Working people, especially those involved in construction, warehouse, and even food service must be concerned with what they wear at work.
We’re not talking about high fashion concerns, since these work areas are often messy. Rather, safety and function are the first requisites of excellent workwear, especially when it comes to shoes or boots.
Protective footwear is essential when working in these scenarios, to avoid injuries and avoid contamination of other surfaces. Knowing what materials, styles, and functions are available will help you choose footwear that will serve you well in your workspace.
Read on to learn more about protective footwear.
Protective Footwear is Required by Law
The United States Department of Labor requires that employers ensure that all employees working in hazardous places are wearing protective footwear.
Some of the potential injuries that can be avoided with good footwear are:
- Falling/flying objects
- Slips, trips & falls
- Injuries due to fatigue and poor support
- Extreme Weather, such as frostbite
For these reasons, your footwear is as much part of your personal protection equipment (PPE) as safety glasses, hard hats, and other protective gear.
What to Look for in Protective Footwear
Safe footwear should have a sole that is both durable and slip-resistant. A rubber sole made of Vibram or Thermo Poly Urethane is ideal, as these materials are tough, but lightweight. A midsole made of ethylene-vinyl acetate will cushion the foot, as well as provide protection.
Like the sole, the toe of the shoe or boot matters. Steel-toe boots are an industry standard, and often make the best work boots for heavy construction work. Aluminum toes are more lightweight but are thicker than steel toes. Composite toes, which are made of carbon fiber, plastic, or Kevlar, are the thickest and do not conduct temperature the way steel toes do.
How is the shoe or boot constructed? If the boot is cemented to the sole, there will be eventual deterioration that cannot be repaired. Stitching the boot with leather to hold it together provides longer-wear.
Check Out Our Top Recommendations
For men looking for a classic work boot, the Timberland PRO Men’s 6″ Pit Boss Steel-Toe is a top pick. This boot is known for its comfort, which is not always found in a traditional steel-toe boot.
For the safety and durability of a boot in a sneaker style, look for the Keen Utility Atlanta Cool work shoe. While this shoe does have steel right at the toe, it is still light on your foot, which makes it a winner in hot climates, or if you simply don’t like the weight of a traditional boot.
Sketchers has a great steel-toe boot for women, known as the Sketchers for Work Women’s Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot. Comfort is a priority in this shoe, and there is also excellent foot support.
For working women who want to emphasize their feminine side, there is the Safety Girl GS003-Lt Pink-8M Steel Toe Work Boot, which is not only made of pink leather but provides ultimate comfort with superior durability.
Find the Perfect Footwear
Given the many types of protective footwear out there today, it is easy to find a functional work boot or shoe that offers safety, comfort, and even style. Do some research to find the work shoe that fits!
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