxing

  • Weak support for the arches

This Is What We Dislike

  • Not suited for use in restaurants' kitchens.

Working as a personal chef typically involves going to the residence of your client. The surface and atmosphere are very different from a commercial kitchen. You should wear footwear that will provide adequate support on both carpets and hardwoods.

According to Mekhitarian, "I learned about Adidas Clouds from a friend who is a surgeon and is on his feet for long hours." We spoke about shoes, and he said that the Adidas Clouds are the most comfortable and supportive for his arches and back. Personal chefs, rejoice: Adidas gives your footwear as much adaptability and style as your cooking skills.

When this was published, the price was $47.

Textile and synthetic materials; black and white with customizable core-stripe colors; lace-up, athletic silhouette

Dansko Professional Clogs

A Few Things We Dig

  • Minimalist framework

  • Assist the Arch

  • Widespread foot space

Our Dislikes

  • A period of use is required before it becomes comfortable.

  • Easily rolls their ankles

There is a wide variety of styles and colors available for these Dansko shoes. Features include a lightweight design, nonslip soles, and a footbed that can be removed. Additionally, the shoe's memory foam lining and arch stabilizer make it suitable for long periods of standing. Extra comfort is provided by the padded instep, and freedom of movement is ensured by the roomy toe box.

Because of their sturdiness, Colorado personal chef business owner Cammie Reed says, "They're a little pricey, but they last forever." It helped her knee and ankle pain significantly, she says.

As of this writing, the price is .00.

Slip-ons can be found in black leather, brown synthetic, and a variety of multicolored patterns.

Birkenstock Men's Super-Birki

Our Favorites

  • Cork-latex footbed with anatomical contours

  • Versatile

  • Be sterilized

Things That Annoy Us

Taylor Westbrook, proprietor of By the Brook Tempeh in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, raves about how comfortable Birkis are, describing them as "light on the feet, easy to put on, and feeling like you're wearing loose slippers." My first pair lasted me a long time, so they're pretty sturdy. "

The footbed in Birkenstocks is made of cork and latex, and it is removable and can be washed. The footbed is also lined with a moisture-wicking fabric. According to Westbrook, "breathability is key," and he finds that in the Birki brand. The polyurethane outsole can withstand heat up to 176 degrees, is oil and grease resistant, and is simple to clean and sanitize.

Published price is

Polyurethane and cork; various colors (black, white, red, blue, yellow, green, apple green, raspberry sorbet, light blue) and a slip-on design.

Judgement at the End

Supportive and tried and true in the kitchen for decades, the Birkenstock Professional Birki is a shoe that you can trust. The New Balance Slip Resistant Shoes are great if you want the safety and comfort of work shoes but prefer the sneaker look.

Shoes are one of the most important safety measures in a commercial kitchen. Professional and certified shoes provide extra safeguards thanks to their superior materials and construction. Top contenders for use as primary components include leather, rubber, and polyethylene. These materials are stain- and odor-resistant and simple to wipe clean.

Muscle fatigue is a common result of walking and standing on the hard surfaces of kitchen floors. Pick a pair of shoes with a cushioned insole and plenty of shock absorption to ease the strain on your legs and feet. Reduced fatigue is achieved through a more balanced distribution of weight on the footbed.

Shoes should have a slip-resistance rating such as SRA, SRB, or SRC. These markings indicate that the shoe bottoms were subjected to a glycerol solution (SRB) or a soap solution (SRA) during testing. Extremely wet and slick surfaces are used for both of these tests. When both the SRA and SRB tests were performed, the SRC rating is given.

Comfort in the hot kitchen is ensured by shoes that allow air to circulate freely or are made of moisture-wicking materials.

One's own sense of style and ease of movement After all, you and the shoe will be inseparable for quite some time. Relaxing is the best course of action. Pull-on or lace-up You can find benefits in both. One of the best things about slip-on shoes is how simple they are to maintain. Lace-ups are better because they keep your foot in place. Choose a pair of shoes that fits your needs, whether they be extra cushioning in the heel or a wider toe box.   

You can remove dirt and spills from the shoe's upper by wiping it down with a damp cloth and a soft brush. Shoe soles can be cleaned with a garden hose and air drying. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines when attempting a more thorough cleaning of the chef's shoes. Some clogs can be cleaned by simply tossing them in the washing machine, whereas some leather shoes cannot be submerged in water.

In the kitchen, steel-toed shoes are not a necessity. The answer is typically subjective and may even be shoe-specific. Depending on the station, some chefs may benefit more from wearing steel-toe shoes. Steel-toe shoes provide extra protection for those who need it, such as butchers who use large knives all day or commercial cooks who use heavy utensils.

Chef shoes aim to reduce accidents in the kitchen. Chef's shoes should be worn by anyone who must frequently enter the kitchen for work.

Renu Dhar, a private chef and food instructor, frequently works long hours on her feet. Some of the suggested footwear is her own, and she is always on the lookout for shoes that are comfortable and secure for the workplace. In order to get advice from people who spend long shifts on their feet in commercial kitchens, she conducted interviews with professional chefs.