#1 Chef-approved shoes for standing for long hours
To learn more about chef-approved shoes that are supportive enough to keep you on your feet for hours on end, we met Michael Reed, James Beard Award semi-finalist and executive chef. operator and owner of Anaheim’s Poppy & Seed and Downtown Los Angeles Poppies + Roses. Reed’s 20+ years of industry experience, only one—yes, only one—the kind of shoes he used to wear (and swear by). Talk more about why Reed always has the exact same shoes on hand at work and how he works out head-to-toe in the kitchen.
A chef’s favorite shoes from working in the restaurant industry for the past 20 years
Like many people who have worked in the restaurant industry, Chef Reed’s number one shoe when working in the kitchen is Dansko clogs. Why? They are reliable, durable, extremely comfortable and podiatrist approved and recommended. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a podiatrist of Mid-Atlantic Foot and Ankle Specialists (and a huge fan of Dansko), previously shared with Well+Good that couples This shoe is a perfect way to look professional while remaining comfortable on her feet all day long. As Dr. Parthasarathy mentioned, these clogs have long been admired by people in many professions that require standing on their feet for hours—especially those in the medical field.
Like many people who have worked in the restaurant industry, Chef Reed’s number one shoe when working in the kitchen is Dansko clogs. Why? They are reliable, durable, extremely comfortable and podiatrist approved and recommended.
The clogs, available in a variety of colors and materials, feature a spacious toe box that gives your toe and foot extra wiggle room and a shock-absorbing super-cushioned platform outsole — all with surgeon-friendly standards. For chef Reed, Dankos were the only (and only) shoes he wore in the kitchen during his 20-year career. “I tend to buy five pairs at a time, so I always have a spare,” says Reed. “They provide much-needed support to my calves and arches, and keep me cool in the kitchen. I can stand anywhere from 10 to 14 hours a day.” Reed added that if they’re good enough for doctors, they’re certainly good enough for him to stand for long periods of time at restaurants.
“They provide much-needed support to my calves and arches, and keep me cool in the kitchen. I can stand anywhere from 10 to 14 hours in a day.” Michael Reed, chef and owner of Poppy & Seed and Poppy + Rose
Most importantly, Reed noted that Dankos did a great job of protecting his feet from danger in the kitchen. “Danskos is very durable and keeps my toes protected. I’ve dropped things on my feet over the years, but these shoes have always protected my feet from bruises and burns,” he said. This is especially important because restaurant staff tend to handle a lot of sharp objects, such as knives, and very hot (not to mention slippery) ingredients, like oil.
The best Dansko clogs to stay comfortable in the kitchen
Dansko sells two types of food-specific shoes, the XP 2.0 and the Professional.
For shoe lovers: According to Dansko, the XP 2.0 clogs (which retail for $150) are lightweight and functional. It features a removable sole with innovative arch support technology and an outsole that’s slip-resistant on wet, dry, and oil-soaked surfaces—this is especially important in the kitchen. They also feature a lightweight midsole that provides stability and shock absorption, and come in a variety of finishes and prints.
Next up, the Professional clogs (retails for $135) feature a spacious reinforced toe box, a midsole that hugs your foot, an inner frame for stability and support, a collar. Cushioned instep and heel guard allow heel to move up and down freely while providing lateral stability. Most notably, these clogs are designed to help combat fatigue thanks to “rocking bottom” technology, which supports forward motion when walking, adding hours of comfortable support throughout a long shift. .
How a chef practices mindfulness from head to toe
Of course, making sure the footwear supports his overall well-being is Chef Reed’s top priority — but he’s also focused on practicing mindfulness to help keep his mental health in good shape. Best attitude before a stressful day. One way he does so is by getting enough sleep, first and foremost. “A good night’s sleep is key to getting you into the kitchen during a long shift,” says Reed.
Chef Reed also emphasizes the importance of work-life balance and encourages his employees to take vacations and schedule time off whenever possible. In addition, he noted that cooking is not always the job that requires the most cardio — despite what some cooking competitions portray. “I try to incorporate some exercise into my schedule at least three to four times per week,” he says. “I box in the morning when I can; If not, I’ll jump on the Peloton.
Learn how to make Nyesha Arrington’s favorite summer avocado and peach salad:
Our editors independently select these products. Purchases through our links can earn Good+Good commissions.