Whether you spend your days at a worksite or spend them wading through the great outdoors, one thing never changes. Most likely you are spending the majority of your time standing or walking from a place to another which means that your feet are actually the ones doing most of the work since they are carrying most of the load. Unfortunately, however, this often goes unnoticed due to the fact that footwear is a very underestimated aspect of an attire; little do we know.
Experts consistently stress on the fact that the comfort and safety of your feet are very important as you go about your day to day activities; and while safety can be guaranteed by most work boots, only the best provide comfort. Uncomfortable boots reduce productivity and may endanger the health of your feet; imagine spending all day placing a huge load on your feet without them being comfortable enough to endure. It is therefore essential that safety and comfort be considered when selecting work boots.
Selecting and acquiring the best work boots can, indeed, be a daunting task. This is because there's plenty to consider in conjunction with different needs from various professionals and industries. This article puts together 5 things to look out for when selecting your next work boots. These tips will ease your work boot shopping and ensure you get the best in terms of quality and comfort; they will help you know exactly what you want in a pair of work boots.
1. Toe Type
The first factor you need to keep in mind is what type of toe protection does the boot offer? Because people who work on construction sites or in outdoor areas are usually subject to several hazards, work boots are supposed to be able to protect their feet from sudden impacts, falling objects, and other things. Now, there are several ways to protect feet, but, here, we will be talking about toes.
There are two types of boot toes that guarantee effective protection from most types of injuries. These are the composite toe and the classic steel toe. Needless to say, steel toes are made from reinforced steel; meaning, it is a solid material which does a great job in making work boots strong, and puncture proof.
On the other hand, we have the composite toe which can be made from a variety of materials; these include plastic, reinforced rubber, and carbon fiber. You could notice that the materials used here are not as strong as the material used in making steel toes. Granted, this does affect the strength and endurance of a boot; but, that is not all. Composite toe are made with lighter materials than those having metal reinforcements which means that the boots themselves would be lighter; you would be able to move at a higher speed because of the significantly lighter boot design.
It’s all up to you. The toe types selected majorly depends on the type of work to be carried out. Are you going to be working with heavy loads and concrete slabs? Or are you a park ranger who needs speed more than protection? Steel reinforced boots are usually very handy – pun intended – in construction sites while composite toes are considered better for nature-related jobs and electrical installation jobs. After all, they do offer far better electrical resistance as compared to steel toes.
2. Outsoles and Grip provided
Just to make sure we are all familiar with what outsoles are, and their functions, the outsole is the bottom part of the boot; it is the part in contact with the ground. Primarily, it is responsible for providing the necessary grip and traction with the ground, in order to prevent slips. You should keep in mind that one slip could result in a dangerous fall and a trail of serious injuries.
There are several types of outsoles, each made of a different material than the others; all of them designed specifically to serve a specific purpose. While we can’t cover all types, we will definitely try to go over the most important ones. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong choice; the selected boot sole should, however, depend on the nature of your work and the amount of traction required.
According to www.rateworkboots.com, slip-resistant outsoles are especially essential to roofers since most roof surfaces are slanted; or covered in an unidentified material which could be slippery. Not to mention that roofers work high above the ground so, a fall would be guaranteed to do some damage.
Another common type of outsoles is the rubber outsole. Boots with rubber outsoles tend to offer the best grip regardless of the type of surface because of the nature of rubber as a material. They are therefore the best selection when working in wet, damp and oily surfaces. Most people who use rubber outsoles are people who, in their line of work, are subjected to more than one type of slippery surfaces.
Then, we have a more specialized type of outsole which is the TPU sole. Unlike rubber soles, TPU soles will suit you best if you happen to be in constant contact with chemicals. While rubber has a low melting point, thermoplastic polyurethane, also known as, TPU which is used in constructing these soles is not only chemical resistant, but also has a high melting point; it can withstand high temperatures. So, if you are, in fact, going to be working with chemicals or high temperatures, there is no need to fear. Just pick up a pair of TPU sole boots and you’ll be just fine.
3. Arch support
The human feet are naturally arched to provide us with balance and make it easier for us to move. However, with extended hours of standing, walking, or overworking our feet in general, the ligaments and tendons start getting exhausted. This is where arch support comes in.
Strong arch support in a boot ensures feet protection and comfort. This is extremely necessary if your work boots will be worn on a daily basis, or if your job requires you to carry heavy loads or put a lot of pressure on your feet. The main reason why arch support is important is that incorrect arch support is a highway that leads to foot injuries and several foot ailments; tendinitis and Metatarsalgia are only a couple among a wide array of ailments.
Pains like these can gravely impact your mobility; if you are in pain, moving would grow more and more difficult by the day. Hurting your feet means reduced productivity and increased hospital visits. So, it is better to try and avoid this whole problem by purchasing boots with good arch support.
To know whether or not a pair of work boots has good arch support, you need to try them on. Your foot should feel as if it is contained, as opposed to roaming free inside the boot. The support should feel as if it is an extension of the foot, which gives it full control.
You should expect good arch support to constantly relieve the ligaments connecting your heel and toes from the constant pressure. On the long run, arch support has been proven to have the ability to improve an individual’s posture. This will ensure reduced chances of heel pain and other ailments; it can also eliminate the need for surgeries or more expensive medical care later on in life.
4. Insulation and waterproofing
It is common knowledge that water ruins boots and shoes. In addition, the main purpose of work boots is to offer enough protection against the elements you may face on the job. This is why when buying boots, you need to make sure of two highly important things.
First, you need a pair of boots that can resist water damage, and that can prevent water from being absorbed into the fabric. Especially, if you intend to work in waterlogged environments. These boots are fitted with a waterproof membrane that is specifically designed to keep the water out of your boot, and away from your feet. In short, waterproof boots ensure comfort throughout the day in wet environments.
When it comes to temperature regulation, though, the breathable material in waterproof work boots is engineered to let moisture out, thus, cooling your feet. On the other hand, there are insulated boots. They are designed to keep the feet warm.
Insulated boots will come in handy when working in low-temperature areas. These types of boots are usually fitted with an insulating layer or a material that is designed to keep the feet warm. When the temperature drops, your feet won't freeze, which means that you will be able to carry on with your work normally. People working in areas with long winters should, therefore, choose insulated work boots.
In general, waterproof boots are probably the best option you could go with when picking out work boots; this, however, does not mean that you should always buy waterproof boots. It all depends on your line of work and the environment of your country, city, or state. If you live in an area where long hikes in the snow are a regular activity, or where it rains all the time, then it seems like you know what type of boots you need to buy.
5. Boot Materials
The fifth, and final factor you need to take into consideration when buying a pair of work boots is the material of which they are made of. Coming last, this point may seem of little importance, but, it could not be far from the truth. A boot’s foundation material is quite important since it is the main determining factor for a lot of characteristics.
For example, the materials used in the making of one boot are capable of determining the extent of durability a boot will possess. A field where boot material is considered to be especially critical to workers in the construction industry. It all goes back to the damaging effect of cement, along with other substances used in various construction processes, on some boot fabrics.
This is why a fabric’s resistance is of value. Simply put resistant fabric to ensure that these boots survive such substances; much like the thermoplastic polyurethane used in making outsoles which are both, chemical and heat resistant.
So, when making a decision as to which pair of boots you are going to buy, make sure you avoid buying low-quality boots just because they are cheaper. Instead, opt for boots that have been tested and approved for such environments.
It is highly recommended that you do so, in order to avoid frustrations associated with low endurance boots. In simple words, considering how a boot was made and the materials of which it was manufactured will definitely guarantee you that you are getting a decent bang for your buck.
Taking all of the above into consideration, it should be said that all of these points are of high importance; however, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind the most. You need to make peace with the fact that you may need to go out of your financial comfort zone. Don’t worry, you won’t be going that far; just a couple of steps.
To get a good work boot with high-quality material, as well as, decent arch support, there is no doubt that it will cost money; but, remember that it is not money wasted. The money you spend on these features is money that you spend on your health and safety. On the long term, you will technically be saving money that would have otherwise been spent on doctors, medication, and operations.
All in all, these tips described above will definitely lessen the struggle associated with buying new work boots. With these tips, you won’t find it hard to identify a good fit that will go a long way in ensuring that you are as comfortable, and as safe as possible, as you work.