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Professional chefs and other food preparation workers typically wear clogs as part of their uniforms for both occupational safety and comfort purposes. Clogs are backless shoes without laces that are easy to slip on and off. They were traditionally made from wood; however, more modern versions are constructed from a variety of materials, such as plastic or leather.
Chef clogs are designed to provide maximum comfort and traction on kitchen floors. The tops of clogs can be made from soft, pliable materials such as leather or suede. Clogs made from plastic are designed to match foot shape. The interior sole, also known as the foot-bed, often contains materials that alleviate pressure and absorb foot impact. The soles may be covered with rubber or cork for additional padding and flexibility. The foot-bed generally features additional polyurethane cushioning and air heel cushions. The bottoms of chef clogs typically have grooves or anti-skid patterns. Some chef clogs also come equipped with heavy-duty steel toes.
According to the United States Department of Labor, chefs may regularly work 12-hour shifts. Working in a kitchen requires a chef to be on his feet for the majority of a shift. Professional clogs are specifically designed to provide foot support for long periods of time. Chef clogs are designed to prevent blisters and other foot irritation.
Clogs also protect chefs against the potential hazards of working in a kitchen. The combination of a busy work shift and lots of food and liquid can often result in spills that may not immediately get cleaned up, especially during peak service hours. Chef clogs feature anti-skid bottoms to prevent chefs from slipping and injuring themselves. The insoles often contain moisture-absorbing materials to prevent slipping due to foot perspiration. Proper foot support is also important for chefs because they may be required to lift heavy pots or containers.
Chef clogs are constructed of layers of material and completely cover the tops of feet, so they can serve as additional protection. CookingSchools101.com reports that many chefs prefer to wear clogs because they are backless and can easily be kicked off in an emergency, such as boiling water spilling onto feet. Chefs who regularly work with heavy objects or large machinery may choose clogs with steel toes for added protection.
According to the United States Department of Labor, chefs usually work in a fast-paced, high-stress work environment. During peak service hours, they may have to run or briskly walk to simultaneously perform cooking and serving tasks. Chefs wear clogs because they don’t have to worry about tripping over untied shoelaces. Since kitchens are filled with hot cooking surfaces, a simple fall could result in severe burns or other injuries.
Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.