Say what you want about a bartender’s social skills, ability to organize, and maintain a sound memory. Without a good pair of comfortable shoes, none of the rest matters. Your feet are an open door that leads straight to the human psyche.
If your feet are cold, everything is freezing. If your feet are hot and sweaty, you feel overly warm, icky, and wrung out. When your feet are sore, you want to go lay down somewhere and not get up for a long time.
Bartenders stay on their feet for the entirety of their shift, and if they have sore feet due to poor shoes, it’s a miserable undertaking. This is the kind of list bartenders need, perhaps more than they realize—the most comfortable shoes for bartenders.
For Bartenders in a Hurry
- Best Overall – Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX
- Best Slip-On – Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog
- Best Running Shoe – Skechers Max Cushioning Hyper Burts Synergy
- Best for Durability – Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
- Best Boot – Dr. Martens 1460
- Most Stylish – Adidas Originals NMD R1
- Best Budget – MOZO Women’s Maven Food Service Shoe
- Best Splurge – Red Wings Round Toe Lace-Up Boot
- Best Cowboy Boots – Ariat Rambler Leather Sole Western Boot
What to Look for in Bartender Shoes?
First and foremost, they have to be anti-skid. You can’t do your job as a bartender if you’re essentially snow skiing behind the bar. And make no mistake – There are wet floors behind a bar all the time.
The key is finding a pair of good anti-skid and comfortable shoes, especially with decent arch support. Shoe manufacturers love to market their anti-skid shoes or superior comfort but rarely place both in the same category where they belong.
Do I Need Specific Shoes for Bartending?
It depends on the bar owner. Some bar owners may mandate a specific shoe or a shoe that meets certain criteria. However, not all of them do. If you’re bartending for an owner that doesn’t mandate anything in particular, go for waterproof shoes, highly comfortable and ant-skid shoes.
Durability and longevity are important as well. So you definitely shouldn’t neglect those. Durability and longevity typically command a high price tag, so do the best you can if you’re on a budget. If your bar is particularly popular, you won’t be on a budget for long.
Do Bartenders Have to Wear Non-Slip Shoes?
Again, it depends on the ownership or management. Many bars will deem it necessary and mandate it for all of their employees (mostly to avoid civil liability). Smart people run those bars because they should be mandated.
It’s easy to buy a pair of high-end shoes only to realize they lack any kind of surface grip. Such mandates focus your search and help you prioritize non-slip soles. Of course, reading this article should be enough to have you thinking about your next pair.
Are Running Shoes Good for Bartending?
They certainly can be. You might wonder what running shoes have to do with bartending but shoe manufacturers aren’t stupid. People run in the rain or right after a heavy storm. They run through puddles and encounter slick surfaces all the time.
Because of that, most running shoes have decent grip. Also, they’re comfortable. You don’t sell out massive lines of various shoe models because they feel like wearing clunkers.
What Shoes are Best for Being On Your Feet All Day?
A good, all-around hiking shoe is amazing. Like running shoes, hiking shoe manufacturers take slick surfaces, such as pond rocks, into consideration. They also develop shoes with a high level of comfort and resilience to avoid blisters, sore ankle joints, and lower body muscles.
Last but not least, a good pair of hiking shoes are as close to waterproof as you can get while maintaining breathable material and extreme levels of durability and longevity.
How Do I Make My Feet Not Hurt at Work?
The most important thing you can do is buy a premium pair of shoes that are comfortable and provide good arch support. Everything after that is supplementary. No matter how good your shoes are, they could be improved by adding gel inserts.
Epsom salts foot baths are excellent for post-work relaxation, along with some stretching exercises and possibly gel socks. Take care of your feet by not ignoring them in the shower or bath. Give yourself a pedicure. It may sound ridiculous to some, but an occasional pedicure keeps your feet clean and healthy
9 Most Comfortable Shoes for Bartenders
Now that you know everything there is to know about the most comfortable shoes for bartending, how to select the best ones and how to take care of your feet, it’s time to pick out some of the best shoes on the market. This list is an excellent start.
Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX – Best Overall
Salomon knows how to manufacture an epic hiking shoe, and you can use a pair of these for hiking across the floor behind the bar all day long while feeling like you’re walking on clouds. They feature outstanding stability, excellent grip, and great arch support and are completely waterproof.
- Insole is antimicrobial
- Excellent support
- Kind of pricey
- The lacing system is questionable
Crocs Unisex Bistro Clog – Best Slip-On
Everyone is familiar with Crocs by now, and almost all of them are perfect for slip-on, casual wear. The Bistro Clog has a grippy sole, is highly comfortable, and is very breathable, thanks to the nature of its design. They’re also easy to clean, which you will find convenient as a bartender.
- Easy, slip-on design
- Very breathable
- Good comfort level
- Limited availability
- Sizes aren’t always accurate
Skechers Max Cushioning Hyper Bursts Synergy – Best Running Shoe
Like trail runners, Skechers took a whole new design approach to this shoe, and it’s enormously successful. It’s one of the most comfortable running shoes on the market today with excellent grip, a fantastic midsole, lightweight, and a long-lasting, springy feel.
- Very lightweight
- Best midsole on the market
- Springy feel
- May look strange in a bar
- Upper is overly springy
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe – Best for Durability
Yes, we included a second hiking shoe primarily because they are good. Merrell knows their hiking shoe business, and the Moab will last for years with proper upkeep. It’s also lightweight, waterproof, has a great surface grip, and has a very comfortable midsole.
- Very gippy outsole
- Excellent arch support
- Very versatile
- It’s a narrow shoe (not for wide feet)
Dr. Martens 1460 – Best Boot
Dr. Martens manufactures fantastic boots, and 1460 is no exception. It features air-padded insoles for a high degree of comfort and a grippy outsole. The shoe’s structure is designed for superior support while standing for hours, making it a must for bartenders.
- Air-padded insoles
- Oil-resistant rubber
- Superior structural support
- Shock absorbent
- Leather is stiff when new
- Only comes in narrow sizes
Adidas Originals NMD R1 – Most Stylish
It’s hard to find style and substance in a good shoe, but the NMD R1 pulls it off. This shoe should be high on your purchase list with a nice look, a cushioned heel, a high degree of responsiveness, and an excellent outsole grip. The BoostFoam midsole is also fantastic.
- Very comfortable upper
- BoostFoam midsole
- Very grippy outsole
- Just-Right Fit
- Lacing system is suspect
- Only comes in narrow sizes
MOZO Women’s Maven Food Service Shoe – Best Budget
It’s hard to find a comfy, affordable shoe that scratches all your itches. The MOZO, however, comes pretty close. The best part about this shoe is the superior grip that won’t budge over water. They are highly comfortable and well-cushioned and feature a no-lace system if you prefer to avoid laces.
- Excellent grip
- Laces aren’t necessary
- Comfortable fit
- Extra cushioning
- Don’t look terrible
- Sizes are sometimes off
- Tight upper until it’s broken in
Red Wings Round Toe Lace-Up Boot – Best Splurge
If you’re looking to spend some money but want to get some value on your return, Red Wings’ Round Toe comes with everything you need, including a customized insole. It is grippy and resistant to most liquids, has a high level of support, and is probably the longest-lasting boots on our list.
- Excellent durability
- Customized insole
- Oil-tanned leather
- Excellent resistance
- Extra sturdy and supportive
- Very pricey
- Have to be cleaned and maintained often
Ariat Rambler Leather Sole Western Boot – Best Cowboy Boot
If you need a good pair of western boots for a country bar, Ariat manufactures a ton of them. The Rambler features an ATS insole with a fantastic feel and high level of comfort and they’re surprisingly grippy for cowboy boots. It’s also considered to be one of Ariat’s most comfortable boots.
- ATS Insole
- Very supportive
- Classic stylings
- Incredibly comfortable
- A small break-in window
All Things Considered
There you have it, the nine most comfortable shoes for bartenders. Bartenders need to find the right pair of shoes. It could make the difference between a terrible night and a comfortable, fun working environment. It all starts with keeping your feet comfortable. When they’re comfy, so are you.