Last Updated: February 17, 2022

Croc Bistro vs Specialist: A Detailed Comparison


Croc Bistro

  • Main Function: Culinary (but also multi-purpose)
  • Vent: None
  • Support: Contoured footbed
  • Protection: Large metatarsal area to protect top of foot and extra protection at toes
  • Ankle Shaft: 1 inch for better ankle movement
  • Feature: Crocs-Lock™ slip-resistant treads
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Croc Specialist

  • Main Function: Multi-purpose
  • Vent:: Side Ventilation
  • Support: Supportive arch and tiny footbed nubs
  • Protection: Large metatarsal area to protect top of foot
  • Ankle Shaft: 1.5 inches to pass closed heel work requirements
  • Feature: Croslite™ footbed
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Crocs has been making their iconic shoes since 2002. While its designs have been a subject of heated fashion debate for years, one can’t deny how comfortable these pairs are. There are hundreds of designs to choose from as the brand has somehow followed the latest fashion trends. However, fans have remained loyal to the classics: Bistro and Specialist.

While Crocs hasn’t earned street cred in terms of style, the Bistro and Specialist remain at the top for professionals. Crocs’ trademark comfort is not only a convenience. For professionals who are constantly on their feet, it’s a lifesaver. If you look closely, you’ll find Crocs Bistros and Specialists in hospitals worn by nurses or kitchens worn by chefs.

In fact, Crocs rose to fame when renowned chef Mario Batali was seen wearing the Bistros. In 2013, he ordered 200 pairs of orange Bistros because the color was being discontinued. He also had his own Bistro Mario Batali Vent Clog launched in 2007.

So the question is, what’s the difference? To the untrained eye, the Bistro and Specialist look practically the same. It makes sense since these pairs weren’t created for stylish reasons. If you’re looking to get your most comfortable pair of shoes ever, here’s what you need to know.

Bistro vs. Specialist: The Main Difference

While Bistro and Specialist have a lot in common, the main difference is how each design supports the feet.


The Bistro is made with a lot of movement in mind. It has a lower ankle height which gives more room for ankle movement. Its molded footbed provides everyday comfort, but the biggest advantage it has is its anti-skid sole. For those who are constantly running around, this is a lifesaver, sometimes literally.

The Bistro is a favorite among chefs and nurses that are always at risk of skidding on linoleum and kitchen floors. It’s also a good choice for the winter months because the anti-skid sole still provides enough traction to walk on snow.


The Specialist is modified for work environments that require closed shoes. The ankle height is higher but can also be a little more restrictive in terms of ankle movement. A favorite feature is the inset side vents. Crocs materials can end up being hot, and sweaty feet can take a breather through the vents. The inset design also helps prevent spillage from entering the shoe.

This is a great option if you don’t need to move around too much. The tiny footbed nubs feel like a mini massage for your feet the whole day. Unfortunately, the sole is not completely skid-proof. While it naturally creates traction due to its material, it has no extra feature to ensure you don’t accidentally slip.

Croc Specialist

Bistro vs. Specialist: The Similarities

The devil is in the details when it comes to these pairs of Crocs. Before we go into what makes each design work better over the other, the Bistro and the Specialist are built with solid Crocs innovation and technology.

Made for work

Crocs are made especially for healthcare, hospitality, and culinary professionals. These people are on their feet the whole day. Some need to stand still for at least 8 hours a day, while others are constantly on the move.

These movements require different kinds of support, but Crocs puts comfort first and foremost. The Croslite foam cushion is soft and fully molded making it comfortable but sturdy and supportive at the same time.

The Bistro and the Specialist are also some of Crocs’ roomiest styles. There is plenty of room for your feet to move and expand throughout the day.

Low Maintenance

Crocs are odor-resistant and easy to clean. Most dirt can just be wiped off with a wet cloth or can be washed away with soap and water. The point is for the shoes to be the least of your worries when it comes to working.


The Bistro and the Specialist are very lightweight and soft, but that doesn’t demean the protection they can provide. This molded foam is sturdy and stable. They’re also formed to provide extra protection for the top of your feet. You can drop as many trays on your feet as you can and you will hardly feel anything.

Croc Specialist

The Verdict

There is no clear winner between the Bistro vs. Specialist debate. It falls solely on what you will use the shoes for and what feels comfortable for you.

If you need a lot of movement, go for the Bistro. It gives more room for your feet to move, plus the anti-skid feature is a must.

Crocs unisex adult Bistro Clog, White, 8 Women 6 Men US
50,733 Reviews
Crocs unisex adult Bistro Clog, White, 8 Women 6 Men US
  • CROCS AT WORK: Clogs designed with food service, hospitality, and healthcare workers in mind, making great Nursing Shoes or Chef Shoes. They’re light and supportive enough to get you through even the longest shifts
  • EASY TO CLEAN & SLIP RESISTANT: Crocs Bistro clogs are easy to clean by just using soap and water and allowing for a quick dry. Crocs Lock slip-resistant treads come together to serve up the best non-slip shoes for women and men

If you need all-day comfort, go for the Specialist. The footbed nubs help keep the blood circulation going even if you’re standing still the whole time. The side vents also keep feet from getting too sweaty.

Crocs Unisex Specialist Vent Clog, Black, 10 US Men / 12 US Women
3,710 Reviews
Crocs Unisex Specialist Vent Clog, Black, 10 US Men / 12 US Women
  • Classic clog with grippy outsole and massaging footbed
Croc Specialist