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How to Find the Best Work Boots for You

October 26, 2017


Your work boots are actually sophisticated tools that must be comfortable, supportive, protective, and provide good traction.

You need footwear that meets your high standards and keeps your feet safe and comfortable so that you can focus on what is really important: putting out quality work like a boss. You should not have to think about your shoes the entire time or your orthopedic health.

With so many different styles on the market, you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for function, either. Ask your human resources manager or foreman if there are specific requirements for the safety of the footwear that you sport on your site, then follow these tips on how to choose the best work boots for your job:

Know The Toe

Craftsmen and industrial workers have to protect their feet from heavy objects falling on them at their job sites. Guard your toes by looking for boots with steel, aluminum, or composite toes. 
  1. As the heaviest and most compact inserts, steel toes are industrial icons because they can handle the most weight and are generally cheaper. However, they transfer cold and heat from outside right to your feet. These toes will never stretch, so do not purchase an uncomfortable pair thinking that you will ever be able to break them in.  
  2. Aluminum toes are thicker than steel ones, yet aluminum toes are the most lightweight. 
  3. Composite toes are normally made of fibers or plastics. These tend to be the thickest choice and have the bulkiest shape, but they are most effective at regulating temperature because they will not transfer heat or cold. These are also a great option in metal-free work environments. 

Think About Metatarsal Guards

Protect the tops of your feet from heavy falling objects by looking for boots that offer metatarsal guards. Welders will especially appreciate this added protection from falling embers and hot substances. Kevlar laces will not melt when exposed to intense heat, either.  

Read Product Descriptions

Read the descriptions. Retailers usually list boot features right on the product page or the “add to cart” page. It’s important to actually read these and decide if the materials and design works for your needs.

Consider the Outsoles

Look for durable outsoles that will keep you from slipping. Rubber outsoles resist abrasions and provide maximum traction to guard against slips on both wet and dry surfaces. Thermo Polyurethane outsoles weigh less than rubber, resist splitting, and can withstand oils and chemicals. 

Replicate Work Conditions

Bring the socks you typically wear to work with you when you go shopping to wear under the boots that you try on. Or else buy work boots and socks at the same time.

If at all possible, try to shop for your boots after work. Your feet swell during the day and will be at their largest at that time. If you buy a pair of boots that fit your feet at their largest, they will keep you comfortable on the longest days.

Don’t Stink

Anti-microbial insoles can keep your dogs from stinking and additional padding will help provide cushioning when you are standing all day. 

Find the Right Fit

The right fit is everything. There should be no pinching on the sides of your feet or around your toes. Wiggle your toes forward until they touch the inside of the front of your boot and bend your knees.

You should be able to slide one index finger between the heel of your foot and the back of your shoe, no more and no less. If your foot is swimming inside of your boot, then you could end up with blisters.

Laces should keep your foot from sliding to the front of your boot without cutting into the tops of your feet. Boots are meant to flex at the ball of your feet, not bend where your arches are.   

Be Practical

Taller boots offer more protection in the deep woods, but weigh more and are more restrictive. Shorter work boots weigh less, keep you cooler, and are easier to move around in. 

Tough, rugged boots weigh more. When balancing your needs for comfort and durability, remember that a pound on your feet is like carrying five pounds on your back.

Insulated boots are a necessity for keeping your feet warm when you are working outdoors and the temperatures drop. However, the same boots will be a sauna on your feet in the summertime. So consider weather and season when buying your work boots. 

Rotate Two Pairs

Take care of your work boots by rotating two pairs. You may be tempted to buy one pair and wear it into the ground, but alternating two pairs makes each one last longer because it provides time for moisture to dry out between wears. 

Other Features

Buy insoles with great arch support, whether you are flat-footed or not. Even pressure across your foot is the key to staying comfortable.   

Waterproof boots are always a good idea for both your comfort and your safety.  Bacteria loves moisture so working in damp or wet conditions all day is the perfect breeding ground for an infection.

Water plus friction equals broken skin, which could result in ringworm or fungus.  Check labels and product descriptions to ensure that your boots are waterproof.

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