News & Features

A Mile in their Clogs: Chefs' Favorite Footwear (Part One)

January 26 2012 - 12:19 PM

BirkenstocksYou may think you have it bad when you come home from a day at the office and sink into your recliner, rubbing your tired feet. Chefs, who can spend 12-14 hours a day standing in a hot, cramped kitchen, understand foot fatigue better than anyone, and therefore swear unshakable loyalty to their preferred brand of footwear. These shoes have unique challenges: They must be supportive, comfortable, easily cleaned, and able to stand up to months of tough, hot, constant use. We checked in with a few of the hardest working chefs around the city to find out their favorite shoes, as well as tips for soothing tired tootsies. Ahead, our first three chefs weigh in.

Carlos Ysaguirre, chef at Andersonville gastropub Acre, swears by a shoe normally associated with the hacky-sacking college set: Birkenstocks. "Hands down they're the most affordable, comfortable, durable and slip resistant, ankle-saving shoes around. It make dealing with standing all day a pleasure," he gushes. "You'll hear from chef saying that 'Danskos this, Chefwear that.' No way!" Birksenstock shoes retail online for between $120 and $200.

Matt Troost, chef at Little Italy's punk bar meets gastropub, Three Aces, seconds the vote for Birkenstocks, but adds that he couldn't do without the Super Feet insoles. "The insoles are the greatest thing for someone on their feet all day," he says. "The best thing you can do to deal with standing all day is strech every now and again." Find a Super Feet insole retailer using their online product locator.

Due to a bum knee, C-House's pastry chef Melissa Trimmer was told by her doctor that she'd have to work in cross-trainers. She gave that a try, but it didn't last long. "Not only did I slip and slide all over the kitchen, my knee and back still hurt after a long shift," she says. The solution? "After I switched to Danskos I no longer had knee or back pain." Trimmer prefers to buy the clogs in the ox blood color, but you can find a whole range of colors and styles at retailers like Hanig's and REI.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks when we'll highlight footware recommendations from other chefs around the city.

–Kate Bernot