Steel toe boots have become an integral part of workwear for people whose jobs are at construction sites, factories, and industrial areas. These protective shoes help to prevent workers’ feet from unexpected dangerous accidents, such as falling objects, fire, etc.
It would be great if we bought a perfectly fit pair of steel toe boots that can move effortlessly in every terrain. However, sometimes, Oak Street Magazine might come up with a problem that our brand new shoes are not comfortable enough to wear.
If you have the same issue, congratulations, we here present to you some great techniques on how to break in steel toe boots without any fuss.
So, instead of reluctantly wearing them to work and enduring painful blisters, you can apply the following methods to stretch them out before trying on.
What Are Steel Toe Boots?
Steel toe boots are types of protective shoes that contain a piece of steel in the toe area to protect the toe from a number of different dangers in the workplace, such as falls, crashes, heavy objects falling on the feet.
In particularly dangerous cases with the possibility of massive items falling or stabbing your toes, you won’t have to worry about a broken toe because steel toe shoes bear quite much force.
Steel toe shoes must meet safety standards – one of these is that they have to feature steel liners to prevent sharp objects from piercing the feet. According to European standards, the steel tip must be able to withstand up to 200J.
Traditionally, these boots are kind of heavy since the toe part is made of steel, which leads to moving quite heavily and not so comfortable.
However, in recent times, the steel nose protective shoes have been greatly improved and it becomes much lighter than before because many manufacturers tend to use other materials, like iron and aluminum, which still ensure equivalent protection.
Reasons Why We Should Buy Steel Toe Boots
If you still wonder if you would pay for a pair of steel toe boots, here are numerous protection functions that these footwear do for your feet:
When workers carry heavy materials in a dynamic environment, especially where people, machines and vehicles are operating at the same time, falling objects are the most common hazards.
So, the steel toe boots will most effectively prevent foot injury problems, as well as limit the dangers that occur to the worker’s feet.
Workers can step on sharp objects or get stabbed by sharp things from above. Protective shoes with heavy soles, pre-fitted thick material around the foot will provide them good protection.
In particular, at the construction sites, many sharp objects can be located on the way, so equipping a pair of soft-soled shoes may not protect the worker’s feet well enough. Therefore, don’t be economical on footwear in this case, buy a pair of high-quality protective shoes instead.
Workers may be exposed to potentially accumulating electrostatic shock in certain environments. To reduce the risk of an electrical accident, they should go for non-conductive footwear made of rubber, leather, or non-static materials.
Read more: The Best Comfortable Rubber Boots for Dairy Farmer Work in 2020
In places where electrostatic charge accumulates on the body, use anti-static and conductive shoes. They will contribute to reducing the amount of static electricity accumulated on the body.
Slips can happen in any workplace, leading to countless accidents every year. The right types of protective shoes can offer workers additional protection against slip or falls.
With proper traction, they help users prevent falling of the same level in slippery environments. Besides, they can stop falls from ladders, which are too common when workers are not wearing shoes with the right laces. Comfortable, well-fitting footwear can also improve balance, which reduces the risk of tripping and falling.
For those who stand all day working, especially on hard surfaces like concrete, fatigue is inevitable. The muscles in the legs, back, and other parts of the body will get tired.
Read more: Top 7 Best Work Boots for Concrete Reviews in 2020
The situation can get worse when you are not wearing the right footwear. The protective shoes with adequate cushioning and arch-support makes people more comfortable and less tired, thus working safer and more efficiently.
They also contribute to preventing muscle tension, protecting against musculoskeletal disorders and chronic back pain.
Burns from the fire can happen sometimes, especially from chemicals, and working materials, like cement. Shoes made from durable materials can prevent burns caused by chemicals, molten metal splash, or other dangerous substances.
Extreme weather conditions
Colder climates can lead to trauma such as frozen feet, hypothermia, etc. Those dangers cannot be ignored in the workplace. People working outside in the winter or employees working in wet, cold environments are particularly facing this risk every day.
Meanwhile, not all types of footwear are waterproof and insulated against cold, rain, snow. Therefore, you should use specialized footwear to protect your feet in the best way.
How To Choose a Good Quality Pair of Steel Toe Boots?
Risk assessment is very important for accurately identifying potential risks in the workplace. From these assessments, employers can learn about activities or materials and chemicals that could injure or damage workers. They basically help you to determine the right measures to control all workplace dangers.
Some of the hazards listed in the workplace include:
– Extreme weather conditions
– High-temperature working environment
– Humid atmosphere
– Area easy to accumulate static electricity
– Slippery, easy to stumble places
– There are many sharp objects
– Falling objects
– The environment contains acids, toxic, or explosive chemicals.
Once the risk assessment has been completed, you can begin looking for protective shoes with suitable features to protect your feet. Below are other points that you need to consider while choosing workwear:
– Do not buy cheap, low-quality protective shoes. An accident will cost you much more than the amount of money for these kinds of shoes. Not only that, but you might also get serious damage to your health.
– Do not choose shoes by personal feelings. Instead of that, choose them based on your work environment. You must consider the full criteria conditions for safety features, industry, and work environment. For example, whether it is slippery or not, or whether it has a lot of chemicals, grease, etc.
– The shoes must bring certain comfort to the users because you will have to work a lot with it, at least 8 hours a day.
Here are some suggestions for choosing protective shoes in a few jobs that you can refer to:
– Agriculture: Opt for waterproof, anti-static, heat-resistant, acid-resistant, animal-fat, steel-protective and nail-resistant protective shoes.
– Aviation: Choose shoes with a composite toe, composite puncture-proof sole, waterproof.
– Construction: Steel toe boots, anti-nails, ankle protection.
– Manufacture of food and beverage: Choose steel toe shoes that are waterproof, non-slip, heat-insulated shoes, shock absorber soles and easy to clean.
– Transport of fuel: Choose anti oil/acid, anti-slip, and anti-static steel toe shoes.
*Note when buying protective footwear
There are three common types of foot injuries affecting work: sprains, punctures, and tear injuries. Therefore, when buying protective shoes, it is necessary to ensure the following issues:
– The inside of the shoe should be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe.
– Shoes need to hold the heel firmly.
– The forefoot should allow free movement on the toes.
– Shoes should have laces across the instep to avoid slip injuries.
– Shoes should have low, wide, flat heels.
In the process of purchasing protective footwear, you need to know:
– Measure both feet before buying shoes. The feet are usually different sizes.
– Buy shoes to fit your feet.
– Consider buying shock-resistant insoles when doing work that requires walking, standing on hard floors.
How Long Will It Take To Break In Steel Toe Boots?
There’s a theory saying that steel toe boots take up to 6 months to fully break-in. However, in reality, the process is not that long! In fact, those kinds of shoes usually take around 2 months to really stretch in the sides and the instep area.
How much the shoes stretch depends on how frequency you are using them. For example, if you wear the boots for 8 hours or more and walk around 10 miles in a day, they surely will loosen much quicker.
Experience when I’m worn my boots around water and they’ve gotten wet regularly they tend to stretch more quickly.
Moreover, how quickly steel shoe boots break in also depends on the type of work you’re doing. If you are a welder, your steel toe instep is really going to stretch quickly.
If your job is just sitting at a place and only walks across the job sites when needed, your boots are going to take longer to break in.
After all, to minimize the chance of getting tight-fitting boots, always try on them before buying. Or, if you order the boots online, consult the size chart to determine if they run small or large.
In case you have already bought not-so-comfortable boots and cannot return them, take a look at our following strategies on how to break in steel toe boots fast!
How To Break in Steel Toe Boots?
Wear them for an hour a day in the first week, then, increase the amount of time to 3-4 hours each day before wearing them to work for the entire day. By doing this, you will eventually let the boots’ fibers grow around your feet.
As soon as you feel more comfortable with the pair of shoes, it will not produce any resistance. Therefore, it is likely safe to wear them while doing your activities.
Before wearing the boots daily, bend the boot’s body backward and forward a few times to facilitate flex in the soles.
Place the insoles in the boots to create additional comfort for your feet. They will provide additional cushioning to the boot’s bottom parts, which also help the sole adapt to the foot.
Stick moleskin on any part of the foot, like the toes or the heel, to avoid them rubbing against the boot’s body.
Wearing thick socks will help the padding and the boots’ fibers stretch a bit. Doing this will also help you avoid chafing or blisters.
Use band-aids when you have any minor blister while breaking in the boot. The band-aids not only shield these areas while the boots are breaking in but also prevent any blisters from becoming worse.
Consider using shoe inserts for your boots to make the boots more comfortable for you. These inserts can make steel toe boots more bearable while you have to wear them all day long.
Unlike other protective shoes, steel-toe boots do not have the capability to stretch much due to their design. Thus, remember to try to get a pair that perfectly fit your feet.
In general, there are a lot of easy methods on how to break in steel toe boots. However, you need to know that it may take a couple of months to see a large difference but they will eventually loosen in the width, instep, and heel as well if you’re doing right.
Depending on what your job is, your boots may take less or more time to fully break-in. The more active the job is, the faster the boots break-in.
In case you want to speed up the stretching process, you can go to a cobbler who will be able to loosen the shoe’s instep or width. You’ll feel a noticeable difference when you pick them up later.
But above all these tips and tricks we mentioned, it’s always crucial to try on the boots in the store prior to buying them. By doing this, you will get a perfectly fit pair of footwear without wasting too much time on breaking in them.
Hopefully, you find this article useful. If you have any great ideas, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for reading!