No, I’m not talking about the weapon used in street fights and prisons, I’m talking about a part that is likely in boots you’ve worn or are wearing.
What is a shank, what does it do, and why should you care?
Read on and find out.
What is a Steel Shank in a Boot?
A steel shank is a part in work boots that spans the area where the arch of your foot is. It is a thin piece of steel that provides stability against torsion and supports the direct weight of your body as you stand in your boots.
The shank is one of several parts that work to ensure your boot feels like a structure that supports your foot.
What else would a boot be, you ask?
Without a toe cap, outsole, and solid Goodyear welt construction it’s just a loose sack of leather This would end up looking like the boots of centuries gone by.
Our friends over at Rose Anvil do a great job of helping visualize what all this means.
If you’re looking for a nice overview of the topic, this is a great video to watch.
If you already read everything I wrote and want a bit more of the visuals, check that youtube video.
Why Are Steel Shanks Important? What do they do for the person wearing the shoes?
Steel shanks are important in preventing the boot from twisting and losing its structure.
They also prevent the boot from bottoming out in the area between your heel and the ball of the foot where the outsole has a gap in many boots.
The shank is a structural element that ensures the outsole functions as one complete unit.
This is opposed to the outsole being a floppy sheet of rubber that could twist in both directions if you got in a tight spot on the job.
If you can’t imagine how this could happen, you haven’t been working long enough, give it time.
Additionally, they resist the downward force your body is putting on the boot.
They also reinforce the natural arch of your foot and prevent your toes and heel from curving up and the arch from pancaking down.
Shanks provide your feet with added arch support it needs for work.
Where Does the Shank Go in Work Boots?
The steel shank is usually sandwiched in between the insole and midsole.
This means that unless you’ve torn your shoes open, you’ll never actually see the shank.
What Jobs Can Benefit The Most For Steel Shank Boots?
Anyone that carries heavy weights or is required to climb during the course of their work can benefit from a steel shank.
The shank helps your muscles and bones fight back against gravity and whatever you’re carrying to limit the stress on your body.
Linemen and loggers are the first professions that come to mind when considering who needs a shank in their boots.
That’s not to say there aren’t other professions that could benefit from steel shanks.