Here’s a fact I know from wearing shoes all my life: shoe preference is highly subjective. What works great for one person, may not work for another. There’s a whole bunch of science behind this relating to things like feet dimensions, leg angles, skeletal alignment, and perceived levels of cushioning (that’s even an acronym—PLC!).
This is why, when evaluating whether or not to formally review the best kitchen shoes, we decided instead to pose the question to Serious Eats staffers, to gather subjective answers on a subjective question.
That said, there are a few things to look for in a good pair of kitchen shoes.
The Criteria: What to Look for in Kitchen Shoes
Because kitchens are full of very sharp things (knives!) and hot things (boiling water! scalding oil!) that can fall onto the floor and therefore your feet, kitchen shoes should offer protection. They should have a closed toe and be able to be slipped off lest something does fall or splash onto your feet. They should also be comfortable to wear: if you’re standing on your feet for hours and hours at a time (like we do in the test kitchen), you want something supportive. They should be non-slip, too.
Here are some staff-favorite kitchen shoes. (And, yes, you’ll find some conflicting answers because, again, subjectivity!)