Construction safety gear plays a crucial role in keeping crewmembers protected on the jobsite. When it comes to work boots, however, not everyone knows how to select the right footwear for their work. Unlike heading to the store for a pair of everyday shoes, choosing the right work boots is about more than looks and comfort. Read on for helpful tips for taking an informed approach to your next construction safety gear purchase, and finding work boots that work for you.
Put Thought into Toe Protection
From falling objects to heavy rolling equipment, construction sites are packed with potential dangers. While most employers will require you to wear a boot with a reinforced toe, there are numerous options out there.
- Steel and alloy toes offer sturdy protection, but can add extra weight and set off metal detectors. In addition, the metal’s conductivity can leave toes cold during winter weather.
- Composite toes can offer similar protection to their metallic counterparts, without conducting temperatures — or leading to issues around metal detectors or magnets. They can be the pricier option, however, and are more prone to punctures.
(Whichever toe protection you opt for, be sure it is ASTM-rated. This ensures the footwear features proper impact and compression resistance to keep your feet protected.)
Consider the Sole
Not all work boot soles are created equal. Today’s manufacturers cater their boots to meet specific industry needs. In construction, for instance, a rubber outsole is most likely the way to go, since it provides necessary traction in wet and dry conditions, and helps protect against dangerous slips and falls. Construction Equipment Guide offers additional insight into work boot soles.
Don’t Forget the Fit
A work boot that is either too large or small doesn’t just get uncomfortable. It can lead to trips and falls — and leave you at risk of serious injury. Take time to ensure the boots you pick are the right ones for you. Try them on before you make your purchase, preferably while wearing the same type of socks you wear on the job. Walk around a bit to get a feel for them, but remember there will likely be a “breaking-in” period before they fit just the way you want them to.
Of course, these are just a few things to take into account regarding your construction safety gear. Other factors, such as insulated work boots vs. non-insulated, come into play, too. We recommend you speak with your employer about what they recommend for your particular job. Stay safe out there!
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