DRESSING FOR SAFETY AND COMFORT
Working in industrial kitchens, one does not simply put on “my fancied shoe for the day” because the strain from being on your feet for long hours will eventually fatigue you. In addition, the kitchen is a dangerous place with safety and comfort being equally important.
The soles have to be skid-proof and oil-resistant; characterised by tiny spurs raking backward from the tip of the shoe to give you a firm grip on the wet and greasy
floor of a kitchen. It is also a worthy consideration to scout for shoes that provide armour for toes. These built-in reinforcements act as a shield between hot food, heavy and sharp objects that might fall and penetrate the shoe and injuring the foot in the process. Chef work shoes have flexibility in the sense that it provides users to swap the insole for one that suits the arch which can be a criteria for users who need support from orthotic soles. As part of the kitchen’s crew, you would be in a warm environment and sweat hence many manufacturers have also factored in anti-odour and anti-microbial elements in the shoes.
PICKING YOUR CHEF SHOE
When trying on a pair, make sure your foot is secured and without any heel slippage as well as make provision of extra space so you can move your toes to prevent numbness.
In the majority of Chinese kitchens, the choice of footwear used to be wooden clogs because they were sturdy and non-slip and its design carries through today, albeit with some modifications. Clog types are fast to put on and remove although if you are surrounded by hot food items, you might not want to expose any part of your feet. Having said that, there are clogs that cover ¾ of the ankle and still give the ease of wearing.
For the chef who shuttles between the office and kitchen, a dressy slip-on or Oxford style lace-up shoe offers a sleeker appearance. Generally, chefs prefer no laces to eliminate the chances of them becoming untied and trip them over but if you look around, you can find laces as a design element, if you like the look of it, but are still slip-ons.
When you move into the washing area (stewarding) or anywhere that is wet, it is recommended that you put on a pair of knee high rubber boots to prevent your feet and legs from getting wet due to water splashing around.
The default colour for work shoes is black due to its durability against dirt and cleanability although they do come in white or brown.