The best shoes for wait staff

The best shoes for wait staff

By Indi Rooney


Long shifts. Lots of rushing around. The danger of spills and slips. Dodging customers, furniture and other staff. Due to all this and more, restaurant waiters and waitresses need the right shoes to keep their feet… and their little piggies safe.

Anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet should have good shoes that support and protect. It’s imperative to have proper cushioning and shock absorption because good (or bad) shoes affect your knees, hips and back (you know, “the foot bone’s connected to the shin bone…” etc. etc). Poorly padded footwear may result in “fat pad” atrophy or the reduction of fatty cushioning on your soles. Losing that natural shock absorption can be bad news in the long run (literally).


It’s also important to protect your feet from spills and possibly getting stomped by harried coworkers. Steel toed boots could be considered safety equipment in a hazardous environment such as the kitchen or behind the bar, although they might be a bit heavy if you cover a lot of ground every day.


When you’re picking out the perfect pair of work shoes, make sure to do your research. It’s important to find footwear of decent quality that is well-made. Find reviews for top-rated shoes in your line of work. Don’t be afraid to ask coworkers and industry veterans what shoes they wear and why. You want to look good, of course, but don’t skimp on support, comfort and protection.

hoppy waiter

Here are a few important shopping tips for finding the best restaurant shoes:


Shock-absorption/cushioning. Check the bottom of the shoe. Is the sole wide and flat? You want to make sure your entire foot will be in contact with the ground. This will distribute your weight evenly. Check the insides to make sure they are soft and cushioned.


Arch support. Make sure your shoes support your arches. This helps lessen foot pain and makes walking and standing much more comfortable.


Slip resistance/grip. Look at the sole of the shoes again. Rubber has a natural gripping property, so that is certainly handy. Other options include soles made from polyurethane blends. Make sure they have a good tread on the bottom that will help grip that floor.


Toe protection. Steel toes or composite toes offer protection to keep your feet safe. Try to avoid mesh or too many airholes on the top of the shoe. Imagine hot soup spilling on your foot.


Quality/durability. A good quality work shoe should give you months of service. Make sure the shoe looks like it is built to last. Don’t wait too long to buy a new pair if you feel your shoes have seen better days.


Cost. It’s all about the Benjamins, right? There are ways to keep the cost of quality shoes down. You can set up alerts at various shoe sites and be notified of big sales and price drops. Or… if your restaurant is an NPP member, you can save on Skechers sneakers and work shoes at any time.


Ask your boss if they have a free NPP membership. More than 300,000 NPP members save on business items they use every day. Plus, they can share select discounts with their employees. These employee benefits include deals on Airgas work boots and other footwear. The perfect flair for restaurant uniforms everywhere.


NPP membership is free with no obligation to buy anything. Learn more about NPP and how it works. If you’re not an NPP member, join today and nab a wide variety of savings. Stay on budget while keeping your little piggies out of harm’s way.