Home / News / The Bear Might Wear Birks, but These Are the Shoes I Swear By After Working 8 Years in a Professional Kitchen

The Bear Might Wear Birks, but These Are the Shoes I Swear By After Working 8 Years in a Professional Kitchen

Oct 01, 2023Oct 01, 2023

I think Carmy would like them, too.

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Chuck Hodes / FX

The Bear, FX's hit show about a fine-dining chef who returns home to Chicago to run his family-owned sandwich restaurant after an unexpected death, dropped its newest season last month, and, not surprisingly, I'm still thinking about the food (that omelet, though?) and the fashion. But Carmy’s kitchen shoes are the one item that still seems to grab my attention.

Carmy seamlessly makes the switch from Michelin-level chef's whites to vintage jeans and white shirts. He notably trades in his wooden clogs for the Birkenstock Tokio, a clog-style shoe that has the cork footbed people have come to know and love and has a leather upper body with a suede interior for added comfort.

But here’s the thing, I was a professional chef for eight years, and even though you might think those Birkenstocks are great, these Keen shoes are just as stylish, more comfortable, and more affordable. Pair this shoe with the equally notable blue apron, and you're ready for any kitchen.


The Keen PTC Slip-On II is a cross between a clog and utility shoe with a leather upper sourced from an environmentally preferred premium leather that offers added foot protection, making it a perfect choice for those long hours in the kitchen. The easy slip-on design makes getting in and out of these shoes a snap while keeping your feet safe and comfortable. The shoe’s footbed is removable and replaceable and is molded onto a slip-resistant outsole and features a toe bumper for added protection.

These slip-on shoes are also made with a focus on sustainability by using harvested waste products and ethically sourced materials and are free of PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals). The dirt- and water-repellent capabilities make cleaning them quick and easy by using a soft-bristled brush or hand towel. Beyond the culinary world, Keen Footwear has become synonymous with quality and comfort and are used across various professions like nursing and even movie production crews since they’re on their feet all day, too.

Keen's slip-on shoes have been my go-to since culinary school because I like the classic clog look and feel but it provides more of a shoe vibe. Also, if we’re talking about fashion in the kitchen, they look great with any chef uniform or jeans. Besides all of that, they clean up great. In fact, since they're made from leather, you can clean them with leather cleaner and black shoe polish. The cushiony insole is an excellent shock absorber, and the toe bumper has been a lifesaver a time or two when I’ve run into crates, equipment, or just dropped containers.

The kitchen can get pretty messy fast which means you're subjected to spills all day long. But I swear by these shoes no matter what the day throws at me. Grab a pair at Amazon today.

At the time of publishing, the price started at $92.