How do your feet and back feel today? If you’ve been on your 12-hour work shift (or even longer) and you’ve been standing on your feet all day long, I’m guessing the answer to my question is probably „aarrrgghhh“! The truth of the matter is, if you work on your feet, your work shoes can be your friend or your enemy – it all comes down to the features they have and the fact whether or not they are suitable for your job. If you are on the hunt for a new pair of workwear, there are many important features I suggest you consider.
One of the most common protective features in work shoes is toe protection. The toe protector is a U shaped hard plastic or metal that is placed right over your toes in the shoe. It is placed there to serve as a barrier between your toes and any heavy objects that might happen to fall on your feet. The problem with toe protection is that as much as it can be helpful, it can also pose a problem. If you don’t get the right size of shoes, the protective casing will rub against your toes and start to hurt over time. In some designs, the protective cover is made out of multiple parts so that it can stretch and allow the toes to move around freely while still keeping them safe. However, these designs do not have the same durability as regular protective shoes and can still be uncomfortable despite this additional feature.
Some working shoes are made to be non-conductive – they are designed for workers who work in areas where the gathering of static electricity can be a problem. They are to be worn in areas where there are flammable liquids or gases around and a static spark can set everything on fire. A common misconception about non-conductive work boots is that the steel toe protection is gathering electricity. Although it is true that metal is conductive, it’s only that way when it is in contact with another piece of metal. The steel toe protector in your boots is insulated from both sides and has no contact with other metallic objects, so it can’t transfer electricity.
A metatarsal guard is a protective cover that goes over the top of your foot. It is attached at the toes and it is tied securely at the top of the laces. It is worn in order to increase the area that is protected from falls from your toes up the top of your foot, covering your metatarsal bones. These types of protective boots are required in workplaces such as in foundries, welding, air product distribution, and other heavy manufacturing facilities.
Considering that you are looking for work shoes, you are going to be spending a fair amount of your day in them. So, it is a must that they are the right fit for you and are comfortable. Before you buy work shoes, make sure you have the right size. Put on your work socks to better measure your foot. Step on a piece of paper, mark the top of your toes and the back of your heel and note how long your foot is. Also, measure the sides of your feet at their widest points to determine how wide they are. After you have marked the paper, measure both lengths and you will have your exact foot size. Wearing your work socks while taking the measurements is important as working shoes have a protective layer around the toes and rubbing your toes against it all day can cause a series of problems.
And while choosing workwear shoes with the right features is of paramount importance, getting the suitable type for each season is also important to ensure maximum comfort and protection.
Summer industrial shoes are essentially a stripped-down version of the winter models. These shoes provide a certain level of protection, but only on the parts where the foot is most exposed. The sole and the toes are protected extremely well and they can endure as much stress as the winter industrial work shoes. Some models of protective summer shoes have air holes on the sides, while others feature a mesh material to provide more flexibility and breathability. In any case, the top part and the sides are less protected. It is important to wear the right pair of protective shoes during summer as the heat can cause bacteria to develop, which eventually might result in feet infections.
Winter shoes are typically made from leather and are more protective than summer shoes. They also have a protective layer for the sole and toes and the sides of the foot are also very well protected. They have great insulation and will keep your feet warm during the cold days. However, when it comes to comfort, summer protective shoes are the obvious winner. Winter shoes need to keep you warm and protected which means they restrict your movement, the top of the shoe and the sides are barely bendable and won’t allow you to flex your foot as much as you would want. Nevertheless, as you wear them, in time, the spots that are most frequently bent will become softer and will eventually become more comfortable.