While every job has its own risks, it seems that in certain industries the safety hazards that employees are exposed to are much higher. Apart from evaluating these risks and taking the suitable safety measures, being equipped with the proper workwear for the job is of paramount importance.
Although usually, the primary focus is put on protective clothing, wearing the right type of footwear is equally important. Wearing suitable shoes is even more so important if you’re constantly on the go dealing with traffic, handling heavy machinery, construction work or working in particularly cold environments.
So, yes, work shoes are a must, however, many people seem to be confused when it comes to choosing between steel toe shoes and soft toe work boot models. Both of these types are commonly used, however, they have distinct features and their own pros and cons.
Soft Toe Boots
You can guess by their name that the front part of these boots is soft. They do provide some level of protection even though their toe box isn’t reinforced. Many Australian brands design sturdy boots of this kind which are a great option if you don’t require extra protection in the toe area.
Moreover, don’t underestimate the quality of soft toe work boots as they have various protective features that come in handy when you want to avoid slip accidents and electrical hazards thanks to their outstanding outsoles. On the plus side, they’re also very lightweight, which means they’re comfortable and suitable for work in areas with magnetic risks.
If you’re working in high-risk conditions where there’s always the danger of objects falling on your feet, suffering punctures and cuts, then these are the best boots for you. Apart from the reinforcement in the toe box and the protection from injuries of flying objects, they also offer the safety features of soft toe boots.
In case you don’t need that much protection it’s best to opt for the soft work boots instead because steel toe shoes can be quite heavy, may strain on your feet and cause corns if they’re not properly cushioned, are poor-fitting and if you’re wearing them for hours. For those of you wondering ‘can you wear work boots casually’, worth noting is that in some cases you can wear the soft toe work boot model if you find a design that appeals to your taste and style.
Can’t make up your mind between the two models? Don’t worry, there’s another choice – the composite toe boot. The difference between composite toe boots and steel toe ones is that they don’t contain any metal features in their design and can be made of carbon fibre, heavy-duty plastics and rubber.
They’re the typical middle choice as they aren’t very lightweight nor too heavy. They provide a moderate level of protection and are great for work in extreme temperatures, meaning they keep your feet cool in hot weather and warm when the temperatures drop.
Features to Consider
Waterproofness, oil-resistance and slip-resistance are other important features to consider when buying. Always check the material the model is made from and choose the one that’s most suitable for your needs and working conditions. The material can also be a good indicator of the quality and durability of the work shoe.
When working with chemicals and pathogens, be sure to double-check for a waterproof lining. In terms of comfort, it’s good to look for injection-moulded insoles and for a model that provides the proper cushioning.
Last but not least, there’s the ease of putting your work shoes on and taking them off. Look for a model with industrial-grade zippers for better convenience of use and durability.