Nobody wants to get injured on the job—and a foot injury can be one of the most bothersome afflictions to deal with. It can slow you down tremendously, impede your productivity, and cause copious amounts of pain and frustration. But what if it could’ve all been avoided?
Introducing steel toe boots: the original safety footwear
Steel toe boots offer a variety of protections and benefits that normal footwear just can’t compete with. There’s truly no better way to keep your feet out of harm’s way—especially when it comes to high-risk occupations.
FitMyFoot strives towards helping you keep your feet healthy and protected. That’s why we’ve put together this article exploring the numerous benefits of steel toe boots and the basis of why they could be vital to your profession.
Why should you wear steel toe boots?
There are many reasons why steel toe boots are a must-have in hazardous working environments. They help prevent a wide range of injuries—and not just from falling tools. With that said, here are some of the protections steel toe boots provide.
The 5 P’s of steel toe boots:
1. Protection from falling objects
2. Protection from punctures or cutting hazards
3. Protection from electrical hazards
4. Prevention against slipping, tripping or falling
5. Protection from extreme weather
Unfortunately, dangerous working conditions are sometimes unavoidable even when safety is of the utmost importance. That’s why it’s crucial to know exactly when steel toe boots are required.
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Are steel toe boots required where you work?
Certain workplaces require steel toe boots as per OSHA regulations. According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), employees are required to wear protective footwear if they work in an area where there’s danger of the following:
- Rolling objects
- Falling objects
- Objects that can pierce the sole of footwear
- Electrical hazards from static discharge
- Electrical shock
What jobs require steel toe boots?
1. Construction—People who work on construction sites are at risk of injury from falling objects that can be very heavy or sharp, as well as countless other sudden, unpredictable dangers.
2. Farming—Farms require a variety of different types of equipment and vehicles which can pose risks and cause injuries. To minimize risks, puncture-proof boots are essential.
3. Fishing—Professional fishing ships can see some extremely dangerous circumstances, and many fishermen suffer injuries as a result. Fishermen need to wear boots that can safeguard their feet from a number of dangers, including punctures from equipment that gets loose on deck.
4. Disaster Relief—For those who jump into action when earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters occur, steel toe boots are crucial. Disaster debris can be sharp, rusted, and dangerous, so it’s important to keep your feet protected.
There are plenty of occupations where steel toe boots are a requisite, and these four categories are no exception. The extra defense they provide for your feet is unparalleled—however even so, certain uninformed people may tell you otherwise...
The shocking myth about steel toe boots:
Even though the importance of steel toe boots cannot be highlighted enough, there’s still one common misconception about them: can they amputate your toes?
This terrifying issue was actually tested on episode #42 of the MythBusters TV show. The implications of the myth were if something heavy enough fell on your steel toe boot, the steel could curl in and cut off your toes. Ouch... But guess what? This myth was BUSTED. Steel toe boots can withstand a tremendous amount of weight, so don’t worry—there’s virtually no risk of having your toes chopped off.
How much weight can they withstand?
Usually a steel toe boot has an ASTM 75 pound-foot compression resistance rating, meaning it can withstand compression up to 2,500 pounds. That means if a warehouse-grade forklift ran over your foot, there’s a good chance your toes wouldn’t get crushed—but only if you’re wearing steel toe boots. This added protection is incredibly significant, and workers can be confident that they’ll remain safe from punctures, impact injuries and blunt force trauma to their feet.
What does a good fit look/feel like?
Quality steel toe boots will be breathable, smooth and seam-free. The end cap should be padded to keep you from feeling the steel, and the heel should fit snug enough to keep your heel in place but wide enough to stabilize your foot. The boots should be comfortable and fit you in length, width and depth on the first try—and they definitely shouldn’t cause any pain.
How to find the right boots for you:
- Fit them to your largest foot. (Most people have one foot bigger than the other).
- Walk around during fitting to determine how they feel when moving and standing still.
- Make sure the boot fits the heel and the ball of your foot, not just one or the other. (No one likes blisters).
- Always check both shoes for defects in workmanship.
- Remember to measure the heel with your work pants. (You won’t wan’t to trip on your pant legs when you’re on the job).
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Taking care of your boots
Always follow the footwear’s specific instructions for the best cleaning products to use. Wipe away dirt and dust as needed. Waterproofing spray can prevent unwanted moisture and help keep your shoes dry. Also, make sure to check them regularly for signs of cracks, tears, or harsh wear.
Pro tip: to prolong the lifespan of your boots, buy a second pair and trade them out as needed.
The bottom line is this: if you have a job where heavy materials, parts, hand trucks, forklifts and other hazardous items are present, you’re way better off with steel toe boots. Plus, there’s absolutely no harm in wearing them every day, especially if you wear the proper insoles and the right socks. Safety boots will guard your feet throughout a long day’s work, and you deserve to wear a comfortable pair that will protect your feet and keep you going strong.