‘I’m a Chef That Spends 14 Hours on My Feet Daily, and I’ve Sworn by These Podiatrist-Approved Shoes To Support Me in the Kitchen for 20+ Years’
To learn more about the chef-approved shoes that are supportive enough to keep you on your feet for hours on end, we caught up with Michael Reed, a James Beard Award semifinalist and the executive chef and owner of Anaheim’s Poppy & Seed and Downtown Los Angeles’ Poppy + Rose. Over Reed’s 20 years of experience working in the industry, there’s been only one—yes, just one—type of shoe he’s ever worn (and swears by). More ahead on why Reed keeps several pairs of the same exact shoe on hand at all times at work and how he practices wellness in the kitchen from head to toe.
A chef’s favorite shoes for working in the restaurant industry for the last 20 years
Like many folks already in the restaurant biz, chef Reed’s number one shoe for working in the kitchen are Dansko clogs. Why? They’re reliable, durable, ultra-comfy, and podiatrist-approved and recommended. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a podiatrist with the Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic (and a huge fan of Dansko), previously shared with Well+Good that these shoes are a perfect way to look professional while staying comfortable while on her feet all day long. As Dr. Parthasarathy mentioned, these clogs have long been admired by folks in various professions requiring standing on their feet for many hours—especially those in the medical field.
Like many folks already in the restaurant biz, chef Reed’s number one shoe for working in the kitchen are Dansko clogs. Why? They’re reliable, durable, ultra-comfy, and podiatrist-approved and recommended.
The clogs, which come in various colors and materials, sport a roomy toe box that gives toes and feet extra wiggle room and a super cushiony platform outsole that takes on shock absorption—all podiatrist-friendly qualifications. For chef Reed, Dankos are the one (and only) shoes he’s worn in the kitchen during the span of his 20-year career. “I tend to buy five pairs at a time, so I always have a backup,” Reed says. “They provide the necessary support for my calves and arches and help keep me cool in the kitchen. I can be on my feet anywhere from 10 to 14 hours in a day." Reed adds that if they’re good enough for doctors, they’re certainly good enough for staying on his feet for long periods at the restaurant, too.
“They provide the necessary support for my calves and arches and help keep me cool in the kitchen. I can be on my feet anywhere from 10 to 14 hours in a day." Michael Reed, executive chef and owner of Poppy & Seed and Poppy + Rose
Most importantly, Reed notes that Dankos do an extremely good job protecting his feet from danger in the kitchen. “Danskos are durable and keep my toes protected. I’ve dropped many things on my feet over the years, but these shoes have always kept my feet protected from bruises and burns,” he says. This is especially important as restaurant workers tend to handle many sharp objects, like knives, and very hot (not to mention slippery) ingredients, like oil.
The best Dansko clogs for staying comfortable in the kitchen
Dansko sells two culinary-specific shoes, the XP 2.0 and the Professional.
For the shoe buffs: According to Dansko, the XP 2.0 clog (which retails for $150) is lightweight and ergonomical. It has a removable footbed with innovative arch-supporting technology and an outsole that is slip resistant on wet, dry, and oil-wet surfaces—which is especially important in a kitchen. They also sport a lightweight midsole that provides stability and shock absorption and comes in various finishes and prints.
Next, the Professional clog (which retails for $135) features a roomy reinforced toe box, a midsole that contours to your foot, an inner frame for stability and support, a padded instep collar, and a protective heel counter that allows the heel to move up and down freely while providing lateral stability. Most notably, these clogs were designed to help prevent fatigue thanks to their “rocker bottom” technology, which assists with forward motion while walking, adding hours of comfortable support throughout a long shift.
How a chef practices mindfulness from head to toe
Of course, making sure his footwear is supportive of his overall health is a top priority for chef Reed—but he also focuses on practicing mindfulness to help his mental health stay in tip-top shape ahead of an intense day. One way he does so is by getting adequate sleep, first and foremost. “Getting a good night's rest is the key to being tuned in in the kitchen for a long shift,” Reed says.
Chef Reed also stresses the importance of work-life balance and encourages his staff to take vacations and schedule time off whenever possible. Additionally, he notes that cooking isn’t always the most cardio-intensive job—despite what some cooking competitions portray. “I try to incorporate some exercise into my schedule at least three to four times per week,” he says. “I box in the morning when I can; if not, I’ll hop on the Peloton.”
Learn how to make Nyesha Arrington's favorite avocado and peach summer salad:
Loading More Posts...