These Are the Kitchen Shoes I Swear By
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, a good pair of kitchen shoes are a lifesaver. Here are our favorites.
I did my first day of culinary school in cowboy boots. They were the most heavy-duty, comfortable non-slip shoes I owned, but by the end of my 6-hour class, I knew it was a huge mistake. What counts as suitable for walking does not apply to hours of standing in front of a counter. My back and the arches of my feet were screaming at me. In the locker room, a kind fellow student gave me the name of a store in Brooklyn that specializes in shoes for nurses. The next day I went and picked up a pair of Dansko clogs and never looked back. I like them so much that I keep them outside the kitchen door to slip on whenever I’m cooking anything more involved than a peanut butter sandwich.
If you’re only in the kitchen occasionally, you probably don’t need to worry about your footwear. But if you cook regularly and often get aches in your back or shoulders, kitchen shoes are a wonder. The best ones need to serve a few purposes:
- They’re comfortable enough to wear for long periods of standing and making trips to the pantry or fridge for ingredients.
- They’re slip-resistant shoes, meaning that a puddle on the floor won’t send you flying into something.
- They’re heavy enough to protect you if you drop something very sharp or scalding on your feet while cooking. That’s especially valuable now to avoid any trips to the hospital for kitchen injuries during a pandemic.
Clogs are popular shoes for kitchen environments because they’re comfortable (arch support and shock absorption) and heavy-duty (rubber outsole). They also give you a little extra height, which as a five-foot five-inch woman, I find useful. If you survey the closet of any professional recipe developer or cook in the service industry, you’ll likely see some variation of clogs there. Danskos are durable, but they aren’t cheap—my XP pair costs about $150, depending on where you source them. Sanita also makes sleek, comfortable, durable clogs in that range, if Danksos aren’t your thing.
Boots can also be good kitchen shoes—just not cowboy boots. One recipe developer friend of mine swears by heavy-duty hiking boots in the kitchen. In the colder months, I found that Blundstone boots are also excellent kitchen shoes, and they’re fashionable enough to wear them in most other situations. They’re a little pricier ($150 to $200), but they’re tremendously durable and versatile outside the kitchen.
There are more affordable options out there if you’re not keen on dropping a lot of money on kitchen shoes. Our Executive Editor, Karen Shimizu, prefers closed-toed purple Crocs, another strong kitchen shoe contender. Crocs are outrageously comfortable and come in an array of colors and patterns, so it’s easy to see why they’re beloved by folks who have to stay on their feet all day. They usually run in the $30 to $50 range, so you can have a few different colored pairs if you love them.
Senior Editor Kat Kinsman steered me towards Sloggers, waterproof gardening shoes that come in a variety of fun prints (chickens! Florals! Pawprints!) as well as glossy black. Depending on the pattern, they’ll run you around $25 to $40 on Amazon, a good deal for a purchase that could save you from stitches. If you’ve been spending more time than usual cooking at home this year, a pair of kitchen shoes are just the thing to save your weary feet.
The Best Kitchen Shoes to Buy Right Now
Features: Leather upper with a reinforced instep, lined footbed for great fit and moisture-wicking, skid-resistant outsole and shock absorption, 1 3/4-inch heel height
To buy: $125 at zappos.com
Features: Over 25 different patterns, budget-friendly, easy to clean with a removable insole, recyclable material
To buy: $25-$40 at amazon.com