I have worn Birks, Dansko, crocs, and Troentorp steel-toe picassos. The birks, danskos and Picassos wil all last about them same, 3 years with some maintenance. Crocs and shoes for crews not so much, maybe a year. If you're strict about your budget I would suggest SFC. They are cofortable right out of the box and wear very well. They're definitely soft-shoe design. Crocs I don't much care for in commercial kitchens. They are comfortable but don't last long at all.
The pair of London birks I had were awesome. I had them for three years and resoled them 1 a year. AFter the 3rd year I developed a crack in the crease between the toe and top of the foot and had to retire them.
That brings me to the clogs. I prefer clogs because they truly do give your foot and back the support necessary to crush a busy day.
I had one pair of Danskos that I loved and one pair that I hate. They are the same size, make and model, but Danskos are all hand made. There was an irregularity in my last pair of Danskos that essentially crippled my left foot after 10-11 hours in the kitchen. But let me say the reason I bought the second pair was because I loved the first ones so much.
I now wear Picasso steel toes and they are everything I look for in a kitchen shoe. They feel like slippers, they have incredible support, they are very sturdy and safe, and they are durable. Worth every penny.
I love my danskos and so does my German Shepherd. I had my new pair for 3 weeks and I left them out and fell asleep. Well, she decided she would use them as a chew toy and I woke up to the sound of knawing, she had chewed almost the entire top off.
Back to the shoe preference...I can't imagine work life without my Danskos, I'm even thinking of buying a pair for non work life. Although that first month with a new pair is hell on the feet, mainly my toes and top of my feet until the leather comforms, then it's comfort for the next few years. I've tried Birki's and a lot of other types of shoes, they just made my back hurt everyday, we're all built a little different so happy searching for your perfect shoe.
I love my danskos too.. and my dog seems pretty indifferent to them.. sorry yours likes them, Deacon! Now that it's hot we're in shorts instead of kitchen pants and I decided to be stylish (why I have no idea) and wear runners instead of my clogs... well tomorrow I am back to clogs and I don't care how geeky I look.. I need the comfort thing going on..
You know what they say about big feet........ Big shoes
I have a pair of crocs & I love them. They are comfy, stay on when I run and super EASY to clean. Of course they are hideously ugly, and I wear them no ware else, but for me in the kitchen they are perfect. I got them from the Croc's outlet, cost less than $50.
The key thing to remember is that whatever brand you buy, you need to be sure and research the heck out of those shoes first. Ask others how long they last, how well they grip, do they maintain their comfort over a prolonged period of time? Consider whether, based on your experience in your kitchen, you would be better off with a steel toe shoe or alloy toe shoe? If you work in a wet environment, make sure they are verified waterproof.
In short, any of the brands mentioned (Birkenstock, Crocs, Klogs, Dansko) have good points and bad points. If you can establish what's most important to you for your specific situation, you will be much happier as a shopper.
Full disclosure: I work for SR Max Slip Resistant Shoes, so I have a bias towards our shoes. However, I also work with clients in multiple industries who have used all of these brands, so I've heard all the good and bad points about them.
The shoes you choose to wear greatly depend on what you do on an average day, and can also be greatly influenced by where you actually work.
I personally wear Crocs.
The company produces a bistro range, specifically designed for use in kitchens.
The shoes, in my opinion, are rather unattractive. On the plus side though, they are extremely comfortable, Very slip resistant (even on oily floors), and can be cleaned up in a second using nothing but bleach and water.
Working on a golf course, I walk a lot, Both within the kitchens, as well as on the grounds.
The shoes have held up well to the less than favourable conditions for a good 8 months now, and still going strong.
Also, These things are a steal at just $40.
This opinion is somewhat biased, as I have only ever had 2 other pairs of clogs prior to this;
Holeys PROtek - PROline clogs:
Dirt cheap. The reason for the low cost becomes evident in a few short months. The shoes are great! Just don't expect them to last.
Dansko Narrow pro
I loved The look and security provided by these shoes. I did however, find them uncomfortable to wear, particularly on long shifts. Also, rather costly!
SR max clogs look and sound nuts! I think i'll try em out for my next pair!
sorry, this is way too personal a post to read everyones post and relate back to it, my personal experience is ...
for years i wore SEIKA out of cannada, back in the late 90's i swore by em but i think quality has gone down, and they are like 120 for cloggs, NO thanks
i threw a pair of BIRKENSTOCKS in there but they are too loose fitting for me
then I tried DANSKO, just lace up, also no thanks, the tread pattern is REALLY thin and they wear on the balls of the foot very easily, turning them into slip and slide shoes, and i had to replace them for 120$ a pair in under 14 months.
I went to SHOES FOR CREWS after that and tried lace up with steel toe, i do not recomend because after lots of walking the steel will break through the inside of toe and rub your foot, AND while it seems like a safety thing, I personally have never SEEN nor WORKED with anyone who has broken toes or had feet injuries due to .. well .. ANYTHING. so i say no to steel toes.
I have FINALLY resolved to the 50$ pair of SHOES FOR CREWS Euro clogg, they are economical, comfy, and last me about .... ummm .. 9-14 months. my last couple jobs have been large kitchens with lots of ground to cover so they lasted ABOUT a year. i had one job thrown in there in a small kitchen as a Night line sous chef and didnt have to walk much and one pair lasted almost my entire 18 months of employment. I also like that the insoles are easily removeable and replaceable with an insole of choice. i just cant drop 120 or so on a pair of shoes that last 8-14 months.
I've found that changing my shoes mid work shift helps a lot.
Job I had that was 15 hours on my feet I wore BMX/Skater shoes (Airwalk/Vans loosely tied) and then switched to Xtratuf boots half way through shift.
I want clogs again, though. I like being able to pull my feet out of my shoes effortlessly and massaging my arches on the heels of the shoes.
Too much information, I know. </footinmouthsmiley>
Dansko Most of the time!! I have tried Birks, shoes for crews another type of birks... The only problem I have with them is, after about 5 months a crack develops on the right ball of my shoe after 5 pairs and this happening to all of them I had to think very hard before getting the next pair. I sent them back and they replaced them this one time for free. I figured I would go and try another pair, after all they were free. I think my all time favorite are the leather birks with cork sole I have had them for 4 years, the sole of the shoe has been replaced once the leather and foot bed are still in good condition, but they are red. So they are my around the house shoe for now, until I get out of the corporate black. I were dansko now but I think now having thought this out a little I'm buying some black leather birks for my next round of shoe!!