How do chefs stand for 12 hours straight without passing out from foot pain? The answer lies in the custom-made kitchen shoes they wear. Expertise in the kitchen requires specialized footwear, and places like Restaurant Depot are the industry's best-kept secrets when it comes to finding such footwear. Material, arch support, and sole design are some of the ways in which they vary from standard footwear. Having a non-slip sole is a common feature of kitchen shoes, allowing chefs to confidently and swiftly move down a wet or greasy hotline. Kitchen shoes are as necessary as a cute apron for the home cook. Even if you don't have a deep fat fryer or an industrial dishwasher, most home cooks eventually deal with potentially dangerous spills and spatter. Even though most home cooks don't stand for 12 hours straight, it's still crucial to pay attention to your feet and wear shoes that are comfortable for you.
Buying new shoes can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have specific cooking needs. Ashley Schuering of Confessions of a Grocery Addict, a food blog dedicated to healthy, easy, and affordable recipes for resourceful home cooks, says, "Kitchen shoes obviously need to have a non-slip bottom, but they should also be comfortable and supportive." The Cabbie II from Shoe's for Crews came out on top after we compared it to the competition based on a number of criteria, including price, comfort, popularity, availability, sole type, style, and, of course, our own personal experiences.
Shoes For Crews, Zappos, and Walmart are also selling them.
Justification of its Greatness
- Soft, relaxing fabric
Just Take It With a Grain of Salt
These are the shoes I wear to work as a waiter, where I have been employed for almost a decade. My favorite kitchen shoes for the warmer months are these. (Scroll down to see my favorite pair of boots for the harsh Philadelphia winter) There are many reasons why I adore these shoes, but their non-slip soles and water-resistant finish are at the top of my list. You can't put your foot completely underwater in these, but they'll keep you dry from an accidental spill or two. The sole is indestructible, and I have no trouble walking the line or accelerating around corners.
If you're looking for a pair of shoes to wear around the house, you probably don't need the extreme durability of most kitchen shoes. These are low-top canvas professionals, so when I leave work, I won't look like I'm wearing work shoes when I go out to dinner with friends. As a home cook, this is fantastic news because it's hard to find a pair of shoes that are both comfortable and practical for kicking back in the kitchen and incorporating into the rest of your life.
These may feel too roomy if you're used to wearing more rigid footwear, such as sneakers or dress shoes. Canvas makes them flexible and easy to shape, but the material is not as sturdy as leather. The canvas will tear and the shoes will eventually develop a hole if worn frequently or for an extended period of time.
The Specifics: Black, green, and gray canvas uppers with a rubber sole; sizes 4 12 (men's) to 14 (women's) and 1/2 (extra wide) to 15 (extra wide) and 1/2 (wide)
Available at Wal-Mart as well
Why It's So Awesome
- Simple to clean
- Soft, cushioned footbeds
Throw Caution to the Wind
These Sloggers, which cost anywhere from $20 to $45 dollars, are the best deal you can find. Because of their waterproof construction and ability to withstand outdoor digging, this particular model is a garden shoe, which offers several advantages. They're like regular rain boots, only shorter and more appropriate for wearing around town. Their shiny, watertight finish makes them easy to clean with a paper towel or rag dampened in water. The removable, machine-washable insoles made of a soft material are one of the shoes' main selling points.
It's a cinch to put on, but be sure to get the right size! Many reviewers noted that these tend to run small, making them difficult to get on and off Furthermore, Sloggers does not produce half sizes; therefore, customers who typically wear half sizes should order the next whole size up. Half sizes can be accommodated by purchasing an insole, which is available for purchase separately from Sloggers.
Specifics: 32 colorways and patterns to choose from, synthetic uppers, rubber outsoles, sizes 6-11 for women.
Cloud Slides is another option.
Reasons Why It's Awesome
- Relaxed fit
Throw Caution to the Wind
- The band can be snug
You could say the name of these slides is perfect. Imagine stepping into a fluffy cloud. These shoes are not only comfortable, but also stylish and practical for wearing after work. After a long day at work, there's nothing better than removing your shoes and sliding into a pair of these cushy, thick slides. These are the shoes for you if the idea of standing up to prepare dinner after a long day at the office makes you feel physically ill.
The soles are made from a yoga mat-like material that is more than an inch thick, making these shoes not only ideal for the kitchen but also for lounging and trash runs. In addition, they can be worn in the shower or out in the rain because of their water resistance. Because they are open at the toes and provide no protection, you should exercise extra caution if you are prone to dropping or spilling things while cooking. The band is roomy if you have a smaller foot but can be restrictive if you have a larger one.
Specifics: Men's 3/women's 5 to 11/13 in seven different colors and widths of Ethylene-vinyl acetate foam 5
See also: 16 Top-Rated Kitchen Towels That Will Make Washing Dishes a Breeze!
In addition, Birkenstock has them.
Several Reasons Why It's Awesome
- Soles made from cork
An Acknowledged Grain of Salt
I can relate to the struggle of finding shoes that provide adequate arch support when you have flat feet. Let us not overstate the pain that can result from wearing shoes that do not provide adequate arch support. Birkenstocks are some of the most well-liked chef footwear, and I personally know several chefs and cooks who wear them both on and off the job. They're simple to put on and provide plenty of room for your toes, ensuring all-day comfort. However, the real advantage lies in the footbed. The cork construction is classic Birkenstock, and the perfect combination of rigidity and give makes it a great choice for those of us with flat feet. The exterior is watertight, so it can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth or even a hose. The footbed can be taken out and machine washed, or it can be completely replaced with orthopedic insoles.
These are perfect for you if you prefer a roomier, more relaxed fit. These may not be the most comfortable shoes for you, especially if you have trouble keeping your slip-ons on your feet. With a price tag of , they are unquestionably pricey. While there are cheaper options for slip-on kitchen shoes, the added support provided by the cork arch makes these the best choice.
Polyurethane upper, cork and latex insole, 9 color options (men's 6/women's 4 up to 15/12), and sizing from whole to half sizes.
In addition, Dansko has them.
Why It's So Awesome
- Superior cushioning for the arches
To Be Taken With a Pinch of Salt
You've probably seen or heard of Danskos before, as they are widely preferred by kitchen staff, wait staff, and medical staff. Essentially any occupation that requires you to stand for extended periods of time. You can spend all day in these shoes without feeling any discomfort, and they will last a lifetime. Shoe wearers who experience foot pain and could benefit from additional support while standing will appreciate the insole's combination of a stiff arch support and plush memory foam. The chunky heel and nonslip sole are trademark features of Danskos. Even if you're only wearing them for a short while, the extra-large rubber bottom will keep your feet in a comfortable position. When you need to take care of your feet around the house, whether you're cooking or doing errands, Danskos are a great option because they're so easy to put on and take off.
These kicks don't come cheap. It's not cheap, and it might not be worth it for general household use, but they have a surprising number of applications and can be used for an extremely long time without Unlike synthetics, they last a very long time because of the leather that makes up most of their construction. Since you only need one pair of these clogs throughout your entire working life, we dub them "career shoes." Not a single person I know has ever worn through a pair of shoes or had to replace them. Sous-chef James Nardone of Suraya in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood loves his Danskos so much that he won't wear anything else in the kitchen. Nardone says, "they're made super sturdy and are as comfortable as it can get when you're working hard, 12-14 hour shifts." "
These clogs' main drawback, apart from their price, is their heel. Despite its superior support, it is noticeably taller than standard kitchen footwear. Because of the elevated sole, some wearers may feel unsteady or even injure themselves by rolling an ankle.
Information: Leather upper, rubber outsole, 35 color/pattern options for women's sizes 4–9. The range is from 5-13, with some plus sizes available.
To be found at retail giants Amazon and Walmart as well.
As to Why It's So Awesome
When it comes to kitchen footwear, Shoes for Crews has long been regarded as a go-to brand. Numerous chefs I know, including myself, wear footwear from their online store because of its stellar reputation. The Everlight is a brand new model.
The fact that they appear to be the current popular style of athletic shoe is a major selling point. They're mostly made out of mesh, so they're airy and light and look like your favorite pair of sneakers. The Shoes for Crews "Spill Guard" technology and nonslip soles are what set these shoes apart, though. The Everlights have a special coating on the inside that prevents spills. There is an external coating to further safeguard your feet, as is the case with the vast majority of Shoes for Crews' offerings. The trade-off for being lightweight and flexible is that the materials aren't as durable as others; this is especially true given that they aren't made from tough leather. Despite their extreme softness, the mesh construction makes these easily damaged.
The Specifics: Man-made materials; offered in black and blue; sizes 7-13, including some wide options for men.
Available at Wal-Mart as well
That's why it's so great
- Heel strap
Do not take this all the way to the bank
- Abundant in space
- Totally impermeable
Everyone is familiar with Crocs. They are one of the most common pairs of shoes worn by people working in restaurants. Many people wear them, even if they don't cook. The primary characteristic of Crocs is their ability to keep your feet cozy. These are constructed from EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), a foam resin. Because of the material's rigidity and slight give, Crocs are both supportive and comfortable. Waterproof and easily cleaned with a damp cloth or paper towel. It's important to remember that this material doesn't allow air to circulate, so your feet may start to smell after some time.
There are some subtle differences between the regular Crocs and this version, which is designed specifically for service industry workers. With a non-slip sole, a roomier toe box and footbed, and additional arch support, these slip-on clogs are a welcome addition to your wardrobe. These Crocs are a step above the rest because there are no holes in the upper to let anything in (like spills or debris). The low price, convenience of a slip-on design, and added protection and support they provide make them ideal for the kitchen. There is a danger of losing your footing in slip-on shoes. This is often inconvenient and even dangerous. If you want a more snug fit, just flip down the heel strap on your Crocs.
These may not be the best option for you if you normally wear shoes with a snugger fit. Though Crocs are designed to be roomy and loose, some people find that their feet move around too much in them, making them uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. It can be difficult to find the right size due to the oversized cut. Be sure to use the size chart provided or try on a pair of Crocs in-store before making a purchase, as many customers have reported that the shoes run large.
Specifics: Made from ethylene-vinyl acetate; available in 14 different solid and patterned colorways; offers sizing from a men's 4/women's 6 to a 15/17.
Blundstone has similar products.
Why It's So Awesome
- Helps stabilize the ankle
- Require breaking in
I work in these boots every day from October to March. Even on a daily basis at home The fact that my Blundstones are always a perfect fit is the thing I appreciate most about them. Their cushioned insoles make standing for long periods of time (ten or more hours) more bearable. In addition, the high-top design of these shoes offers superior ankle support compared to standard kitchen footwear. The band stretches to let your foot slide in, then snaps back into a snug, comfortable position. The upper of these boots is made from incredibly tough leather, making them waterproof and practically indestructible. Middle Child Clubhouse is an all-day cafe and restaurant in Philadelphia, and its chef, Colin Freeman, will not work in anything but a chef coat. In his own words, Freeman says, "They're the first shoe that I could find that was super supportive [and] high top... I've had the same pair for over a one and a half years and they're still just as supportive and non-slip as when I got them." "
Easy to slip on and clean, thanks to the lack of a tangled shoelace, Chelsea boots are a versatile wardrobe staple. In addition to their practicality, they are so fashionable that I wear them almost every weekend. The only drawback is that they need to be broken in, so practicing your footwork in them around the house first is recommended. These boots are fantastic, but they are quite pricey. It's an investment in a shoe you'll have for years and years; I've had mine for almost six years, and they still look and feel great. Even though I put mine through hell by wearing them to work every day, I think I can get at least another four or five years out of them. Their longevity is increased when used in the comfort of one's own home.
Specifics: Elasticized leather upper; rubber heel and toe; various colors; men's sizes 4-14.
Shoes for Crews Cabbie II are the best choice if you need a pair of shoes that can be worn casually and are also functional in the kitchen. If you're looking for a soothing slide to play after a long day at work, Cloud Slides is the place to go.
The variety of designs available for kitchen footwear is a major plus. Finding what you're looking for in a store will be much simpler if you shop according to the style you prefer. Popular options include boots, lace-ups, and slip-ons. Slip-ons are perfect for those times when you just want to throw on some shoes and go—like when you're in the kitchen, at the dump, or at the grocery store. Shoes that are secured with laces are the best option if you need a snug fit that can be worn outside the kitchen. Boots are ideal for you if you're looking for a versatile shoe that can be worn with a variety of outfits and still provides the support and stability your ankles need.
To our relief, cooks' shoes can be found in a wide variety of materials. Shoes like Crocs, Birkenstocks, and Cloud Slides are great options if you need something that's simple to clean. Shoes made of canvas or synthetic materials are typically the best option for those who want mobility and ventilation. Finally, leather shoes are your best bet if you're looking for something that will last a long time.
Can you whip up a meal in under thirty minutes? In other words, a person who enjoys making fresh pasta on a weeknight. Or in the middle of it all How and for how long you'll be using your new kitchen footwear is a major consideration when shopping for a pair of shoes. For those who plan on wearing them for extended periods of time, there are options like Danskos that provide extra support and durability. Some, like Sloggers, are more suited to light, slip-on work and won't hold up as well if you put in a lot of hours.
Shoes with specific features are essential if you have needs relating to support, such as flat feet or joint pain. Blundstones and similar boots have cushioned insoles and additional ankle support to keep your joints safe. Some are designed to alleviate the discomfort of flat feet by including extra arch support in the footbed.
To prevent slips and falls in the kitchen, a non-slip sole is an absolute must. Before entering the kitchen at most establishments, non-slip shoes are a prerequisite. Treads are the main design feature distinguishing standard from non-slip soles. Typically, there is a tiny, repeated pattern to increase the shoe's grip and traction on the ground. When liquid gets under your shoe, a non-slip tread pattern will direct it to the side rather than trap it, preventing you from slipping. A non-slip shoe's sole will also have softer rubber, making it more flexible and increasing the shoe's ability to grip the ground.
The appropriate method for cleaning footwear worn in the kitchen will vary depending on the material. Cleaning plastic, coated, or foam-like materials requires nothing more than a good kitchen rag and some warm water. Just use a damp cloth to wipe down and air dry; if anything is particularly crusty, some dish soap might help. The majority of canvas footwear can be washed in a washing machine; however, it is recommended that you allow them to dry naturally to avoid damaging your dryer. If you want to wash your shoes in the washing machine, I recommend taking out the laces and washing them by hand first. Clean your leather shoes with a damp rag and some warm water to remove dust and debris on a regular basis. If you're interested in taking better care of the leather on your Blundstones, they have a section of their website devoted to boot care where you can buy products like leather conditioners and polishing pads.
This article was written and compiled by Nick DeSimone. They have worn shoes for the majority of their nearly ten years of service in a formal restaurant setting. Nick has put to the test on the line and in life nearly every pair of kitchen shoes available. Nick is a serious home cook, so his family has first-hand knowledge of the best shoes for the kitchen and for everyday life. Nick is well-connected in the footwear industry and has heard the opinions of many colleagues regarding their personal experiences with various shoe brands.
Please accept my gratitude for your comments.