In this article, I’m going to cover the ways you can avoid or fix a bad fit with steel toe boots.
If you’ve had or are having some fitting issues, you wouldn’t be the first. Maybe you’re used to dealing with discomfort, but you don’t have to.
I’m about to check out all the do’s and don’ts for getting the best performance from your boots.
Are steel toe boots comfortable?
Steel toe boots are typically associated with discomfort. That is, until you find the perfect pair for your feet and break them in! When you take advantage of all their protective benefits as well as an extended amount of time to ensure they’re comfortable enough before wearing them on a daily basis, steel toes can be just like any other work boot. Comfortable even if not ideal every day.
What Supposedly Makes Steel Toe Boots UNComfortable?
Lets try and first work out the most common issues that can make your steel toed boot uncomfortable. We can then work from there.
Incorrect Size and Fit – Its always a good start to know how a work boot should fit.
If the toe area is really tight then this is a likely to be an issue with the fit.
If the rest of your boot fits correctly, then go up a width size and see how you get on.
The ‘Last’ which is essentially the mold that manufacturers use is based on a generic foot shape. Each manufacturer will use their own ‘Last’ so all boot shapes may not be the same.
If this doesn’t fit your foot shape then this is just unfortunate.
Inserts – wearing insoles may restrict your feet in the toe area, especially with a steel toe cap which can take up a lot of room.
Cheap Boots – A comfortable steel toe boot is one that is built to last with the most durable materials.
One of the biggest mistakes is therefore to purchase a safety boot based on price alone.
The Toe Box – A steel toe cap usually takes up more room than a composite toe cap. If this is the case, ensure you have the correct fit or think about a square toe boot.
As well as width, the height of the toe cap can also be an issue with certain boots such as Moc Toe’s.
Say BYE to Bad Fits and Help Your Feet Feel ROYAL in a New Pair of Comfortable Steel Toe Boots
The best way to get a great fit from a new pair of steel toe boots is by forgetting what you think you know about your size. If you’re serious about a great fit, check your size every time you buy a new pair. Manufactures change their product over time, and consumers change brands. Keep in mind all the different parts of a work boot that go into every pair.
I’d say pretty low, if not impossible.
This isn’t history, boot sizing doesn’t repeat itself.
Imagine: you’re framing an area of wall for where the fridge is going.
You say “hey, what’s the brand of fridge?” and the customer tells you Whirlpool (because I’m old school like that).
Your response is “oh, I know that brand, I don’t need the measurements, I’m going to start framing right now.”
Your customer would probably look at you like you’re insane, and with good reason.
How could you possibly know the measurements of a product you haven’t seen?!
This is no different than when you walk into a store and say “I’m an 11,” with zero confirmation of that idea.
Feelings are not facts, and even facts change over time, so always check your size.
Steel toe boots can provide a ton of features.
They give us traction on tough terrain, they protect us from objects that would break our toes, and they’ve even become a fashion statement for everyday wear in recent decades.
It’s hard to make proper use of any of those features if you’re bopping around in boots of the wrong size.
Don’t Panic, It’s Not Too Late: Learn How to Stretch the Uncomfortable Steel Toe Boots You Already Bought
If you already have a pair of steel toe boots and they’re uncomfortable, don’t worry. It’s possible to stretch your boots to make them more comfortable. You can enlarge steel toe boots to get rid of pressure points that are causing you pain or discomfort.
I can’t advise strongly enough, if you think your boots are pinching your feet, check out our article on how to stretch steel toe boots.
This article will provide you with a number of ways to turn those boots that feel like they’re built for someone else into boots that feel like your own.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that work boots are a type of footwear that are naturally uncomfortable.
Your steel toe footwear can be nearly as comfortable as the sneakers or hiking boots you wear on your day off.
If your boots are made of leather, you’re in a good position.
Leather is a natural material that can be stretched to provide a better fit.
Even if your boots are built with composite uppers, there’s still actions you can take to get the fit you’ve decided isn’t possible.
Using a combination of boot stretchers, stretching sprays, and other methods, you can get a better fit than the one you’ve got now.
Again, check that article I linked to.
I’m not going to tell you how to do it twice, so help me save my mental energy by checking the earlier article I linked to above.
The Foreman on my Job Told Me Steel Toe Boots are All About Being Uncomfortable, Isn’t He Right?
No, steel toe boots aren’t supposed to be uncomfortable. That idea is just a common misconception among trade workers; Many believe talking about discomfort is a sign of weakness.”
Are your hiking boots uncomfortable?
Are your soft toe boots uncomfortable?
Of course they aren’t; you wouldn’t have bought them if they were.
The addition of the steel toe cap doesn’t really change much about the boot, so it shouldn’t change your standards of comfort.
In fact, steel toe caps are generally less bulky than composite toe caps made of carbon fibers, TPU, or other composite materials.
Don’t be confused by people referring to them as “steel boots,” they’re not made of steel.
The steel toe is a minor addition with huge protective benefits.
Steel toe boots still have leather outers, breathable inners, rubber or TPU outsoles, many features focused only on performance and comfort.
There’s not an iron-maiden around your foot, it’s mostly materials that were designed to make you comfortable.
The steel toe represents a very small portion of the volume and weight of the boot in the toe box area.
It’s safe to say that if they’re uncomfortable, it’s probably due to many other reasons besides the toe cap.
No boot brands are out there designing ways to make your work day more difficult.
You should expect a reasonable amount of comfort from your steel toe, alloy toe, or any boot you buy.
Do I Really Even Need Steel Toe Boots? Protecting Your Feet as a Primary Focus
You need steel toe boots because you’re on a job site where OSHA requires it. More important than any bureaucratic regulations, steel toe boots protect your feet in ways regular footwear simply cannot. Just as a writer needs a pen (or laptop), you need protective boots for your trade. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re more careful than most; keep thinking that, see how that turns out.
You might know the expression: there’s what you know, what you don’t know, and what you don’t know you don’t know.
Steel toe boots usually protect you from that third category.
Speaking about my own life, I’ve had some narrow misses on construction sites.
I’ve pulled nails that for no reason should have been supporting hundreds of pounds worth of shower tile, but they were; go figure.
We all have to go into work prepared for the worst, and steel toe boots are a part of that.
Not trying to dig at y’all that put safety first, but if you’re not wearing protective work boots, you’re simply not.
We like to act as though we’re the masters of our own universe, but fate teaches us that’s not true.
If you haven’t learned that lesson yet, give it time, it’ll happen.
A good pair of steel boots will help you avoid learning this lesson.
Years from now, as you’re retiring with 10 toes intact, you can say I was full of it. I’m okay with that.
The Knowledge in my Head, Now Available to You: Information I’ve Learned About Steel Toe Boots Over Years of Trade Experience
The way to get the best fit from steel toe boots is to measure your size before buying! If you’ve already bought them, you can still stretch the boot to achieve a better fit. The most important thing is to expect more from your boots, and not accept “good enough” as an answer