I’ve been reading a lot about steel toe work boots lately. What I found quite interesting is that choosing the right boot is almost as difficult as choosing a life partner.
In both cases, to find the best match for you, you need to look at your own lifestyle, wants and needs, and prioritize them. If this sounds a bit strange to you, read on and I promise to prove the point.
Lifestyle is probably the biggest factor, and the question really comes down to what kind of work do you do. If you think about it, our time at work, from the moment we leave the house to the moment we return, usually accounts for about half of our waking hours. Of the 17 hours a day that the average person is awake, most of us will spend around 9 hours dressed in our work clothes.
For those who work in an industrial line of work, steel toe work boots are often a requirement of the job and are therefore worn at least 9 hours a day. Those in other lines of work may only require a steel toe work boot for the odd chore around the home.
Those who want to wear work boots as a style statement don’t need a steel toe and can choose from hundreds of soft toe versions.
Now, if your need for a work boot is industry related, not only will you need the steel toe, your job will likely require you to be on your feet all day. Wearing a boot with the wrong fit could actually create a long-term crippling effect.
What does “proper fit” really represent?
- The most important thing is arch support. Without proper arch support, you are headed for fallen arches, which can be extremely painful and debilitating.
- Heel support is number two on the list. Due to the sturdy soles found in a typical work boot, walking often creates a pounding effect on the heel. Without proper heel support, you are more than likely to develop heel splints, another painful prospect.
- Next on the list is the proper width. If your boot is too narrow, it will obviously squeeze your feet. What this does is reduce the effectiveness of any built-in arch support system in the boot. A tight foot does not sit properly in the arch area and therefore does not take full advantage of arch support.
- A boot that is too wide for your feet, while comfortable when standing, will tend to get blisters when you walk.
- The weight of your steel toe work boot is listed next. If you walk all day in your boots, a heavy work boot will put more pressure on your ankles, calves, and knees. This can cause muscle cramps, tendonitis, Achilles tendon problems, and eventually knee problems as well, as you adjust your walking style to accommodate various aches and pains.
- Last but not least is the thickness or durability of the soles of steel toe work boots. The number of walks you take each day at work and the types of ground cover you walk on make a big difference in the type of sole you’ll need. The more you walk each day and the rougher the terrain, the more important it becomes to choose a thicker or highly durable boot sole. Otherwise, you’ll be replacing your boots every six months or so.
Comfort is the number one demand for any steel toe work boot, no matter the purpose. The big question is whether we should give up a bit on the comfort side to win on the durability side.
My advice is that you should never compromise on the comfort side. Keep looking until you can find all the qualities you need in your steel toe work boots and a fit that’s also comfortable.
There are literally hundreds of work boots to wear. You should start your search by writing down the most important needs that need to be met in order of priority. Then go online and find the hottest boots. Most websites will provide you with customer reviews, which is the best information in my opinion. Customers will talk about comfort, durability, any issues they’ve encountered, etc. Read these reviews and find the general theme. If the majority are strong recommendations, then you have found a winner. The not-so-strong reviews should give you precautions to keep in mind when buying.
Based on all the reading and research I’ve done, I created a website that reflects the two most popular steel toe work boots, their selling points, a collection of customer reviews from various websites, and a monthly comparison of prices for these boots from the most popular online work boot stores.
My final advice is that you should never buy a work boot because it looks good. Learn about the key factors that make a steel toe work boot right for you. Then buy them according to your complete needs. I promise you will be very happy with your choice.