The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Our Favorite Cooking Shoes

Posted by on Monday, December 24th, 2018

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Plan on hosting holiday get-togethers over the next few week? It’s not too late to run out and grab a new pair of shoes! You may not spend 120,000 hours on your feet like a career chef, but if you’re over 40, you’ll likely feel the effects of holiday prep on your feet, hips, and lower back.

Chefs encounter a number of foot ailments, from Plantar Fasciitis (stabbing pain along the arch of the foot) to Hallux Ridigus (a stiff big toe joint, informally called “Chef’s Foot.”) A good pair of shoes makes all the difference in the world.

Our NYC podiatry team frequently makes footwear recommendations to patients looking to maintain their comfort level, particularly when entertaining family and friends. If you don’t have time to stop by and see us, these kitchen shoes can get you by in a pinch.

Don’t let foot pain get the best of you this holiday season. Treat yourself to a pair of chef shoes! [Image Source: FreeStockPhotos.biz]

Best Shoes For Chefs

Generally speaking, the best shoes for cooks have:

  • Good Arch Support – “You want to distribute weight evenly across the bottoms of your feet,” explains Dr. Mariola Rivera. “If you can bend a shoe in half, it lacks adequate support. Many shoes designed for all-day comfort have what is called a ‘molded orthotic foot bed’ — so certainly look for that in your footwear.”
  • Cushioning – “Shock absorption is key when you’re working on hard surfaces like concrete or tile. Without the added protection, you’re likely to suffer from achy joints and throbbing feet by the day’s end,” says Dr. Josef J. Geldwert. “We, of course, recommend custom orthotics to add personalized support to the shoe.”
  • Foot Cover – “When cooking in the kitchen, you need to protect the tops of your feet from grease splatter, a dropped knife, or hot splashing water,” adds Dr. Katherine Lai. “Some people like to cook barefoot, but for this reason, I do not recommend it. A hard upper sole can protect you from bruises, lacerations, burns, and even fractures.”
  • Traction – “Spills of oil, water, or a number of other ingredients can spell disaster with one missed step, so you want your cooking shoes to have significant rubber treading,” advises Dr. Vera Malezhik.

The right shoes are a personal quest. Try on three or four brands and see what feels right. One study of runners found the “best” shoe for injury prevention varied from person to person, but ended up being the one they subjectively found to be “the most comfortable” during a fitting session.

Chef Shoe Brands

Dansko is an APMA-recommended shoe brand that are considered a “go-to” for the kitchen industry, the nursing industry, and other professions that require all-day standing or walking. No matter which model you choose, a Dansko shoe is going to have all the criteria we just mentioned. As a bonus, they have a moisture-wicking lining that’s helpful when you’re slaving away in the hot kitchen all day. Check out NYCSOLE, Infinity Shoes, Lord & Taylor, or find a retailer near you.

MOZO is a shoe brand designed by chefs for chefs. The styles are a little more youthful and fashion-forward than your typical Crocs-like clog or Birkenstock. The cushioning and anti-oil soles are so superb, you won’t want to wear anything else. Don’t just take our word for it. This one chef has tried them all and swears by MOZO. To find this shoe, try one of The Walking Company locations, as they feature the brand on their website.

Vionic is for those of you who want to feel cozy, like you’re standing on a cloud — not working in an industrial kitchen somewhere. After all, what good is the joy of cooking from home if your feet don’t feel comfortable? Vionic is known for their APMA recommended sandals, but they’ve got slippers that will do the trick for a day of kitchen prep, too. They’re not as splatter-proof if you’re working with hot slop, but they are certainly skid-proof and well-cushioned. The Gemma Mule Shoe is among the top-rated slippers. Enter your zip code for a list of local retailers.

Other Tips To Reduce Foot Fatigue and Pain

At culinary school, you learn the secrets of the industry:

  • Change your shoes halfway through a long day.
  • Put one leg up on a foot stool and switch periodically to take repetitive stress off.
  • Avoid dark-colored socks, as some people are sensitive to dyes, especially when pores are open and sweating.
  • Sit down to enjoy your meals and take a short 15-minute break to prop your feet above the heart every hour.
  • Focus on keeping your shoulders back and head held high to keep your body limber.
  • If you can sit and perform a task like chopping or rolling dough, by all means SIT!

If you are struggling with nagging foot pain that doesn’t resolve with a day of rest, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. We have the latest techniques and technologies to get you back on your feet again.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.