One of the most common concerns with construction workers wearing steel toe boots is that the shoes are uncomfortable, especially when they have to be on their feet the entire day.
While the shoes are tough, they don’t need to be uncomfortable.
To help you out, here are some of the tips you can use to make steel toe boots more comfortable the entire working day:
Buy a fitting work boot
This is the first step as there is no way you can be comfortable when you wear a work boot of the wrong size. You should avoid steel toe work boots that are too narrow as they will be uncomfortable.
At the same time, you should avoid huge boots as they will trigger too many movements resulting in hot spots and blisters.
When making the purchase remember that the steel toe boots have a thick steel toe cap and steel shank that is puncture resistant at the bottom.
This means that when you order boots at your regular measurements, you will end up with safety shoes that are too short or too narrow.
To avoid this, order boots that are a little bit larger than the ones you regularly wear. If buying the work shoes at a physical store, ensure that you try and walk in them in the store.
If you notice any issue, don’t buy the boots as they will be problematic later on.
When it comes to length, go for full size higher boots as they will prevent your feet from being crammed or rubbed the wrong way.
Break in the steel toe boots
The reason why your shoes are uncomfortable at the job site is that you haven’t broken them in. Most workers make the mistake of buying the shoes and wearing them straight to work. This is wrong!
Before you wear the boots the entire day, wear them a few more times at home. You should start by wearing them a few minutes to an hour every day so that they can get used to the stretch.
Your feet also get used to the material used in making the footwear.
Ways of breaking in the work boots
There are many ways that you can use to break in the shoes. Some of these ways include:
Coldwater treatment: As you might have guessed, you need cold water to do it. You should pour cold water into a Ziploc bag and seal it. You should then place the bag inside the boots and place them in the freezer overnight.
The water will turn to ice, expand, and stretch the boot. In the morning, you should remove the boot from the freezer and allow the ice to melt before you remove it.
The stick method: To stretch the boot using this method, you need to insert a broom or mop stick into the work boot. You should point the stick towards the area where the boot pinches.
You should then firmly bend the boot over the stick so that the leather stretches at the affected area. To tell whether the boot has been stretched, you should see a slight outward discolouration. When bending the boot, avoid overdoing it as you risk tearing the safety shoe.
The oil method: The oily process requires you to use Mink oil or any other leather conditioner to coat the outside of the work boot.
You should focus on the pinching area. After applying the oil, leave the boot overnight. The oil works by softening the boot; thus, you have a comfortable shoe to wear.
Hot water method: This method is common in the military. To break in your shoe, you need to immerse the work boot into a bucket of warm water and let it sit there for about 30 minutes. Once the shoe has been saturated, get rid of the excess water, and wear the boots for about an hour.
To give the shoe the full stretch, you should wear the boot with socks. Remember to waterproof the work boots to protect them from getting damaged. You can also buy waterproof work boots.
Tips to consider when breaking into the work boots
- To have an easy time breaking in the shoes, you should buy fitting shoes. Refer to the above tips to buy the right units.
- You should always buy the boots a week or so before you need them. This is to give you enough time to break them in.
- If you are suffering from feet problems such as long nails, ingrown toenails, or other issues, you should avoid breaking the boots as you risk hurting yourself.
- While the above work boot break-in methods give you results in one day, you should aim at gradually breaking in the shoes (you should do it for at least a week). This way, you don’t risk damaging the shoes. As a rule of thumb, you should never heat your boots directly—they can catch fire, for heaven’s sake!
Wear steel toe socks
Due to the steel cap at the toe area, many workers complain that they are uncomfortable when working. If you are having some pain, you should consider investing in good quality steel toe socks.
These are units that feature extra padding in the toe area, thus providing you with enough cushion that ensures that you are comfortable the entire day.
Thick socks prevent your feet from contacting the boots; thus, you don’t have to worry about blisters. There are plenty of these socks on the market that you can go for.
Since the boots have a sturdy bottom, the regular insoles that they come with can sometimes be too small; thus making you uncomfortable. If the current boots are uncomfortable to wear, consider installing premium steel toe insoles.
All you need to do is head to your local store and make the purchase. For ideal results, ensure that the new units have excellent arch support. Insoles with perfect backing even out the pressure in your foot, eliminating any form of pain that you might be experiencing.
Take good care of the safety boot.
There is no way you will be comfortable if your work boot is improperly maintained. To be comfortable when wearing work shoe, take good care of it.
One of the things you should do is to clean the steel-toed boots regularly. You should make it a habit to remove any mud on the shoes as soon as you are from work. If you are working in a salty area, use mild water and vinegar to get rid of the corrosive salt.
Another thing you should do is to condition the boots. In addition to the conditioner maintaining the elegant look of the work boots, it also ensures that the leather lasts for a long time.
The cool thing is that there are many conditioners on the market that you can go for. You only need to choose the one that is ideal for your boots.
Apply a bandage
If you are wearing the socks and you are still feeling some pain when you wear the work boots, you should consider wrapping a bandage around your foot. The bandage functions as an additional cushion; thus, you are comfortable when working.
As you can see, there is no reason to be uncomfortable when wearing steel toe work boots. In addition to the above tips, also consider rotating your safety shoes.
This calls for you to avoid wearing the same work shoe over and over. You should have two or more pairs that you alternate. This way, you not only look good and comfortable, but you also ensure that the work boot lasts for a long time.