What are the best kitchen shoes? Our top pick are the Dansko Professional Tooled Clogs.
Conditions in a professional kitchen are fast-paced, results-oriented, and slippery.
Grease, soapy water and spills can lead to dangerous conditions for restaurant workers on a daily basis.
Of course working in a restaurant can also mean being on your feet for hours, so you'll need a supportive shoe.
In this guide we will explore what makes a great shoe for working in a restaurant as a chef or server and shoe options you may want to consider.
Top 5: Best Shoes For Restaurant Workers
Best Shoes For Chefs
Shoes that offer comfort and ease of removal are critical for chefs, whose work requires them to move large containers of hot food.
We like a clog style chef's shoe.
Should you suffer a large spill and need to get out of your shoes fast so you can cool down a burn, laces will only add to your pain.
That being said, having some flexibility in the upper of the shoe will give you a break as your feet swell over the course of the day. Slip on shoes with a quality non-skid sole are an ideal choice.
Shoe and feet experts at Comfortable Shoe Guide offer servers, chefs and kitchen workers some great ideas for boosting the safety and comfort of anyone who works in an industrial kitchen. It's important to note that the most expensive shoes are not always the best choice for all-day comfort.
A sturdy yet lightweight sole, well-cushioned foot bed and non-skid bottom is most important.
Additionally, a urethane upper that can be easily wiped down will keep your shoes looking sharp. Finally, the most important test of a pair of comfortable chef shoes is at the end of the day. You may need to test drive shoes for a while to decide the best pair for your needs.
Best Shoes For Servers
While chefs and other kitchen workers may not need to face the public, servers are required to put their best foot forward every day. Additionally, dress codes may require all servers to wear the same style of shoe.
As not all servers come in the same shapes and sizes, deciding on food service shoes with an affordable price point for everyone on the restaurant floor is critical.
Dansko clogs offer both men and women a well-cushioned interior, excellent arch support, and a lightweight yet slip-resistant sole.
Depending on your size requirements and color choices, these shoes can be expensive. However, they're extremely long-lasting and offer terrific protection for your feet from inside and out.
What Are Non Slip Shoes?
Non-slip shoes are designed to move fluids like grease, water and spilled soup out from under the foot through cuts in the tread design.
As the wearer steps down, liquids are squeezed out from underfoot so the most prominent portion of the tread cut makes solid and continuous contact with the floor.
An improper sole pattern will lead to the worker hydroplaning on water or grease and can lead to dangerous falls.
Safety authority Bill Douglas offers a checklist to determine the value of the tread cuts in slip resistant shoes. His recommendations include looking for a tread cut of at least two millimeters between the tread cuts, and a pattern that will move liquids out from under the foot of the worker.
How Do I Care For My Non Slip Shoes?
If you spend your days walking cross floors that may be wet, covered in a light film of grease or scattered with food particles, you will need to build a cleaning regimen for your work shoes.
It's a good idea to engage in this ritual at the start of the work week so you can work in safety and confidence all week long.
First, monitor the tread cuts in your shoes. This can easily be done with a small narrow-bladed screwdriver or other pointy (but not sharp) tool. You don't want to cut your shoe tread or alter the pattern. Remove any food particles or debris you find.
Secondly, authorities at Famous Footwear recommend adding a squirt of dish soap to a shallow dish pan and adding water to cover just the soles.
- Soak the soles of your kitchen shoes for fifteen minutes, then give the shoe tread a quick brush with a stiff-bristled cleaning brush.
- Rinse away the soapy water and wipe down the soles with a paper towel.
- Set your shoes on a layer of paper towels and allow them to dry completely before your shift.
When selecting the right soap for this project, take care to avoid any products that contain bleach or offer any sort of whitening capabilities as you may accidentally discolor the shoe.
Wipe down the upper of your shoe with a damp cloth. Don't use soap unless you have to, and review manufacturer recommendations to make sure you don't use a product that will ruin the look of your shoe.
Once your shoes are clean, using a shoe spray or shoe powder can keep your shoes smelling fresh at work! Here is a great video on a DIY shoe powder to keep odors at bay:
For workers on their feet all day, a quality pair of shoes is much more than a fashion choice. Keeping your feet well-supported and adequately cushioned will protect your knees, hips, spine and posture.
Restaurant work is hard labor. Moving large platters of food, heavy tubs of dirty dishes and hot pots full of stock require a strong footing. From this sturdy base, you can accomplish what you need to do, protect your health and keep your co-workers and clients safe.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite shoes and how have they held up over time.