How Food Service Workers Can Find Comfortable Shoes

A food service worker taking someone's order at a restaurant
Food service workers spend long hours standing and moving around, which puts big demands on their feet.

Whether you work in the kitchen or wait tables, your shoes should provide comfort during your shift. Having strong, healthy feet that feel good at the end of a shift starts with picking the right shoe.

You’re about to discover that what most people think are the best shoes for service workers, could actually be the cause of the foot, knee, hip, and back issues that you feel at the end of a double.

Then you’ll find the (possibly surprising) best shoes for food service and restaurant workers.

What is The Best Shoe for Restaurant Workers?

The ideal shoes for service industry workers go beyond simply providing comfort. They are shoes designed to enhance your performance in fast-paced and dynamic food service environments and, ideally, leave your feet and the rest of your body feeling good at the end of the day.

The best shoes for food service workers have the following qualities:

  • Non-slip: Slip and fall accidents are the most common injury among kitchen staff, due to contact with wet, slippery, and greasy surfaces. Employees should have a good pair of slip-resistant shoes that have tread for increased grip and traction.
  • Comfortable: For food service employees working long shifts and on their feet all day, shoes should offer natural comfort. Servers, in particular, will rely on comfortable shoes as they walk from table to table. But, as you’ll see, genuine comfort may come from a different source than you think.
  • Lightweight: This one is simple. The heavier the shoe, the more energy you use to move your legs. The lighter the shoe, the better you can feel.
  • Durable: Service workers wear shoes for long shifts, and for months at a time. Long-lasting shoes will cost food service employees less in the long run, by not having to frequently get replacements.
  • Protective: shoes must protect your feet from all kinds of spills and other accidents.
  • Easy to clean: Whether you’re doing customer service or food preparation, your shoes can get messy fast. You need to be able to clean them after stepping on dropped food items or spilling Table 5’s drinks on yourself.

So what kind of work shoes offer all these features and even some additional benefits?

Contrary to what many people believe, but now thousands of service workers have discovered, barefoot shoes give you all the features and benefits above.

I’m a chef and I spend all day on my feet. I’ve tried everything from clogs, boots, memory foam, you name it. I wear a minimalist / barefoot shoe to the gym and I was thrilled that there is a version I could wear to work. Light, comfortable, easy for a 12-14+ hour day. These are hands down my favorite shoes and I have been telling everyone that will listen that they should try them.

Why Barefoot Shoes for Food Service Staff?

Many food service workers may have heard of “barefoot shoes”, but may not understand how they differ from traditional shoes and why those who’ve made the switch will never switch back.

Barefoot shoes give restaurant and food service industry workers:

  • Natural comfort. Working in food service, you’ll need comfortable shoes as you move around or carry heavy plates. Traditional shoes have narrow toe boxes that cause pressure and discomfort. Barefoot shoes feature wider, foot-shaped toe boxes that let your toes wiggle and move freely, offering maximum comfort and improved balance and stability.
  • Proper posture. Shoes with a thick sole can affect your balance by elevating your center of gravity and reducing sensory feedback you receive touching the ground. Barefoot shoes have a thin, protective sole that keeps your foot completely level to the ground, letting your body have natural posture.
  • Agility and mobility. You have over 200,000 nerve endings in each foot! This is so your brain can feel what you’re stepping on or in, and then tell your body how to move effectively and efficiently. Typical shoes with thick and stiff soles block your feet from being able to feel the ground beneath you. Food service jobs demand quick movements, precise footwork, and the ability to navigate crowded spaces. Barefoot shoes, with their thin and flexible soles, offer a heightened proprioception and sensory feedback to make you more nimble.
  • Lightweight. Barefoot shoes weigh much less than anything else you’ve put on your feet, so you’re spending less energy throughout your shift. Imagine coming home from doing a double and forgetting that your shoes are even on your feet because they’re so comfortable and lightweight.

The Perfect Shoe For Food Service Employees

Introducing The Prio All Day SR

The Xero Prio All Day SR is a non-slip barefoot shoe worn by many in the food service industry.

Food service or restaurant employees – from chefs and cooks to waiters and bussers – will love the feel of these shoes.

That’s why America’s number one barefoot shoe company made this specific shoe, at the request of thousands of food service workers.

Prio All Day SR - left side view

Here are some great features that the Prio All Day SR offers:

  • A wider, foot-shaped toe box that lets your toes spread, relax and move freely
  • Zero heel-to-toe drop for proper posture
  • Thin, flexible sole for enhanced balance, agility, and mobility
  • Non-slip tread for grip on wet, oily, and slippery surfaces, so chefs, food prep and other kitchen workers better avoid the risk of a slip and fall accident.
  • Durable black leather is protective, easy to clean, and matches any outfit
  • Lightweight. A men’s size 9 is 9.1 ounces per shoe, and a women’s size 7 is 7.5 ounces per shoe. They are so light, you won’t even notice you have them on during your shift!

Don’t just take our word for it…

Food service and restaurant staff members rely on wearing the Prio All Day SR:

I bought these shoes for waiting tables. My last pair of shoes had me barely able to walk after the ride home from work. My first day with my all day Prios after returning home from a 13 hour double and I did jumping jacks! I have been doing several things in my life, living barefoot while guiding students at a survival school, a ballet dancer as a child/teen, and every position you can think of in a restaurant for the past 26ish years, and these shoes are the best I have EVER had.

I’m a chef de partie in a restaurant and I ordered these shoes to use as a kitchen shoe. Kitchen shoes have to be waterproof and anti-slip and these are great. I just had to get used to that more leather feeling than the breathability of other xero shoes. But once they break in they’re extremely comfortable and it’s easy to forget you have them on. A great shoe for someone with a job like me.

Read more reviews about the Prio All Day SR from men and women!

Stay Comfortable and Safe Wearing Barefoot Shoes

Wearing barefoot shoes, you can keep working those long shifts and stay on your feet for hours on end.

The Prio All Day SR has everything you need in a food service shoe. Your feet and body will thank you!

Prio All Day SR Men | Prio All Day SR Women