Being a chef might seem glamorous and fun, but it’s actually hard work. Working in a kitchen entails long work hours, most of it spent standing in one place. There’s also an element of danger. Aside from slippery floors, there’s the possibility of hot oil, burning liquids, and sharp knives falling on one’s foot.

This is why chefs and cooks need the right footwear for the job. Read on to find out more about how to find the best kitchen shoes.

10 Best Kitchen Shoes 2018

Top 5 Shoes for Men

Shoe ImageMaterialShoe Sole
KEEN Utility Men's PTC Slip On Check PriceLeatherRubber sole
MOZO Men's Sharkz Slip Resistant Check PriceSyntheticRubber sole
Skechers Men's Rockland Systemic Check PriceLeatherRubber sole
Skechers Men's Flex Advantage Check PriceSyntheticSynthetic sole
Skechers Men's 76759 Soft Stride Galley Check PriceLeather and syntheticRubber sole

Top 5 Shoes for Women

Shoe ImageMaterialShoe Sole
MOZO Women's The Maven Check PriceCanvasSynthetic sole
Skechers Women's Sure Track Check PriceLeatherRubber sole
Skechers Women's Soft Stride-Softie Check PriceLeatherSynthetic sole
KEEN Utility Women's PTC Oxford Check PriceLeatherRubber sole
Skechers Women's Sure Track Trickel Check PriceLeather/SyntheticSynthetic sole

Best Kitchen Clogs for Men and Women

Shoe ImageMaterialShoe Sole
Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog Check PriceCrosliteSynthetic sole
Birkenstock Professional Unisex Profi Birki Check PricePolyurethaneSynthetic solen

Why are Kitchen Shoes Different from Others?

Best Kitchen Shoes for Chefs in 2018

Kitchen shoes are different from other footwear in the same way that steel-toed boots are. Both shoes are designed for unique and potentially dangerous environments.

A lot of people undoubtedly think that chefs or cooks can get away with using a good pair of sneakers or boots to work. But that’s so far from the truth. The best chef shoes are specially designed with features that allow chefs to do their job well and keep them safe.

Things happen very quickly in a kitchen, and there are a lot of ways for things to go wrong. For instance, the area is often wet and slippery due to soup being spilled or water coming from the dishwasher and sink as the staff cleans. Kitchen work is done at a very fast pace, and the staff are always in danger of slips and falls due to food and oil that fell on the floor. Meanwhile, chefs work long hours, some of which are spent in a stationary position.

Using rubber shoes or other shoe styles in this situation would only result in injuries. This is why the best kitchen work shoes are designed in a specific way. They have to be easy to slip on and off, have non-skid soles, be well-cushioned, comfortable and offer arch support. These are features that other shoes don’t have.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Kitchen Shoes

Finding the best kitchen shoes is no easy task. There are several factors that one needs to consider when shopping for the right footwear for a dedicated cook.

Comfort and adequate cushioning

Comfort is the most important thing to consider when on the market for the best chef shoes for sore feet, especially since chefs spend about 12 hours or more on their feet. Comfortable shoes will make the hours seem shorter. Opt for one with a sturdy platform and adequate cushioning for comfort. However, bear in mind that the padding should not be too thick as to make the shoe heavy. After all, you will be carrying these shoes around for most of the day.

Some of the best chef clogs today now have memory foam insoles. These cushion the feet and give arch support. This also minimizes the chances of heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and other foot problems. There are also good kitchen shoes made from breathable material that helps prevent fungal infections and sores.


The long hours in the kitchen mean that the shoes’ weight also matters. Thus, aside from the other considerations, choose shoes that are light and flexible. The best shoes for kitchen workers would bend and move with the user if he or she reaches for something overhead or under the counter. A light shoe also means that the feet won’t be as taxed or tired.

Shoe Durability

Cooks experience heavy pans and sharp knives dropping on them, along with hot oil and food. These can cause considerable damage to the feet’s skin and bones. This is why some chefs opt for shoes that are durable. Some even get kitchen shoes with a composite or steel toe for extra protection.

Good Arch Support

The best shoes for working in a kitchen are the ones that provide good arch support. This is particularly crucial for women as their feet tend to have higher arches. Arch support is also important for those with flat feet, but arch support differs per shoe.

Shoes come with low, medium, and high support, and one must match the arch of the feet to the support needed. For instance, those with flat feet should avoid shoes with high arch support as it can cause bruising in the middle of the feet or damage the metatarsals.

However, adding an arch support to the shoe will take up additional space. This could mean getting a shoe that’s half a size larger to accommodate the space that will be taken up by the insole. Before getting them, try it on and walk around. Check to make sure that your toes have enough space to wiggle and that they don’t touch the end of the shoes.

Resistant to Spills and Stains

Even though it’s primarily for work, chefs and cooks undoubtedly want nice-looking shoes. They also want footwear that’s durable enough to last a year or two. In this case, look for shoes that have been coated with special protective agents as they’re more resistant to spills and stains. These types of shoes are also easy to wipe clean.

Good Traction on the Soles

The best kitchen shoes for chefs are those with outer soles that have deep grooves. These notches help minimize slips and falls. When looking for kitchen shoes, choose brands with patented slip-resistant features. This is a good sign that the shoe manufacturer used special materials and carefully considered the design to prevent slips.

Non-skid Shoes with Good Grip

People who work in kitchens understand how important it is to choose the best non-slip kitchen shoes. While line cooks and chefs might be limited in their movement since they need to stay at their stations, the wait staff and other cooks are always rushing around the kitchen. The speed required to do their jobs mean that their shoes have to be resistant to skids. They should also have a good grip to prevent falls that might injure them or endanger the other staff.

Appropriate Color and Style

There’s still some misconception that the best kitchen clogs are clunky and drab. Luckily, that’s not the case anymore as there are cute kitchen shoes for men and women. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors as well, which is good as many chefs go to the dining room to greet and talk to guests.

While good chef shoes have to be chosen primarily for safety and comfort, you should also look for pairs that you find stylish. Think about the famous chef Mario Batali. He’s known for wearing orange crocs that he claims are both sturdy and comfortable. When it comes to choosing the best shoes for cooks, make sure that it meets the usual standards of safety and comfort before thinking about its appearance.

The style of shoes is also important. Lace-up shoes usually have no place in a kitchen environment. They become a hazard if the laces come untied. It can also create a sanitary problem if a cook stops to tie a shoe and forgets to wash his or her hands afterward.

Are Kitchen Shoes for Men Different from Women’s?

Yes, men’s kitchen shoes are different from women’s. Admittedly, both men’s and women’s kitchen shoes carry the same vital features. Both have to be comfortable and well-cushioned with padding to provide good support for the feet. They should also have good traction on the soles since the danger of slips and falls due to grease, spilled food, water, and soap are always present. The best shoes for chefs should also be non-slip, with tops and sides that are resistant to spills and stains.

Despite these basic similarities, kitchen shoes for men and women are different. Women should not wear men’s kitchen shoes and vice versa. First of all, good kitchen shoes for men are naturally larger as men’s feet are broader and longer. Meanwhile, women need shorter and slimmer shoes. They also require shoes with higher arches for maximum comfort. This is because women’s feet have higher arches. On the other hand, men have almost no arch in their feet, making them more flat-footed.

There’s also the Q-angle factor. The Q-angle is defined as the incidence angle of the quad muscle against the kneecap. It should come as no surprise then that this angle is different in men and women. The Q-angle is reportedly slimmer in men, which is said to be due to men having thinner hips than women. Conversely, women’s wider hips also mean a wider Q-angle. This results in pronation, the rotation in the feet that can cause injuries. However, this could be avoided if the shoe utilizes some special materials and design.

Dangers of Choosing the Wrong Kitchen Shoes

It might not be obvious but choosing the wrong kitchen shoes or getting a cheap one can have far-reaching consequences.

There are two things that you’ll immediately notice if you got the wrong shoes for working in the kitchen. They lack comfort, and the durability appears to have diminished. Shoes that are not made from real leather or from other durable materials would need to be replaced more often. Most of the time, they don’t give adequate protection against spills and sharp knives and could also be discolored.

The kitchen is full of hazards and choosing the wrong shoes can actually hurt a business in the long run. The National Safety Council has reported that over 275,000 falls happen annually in restaurants. These accidents can sideline valuable employees or cause injuries to chefs or cooks. There’s also the possibility that the business might need to shell out money for medical expenses or liability lawsuits. These are additional costs that can drain revenues.

Conversely, ensuring that your employees are protected will help raise your company’s insurance rating This is why some companies require their cooks to wear slip-resistant kitchen clogs while others have programs in place that will help employees purchase the best kitchen shoes.

What are the Best Chef Shoes?

There’s admittedly a large variety of kitchen shoes to choose from. But what are the best chef shoes out in the market today?

Some of the most durable and most comfortable chef shoes come from Birkenstocks, Crocs, Dankso, Merrells, Mozo Sharz, and Rockport Works.  All are known for their high-quality footwear.

Dankso is known for its traditional open-back kitchen clogs. Their shoes are made from box leather, bull hide leather, and oiled leather which are materials that are easy to clean and are perfect for the kitchen’s wet and greasy conditions.

No brand exemplifies the durability of a lace-up shoe than Rockport Works. It has a leather upper body and a formal and traditional design. The company boasts of an anti-slip heel that provides excellent stability on slippery floors.

Birkenstock shoes are standard footwear for hospitals and a lot of kitchens around the world. These shoes are waterproof, lightweight, and flexible. They’re also resistant to grease and oil and offer good arch support.

Like Birkenstock footwear, Crocs’ shoes are often used by people working in healthcare, hospitality industries, food service, and restaurants. These comfortable shoes for chefs are cushioned, durable, lightweight, and easy to clean. It has an enclosed shoe design and a contoured footbed, so the user still feels comfortable even after long periods of standing.

Meanwhile, Mozo Sharkz kitchen shoes are designed by renowned chefs Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Samuelsson. Their shoes are 100% vegan, lightweight, and come with side ventilation. They are easy to slip on and have an elastic goring that holds the feet securely in place. Mozo Sharkz chef shoes also come with gel insoles and slip-resistant soles.

These companies are said to offer the best kitchen shoes. Each brand and model has its own pros and cons. It’s up to the chef to pick which one is the best shoes for kitchen work.

Chefs and cooks spend long hours in the kitchen. To avoid the dangers of slips and spills, they need shoes that are sturdy, durable, and comfortable. They should also be resistant to grease and water and should provide adequate support for the feet. Knowing what to look for in the best kitchen shoes will make the search easier.


EHSToday, Stepping Into the Kitchen: Foot Protection for Food Service Workers

Scribd, Food Service Workers Safety Guide

The New York Times, Chefs and Shoes: A Bond Forged in Battle