Mozo Pro Shoes

Regular shoes are for mortals. Chef shoes have to protect your ankles as they snap this way and that in the kitchen dance, buoy your body weight over marathons of inertia, and shield your flesh from bar shrapnel and scalding lard. They have to not slip. That pretty much rules out Jimmy Choos.

Even so, many a chef’s feet have climbed the expensive ladder from Crocs to Birkenstocks to Bragards in search of relief. The pursuit gets lonely. Telling the world that you sanitize your blaze-orange plastic clogs in the dishwasher is good for business if and only if you are Mario Batali.

For the rest of us kitchen rats, finding work shoes is an expensive, private, and ugly affair indeed: the kind that lights up with dollar signs if you happen to have a feel for marketing. Deckers Outdoor Corporation (the people behind Teva and UGG) is the latest shoe group to realize that along with their street cred, chefs bring feet cred.

They put together a line of shoes under the Mozo brand with some celebrity chef endorsements and, a couple of years ago, launched it like a flaming arrow at your heart.

mozo-divine

MOZO Divine

Moving Target

Five women’s and five men’s styles, all with gel insoles and skid-resistant outsoles, make up the Mozo Pro line. There are a couple of lace-up waxed canvas or leather or suede sneakers, leather clogs — the Divine, shown above, has a 3-inch heel(!) — and leather slip-ons, the men’s with swamp-venting sides and a shim thingie that allows a half-size adjustment either way. Chef Aarón Sánchez lends his persona to a red-trimmed version of the men’s slip-on called the Skull. Cause he’s that yummy.

Unsolicited online reviews tout the cushiness, give, and flex of the shoes. They weigh less than some competitors’ offerings, more than others — up to about 4 lbs. for the high-heeled clog. They wear out slower than some, faster than others. They fit better than some, etc.

Now, every product aims for that direct hit with huge fireball. In work shoes, it’s the skid-resistant sole. Problem is, there is still no verifiable apparel-industry measurement standard for skid resistance. And the reason for that is there are just too darn many kinds of slippery situation. Why?

Because no two grease spills are alike, much less restaurants, or meals, or mouthfuls. Because people differ, and that makes each of us special.

Shilling Effect

Mozo gets points for trying to understand what motivates and works for chefs. (Real pros say take the laces out of the sneakers, by the way, and alternate two pair of work shoes if you want them to wear cleaner and slower.) And there are much more tangential products that chefs like Aarón Sánchez could be endorsing (Alton Brown bow tie, anyone? Anyone at all?) But the glamor of the chef cult isn’t so easily repurposed.

The business of soul, frankly, is nobody’s business but your own.

Elaine Evans
Elaine Evans Elaine Evans is thrilled to blog for KaTom, where her work in restaurants, bars, catering, and artisanal food has caught up at last with her career in journalism and public relations writing. Connect with Elaine Evans on Google+