Working in a restaurant or other service industry job requires being on your feet all day. Slipping and falling can cause serious injury. So it’s crucial to wear shoes with good traction that won’t let you slip on wet floors.
Many people wonder if the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, with their flat rubber soles, provide enough grip and traction for restaurant work. It’s a fair question. After all, Chucks are a casual fashion sneaker not specifically designed for workplace safety.
In this handy guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about wearing Converse for work and whether they really are non-slip.
So, are Converse non slip for work and restaurants? Converse shoes lack adequate non-slip traction for workplace safety. Their smooth rubber soles are prone to slipping on wet or oily floors. For restaurants and industrial work, OSHA and employers require certified slip-resistant shoes to prevent falls and injuries. Shoe brands like Shoes for Crews, Skechers, Tredsafe, Crocs, Mozo, and Dansko offer styles with certified non-slip soles designed specifically for food service, hospitality, and other workplace environments. Converse brand shoes are casual fashion sneakers not intended for workplace use. For both slip resistance and style, try knock-off Converse brands labeled non-slip, or add your own non-slip soles.
Must Read: How to make shoes non slip for work
Table of Contents
Why Are Converse Not Slip Resistant and Can Be Unsafe for Work?
Converse sneakers, often called Chucks or Chuck Taylors, are a popular casual shoe. But when it comes to work environments, especially those with slick floors, Converse can pose safety risks. The flat rubber soles on Converse provide very little traction, making slips and falls a real hazard.
Lack of Arch Support Leads to Fatigue
One issue with Converse is the lack of arch support due to their flat design. This can cause foot and leg fatigue when standing for long periods, like during a work shift.
The thin canvas material also provides little cushioning. The combination leads many who wear Converse for work to complain of aching feet and legs after their shift.
Proper supportive footwear is important for employee comfort and stamina in jobs that require long hours on one’s feet.
Risk of Burns From Hot Liquid Spills
The canvas material of Converse provides no protection against hot liquid spills, which are a common hazard in food service.
The fabric can readily absorb and spread hot liquids against the skin, potentially causing burns.
Leather or synthetic uppers found on many work shoes are more impervious to liquid spills.
Tread Wears Down Over Time
The rubber outsoles on Converse are smooth, with little tread pattern to start with. And the tread that is there wears down quickly with use on abrasive surfaces like concrete.
So, even if new Converse provide decent traction, they become progressively more slippery as the sole tread erodes with wear.
Glazed Soles Equal Slippery Soles
The rubber composition of Converse soles also seems prone to developing a glaze or gloss with age and use. This glazing effect further reduces traction on kitchen and restaurant floors, which are often tiled, periodically wet, or have food spills.
Older Converse worn for work often have dangerously smooth soles as a result.
Lack Safety Features of Work Footwear
Shoes specially designed for kitchens and food service integrate important safety features that regular Converse lack.
These include oil-resistant soles, toe protection, and slip-resistant treads that provide traction on slippery floors, even when wet.
Converse lack these necessary features to prevent falls in hazardous work environments.
Also Read: Different type of footwear for work
High Risk of Slips and Falls
As a result of these traction and safety issues, Converse present a high risk of slips and falls for those working in kitchens or restaurants.
Numerous first-hand accounts report people sliding, slipping, or falling at work when wearing Converse style shoes on slick surfaces. Falls can lead to injuries or workers compensation claims.
Some Report Decent Traction
A few people report finding the traction of Converse decent and workable for their job. But the vast majority of feedback indicates they do not grip well, especially as they age.
So, individual experiences may vary, but overall the consensus is clear that Converse carry a high and unnecessary slip risk compared to proper work shoes.
Certain Models May Have Better Soles
There are anecdotal reports that certain Converse models like the 1970s Chuck Taylors or special Japanese imported Chucks have slightly grippier soles than regular versions.
However, no specific model has been cited as providing traction equal to true non-slip work shoes. So even these variants appear inadequate for safety in slick work environments.
Non-Slip Alternatives to Converse for Work
Converse shoes are popular for their casual and stylish look, but they may not be the best choice for work environments that require slip-resistant footwear.
Slippery floors can pose a serious risk of injury for workers in restaurants, healthcare, industrial, or other settings where spills, grease, water, or chemicals are common.
That’s why it’s important to wear shoes that have a good grip and traction on various surfaces, as well as other features that enhance comfort and durability.
Also Read: Are Vans non slip
Good Non-Slip Shoes Brands
There are many brands that specialize in making non-slip shoes for work, but some of the most reputable ones are:
- Treadsafe: This brand offers a range of slip-resistant shoes that are designed to meet the highest safety standards. They have a patented outsole technology that provides superior grip and stability on wet and oily surfaces. They also have a cushioned insole and a breathable mesh upper for comfort and ventilation. Some of their popular models include the Treadsafe Zone, the Treadsafe Sprint, and the Treadsafe Slip-On.
- Shoes for Crews: This brand has been making slip-resistant shoes since 1984, and they have a loyal customer base in various industries. They have a unique outsole pattern that channels liquids away from the foot and creates a strong contact with the floor. They also have a variety of styles and colors to suit different preferences and needs. Some of their best-selling models include the Shoes for Crews Evolution II, the Shoes for Crews Freestyle II, and the Shoes for Crews Old School Low Rider IV.
- Skechers Work: This brand is known for its comfortable and fashionable shoes, and they also have a line of work shoes that feature slip-resistant soles. They use a rubber compound that enhances traction and durability on different surfaces. They also have memory foam insoles and soft fabric linings for comfort and support. Some of their popular models include the Skechers Work Sure Track, the Skechers Work Flex Advantage, and the Skechers Work Squad SR.
- SR Max: This brand offers affordable and quality slip-resistant shoes for work. They have a proprietary outsole material that provides excellent grip and resistance to abrasion. They also have removable insoles and padded collars for comfort and fit. Some of their top-rated models include the SR Max Dover, the SR Max Rialto, and the SR Max Geneva.
Other Slip-Resistant Shoes Options
If you are looking for something different from the typical non-slip shoes, you may want to consider some of these options:
- Doc Martens: These are classic boots that have a distinctive style and durability. They have a thick rubber sole that provides good traction and cushioning on various surfaces. They also have a leather upper that resists water and stains. Some of their models have a steel toe cap for extra protection. Some of their slip-resistant models include the Doc Martens Icon 7B10, the Doc Martens 1460 SR, and the Doc Martens 2976 SR Chelsea Boot. You can read my guide on how Doc Martens are non slip to learn more.
- Clogs: These are shoes that have a closed toe and an open heel, which makes them easy to slip on and off. They have a wooden or rubber sole that provides stability and shock absorption on hard floors. They also have a leather or synthetic upper that is easy to clean and maintain. Some of them have a strap or buckle for added security. Some of their slip-resistant models include the Dansko Professional Clog, the Crocs Bistro Clog, and the Sanita Professional Clog.
- Boots: These are shoes that cover the ankle and sometimes the lower leg. They have a thick sole that provides traction and insulation on cold and rough surfaces. They also have a leather or synthetic upper that protects the foot from moisture and impact. Some of them have a lace-up or zipper closure for a snug fit. Some of their slip-resistant models include the Timberland Pro Powertrain Sport Alloy Toe EH Work Boot], the Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot, and the Wolverine Floorhand Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot.
Features to Prioritize for Non-Slip Shoes
When choosing non-slip shoes for work, you should look for some of these features that can enhance your performance and comfort:
- Oil-resistant: This means that the sole of the shoe can resist degradation from exposure to oil and grease, which can make the shoe slippery and unsafe. Oil-resistant shoes can also prevent stains and odors from oil spills.
- Non-marking: This means that the sole of the shoe does not leave any marks or scuffs on the floor, which can damage the surface or create a tripping hazard. Non-marking shoes can also keep the floor clean and tidy.
- Shock absorption: This means that the sole of the shoe can absorb some of the impact from walking or standing on hard surfaces, which can reduce stress and fatigue on your feet, legs, and back. Shock absorption shoes can also prevent injuries from falls or collisions.
- Replace shoes regularly: Replace non-slip shoes regularly, around every 2 years, as treads wear down over time. Don’t let style trump safety – choose function over fashion when it comes to work footwear
Converse Style Shoe Alternatives That Are Non Slip
For those who love the look of Converse but need better grip for work environments like restaurants or heavy industry, there are some suitable alternatives worth considering.
PF Flyers are a similar canvas sneaker to Converse, with some key differences that can make them a safer option.
PF Flyers have a thicker treaded sole that gives them much better traction than standard Chucks on wet and oily floors.
The thick sole also provides more cushioning for comfort over long hours on your feet. PF Flyers offer high top and low top styles closely mimicking the iconic Converse look.
The major downside is that PF Flyers are not oil resistant, so they may not hold up to heavy grease exposure in kitchens. But for general non slip needs, they can be a good Converse dupe.
Slip Resistant “Faux-verse”
Several brands now offer Converse knockoffs engineered specifically for restaurant and industrial work. Shoes for Crews has their “Converse-Star” line.
Converse Run Star
Converse does offer some models with enhanced traction, particularly the Converse Run Star line. These are very similar in silhouette to classic Chucks, but incorporate grooved soles and rubber lugs to improve wet/oil grip.
Reviews are mixed on their non slip abilities, with some still finding them inadequate for slick floors. But others report good traction, especially once broken in. So the Run Star is an option to test out from the original brand if you love Converses. Just be wary of super slick conditions.
Brands to Consider for Non-Slip Shoes
Here are some top rated slip resistant shoe brands to consider beyond the Converse lookalikes:
- Skechers Work
- New Balance Workplace
- Shoes for Crews
- MOZO Shoes
- Crocs Specialist
- Anywear / Harbour
Tips for Improving Traction of Converse Shoes
Converse shoes like Chuck Taylors are very popular casual shoes. But many people find they can be slippery, especially on wet floors. This can lead to falls and injuries.
Here are some tips to help make Converse less slippery.
1. Scuff Soles on Concrete
One of the quickest ways to improve grip is to manually scuff up the soles. Take the shoes outside and scrub the bottom of the soles back and forth on a concrete sidewalk or driveway.
The rough texture of the concrete will help roughen up the rubber and create mini grooves that improve traction.
Focus on scuffing the areas that make contact with the ground when walking – don’t forget the edges! Just a minute or two of scuffing can make a noticeable difference.
2. Applying Grip Tape
Another option is to apply adhesive grip tape to the soles. These are available as pre-cut strips or large sheets that can be custom cut to size.
Focus application on the key contact points of the sole. Make sure to press the tape down firmly so it adheres properly.
The texture and tread of the tape provides instant traction. It may need replacing once it starts wearing down.
3. Using Non-Slip Sprays
There are various liquid sprays designed to temporarily make shoes more non-slip. These work by leaving a grainy, friction-increasing texture on the surface after application.
Sprays need reapplying every few hours or at the start of each shift as results don’t last long. They can also wear off with use.
4. Replace Old Soles
If the soles are overly worn down with bald spots, it may be time for replacement soles. Take the shoes to a local cobbler and ask them to install new rubber soles with a lug tread pattern.
This will provide immediate improvement in traction and restore stability. Expect to pay around $40 for resoling Converse sneakers.
5. Use Shoe Covers
For occasional slippery conditions like rainy days or winter snow and ice, temporary shoe covers can be helpful. Try stretchy slip-on grips that fit over shoes with textured rubber treads on the bottom.
They easily slide on and off when needed and roll up small for storage in a bag or pocket. Use them when exercising outdoors, walking the dog, or anytime enhanced traction is desired. These reusable covers cost around $10 to $15.