Updated on July 12, 2012
Who puts on work boots every day? These boots are found on the feet of blue-collar professionals such as construction workers, lumberjacks, electricians or factory workers; however, the list of work boot wearers goes on and on.
Most employers will provide a list of requirements of footwear, especially for those who work around hazardous materials and in potentially dangerous environments. Even if the higher-ups do not provide a list of regulations for boots, anyone who works in the aforementioned conditions should seriously consider wearing the protective footwear.
A variety of styles and features are available. Almost all boots are waterproof, which outdoors workers like park rangers, forestry employees and backcountry guides are especially thankful for.
Perfect for mechanics or factory workers, slip-resistant boots provide extra traction on wet or oily surfaces.
[U.S. Navy mechanics properly torque the fitting on an aircraft tire.]
Electrical hazard boots have insulation that protects wearers from electrical charges up to 600 volts. Linemen, electricians and inside wiremen are particularly fond of this footwear.
Insulated boots provide additional lining to keep feet warm. Due to the extra material, these boots may have a bit more weight to them. Those unfortunate enough to work outside during winter may want to consider this boot for the frosty months. It is also a good fit for those working in refrigerated warehouses and ice road truckers.
[Lumberjacks wear waterproof boots during crosscut at Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.]
Probably the most well-known aspect of the work boot is its toe cap structure. Nearly all work boots have a protective toe cap either made of steel or composite materials. What’s the difference between the two? Well, steel toe boots have a single layer of steel in the toe. If an object falls on the toe that exceeds the weight restrictions, the steel will be bent and may cause injury to the toes. It may even have to be cut off the worker’s foot. Composite toe boots are made up of several materials, usually like plastics such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). If an object exceeding the composite toe weight restrictions, the toe will shatter upon contact.
Many tout the composite toe work boot for its reduced weight and extreme cold and heat resistance. Composite toe boots are up to 50 percent lighter than steel toe boots. Yet some employers may require the use of steel toe boots.
Are you a steel toe supporter or do you prefer the composite toe?