Sore feet in the kitchen. What do you wear?

I usually spend many hours in the kitchen on weekends. I love my time in 'my office', but man do my feet get sore from standing for so long! I would love to get something that makes the hours of standing a bit more bearable. I've seen a lot of chefs wearing clog-like shoes (and not just Mario Batali). Have you tried them? Is there something else that works? Do you have 'kitchen shoes'?



QueenSashy August 24, 2012
Birkenstoks. But I have flat feet.
Pegeen August 23, 2012
They do make gel mat shoes! You can buy slip-ins just about anywhere (they're fine but won't last too long) or make a small, very worthy investment and see a podiatrist to get fitted for gel orthotics to slip into your shoes. You don't have to have "foot problems" to get them - just being on your feet for hours is reason enough.
CarlaCooks August 23, 2012
Wow, thanks for all of the great recommendations and advice! I really appreciate it. This is such a great community :) I think I am going to look into getting the gel mats and trying to sit more. I have a pair of Crocs, but they are packed away in the States. I live in Denmark, so finding a pair of Dansko clogs should be pretty easy (Dansko is a Danish abbreviation for 'Danish shoes'). Happy cooking to all!
petitbleu August 22, 2012
I used to swear by Crocs--I wore them every day and found them to be super comfortable and easy to clean. I worked in a cheese kitchen, so the ability to kick off my outdoor Crocs and step into my cheese kitchen Crocs was an added bonus.
Then, when I started working in a bakery, I moved on to Dansko clogs. Also very comfortable, if a bit heavy.
Now, since I work from my home kitchen, I wear Chacos and risk injury. I've always been careful in the kitchen, and I'm rarely in such as hurry as to spill or drop knives, although ChefJune is right that it's probably a hazard. However, I stay on my feet all the time and find that wearing these shoes prevents backaches.
ChefJune August 22, 2012
I wear clogs in the kitchen. left over from restaurant days, might as well use them up! And I sit for as many tasks as possible. My kitchen table (a butcher block) is custom height so I have bar stools that are great for perching at the counter as well.

Flip Flops are almost as dangerous in the kitchen as bare feet. Hot spills and dropped knives can hurt you REAL bad!
mensaque August 22, 2012
I wear my slippers in the house and also in the kitchen but I believe that footwear is not your real problem...also what works for my feet won't necessarily work for yours.I think the best advice I can give is:"Sit down,girl!!!"Relax,take a break every hour or so...Have some coffee...Set up a station where you'll be able to do your chopping or other preparations while sat.I do that when my once ruptured achille's heel behaves badly.Hope it helps
lorigoldsby August 22, 2012
BGT...oh yes! I have the gel mats (actually 3 of them! One at stove, one at sink/ prep, one at baking island) and never had a problem with them for over 3 years! And if they ever make that gel mat shoe...I'll be right behind you in line!
BoulderGalinTokyo August 23, 2012
Lori, I miss understood! I thought you hadn't tried them, now i realize you'd pave the kitchen with gel mats if you could. I agree. Hardwood floors are wonderful everywhere but not in the kitchen.
lorigoldsby August 21, 2012
If I could replace my wood floors with gel mats...would do so in a nanosecond ! I do swear by my dansko clogs...I have a super wide foot and need lots of arch support...worth every penny. I protect them just as I do any of my good cooking equipment. If you think what you're willing to pay for a good knife or cassoulet that same amount for shoes! You'll use them every time you cook! They'll save not just your feet, but your knees and back!
BoulderGalinTokyo August 22, 2012
lorigoldsby, I'm using my gel mats on hardwood floors and there's no discoloration after a year. They don't slide around or scratch, or curl at the edges to trip over. And there are several colors of harwood to pick from.

But really agree with mrslarkin that if they would invent a gel mat shoe --I7m first in line!
mrslarkin August 21, 2012
gel mat in the home kitchen work area is a godsend. I think we got ours at Costco. If someone could invent a shoe version of the gel mat, now that would be something.
chef O. August 21, 2012
I too wear doc martins or running shoes
drbabs August 21, 2012
I have TERRIBLE feet. I wear Teva flip flops or sandals in the summer--- thick soles, good arch support, and Merrell suede clogs that are lined with shearling in the winter. Thank you all for your suggestions. I am constantly on the lookout for decent work shoes that don't kill me when I'm on my feet all day.
sexyLAMBCHOPx August 21, 2012
I wear Fit Flops brand flip flops year round. I also sit at my kitchen table to prep.
BoulderGalinTokyo August 21, 2012
Like Panfusine, no shoes allowed in the house. So I use a dedicated pair only for inside. My daughter worked at Crocs when they first started and checked the styles. She bought me a pair of Bistro style. They protect against falling knives, hot spills. Cut some holes in the sides if you need more ventilation.

The gel mats (not rubber) are pure heaven. I bought at Amazon and had my hubby bring it to Japan in his business trip luggage (pretty heavy!) Loved it so much he got me another one for the rest of the kitchen on his next trip. Wipe up easily, and if washing dishes (no knife work) its really COOL to the bare foot.

And i have a stepstool that you can sit on.
Kristen W. August 21, 2012
Agree with Sam 1148. I have a barstool I keep in the kitchen to sit on. More power to those who can stand for hours without pain: sadly, I'm not one of them.
threefresheggs August 20, 2012
I wear flip-flops (Tevas – with arch support) most of the time in the summer, and house-slippers in the winter. I have the same issue (even with wood floors!) but find that the thick-soled flip-fops help. Also, I have a long, narrow, washable, woven cotton rug that runs the length of my heavy-use counter area. I think that really helps. This length of counter includes my sink, and I find that having the absorbent mat there keeps my floor much cleaner, for much longer. This would also address the issue of slipperiness or ceramin, or whatnot.

I did try crocs one summer, but couldn't believe how hot they made me feel. They don't let the sole of your foot breathe AT ALL. Mule Birkenstocks (though pricy) might be a wiser choice than my flip-flops, too; I was startled into knocking a knife off the counter once, many years ago, and it was not pretty. That'll teach you not to perch your knives near the edge of the counter.
threefresheggs August 20, 2012
*, or ceramic*
Melusine August 20, 2012
Crocs or Birkenstock-like shoes for safety; gel mats for additional comfort. Birkenstocks saved me from the exact kind of short circuit Droplet mentioned. And, the 'no bare feet' rule applies to dropping things like knives as well as potential shocks.
Summer O. August 20, 2012
Much like Pierno I am most comfortable in my Converse All Stars no laces, no socks. Sometimes flip flops.
pierino August 20, 2012
I cringe at the idea of cooking barefoot. Way too many bad things can happen. Myself I wear Converse All Stars, "Chucks" but the slip on style, no laces. In restaurant kitchens you'll see a lot of Doc Martins.
Panfusine August 20, 2012
Its a cultural thing..Footwear is Taboo inside most Indian Homes, especially, especially the kitchen. Footwear is considered dirty & hence banned from the kitchen (I have a pair of those line bootie shoes for use in winter)
Panfusine August 20, 2012
Gel mats... great if you're the barefooted kind in the kitchen..
Sam1148 August 20, 2012
Don't stand. I have a rather small Galley style kitchen...and keep a folding tall directors chair in there.
Which is fine for use while chopping and reading over a recipe. It also helps that I have a flat screen TV on the narrow end. Of course the SO sometimes wonders why dinner isn't ready until 10 or so.
beyondcelery August 20, 2012
@droplet: Hrm, good point. I never thought of that!
Droplet August 20, 2012
Beyondcelery, just a friendly piece of advice (that I myself don't follow 100% of the time)--never stand at the stove bearfoot. Even with the best appliances, shortcircuits can happen especially if you are on a tile floor and your hands are still wet from rinsing something at the sink... A rubber sole can literally save your life.
Droplet August 20, 2012
barefoot-sorry for the typo
beyondcelery August 20, 2012
In my own kitchen, I'm almost always barefoot. I just really don't like wearing shoes--never have--and I dance around so hours on my feet don't usually faze me the same as standing still. But any time I'm in a commercial kitchen where that isn't an option, I wear sneakers or my pair of Danskos. I never used to like Danskos, but I finally found a pair that fit me properly and now I'll swear by their excellent arch support. I worked 14 hours straight, then walked 2 miles home in them the first week I had them, didn't get a blister, and have adored them ever since. They're worth the price, in my opinion, because they're very sturdy and will last a long time. I also feel the same about the brand Joseph Siebel.
Reiney August 20, 2012
Danskos are awesome but pricey. Crocs work great, for a fraction of the price and any spills are easily wiped away.

A cushioned rug also makes a big difference (but then you have a cleaning factor).
HalfPint August 20, 2012
Crocs. I have a pair dedicated for indoor wear.
Louisa August 21, 2012
Me, too with the Crocs. I have the Carly, which are a little narrower. They are great for standing, non-skid and if they get sticky you can just wear them into the shower.
lucia52 August 20, 2012
Get a pair of Birkenstocks, they are the most comfy shoes you could get for standing for long hours. They're the cheapest on amazon.
Sadassa_Ulna August 20, 2012
I don't always think ahead before spending hours in the kitchen (standing on a ceramic tile floor, ouch), but when I do I put on socks and running shoes. I am hoping to get wood floors some day...
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