It’s safe to say that any old shoe won’t do if you work in a restaurant.
You encounter a lot of challenges during your day, including sometimes slippery surfaces that require plenty of traction from your shoes.
There are a lot of choices you can make when it comes to you’re footwear, but we’re here to help with our reviews of the best non-slip shoes for restaurant workers, including the Skechers for Work Men’s Rockland Systemic Slip Resistant shoe.
We realize that there’s more to a quality restaurant shoe than just traction, however. Comfort, cushioning, and design all make a shoe worthy of your consideration. Also, we’ll take a look at some non-slip shoe buying tips and things you can do to stay comfortable while working on your feet all day.
Let’s begin with some buying tips.
- Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing non-slip shoes
- 11 Best non-slip shoes for men and women 2019
- 5 Tips for staying healthy & comfortable during a long day on your feet
- Oil resistant vs. slip-resistant shoes: Is there a difference?
- How we chose the shoes for our review
Before You Buy: 7 Things to Consider When Purchasing Non-Slip Shoes
You can find non-slip shoes to fit almost every activity, whether it’s restaurant work, other types of occupations, or leisure. No matter what the activity, however, the non-slip shoes you choose should have the following attributes.
1. Excellent Arch Support
Sore feet is one of the most common ailments of restaurant workers and often caused by shoes that don’t have proper support. Shoes with good arch support evenly distribute the wearer’s body weight across the plantar region of the foot.
A good way to measure a shoe’s support is to bend it in half. If they bend excessively, they probably don’t have the support you need.
Most slip-resistant shoes have a soft fabric upper or a leather upper. Which type of material you choose depends on how you plan to use them and their durability.
- A shoe with a fabric upper is generally lighter than one with a leather upper. They also have excellent “breathability,” i.e., the fabric helps to create good airflow within the shoe to help keep your feet comfortable.
- Non-slip shoes with a leather upper are a bit heavier, but still light enough to be comfortable as you spend the majority of your working hours on your feet. The extra weight provides an added bit of protection, while the leather is very durable and should last you a long time if properly maintained.
A shoe’s overall comfort is often the make-or-break factor of whether its right for you and your occupation. The last thing you need while working in the fast-paced restaurant environment is a pair of shoes that become increasingly uncomfortable as the day goes on, especially on hard surfaces.
How do you ensure that the shoe you’re thinking about buying provides the comfort you need? Consider the following factors:
- Fit – A shoe that fits properly and conforms to your foot and stride is one you should strongly consider buying. A shoe’s fit should be snug but not too tight; a one that’s too tight can lead to issues such as blisters that quickly turn a typical workday into a test of endurance and pain tolerance.
If possible, have your feet measured by a professional; it’s possible that each foot has a slightly different size. Also, it’s best to try on shoes at the end of the day because your feet naturally swell during the day: a shoe that fits well in the morning might not fit so well after work or in the early evening.
- Insole – A shoe’s insole has a lot to do with its overall comfort. Many insoles feature an EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) footbed. EVA is soft underfoot but has enough firmness to deliver excellent support, and it’s also water and corrosion-resistant. Memory foam insoles also provide comfort because they adapt to the shape of your foot and your stride.
- Breathability – Breathability refers to the flow of air that comes in and out of your shoe. A shoe with sufficient breathability will rank among the most comfortable slip resistant shoes, especially when your feet get warm and start to sweat.
In general, a shoe with extra weight is more durable than a lighter shoe, although that’s not always the case. Shoes with leather uppers tend to be a bit heavier than a shoe with uppers made from a different material, but that’s not to say leather is overly heavy by any means. Indeed, many of the most comfortable shoes for restaurant work have leather uppers.
5. The Sole
The effectiveness of a non-slip shoe depends a lot on its sole. Non-slip shoes typically have a sole made of a softer rubber which provides more traction when walking on floors covered with moisture, grease, or oil.
Keep in mind that the soles of a non-slip shoe are often different than the soles of basketball or tennis shoes that are designed to provide superior grip on dry – not wet – surfaces.
The soles of non-slip shoes often have an open tread pattern that channels moisture out from under the shoe to provide an enhanced grip.
6. Laces or Slip-on
Non-slip shoes come with laces or feature a slip-on design. While slip-on shoes may not provide the overall protection of a laced shoe (but still offers plenty of protection) they have the advantage of convenience when it comes to putting them on and taking them off.
You’ll also find many laced designs among the best slip-resistant shoes. Perhaps the biggest reason why laced shoes offer better protection is that there’s less danger of them slipping off of your feet during your work shift. They also tend to provide additional support because the ankle and tongue are situated higher on the foot.
Many top shoe manufacturers make skid-resistant shoes, including Skechers, Merrell, Vans, Crocs, and Birkenstock. But many lesser-known manufacturers also offer quality non-slip shoes.
Here’s a look at the best non-slip shoes for men and women in 2019.
The 11 Best Non-Slip Shoes for Men and Women 2019
Spoiler alert: The Skechers brand will pop up frequently in this review and with good reason – they make great non-slip work shoes that are a favorite among restaurant workers near and far.
Founded in California in 1992, Skechers now ranks as the third largest athletic footwear brand in the U.S., but it’s a company just as well known for its lifestyle shoes, such as the Rockland Systemic Slip Resistant shoe.
The latter is a shoe built for restaurant work for other occupations in which the floor can become a bit treacherous because of spills, etc. It features a slip resistant rubber outsole, and also has extra grips along the perimeter of the shoe for enhanced traction. The outsole is OSHA compliant, which is always a good thing and proof of the shoe’s overall reliability.
The Systemic Slip Resistant shoe comes in a lace-up design that features a leather upper and padded collar, and delivers excellent comfort through the course of a long day. A soft fabric liner helps make the shoe very breathable, while there’s also a removable insole offers additional cushioning.
The shoe has a sleek, black design that’s perfect for a restaurant environment in which spills can happen at any time, and it’s easy to clean. The removable insole also makes it easy to use custom orthotics that you may prefer or require.
- Extra grip along the perimeter of the shoe
- Non-slip rubber soles
- Lace-up design provides a secure fit
- Not as much ankle support as on some other shoes
A comfortable, stylish shoe that provides secure footing on slippery surfaces is just what you need if you work in a restaurant. A shoe like the Skechers Rockland Systemic offers everything you need.
The KEEN PTC Oxford women’s work shoe has a variety of helpful features that make it ideal for anyone whose workplace is a restaurant.
For starters, KEEN places safety at the top of the list with its PTC Oxford design: among other features, the shoe has KEEN’s patented toe protection in which its outsole wraps up and over the toe for ultimate protection. That’s nice protection to have in a work environment in which your toes can take a beating – including from objects that fall off counters and shelves.
The PTC Oxford has an oil and slip-resistant (and non-marking outsole) that meets industry standards for proper traction and stability.
KEEN doesn’t sacrifice comfort in its PTC Oxford design:
- The shoe has superior cushioning thanks to a combination of recycled polyurethane, memory foam, and cork that adjusts to your foot’s unique contours throughout your workday.
- The PTC Oxford has a moisture-wicking lining that keeps your feet dry and comfortable.
- There’s a compression-molded EVA insole that provides an extra layer of support.
- It comes with a removable footbed that you can remove and replace with custom orthotics if you’d like.
The shoe’s 100% leather upper, meanwhile, is water and stain-resistant – another plus for restaurant workers. The PTC Oxford also features a lace-up design.
- Non-marking outsole that’s water and stain-resistant
- EVA midsole provides plenty of comfort
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Not available in wider widths
The KEEN PTC Oxford has everything you need if you work in an occupation that requires you to spend long hours on your feet, including comfort, traction, and stability.
Merrell’s Jungle Moc series includes several high-quality comfortable shoes, including the Pro Grip Work Shoe which handles the many tasks of restaurant workers superbly.
The Pro Grip has all the things users expect from Jungle Mocs, including a smooth 100% leather upper with a padded collar, as well as a slip-resistant Suregrip outsole. The sole also features an air-cushioned underfoot that keeps your feet from growing weary or painful during the workday.
You’ll also love the interior of the Jungle Moc Pro Grip. The lining consists of a breathable mesh for comfort, while the heel also features air cushioning that provides excellent shock-absorption. Moreover, everything from the lining to the footbed is treated to eliminate odor and bacteria.
The shoe’s rubber sole, like many of the shoes on our list, has a specially designed tread that channels water and other liquids away for improved grip and additional slip prevention.
It’s also a durable, low-maintenance shoe, which is another advantage for anyone who counts on their work shoes, day-in, and day-out.
- Comfortable insole
- Designed to eliminate odor and bacteria
- Check sizing carefully if purchasing them online
Merrell makes its Jungle Moc shoes suitable for a variety of surfaces and roles – work or otherwise – without sacrificing comfort and stability. The Pro Grip work shoe is no exception.
Durable, slip-resistant, protective – the Skechers for Work Sure Track Slip Resistant Shoe for women has everything you need to handle a long day on your feet. They also feel great, which is a commonality within Skechers’ excellent line of comfortable, stylish, and practical shoes.
The Sure Track shoe offers exceptional comfort thanks to a memory foam removable insole and a FlexSole midsole that absorbs shock while adding to the shoe’s overall durability. Additionally, the shoe has a soft and comfortable fabric lining that helps to provide breathability, and a memory foam cushion that adapts to your feet as you work.
The Sure Track’s construction features a solid, durable upper that’s waterproof – which is important to working in a restaurant setting in which you’re exposed to any manner of spills, from water to coffee to the soup-of-the-day.
It also features a leather toe box and heel overlays that protect your feet should something fall on them. Meanwhile, the outsole is sturdy and offers plenty of traction, as a non-slip shoe should.
Reviewers also like the Skechers Sure Track for other reasons, including that it’s easy to clean and that it eliminates the pain that may result from spending long hours on your feet.
- Relaxed fit
- Durable and protective
- Shock-absorbent insole
- Some reviewers say the heel is too narrow
With its cushioned support and durable, protective construction, the Skechers Sure Track is an excellent shoe for restaurant workers. You’ll like how they feel as you put in another long day on your feet.
California-based Townforst doesn’t mess around when it tests its non slip shoes for servers and other restaurant workers. In 2013, for example, the company had its shoes independently tested on a surface coated with water and Crisco brand shortening.
Their shoes passed the test, impressive enough on any wet surface, much less one coated with Crisco.
The Townforst Eamon shoes earn high marks for their slip and oil-resistance while offering everything a restaurant worker needs to navigate their busy days. And it all starts with Townforst’s advanced slip-resistant technology that includes an outsole made of a rubber compound the grips the floor surface no matter what the floor’s condition.
The outsole includes a micro-channel tread pattern that channels moisture away from its bottom to provide superior traction on wet and greasy surfaces.
Cushions and insoles located in the middle of the arch support your foot throughout the day, as well as a lace design that helps secure a firm fit.
Townforst handles both the design and manufacture of its shoes, and its research and development team focuses on developing and launching a wide variety of products simultaneously.
The Eamon shoe has a sneaker-like look that’s both practical and fashionable. It includes a soft leather upper and is lightweight and flexible.
- Designed specifically for restaurant workers
- Outsole tread designs whisks away moisture
- Soft leather upper
- Some reviewers say the stitching isn’t always of the highest quality
The Townforst Eamon features design and construction that has restaurant workers in mind. They’re tested in the slipperiest of conditions, but also provide a comfortable design that helps your feet stay strong throughout the day.
There’s nothing quite like a work shoe that’s comfortable without sacrificing protection and performance. The Fila Memory Flux shoe is proof of that thanks to features that offer all-day comfort and protection in workplaces such as restaurants.
It all starts with a rubber slip resistant outsole that meets industry standards for sufficient traction on slick or wet surfaces. While the overall shoe may feel a bit heavier than some others, the rubber traction has a lightweight feel while still offering all the stability that you need.
But, again, the women’s Memory Flux offers all the comfort you need during long work shifts spent mostly on your feet. It has a padded collar and tongue while the upper consists of a durable nylon/synthetic leather mix that also meet your occupational needs.
The cushioned insole and footbed adjust to the shape and contours of your feet, while a memory foam sock liner and midsole make it easier to get through a long shift (while not feeling it in your feet after work and the next day). The shoe’s flexible leather is never stiff and helps it rank among the best non slip shoes for wide feet.
Also, the Memory Flux comes with a breathable fabric line that helps keep your foot dry, cool, and comfortable throughout the workday.
- Memory foam midsole
- Excellent traction
- A bit heavier feel than some other non-slip shoes
The Fila women’s Memory Flux shoe offers all of the protection and comfort needed for a long day spent on your feet. From its superior traction to its easy fit, you’ll find everything you need in a shoe that’s well-suited for restaurant work.
Keeping your toes protected in certain work environments such as restaurants is nothing to take lightly. Things can fall – from shelves, counters, tables – and land on your feet. It’s enough to ruin a workday, if not cause injuries.
The Skechers Synergy Ekron Alloy Toe Work Shoe provides all of the slip-resistance you need, but also comes with an alloy safety toe front that keeps you protected when mishaps occur.
Comfort also is important, of course, and the Skechers Synergy has you covered with a design that helps your feet from becoming weary or sore over the course a long shift. A padded collar and tongue prevent rubbing and blisters, while the shoe’s overall relaxed fit gives your feet plenty of room without being too loose.
Shock absorption comes from a memory foam cushioned insole that reduces the stress and strain on your feet and joints. The flexsole design moves with your feet to offer long-lasting comfort even during the longest, busiest shifts.
The Synergy Ekron has an overall sporty look that features a lace-up design that allows you to get a secure fit every time. They’re another example of excellent non-slip shoes for wide feet.
- Slip-resistant sole
- Shock-absorbing memory foam
- Padded collar and tongue
- A bit heavier because of alloy safety toe
Skechers combines comfort, style, and protection in its Synergy Ekron Alloy work shoe, which makes it ideal for restaurant workers or anyone who spends long hours on their feet.
Birkenstock is an iconic name in the footwear world and they offer products suitable for a variety of occupations and activities. The Super Birki is highly-versatile but excellent for kitchen, restaurants, medical environments – or anywhere a water and oil-resistant shoe is required.
The Super Birki is also all about comfort and durability. Its slip-on design offers convenience and is ideal for a fast-paced lifestyle, and is an excellent choice for non-slip shoes for chefs who are on their feet, and on the go, all day.
The footbed includes a soft cork material that offers exceptional arch support. Overall, the Super Birki is very lightweight without sacrificing any of the stability and support you need to get through the typical workday.
The footbed is removable and washable and also includes fabric lining that’s soft, comfortable, and wick away sweat and other moisture. Another reason to trust this shoe is that it meets EN ISO 20347 standards and is certified as occupational footwear. In other words, it’s built for the work world.
- Excellent for kitchen and restaurant work
- Great arch support
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Sizing may run small
Many, many customers swear by the comfort and convenience “Birkis” provide, and with good reason. The Super Birki is excellent for anyone who has an on-the-go occupation, such as a chef and other restaurant workers.
A lot of shoes featured in reviews of non-slip footwear for restaurant workers are of the more casual variety. Sneakers, clogs – you get the picture. While the Dansko Men’s Wayne is a casual shoe, no doubt, it’s still a bit dresser than many other top non-slip shoes.
That’s not a bad thing, either, considering that not every restaurant shares a similar dress code.
Dansko is a popular line of shoes for waiters, servers, chefs, bartenders, and nurses who often must move quickly on terrain that’s not always dry as a bone. If your job gets a bit messy and slippery, then Dansko has a shoe for you, including its Wayne slip-on. And the Wayne is a sportier update of Dansko’s original design, which isn’t a bad thing, either.
There’s a lot to like about the Wayne and reasons why many restaurant workers feel comfortable and secure while wearing them. For one, the Wayne’s outsole is top-notch and consists of high-traction, slip-resistant Nitrol rubber that provides firm footing no matter what kind of terrain your workplace throws at you. It’s also a highly durable sole.
We like the sporty look of the full-grain leather uppers, but it’s not just about their looks. They’re also durable and flexible, both common traits of shoes in the Dansko line.
The Wayne’s removable footbed allows you to accommodate personal orthotics, although it’s very comfortable to begin with, while a polyurethane midsole delivers additional cushioning and comfort. A leather sock liner wicks away moisture while helping your foot stay cool and dry.
The shoe’s slip-on style makes it easy to take your shoes on and off, including when your feet deserve a much-needed break.
- Sporty but casual design
- High-traction, slip-resistant outsole
- Comfortable midsole
- Some wearers say it feels a bit heavy
The Dansko Wayne offers the support, stability, and comfort you need if you a restaurant is your workplace. Their traction is second-to-none.
New Balance has a long line of athletic shoes that cover a wide range of activities – from running to walking to hiking. But their 626 V2 Model is a sneaker that serves well as an everyday work shoe for a variety of reasons:
- It features supreme cushioning, which is a key reason why we – and others – find them appropriate for restaurant workers.
- They have excellent overall support, including lateral stability during side to side movements that restaurant workers make several times during their shifts, including chefs.
- The 626 V2 features a slip-resistant rubber sole that meets several safety standards for use on slippery and oily surfaces.
- The midsole consists of compression EVA that’s lightweight and helps to reduce foot fatigue during your working day.
- You’ll also appreciate the 626 V2’s flexibility and how it offers excellent cushioning and support.
- There’s a removable foam insole that’s very comfortable, but you can easily replace it with your custom or prescription orthotics. The insoles that come with the shoe don’t necessarily offer additional cushioning, but they do provide excellent underfoot comfort.
- The fabric lining is comfortable and breathable, and moisture-wicking properties, as well as odor-resistant, and helps to keep your foot fresh throughout the day.
- The upper consists of durable leather that features a lace-up closure.
- The heel includes a pull-up loop to make it easier to slip the shoe on and off.
There’s plenty else to like about the New Balance 626 V2 including, of course, a slip-resistant outsole and ample padding around the collar, but we think you get the picture.
- Lightweight EVA midsole
- Slip and oil-resistant outsole
- Excellent lateral stability
- Check the sizing – they may run small
New Balance has you covered for whatever you demand of your footwear, including the demands of restaurant work. Their 626 V2 has everything you need to stay safe and comfortable during your workday.
There’s nothing overly-complicated with the Mozo Sharkz design but sometimes simple is best. And, make no mistake, this shoe provides all of the comfort and support restaurant workers need.
The Sharkz design is lightweight and features a synthetic leather upper that’s water-resistant. It’s also a slip-on, which makes it convenient to take off or put on when necessary.
Side ventilation helps to provide excellent breathability while keeping your feet cool and dry. The Mozo Sharkz comes with two shims that allow you to adjust the fit of your shoe, including one located underneath the gel insole (which is removable in case you want to use orthotics).
Of course, no shoe that’s fit for restaurant workers is worth its mettle if it doesn’t have a trustworthy, slip-resistant sole. The Mozo Sharkz answers the bell in that regard with a rubber outsole with deep grooves that keep you stable on slippery floors. It features a zig-zag “spider” design for enhanced traction and grip.
- Lightweight design
- Water resistant
- Gel insole provides excellent comfort
- Some reviewers thought the fit was snug
The Mozo Sharkz has a deceptively simple design that takes nothing away from its overall effectiveness. It’s lightweight and includes all the traction you need.
5 Tips For Staying Healthy & Comfortable During a Long Day on Your Feet
Foot problems often come with the territory if you work in an occupation in which you spend long hours on your feet – no matter how strong or pain-tolerant you are. Symptoms include discomfort, fatigue, swelling in the feet and legs, even aches and pains in your lower back.
While discomfort and other issues may seem inevitable, there are things you can do to at least lessen the problem. Here’s a look:
1. Choose the right shoes
No surprise here considering that we’ve reviewed the best non-slip shoes for restaurant workers, but it’s worth emphasizing the point again – you need to choose your shoes carefully if you spend long hours on your feet.
You could even address this issue by listing shoes that you shouldn’t wear if you’re on your feet all day, i.e., high heels, flip-flops, unsupportive flats, sandals, and others. Instead, you need shoes that offer plenty of support and, in the case of restaurant workers, plenty of grip and traction.
Look for shoes that fit comfortably and aren’t too loose or too snug, that have cushioned midsoles – that even allow you to insert custom orthotics if you so choose.
2. Watch your posture
Modifying your posture can go a long way toward alleviating the stress and strain on your feet during your typical workday.
For starters, make sure you’re always standing tall and that your head doesn’t extend forward beyond your shoulders whenever possible. A forward tilt shifts your body’s center of gravity forward which, in turn, increases the pressure on your foot’s arch and the muscles that support it.
“Standing tall” means, in part, to keep your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips.
It’s not always easy to incorporate stretching into your busy workday routine, but taking a few minutes to stretch during your “down” time can really help ease the stress and strain.
- One easy stretch you can do, and can do practically anywhere, is to flex your feet toward your shins. It not only stretches your muscles, but also strengthens muscles such as the shins.
- A calf stretch is another easy exercise that takes little time and one you can do almost anywhere. Simply place both hands shoulder-width apart against a wall and place one foot forward, bend the knee of the front leg forward and leave the rear knee straight. You’ll feel the stretch in the calf of your rear leg.
- Another exercise you can do is one in which you stand straight while circling your hips in a Figure-8 motion. It helps loosen your hips while preventing blood stagnation in your lower extremities.
- Alternating knee flexes, in which you touch the heel of one foot to your buttocks helps loosens up the quadriceps to help take some of the strain off of your feet.
4. Shift positions
Sometimes the best posture is one that’s constantly changing. Try not to always stand in the same position, and it’s always helpful to break up your day while finding time to sit, or even lay on your back. Change positions frequently.
Custom-built orthotics help support your entire body, including the muscles and fascia of your feet. They also help to improve your posture, relieve stress on your joints, treat overpronation (in which your feet bend inward), while also supporting ligaments.
Many of the best shoes for working on your feet come with removable insoles that allow you to use orthotics that suit your feet, posture, and stride.
Oil Resistant Vs. Slip-Resistant Shoes: Is There a Difference?
When you say a shoe is slip-resistant you can also say, in many cases, that it’s oil-resistant. They’re a lot alike, but also different, if that makes sense. Here’s how it works:
- A slip-resistant shoe is tested for use on all types of slippery surfaces – those that are oily, have patches and puddles of water, etc. So, a non-slip shoe, generally speaking, provides sufficient traction on oily surfaces, but we’re talking primarily about the shoe’s outsole.
- An oil-resistant shoe refers to the whole shoe, not just its outsole. That means it outsole, insole, upper, lining – everything – is designed for protection against potential oil damage. Common materials used in shoe-making quickly degrade if exposed to oil frequently. Corrosion still happens on shoes made of oil-resistant materials, but more slowly than shoes that don’t use those materials.
- A slip-resistant shoe can prevent mishaps and slips on oily surfaces, but its upper may be susceptible to oil damage if not treated with oil-resistant materials.
How We Chose The Shoes for Our Review
The first order of business when choosing non-slip shoes for restaurant workers is evaluating the shoe’s outsole. Put simply, a shoe must provide excellent stability and traction for anyone who works on surfaces that can get a bit slippery and unpredictable.
Comfort is another important factor because a shoe that doesn’t fit correctly or doesn’t provide ample cushioning won’t help you to get through a long day without experience foot pain or fatigue. That’s why finding the right fit is crucial.
We also took the price and brand into consideration. As as far as price goes, we strive to provide a range of products that fit a variety of budgets. Meanwhile, certain brands have a better reputation for quality than others, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re well-known brands.
Not all shoes are suitable for restaurant work and you need to choose carefully before deciding on the footwear that’s going to get you through a long workday. You should never sacrifice traction or comfort; doing so can make a long day seem even longer.
We welcome your comments, as always. If you work in a restaurant, what shoes do you wear? What do you like about them? We’d love to hear from you.