It’s not uncommon for waitstaff to spend upwards of eight hours a day on their feet, if not longer, so comfortable shoes are a must. If you’re looking to upgrade your footwear ahead of your next shift, what shoes should you wear?
Here are five highly-recommended pairs of waiter-friendly shoes:
- Skechers Men’s Cessnock Food Service Shoe
- Birkenstock Profi-Birki
- Sketchers for Work Men’s Flex Advantage Mcallen Food Service Shoe
- New Balance Men’s 510 V4 Trail Running Shoe
- Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Harrington II Work Shoe
Keep reading for reviews on each of these exceptional pairs of shoes as well as a buyer’s guide so you can find the right pair for your strenuous job!
The Top 5 Shoes for Waiters
1. Skechers Men’s Cessnock Food Service Shoe
Starting our list is a pair of Sketchers shoes designed specifically for food service, the Cessnock shoes.
These men’s shoes are a best-seller on Amazon in the men’s work and utility shoes category.
Part of that is undoubtedly the price, as you can get your hands on these sneakers for under $60.
The black imported shoes pass ASTM F2413-2011 EH requirements, qualifying them as Work Electrical Hazard footwear.
The included protection safeguards the wearer from disruptive discharge at a rate of 18 kilovolts or 60 hertz of AC power.
More important to most restaurant employees is slip resistance. The Cessnock outsole passes the ASTM F1677-2005 Mark II testing standards for safety on red quarry tile.
Even in oily and wet conditions, you shouldn’t slip.
A memory foam insole remembers the contours of your feet and then remains in that shape, creating conditions of plush, pillowy softness that feel customized to your foot.
The relaxed fit is just comfortable enough. Your shoes won’t fly off your feet but won’t feel too constraining either.
Bungee lacing is super easy to affix, and you won’t have to worry about the risk of tripping over your own shoelaces.
The Skechers Cessnock food service shoes are available in all black, navy with a white outsole, black with a white outsole, burgundy with a white outsole, and gray with a white outsole.
2. Birkenstock Profi-Birki
As part of Birkenstock’s Professional Series of footwear, the Profi-Birki shoes are another excellent choice for your day-to-day work life.
You can easily slip into these unisex shoes with no need for laces, even bungee laces.
The shoes pass EN ISO 20347:2012 OB E standards for certified occupational footwear.
The polyurethane sole is tested for both grease and oil resistance, and its degree of nonslip will keep you surefooted no matter how hectic your days at the restaurant get (and we all know that can be very hectic!).
The footbed lining is a soft fabric that cushions your feet from impacts all day while also enhancing breathability.
The construction of the footbed itself is also polyurethane that’s designed to be anatomically shaped to your feet.
You can remove the footbed and wash it in temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius, says Birkenstock.
At the very least, you can take out the footbed, disinfect it, and reinsert it so you can stay clean and healthy when on the job.
The design of the Profi-Birki is made for easy movement on your feet. The front is extended while the heel section is raised.
This design not only covers the entirety of your foot but also keeps your feet rolling as you take a step. That’s a natural movement that will keep you working pain-free.
The Birkenstock Profi-Birki shoes cost under $100 and come in black or blue.
3. Skechers for Work Men’s Flex Advantage Mcallen Food Service Shoe
Next, we have another beloved Skechers shoe for waiters, the Flex Advantage Mcallen.
This too is a food service shoe not like the traditional Skechers you find at the mall or your favorite footwear retailer.
The same degree of protection from errant electrical currents is present in the Flex Advantage Mcallen shoe, and they have the same fantastic degree of slip resistance as well.
A fabric shoe liner promotes the comfort of your feet as you log thousands of steps per day. The liner is breathable as well.
The toe box is designed wider and roomier than in other Skechers shoes.
Your toes will have the space and the freedom to naturally splay and move. This makes standing on your feet for hours at a clip more comfortable.
The medium-width heel is chunky enough to prevent you from feeling every impact you take on the hard restaurant floor but isn’t so thick that it’s a tripping hazard.
The memory foam insole is back for a customized degree of fit and comfort.
A padded collar around the back of the shoe prevents that uncomfortable rubbing sensation, the friction of which can lead to painful blisters that make it very hard to do your job.
The stitched seams throughout are reinforced for durability while elastic gores on both sides allow for foot flexibility all day long.
The Flex Advantage Mcallen shoe has no laces, so it’s an easy-to-wear slip-on shoe. The non-slip rubber sole and synthetic upper are sure to last.
You can shop these shoes in colors like black, black with charcoal gray, and charcoal gray with black. They too are available for under $60, making the Flex Advantage Mcallen shoes quite economical!
4. New Balance Men’s 510 V4 Trail Running Shoe
The only non-work shoe on this list is the New Balance 510 V4.
They’re trail running shoes instead, so why did we include them?
These highly-rated shoes are designed for being on your feet for long periods, that’s why.
The shoes are made of hardy materials such as rubber for the outsole and injection-molded ethyl vinyl acetate.
The outsole features a 12-millimeter drop heel for bringing your feet closer to the ground and assuring you feel confident with every step you take.
The New Balance ultra-soft comfort insert feels like clouds so you can ward off foot aches and pains for longer.
A leather upper is trendy while mesh panels throughout allow for excellent breathability. You might not be running any trails in these New Balance shoes, but you will be running around the restaurant, and that’s just as sweaty of a job.
A toe protection feature means that if you bump the front of your foot into a counter or a table, your toes won’t be throbbing for hours. The ABZORB cushioning is also shock-absorbent.
You can choose from so many great colors for the New Balance 510 V4 trail-running shoes, including all black, navy blue and gray, black with gray and red, gray with blue and black, and lots more.
These shoes are available for under $100.
5. Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Harrington II Work Shoe
Lastly, we’ve got Dr. Scholl’s Harrington II work shoe for men.
For under $80, you can get your hands on these professional shoes to make all your busiest workdays easier.
The Lock Step Outsole is both slip and oil-resistant, meeting SATRA TM63 and TM144 standards.
The sole, which is made of rubber, is non-marking and flexible as well.
Inside the shoe is a Dri-Lex moisture-wicking liner. When used in conjunction with the Aegis Microbe Shield anti-microbial liner, your work shoes will be more hygienic and cleaner to wear.
The Memory Foam Cool Fit is molded into the insole for an optimal fit. That insole is anti-compression in design and also features a ventable sock to promote better breathability.
The front of the shoes have four-eyelet lacing throughout.
The thick, hardy leather is manmade and looks exceptional, and the rubber heel is 1.25 inches.
You can select from colors such as black or brown.
What to Look for in Restaurant Work Shoes
We just gave you five excellent pairs of shoes for waiters to check out. You might feel torn between one or two pairs, so how do you choose the right work shoes for you?
Here are some factors to consider.
As a busy restaurant employee, you know how crazy things can get both in the kitchen and on the main floor.
Spills do happen, and while they’re usually addressed and cleaned up quickly, it isn’t always immediately. This can put you and the rest of the waitstaff at risk of a slip and fall.
Non-slip work shoes will prevent fluids and even food spills from making you lose your grip. You’ll stay right on your feet and be ready to work.
From head to toe, a waiter is supposed to sport a certain style to meet the rules and requirements at their place of employment.
A good pair of work shoes should conform to those standards.
That doesn’t mean your shoes have to be boring, but they should look professional and add to your uniform, not stand out like a sore thumb.
Easy to Wear
This is so important when selecting a pair of work shoes.
If the shoes are too difficult to put on and take off, or if wearing them is uncomfortable, then you’re going to regret your purchase.
It will take time to break in any pair of work shoes just as it does athletic shoes or everyday shoes.
Once you get past that breaking-in point though, the shoes should be effortless to wear.
You don’t want to get caught up over your own two feet when on the job. You have more than enough to do.
The work shoes we looked at today either eschew traditional laces or feature a lacing system that makes it easy for you to tie your shoes without your laces dangling precariously on either side.
This can prevent embarrassing trips that make you look bad in front of your fellow waitstaff and your customers.
Work shoes needn’t cost an arm and a leg. The five options we presented to you are all very cost-effective, as none are more than $100.
If you have a bigger budget for shoes, then, by all means, you can buy what you can afford.
You can also find exemplary work footwear at more affordable prices that never sacrifice quality and safety.
There you have it, a great starting point for you as a waiter to find some quality shoes that will last you for a long time.
These shoes won’t break the bank and will augment your comfort so that even your longest shifts are almost effortless.