Best Kitchen Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality
From professional chefs to home cooks, we all deserve an exceptional pair of shoes to get us through our work in the kitchen. Ask anyone who has had the misfortune of wearing the wrong shoes for an extended period of time while moving about the kitchen and they will tell you; It is sheer torture!
A chef or cooks job, whether it includes cooking at their home or working long shifts at work, does not include time to sit and relax. More often than not, it can involve standing for a minimum of eight hours at a stretch at work. Therefore, choosing the right pair of kitchen shoes can make all the difference and even reflect in the quality of your work (dishes). That’s right! No one can deliver their best in a pair of uncomfortable and unsuitable shoes. In fact, you won’t even be able to last more than an hour or two on your feet, if you have the wrong shoes on.
Standing on your feet for a long period can also lead to many physical ailments such as swelling in the legs and back, pain and fatigue. It can also promote circulatory system problems and heighten the risk of developing varicose veins. If your job or duty includes standing on your feet for a prolonged period, then it is twice as important to buy the right pair of shoes.
- Crocs Specialist Vent Clogs
- Massaging Footbed
- Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip
- Flexible Goring Inserts
- Skechers 76690 Keystone
- Cushioned EVA Midsole
Wearing improper footwear in the kitchen can also lead to accidental injuries due to slips and falls. One can also get burn injuries if they spill something hot, and the footwear is not equipped to protect the foot from such an occurrence.
However, not every shoe advertised as a good and practical choice for the kitchen can deliver support, comfort or protection. Therefore, to make your selection easier, we have compiled a list of the 10 Best Kitchen Shoes — after reviewing several pairs of footwear available in the market. Each of the names listed in the review is exceptional shoes that will see you sail like a breeze through the long hours that kitchen work demands. Your feet and body will thank you when you step into these blissful pairs.
15 Best Kitchen Shoes
1. Crocs Classic Clog
It’s hard to find a silhouette more versatile than the classic clog, as it endures pretty much anything you put it up to. The ventilation channels also work as a drainage system in environments exposed to liquids, and these very same channels allow air to flow consistently within the build that keep feet fresh anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, the non-marking soles are exactly what you should be looking for as a kitchen employee or chef.
Although not originally designed to be in the kitchen, the Crocs Classic Clog counts with just the necessary features for it. The non-slipping outsole keeps you away from slipping hazards in the work environment, while the friendly materials easily handle oil and sauce stains, also being extremely easy to clean. As if that wasn’t enough, the odor-resistant inner build prevents the accumulation of bacteria and is quick-drying.
Some customers would argue that the cost of the Crocs Original is something they’re not willing to pay for such a simple approach. But, in reality, Crocs count with an amount of underlooked features that would surprise you. Not to mention they’re arguably some of the most durable pieces out there. We believe this footwear is worth the investment in terms of quality, comfort, and durability.
Excellent ventilation and drainage
Utterly easy to clean and quick to dry
Non-slipping and non-marking sole ideal for the kitchen
Lightweight and flexible 360-degree comfort
May not meet the work uniform etiquette regardless of the color
2. Skechers for Work Sure Track
The sliced outsole design enhances some of the key features of the Sure Track; the slicing between the square lugs allow for a much deeper flex on each gait. Thanks to this, the foot can arch and bend in a much more natural manner, ultimately relieving a considerable amount of stress off your arch at the end of the shift. The intuitive outsole pattern is slippage-proof and counts with non-skidding properties.
Breathable and comfortable
The Skechers for Work Sure Track is breathable around the areas where you need it the most. A strategically-placed mesh panel is located on the toe tip to improve and maximize the air flow within the toe box, an area which commonly suffers the most during heated activities. The heel counter also counts with micro-perforations that, aside from supporting the heel, allow air to access from another angle.
Skechers comes in second with a cost that reaches just around the average value of the list. Seeing as its no ordinary shoe, it’s safe to say that the Sure Track holds a pretty decent cost-to-performance relation. Considering it’s a shoe that will stick around for a fair amount of time, the Skechers for Work Sure Track was released at an acceptable cost.
Intuitive outsole design is non-slipping and non-marking
Utterly flexible, breathable, and comfortable
Excellent for standing and moving around a lot
The upper build leather is extremely hard to stain and easy to wash at the same time
Hard to break into
3. Keen Utility PTC Slip-On
The compression-molded EVA midsole is the perfect tool for all-day comfort. No matter how long you stand or how intensely you move, the EVA midsole on the Utility PTC will chop off the amount of stress and tension undergone by your feet on long kitchen shifts. Furthermore, the intuitive cushioning system also relieves joint damage and prevents next day soreness and any form of acute joint pain or discomfort (given that there are no active joint conditions).
It’s really hard to get injured in the kitchen when you’re wearing a pair of KEEN work shoes. The Utility PTC Slip-On release features KEEN’s patented toe protection layer, which consists of the shoe outsole wrapping up over the toes for maximum protection against falling objects. The KEEN.The grip is oil, water, and slip-resistant, ensuring you stay on your feet at all times in the kitchen.
The KEEN Utility PTC is worth more than what most people would like to spend on a pair of shoes for the kitchen. Considerably exceeding the average value of the list, this is understandable. Don’t get it wrong, however – KEEN is one of the top shoe designers for all types of work, and the quality and efficiency of each of their products go undoubtedly. If this is something you can afford, it’s also something you won’t regret.
Meets CSA Z195-09 Grade 1 standard for protection
The outsole meets and exceeds the ASTM F1677-96
MARK II and ASTM F2913 SATRA nonslip testing standards
Memory foam, polyurethane, and cork deliver unique comfort
Ideal for long and active shifts
Pretty basic look for what it costs
4. Mozo Sharkz
The MOZO Sharkz is prepared for any work environment you can find yourself into, as the slip-resistant rubber endures anything from water to oil stained floors. It counts with a very efficient traction on a variety of surfaces that react differently to liquids or oil on them. The grip on this shoe will keep you on your feet on active shifts where moving a lot quickly would normally be hazardous.
The removable gel-cushioned insole included with the MOZO Sharkz is the cherry on the cake when it comes to both comfort and support. The gel cushioning insole not only diminishes the tension generated by active kitchen shifts, but it also improves your stance and posture considerably. On the long term, this can have a good impact on your joints, back, spine, and even the way you walk.
The MOZO Sharkz is not the most expensive shoe for the kitchen out there, but it’s not the cheapest either. This particular product exceeds the average value of the list, although not by much. We believe the quality, functionality, and features of this product are a good match for its price tag. Furthermore, the materials guarantee a durable lifetime when employed within the kitchen.
Suitable for wide feet users
Comfortable right out of the box - requires no breaking in
Fits like a glove and stays true to its size
Garbage gets stuck into the slip resistant tread
5. Keen Utility PTC Oxford
As if this shoe needed to be any more comfortable, a soft leather lining covers the inner side of the shoe. The lining is not only comfortable but also highly breathable, making a considerable contribution to the flow of air within the inner build of the oxford shoe. Tongue and collar padding provide further support and comfort throughout the day, keeping your feet in the right position and preventing over and under pronation.
The KEEN.CUSH consists of a soft and utterly comfy polyurethane memory foam insole. The memory foam approach makes the insole mold around your foot as it compresses the insole with each step. The pressure molds the insole to resemble the very shape of your feet, and thus delivering a totally customized experience in terms of support and cushioning. This element works in perfect combination with the highly-supportive EVA midsole.
Once again, KEEN offers a cost that most people would reconsider. But, just like the slip-on release, the KEEN Utility PTC Oxford stands up to every cent on its price tag. The latest technologies dedicated to enhancing the work performance and experience are in this shoe, and the absolute best features don’t come for cheap. For those who can afford to spend some extra bucks, KEEN can be an excellent companion.
Outstanding support and comfort
Water and oil resistant, easy to clean
Breathable leather lining and perforations
Appealing look suitable for any work environment
Considerably hard until broken into
6. Crocs Specialist Vent Clogs
The sandal has been specially designed keeping workplace standards in mind. It features a closed heel; however, airflow is promoted by side ventilation ports. These have been inset to protect your feet from spills.
The sandal is made with an exclusive Croslite™ material that conforms to your foot’s shape and creates a custom fit. The tiny footbed nubs and supportive arch ensures that you are comfortable all day long while standing on your feet. The loose fit also enables the foot to bend naturally.
The Crocs Specialist Vent Clogs may be among the top best kitchen shoes; however, they are priced quite reasonably. The affordable cost gives more than the value for money and adds to the sandal’s popularity.
Very comfortable and the nodules give a foot massage-like feel.
These sandals do not absorb foot odor
Made with original Croslite foam cushion
Has non-marking and non-skid outsole with good traction
The rivets might leave a mark if the fit of the sandal is too snug
7. Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip
The Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip is ideal for use on the hard and slippery floors of kitchens. They give incredible support to the feet in the challenging wet and greasy environments of kitchens.
The shoes include air cushioning in the heel that adds stability and absorbs shock. A pair of Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip also provides good arch support, making the shoe comfortable for long wear.
These shoes are a bit steeply priced. However, the cost is justified considering the shoes’ multipurpose uses and diverse features. At the end, you will be shelling out money solely for a top quality product.
The slip-on work shoe has flexible goring inserts
Made with a slip-resistant Suregrip outsole
The organic odor control helps prevent smelly feet
Helps in reducing plantar fasciitis
The shoes are not waterproof
8. Skechers Flex Mcallen
The Skechers Flex Advantage Mcallen Slip-On features a memory foam insole that will give you the feel of walking on a soft carpet. The good part is that there are no slip issues with these shoes.
Slipping into a pair of these shoes will provide you with all around comfort throughout the day. The slip-ons offer a comfortable and roomy fit with its Relaxed Fit® design and lightweight shock absorbing midsole.
The Skechers Flex Advantage Mcallen Slip On falls in the mid-range price category. The supportive, comfy and flexible shoe offers a good value for the money spent on it.
The shoe’s layered and durable mesh offers maximum support with breathability
Provides excellent grip with its slip resistant rubber traction outsole
Easy to slip on due to the dual side elastic fabric panels
The upper design is stain and water resistant
The shoes are not waterproof
9. Dansko Professional Mule
You can wear these shoes for 12 hours at a stretch without facing any problems that will hamper your movements in the kitchen. Moreover, the shoes won’t weigh you down or make you feel tired on your feet.
These mules have a roomy and reinforced toe box for greater protection. The padded instep collar adds to the comfort factor and the polyurethane outsole with rocker bottom enables greater shock-absorption.
The professional clog is priced on the higher side. Considering its stylish look, coupled with all-day support and unbeatable comfort, we can understand why. In fact, these shoes can be worn for various other activities and outings.
Provides good support for arch
Professional but really stylish to look at
Helps against plantar fasciitis
Slip resistant shoes in spite of high elevation
Has a rather high heel
10. Skechers Rockland Systemic
The shoe with its handsome overlays, classic lace-up styling and smooth leather upper can go beyond being a nine-to-five classic. The rubber outsole is slip-resistant and provides a good grip on slippery kitchen floors.
The contoured and cushioned insole provides ample support and comfort to the wearer. The shoe lining is made of soft fabric. It has a shock absorbing midsole and cleated outsole edge detailing.
These mid-range shoes are a steal for the comfort and durability that they offer. The smart appearance that the Skechers Rockland Systemic lends to any attire is an added bonus.
The shoe’s cushioned insole can be removed
Has a slip-resistant and gripping outsole with a driving heel
Absence of metal shanks adds comfort
Electrical hazard safe design
Not very flexible
11. Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog
The Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog is your shoe if you need to work extended hours in the kitchen. The footbed of the shoe will feel like a massage, every time you take a step.
The contoured footbed also makes these shoes extremely comfortable. The fully molded Croslite™ material construction adds maximum durability and lightweight cushioning. You will love the clogs’ extra-dense vamp that gives added protection.
The reasonable pricing of these shoes adds to their appeal, particularly because nowadays many recycled material shoes are priced ridiculously high. The Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog are great budget shoes for the kitchen.
They are easy to slip on and off
Can be cleaned easily
Eases feet fatigue
Heel strap provides secure fit
Does not have ventilation holes
There is no support for ankles
12. Skechers Soft Stride Softie
These shoes will ensure that you get it right the very first time that you wear them. They will help you look as good as you feel even after hours of working on your feet.
The soft and flexible leather of these shoes provides good cushioning to the feet. You will also get a good arch support with this pair. This footwear is also a good option for colder days and winter months when your feet can do with warmth.
The icing on the cake is that these shoes are not priced too steeply. In fact, they cost only a little more than high-quality replacement insoles, which cannot compare to buying a new shoe altogether for nearly the same price.
Removable contoured PU insole
Shoes feel light on the feet
Internal padding isn’t too thick
13. Birkenstock Profi Birki
Profi Birki is ideal for use in restaurants and kitchen specifically due to its sole's design. The shoe features a raised heel section that will provide your feet with grip and all-around protection.
Wearing these clogs will make your feet comfortable for hours, particularly because the footbed imitates the feel of standing in sand. In fact, the shoe molds to the shape of the foot. The cushioning supports health and promotes well-being.
Priced on the higher side, these clogs are durable and can be easily cleaned. Investing in this pair also makes sense because they last for a long time, and you don’t have to buy replacements too soon.
Deep heel cups
Interior and exterior longitudinal arch support
Raised indentation at the front of the footbed to facilitate toe grip
Clogs are washable
These shoes can be a bit squeaky
14. New Balance MID627 Steel Toe
The shoe’s gusseted tongue sewn in place is a bonus as it keeps out the debris that can tend to accumulate on the kitchen floor. Hence, it keeps your feet safe from water or oil spills. In fact, these shoes offer protection against more hazardous work environments as well.
The foam footbed of these shoes will provide you with ample cushioning that will help you stay on your feet for a long duration. This kitchen footwear will also add a bounce to your steps that will cushion your feet.
The shoes are a bit pricey compared to the durability that they offer. However, the fit, support, and comfort will happily take you through daily wear for at least six months.
Displaces charges of electricity through a walking surface
Roomy toe box
Does not look like typical steel toe shoes
Can be worn for hiking and other outdoor activities
The bottom of the sole can wear out fast
15. Skechers 76690 Keystone
These shoes are helpful if your kitchen work includes working next to a hot oven or frequent visits to the freezer to get frozen loads. This footwear is also ideal for walking about in the wet conditions of the dish room.
The rubber sole of the Skechers 76690 Keystone offers good support and traction. The shoe has a leather upper that is padded, which adds cushioning and comfort. The traditional laces can help you make the fit of the shoes snugger.
You will be paying more for comfort than durability for these shoes that are mid range priced. However, you won’t complain because the comfort will make up for the shoe’s cost. In fact, you may just end up buying another pair after you lose the first one to wear and tear.
Good for flat feet
Helpful against plantar fasciitis
Strong build design
Stays dry even if you walk through snow-covered parking lots
Tends to be low on durability
How to Find the Best Kitchen Shoes
So, there you go. Choosing any of the shoes from this list will have your feet thanking you. If you are still confused about making the right choice among these 10 pairs then the following points can help you. You should understand what quality of a kitchen shoe is of utmost importance to you. Are you looking for protection, support, slip-resistance, comfort, durability, style or everything? Take your pick accordingly.
If you are looking for protection over everything else then opt for shoes with a composite toe or steel toe. They will save your feet if you happen to drop cooking knives, heavy pans or hot food accidentally. Shoes that have deep grooves, strong grip, and slip resistance are ideal to prevent slipping and falling – especially if the kitchen has slippery tiles. Padded insoles and thick platform soles are great for adding a spring to your step, while stain resistant uppers will save the shoe from unsightly stains.
Whichever pair you pick, do ensure that appearance and style are given the last preference as that alone won’t smoothly sail you through the day.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Kitchen Shoes
The kitchen floor can be a perilous territory if you do not wear the right shoes. More often than not, the floor of the kitchen has smooth tiles where a person is more prone to skids, slips, and falls. Water and oil spills, as well as food peels, can also make their way onto the floor, which can also lead to someone losing their balance and falling.
Slips and falls contribute to the maximum number of accidental injuries in restaurants. Falling on the hard and concrete ground can not only lead to physical injuries but also burn injuries. This can take place if the person falling is carrying a pan full of hot food or drinks.
Moreover, a colleague working in the same room may get injured due to the flying debris caused by a fall. Matters can be even worse if the resulting debris accidentally touches customers. Therefore, it is imperative to buy chef shoes that are anti-skid, provide traction, have a good grip, and also fit perfectly.
Whether you’re a chef, a waiter, or you assume any role that involves activity inside the kitchen, features that prevent slippage are paramount. One of the most important aspects of slippage prevention is the resistance that the outsole offers against oily substances and grease that may affect the stability and smoothness of the surface on which you’re working. This can be prevented in a variety of ways.
For instance, the outsole pattern has a big impact on the slippage preventing features. Although it’s one of the most underestimated elements in a shoe, the outsole pattern actually improves or decreases the grip of the shoe depending on the force and direction in which you’re moving. Certain slightly lugged outsole patterns, for example, help prevent forceful forward or backward motions that normally cause slippage.
It’s also very important that the outsole materials prevent any liquids, oil, or greases from adhering to itself. There are multiple reasons for this, the main one being the simple fact that you don’t want any slippery substances sticking around with you on your outsole. Any residual disposals that adhere to the outsole’s surface may be a contributing factor to an accident later on.
Additionally, it’s considered good etiquette to wear non-marking/non-skidding outsoles when involving yourself with the kitchen. When we’re talking about a shift related to the kitchen, traditional outsole materials may help expand the grease and oil that may normally be found on the floor of restaurant kitchens. By taking grease away on your outsoles, you’re making the environment more dangerous for both you, the customers, and co-workers.
A chef’s job includes long hours of standing, and therefore the shoes they wear have to be extremely comfortable in every possible way. During busy rush hours, you might need to move quickly and be on your feet for a prolonged duration of time. A comfortable shoe will not only reduce your fatigue, but it will also impact your job performance significantly.
The first thing to look for in a good chef’s shoe, as far as comfort is concerned, is that it should not hurt or pinch your foot. Not only will such shoes cause foot injuries, but can you imagine being so uncomfortable for a good part of the day? No, right?
The apt pair of kitchen shoes should have a great light padding which will prevent the foot from hurting while standing for long hours. You must also choose a shoe that has thick platforms, comfort padded insoles and a bit of heel to protect the feet from the hard floor of the kitchen and also to add spring to your step.
There’s not much to think here – if you’ll be standing all day long, you want to be as comfortable as you possibly can regardless of your shift. However, sometimes it can be difficult for users to determine what the features that really make a shoe comfortable are. Before any purchase, it’s important that you analyze and take into consideration the tasks you’ll be performing with the shoes.
As a waiter, for example, you’ll not only be standing a lot but also walk back and forth. Thus, in this case, you should opt for a kitchen shoe that counts with enough cushioning, flexibility, and walking support. On the other hand, as someone who stands a lot (a chef, for example), you should seek for as much heel cushioning and support as you can.
Keep in mind that when we’re talking about jobs or activities that involve a considerable amount of active standing time, comfort is no longer a side factor. Believe it or not, the comfortability of your shoe will have a direct impact on both your performance as a waiter/chef and your mood. If all you can think of while working is how bad you want to take your shoes off, it’s time for new shoes.
Always remember that comfort should never be sacrificed in order to enhance other features. The best kitchen shoes are those that, while being comfortable, deliver each and every single other quality required to perform optimally.
In order to determine the amount of support in a shoe, you should first understand support itself. The support is the “strength” with which the shoe sticks together to your foot. If your shoe is loose and not firmly covering the foot, then it lacks support.
A firm and supportive shoe, on the other hand, is one that follows your foot around and mimics each motion perfectly. This means that, with each step, the shoe must not tilt forward, backward, or to the sides, but rather remain in a position as neutral as possible. In simpler words, the shoe should not make any motion that the foot is not doing.
A highly-supportive kitchen shoe will prevent the foot from assuming an overpronating or underpronating position. By holding feet down on a completely natural position, a shoe can have a huge improvement in the way you walk throughout the day. This is directly related to how quick your muscles fatigue and how much your joints suffer.
While you are choosing the right pair of kitchen shoes for optimal comfort, also ensure that it provides good arch support. However, not all arch supports are same, and they come in low, medium, and high variations. The right arch support will prevent foot pain, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs.
You must ensure that the arch in your feet fits molds comfortable with the arch support provided in the shoe. For example, a person with flat feet should look for kitchen shoes with a minimum height of arch support. If a flat foot person wears a high arch support shoe, they can do damage to the metatarsal bones of their foot. The best chef shoes have a memory foam insole which provides both cushion and arch support simultaneously.
You should also keep in mind that the arch is not the only part of your foot that needs support. While it is true that the arch is one of the most delicate areas of feet, you don’t want to overdo support there and leave out the rest of your foot. As someone who will be standing and walking for a considerable amount of time, you want all around support.
Heel & ankle support
The shoe must support the foot in all directions and areas. However, there are key areas of the foot in which support is needed the most. Back heel and ankle support, for example, are critical features for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
A supported ankle helps your body rotate in a neutral manner, meaning that there’s no additional stress placed on the joints. A common defect in traditional shoes is that the build, in general, is supported correctly except for the ankle. Having different levels of support in the same shoe will lead to an unnatural stance and walking form, as each part of the foot will react differently to the respective level of support it receives.
You know your shoe counts with enough support when it doesn’t slide forward or backward when walking, and it’s not loose around the ankle either. A kitchen shoe should always move in perfect synchronization with your feet. The best kitchen shoes are those that feel as if they were your own feet.
Tongue & laces
Yet another highly underestimated element of the shoe. The tongue and closure are key elements to the support of a shoe. These two elements are meant to work in combination to support the upper foot; the tongue held down against the upper foot to prevent any unnatural motion and the closure placing additional tension to compress these two together.
Working in the kitchen means a person is more susceptible to spilling hot food or drinks as well as dropping cooking knives, heavy pans and other objects on the foot. This can cause physical injury and damage to the skin and bones of the feet. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a shoe that can protect against such accidents and mishaps.
At the same time, a pair of chef shoes should be tightly sealed and should have a water-resistant/waterproof upper. Wearing such type of kitchen shoes will ensure that hot and cold liquid, or even bits of food, do not end up trickling inside your shoe. That can not only be uncomfortable but also burn your foot, if the food or drink is hot. It will also mean the added burden of having to clean or replace your shoe in the middle of work.
For the sake of helping you understand the different elements that contribute to the protection that shoe offers, we’ll divide protection into two parts: physical and indirect. Physical protection will involve every aspect of the shoe that prevents your feet from being directly injured by an external physical object, such as a knife falling on your foot.
Depending on the role you represent in the kitchen, you may want to opt for more physical protection or more indirect one. For chefs who handle sharp knives, tenderizing hammers and other variety of potentially hazardous kitchen tools, we recommend more physical protection. This is delivered mostly by the upper build materials and their resistance.
A material like mesh would offer little to no physical protection from a falling pan or knife. On the other hand, a shoe like the New Balance MID627 that counts with a thin steel plate protector on the toes will be your salvation in this scenario. If you’re a waiter or someone who assumes any other role in the kitchen, we recommend a healthy balance between physical and indirect protection.
The elements of physical protection we recommend to look for would be a resistant upper build, preferably leather or a strong synthetic material. It’s important that such material is not affected by oil or other contaminants that may harm the surface of the shoe for good. If possible, a thin layer of steel on the toes is an excellent protection method as well.
Indirect protection will involve events or scenarios in which the lack of certain protection features can lead to an injury or an accident. For instance, we would refer to a non-slipping outsole as an indirect protection feature. Despite not protecting your feet physically, it plays a huge role in preventing a variety of potential accidents in the kitchen. In fact, some would argue that this kind of protection is much more important than physical one, as the potential damage is arguably greater.
Waterproofing would also fall into this category. Additionally, features like an odor-resistant insole also make it as indirect protection measures. If you have a kitchen shift, you’ll know that it can easily become an excessively sweaty environment for your feet.
This sweat contributes to the development of bacteria, fungi, potential infections, and irritation. These conditions are not to be underestimated, as they can easily become an obstacle to both your optimal work performance and your health in a manner of just days. All it takes is a couple of shifts on the wrong pair of shoes.
A chef can step on all sort of food and other squishy-squashy objects that somehow make their way down to a busy kitchen floor. And, of course, there is the added peril of water, oil, other liquid, food ingredients and the food itself spilling down on the shoes. Hence, kitchen shoes should be easy to clean.
For the very reasons mentioned above, a pair of kitchen shoes can get dirtier far more easily and frequently compared to daily wear shoes. An important criterion for judging kitchen shoes’ quality is to see how easy they are to clean, particularly because chef’s shoes have to be cleaned regularly, sometimes every few hours. An important factor here is that whether the shoes can be wiped off easily and hand washed because it can be tedious, not to mention expensive, to get a professional to do the job.
Always remember that the easiest way to clean a shoe is preventing it from getting dirty in the first place. This obviously is easier said than done, but we’re not referring to the care you give the shoes (although that actually has an impact on how cleanable they are), but rather the qualities offered by the shoe to prevent getting overly dirty.
The first thing you should be looking for is non-absorbing materials. No matter what it is, you don’t want your shoe absorbing anything that falls on it. Materials like mesh and absorbing foams are extremely easy to get dirt on, especially in a kitchen. If some oil or sauce falls on your shoe, you want to be able to clean it smoothly without the shoe materials absorbing any of it.
In order to prevent contaminants from getting into the annoying parts of a shoe, we recommend using footwear that is closed at least in the upper build. Alternatively, if the footwear is open or counts with perforations on the upper build we only recommend it if the shoe can easily be washed as a whole, like in the case of Crocs. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending a fair amount of time getting the food out of the impossible spots it gets into.
If possible, opt for a shoe that counts with a non-spaced outsole. This means that the outsole doesn’t feature a design in which there’s too much free space where food could potentially get into when stepped on. Sliced outsole designs, for example, easily pick up any food that they step on, and they can create an irregular surface on the outsole that makes walking oddly. Depending on what you step on and how long it’s been there, it may be easy or troublesome to get rid of the thing you stepped on.
That being said, if the shoes get dirty for whatever reason, you’ll want to clean it as effortlessly as possible. Generally, you’ll have access to the washing instructions of shoes before you purchase them, whether it’s in retail stores or online platforms. These instructions should give you a pretty complete idea of what you’ll be dealing with once you have to clean them.
Before machine washing and drying ANY shoe, it’s extremely important that you verify such shoes are compatible with the machines. A non-compatible shoe can get easily ruined, both torn or permanently stained by soap if inserted in the washing machine.
Also keep in mind that the washing machine will harm any pair of shoes, even those compatible with it. At the end of the day, the banging of the shoes inside the washing machine has a considerable effect on the external materials and thus their usable lifetime. The same goes for the dryer.
The stitches of a good chef’s shoe are well made, and the material used is resilient against moisture. Here, it is important to know that though leather is durable, it is susceptible to moisture and also heavy. Synthetic kitchen shoes, on the other hand, are lightweight and also last longer if the exposure to sunlight is not too high. The materials used in the shoes meant for kitchen use should be extremely durable to endure all the wear and tear.
Think of kitchen shoes as walking shoes that have to endure some extra stuff. You should opt for something that won’t tear apart upon its first abrasion against a surface you didn’t see. The quality of the materials used for the construction of the shoe has an obvious impact on the durability of it. However, the type of material you select is also important.
As explained above, high-quality leather can get to be one of the best possible shoe materials out there in terms of performance, comfort, protection, and durability. However, genuine leather is simply not a material suitable for a place like a kitchen, where a variety of contaminants can and will have a permanent effect on the surface of your footwear.
Although oil won’t tear a hole in your leather shoe, a permanent stain is a clear obstacle for a shoe, even if it doesn’t physically interfere with the role. Keep in mind that depending on the stain, its color, and its size, certain work uniform etiquettes may simply not allow you to continue working with such shoes.
When selecting the best kitchen shoes, you must also keep in mind that the kitchen is a fairly humid and steamy environment. This is something you already know most likely, but what most users don’t know is that these circumstances have an impact on their footwear as well.
We recommend going for a man-made material that won’t become softened or mushy by the humidity, temperature, and steam of the environment. The physical composition of delicate materials will easily be affected by the previously mentioned circumstances that you may encounter in a kitchen.
Kitchen work means long hours spent near a stove or source of fire, which can also make the environment around you hotter. This can lead to sweat build-up if you are wearing the wrong pair of chef shoes. Kitchen shoes must be made of breathable material.
A good pair of shoes for the kitchen is one that allows air to circulate around the feet and prevents moisture-related ailments like fungal infections, blisters and open sores that come with trapped sweat. At the same time, you should look out not to over-do the breathability of your kitchen shoes.
There are two ways to achieve a breathable shoe: perforations and breathable materials. When using breathable materials, we do not recommend using a shoe that has any sort of breathing mesh panel on the upper foot or any area that is too exposed. Remember that whenever you drop something, your upper foot will most likely by the first thing that gets in the way.
A mesh panel is extremely hard to clean once it’s been contaminated, especially by oily substances or thick liquids like sauce or cream. Not to mention that the mesh panel won’t stop a liquid body from entering the shoe and contaminating the interior build as well. When this happens, you’ll most likely need to wash the shoe as a whole, rather than just wiping the portion that was affected.
Don’t get us wrong, though. Breathability is something paramount in any kitchen, and your feet will bake if your shoes lack it. Kitchen-oriented shoes will usually count with breathing mesh panels or perforations, except they’ll be located in key areas of the shoe. For instance, the lateral panels and back heel are common places for perforations and mesh panels to be located.
Not only are the panels less exposed there, but these regions of the foot are usually the ones in which the heat accumulates the most commonly, too. You may also see combinations of both perforations and breathing panels, which is perfectly fine as long as they don’t take away too much structure from the shoe.
When seeking for breathability, you want air to be able to flow within the shoe in and out in multiple directions to optimize ventilation. This doesn’t mean that one mesh panel or one perforation isn’t enough; we’re just saying the more, the better.
As far as recommendations go, slip-on shoes are usually more suitable for chefs. This is because they do not have laces that can come untied and make a person fall. Moreover, there is a sanitary factor to consider. Every time a person stops to tie a shoe, they have to wash their hands after.
Though such a step may sound simple, in a busy work environment it can soon become tedious. After having said that, normal laced up shoes are also okay for kitchen use as long as they include all other good qualities that a chef’s shoe must have.
In reality, there are no major differences in performance between the multiple styles of closure a shoe can have. It ultimately comes down to a matter of personal preference; some prefer the convenience of slip-on shoes, while others prefer the further support of Velcro straps or laces.
For laced shoes, however, you should seek laces that are only long enough to be tied comfortably – there should be no residual lace hanging off each side of the shoe. Needless to say, this is a massively contributing factor to a tripping hazard, and the kitchen is arguably the worst place to trip and fall.
Either opt for a short-laced shoe or make sure to completely tuck the residual portion of the laces into your shoe once you’re done tying them. As an alternative, you can also tuck the laces under the other laces all the way to the bottom, towards your toes. Aside from this, the type of closure should have no big impact on your performance whatsoever.
One should look for all the above characteristics in the most flexible and lightest kitchen shoes available because you have to wear the shoes for a major portion of the day. And, you do not want to feel weighed down or heavy on your foot! In addition, do remember, that a chef’s job includes reaching up or down for objects on the shelves. The shoe you wear should be lightweight and malleable enough to allow such movements easily.
The weight of a shoe is also directly related to its mobility. The heavier something is, the more difficult is it to move it and to remain in control of it as it moves. A bulky and heavy shoe not only will require more effort to walk with, but it may also become an obstacle to your mobility around the kitchen as a chef, not to mention as a waiter, where mobility means everything.
The reason why you should be looking for light shoes is fairly simple: they require less effort to move. There’s not much more to it than that. The lighter it goes, the easier it is to maneuver with it, and the less physical demand is placed on your muscles. It also relieves the ankles considerably, which usually have a pretty active role in dealing with heavy shoes.
You don’t need to go crazy about lightweightness either. As a chef (or anybody involved in the kitchen for that matter), you don’t really need the lightest kitchen shoe out there, you just need one that is easy for you to handle.
There’s a lot of competition regarding who designs the lightest shoe, each ounce being a massive advantage for elite athletes that make every milimetric difference count. If the lightest shoe is something you like and can afford, then go for it, but don’t think too hard about a one-ounce difference.
Do remember that the weight of a shoe is directly proportional to all of its other features. This means that, as the weight decreases, all other physical aspects of the shoe start to slowly decrease along with the weight. Thinner synthetic materials will certainly weight less, but they’ll also represent less protection. Only optimize the weight of a shoe to a point where it’s lightweight but still highly functional in every other aspect.
Whether you’re just standing in the kitchen all day or walking around the restaurant, you’ll want your feet to be as cushioned as optimally possible. Cushioning is the base of your performance as someone who stands or walks a lot; you won’t be getting too far without it.
Think of the cushioning as the intermediary between you and the external shoe materials. It’s what allows you to control the outsole, for example, without actually having to step on the hard outsole material. But, there’s much more behind the cushioning of a shoe than just this, of course.
Whenever you take a step, an impact is generated as your foot hits the ground back regardless of how softly you land each gait. A simple walking gait certainly doesn’t represent any sort of critical impact, but when we’re talking about a full shift of standing on your feet or walking around the kitchen and restaurant, things start to look different.
Every bit of tension generated on each gait slowly builds up all around your foot in different areas. After an 8-hour shift, each little impact from the gaits adds up to a considerable amount of stress on your heels, arch, toes, forefoot, ankle, muscles, and even joints. This is why you want to absorb as much of this impact as possible, no matter how mild it is.
Do notice that shock moves upward from the moment of impact. Whenever you take a step, the impact shock works its way up from the ground to your heel, but it doesn’t stop there. Something as simple as the shock from a walking gait can go as high as your spine, ultimately having an impact on your posture and the walking form.
The cushioning of a shoe acts as another layer that shock has to go through upon impact, and unlike our joints and muscles, the cushioning materials are specifically made to absorb impact. Don’t get it wrong, though, there will always be a certain portion of the shock that will still make its way into your body. But, if it’s already gone through the midsole and cushioning, it will have lost a considerable portion of its force.
Q: Where can I buy kitchen shoes?
A: You can buy kitchen shoes online due to the sheer variety that can be availed easily with just a click. Amazon is a convenient place to buy chef shoes online as you can select from a wide range. You could also check retail stores beforehand to test the shoes and size in real.
Q: How do I clean kitchen shoes?
A: Start by rinsing the shoes or clogs thoroughly with plain water. This will remove any debris or dirt. Next, wipe away any remaining debris or dirt from the shoe’s surface with the help of a soft cloth. If the shoes need extra cleaning, then mix water with a few drops of mild detergent in a sink or buck, and put your shoes in to soak. Once the shoes are amply soaked, scrub the dirt away with a scrub brush.
Q: How to clean the inside of the shoes without affecting the slip resistance on the outside?
A: The inside of slip-resistance shoes can be hand washed as long as they are not made of suede or real leather. The inside of faux leather shoes can also be cleaned with shaving cream. However, do remove any laces before wetting the shoe with water. If your shoes are made of real leather, then buy a leather cleaning kit.
Q: What are kitchen-safe shoes?
A: Anti-skid, slip-resistant shoes that have a protective toe box can be considered as safe kitchen shoes.
Q: What are restaurant grade shoes?
A: Shoes that meet the requirements of being suitable for a chef and working in a kitchen or restaurant are restaurant grade shoes. You should also check with your workplace to see if they have any specific instructions.
Q: What are the most comfortable kitchen shoes for someone with wide feet?
A: People with wide feet should opt for shoes with a roomier toe box for more comfort.
Q: What are the best shoes for working in the hospital kitchen?
A: A kitchen is a kitchen anywhere. Therefore, all the qualities mentioned in this article apply to choosing shoes for use in a hospital’s kitchen too.
Q: Can I wear nurse’s shoes in a kitchen?
A: There are various shoes that are made to cater to both nurses and chefs simultaneously. You can choose from one of these.
Q: How are Crocs for the kitchen?
A: Crocs has a wide range of shoes created specifically to be worn in the kitchen. However, not all Crocs are meant for chefs. Therefore, choose accordingly.
Q: How do I get rid of the stink from kitchen shoes?
A: Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda or salt inside your shoes each night. This will absorb odors. Shake out/remove the baking soda/salt thoroughly from your shoe before wearing it the next day. You can also take the stink away by using a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe the inside of your shoes. Placing a crumpled newspaper inside the shoe can also absorb moisture and odors.
Q: Can I wear sandals in the kitchen?
A: It is not a very good idea to wear sandals in the kitchen because they leave the toes and foot exposed and vulnerable to accidental injury.
Q: How to remove a grease stain from chef’s shoes?
A: Apply a large amount of the soap over the grease stain. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes to give the oil time to start breaking down. Next, work on the grease stain with a soft scrubber wash. Wash off with water. Repeat the steps as many times as necessary.