Cooking at home in the pandemic is getting tiring. We’re not talking about how you’re bored of eating that baked salmon and roasted veggie dish for the 18th time - we’re talking about that nagging lower back ache that hits midway through that 5-hour recipe that involves 2 hours of prep, followed by clean-up. The reason? Bare feet. The remedy? Kitchen shoes.
Yes, you need to wear something on your feet - the food professionals agree - so we asked some of our favorite restaurant workers, pop-up chefs, and recipe developers for their recommendations. They know better than anyone about what’s comfortable in the kitchen. Keep in mind, what’s considered right for a professional restaurant isn’t quite the same as cooking at home. While open-toe shoes or socks are not a good idea in a work setting for safety and health reasons, you can definitely wear fluffy alpaca slippers while scrambling eggs.
Read on for their suggestions on the best kitchen shoes and socks to wear while cooking, and yes, Crocs and clogs are among the list.
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Creator of NÜNCHI, a jelly cake company
“I never thought I’d actually end up wearing Danskos, but I had to see why everyone was wearing them in the kitchen...and now I get it. The shearling just makes them so much cuter, It feels like I’m wearing house slippers or Uggs since I work mostly in my home kitchen, except with more support. I haven’t taken them off all winter.”
Chef at Local Tide, @nappyfriiedchicken
“When I’m cooking at home I like to wear Carhartt wool socks. My heating system at my apartment doesn’t work at all (need to get that checked out) so these keep my feet warm while protecting me from grease splatter.”
Chef at Junzi Kitchen and Nice Day
“On one hand, I have fat feet. On the other, there aren’t a tremendous number of jobs where you can wear Crocs all day. The sum is therefore that I count working as a chef, in Crocs, as a luxury. I’ve worn these slip resistant clogs since day 1 and have never found a more comfortable or safer alternative.”
Co-owner of the restaurant Lil Deb’s Oasis
“I’m addicted to my slippers from a local [Hudson] store, Fluff Alpaca. They are sooo soft and warm—I usually don’t even wear socks with them. They make me feel relaxed and cozy—and, dare I say, sexy(?!)—after a long day at work.”
“At home, in the kitchen I mainly wear my plain old black Birkenstock clogs. They’ve always served me well personally and professionally. I wasn’t a person that wore shoes at home, but recently, my home kitchen has become my workplace and I can’t do it barefoot!”
Alexis Nikole Nelson
Vegan food concocter, @blackforager
“Mine is so embarrassing!! It’s a pair of hot pink Old Navy flip flops I’ve had for four years. Nothing special about them, they’re just the shape of my feet now after years and super comfortable.”
Owner of Cait’s Key Lime
“I’m on my third pair of leopard Crocs, the only shoes I wear to cook. Everything I own is leopard - I’m from New Jersey.”
Food stylist, @tyna.hoang
“Up until last year, I always wore Dansko clogs and then my assistant gifted me a pair of Oofos and they changed my life. They’re running recovery clogs so they serve double duty since I also am a runner.”
Pop up chef, @woldykusina
“At home, I’m in my pair of KareKare Baba by Sabah. They are cozy and stylish house slippers. The pair of Baba’s I have are out of stock, but there are other fun colors and materials available on their website.”