How critical is choosing the right footwear? Did you know that sometimes something as simple as work boots can be a life saver? Sometimes, it is the best work boots that will stand between life and death. A research conducted by University of Florida IFAS Extension revealed that around one million people in the U.S were injured at their workplace caused by a slip, trip, or accidental fall and 17,000 or more workers died at their workplace. Each year, it is estimated that almost 3.8 million injuries are caused at the work place and 15 percent of these injuries caused due to trips, slips, or falls.
Most of the accidents at the workplace like slips, trips, or falls are caused because of the type of footwear workers wear. Imagine, you are at a construction site, where there has been an oil spill on the 5th floor. Due to some reason, you forget about the spill and walk across it in a hurry only to slip and fall. Thankfully, you didn’t fall 5 floors down! Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? This is exactly the reason why you need to choose the best work boots, so that you can return home safely to you family every evening!
So what is it that you need to know or focus on while picking up work boots?
Focus on Work Boot Safety Features
If you want the best work boots then your primary area of focus should be “safety”. The safety features in work boots can vary depending on the type of work or industry. Some of the most common safety features include:
The Safety Toe
One of the strongest safety features of a work boot is the “safety toe”, which makes the boot something like a steel-toe boot. This safety feature is perfect for you if your work revolves around carpentry, lumbering, and even construction industry. The “safety toe” work boots can be a life saver if you are working around heavy objects as it can prevent potentially serious falls or foot injuries. There are three varieties of the safety toe and they are:
- Aluminium Toe: The work boots with aluminium toe as a safety feature are well suited for heavy-duty work or occupation. This type of work boots definitely has an upper hand over composite toes as they can withstand greater crushing forces.
- Composite Toe: The work boots with composite toe as a safety feature are made from plastic, carbon fiber, or even Kevlar. These are best work boots for anyone whose work is primarily outdoors.
- Steel Toe: The steel toe work boots have been the norm for ages. In spite of its ability to withstand greater stress or force, these boots are great conductors and are not recommended for those working near sources of electricity. This safety feature is also not recommended for use in extreme climatic conditions.
The second most important safety feature that you need to look for is the puncture plate. Work boots with puncture plates are recommended for all those are associated with the field of construction and have to work at specific sites like demolition zones. If your work boots lack a puncture plate then that will pose a high risk of serious injury especially if you happen to step on jagged glass or tetanus-laden piece of metal or nail.
The reason why puncture plates are there in the best work boots for construction workers is that they are meant to keep your feet safe. This safety plate is situated between the midsole and the insole and provides additional support to your feet apart from protecting against pierces and punctures.
One of the key aspects of any work boot is the grip it provides. Boots with good grips can significantly prevent a fall or slip. The grip provided in different work boots differ according to the terrain and area you are working in. At the end of the day, the strength of the grip remains in that one magical word right out of a physics book – Traction.
There are several different “dangerous” places to work or “hazardous” conditions like places with oil slicks, climatic conditions like slippery snow, working and balancing on uneven construction surfaces etc. These work places can increase the probability of a slip or fall.
There are several different varieties of outsole grips available in the market and each offers a different level of traction. Some of the boots come with high performance rubber outsole to provide maximum balance and safety in rugged terrains while others have feature that makes it much easier to grip ladders. Some of the outsole grips especially the best work boots for those working in oil rigs have built in Thermo Poly Urethane (TPU) outsoles. These outsoles offer chemical, oil, and abrasion resistance.
Here’s a worst case scenario: you work on high tension electric poles and you end up wearing a boot that is a perfect conductor. What can go wrong? You can get electrocuted with 80 percent burns and worst yet, it can lead to death. What are your options?
Get the best work boots that provide electrical resistance. First things first, aluminium and steel toe boots are a complete no-no! Secondly, you need to look for boots according to your need. There are 3 features to choose from:
- Anti-static feature: Work boots with anti-static feature has been created for those who work in environments that are sensitive to static electricity. The anti-static feature in footwear can help in dissipating the accumulation if any of static electricity from your body. It will also provide some level of resistance against electrical hazards. These work boots come with tags like SD or ESD.
- Non-conductive feature: Work boots with non-conductive feature are known to have an “EH” rating. This type of footwear provides proper insulation especially when there is an accidental contact with electrical equipment or live circuits. The best work boots with this feature should have a rubber outsole, the role of which is to help in grounding any electrical charges. Rubber outsoles can also prevent slip and falls and are abrasion-resistant.
- Conductive feature: Work boots with conductive feature will provide you protection in environments that contain static electricity. It is recommended for those working or handling volatile or explosive materials. This feature is also known as “static-dissipating.”
6 best work boots you should consider for 2015
Work boots are just boots, right? Wrong!
Work boots may look like your everyday wear but they are different in many ways. They might be the only thing providing maximum protection while you are immersed in your work environment. They are specialised safety footwear that will not only ensure your feet are comfortable and safe but will also prevent slips and falls that might lead to bodily injury.
The question is how to know which work boots are the best in the market or are perfect for you? It is definitely a tough decision to make especially with so many brands and types of safety features that these boots contain. In order to make your search easier, here is a list of the top 6 work boots that you should consider for 2015.
Dr. Martens or DM as it is known, has been making boots since 1901 and is one of the most successful and established shoe maker in the world. The Icon 2295 is a slip-on Wellington style steel toe work boot. Considered as one of the most comfortable work boots, it is rated high on features, comfort, and durability. The Icon 2295 industrial strength steel toe boot consists of pull loops that aid in the easy insertion your foot through the 10″ shaft. The highlight is the steel toe, which is ANSI rated and will provide complete protection to your toes. Some of the other salient features include:
- Provides high shock absorption
- The ankle collar has memory foam padding for high comfort
- The upper and sole has been heat sealed and sewn together for high durability
- The lining is Cosmo™ Cambrelle moisture wicking lining that will keep your feet dry
- The work boot has Agion® Treated Anti-Bacterial Smartmask® insole for reduced odour and maximum comfort
- The safety toe cap offers protection from a minimum impact of 200j and compression force of 15kn.
- The leather upper is water resistant
- Provides protection against accidental contact with electrical charge
A heavyweight in the earth moving industry, their men’s iconic work boots are worn across the world from city streets to hazardous work sites. The Caterpillar men’s 2nd shift 6″ plain soft toe boot is a great all rounder foot wear that is highly rated on safety features, waterproof, comfort, and insulation. The CAT 2nd shift 6″ plain soft-toe work boot has been made using Goodyear welt construction, which simply means that they can take a lot of impact without hurting your feet. It is a hardworking and comfortable work boot that consists of a breathable upper and can provide protection in both light and heavy industrial work environment. This work boot is definitely hard to resist thanks to the following salient features:
- The CAT 2nd shift 6″ plain soft-toe work boot has been constructed using durable full-grain leather or nubuck upper
- It consists of nylon mesh lining that helps in wicking away moisture and keeping your feet dry
- It contains Climasphere™ Sock Liner that helps in regulating foot temperature and thus keeps your feet cool in warm or hot climatic conditions. It will also ensure your foot is dry and warm when working in snow or rain.
- The 2nd Shift has slip-resistant rubber outsole that offers excellent footing in tough terrain.
The Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6″ steel-toe boot is the “pit bull” in men’s work boots and is loaded with safety features. It is high on comfort and has a steel toe construction that is in accordance with ANSI safety standards. It is one of the best work boots to wear in a construction environment as it has a rubber outsole that is oil, slip, and abrasion resistant. Some of salient features that make this work boot a must have includes:
- The steel toe construction has been created in such a way that the toe box is more spacious as compared to other boots.
- The Pitboss 6″ offers high degree of comfort due to its non-insulated rugged leather uppers
- This is one really durable work boot thanks to the Goodyear® welt construction
- It consists of a contoured nylon shock diffusion shank or plate
- The Timberland PRO® 24/7 Comfort Suspension™ technology ensures your feet are well protected in rigorous work environments. It supports the arch while cushioning the feet to minimize feet fatigue.
- The work boot provides electrical hazard protection especially if you are working with open circuits
The Wolverine men’s Hudson w02194 work boot may look quite simple on the outside but it packs a real punch! This is one of the best pair of boots out there in the market when it comes to providing protection from electrical hazards. It has been created specifically for those working in construction environments or where fatal accidents can be caused by electrical hazard. This work boot holds high Wolverine’s signature sturdiness and the design have been created to ensure ultimate comfort for your feet. Some of the salient features of the Hudson W02194 include:
- The Hudson w02194 consists of nylon shanks, which enhance overall support for your calves, ankle as well as.
- This work boot offers toughness as well as comfort thanks to the full grain leather upper
- This Wolverine Hudson work boot comes with a removable comfort cushion foot bed. The foot bed will allow your feet to sink in comfortably and ensure you don’t suffer from feet fatigue
- The handmade Fulton lug rubber cup sole is slip resistant and will ensure maximum safety when working on watery or oily surface
- A springy midsole has been integrated into the W02194 work boot so that you are able to move quicker
The Keen utility men’s Atlanta cool steel toe work shoe looks almost like your everyday casuals but this is where you should not be fooled. This is a real cracker of a work boot that combines steel toe protection along with industrial strength and stability in one really lightweight design. Some of the salient features of the Atlanta Cool work boot include:
- It has been created specifically for industrial work environment and construction workers
- The hydrophobic mesh lining ensure high breathability and comfort and will keep your feet cool in warm environment
- This Keen work boot has a non-marking rubber outsole that is slip and oil resistant
- The boot consists of a dual density compression molded EVA midsole for maximum comfort and shock absorption
- This steel toe work boot has been made using water resistant nubuck leather and has a torsion stability ESS shank as well
Think about composite toe work boots and the first name that comes to the mind is the Thorogood men’s composite safety toe gen flex 804-4445 6-inch work boot. These work boots have been created using state of the art technology and are compliant to ANSI/ASTM I75 and C75 standards. This is not all as the work boots are perfect for those working in electrically hazardous environment. They comply with the CAN/CSA-Z195 18,000 volts electrical shock resistance standard thus offering a lot of safety from electrocution and other related fatal accidents at workplace. Some of the other salient features of this Thorogood composite safety toe work boot include:
- This composite sole work boot has been made using Goodyear Storm Welt construction so that you can experience maximum comfort
- The outsole has been made using Gen Flex II dual density oil and slip resistant material for maximum protection at the workplace. This also provides great traction.
- The boot consists of spacer mesh lining, which will provide your feet with high degree of breathability throughout the day
- The midsoles of the Thorogood composite safety toe work boot is made using compression molded EVA while the insoles consist of removable polyurethane foot beds.