The Top 10 Shoes for Restaurant Workers

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Anyone who thinks restaurant work is easy has clearly never worked in a restaurant.  

As a former bartender, server, and cater waiter, I’m still haunted by the memories of spending long periods of time on my feet. 

Not only was I constantly side stepping safety hazards, like sharp objects, hot liquids, and wet floors, but working a whole day on hard surfaces was murder on my feet and back. 

(And don’t even get me started on the crappy tippers.)

Needless to say, having proper footwear wasn’t just essential, it was a life saver. 

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the best restaurant work shoes for avoiding sore feet and serious injuries, because let’s face it, the last thing you need is foot pain or a sprained ankle making you miss a shift.

Whether you work as a food server in the dining room or a chef in busy kitchen, this post will make finding the right shoes easier than washing dishes.


At a Glance↓

You can learn (quite a bit!) more about each pair below, but here’s a quick summary of our favorite shoe options for restaurant workers:

Overall Best Restaurant Shoe:
Snibbs Spacecloud 2.0
—–
Best Clog:
Dansko XP 2.0
—–
Best Value Clog:
Crocs Bistro Clog
—–
Best Value Sneaker:
Shoes for Crews Freestyle II
—–
Best Dress Shoe (Sponsored):
Amberjack Originals

Who Wrote This Article:

As the former Editor-in-Chief of Strong Fitness Magazine and current in-house Editor of Irreverent Gent, Kirstyn Brown has built her decade-plus career in service journalism on the strength of her thorough approach to research, reporting and writing.

How We Created This List:

Comfort
& Support

Quality & Craftsmanship

Online
Reviews

The three main criteria we used to assess each shoe were the comfort and support they provide, the craftmanship and quality of their materials, and the experience of real users who have worn each pair, all of which we compare to their price tags to get a sense of their overall value.

To learn more about how we rate and review products, check out our product review and round up policy here

OK, preamble over! Let’s see some shoes…

The Top 10 Shoes for Restaurant Workers

Rounding Up the Most Comfortable, Durable, and Slip-Resistant Shoes on the Market

Overall Best Shoes for Restaurants ↓

Snibbs Spacecloud 2.0

Features:
  • Slip-resistant and water-resistant
  • 100% vegan
  • Available in three colors
Why We Like ‘Em:

For restaurant employees who spend long shifts on their feet, the Snibbs Spacecloud 2.0 Work Sneakers are a life saver (or should we say, feet saver?). 

These durable and supportive sneakers are one of our top picks for two main reasons. 

One: They’re safe. 

The slip-resistant soles provide much-needed traction to keep you safe on greasy surfaces, while the water-resistant upper makes wiping off spills a breeze. 

And two: They’re comfortable.

A combination of high-quality vegan materials and a custom-formulated Ortholite® insole help make those double shifts a little less painful. 

Plus, the sole’s tread pattern and thickness are designed to give you around 1,100 miles of wear, so they’re also incredibly durable.

Why Some Might Not:

Unless you prefer a clog-style shoe over a sneaker, it’s hard to find fault with these shoes.

One possible downside is that they don’t offer narrow or wide sizes, only standard —although the toe box is extra wide to leave room for inevitable swelling — so you may need to size up or down, depending on your needs.

What Other Users Say: 

 Honestly the best non slips I’ve ever bought. No complaints whatsoever.

– Farris

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Best Clog ↓

Dansko XP 2.0

Dansko 2.0 Clog
Features:
  • Leather uppers
  • Slip-resistant and waterproof
  • 13 colors options
  • Wide sizes available
Why We Like ‘Em:

If you’re not into the lace-up design, then you can’t go wrong with a clog. 

Pennsylvania-based shoe company Dansko has specialized in making high quality clogs since 1990, and their iconic XP line is a well-known favorite among those who work long hours on their feet. 

According to the company’s website, Dansko shoes are “for people who strive to get the most from life”. 

But why clogs? Glad you asked. 

Clogs have long been the top shoe choice of kitchen workers because they have famously non-slip soles, as well as the arch support and protection that you’re looking for in good quality restaurant shoes.

Dansko’s XP clogs take these benefits to the next level with a padded instep for comfort, as well as extra shock absorption, an anti-fatigue rocker bottom, and a slip-resistant rubber sole.

They may not be the epitome of style, but when it comes to the best restaurant shoes, comfort is king. 

Why Some Might Not:

In addition not loving the look, some people may find clogs a little restricting and heavy compared to a sneaker-style kitchen shoe.

And at $150, they maybe not be a good fit for your budget.

What Other Users Say: 

30 years in the kitchen, best clogs ever.

– Sam Brachman 

Check Price 


(Sponsored)
Best Dress Shoe for Restaurants ↓

Amberjack

Amberjack Originals
Features:
  • Heat-activated arch support
  • Dual-density outsole
  • Soft interior lining
  • Perforated to allow your feet to breathe
Why We Like ‘Em:

If you’re a restaurant manager or happen to work at a restaurant with a fancy dress code, Amberjacks are an ideal choice.

We ranked them highly on our list of the most comfortable dress shoes because they look fashion-forward, but feel like traditionally comfortable footwear, making them perfect for restaurants on the fancier side of the hospitality industry.

On the style side, they have all the hallmarks of a well-made dress shoe, including a classic almond toe shape, svelte heel and impressively high-quality leather.

But they also come packed with comfort and support features, including excellent arch support, a flexible dual-density outsole and soft sheepskin lining that nicely cradles your foot.

Plus they’re perforated with small holes that allow for airflow, which is especially handy when you’re on your feet all damn day.

What Other Users Say:

My husband is on his feet at work 10 hours a day, often without any breaks. He was looking for a dress shoe that looked great, was polishable, and felt like tennis shoes when wearing them. Amberjack fit that bill!

– M.J. Christensen

Check Price 


Best Value Clog ↓

Crocs Bistro Clogs

Crocs Bistro Clog
Features:
  • Certified slip-resistant
  • Easy-to-clean material
  • Affordable pricing (compared to most brands listed here)
Why We Like ‘Em:

Perhaps the most famous brand of clogs (OK, maybe more like infamous), Crocs has sold more than 850 million pairs since the company launched in 2002. 

While Crocs’ aesthetic has been polarizing in the fashion world, the restaurant industry has embraced them as a favorite brand of footwear among restaurant staff

In fact, the Croc Bistro Clog was designed specifically for workers in the food service industry who work long shifts in slippery conditions. 

These shoes have all the comfort of regular Crocs, but with an ASTM F 2913 certified non-slip tread (that’s the official standard for slip-resistant footwear in the United States). 

They’re also a fraction of the price of other brands of clogs, so you can hang on to those hard-earned tips and still get a quality — and safe — work shoe. 

Why Some Might Not:

Unfortunately, Crocs doesn’t offer half sizes or wide sizes, so finding the right fit can be tricky (especially if you’re shopping online).

What Other Users Say: 

These shoes take the pressure off of feet, back, hips and I hardly notice that I’ve been standing all day. Drastic difference in my work mood too, being more comfortable.

– Jenelle P

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Best Value Sneaker ↓

Shoes for Crews Freestyle II

Shoes for Crews Freestyle II
Features:
  • Certified slip-resistant outsole
  • Water resistant
  • Synthetic uppers are easy to clean
  • Available in wide sizes
Why We Like ‘Em:

If you’re more of a sneaker guy, the Shoes for Crews Freestyle II has all the all day comfort of an athletic shoe, but with the safety features of a work shoe. 

Like all of Shoes for Crews footwear, these shoes are equipped with slip-resistant outsoles and large lug patterns for better grip and stability, as well as water-repellent uppers to keep you safe and dry in slippery conditions. 

And you can’t beat the price: 

While comparable styles at major brands go for around $120, these are a steal at just $45. 

(At that price, why not get a second pair as a backup?)

Why Some Might Not:

Some users complained these didn’t offer a ton of arch support, however, the insole is removable so you can pop in your own custom orthotics if you need the extra support.

What Other Users Say: 

This work shoe is perfect for someone who is on their feet for the entire work shift.

– Hockey Fan

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Birkenstock Clogs Super-Birki 

Birkenstock Super-Birki Clog
Features:
  • Water and grease-resistant
  • Easy to disinfect
  • Anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed (removable)
  • Available in 10 colors
Why We Like ‘Em:

Birkenstock has been a trusted name in the world of shoes for well over a century, so it’s no surprise that their grease-resistant clog is one of the best kitchen shoes on the market. 

Designed with service industry and healthcare professionals in mind, the Birkenstock Super-Birki is made from water- and grease-resistant polyurethane to help prevent slips and falls. 

Polyurethane can be washed in water as hot as 60° celsius, so disinfecting them after a shift is a breeze (good hygiene is crucial in this business).

Plus, you’re getting Birkenstock’s legendary anatomically shaped cork footbed for proper support and maximum comfort. 

Why Some Might Not:

These can be a little stiff out of the box, so you’ll need to give them some break in time before working a full shift in them.

Also, some people may not love the backless design, but luckily, Birkenstock makes a similar stye with a higher back, the Profi-Birki, so you have options.

What Other Users Say: 

Sweet kitchen shoe. Takes a couple days to break in. Great for overall restaurant operations

– Butt B. Butt

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Skechers Work Relaxed Fit Nampa SR

Skechers Nampa Shoe
Features:
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Electrical hazard tested
  • Memory foam comfort insole
Why We Like ‘Em:

If there’s one thing Skechers does really, really well, it’s comfort. 

In fact, it’s one of the main reasons the company went from mediocre to one of the top sneaker brands in America

Their Nampa SR work shoe delivers Skechers’ trademark comfort along with the safety features you need for a long day at the restaurant: 

It has a slip-resistant rubber outsole, along with an easy-to-clean synthetic upper and electrical hazard protection. 

Why Some Might Not:

The fit is reportedly narrow, so it’s a good idea to go up a half size or get the wide option. 

What Other Users Say: 

I work in a high volume kitchen, so I go thru many non slip shoes. I just received these yesterday…. wore at work all day today and I am impressed. They are light and comfortable and the memory foam truly helps. I would definitely recommend to anyone that works in the food industry and needs good, no slip shoes.

– Chris Smith

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Avia Avi-Flame SR

Avia Avi-Flame Clog
Features:
  • Certified oil- and slip-resistant
  • Anatomical cradle and memory foam insole
  • Fits true to size
Why We Like ‘Em:

For people who prefer the ease of slip-on shoes, the Avi-Flame from Avia is an affordable clog-style shoe designed for food service workers.

Like many of the shoes on this list, the most important things to note are the safety features, like oil- and slip-resistant technology and water-resistant uppers for easy clean-up. 

As for the other most important thing, comfort, the interiors boast an anatomical footbed and molded foam sock for hours (and hours) of stability and support. 

Why Some Might Not:

Note that you might have to break these in before you go to your next shift — a few reviewers mentioned they were initially very stiff. 

What Other Users Say: 

Perfect work shoes, super comfortable and easy to slide on.

– liana

Check Price 


Dr. Scholl Intrepid Slip-Resistant Sneaker

Dr. Sholl's Intrepid Sneaker
Features:
  • Oil and slip resistance meets industry standards
  • Lab tested for comfort and cushioning
  • Odor control linings
Why We Like ‘Em:

There are few brands as synonymous with foot health as Dr. Scholl’s. 

So it should come as no surprise that they offer a slip-resistant work shoe with all the comfort and support they’re known for. 

The interior includes a memory-foam insole, a breathable vented sock, and moisture-wicking and anti-microbial linings (AKA see ya, smelly shoes!). 

As for the safety factor, you’re covered:

They boast oil- and slip-resistant Lock Step Outsole technology that meets industry standards. 

Why Some Might Not:

Many reviewers noted that while the non-slip sole is top notch, the overall quality is not up to par.

If you love the fit (and the price), it’s still worth it, but you may only get a couple of months out of each pair.

What Other Users Say: 

I have neuropathy in my feet so a good orthopaedic shoe is a must. These fit the bill. The price is very good, they look good and my feet feel fine in them.

– John Bauder

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Skechers Work Relaxed Fit Cessnock SR

Skechers Cessnock Shoe
Features:
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Electrical hazard tested
  • Memory foam comfort insole
Why We Like ‘Em:

Another style of slip resistant shoes from Skechers, this slip-on sneaker is a favorite among restaurant servers and chefs. 

It has all the comfort and safety features of the Nampa, but with a mesh upper instead of polyurethane, which makes for more breathable shoes and a cozy fit. 

Why Some Might Not:

The downside to the mesh upper is it’s not waterproof, so some reviewers recommended spraying them with a water-repellent fabric seal to help keep your feet dry. 

What Other Users Say: 

I wear these shoes 5 days and 40+ hours a week in a fast food restaurant. They work very well and wear a long time before needing replacement. 

– Jeff B

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FAQ


More Advice on Comfortable & Supportive Shoes:
About the Author

Kirstyn Brown

Kirstyn started washing dishes in her dad’s diner at the age of 13 (is that even legal?), then later worked several years as a bartender and server at various restaurants and catering gigs before starting her career in journalism. 

She’s since become a prominent writer and editor in the health and wellness space, with work appearing in STRONG Fitness Magazine (of which she is co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief), Oxygen Magazine, Girls Gone Strong, and more. 

Banner Image Credits:
Photo: Our Robot Overlords Dall-E
Illustration: Irreverent Gent

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