For those entering the culinary industry, working on your feet comes with the territory. You will spend long hours prepping and cooking on your feet, often in high stress, fast-paced situations. While there are many tricks to help you ease the stress and stay comfortable, one of the most important elements could be your footwear.
Supportive shoes can help prevent back, leg, foot, and ankle pain throughout the day. Good support can also help you feel more energetic and keep the irritability and stress at bay. When you work in the kitchen, your shoes need to not only be supportive, but also adhere to certain safety precautions. If you are looking for work in a kitchen, find a great pair of kicks that meets these standards.
The most important aspect of work shoes is that they provide good support. You will need to take into account arch-support, whether too much or too little, as well as ankle support and general foot comfort. Orthopedic soles and the popular shoe-liner Smartfeet are great options. Additionally, depending on how strong your ankles are, you may want a shoe with a high support that comes up your ankle, rather than being cut low.
In any kitchen, non-slip shoes are a necessity. It may be a small space, but the amount of time spent running around is huge. You could be stepping in water by the sink and sliding through cooking grease in front of the stove. While those safety hazards should, ideally, be cleaned up immediately, having non-slip shoes can help prevent a nasty fall.
Have you ever heard the saying “if you can’t stand the heat,get out of the kitchen”? In terms of stress, this saying is completely applicable, but getting physically overheated while on the job is completely unnecessary. When picking out your kitchen support shoes of choice, be sure to find ones that offer breathability and doesn’t stifle your feet. Some leather options may be durable and waterproof, but make your feet sweat unbearably.
Finding shoes that are both breathable and waterproof may be a challenge, but will greatly contribute to your overall comfort and happiness while on the job. With the amount of drips and spills that happen in the kitchen, having waterproof shoes can help prevent sticky messes from being tracked into your home. Waterproof shoes should prevent that romesco sauce from getting in-between your toes and allow you to wipe your shoes clean when leaving work.
Finally, the last element important for chef work shoes is their professionalism. In a typical kitchen environment, black shoes are the most acceptable, due to their low-profile and decreased stainability. Many may have a larger heel on the back to promote support, but this does not affect their professionalism. Keep in mind, that shoe appearance should only come into play once all other requirements have been met.