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Shoes That Matter

Cookwork Perspective: Many chefs ignore the importance of wearing the right kind of shoes but wearing the wrong shoes can impact their overall health and the length of their career.



What To Consider When Buying Chef’s Shoes

What’s the most important thing for a chef to own? A good knife? A table top mixer? An excellent set of pots and pans? How about a good pair of shoes? Many chefs don’t think about their feet but they stand for long hours each day. If they don’t wear good shoes, the length of a chef’s career can be significantly shortened.

There are many things to consider before buying work shoes including: comfort, support, durability, grip and ease of cleaning. Of all these, comfort can be considered to be the most important. When buying shoes, find ones that are easy to stand in all day. No part of the shoe should rub or cut into the foot (this is especially important with steel toed shoes). They may need to broken in but should not cause blisters.

A close second is good arch support. After years of standing, many chefs develop problems with their backs and knees. Wearing the right shoes can help prevent or delay these issues. Many doctors feel that lace up shoes such as Sketchers provide the best support however there have been recent improvements to the support given by clogs (Dansko, Klogs or Crocs) and slip on shoes.



Chef’s shoes are an investment, off-brands of shoes may seem like a bargain but if the uppers separate from the soles or the leather wears out quickly, they’ll need to be replaced more frequently. Co-workers can recommend the shoes that have worked the best for them; websites are also a good source of information.

Kitchens are notorious for having slippery floors so be sure to find a shoe that has a non-slip sole that grips well. This is especially important around the dishwashing area and for kitchens that have deep fat fryers.

Finally, find shoes that are easy to clean (sorry, this does eliminate sneakers as a choice). Even chefs who are very careful wind up with debris on their shoes by the end of the day. Shoes that are made with suede or rough textures can be difficult to maintain. The smoother the surface, the easier it will be to remove dirt.

Fortunately, websites such as offer a variety of brands and styles of shoes that are all appropriate for use in a kitchen. Even better, you can shop while sitting which gives you a chance to rest your feet at the end of a long day of work.





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