Boots are like any piece of clothing, they’re only as good as they fit.
A poorly fitted work boot can give you the illusion of safety while you’re actually doing damage to your foot.
Before it’s complete this article will have answered the question that probably brought you here, “how should work boots fit?”
As I prepared to research this article, I primarily expected to get resources from boot and shoe manufacturers.
What I found surprised me, because the people discussing the topic of poorly fitted footwear were mostly doctors and researchers.
From academic articles, to independent podiatrists, to trade organizations, it seems that most of the people concerned with getting you to find the right fit are actually those who have to deal with problems associated with the wrong fit.
When boots don’t fit properly, they don’t feel good; that’s no secret.
Let your toes move, breath, and help make your work easier by giving them the room they need.
Width (Super Important)
The sides of your feet should feel contact but not pressure, and your toes should never have to relocate.
The width of a work boot is routinely ignored by many as they look for a new pair.
Getting a pair of boots that’s (usually) too narrow can result in discomfort in the best case scenario, and result in numbness and nerve damage in severe and long-term cases.
We include length and width with every measurement we take, so why don’t we do the same for our feet?
Crunching your feet into boots that aren’t wide enough for your feet doesn’t mean they fit.
That pain just means you’re putting unnecessary stress on a body part you’ll want functional till your last day on earth.
To ensure a proper fit, align the ball of your foot with the widest part of your safety boot.
It doesn’t matter what kind of safety footwear, toe box or toe shape you have.
If the width isn’t correct, the rest will fail.
The fit for steel toe and composite toe should ideally be the same as a pair of boots without the safety cap.
Before Getting to the Store
Forget Your Size
Forget your boot size, trust your feet!
Just because you’ve been buying work boots in a particular size for years doesn’t mean that they’re right for you.
Don’t assume your feet are the same size as when you left high school.
Many factors, such as age, height, weight, foot conditions all have an impact on the shoe size.
Walk into the store with the intention of getting the best gear for the job, not simply getting a chore done.
Many people want buying boots to be a 10 minute process that requires nothing but a size, brand, and money.
You can do this, but the chances are you’re going to be paying for your lack of patience the entire time you own those boots.
This is ironic, because most of the people buying boots have the greatest levels of concern and patience for the work they need those boots to do!
Consider your boots as a crucial tool that allows you to produce top notch work for your business, boss, or union.
Everyone reading this has probably rolled their eyes at the guy who has said, “let’s hurry up and get this done so we can get out of here.”
You’ve wished he would take the necessary steps to deliver good workmanship.
Don’t rely on your memory, rely on what you feel the day you’re going in there. Things change, and so do feet!
Discover Your Arch
Get your foot checked at an orthopedic store or podiatrist’s office to find out if you will benefit from getting additional arch support.
It’s impossible to know what kind of work boot will fit you best if you’re not aware of what level of arch support you need.
It may be that your foot is just fine and you don’t need any additional help.
It also may be the case, as it was with me, that you’ve been unnecessarily walking around in pain without even noticing it.
Be Teachable, Be Patient
Prepare to ask for help and ask questions.
f you ask for the sizing factors you’re looking for and explain the issues you’re having with the boots the sales associate is bringing you to try on, you might just get the pair you never would have imagined.
Simply walking in the store and saying “I want brand X and I never wear brand Y” is not an effective strategy.
If you seek a guide instead of a servant when looking for your new work boots, you might be better off than running the show alone.
With patience, a little research, and a good sales associate, you should have no problem finding a pair of work boots that feels like they were built for you.
If you’re buying online, you can use the tips mentioned above.
Just don’t forget to check the retailer’s return policy in case your safety shoes don’t fit.