The kitchen can be a hazardous place. Slick floors, hot ingredients, heavy equipment, and hustling coworkers are an inevitable part of foodservice that can create an environment that's as much battlefield as it is culinary workshop. There are plenty of regulations in place designed to keep your kitchen safe, but your choice of footwear also plays a major role in your safety, comfort, and performance in the kitchen.
Any chef knows a good knife and quality ingredients are essential, but with slips and falls as the leading cause of kitchen injuries and staff spending the majority of the day on their feet amid the chaos of the kitchen, the best line of defense for both safety and comfort is a shoe designed to take the heat.
A good pair of kitchen shoes should always offer the following:
- Slip-resistance: A good kitchen shoe features a slip-resistant sole designed to handle a kitchen’s challenging conditions, including high heat, grease, and uneven surfaces. Look for a sole with a tread pattern that runs perpendicular to the direction of travel, which will help slow forward momentum in the event of a slip. To further your grip, a good slip-resistant sole will be made from soft, pliable material to provide increased traction in slippery situations.
- Comfort: Flexible, lightweight, and well-constructed shoes ensure your feet are properly supported throughout the day, providing you with a comfortable and secure base for long stints in the kitchen. A shoe with good arch support and well-placed cushioning prevents muscle and joint fatigue, helping your feet, legs, hips, and back stay energized from from prep to presentation.
- Durability and safety: Kitchen shoes take a beating, so opt for a close-toed, well-constructed shoe that will offer protection against inevitable kitchen run-ins. Durable, water-resistant materials like leather and waxed canvas protect against spills and hold up to months of rugged use with their easy-to-clean surface
- Style: Just because your kitchen shoes serve a utilitarian purpose doesn’t mean they have to look the part. Kitchen shoes have evolved far beyond the black clog—don’t just look for a shoe that fits your needs, find a shoe that fits your style.
Foodservice professionals spend the majority of their day on their feet - the right shoes are crucial for safe, efficient work.
Footwear options vary widely, but just remember: a good sole, a comfortable fit, and durable, stylish construction will provide you with the proper foundation for whatever hazards the kitchen sends your way. Have a favorite shoe that keeps you going? Let us know in the comments!