Work Boots : Best Footwear for Your Workplace
Have you been browsing the web looking for the ideal work boots? There is a lot of footwear online labeled work boots, but are they really? If you have never had the need to buy work boots before, the number of choices can be overwhelming. However, this guide will sort out the facts.
Table of Contents
- Work Boots Guide
- Why Work Boots?
- Types of Work boots
- Common Mistakes of Choosing Work Boots
- Use of Work Boots in Different Cases
- Important Tips Related to Work Boots
- Best Brands Available In the Market
- Frequently Asked Questions
Work Boots Guide
This guide is divided into several sections for easy reference. If you’re familiar with these boots, skip to the section you’re interested in. If not, we suggest you read in chronological order, beginning with the reasons why you need work boots in the first place.
Why Work Boots?
Do you work in construction or carry heavy equipment? Or do you work with electrical circuits? Or Do you spend hours walking around on hard surfaces? If you answer yes to any of these, you need work boots as they’re built for these.
Casual boots cannot provide the kind of protection your feet needs in these environments. Work boots are more durable and have steel or composite toes to safeguard your feet in case heavy objects fall on them. In fact a lot of industries and factories require their workers to wear these work boots for protection.
Types of Work boots
- Composite Toe: These have toe caps, but they’re lighter than steel toes. These are most applicable for electricians, technicians, security guards, and anyone who has to be on their feet for long periods. Their electrical protection also means they’re safe around electricity.
- Steel Toe: Steel toe boots are capable of withstanding up to 2500 lbs. of compression. The OSHA standards also state they must be able to withstand at least 75 lbs. of direct impact. Steel toe footwear is recognizable via the Engineered Aluminum Alloy (EAA) label.
Steel toe boots are most suitable for those who work in places where there are rolling or falling objects. Look for those that conform to the ASTM F2413-05 I/75 C/75 standards.
- Alloy Toes: Alloy toes meet the OSHA standards, and they’re also slip and oil resistant. They have many of the same properties as steel toes, and a match as far as durability is concerned. However, they’re not as heavy and more comfortable to wear. Alloy toes are also effective in slippery or greasy areas. Most of them are made with fortified aluminum caps.
- Timberland Tighten: These are specially designed so they’re resistant to heat, oil and slips. These are also puncture resistant, ideal for mines.
Besides all of these types there is another type of safety shoes called "Anti-Fatigue Footwear"
There may be two more types of work boots based on weather condition.
Common Mistakes of Choosing Work Boots
The most common mistake people make is not doing enough research. Before you buy, make sure the boots are ideal for the environment you will be working in.
If you’re going to work in cold environments, don’t make the mistake of choosing regular steel toe work boots. Buy a pair that is actually suited that situation. You also have to look at the quality and durability of the boots.
Another common mistake is choosing the wrong size. If the boots are the correct size, they should fit snugly. If they don’t, look for another pair.
Lets know the 6 Common Mistakes we have to avoid when choosing new work boots.
Use of Work Boots in Different Cases
Work boots can be used in different ways and situations. While they have the same purpose, workers and professionals need to make sure they’re using the right type.
- Factory Workers and Industries: Workers wear safety toed shoes or boots to protect their feet from the heavy objects around them. These boots serve as deterrents against accidents.
- Drivers and Cyclists: Anyone who spends a lot of time driving will benefit from steel insole footwear. These boots are also perfect for those who need protection for their joints. They’re also ideal in the sense that they’re comfortable to wear.
- Workers and Personnel in the Manufacturing Sector: Work boots are crucial here because their feet are constantly exposed to sharp and heavy objects, glass, machinery, heavy cargo etc. All kinds of foot related accidents can occur, but work boots will protect you.
- Electricians: Many work boots are safe to use around electricity. They not only provide protection but are also durable and comfortable to wear. Not all work boots are designed for use in these environments however.
- Medical Use: Some work boots and shoes have metal instep, providing protection against injuries, discomfort and accidents in the workplace. Some Work boots are specialized for the patients of diabetes.
- Metatarsal Boots: These provide protection for your feet, allowing you to walk around with confidence. Apart from your toes, these Metatarsal boots are also comfortable. You will find these often in construction sites.
- Waterproof Boots: You will also find a lot of boots that have been designed for use in wet environments, as they’re waterproof.
These work boots can also be used in other professions and working environments. What they all share in common is efficiency and durability. They look like regular boots yes, but they are much more durable. They also have special features so your feet are protected in case there are drop hazards.
Important Tips Related to Work Boots
Tie Your Boots
There are many ways to tie your boots, but it’s best to go with the simplest.
- Grab the lace and insert in the eyelet.
- Start lacing your boots in a crisscross manner.
- Just insert the lace in the eyelet. Make sure you’re lacing over the tongue and that one side is inserted prior to the other.
- Once you have reached the top, tie it. Repeat the process with your other shoes.
Break in Work Boots
There are several methods you can try while wearing a new pair:
- Wear Them: Put your new boots on in the morning and just walk around in them. Remove the boots around noontime as they’ll be quite hot. Resume wearing in the afternoon. Do this for a few days and you’ll notice the difference as the boots feel more comfortable.
- Crush the Heels: If the boots are still tight, step on the boot’s heels. Or you can press the heels with your hands. Don’t worry as it won’t damage the boots, only make them softer.
- Mink Oil: Apply some mink oil around the leather. Follow the instructions on the label, but usually you have to apply the oil around the stitches and seams. Once you’ve worked the oil in, wait for 24 hours to pass before trying it.
- Keep Walking: If walling in your house doesn’t cut it, walk around town. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but your boots will loosen up.
Clean your boots first. Wipe the dirt away with a cloth and soft brush. Apply waterproofing spray following the instructions on the label.
Another option is to use dubbing wax. Put some wax on the cloth and wipe around the boots. Use only a little of the wax as it could harden your boots. Use a hair dryer to remove excess amounts. Allow dubbing wax to dry for up to an hour. Don’t use direct heat as it could damage the leather.
Repeat the process if the boots don’t become waterproof. Once you’ve waterproofed the boots, they’re good to go.
Clean your work boots after you’re done wearing them. Remove your boots and take out the lace. Wipe with a damp rag, beginning from the bottom and working your way up.
Once you’ve removed most of the dirt, there may be some stubborn grime left. Use a soft brush to remove them. If your boots are muddy, let mud dry first before removing it with a brush. For light dirt and dust, you can stomp your feet and they’ll come off.
For different reasons or problems you may have to repair your valuable pair. Some of those are-
- Damaged Soles: Damaged soles are best replaced with new ones. Take off the remaining glue and place the new glue over its place. Apply some glue, press firmly and let the glue dry.
- Peeling Leather: If peeling occurs on your steel toe boots, you should buy boot saver guards that have the same color. Take the wrapping off and place it over your boots, and your boots are as good as new.
- Stains: Wipe a damp cloth over the stains as soon as possible. If there’s discoloration on a small area, you can use a marker to cover it up.
- Electric Hazard Boot Repair: These aren’t your regular work boots and have special elements that make them resistant to electricity. It’s best to take them to a professional.
Work Boot Odor
Your boot can smell bad for different reasons like sweating in boots. Luckily, Some boots have antimicrobial properties so they shouldn’t smell at all. If your work boots don’t have this feature, there are several ways to deodorize them.
- Use Powders and Sprays: Powders and sprays are available online. These have been formulated specially for boots, so it’s the quickest, most effective solution.
- Keep your feet dry and clean: Wash your feet with antibacterial soap and water to get rid of the smell and odors that may come from it. You may also bathe your feet in Epsom salts to kill bacteria.
- Get Another Pair of Boots: give your primary work boots a day off and use another pair. This will extend their life and make them less susceptible to damage and odor.
- Proper Storage: store your boots in well ventilated areas. Avoid cold, damp places as bacteria and fungus will build up.
Remove the laces and apply soil all over the boots. Apply a liberal amount if it’s dirty. Wipe off the excess oil with a clean cloth. Let the oil dry. Here is the full details.
Durable work boots can be dried out in the sun, provided it isn’t extremely hot and it’s durable leather. Electric fans work fine too.
Best Brands Available In the Market
Here are the short list of best brands of work boots currently available in the market.
- Timberland: These boots are available in different sizes, and they’re all built according to the high standards the company is known for. Their work boots have steel toes and antimicrobial covers to prevent odor buildup. When it comes to boots, Timberland is a reliable name.
- Danner: Danner makes high quality work boots with imported materials. Their work boots are water resistant and resistant to slipping. This makes them ideal for diverse working conditions. When it comes to performance, these boots are hard to beat.
- Ariat: Ariat is known for their high quality footwear, combining style and functionality. The outside are non-tracking, easy to clean and have full grain uppers. Their boots also have moisture wicking for convenience.
- Thorogood: Thorogood work boots are made of fine leather and have superior Goodyear welt construction. Through the years, their work boots have become known for comfort, durability and cushion.
- Carolina: the brand is sought for their waterproof and durable work boots, as they’re suited for different designs. Carolina makes various kinds of work boots, and most have steel shanks and have electrical hazard ratings.
- Justin: Since 1879, Justin has been making top of the line work boots, and today they’re still going strong. Their work boots are built out of fine leather, and they combine classic western aesthetics with durability.
- Dickies: Their boots have full grain leather and Goodyear welt construction. In addition, their boots’ fabric absorbs moisture so your feet are kept dry. As you might expect, their boots are available in different colors and styles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do work boots protect me?
Answer: Work boots are made of strong material and have steel toes to absorb the impact of heavy objects.
Question: What is the right work boot for me?
Answer: You can identify the right work boots by their design, i.e. for electrical hazard, with insulation, hard surfaces, etc.
Question: How do I find the right fit?
Answer: There are no standard sizes for boots. You have to follow the measurements in the brand you chose and try them out.
Question: What if I am a half size and the work boot doesn’t offer that?
Answer: If you’re a half size, go for the next biggest size.
Question: What is Goodyear welt?
Answer: Work boots with Goodyear welt has the outsole sewn along the upper.
Question: What is the metal shank?
Answer: It is a strip used to fortify work boots. Sizes range from ¾ to full (heel to toe).
This guide has shown how important it is to have a good pair of work boots. There are a lot of options to choose from, and it is easy to see why people get confused. With this guide, you can pick the right pair so your feet are fully protected.