Buying New Work Boots For Tradies
Think long shifts are hard? Try doing it in unsupportive work boots that aren’t the right fit for your feet! With Tradie Health Month in full swing and with us already sharing about why your legs ache and why you’re getting corns, calluses and cracked heels, we thought we’d guide you through buying the right work boots for your feet.
But first… My boots are on the approved list for work - does this apply to me?
Absolutely. Just because your shoes have the right features to meet workplace health and safety requirements, doesn’t mean that they meet your leg, foot and ankle safety requirements. Sizing is also a key factor too - and we don’t just mean length. So whether you’re young or old, know that you have great shoes or know that they’re terrible, this is for you.
1. Know Your Environment
- Do you constantly walk over unstable surfaces? Try a work boot that sits higher up above the ankle for added stability.
- Need something lightweight but stable for more slippery surfaces? Start with polyurethane (PU).
- Working out in the yards? Opt for a rubber sole.
- Work in wet environments? Look at waterproof options.
- Work in hot temperatures where your feet may swell? Consider this when deciding on the best sizing - allowing room for expansion throughout the day.
2. Know Your Body
Do you have a previous injury you’re still mindful of today? Are you getting niggles or pains? Do you need specific support from your boots? These are all important questions, as the right boot needs to meet the individual demands of your body.
- Do your feet tired and ache often? Try a lightweight boot with a composite cap instead, these provide the same high level of safety protection but weigh less, and as an added bonus, they don't beep going through airport security checks!
- Have you developed a bunion and now require extra width at the forefoot? Ask your boot supplier if there are different widths available.
- Do your feet lack some shock absorption properties that your new boots could help with? Try a boot with extra cushioning in the sole.
3. Always Choose Work Boots With A Removable Liner
There are far more benefits to removable liners than just the option to wear orthotics. Removable liners make it easy to clean and air your boots - a biggie when you remember that toenail fungus and athletes foot fungus thrive in warm, moist environments - like inside work boots. A removable liner and a deeper heel cup give you the option of adding padding to your boots without compromising the fit and comfort.
Of course, there is the benefit of easy fitting of your orthotics, too. Don’t wear orthotics? You may do so in the future - and you wouldn’t want to fork out another couple of hundred dollars when that time comes.
Ps. Need a solution for your fungal nail infection? Click here.
4. The Right Fit Is Always Key
Sure, you can have the best, gold-plated (not podiatrist recommended) and most expensive shoe in the world. But. If your long third toe is buttressing against the end of the shoe, the midfoot feels cramped, or you can already feel some obvious rubbing against the ankle, then you’re in for a painful and bumpy (literally) ride.
When selecting a new work boot, always check:
- The correct length for the longest toe
- The right width for your foot
- No areas of pressure or rubbing
- No constriction or impingement
- No burning feelings
- That walking is comfortable (don’t just hope that you will wear them in)
5. Work Boot Features
This isn’t a ‘get as many as you can’ list - it’s about the features that are of use and benefit to you, your feet, and your working conditions. When looking at workboots, we recommend that you think about:
- Their water resistance
- Their insulation
- The toe cap (if any) and its material and weight
- Slip resistance
- Oil resistance (this may affect how quickly they break down over time)
- Their lacing and how far up the ankle it goes (the more lacing, the more stability, generally)
- The stability around the ankle
- The cushioning beneath the foot
- If they have a removable liner
- Your comfort! (prior to “breaking them in”)
- Their size (leave a little room - thumbs width in front of the toe)
6. Brands to consider
With everything that we have just shared, we aren’t going to go ahead and say “this is the best one”. But we can suggest some brands for you to try on in-store. Always try on your boots in-store as opposed to buying them online if you’ve never tried them!
- Steel Blue
And If You Start Feeling Any Foot Or Leg Pain…
See your Podiatrist before it becomes worse. If you’re shopping for work boots, then there is a good chance that you’re spending a lot of time on your feet every day. This puts you at greater risk of your niggle or small pain turning into something worse - and with a much longer recovery time.