Choosing the Right Workwear Safety Shoes for Your Job – 5 Pro Tips

Most people will need help in choosing the right workwear safety shoes. While you may think all shoes are designed similarly, this isn’t actually the case. There are slight differences in all types of footwear, and work safety shoes are no exception. There are slight nuances you need to look for when purchasing this type of footwear in addition to comfort and fit. After all, if your feet are sore, the rest of your body will suffer.


Choosing the Right Workwear Safety Shoes: Five Professional Tips for the Best Safety Shoes


Most people who require safety shoes are on their feet all day. Safety shoes can appear heavy and clunky to varying levels. This depends on whether you require one with just a steel toe or one with a steel toe and shank. Your job type will determine which you require.


Discover Whether You Need a Steel Toe or a Steel Shank

Steel-toed work boots will protect your foot if something heavy drops on it. It will prevent your feet from becoming crushed and/or severely injured. This is for jobs that deal with moving heavy objects.


Steel shanks in work boots and shoes are comprised of durable plastic, wood, nylon, carbon fiber, steel, or fiberglass. Fiberglass would be the most flexible with steel being the lesser flexible material.


The shank inserts above the outer sole of the shoe, or the bottom of the sole of a boot. It tends to be especially prominent in the midsection of your sole. Its purpose is to provide support between your insole and outsole. It rests below the arch and extends from the ball of the foot to the heel.


Shanks are used in boots and shoes to give extra strength, durability, and support to the footwear. The advantage is that they generate more balance and stability in your foot’s midsection and prevent excessive bilateral movements.


There are two types of shanks: soft and hard. For safety wear, you will want a hard metal or steel shank. Use boots with a steel shank if you require additional arch support, or if your foot is very flexible. It will prevent you from injuring yourself and allow you to be on your feet for longer periods without experiencing fatigue.

Find a Shoe That is Comfortable

This is the most important tip of all. Many people who spend all day on their feet suffer from pain in their legs, hips, and lower back. However, they likely never associate their discomfort with improper footwear.


Proper supporting footwear should put your body into alignment and allow you to walk straight. When your body is properly aligned, pressure is taken off supporting joints. When you wear proper safety boots with good support, you will notice a definite difference in the way you walk.


At first, your body may feel sore as it adjusts. This is normal. After a while, your body should come back into alignment, alleviating pressure on the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. You will feel less fatigued as your body no longer needs to compensate for poor positioning. This will give you more energy as you work.


Steel shanks may help. You can also look for removable insoles that offer you the most support. There are inserts that provide arch support, heel cushioning, or a ball under the metatarsals for those who have pain in the balls of their feet or heavy callouses. You can also have custom orthotics made as well.


Be Aware of What is Required to Keep You Safe

Safety shoes come in a variety of materials. For those who work in very wet conditions, you will want a waterproof boot. Keep in mind that waterproof and water-resistant are two different types of shoes.


Waterproof shoes have seams that have a sealant protecting them. This is so water is unable to seep through them. Water-resistant shoes, on the other hand, do not have reinforced seams. While they may keep you dry, there is a chance your feet will get wet.


Another helpful tip is to make sure the tongue is attached to the boot running up the insole. This will eliminate the chance of water seeping into the boots. Furthermore, if you are working in wet environments, make sure your outsoles are mostly rubber or have an anti-slip grip so that you don’t fall at work.


If you work with electrical equipment like chainsaws, or if you require protection from high levels of heat, you may want to consider a boot made from ballistic nylon. This is the most durable boot available and can easily protect your feet from all types of harm.


In terms of soles, choose anti-perforation for mechanical workshops and anti-static for places with electrostatic discharges. If you work in welding, look for fire-retardant shoes.


Chose the Correct Insulation for Your Work Environment

Do you work indoors or outdoors? If you work outside, you’ll need a shoe or boot that will keep your feet warm as well. Materials like Thinsulate will keep you warm, but always check the rating before purchasing. Make sure it covers the weather conditions to which you’ll be exposed.


Have a bit of wiggle room in the shoe, but not so much that it slips around when you wear it. A little extra space will allow air to circulate and keep you warm. Shoes that are too tight will make your feet cold because they don’t allow the natural warmth from your feet to circulate in the shoe.


Don’t Fall for Aesthetics – Be Practical

You may fall in love with the look of a runner-type safety shoe. However, if it doesn’t meet your work requirements, it’s not a practical purchase. Furthermore, if the shoe is not comfortable, you will quickly regret your decision.


When buying shoes, try them out indoors for a while to ensure they are comfortable. You shouldn’t slide in them, and they shouldn’t cause any friction. You don’t want to have blisters on your feet at the end of the day. You may think it will just take time to “break them in” but in reality, your feet will badly conform to the boot faster than the boot will conform to your foot.


Your shoes should be comfortable right away. Giving them a test run will ensure you have made the right decision.


You should also know whether you need shoes or boots. Boots tend to be necessary for outside environments or to add extra protection. You should follow the specifications outlined in the work order/footwear prescription that your company provides. Not only is it for your benefit and protection, but if the footwear you purchase doesn’t comply with safety regulations, you may be forced to buy a new pair at your own expense.


In short, your shoes should be functional rather than fashionable. If you can find a pair that is both safe and stylish, that’s great! But at the end of the day, you don’t want your feet feeling worn out and weary. It’s simply not worth it.


OSHA recommends wearing safety footwear if your workplace contains:

  • Hot or slippery surfaces
  • Molten metals that can splash onto feet
  • Sharp objects that may puncture the foot
  • Heavy objects that could crush the foot
  • Static electricity that may cause explosions
  • Electrical hazards
  • Poisonous or corrosive materials


Further guidelines can be found here.


When choosing the right workwear safety shoes, always buy from a reputable company that specializes in selling footwear. There are so many nuances involved that it will make the process seamless when you go with someone who knows what they are doing.


Remember to always go for safety and comfort over looks and buy footwear that is appropriate for your occupation. If you do this, your feet will be protected, and they will thank you at the end of the day.


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