Why Do Ironworkers Use Wedge Boots? Learn why this is the only footwear they wear
Maybe you knew, maybe it’s news to you, but ironworkers usually choose wedge boots as their style of work boot.
Today I’m going to get into the reasons why America’s Ironworkers want wedge boots on the job, and the benefits they provide. Let’s do it!
Protecting Souls with the Proper Soles: Why Ironworkers Use Wedge Sole Work Boots
Ironworkers use wedge boots because of flatoutsoles that provide a firm grip on I-beams and other dangerous terrain. This style outsole delivers the slip- and oil-resistant peace of mind ironworkers need while working on bridges, highways, and skyscrapers.
The flat design of wedge outsoles (lack of a heel) also prevents the boot from getting hooked on any bolts or objects on steel beams.
When working in the places ironworkers do, this can be the difference between safety and health.
At times, it can even be the difference between life and death.
In addition to the shape and features found in wedge-style outsoles, the materials used to make them also provide great cushioning.
Ironworkers are on their feet all day, and usually don’t have the opportunities for breaks that most workers do.
When it’s tough, or even impossible, to step aside and take a break, you want boots that give your feet a break just by wearing them.
This is something that wedge boots do better than most work boots.
Finally, the flat outsole lacks a deep tread or lugs that would allow mud or debris getting stuck to or in it.
Something stuck in your boot tread will affect how your foot makes contact with your walking surface.
This might not matter for bricklayers or contractors, but 20, 40, or 80 stories into the air, traction and balance matters a WHOLE lot.
An unwanted passenger on your boot could turn you from a sure-footed ibex into a baby giraffe.
The last thing you want to worry about is slippery surfaces.
I can assure you, none of my ironworker friends in Local 11 want to make any choices that’ll make them clumsy
Excuse My Ignorance, but What’s a Wedge Boot?
Commonly known as “wedges,” or a “wedge sole work boot”, a wedge boot is a work boot with an outsole that runs the entire length of your foot.
The outsoles don’t “cut in” where your arch is, and there is no pronounced heel.
They’re made for greater cushioning, slip resistance, and shock resistance.
They also lack lugs or pronounced tread patterns.
This is in contrast to standard work boots or hiking boots which usually have a raised heel, deep lugs, and an overall focus on helping stay stable on irregular ground.
Besides the physical features, the consistency of the outsoles also make for an extremely flexible boot.
This is a feature that many workers want, but aren’t sure where to find.
Look no further, you’ll find it in a pair of wedges!
What’s an Ironworker?
Ironworkers are construction professionals that install, connect, and deconstruct the steel and iron beams that modern buildings and infrastructure is supported by.
You’ll find ironworkers on any big commercial or public construction project in your area.
It’s not all about skyscrapers and bridges however, there are many projects that wouldn’t be possible without the presence of skilled ironworkers.
A bulkhead for where the park meets the river? Ironworkers.
The Roller coasters at your local theme park? Ironworkers.
Don’t be confused by the use of the word “iron,” ironworkers deal with a variety of metals.
However, if we’re being honest, it’s probably most often steel.
The traditional imagery of ironworkers is the famous photo of 11 men casually having lunch while building Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Iron work of this type is still a big part of the industry, albeit with more safety harnesses, but it doesn’t represent everything ironworkers do.
Are Wedge Soles Made Differently Than Other Outsoles?
Yes. Wedges are made thin at the toe and get progressively thicker as they get to the heel.
They are usually made with shock-absorbing polyurethane materials that provide greater flexibility and bounce than traditional rubber outsole.
Safety Toe or No? Are Wedge Boots OSHA Approved?
Yes, if you get the right pair!
OSHA usually approves boots based on whether or not they have an ASTM-rated toe cap.
There are plenty of manufactures that make wedge boots with safety toes, so you’ll be up to code in a pair of wedges.
In their American Heritage range, the Thorogood Boot company have composite toe and steel toe protection available.