I have been doing a lot of reading about steel toe work boots of late. What I have found to be 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 yourself, you need to be analyzing your own life style, your wants and needs, and prioritizing them. If this sounds a little bizarre 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 type of work you do. If you think about it, our time at work, from the time we leave home until the time we return, makes up usually about half of our waking hours. Of the 17 hours a day that the average person is up and about, most of us will spend about 9 hours dressed in our work clothes.
For those that 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 that want to wear work boots as a style statement, have no need for a steel toe and can chose from the hundreds of soft toe versions.
Now, if your need for a work boot is industrial related, not only will you need the steel toe, but chances are that your job will require you to be on your feet all day long. Wearing a boot with an improper fit could actually create a crippling effect over the long term.
What does “proper fit” actually represent?
- Most important is arch support. Without proper arch support you are headed towards fallen arches, which can be extremely painful and debilitating.
- Heel support is number two on the list. Because of the sturdy soles found on a typical work boot, walking usually creates a pounding effect on the heel. Without proper heel support it is more than likely that you would develop heel splints, another painful prospect.
- Next on the list is proper width. If your boot is too narrow, it will obviously squeeze your feet. What this does is to reduce the effectiveness of any built in arch support system in the boot. A squeezed foot doesn’t sit properly in the arch area and therefore doesn’t take full advantage of the arch support.
- A boot that is too wide for your feet, although comfortable when standing still, will tend to give you blisters as you walk about.
- The weight of your steel toe work boot comes next on the list. If you are walking all day in your boots, a heavier work boot will put more strain on your ankles, calves and knees. This can cause muscle cramps, tendonitis, problems with your achilles and eventually knee problems as well, as you adjust your walking style to accommodate the various aches and pains.
- Last, but not least is the thickness or durability of the soles on your steel toe work boots. The amount of walking you do each day on the job, and the types of ground cover that you walk on, makes a huge difference on the type of sole you will need. The more you walk each day and the rougher the terrain, the more important a thicker or highly durable boot sole is to your choice. Otherwise you will be replacing your boots every six months or so.
Comfort is the number one demand for any steel toe work boot, no matter what the purpose. The big question becomes whether we should give a little on the comfort side in order to gain on the durability side?
My advice is that you should never yield on the comfort side. Keep searching until you can find all the qualities that you need in your steel toe work boots and a fit that is comfortable as well.
Their are literally hundreds of work boots to chose from. You should start your search by writing down the most important needs that must be accommodated in priority order. Then go online and find the most popular boots. Most websites will provide you with customer reviews, which in my opinion is the best information. Customers will talk about comfort, durability, any issues they found, and so on. Read through these reviews and find the general theme. If most are strong recommendations, then you have found a winner. The not so strong reviews should provide you with cautions that you would need to address when purchasing.
Based on all the reading and research that I have done, I created a website that reflects the top two most popular steel toe work boots, their selling features, a collection of customer reviews from multiple websites, and a monthly price comparison 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. Educate yourself on the key factors that make a steel toe work boot the right one for you. Then buy them based on you complete needs. I promise you that you will be much happier with your choice.