Best Non-Slip Shoes for Restaurant Workers (Chefs & Servers)

(Last Update 8/4/2017)     

Are you one of the many foot soldiers who carry out the most important work in the food services sector?

If you are, then you’re not oblivious to the hazards that come with the job.

Accidents like slips and falls may happen whether you’re working in a food shack, coffee shop, bar or even in a fine dining restaurant. Such mishaps should be prevented as it could lead to serious, if not career ending, injuries.​

It is for this reason why your peers in the service industry see the importance of wearing footwear adapted to your work environment.

The best slip resistant shoes for food service workers are manufactured for a specific purpose. They’re the kind of footwear that can offer you protection and keep you safe in the performance of your celebrated duties.​

Want to know what are exactly the best options?

We have the reviews of best non-slip shoes for restaurant workers below.

How do you know if a shoe is non-slip?

Working in a fast-paced environment is not a stroll in the park. The entire workplace is actually a ‘minefield’ for all food service workers stationed in the kitchen or elsewhere.

There are mines that cause the common accidents such as slips, trips, skids, slides, and falls. The mines come in the form of cooking oil slicks, water spills, food dregs, uneven floor surfaces and much more. The risks to your well-being are ever-present so wearing anti-slip shoes can diminish or eliminate the dangers.

The label “slip resistant’ shoes can be misleading or disorienting at times. Some shoe companies apply the label as an advertising ploy to attract buyers who are in the market for no slip shoes. In truth, it’s more than the label.

What does slip resistance mean?

When you are talking about slip resistance in shoes, it means the footwear offers you support as well as protection. The main purpose is to prevent falls, trips, and slips that normally happen in your workplace. The shoes are designed to reduce the probability of such accidents occurring due to wet, slippery, greasy and oily floor surfaces.

Is oil-resistant and slip-resistant the same?

Also, it should be stressed that there is a difference between slip resistant and oil resistant shoes. 

Strictly speaking, oil-resistant shoes refer to the shoes used in work areas where petroleum, chemicals or acid are present in floor surfaces. These shoes are solidly made to prevent the more dangerous oils from damaging the shoe material and soles. Hence, it is not for food service or restaurant settings.​

What is the difference between non slip and slip resistant?

There’s a fine line dividing non-slip and slip resistant shoes. But if you analyze more closely, no slip shoes are non-existent. What are in existence are shoes that are manufactured with increased resistance to slipping or sliding on slippery and treacherous grounds.

What do you look for in slip resistant shoes?

Slip resistant shoes that are suitable for your workplace have characteristics that are nothing like normal shoes. They’re primarily “safety’ shoes. You can confidently move around knowing you won’t slip or fall just that easily. The "no-slip" shoes in effect take good care of you while you cope with the dizzying pace of your work.

Outsole pattern is important. First, check the outsole of the shoes to see the shape of the patterns. The shape has a significant bearing on the shoes’ grip on the floor. Pay special attention to the edges. You’re looking for round or circled edges not flat ones. Flat edges would not let you walk safely through wet surfaces, unlike circular edges. When your shoes have circled edges, any liquid substance on the floor is thrown aside with every stride.

Tread is equally important. Inspect the tread design next. The tread design is equally important as it should complement the outsole pattern. The tread of a slip resistant shoe is designed to give you better traction when you slide across a wet floor. If your work entails frequent walking or running, the tread grips to the ground. The tread material is what makes the shoes extra resistant against slips or falls. High-grade rubber, for example, grips firmly on greasy surfaces and provides tougher traction.

You should also be particular about the grooves or lugs of the tread. Smaller lugs have better slip resistance qualities. The spaces between the tread should be sufficient to funnel any liquid substance trapped beneath your sole to the outer ends of the outsole.

Go for high-quality materials. Aside from their safety features, slip-resistant shoes should be made of high-quality materials. A pair should be lightweight, comfortable and decidedly durable. How can a manufacturer claim they have the best shoes for servers if the footwear lacks these added qualities? You can check out the various materials used as shoe soles here to know which ones are recommended for specific floor surfaces and conditions.

One material that is durable and long-lasting is leather. The material is abrasion-resistant and breathable. Leathers are easy to clean and maintain too. Applying a cream wax on a regular basis will make it moist and prevent the toes from cracking.

There are flexible midsoles for added comfort as well as cushion and support for your hard-working feet during those long working hours. Some of the best kitchen shoes are even fitted with anti-microbial shields in the insole to prevent the circulation of pungent odors that lingers around the feet.

Style and appearance. The slip resistant dress shoes are suited for the front liners who interact with customers. The choice is yours but you have to remember you’re not dressing up for the occasion. You’re equipping yourself with safety shoes.

What are the top brands that make non-slip work shoes?

The market for slip resistant shoes is rising that the renowned names in shoe manufacturing are expanding their shoe lines. The famous brands of athletic shoes like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and New Balance among others see the emergence of a diverse market segment. Even well-known sneaker brands like Skechers, Vans, and Converse have joined the fray.

VANS

vans kitchen shoes

Image via Complex.com

The famous sneaker brand Vans has introduced a “Kitchen Shoe Program” for restaurant industry professionals. The program aims to develop kitchen-proof sneakers to add to their product lines.

They partnered with two prominent restaurant owners to assist in the development of the sneakers for the use of food service workers. If plans do not miscarry, the kitchen and service crews of the two restaurants will soon be wearing the first batch of Vans’ work sneakers.

Vans also collaborated with another well-known chef to help re-design their classic slip-on and convert them to work shoes.

Nike

nike slip resistant shoes

Nike is one of the world’s leading shoe brands. They have gained loyal followers including service industry workers. Since their shoe performs great on the hardcourt, you’d probably expect they’ll perform just as good in your work area.

Do not be disappointed in case their slip resistant shoes fail to meet your expectations. Brands like Nike and Adidas specialize in sports or workout shoes. Their shoes also have non slip or slip resistance features that work best on the court, track or gym. Those same features will not apply when used in your workplace. The stress on the shoes is different and the work hours extend far beyond the four quarters in a game.

There is no doubt these famous brands will soon produce some of the best shoes for food service workers. Reebok and New Balance are already creating inroads. Meanwhile, just focus on the brands that specialize in non-slip shoes.

What are the top brands that make non slip work shoes?

There are non slip shoes for restaurant workers that are made by other top brands. The shoe line is varied and would definitely meet your safety workplace standard.

Skechers

Skechers boast of an impressive shoe line that caters to food service workers. They have redefined slip resistant shoes that cater to both male and female workers. Women, in general, love the Skechers work shoes because of reliability, style, and comfort.

KEEN’S & Crocs

Keen’s is another brand that’s gaining prominence in non slip shoes particularly for chefs. Their shoes are durable and suited for long hours of daily grind. The clogs of Crocs are not far behind and easily becoming one of the best protective footwear of tireless chefs.

For the kitchen crews, brands like Birkenstock, Dansko, Merrell and New Balance are the better choices.

Versatile Non Slip Shoes

If you are looking for versatility and not specific to the kitchen, there are more choices from other well-known brands.

The brands that offer decent non slip shoes are Annte Shoes, Dockers, Dr. Martens, Dr. Scholl’s, Ryka, safeTstep, ShoesforCrews, Townforst, and Fila.

Satisfied users can attest as to how these shoes can really prevent accidents in the workplace.

None of the best names in athletic shoes are mentioned except for Fila and Reebok. That should give you a hint that the most comfortable non-slip shoes are dedicated to food service workers, not athletes.

Best Non-slip Shoes for Women

1. Skechers Sure Track Trickel - The "No Slack" Women Work  Shoes

Skechers Sure Track Trickle owns the distinction of being the most comfortable non-slip shoes for women. The shoes provide all-day comfort flow at work and commuting to and from work.

What We Like

  • Slip resistant rubber traction outsole
  • Excellent arch support
  • Lace up slip with padded collar and tongue
  • Perforated side mini panels for constant airflow

What We Don't Like

  • Shoe soles a bit hard and not as flexible

2. Skechers for Work Women's Eldred - The Stylish Over Performing Shoes

Skechers for Work Women's Eldred Slip Resistant Shoe is heralded as one of the best black non slip shoes and the ideal non-Slip Waitress Shoes you’ll ever find. Excellent shoes for bartending duties too.

What We Like

  • Non-slip sole works well on all floor surfaces
  • Memory foam provides total comfort even on extended work hours
  • Can withstand daily abuse

What We Don't Like

  • Memory foam insole flattens
  • Appear to wears and fast

3. Skechers Soft Stride-Softie Lace-Up  - The Athletic Women's Work Shoes 

Skechers for Work Women's Soft Stride-Softie Slip Resistant Lace-Up is preferred by the energetic lady worker. Designed for the active woman whose work entails long hours of standing.

What We Like

  • Slip resistant with athletic cushion and comfort
  • Perforated paneling for breathability
  • Feet feel wrapped in clouds due to memory foam

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky, thick non-slip label at the top of tongue is a nuisance while tying
  • Lace eyelets prone to breakage

4. Fila Women's Memory Fresh Start -  The Dependable Non-Slip Sneakers For Fast Food Setting

The Fila Women's Memory Fresh Start Slip Resistant Work Shoe is not your typical black and white non-slip shoes. The vibrant colors add a trendy feel. Terrific no slide shoes especially in a frenzied work atmosphere.

What We Like

  • Super soft and lightweight
  • Upper-synthetic leather for support
  • Nylon mesh for breathability
  • Midsole-ethylene vinyl acetate absorbs road shocks

What We Don't Like

  • Looks like plastic
  • Short shoe laces

5. Dr. Martens Women's Soho - The Durable Classic For The Working Girl

Dr. Martens Women's Soho Shoe is known for its air-cushioned sole and constructed with the safety and comfort of the working girl in mind. The canvas material is what makes it durable and flexible.

What We Like

  • Near-perfect cushion that guarantees almost ache-free feet
  • Practical for daily wear
  • Sturdy and neatly constructed

What We Don't Like

  • Hard soles
  • Not best for wide feet

Best Non-slip Shoes for Men

1. Skechers for Work Men's Flex Advantage - The Ultimate Work Men’s Shoes

Skechers for Work Men's Flex Advantage Slip Resistant Mcallen is the best shoes for servers whether you’re the chef, a kitchen crew, and a server or waiter. The appearance is not flashy but will pass up as casual shoes. They’re comfortable, breathable and light. It gives total support for long hours of productive work.

What We Like

  • Tested slip resistant rubber traction sole
  • Insulated against electrical hazards
  • Layered durable mesh for support with breathability
  • Dual side elastic fabric panels for easy slip on fit
  • Full-length memory foam insole

What We Don't Like

  • Very light but no protection from falling heavy objects
  • Waterproof but not water and stain repellent

2. KEEN’s Utility Men's PTC Oxford - The Incredible Workhorse

KEEN’s Utility Men's PTC Oxford Work Shoe is a “no break in” shoe that you hit the ground running when you wear it. It has a snug fit that literally cradles your feet while you’re doing your important tasks. This is regarded as the best kitchen shoes.

What We Like

  • Best for chef and kitchen crew
  • Pliable leather uppers
  • Totally slip-proof tread

What We Don't Like

  • Wide shoes so actual fitting is necessary

3. Skechers for Work Men's 76759 Soft Stride Galley - The Rugged Work Men’s Shoe

The Skechers for Work Men's 76759 Soft Stride Galley Work Boot is rugged but gives top-notch comfort in your full day’s work. It’s built to last so you’ll get more mileage.

What We Like

  • Pronation control
  • Excellent arch support
  • Good heel cushion

What We Don't Like

  • Toe area and sides prone to fall apart after long use

4. Crocs Unisex Bistro Batali Edition Clog - The Functional, Everyday Shoe

The Crocs Unisex Bistro Batali Edition Clog may not stand out in looks but excels in performance. You get value for your money.

What We Like

  • Thick non-skid soles
  • Easy slip on-off
  • Dual function strap for shoe fit or slippers
  • Lighter and ideal for speed walking

What We Don't Like

  • Plastic material requires daily cleaning to remove odor
  • Feet get hot in warm weather

5. KEEN Utility Men's PTC Slip On Work Shoe - The Men’s Shoes For Long Shifts

The KEEN Utility Men's PTC Slip On Work Shoe is the perfect choice when you’re working long shifts. Formal looking shoes that will go well in any service environment.

What We Like

  • Good traction and grips the ground really well
  • Great stability and balance
  • Great stability and balance

What We Don't Like

  • Not so durable insoles

The Footnote

Food service workers are the ‘jewels’ in the food service industry. However, as a member of this elite workforce, you are exposed to hazards on a daily basis. Running and rushing to serve your customers often lead to slips. There would be serious physical, mental, and financial implications if you’re not wearing the proper footwear. The best non-slip shoes for service workers are made to guard against those accidents. Take your pick and stay protected at work.

  • Updated August 23, 2017
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