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What 6 Qualities Should a Good Work-Safe Boot Have?

April 1, 2024
April 4, 2024
work safety boots mens

Safety equipment is a preventive measure that plays a large role in reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. While some jobs only require safety equipment while carrying out specific tasks, others require head-to-toe safety (literally). If you’re an employer in an industry like construction or manufacturing, you likely require all of your employees, both men and women, to wear work-safe boots. But how can you be sure that the boots are effective?

Not every work-safe boot that you see online or on the shelf at a store has the qualities required to keep your employees both safe and comfortable. By learning about what qualifies as a “good” work-safe boot, you can set the standard requirements for your employees’ safety gear and reduce the risk of foot injury or illness on the job.

We’ll talk about the qualities to look for in a good safety boot and the importance of requiring work-safe boots. We’ll also discuss the difference between work safety boots for men and women.

6 qualities to look for in a good work-safe boot

Shopping for the right work-safe boots can be a time-consuming process, which is why it’s not uncommon for an employee to be tempted to grab the first pair they come across. But this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, as boots can reduce the risk of injuries or illness that can interfere with an employee’s ability to work down the line.

Here are a few characteristics that qualify work-safe boots as a good option that you should encourage your employees to prioritize when they shop:

  1. Proper toe protection — It’s important that the type of protection in the boot is fitting for the environment. This typically comes down to the toe protection. Steel toe caps are ideal for preventing injuries from heavy equipment or tools that may fall out of a person’s hands, which is why they’re common for carpenters and construction workers. There are also composite toe caps, made from carbon fiber, Kevlar or plastic, that are recommended for outdoor workers, as they don’t absorb heat in the summer or cold in the winter.

  1. A good fit — While every type of footwear should be properly fitted, poorly fitting work boots can increase the risk of falling or injury. It also impacts mobility and pace. Work boots shouldn’t be too tight or loose, and they also should flex at the ball of the foot during movement to ensure that the toes aren’t confined. A good rule is to shop for work boots in the afternoon/evening after your feet have had time to relax during the day. If you shop too early, you could end up with a boot that is too tight.

  1. Effective insulation — Most standard work boots will come with insulation. Not only is it ideal for comfort while working outside during cold weather, but insulation also adds a level of protection from harsh temperatures that could lead to foot conditions that worsen in the cold, such as joint pain and plantar fasciitis. 

  1. Waterproof material — Partnered along with insulation in work boots should be waterproof material. Wearing waterproof work boots can prevent wet socks in a damp environment, which can make a shift miserable, as well as decrease moisture that can lead to bacteria growth. Waterproofing can also reduce the risk of trench foot, a condition that occurs during prolonged exposure to cold and damp conditions. 

  1. Outsole traction — In 2019, approximately 32% of nonfatal injuries that required time away from work were due to slips, trips and falls. While you can’t 100% prevent an employee from slipping in the workplace, requiring slip-resistant work boots can go a long way. The traction required to keep an employee on their feet is held in the rubber outsole of the boot.

  1. Supportive insoles — Without boot insoles that provide both comfort and support, an employee can experience pain that can interfere with their energy level and productivity. These go beyond a bit of cushioning. The insole should provide shock absorption and arch support to evenly distribute weight and reduce the stress on the bottom of the foot. Proper shock absorption and arch support also helps reduce fatigue in the ankles, knees, hips and back. Additionally, there are even boots that offer anti-fatigue insoles.

Why you should require high-quality work-safe boots for everyone

Every part of the body can be at risk during a labor-intensive job, but they don’t all receive the same amount of concern. For example, many people worry the most about hurting their hands on the job, as they’re utilized in nearly every task. But without work boots providing proper mobility and support of the feet, an employee can’t stand for extended periods or move around the workplace. 

The feet also have a high risk of injury or illness development in labor-intensive jobs. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 40,000 nonfatal workplace foot injuries across all injuries. 

The safety of your employees should always be your priority, which means you should hold safety gear to the highest standards. While your employees likely have to purchase their own work-safe boots, it’s a good idea to set parameters for the boots before allowing them to work.

High-quality work-safe boots should provide:

  • Support — To reduce instability and strain on the arch and ankle during long shifts.
  • Comfort — To prevent pain and ease the stress during long hours standing or walking.
  • Safety — To reduce the risk of injury or falling during a task.

By ensuring that your employees purchase boots that meet your requirements, you can reduce the risk of:

  • Costly workplace injuries.
  • Tasks not being completed in a timely manner.
  • Decreased morale.

A notable difference

Women should opt specifically for a women’s work boot, rather than choosing a men’s or unisex model. This helps minimize the risk of blisters, arch pain and even insufficient protection. Women’s work boots differ in size and fit in several ways, including:

  • Narrower heel.
  • Shorter length in the toe area.
  • Higher arch in the insoles.

Work-Fit can help your employees stay safe in every way, including the right work boots

There are many ways that you can increase the safety of your workplace and the well-being of your employees. One of the most essential facets of a company’s safety guidelines is the equipment and gear that an employee is required to wear throughout their workday.

Work-safe boots aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution (literally). You should make a checklist of the mandatory features that your employees’ work boots must have, such as anti-fatigue insoles and effective insulation. By prioritizing these qualities, you’re making sure that your employees’ feet are as safe, supported and comfortable as possible during their workday.

At Work-Fit, our workplace injury prevention services help you reduce the risk of employee injury — from head to toe! We focus on implementing preventive measures in every aspect, including proper gear like work-safe boots. Additionally, we can teach your employees foot fatigue prevention and self-care strategies for their best health!

Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help you develop healthier employees for a healthy business!


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