Chefs' Shoes

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Joined Oct 22, 2006
I am a novice - soon to be student.

Can any of the professional chefs out there offer an opinion/guidance about which shoes are the best for a chef to wear for comfort, endurance and durability as well as maintaining a professional look? Male and female recommendations are fine as I'm sure others might be interested in the answers.

I am also wondering if there are any thoughts on wristwatches or other personal equipment? Initially I thought that a chef would not wear a wristwatch (or any other type of jewelery) - but of course timing is so important in the kitchen. Do you wear one? Do you have any recommendations for which work for you/others?
 
46
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Joined Jan 25, 2006
Here's a site that we use for our kitchen and wait staff footware:

www.shoesforcrews.com

The shoes are stylish, very comfortable and well made. The prices are also very reasonable.
 
15
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Joined Oct 9, 2006
I also have to go with Shoes for Crews. They offer a wide line of different styles (personally, I like the Panther II) at very reasonable prices and they're all quite comfortable. Oh, and I always spring for the Dr. Scholl's gel heel inserts for added comfort. They extend the life of the shoe's insole and reduce the wear and tear on your feet.

Oh yes, I'm gel'n like a felon. :crazy:
 
5,538
976
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Options, options, options. Do you subscribe to the "disposable" scene? You know, where you buy new shoes every couple of months. Or would you rather buy a really good pair, a'la "officer/police" type, with goodyear welts and be able to re-heel them and re-sole them, so the pair would last you 3 or 4 years.

Pros and cons for both scenes. True, good quality are more expensive, but you get alot more life out of them, and they're far better constructed to boot, with steel shanks, as well as having all-leather uppers, which allow your feet to breathe. (man-made materials have a habit of making your feet smell nasty and sweat more...)The disposable scene offers you a nice looking shoe every couple of months, so you don't have to bother with cleaning, polishing, or getting it re-heeled, out they go in the trash. Usually the cheapos are poorly lined, os you wear off/abrade the lining in a few weeks, which wears out your socks faster too. Mind you, $30 or even $25 every couple of months does add up, even if you can use all those shoe boxes to put stuff into...

What ever you decide, don't get an expensive pair that doesn't allow you to get them re-heeled or re-soled. You know, the kind with a mono/uni-sole and heel, the kind that your Gr. 11 english teacher would wear. Once the heels are worn down you'd have to take the whole shoe apart to have them re-soled, and it isn't worth the money. Besides, no self-respecting shoe maker would want to glue on a new sole...

Good shoes aren't that hard to find, just use your imagination. Check out the surplus army places, military dress shoes are generally well constructed and are able to be re-heeled quite cheaply when it's time.
 
30
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Joined Jul 14, 2006
When I graduated from high school, in the dim, distant past, I went to work for White Castle. We were required to buy and wear white Nay oxfords. We hated those things, especially since we had to spend hours at home, cleaning onion and grease schmutz off of them and polishing htem with that old white shoe polish. They did, however enable us to get through our shifts without serious back or leg pain. They kept pretty good bite on the floor through the glop, so falls were few and far between.

I have seen some things lately about White Castle that would have Uncle Billy rolling in his grave, and wonder if they still wear Navy oxfords.
 
501
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Clarks are an all time favorite. Laces or slip ons.
soles won't crack, I have a problem with the soles
splitting after two or three months. Leather upper
is tough and soles are mostly non slip. Some advice
buy three pair and rotate into a different one each
day. Really helps. All cotten socks are a must also.
If your working in the trenches with oven cleaner and
a lot of water, nothing lasts two long. Clean your shoes
and take care of them and they will last twice as long also.
Of course there are always the plastic clogs and such. Not
enough arch support for me though.
 
5,192
296
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I personally feel that it is more important to have two pair of shoes then to have them be brand specific.If you're doing more then the forty hour routine and not switching shoes, you are encouraging foot problems, especially if you are in a moist enviornment. Jumping into a pair of shoes that have been off your feet for 4 hours:eek: Go to the police station, operating room and see what these people wear.I also agree with FoodPump on being able to resole.
my 6.5 cents:lol:
pan
 
4,757
1,010
Joined Aug 21, 2004
"I am also wondering if there are any thoughts on wristwatches or other personal equipment?"
The number one cause of food borne illness in our industry is poor hygiene. Watches and rings can be contributing factors because of the nooks and crannys that can harbor bacteria, not to mention the skin behind these items that don't really receive the attention needed when washing hands in a fast paced environment. Also kitchen life is extremely hard on watches, plus most timing should go on in your head, a timepiece in a fast paced work envionment is not a high use or practical item. I do however find a small travel clock on a shelf useful. For shoes, I like Dansko, Birkenstocks, Bastad, and Crocs.
 
67
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Joined Apr 12, 2005
I like Dansko clogs. They are sturdy and comfortable, I don't really have any back problems from standing like I used to. My current pair are going into their fourth year of service, two years at 50 hrs or so and two years at 70 hours or so. Even though they now look like crap and need to be replaced this spring, they are still comfortable and do not slip.

I've owned shoes for crews shoes, and have worn them out consistantly in under a year. They won't slip for anything, but they just didn't have the shelf life or posture support that I like.

Erik.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
Chef Layne
"I am also wondering if there are any thoughts on wristwatches or other personal equipment?"
The number one cause of food borne in our industry is poor hygiene. Watches and rings can be contributing factors because of the nooks and crannys that can harbor bacteria, not to mention the skin behind these items that don't really receive the attention needed when washing hands in a fast paced environment


Also remember that 95 percent of that Food Borne Illnes occurs in the home and not in restaurants. It a great point though.
I don't think you can have enough clocks and I also respect those who use timers.
pan
 
1,691
39
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Sushi said
"I've owned shoes for crews shoes, and have worn them out consistantly in under a year. They won't slip for anything, but they just didn't have the shelf life or posture support that I like."

I may have made a mistake- I ordered some Dansko clogs from Shoes for Crews that were just $53: I think I'm probably not getting the Professional series. Maybe I don't need top of the line- I'm not a pro, but spend a fair amount of time on my feet in my tile-floored kitchen.

My wife just bought a pair of Professional clogs for $120 and is - so far - enthusiastic about how they feel (she just got them.)

Should I send mine back and get the Pro model, or are the less expensive clogs good enough for a home cook? As far as I can tell, Shoes for Crews doesn't even offer the Pro models, but I can find them (always for $120) on several other sites.

Thanks,

Mike :confused:
 
67
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Joined Apr 12, 2005
I'm not sure it will make too much of a difference to you. Last I checked the Dansko brand clogs are the only clog approved by the American Podiatric Association. That doesn't mean a whole lot, but at least it indicates that Dansko is trying to make a quality shoe.

I'd suggest that a home cook will find shoes for crews to be just fine - you won't be spending the time on your feet that professionals do, and you won't be slopping the same amount of junk onto your shoes either. One thing I will say about the Dansko's though, when I am not wearing Dansko clogs, I am thinking about wearing Dansko clogs.


Erik.
 
1,691
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Joined Dec 23, 2000
Well, I guess that's a lesson in shopping- my clogs from Shoes For Crews are Chinese knock-offs of the Dansko Pro. The appearance is the same, though some details of construction are obviously not as good. They feel just like my wife's new Pro shoes, with similar arch support, though the leather seems somewhat less supple. All that said they were just $52 instead of the $129+tax that my affluent wife was able to afford. :rolleyes:

Probably going to keep 'em, since they won't get the wear of a professional. I will also wear them in the wood shop, which also involves a lot of standing.

Mike
 
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