Regardless of the sector you work in, possessing the right pair of work boots is essential both for your personal safety and efficiency. More often than not, you will realize how important they are once an accident happens, so you have to carefully assess the nature and requirements of your job and base the reasons for the purchase on these criteria. But since there are many types of boots on the market, you might wonder what factors to take into account. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to act as a guide and make your choice easier. Here is how to find the perfect pair of work boots for your job.
Check Company Policy and Asses the Workplace
The first thing you need to think about is what purpose your boots should serve. Most companies will require employees to buy work boots that meet situational PPE (personal protective equipment). Talk to your direct manager and ask them what specific criteria the work boots should respect.
As for assessing the workplace requirements and the nature of the job, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your job require climbing ladders on a regular basis?
- Do you need to drive at your job?
- Are you working on slippery surfaces?
- Does the company have any policies concerning the color of the boots?
- What are the weather conditions that you usually work under?
- Will you use the boots only for specific tasks, or are you required to wear them for the entirety of the workday?
Choose Boots with Safety Features
Whether you are working in a factory or a construction site, the environment is littered with dangerous objects that could cause an accident at any time. To counteract and prevent them, according to the PPE, safety shoes (work boots) have to be sturdy, reliable and come equipped with a number of safety features.
The first feature you should look out for are protective toes, which will prevent heavy falling objects, like tools and steel beams, from hurting your feet. Generally speaking, there are three types of protective toes on the market, each designed for certain work-related situations and environments, which all fall under ASTM standards:
- Steel toes – the most common type of protective toes. They are compact, heavy and can conduct temperature efficiently.
- Aluminum toes – these provide low to moderate protection and are perfect for tasks that require agility and flexibility, like climbing up stairs or trees.
- Composite toes – a combination between the categories above, composite toes are usually built out of plastic, Kevlar or carbon fiber. They are lighter than the steel toes, but their thickness will affect your mobility.
These are the most common types of protective toes. If you are still unsure what exactly to pick up, check this list of the best work boots, as they come with all the features presented above.
Together with protective toes, another feature that will prevent the upper foot and toe area from getting hurt are metatarsal guards. As a bonus, metatarsal guards are especially useful for welders or people who are exposed to falling hot materials, nails and other sharp objects that have the potential to cause puncture wounds. The main drawback is that they are not the best option if you are working outside on uneven terrain (like a farm) or need flexibility.
Choose the Correct Work Boot Insoles
Finally, the last feature you should focus on are the insoles. Besides keeping your feet warm and comfortable, increasing blood circulation and maintain a healthy arch posture, insoles have the potential of extending the lifespan of the boots by preventing any wear and tear caused by long days at work. Additionally, you will not have to worry too much about calluses and bruises.
Boot insoles can be found in many varieties, with each manufacturer coming with a twist on the formula. The most common type of insoles are as follows:
- Support Insoles – the best choice for work boots because they hit the sweet spot between comfort, stability, and efficiency.
- Comfort insoles – usually made out of foams and gels, they are designed to provide a maximum amount of comfort. Although they are not suitable for intense construction work, they can be used for less strenuous tasks, such as driving and carrying objects.
- Custom orthopedics – usually recommended and prescribed by podiatrists to people with chronic feet issues. If you are experiencing any major pains, consider asking your physician about them.
Picking up an appropriate pair of boots is essential if you want to work optimal conditions. Assess the workplace requirements and make sure your boots fall under PPE protocols like having safety toes and metatarsal guards. Finally, for an extra degree of comfort and stability, you could buy insoles that are specially designed for work boots.