Proper footwear plays a huge factor in your success as a waitress, but what are the best shoes for waitressing? Like anything, there is no clear-cut "best shoe" for every person and situation, but with a little perseverance, you can easily find the best shoes for you.
As any waitress knows, keeping your feet happy is directly related to your success. When your feet start to ache, the rest of your body soon follows. And then it becomes difficult to focus entirely on the job at hand, which means your serving skills begin to suffer. It's difficult for those who have never worked as a food server to understand, but the ability to provide excellent service and ring in great tips all day and night is directly related to happy your feet are.
We've all been in situations when our feet "give out." They don't' necessarily crumble under our legs, but they ache and hurt. And as a server, you are at a disadvantage right off the bat because you are on your feet all day long. There aren't many opportunities to sit down and take a load off, because if you did that you'd be cutting into your tip money, and that's no good!
(Note: I've found the biggest selection and lowest prices of proven waitress shoes at Endless.com)
What Are The Best Shoes For Your Waitress Job
Like I said earlier, there is no universal best shoes for waitressing award. Because each person is different, each foot is different and each job has unique dress code standards, it's impossible to choose one clear winner. That means you'll need to go out and find your own winner. And once you do that, your job will become so much easier! And the best part is that once you find a brand and size that fits you like a glove, you can always reorder the same pair over and over again. So really, you only need to shop and research once (provided they don't change the pattern or discontinue the line).
So what can you do to give yourself a head start while shopping? You can start by following my easy three step guide to finding the ultimate pair of waitress shoes for your body. I'll get into more detail further down this page, but here is the overview:
- Support. Your shoes must support your feet throughout the rigors of waitressing. Proper foot support will also help keep your ankles, knees hips and back in line, and less likely to become sore throughout your shift and career.
- Comfort. Staying comfortable on your feet will keep your energy levels up and your customer service skills in top form. If you're uncomfortable, your performance will suffer. And that usually means less tips.
- Dress Code Compliant. Finding a balance between comfort and support vs your company dress code isn't always easy, but most employers rarely make exceptions.
Let's address these in a little more detail, shall we?
Keeping your feet and ankles properly supported is extremely important, especially for someone like you who spends their entire working day walking and standing. There aren't many opportunities to sit down, and that puts a lot of strain on the bones, muscles and ligaments within your foot. Add in a couple of twists, the occasional quick footwork and the balancing of food and the toll on your lower body becomes enormous.
Any shoe you wear to work must be capable of supporting your foot, and it must be durable enough to support it for hours on end - and preferably without wearing out after a month or two on the job. While there is no hard-and-fast rule for judging the support capabilities of all shoes, I like to test for general toughness by bending the sole. If the sole seems solid and rigid, it will probably withstand a hard day's work over and over again. However, if the sole bends easily and - worse yet - even folds over on itself, that's not a very good sign. Leave the lightweight soles for the marathon runners (who replace their shoes after every race) and find something that's bullet proof. There really is no substitute for quality when it comes to waitressing shoes.
Along those lines, the shoe should also support your foot. The arch should line up with the natural arch in your foot, and your toes should have enough room to wiggle around. A properly-fitted shoe should be snug on your foot, but not too tight.
If you're worried about your ankles, you can always look for high top shoes or even boots. These offer more ankle support than the average low-cut shoe.
All the support in the world means jack squat if you're uncomfortable. The best shoes for waitressing offer a perfect combination of comfort and support, because they are equally important. When you're trying on shoes, make sure they fit and feel good. If something doesn't seem "right," don't tell yourself that you'll "get used to it." Because it's almost never the case. Instead, that one little oddity will compound and get worse, especially during those long double shifts, or an early morning shift following a late night.
Every foot is different, so what one person finds comfortable might not translate to your situation. The best solution is to spend some quality time trying out different pairs and walking around with them on.
TIP: When trying out a pair of shoes, always walk on concrete. The salesmen might not like it, but walking around on carpeted floors will give a "false read" in terms of comfort. You dont' want to be six hours into a 10 hour double and find out that those waitressing shoes that felt so good at the store are making your entire body ache.
Finally, make sure you know and understand your company dress code policy, especially as it relates to footwear. Most places are fairly explicit in what is allowed and what isn't, but if your policy is vague, ask a supervisor before forking over your hard earned money. The last thing you want to do is find out that your entire day spent finding the best shoes for waitressing is for not because you can't actually wear them at work.
Where To Buy Shoes For Waitressing
If you know exactly what you're looking to buy, I'd recommend buying your shoes online. You can almost always get much cheaper prices that way. For example, Endless.com (the shoe division of Amazon.com) has more shoes than I could ever imagine - and not just for working, either! You'll have to do a little browsing, but it's not hard to figure out, and the substantial price savings is almost always worth the few seconds it takes to find what you're looking for.
Not into buying online? No worries. There are so many places that sell shoes that you should have no problem finding one in your city or town. I'd start at the made-for-work shoe stores, since most discount shoe shops don't stock a wide variety of work shoes. Then I'd move on to the discount places, because sometimes you'll find a real gem at a very low price. Pay Less and Wal-Mart are two examples that come to mind.
Working as a waitress is hard enough, and improper footwear will only make it harder. But with a little determination and know-how, you should be able to personally answer the age-old question: What are the best shoes for watiressing?