If work boots are the foundation of your work day, then you need to be sure to get the right ones. Not only do many of them protect your feet from getting crushed, electrocuted or waterlogged, but they also ensure that the rest of your body is taken care of all day on the job.
What Kind of Work Boots Do You Need?
For those that work with or near water often, you’ll need a set of work boots that keep the water out while still protecting your feet. Water is a serious enemy to your feet and when your feet get wet and stay wet all day long you’ll be miserable. You need waterproof work boots, probably on the taller side so that the water doesn’t go over the top. You’ll also most likely want a no-slip sole on them to ensure that you’re always on stable footing.
There are several types of toe cages in work boots these days including aluminum, composite, steel, and soft. Aluminum toes are thicker but more lightweight. Composite toes are even thicker and even more lightweight, generally utilizing carbon fiber. If you work in a metal-free area, for example with a lot of electricity, these are ideal. They also don’t transfer heat or cold very well so that’s an extra layer of protection. Steel toes are old school, but they transfer heat, and could conduct electricity at times. Soft toes are for those that aren’t working on sites where their toes could be crushed on a regular basis from falling material, heavy tools or machinery.
Extra Work Boot Protection
Aside from standard options like waterproof or steel toes, work boots now offer a lot of other protections as well. Metatarsal guards cover the rest of the upper foot from crushing and other damage. Working with a lot of heat or fire? You might want to look into some Kevlar-lined boots. Others have stiffer uppers for added ankle support. New materials decrease weight, increase durability, and add other features that are beneficial to your feet.
Finding the right work boots for your situation is a simple series of steps. First, establish the environment that you will normally be working in with the work boots. This will give you an idea of your basic safety needs. Next, start looking for work boots that you like and fit well. Since your feet are at their largest later in the day, especially if you’ve spent all day on them, that’s the best time to try work boots on for fit. When you do go try work boots on, wear a set of socks representative of the socks you wear on the job.
Make sure that the work boots you’re buying have solid support for your arches, as that is another major trouble spot for those who are on their feet all day. They also need to be very comfortable. Think about all the things you will be doing in them and all the time you will be spending with them on. Comfort and fit are imperative to good foot, leg, knee and back health.
Here’s a quick run down of the major work boots brands:
Ariat, Caterpillar (made by Wolverine), Doc Martens, Keen, Red Wing, Thorogood, Timberland, and Wolverine. Some, like Ariat, cater to a particular look, or workload – in their case rodeos and ranch work. Most of the others make a wider range of work boots for various types of environments. All have excellent resources on their websites.