The 7 Best Shoes for Bartending [July-2020]
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Although it may be "five o'clock somewhere" for many happy bar patrons throughout the day and week, many bartenders can find themselves longing for the end of their shift the minute foot, leg, or back pain begins to surface.
There's no getting around the fact that bartenders have to be on their feet for many hours a day, but we also know that comfort starts with the feet, so it's essential to find yourself a great, supportive pair of shoes that will keep you safe in the workplace and comfortable until your job is done.
We looked at seven of the best shoes for bartending and found that the Skechers for Work Women's Ghenter Work Shoe met all our requirements and more! They are for anyone of any foot size, affordable, extremely comfortable and durable, and easy to wipe down after a long, sticky day.
Check out the rest of the list to find out which shoe fits your bill for work as a bartender!
Best Shoes for Bartending
Skechers for Work Women's Ghenter Bronaugh Shoe
Keen Utility Men's PTC Dress Oxford-M Industrial Shoe
Crocs Men's and Women's Bistro Clog
Dr. Scholl's Men's Harrington Work Shoe
Emeril Lagasse Men's Quarter Mesh Work Shoe
Nunn Bush Men's Sherman Work Shoe Oxford
Birkenstock Women's London
1. Skechers for Work Women's Ghenter Bronaugh Work Shoe
At the top of our list of the best shoes for bartending is this women’s work shoe by Skechers, a well-known brand for comfortable tennis shoes.
These mesh fabric shoes come in both regular and wide widths, and whole and half sizes.
They feature a rubber, slip-resistant sole to make them bar-approved, and have a memory foam insole for comfort.
They feature laces so you can get a great fit and tightness to the shoe during long days at work.
Many happy wearers of these shoes highly recommend them—they said they were broken-in and comfy right away, let them work long shifts each day pain-free, and were easy to maintain by washing periodically.
A few complained about the lack of support, specifically in the arch, and the need to add an insert for comfort and support.
With wearers claiming these to be “the best non slip shoe on the market,” it’s recommended to give these shoes a try, especially because they are affordable and backed up by the popular Skechers’ name!
2. Keen Utility Men's PTC Dress Oxford-M Industrial Shoe
Keen shoes are well-known for being durable, comfortable, and having a lot of traction, which is why it makes sense that they took those qualities and applied them to a work shoe.
The black leather uppers can be wiped clean, are water-resistant, and stain-resistant.
On the bottom is a non-marking oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole that meets or exceeds ASTM F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards.
For comfort, there’s a molded polyurethane footbed that is equipped with a memory foam insole. This can be removed to add your custom orthotic if needed. If you like to know more details reviews about memory foam shoes, read out here that foam gives extra feet support.
The reviews on these shoes are mixed. Many had issues with the quality of these shoes, saying that the soles became detached after just a few months when previous pairs had not done this.
Others have had a great experience with these shoes, calling them comfortable, supportive, stylish, and great for on or off the job.
For the price, these shoes could be a gamble since there are so many customers who have left dissatisfied after a few months of wear.
3. Crocs Men's and Women's Bistro Clog
Hate them or love them, there’s no doubt that Crocs are a favorite and affordable shoe for those in the foodservice industry.
These have a bit of a dressier look to them than the typical Croc clogs without the ventilation holes. The removal of these plus a thicker upper along the metatarsal area makes them waterproof and an excellent fit for those working in potentially wet areas.
They come in many colors and prints and whole sizes for both men and women. They feature a non-slip sole that meets all ASTM F1677-96 testing.
Reviewers had great things to say about these shoes--how comfortable they were, even for conditions like plantar fasciitis or workplaces like kitchens and bars.
They also mentioned that they were easy to clean, keep your feet dry, and keep you from slipping even on wet surfaces.
The main complaints were their looks and the lack of ventilation, which can lead to smelly, stinky feet, but also keeps your feet from getting wet.
In spite of the Crocs look, these still look like a great option when looking for the best bartending shoes. They are affordable, comfortable, supportive, and safe!
4. Dr. Scholl's Men's Harrington Work Shoe
This shoe style is a bit more dressy than others in this list, which may be the right choice depending on the atmosphere of your workplace.
They are full-grain leather with laces, a platform for absorbing shock and pressure when standing, a gel insole for comfort, and a slip-resistant outsole.
They come in whole and half sizes, along with several different widths--wearers said they could tend to run a half size big.
These shoes have been quite popular as a work shoe for many wearers, but in recent years many have noticed that the quality of the shoe has gone down.
Many had issues with the outsole separating from the rest of the shoe. The outsoles also went from high-quality Vibram brand to a lesser-quality Dr. Scholl brand.
If you need a dressier shoe for work, these could be worth a try. However, based on the many negative reviews and quality-control issues.
5. Emeril Lagasse Men's Quarter Mesh Slip-Resistant Work Shoe
Emeril is no stranger to the need for proper shoes in the kitchen, so this shoe with his design has some special features for those in the foodservice industry.
These black, nubuck, and mesh lace-ups come in whole and half sizes and two different widths.
They are treated with a water-repellant on the uppers, and they have an oil and slip-resistant sole, a memory foam insole, and special treatment for odors and bacteria.
While there are a few favorable reviews--praising things like the treads for the non-slip sole--there are quite a few who do not recommend these shoes.
Many said that the insole was very uncomfortable and wore out quickly. Others noted that the mesh materials on the uppers weren’t waterproof and resulted in damp toes during work.
You might be like more discussion about kitchen shoes to properly comfort your feet while working.
If you’re looking at other people’s experience with these shoes, the lack of waterproofing and low-quality treads are enough to make it worthwhile to look elsewhere for the best shoes for bartending.
6. Nunn Bush Men's Sherman Slip-Resistant Work Shoe Oxford
For those who work in a bar and need a genuinely dressy shoe, these oxford-style lace-up shoes from Nunn Bush could be a great fit.
The faux-leather uppers are durable and dressy looking, and they are supported by a slip-resistant, non-making, oil and abrasion-resistant outsole that’s perfect for the foodservice industry.
The laces allow for a customized fit over the padded tongue and collar.
The insole is a memory foam based insert to provide comfort throughout the workday.
Customers had mixed reviews about these, with many finding them to be a comfortable and durable option for work, and others having trouble with their durability--specifically the sole, insole, and laces’ eyelets.
Many found that the insole wore out before the rest of the shoe, but decided this was an easy fix and added a new insole.
If you’re looking for a dressier shoe that can handle slick floors with style, these could be a great option for you!
They are a bit pricier than rubber clogs, but they definitely will look great in more fancy situations without sacrificing the comfort and slip-resistance needed!
7. Birkenstock Women's London
Last, this style of shoe from Birkenstock for women combines the well-known comfort of their clogs and sandals with a back to the shoe for stability and professionalism.
These London style flats come in several materials and colors, and European sizes in both narrow and medium width.
The cork footbed is what sets all Birkenstocks apart from the competition, and these are no different.
There is a breaking-in period to be expected, and many reviewers mentioned that these felt small at first, even in comparison to other Birkenstock models, but eventually fit after 1-2 weeks of wear.
These shoes do not specifically slip or water-resistant, so depending on how wet your work situation is, these may not be the best choice, although many chefs and bartenders sing their praises.
Looking for more, you may see our guide about Birkenstocks shoes, which comes in a variety of styles and has excellent comforts.
If you’re someone who’s on your feet a lot during the day, Birkenstocks are always an excellent product to try. However, these may not be the best choice for bartenders as they aren’t made for wet and slippery work environments.
What to Look Before Buying Shoes for Bartending
When looking for the best shoes for bartending, the material of the shoe is essential and serves many roles, such as the durability and longevity of the shoe, its resistance to moisture and water, and how easy it is to clean.
Leather and faux-leather materials are popular. They are extremely durable, will mold to the foot for a more customized fit, can be wiped clean, and are often naturally water-resistant.
Leather shoes can also be a bit more expensive and dressy, so not everyone chooses them when looking for bartending shoes.
Rubber is another trendy material choice in many vocations, like the medical and food service industry.
Rubber is inexpensive, comfortable, waterproof, and easy to clean and disinfect.
Mesh is a third material that is common in athletic wear for its breathability and comfort.
For the bartending scene, the mesh may not always be completely waterproof, but it will let the foot breathe (something that doesn’t ever happen with leather and rubber) and will be soft but supportive on the sides and top of the foot.
Slip-resistant shoes are a must when looking at shoes for bartending.
Many shoes for the foodservice and medical industries pass national testing for slip resistance these shoes will be the right choice when looking for a shoe that can handle a slick bar floor.
The treads of the shoes are where the main aspect of slip-resistance is found. Shoes without treads will not be able to grip the floor and provide traction in moisture.
A shoe made for a workplace like a bar must be extremely comfortable, so looking at the shoe's flexibility is a must.
Most of the materials of shoes for bartenders are materials that provide structure while still allowing the foot to move in the ways needed--rubber, mesh, and leather are all supporting materials that can still flex.
The shoe's outsole and insole must also be flexible enough to provide support and absorb the shock that comes from walking and standing for long periods-rubber and cork outsoles and gel or memory insoles can be supportive and comfortable.
The types of features of the shoe can be customized depending on what you like!
The insole is one area that is different in every shoe. Some people prefer a built-in foam or gel insole, while others like one that is removable to provide for their custom orthotic insert.
Laces or no laces are other features that can be picked by the wearer. Laces give more of a customized fit but can get in the way of some wearers.
The durability of the shoe is directly related to the quality of the materials used to make it, especially in the sole.
A rubber sole is extremely durable and will provide a lot of comforts when walking or standing.
Leather and rubber are probably the two most durable materials for the rest of the shoe, and both are easy to keep clean.
You might be like our review about shoes for standing all day in depth.
As discussed in Materials and Durability, the uppers of the shoes are essential to consider when looking for shoes that are water resistant, easy to clean, and durable!
A leather upper will offer a measure of natural water-resistance, will last a long time, and is extremely comfortable due to the nature of leather and its molding to your foot’s shape.
Leather is not easy to sanitize and won’t perform well in extremely wet situations.
Rubber is also durable, and while it won’t have the same customized fit of broken-in leather, it will still be comfortable, able to be sanitized, and affordable to replace!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What’s the best casual shoe material for bartending?
A. If you want a shoe that can do the job for work as a bartender, that’s not too dressy, and can be replaced for cheap, a rubber or faux-leather material would work great.
They are easy to clean, durable, and comfortable. They aren’t always the most stylish, but if you’re behind the bar, no one is likely to notice your shoes.
Q. Can bartenders wear open-toed shoes?
A. Although laws about footwear in the food industry vary depending on the state, it’s not a good idea to wear open-toed shoes in a bar setting.
There’s a variety of reasons, including the danger of spilling hot liquid or oil on your foot or dropping something heavy or sharp on top of your foot.
Q. What’s the best dressy shoe material for bartending?
A. Leather or faux-leather will make the best material for a dressy bartending shoe. While many shoes meet this requirement, it’s also important to find one with the comfort and slip-resistance measures added.
Q. What makes a shoe slip-resistant?
A. A slip-resistant shoe maintains traction even in wet conditions--this is what sets a great slip-resistant shoe apart from regular sneakers or boots.
A rubber outsole is the best choice of material for a slip-resistant shoe. This material allows the outsole to grip the ground even when moisture is present.
An interlocking tread pattern that isn’t closed off to the sides of the shoe is also important--this pushes moisture away from the bottom of the shoe instead of trapping it under the shoe.
A healthy workplace starts with the workers, and a worker’s health can often be traced back to what’s going on with their feet during the day. If you’re a bartender or someone else who spends a lot of consecutive hours on their feet, the shoes you wear can determine a lot about your workday.
The most important thing is to find shoes that fit you in the most comfortable way possible--these shoes will give you the support and comfort you need to keep from having knee pain or back pain, pinched nerves, or sore feet at the end of the day.
We hope this list and the research we’ve done can help you make a quick but thought-out purchase to make sure you’re getting the support you need in your busy job!
- What Kind of Shoes do Bartenders Wear?, by sfceurope