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Best Footwear around the Kitchen?

I am a very s l o w cook, so I end up spending a lot of time in the kitchen, on my feet. Any recommendations on the type and brand of shoe to wear while cooking? It seems like the pros wear these heavy-looking clogs. . . Are they a good idea for a home cook? What do you wear when you're doing major cooking?

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  1. Ooh. the name has completely slipped my mind. I have been meaning to get a pair. Let me google.

    1. Danskos. I prefer the red ones.

      1. Those clogs aren't actually heavy at all. They're sturdy enough to run around in, but easy to step out of in case you spill a huge pot of boiling liquid and realize it's pooling in your shoes and burning you.

        For a home cook, I think any comfortable shoe is fine, as long as you dedicate a clean pair to kitchen use. And, as my tennis teacher always said, no black soles! They scuffed up the courts, and I'm sure they'd scuff up your floor. Just enough to make chopping more comfortable.

        Now that you mention it, shoes might be a good way for me to gain some height in the kitchen. Those clogs add at least an inch or two.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pei

          I endorse Dansko Clogs, and they are my "house" shoe as well, I slip into them like slippers.
          They are firm, and the shape, particularly the arch, is a perfect fit for my feet. If I don't wear them my knee acts up.

        2. I know in restaurant kitchens, I absolutely swear by Shoes for Crews. The soles have kung-fu action grip. Once back when I was working at TGI Friday's, the general manager showed off the power of the shoes. A small bunch of skeptics (myself included) were invited to find the greasiest, wettest spot in the back of the house. Turns out there was a puddle in the middle of the dish pit. He took a few steps back, took a running leap, and landed squarely with both feet in the middle of the puddle of muck. We were all astonished and bought our own pairs. They're also wonderfully comfortable.

          For home kitchens, non-slip shoes aren't a necessity, but certainly will be nice. I'd do a comfortable pair of slip-on clogs similar to what many chefs wear. It just so happens Shoes for Crews sells some for about 50 bucks.


          1. I like my Reef flip-flops. They're comfy with a fat rubber sole, you can kick them off in a second and they're cool. They're not so great if you're a knife-dropper, and they don't work well on light floors (as mentioned in a previous post). I have black rubber flooring in my kitchen so it's not an issue.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Valyn

              Black rubber flooring! I'm considering this for my kitchen. How do you like it? How does it wear? What's the upkeep? Any particular brand?

            2. Birenstocks for me - very comfortable for standing around.


              1. I lived in Danskos in culinary school and loved them, especially when my clueless classmate followed me right through a nasty spill on the floor and nearly landed on her head. She wondered why I didn't even flinch. I lifted my foot to her, but she wasn't convinced.

                At home, admittedly, I am usually barefoot even when cooking. Thankfully my reflexes are really good at jumping me out of the way, but I have splattered a few hot things on my tootsies.

                1. Dansko - they are the way to go. Although, be forewarned, the clogs are meant solely (no pun intended!) for indoor even floors. Many people I know, including myself, have tumbled because the ankle gave. Dansko was designed specifically for standing, not running around on sidewalks.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: birdy30

                    Absolutely. I wish someone had warned me about this before I bought a pair. I have weak ankles, and I wore Danskos as street shoes. I must have twisted my ankle a dozen times before I threw them away. I watch for it on the street now, the inevitable ankle twist of women walking in clogs.

                    Frankly, with my ankles, I wouldn't even wear those things in the house (I'm imagining twisting my ankle while carrying a pot of boiling water). But other people can probably handle them on nice even floors.

                    When I worked in kitchens, the most comfrotable - and most ugly - shoes I found were Birkenstocks. Not the sandals, but the astonishingly hideous shoes. Now that I don't work in kitchens, I generally wear my Docs for cooking - strong, supportive, will survive spills, don't hurt my feet. But shoes are a very personal matter.

                    1. re: curiousbaker

                      Danskos are also worthless on ice and snow, as I learned

                  2. It has been advertised that a lot of chefs wear Crocs (http://www.crocs.com/ - or maybe it's just Mario Batali with his orange ones), which I think are just so so ugly.

                    While I don't wear these to cook (at home, I too cook barefoot and have been lucky enough to avoid anything hot spilling on my feet), I do have a pair of clogs from the Clogmaster (http://www.clogmaster.com/) in LA. You have to go in to order your first pair, as the owner needs to personally make sure that the clog fits your foot correctly, from the wooden sole to the leather upper. They aren't that heavy, in my opinion, and actually very comfortable when you break them in, and are supposed to be very good for your legs, hips, back, etc, keeping you in "proper" alignment. They apparently have a lot of very loyal clients in both the medical and the restaurant industries.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jacinthe

                      I love Crocs. If you're not worried about dropping anything on your feet (I often cook barefoot or in flip-flops) and you feel you must wear shoes in the kitchen, try them. They're so comfortable to stand in, and cheap enough that if you don't like them, you can get rid of them without feeling too guilty.

                    2. I have a friend who works in the kitchen of a big NYC restaurant and they all make fun of Batalli's Crocs... they just wait for the day he slices a toe in a pair of those.

                      For work she and most of her crew uses Danskos...


                      1. I have to say I'm barefoot (and thank god not pregnant) all the way. I'd be barefoot every moment of my life if I could. I should live on a beach....sigh

                        1. I hate wearing shoes but when standing at the counter for a long time my back hurts so when doing any real cooking I usually wear gym shoes or hiking shoes with a thick sole for support and extra height (I am 5'1"). I might give those Danskos a try through.

                          1. I never wear shoes inside the house. It is bad for the carpet and wears out the shoes.

                            In a commercial kitchen, I had three major criteria:

                            1) protection from falling knives (i.e., leather uppers)
                            2) protection from boiling water spills (no canvas uppers)
                            3) protection from slips and falls (no leather soles that pick up grease).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jlawrence01

                              Clogs are excellent for visiting homes that request no shoes in the house. Off and on quickly.

                              Danskos are way expensive. I had some Swedish clogs that were steel-toed. Had to take them off to get through federal building monitoring.

                              I can run and play soccer very well in clogs, but they do ground your feet too well for volleyball.

                              Lately I've been wearing my $5.99 aquasocks from Walgreen's. Something spilled? Step in the shower.

                            2. I never wear shoes inside the house. It is bad for the carpet and wears out the shoes.

                              In a commercial kitchen, I had three major criteria:

                              1) protection from falling knives (i.e., leather uppers)
                              2) protection from boiling water spills (no canvas uppers)
                              3) protection from slips and falls (no leather soles that pick up grease).

                              1. I work in a professional kitchen as a pastry chef and nothing is better than Croc's for comfort. I wear them at home and they are more comfortable than barefoot! They are not non-skid though so you have to be careful if the floor is wet.

                                1. Crocs are the most comfortable ande I would recommend Dansk clogs for protection. Either way they are both comfortable

                                  1. In my home kitchen (and I am not a professional chef) I wear a pair of Mephisto sandals. They are very comfortable with a good arch (ugly as hell) and I can stand in them for hours. I can also walk in them for a 3-5 hours in a European city, which is how I bought them in the first place.

                                    1. Without a doubt, Birkenstock plastic clogs.

                                      They are extremely comfortable, not unstable like Dansk or wooden clogs, the inserts are easily removed for cleaning and they are more protective that Crocs.

                                      1. I have to wholeheartedly agree with all the others about Crocs being extremely comfortable in the kitchen. I may have been extremely lucky(though accident prone)but I have never dropped a knife nor a heavy pot on my foot. As an owner of both leather clogs and Crocs I have to say it is Crocs all the way!

                                        1. After trying virtually everything, I shot the wad on a pair of MBTs. This is the best investment in shoes I ever made! At the end of the day I feel strong and healthy. These shoes force you into perfect posture and I have absolutely no fatigue in my legs or ankles.

                                          No clogs for me. I always fear that I'll walk out of them while carrying boiling oil.