The restaurant industry isn’t known for being the easiest of jobs. Whether it’s a hip burger joint or a fine dining restaurant, chances are you will be on your feet for most of the shift. And to make matters worse, the floors can often be wet, slippery, and even greasy—an accident waiting to happen.
Don’t worry, in this guide we have got you covered with a look at the best non slip work shoes for restaurant servers and chefs to keep the food on the plate, not on the floor.
Here are the best non slip shoes for restaurant workers for men & women
1. Merrell Men’s Encore Guest Slip On Shoe
Our top choice is a work shoe which offers all the comfort and non-slip qualities a chef would find useful but still looks smart enough for front of house use. A trademarked Merrell Encore 2 Sticky rubber sole ensures the shoe provides traction and a non-slip grip on even the wettest of kitchen floors.
- Polished slip-on with supportive sole unit and padded collar
- Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock. Compression molded EVA footframe for stability and comfort
- Ortholite footbed
- Breathable mesh lining wicks to keep feet dry
- Molded nylon arch shank
2. Skechers Work for Women Sure Track
Skechers are renowned for their super comfy shoes, with these durable leather Sure Track shoes for women being an ideal choice for waitresses. Memory foam-topped cushions offer all-day comfort with outsoles which have been tested to ASTM Mark II standards for extra traction on wet and oily floors.
- Slip-resistant work shoe with athletic cushion and comfort
- 1 inch built in heel
- Stretch top panel. Heel pull-on loop
3. Crocs Unisex Bistro Professional Clogs
Crocs are a popular fashion item down on the beach, but can you really wear them in the kitchen? These Professional Unisex clogs differ from the traditional Croc design in that they offer extra protective features and slip resistant synthetic soles for hazards you may find in a kitchen.
- CROCS AT WORK: Clogs designed with food service, hospitality, and healthcare workers in mind, making great Nursing Shoes or Chef Shoes. They’re light and supportive enough to get you through even the longest shifts
- EASY TO CLEAN & SLIP RESISTANT: Crocs Bistro clogs are easy to clean by just using soap and water and allowing for a quick dry. Crocs Lock slip-resistant treads come together to serve up the best non-slip shoes for women and men
- WHAT SIZE SHOULD I BUY?: These work shoes offer a roomy fit and we recommend ordering a size down to the next largest whole size
- ENCLOSED TOE DESIGN: These Clogs offer an enclosed toe design and thicker metatarsal area to help protect your feet from spills. Contoured footbeds make them the most comfortable shoes for women and men
- CERTIFIED COMFORTABLE SHOES: Crocs that are fully ASTM F2913-11 tested, CE Certified. Meets or exceeds EN ISO 20347:2012, OB, SRC
4. Birkenstock Boston Supergrip
Using quality natural materials, the Birkenstock Boston Supergrips have been designed especially for professionals who work in slippery situations like a kitchen. The outsole features a sticky rubber compound which is oil and grease resistant, making them ideal for kitchen floors.
- Contoured cork footbed supports all arches of the foot and molds and shapes for a custom fit
- Certified slip resistant
- Genuine leather upper
- Adjustable buckle for a custom fit
- Classic birkenstock style
5. Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grip
Available in both men’s and women’s versions, these professional moccasins with a SureGrip outsole come highly recommended as the best shoes for waiters or waitresses. A leather upper makes it smart enough when serving, while the non slip rubber sole can deal with the most challenging wet and greasy kitchen environments.
- Nubuck leather upper
- Removable EVA footbed
- SureGrip outsole
- Mesh, M Select FRESH treatment
Reviews of The Best Non Slip Shoes for Waiters and Chefs
1. Merrell Men’s Encore Gust Slip On Shoe
The Merrell Encore Gust is the ideal shoe for somebody who works in a busy kitchen environment for longer periods. A smart brown or black leather upper means they can also look good on the restaurant floor with their classic loafer design.
Made with a full grain leather upper, it also features a soft fabric lining for more comfort. The removable EVA insole makes these shoes easy to clean, while a slip-on design is easy to get in and out of, especially at the end of a long night. A compression molded EVA foot frame features a midsole which still feels supple after a long 12-hour shift.
Where the Encore Gust really stands out is the Merrell Air Cushion technology in the heel which offers superior shock absorption and stability. And just to make sure you stay on your feet all night long, an Encore Sticky 2 Rubber Sole will grip to the wettest or even greasiest of floors with excellent traction.
- Constructed from a premium quality full grain leather.
- Comfortable footbed with EVA molded midsole.
- Slip-on design for easier removal without wiggling the foot too much.
- Air cushioning in the heel for extra stability and comfort.
- Easy to maintain and clean with a removable inner sole.
- Offers superior traction with a patented M-Select Grip rubber sole.
- The sizing runs large. People with narrow feet should order a half size down for a better fit.
- The leather upper creases very quickly, even after just a few days use.
|If you’re looking for a pair of workhorse kitchen shoes that will offer both comfort and superior traction for longer shifts, the Merrell Encore Gust slip-ons could be ideal. The full grain leather uppers in a smart black or pug brown color are easy to clean and mean you could even use the shoe if waiting on customers too.|
2. Skechers for Work Women’s Sure Track
The Skechers Sure Track shoes for women have been constructed using solid leather uppers which are not only highly durable but waterproof too. The last thing you want as you work is spilled water, stews, soups, or any other liquids getting into your feet. The ASTM tested rubber soles also ensure you don’t slip on any of those stray liquids.
Obviously, comfort is important too when you are standing on your feet for long shifts and often running about in the fast-paced world of restaurant serving. Memory foam cushioned topped inner soles mold to your feet with a FlexSole midsole for better comfort and more shock absorption.
Primarily designed as work shoes, Skechers has incorporated protective leather inlays for the toes and heels should anything drop on your feet. Combined with the rubber outsoles, which exceeded a result of 0.40 under wet and oily conditions, these are some of the safest and most comfortable work shoes for restaurant servers.
- Stylish leather uppers which are waterproof and spill resistant.
- Lightweight yet durable—the rugged construction can withstand a lot of abuse.
- A soft fabric collar and shoe lining wick away moisture from the foot.
- Relaxed fit design with stretch top panel for easy slip on/off.
- Highly cushioned memory foam inner sole.
- FlexSole midsole offers support and shock absorption.
- Leather overlays protect the heels and toes.
- OSHA compliant slip resistant rubber outsole for use on wet or oily surfaces like kitchen floors.
- Sizes can be too narrow for some women—it’s recommended to choose a half size up or for very wide feet to look at another shoe.
- The rubber sole is too rigid for some users with very little flexibility.
|If you need a smart pair of sneakers or non slip work shoes for a new waitressing job, the Skechers are an affordable and extremely comfortable pair of shoes. Smart smooth leather uppers will go with almost any uniform, your feet will feel less fatigued, and you will be sure to stay upright all day—even when dashing in and out of the kitchen.|
3. Crocs Men’s and Women’s Bistro Clog
Crocs can be a chef’s best friend when you are working long hours in a busy kitchen. They are affordably priced, easy to maintain, and offer a slip on and off design for quicker removal when leaving the kitchen. They’re not the smartest looking shoe and definitely not suitable for waiting on unless you work in a beach bar!
The Bistro Clogs keep all the traditional comfort and cushioning of Crocs with a contoured footbed which helps cradle the foot and provide more comfort. The Crosslite material used in the construction is extremely durable yet lightweight too.
Extra protection for use in the kitchen comes from an enclosed toe box with extra protection guards if you should drop anything or stub your toes against a counter. The synthetic sole grips onto any wet or greasy surface with a slip-resistant tread pattern, while a heel strap prevents your foot from falling out too.
- Super durable and lightweight 100 percent Crosslite construction.
- Contoured footbed for comfort and stability.
- Enclosed toe box and a thicker metatarsal area protect the foot from any spills.
- Extra toe protection guard for falling items or stubbing your toes.
- Slip resistant tread pattern on the synthetic outsole.
- Slip-on design with a heel strap to keep the foot more secure.
- Easy to clean and wash.
- Not the most stylish of shoes. My boss certainly wouldn’t have let me wear them on the front restaurant floor—they are one for the chefs.
- It doesn’t offer as much protection from accidental spills as the more closed design of other chef shoes—better for use on a pizza counter than a wash-up area.
- Sizing can be erratic—hard to achieve a snug fit.
|The contoured footbeds of Crocs have always provided more comfort and stability for your feet, both men and women. With the slip-resistant synthetic sole and extra toe protection, the Bistro Crocs mean you can now wear your Crocs during those ever so long kitchen shifts too.|
4. Birkenstock Unisex Professional Boston Slip Resistant Super Grip Leather Work Shoe
If you can wear Crocs in the kitchen, surely you can wear your favorite Birkies too? Anybody who has ever owned a pair of Birkenstock sandals will know just how comfortable and supportive they can be—ideal for a job where you will often be standing on your feet for 8 hours or more!
This professional clog has been made with a full grain leather upper that covers your entire foot with a protective layer against smaller spills. A natural cork sole molds to your foot to support your arch and heel while ensuring proper alignment and allowing for plenty of room in the toe box.
Where the Boston Supergrip differs from the Birkenstocks you may already own is the sticky rubber compound on the sole which is OSHA certified to be slip resistant. It’s also resistant to oil and grease, making it an ideal choice for food service workers.
- Genuine leather upper is spill proof and easy to clean.
- Natural materials are more durable.
- Classic Birkenstock style with an adjustable buckle for a custom fit.
- Natural cork footbed molds to your foot for greater support and comfort.
- Supportive arch and heel cup.
- Oil and grease resistant outsole.
- Customer after service is legendary, with all parts of the shoe replaceable.
- The rigid footbed will need breaking in until it molds to your foot shape.
- The arch can be too high and cause pain for those with flatter feet.
- Sizing tends to run small.
|Although they may be pricey, you can be assured this brand will last for years to come. If you love your Birkies as much as we love ours, the slip-resistant rubber sole of the Boston Supergrip makes them some of the best non slip kitchen shoes you can find.|
5. Merrell Women’s Jungle Moc Pro Grip
Made with a full leather upper, these smart and stylish shoes combine comfort with sturdiness and a non slip sole in a professional looking moccasin. Available in black, brown, or white, they will fit with almost any uniform—although we don’t recommend white if you are walking on kitchen floors then back into the dining room.
Also available in a men’s work shoe.
The breathable mesh lining and Merrell’s underfoot air cushion can be a blessing when you have to work those long, maybe even double, shifts. The air cushion in the heel adds stability to your foot and absorbs more shock and impact of constantly dashing between tables.
What makes the Merrell Jungle Moc ideally suited to the food service industry is the exceptional grip they offer. Watch out for the chefs trying to “borrow” your shoes for the support it gives on the more greasy and wet floors of the kitchen. The leather upper will also protect from spills with gore sides making them easy to slip on and off.
- Flexible with a spill-resistant durable leather upper.
- Goring inserts for a snug fit, yet easy to slip on.
- Organic odor control and a moisture-wicking mesh lining.
- Slip-resistant SureGrip rubber outsole with a 3mm lug depth for better traction.
- May need an extra insert for more arch support.
- Can be tight and stiff around the ankles in wider feet.
|When you’re looking for a smart pair of shoes which offer comfort and protection for your feet from potential hazards, leather moccasins are a good choice. The SureGrip slip-resistant soles of the Merrell Jungle Moc Pro Grips ensure you stay securely on your feet all shift with less chance of slipping or throwing that plate of food across the room.|
The Importance of Non Slip Work Shoes in the Food Service Industry
In an ideal world, food and liquids would only be found on plates and in glasses in a restaurant dining room. In the kitchen, nobody would ever spill anything and food items wouldn’t accidentally end up slattering over the clean floor.
However, we’re only human and accidents do happen, whether it’s a dropped plate, a spilled drink, stray ice cube, or maybe some grease which has splashed. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates over three million food service employees and over a million restaurant guests are injured annually as a result of a slip or fall.
While we can’t dictate what a customer wears, we can choose the best non slip work shoes for restaurant servers and chefs to protect ourselves and the customers. Choosing a shoe which is both comfortable and slip resistant can be a huge benefit to those working in the food service, and often a policy of the employer too.
Shoes Wisely! Factors to Consider in the Non Slip Shoes for Restaurant Work
Although many workers in the construction and manufacturing industry know the importance of the correct footwear for the job, the food service industry is yet to catch up. Comfort is probably the main concern in an industry which often involves a 12-hour plus shift on your feet, but there are no legal obligations when it comes to safety.
Guidelines and recommendations from employers will often put in place a shoe policy which dictates that employees must wear slip resistant shoes. If you are a chef in the kitchen, these will often be more casual shoes which offer both comfort and slip resistance. Any chef’s shoes should also offer protection from spills, sometimes they will be hot liquids too.
However, for food service staff, you are going to need something that looks smart yet offers slip protection when you’re going into the kitchen to pick up the next order. Key factors to look for are listed below.
Slip Resistant Outsole
Without a doubt the most important factor when choosing a work shoe for the food service environment. Ensure any shoe you buy for use in the kitchen or dining room floor is OSHA compliant and slip resistant.
Testing standards are in place for soles which claim to be slip resistant and check their performance on wet or oily surfaces. A common test you will see mentioned when choosing work shoes is the ASTM Mark II they should meet.
Phrases to look for include non-slip, slip resistant, oil resistant, and tread or traction patterns in the description of a work shoe. Some manufacturers will even have their own patented slip resistant tech with names like Crocs Lock for Crocs or SureGrip being used by Merrell. Just check if in doubt that they are OSHA compliant at the very least.
This safety training video explains in more detail what makes a floor slippery and how it is tested.
Working in restaurants, kitchens, or any hospitality position will often involve excruciatingly long shifts. Most of that shift you will be on your feet, possibly dashing about between tables or in and out of the kitchen.
A cushioned midsole can prevent achy knees and absorb the impact as you walk. Midsoles will also protect your joints of the lower legs and hips when you are standing or walking on your feet.
An insole that features extra support or cushioning will also prevent foot fatigue and help you stay on your feet longer. Memory foam or other adaptive materials like EVA or cork can mold to your feet for better comfort and cradle the foot for more stability.
Slip-On or Lace Up
Restaurant workers and chefs are busy people who need a shoe which they can quickly and easily put on or take off. Wearing slip-on shoes, you should always wear sock as the strap which holds the shoe in place can sometimes rub and irritate the skin of your foot.
Lace-up designs will often also be able to slip on and may feature a larger padded tongue which helps to protect the upper part of your foot. Laces will also ensure the shoe is more securely tied to your foot. Although laces can sometimes be another trip hazard if they should become loose or untied.
Gore sides on both slip-on and lace-up shoes can make them easier to put on while also ensuring a more snug and comfortable fit. A padded tongue can make the shoe more flexible and comfortable with an additional heel collar, also adding less chance of irritating fatigued or painful feet.
For the outsole, you should be looking for a work shoe which uses rubber for better traction, although polyurethane can also provide a good grip. When it comes to the upper of the best shoes for restaurant servers or chefs, there are more options.
Leather will be easier to clean than most fabrics and will offer some level of waterproofing to the shoe. Spills can happen in both the kitchen and the dining room with your feet at risk from potentially very hot liquids.
Some professional kitchens will recommend against buying more open designs like Crocs even though they have recently developed improved professional models. Although lightweight materials with open holes are great for the breathability of the shoe, they won’t offer the same protection as leather.
You need to think about whether the best work shoes for chefs are also the best work shoes for waiters. A clog style may be extra comfortable and offer a medium level of protection in the kitchen, but does it really look the part on the dining room floor?
You can get smart Oxford style shoes which feature non-slip soles for wearing in more formal establishments. Many of the sneaker style shoes look smart too, with most uniforms and are available in more formal black or brown leather. Work shoes, like the Sketchers for work range, can offer more comfort in a smart casual style for servers.
Maybe consider investing in multiple pairs of work shoes for different tasks—most are quite affordable. A pair of clogs can be inexpensive for days in the kitchen you may perform, while a decent pair of sneakers or non slip work shoes could be kept for best in the dining room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Your Employer Have to Legally Provide Non Slip Footwear?
Categorically, no—unless it’s part of the uniform, an employer has no legal obligation to provide you with footwear. Although the employer may require restaurant staff to wear a non-slip shoe, it’s very rare that the waiter, waitress, or chef will be reimbursed for the cost of the footwear.
Schemes like the Shoes for Crews (SFC) Corporate Program can allow an employee to pay for work shoes through payroll deductions on a monthly basis. However, most non-slip shoes for the food service industry are quite affordable and can be seen as an investment in your career, just like a chef’s whites or black trousers/skirts.
How Often Should You Replace the Shoes for Restaurant Servers and Kitchen Workers?
A lot will depend on how durable the shoes are in the first place and also may be affected by the initial cost of the shoes. Although genuine leather may be more expensive, it will generally be more durable and stain resistant than many synthetic fabrics.
However, it’s more about the sole of the shoe which will tend to wear out first. Nitrile rubber soles will be a harder compound which is oil and grease resistant, but remember there may often be harsh cleaning chemicals involved in some tasks. If the sole or tread pattern starts to look worn, it’s imperative for safety you replace the shoes ASAP.
Many insoles, especially memory foam, will flatten over time with extended periods of working and standing for long shifts. You can easily replace the insoles if you notice they are not offering enough cushioning or support. Most non-slip work shoes will also feature insoles which are replaceable and you can fit orthotic inserts if needed.
How Do You Ensure Non-Slip Work Shoes Remain Non Slip?
Besides checking for any signs of wear and tear, you can also extend the life of your slip resistant work shoes by regularly cleaning and maintaining the sole. A small brush like a toothbrush could be used at the end of each shift to remove any potential debris which may have got stuck in the tread.
After removing any loose debris from the outsole, a mild solution of detergent and water should be used to remove any residue of grease or other liquids. Not only will this provide better traction for your next shift but will look smarter too and extend the life of the outsole. Never use harsh abrasive chemicals to clean the sole—it will just fall apart!
Working in a busy kitchen or restaurant can be challenging enough without worrying about slipping on any stray soup or other liquids. The last thing any waiter wants is the indignity of throwing food over a customer—the customer doesn’t really want it either!
Our recommendation for the best non slip shoes for restaurant servers and chefs are the Merrell Men’s Encore Guest Slip On Shoe. Whether you are behind the scenes in the kitchen or on show at the front of the house, these slip-on shoes will provide superior traction and slip-resistance in a smart leather design.
For the ladies who work in the food service industry, the Skechers Work for Women Sure Track is a versatile shoe for both back and front of house. It features a stylish black leather upper, a slip-resistant sole, and that legendary Skechers comfort for those ever so long shifts.