I was recently contacted by the popular blogger The Bitchy Waiter. He told me that he was asked by the people at Shoes For Crews if he could recommend a blogger to do a review for them, and he thought of me (I feel so honored :)). Having owned a few pairs in the past I was definitely up for writing something, because to date they have been a favorable choice for my work shoes.
After I was contacted by the people from Shoes For Crews they asked me to select a pair of shoes from their website and they would send them to me. After an hour or so of going through the selection of footwear, I spotted a pair that were different to what I normally wear, but made me curious to see how the style would perform in the restaurant.
I chose the Men’s Evolution shoe in black, here’s a breakdown of it:
- SFC Mighty Grip slip-resistant outsole (you shouldn’t be wearing a shoe unless it has non-slip properties while working in a restaurant).
- Water resistant (a must for our industry).
- Genuine leather.
- Padded collar.
- Removable cushioned insoles (I liked the idea of these).
- Shock-absorbing outsole.
- Patent leather accents.
- Air Piston heel support (I could use the extra heel support).
- Stitch-reinforced toe.
- Enhanced heel contour for more support (I wear through the heel of my shoes before the ball of my foot, so this caught my attention).
A few days later my shoes arrive and pull them out of the box. I ordered them in size 11½, I usually find my shoe size varies between 11 and 12, so I was happy to see that they offered half sizes. I was assured that if the size was wrong I could send it back and get a new pair in the right size, no problems at all. They even sent a return service sticker so it doesn’t cost you anything if you do need to send something back for replacement.
My idea for this review, which is not just wearing them once and telling you how they looked and felt after a shift, I decided that I would write-up a 7 day review that will look at something different for each day. This is what I decided to cover in my 7 day review:
- Day 1 – Fit and comfort.
- Day 2 – Water on the floor.
- Day 3 – Grease in the kitchen.
- Day 4 – Go for a run.
- Day 5 – Working a double.
- Day 6 – Cleaning.
- Day 7 – Conclusion.
So let’s get this review on the way.
Day 1 – Fit and comfort
The day my shoes arrived I wasn’t working a shift at the restaurant, so I pulled them out of the box while I was at home on the couch. I pulled and stretched them a little, then put them on my feet. First thing that I noticed was that my toes had plenty of room (I’ve had shoes in the past where my toes were like sardines in a can), I could feel the comfort and support in the heel not only from the cushioned insoles but also the air piston section when I rocked back and forward. My ankle felt like it was getting a tight hug from grandma, but being a new pair of shoes I knew it would stretch out a little.
The size was a really good fit for me. As I mentioned before the style of this shoe isn’t something I usually go with. Where I’m working now allows these kinds of work shoes, where in some past workplaces it’s been strictly black dress shoes for me. I like that it feels and looks like a runner, but is still an appropriate shoe to work in.
Day 2 – Water on the floor
Just like throwing someone in the deep end of the pool so they can learn how to swim, I decided that after an hour of walking around in the new shoes at work I would put them through a water challenge.
NATHAN’S DISCLAIMER: Don’t do this, I did it so you wouldn’t have to, simple as that 🙂
I was going to walk into the dish pit and remove the rubber mat, but when I walked out the back the floor in front of the ice machine was wet from some fallen ice cubes. I go grab a mop and the wet floor sign for a speedy cleanup afterwards. I step in the sizable puddle of water on the tiled floor and step up and down on it a few times. I face a bench, put both of my hands on it and start pushing my feet backwards, I could feel the resistance so the non-slip part was working in action. I quickly slipped on one foot but that was because I put my weight on my hands. A quick mop up and after scuffing my feet a few more times to see how the wet shoes went on different surfaces (tile, hard wood flooring, laminate flooring) and in different areas (dining room, expo line, bar, patio, walk-in fridges) it seems clear to me that this slip-resistant technology does it’s job.
Day 3 – Grease in the kitchen
Next day I come into work early so I’m not doing these “tests” on the clock, and so no one could get mad at me (covering all bases). I made sure that the kitchen wasn’t busy when I went in and I started the same test as the water test above (facing bench, hands planted, pushing back on shoes), this time I still felt the resistance but it was slipping a bit more than when I did it in the puddle of water. This was understandable, I mean there was grease and oil on the floor and even though the shoe pushed back a bit, it is going to lose its traction. As a server though, you probably won’t find many situations where you will be behind the line, instead you’re probably going to encounter a similar floor like this in or near the dish pit.
Well in that case, why not do the same test in there? This picture is me standing in a very clean spot, but the other end of the pit had different ideas. With the combination of food, grease, water, oil and who knows what that green thing was? I do the same test with similar results to the water on the floor. I think with the amount of oil and grease that can be on a kitchen floor (with the rubber work mats removed) it would make most shoes struggle with traction. But after doing these slip tests on wet tile, the kitchen floor and the dish pit, I’m pretty happy with how these Shoes For Crews shoes are performing.
Day 4 – Go for a run
As you can see in the picture here I sacrificed fashion for the greater good. Yes, I rock ankle socks when I run… let’s not dwell on this :). I now tend to ride my bicycle, and combined with serving that is usually my “fitness regime”, but occasionally I do like to go for a run. Here’s the stats:
- I started out at 8:15am
- Surfaces I ran on were concrete, grass, dirt path, gravel path and some pot-hole ridden roads (fun to leap over)
- Dodged some puddles (wasn’t in the mood for water that day)
- Got some weird looks by some people in the park (probably the ankle socks right?)
- Arrived home at 8:56am
- Ran a total distance of 7.94kms (yes I fell short of 8kms, I was hungry)
I took my shoes off and wiggled my toes and stretched a little. Despite the fact that the shoes were dusty and looked like a mess they actually weren’t bad for the run (for a shoe that isn’t designed for running). Once again my ankle was really well supported and if I had chosen a shoe that didn’t have the air piston heel I probably wouldn’t have taken them for a run, but these did the job.
Day 5 – Working a double
So let’s fast forward to 11:15pm (went straight through). I’ve been cut, done my side duties, handed in my cash-out, signed out and it’s time to wash my face and get changed. First thing I do is kick the shoes off (sweet release) my feet feel good, my legs aren’t sore and apart from the mild aroma coming from my socks, the shoes served me well for that shift.
The picture to the right here is of the removable insoles that were in the shoe, I was just curious to check them out so I pulled them out.
Day 6 – Cleaning
I wish I had thought about doing this after I went for my run on day 4, because it would have made for a great before and after shot. With Shoes For Crews shoes they send out a little cleaning pick for the bottom of your shoes. It’s such a simple little device, but it sure does clean your shoes thoroughly. This is the pick, and a before and after shot of just a few strokes with this thing:
As for cleaning the rest of it, I just used a damp (not wet) cloth to wipe the outside of the shoes, which made it look like it’s brand new self again, simple stuff.
Day 7 – Conclusion
The men’s Evolution shoes I chose turned out to be better than I expected, I really did put them through some strenuous tests in the first week of owning them, and maybe some of the tests seemed unnecessary, but why do something only mediocre right? I would rather give you a thorough, in-depth review of something and not just say “Hey these are good, you should get yourself some”.
The last pair of Shoes For Crews shoes I owned lasted me a year and a half of many opens, closes, mids and doubles. I’m hoping that this pair will do the same. If the other shoes they currently offer are to the same standard as the one’s I’ve been wearing, then you will be getting a great pair of work shoes for a very reasonable price.
All in all if you are looking for a restaurant industry shoe, I would personally recommend considering the Shoes For Crews selection.
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