Finding The Best Waitress Shoes
As any waitress already knows, good footwear is paramount to successful waitressing; that's why it's so important to wear the best waitress shoes you can find. Not only will your feet thank you at the end of a long day, but your bank account will, too. Because as we all know, the more comfortable you stay during a long shift, the more happy and helpful you will be with your customers, and that usually means bigger tips.
It might sound crazy to the uninitiated to think that good shoes can actually lead to more money, but ask any server who has worked a double shift the morning after closing out a double shift the night before, and you'll see what I mean. There is no doubt that proper footwear plays a very important role in any waitress's success.
(Note: I've found the biggest selection and lowest prices of proven waitress shoes at Endless.com)
So what makes good shoes for waitressing? It's actually a combination of three very important factors: Comfort, Support and Dress Code. It might take some searching, but once you find a shoe that meets all three criteria, you're golden. Let's break these down into a little more detail:
Choosing Good Waitress Shoes: Know Your Dress Code
I would highly encourage you to consider this your "first step," since your employer will quickly put the stops on anything that doesn't conform to company policy. Once you know what will meet your dress code standards, you can begin actually looking and trying on shoes - but doing this in the reverse order doesn't make any sense. There's no point in finding a great pair, only to realize that it doesn't meet standards. I'd much rather narrow my search down from the beginning, and I'd recommend that you do as well - it will save you time and frustration in the end.
Of course that means you'll need to know and understand your company dress code. Most companies spell this out in an employee handbook, so if you have one, spend a couple of minutes reading through it. If you don't have a handbook, or if it's too vague, it would be a good idea to ask your supervisor for clarification. He or she should be able to help.
Choosing Good Waitress Shoes: Support Your Feet
There's a reason why professional athletes wear athletic shoes. And there's a reason why construction workers wear solid boots. And there's a reason why hikers wear hiking boots. And that reason is: Support. Keeping your feet properly supported isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. Your feet must support the entire weight of your body and the various movements of day-to-day working. That's no easy feat (no pun intended!).
When choosing the best waitress shoes for you, support must play a big role in your decision. While it's not foolproof, an easy way to test for support is to feel the sole. Is it solid? Is it so flimsy that you can nearly fold it in half? How about the overall construction? Is the material and construction solid? How about walking around in them. Are your arches supported? Do you feel stable while walking and making cuts?
Choosing Good Footwear For Waitressing: Comfort Is King
What's the point in a supportive shoe if it's not comfortable? Or worse, it actually hurts your feet? If you try something on that isn't comfortable right off the bat, it's only going to get worse when you're actually working. And if it makes your feet hurt, it's only a matter of time before it starts making your ankles, knees, hips and back hurt, too - they're all related to one another. It's crazy to think that footwear can play such a pivotal role, huh?
When you're slammed with multiple tables, and you've already spent ten hours working, comfort isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. And the best shoes for waitressing are those that are capable of keeping your feet - and your mind - happy. Once you become uncomfortable, keeping that excellent level of customer service up becomes very, very difficult. See how the domino effect is happening here?
Where To Buy Waitress Shoes
You've got several options. Most cities have specialty "work shoe" stores that carry these kinds of items, though they can get awful pricey (but many people swear by them, so it's worth considering). If you can get away with wearing athletic shoes, your local shoe store should have plenty of options. And if you're on a budget, and who isn't, then you can start at thrifty places such as Wal-Mart or Pay Less.
Or you could order them online. You can almost always get better prices through the Internet than you will at a local store. But I would highly caution you to make sure you know what you're buying before placing an order. I like to find a pair I like at a local store, then make a note of the brand, style and size, and then place my order online. Just make sure you don't tell the sales person what your plans are, because they might not be very sympathetic to your plan, and who could blame them? Who wants to put in all the work only to have somebody buy from somewhere else.
Amazon almost always has the best prices of any online retailer. They even have an entire shoe department called Endless.com that features more pairs of shoes than Imelda Marcos could imagine. There's a good chance you'll find what you're looking for there, and they've got plenty of reviews on almost everything, which is a very nice feature.
If you're couragous, you could try a few other online retailers, but I've always had good luck with Amazon/Endless and have never had any reason to go anywhere else.
Keeping your feet happy is the number one priority in the food service industry, and if you've been waitressing for long, I'm sure you'd agree with me on that one! And with a little effort, you can find the best waitress shoes for your feet and job.