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Beyond Steel Toes: Modern Work Boots Offer Safety, Comfort, Support

Experts say new footwear companies have pioneered materials and methods to help workers find the right fit.

October 5, 2023

1 Min Read
Old Work Boots.jpeg
matt_benoit via Getty Images

Construction Dive

Are these boots made for workin’?

Work boots may seem like an ubiquitous piece of protective gear on jobsites, but finding footwear that fits is vital, and injuries can be serious. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 44,970 non-fatal workplace foot injuries and illnesses across all industries in 2020.

Although boots can’t offer 100% protection, they cut down on workplace injuries, whether they stop a nail from piercing an ankle or prevent tendonitis by offering the right support. New advances in material science and a focus on fitting every worker have made work boots more comfortable and easier to wear. 

Puncture-resistant footwear continues to be in demand, said Jordan Gottke, vice president at work boot wholesaler Georgia Boot. But not everyone who needs puncture protection also requires other common safety boot features, like metatarsal guards or steel toes. Boot companies are catering to that need.

Manufacturers have created options that only include that one safety feature, so workers don’t need to pay for extras that might weigh down their shoes and cost more.

Metatarsal guards have also changed. 

“A lot of times, it used to be a really metal black, and it would just be a flap that would be on the top of your shoe that looked ridiculous and really ugly,” said Gottke. Now, workers can buy internal metatarsal guards that go inside the shoe, which is more comfortable and doesn’t change how the boot looks from the outside. 

“The technology’s gotten so good that the person wearing it can’t even tell it’s there,” Gottke said.

To read the reset of this story on our sister publicaiton, Construction Dive, click here.

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