Safety hazards and job environment are first and foremost to
consider when selecting work footwear. According to OSHA regulation 1910.136,
every employer is required to conduct a hazard assessment to determine
workplace risks and the appropriate types of personal protection equipment
needed. OSHA also mandates that employers need to ensure that employees use
protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot
Whether going online or heading to a local retail store, research brands
and take an initial look at the products offered. Before you head to the store,
remember to bring a pair of socks similar to those you would wear with
workboots to get a true feel for the footwear and fit.
Technologies increase performance
Work in an environment that involves oil, water or other
chemicals warrants footwear protection to help prevent slips or falls. A number
of technologies exist to help create more assured footing and stability. For
example, boots with a slip-resistant Vibram® rubber lug outsole provide
resistance to oil, water, abrasion, chemical, heat and work-site slips.
Safety-toe boots might be necessary when work environments pose risks
for heavy objects crushing toes or exposed sharp objects potentially piercing
the feet. Workers who are around electricity should consider boots with an
advanced carbon fiber technology rather than a steel-toe boot. Many boot
companies today incorporate carbon fiber technology into safety-toes as a lightweight
option that is equally as protective as its steel counterparts, but up to 50
Beat the elements
For warm weather on the worksite, select footwear that is
breathable to keep feet cool.
Outsoles with an aggressive treading are also desirable for
safety footwear worn in wet and potentially slippery conditions. But because
soles with an aggressive treading are sometimes heavier than the average boot,
seek a lighter boot.
Do not underestimate cold weather when working outdoors in winter
months. Boots with Thinsulate™ Insulation combat cold weather and keep feet
To maximize all-day comfort from the ground up, consider
footwear that incorporates technically advanced comfort outsoles. Many outsoles
exist with specific end-goals in mind, including added stability on multiple
terrains and reduced shock absorption by the wearer. Choosing an appropriate
outsole that performs and provides support is key in helping ensure that
footwear is both safe and comfortable.
Lightweight footwear might increase the comfort level for
all-day wear. For a lighter boot, consider choosing footwear that features a
Cordura® upper. Cordura is a high performance fabric resistant to abrasions,
tears and scuffs that offers a reduced weight compared to a conventional
Ease of transition
Buyers today have the option to choose a work boot closer to
their own personal style that will allow them to transition from the workplace
to the weekend seamlessly. Oxfords, chukkas, wellingtons, hiking and athletic
styles now all feature the same benefits of a more traditional work boot.
Wearing appropriate footwear on the worksite is one
important precaution workers can take to help stay safe and comfortable on the
job. Having an understanding of potential hazards in the workplace, comfort
technology options and versatile styles allows you to choose the right boot
without feeling overwhelmed. Consider these areas of importance in choosing a
boot to not only help protect you from a potentially serious occupational
injury, but also to equip you with a boot you will enjoy wearing.