Safety footwear for restaurant workers

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Safety footwear for restaurant workers

The food activity related to the catering sector is employing thousands of workers with different mansions, from chefs to waiters to dishwashers, to managers, so safety footwear for restaurant workers is a relevant topic to discuss.Safety footwear for restaurant workers

There are specific types of safety footwear for the catering sector that almost all workers use.

In this article I will tell you something about these types of safety footwear, and more in particular:

1. work activities and related risks
2. common risks
3. protections needed
4. components used in safety footwear for restaurant workers
5. products to search

1) work activities and related risks

Let’s do a mental separation from what’s in the kitchen and what’s in the public area.

In the kitchen there is people cooking, people cleaning, and the waiters going in and out all the time.

In the public area there are waiters, the manager, frequently the bartender and sometimes there are some PR at the entrance.

Safety footwear for restaurant workers

Let’s analyse the different positions:

  • chefs: if you are a chef you usually stay hours on your feet, before the restaurant opens to when the service is ended, then you probably do some cleaning activity. There are not big risks for the toes, so mainly you don’t use safety footwear (EN 20345), but occupational footwear (EN 20347), as a protective toe cap is not needed. On the other hand, there is a real risk of slipping, and your shoes get in contact with sprays or drops of food and liquids all the time. The shoes have to be comfortable, as you are going to wear them for some long hours, so a good insole and the highest possible breathability are recommended. The main colour is black but lately some more coloured styles are getting common too.
  • cleaners: this is a very tough activity, as per the long time working to the quantity of water and soap sprays that you receive. There is a risk of impacts for your toes, a high risk of slipping and, most of all, a real risk to get wet feet. Depending on the restaurant you might need rubber boots (S4 or S5) or water resistant footwear (S2 or S3). Comfort is a must because of the long time working in the same position.
  • waiters: if you are a waiter you definitely walk a lot. You also stay long hours on your feet, you go up and down on stairs and the strange thing is that it gets worse when the activity of the restaurant is low, because standing still on your feet is more tiring than being constantly walking. The risk of impacts is very low, whereas most times a classic style is needed to match the uniform, and the biggest feature needed for your feet is comfort. For comfort I mean insole, breathability, smooth leather and a good outsole. Check the slip resistance rating (SRC), it’s very important for you.
  • Manager: the manager can wear regular casual shoes, but it is not a bad idea to wear some classic styles of slip resistant occupational footwear (EN 20347), they will look classic and elegant, but they will protect you more in a restaurant environment where slipping can always happen. Occupational footwear 20347 can sometimes provide more comfort than regular one. In general the chosen colour for this profession is black.
  • PR: they wear regular footwear, as the only qualities needed are style and comfort. I would not recommend occupational or safety footwear in this case.
  • Bar tenders: the only relevant risks in this job are wet feet and slipping, plus you will stand for long time, therefore comfort and water resistance are the only recommended features for footwear in this type of work. In the bar the risk of slipping is high, so I would recommend to choose some good slip resistant footwear (S2 SRC).


2) common risks

The common risks that good safety footwear for restaurant workers must protect you from, are:

1. impacts to the toe area
2. slipping
3. drops or sprays of food and liquids

Working safely is your right and your due, so you really need to choose a good article of safety footwear for restaurant workers.

3) protections needed

The best protections needed for the specific type of risks are:

1. Protective or safety toe cap: in my opinion the best material is aluminium, which is light and has a very low profile making the shoes look more classic
2. slip resistant safety footwear: it is highly advisable to check the level of slip resistance due to the importance of this feature (SRC)
3. S2 safety footwear. In areas with a strong presence of water, it is better to use S2 WR safety footwear, or even S4 polymeric boots


4) components used in the safety footwear for the catering sector

Safety footwear for the catering sector is built based on some technical tricks that make the shoe safer, let me describe to you some of the most common construction tricks used to increase the resistance of safety footwear for restaurant workers:

  1. outsole materials: the best outsole is mono density PU, PU/rubber, EVA/rubber or mono density rubber. PU mono density is the lightest and the most used, EVA/rubber and PU/rubber are somewhat used, whereas single density rubber is rarely used in this field.
  2. toe caps: the best materials are steel (very sturdy) and aluminum (very light), but plastic materials are largely used too, because they don’t transmit heat
    closing and quick release systems: restaurant workers usually like Velcro closing systems, but regular lacing is also widely used.
  3. standards: safety footwear for restaurant workers is normally certified 20347 (occupational without toe cap) or 20345 (safety with toe cap)

Safety footwear for restaurant workers



5) products to search

The products that I recommend to search are:

  • safety or occupational clogs with leather or polymeric upper
  • safety or occupational classic shoes with leather upper
  • safety or occupational shoes with microfiber or leather upper
  • safety or occupational sandals
  • don’t forget to check the slip resistance level
  • don’t forget to check the comfort of the footwear
  • don’t forget to check the breathability of the footwear

Once you’ll have selected, over the many articles of safety footwear for restaurant workers, the most befitted one for you, you will be protected at work.

I guarantee you that if you use the right safety footwear for restaurant workers you’ll live a better working experience.


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Robert Frog
I was born in London in 1975 and still live here. I could define myself, summing up in a few words my long working career, a great expert in the field of foot and foot problems. Immediately after graduating in Motor Science I started working in an orthopaedics in which orthotics were made to measure for people with foot problems. In 1999 I was hired as Key Account Manager in a well-known chain of safety footwear and other personal protective equipment. Among my clients I had several industries, which I visited regularly to understand the needs of workers, both in terms of protection and comfort. During these years I have consolidated my knowledge on foot problems. Furthermore, I studied carefully the products I proposed: attending courses, participating in trade fairs and, often, accepting the invitation of manufacturers to visit the factories. I was thus able to observe closely the techniques and materials used to produce the best safety shoes. Since 2015 I have been collaborating with the PPE Academy for the content of Safety Shoes Today.

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