Updated on July 12, 2012
Setting out to find the perfect pair of work boots can seem like a daunting task. With such a huge selection of styles and options available, these boots boast a number of features that can leave your head spinning. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help narrow down your options so that you can find boots that will get the job done.
The first order of business is to determine the work environment in which you’ll be sporting your new footwear. From there, find the features that are designed to best support those working conditions.
Do you spend most of your time outdoors?
You may want to consider a boot that includes insulation. We recommend at least 200 or 400-grams of insulation, though you might want to consider an even higher 600- or 800-gram boot for when temperatures really drop. Boots that incorporate Thinsulate technology provide warmth without adding bulk.
If your job requires splashing around in water, you may also want waterproof features in your work boot. Manufacturers use an array of waterproof techniques, from waterproof membranes to technologies such as Hyper-dri, which not only stops water from entering the boot, but also absorbs sweat and transfers it away from your foot. Some boot designs also include a waterproof leather upper, which creates an even great range of protection from wet environments.
Is heavy lifting your specialty?
When you spend much of your day working with heavy equipment and falling objects, you’ll want a work boot with reinforced toe protection. While some employers require boots with a steel toe cap, another protective footwear option is boots with a composite toe cap. Studies have shown that today’s composite toe boots carry equal protection to their steel-toed predecessor.
The material of construction can also play a large role in the durability and protection of a work boot. Boots made with full-grain leather offer a strong foundation and maintains the original hide’s texture, while oil tanned leather leaves a more pliable appearance. Opt for a soft leather construction above the ankle, which will offer support without compromising flexibility.
Find yourself navigating slippery work conditions?
The wet or oily surfaces that some industrial workers face can create potentially dangerous situations. To cut back on slippery accidents, find a boot with slip-resistance and traction control. Look for brands that offer an oil-resistant rubber or polyurethane outsole. Brands that use Vibram outsoles in their boots may offer additional protection against a larger number of terrains.
Do you dabble in electricity?
For jobs that come in close contact with electric currents, find a work boot with that is Electrical Hazard safe. EH soles provide a barrier that protects against open electrical currents up to 600 volts.
What’s your most valued feature in a work boot?
(image via Flickr)