Your shoes are a constant companion that you can hardly do without. Embraced by the ensemble of leather, rubber and plastic, your feet find themselves enclosed inside the shoes for most of the day. And if your job dictates that you remain upright, your feet need to be up to the task. They have to be comfortable lest their complaint due to discomfort put you down. They need to be safe. This is more so if your work environment harbors numerous hazards that lurk about, looking for a foot to maim. Whatever the case, we know that for us to work efficiently, our feet need to be comfortable. And for our feet to be comfortable, they have to be encapsulated in a pair of well constructed, hard wearing boots. So what do we look for in the most comfortable work boots?
First of all, let’s get one thing clear; safety and comfort are two factors that aren’t mutually exclusive. Why do I say this? Well, most people (including certain shoe manufacturers) tend to think that for a pair of boots to be comfortable, they need not have safety features and if you want the safety features then you’ll have to compromise on comfort. That isn’t true, people. A pair or work boots can be both very comfortable and still bear the much needed safety features. So, back to my earlier question, what is it that makes a pair of work boots comfortable?
This is exactly as it sounds. It’s the ability of a pair of boots to allow the free circulation of air into and out of the boots. And it is one feature that you really need if you’re going to be on your feet all day. Without breathability, our feet tend to sweat a lot due to the heat trapped inside the boots. Then, as a result, our feet will swell causing us untoward discomfort not to mention the ghastly odor that will come wafting out of your boot when you take it off. So, yes, breathability is a factor you should look out for in your work boots. The fabric used is what endows the boot with this quality.
When your work boots are waterproof, you’re assured of your feet remaining dry under wet situations. Moisture inside work boots can cause build up of bacteria that cause foot infections. If you’re working in an area laden with water then a waterproof pair of boots should be the way to go. Again, breathability and being waterproof are not mutually exclusive. Breathability doesn’t necessarily mean pores on the boot’s upper; it just means a build that allows for proper airflow within the boot. Waterproofing, on the other hand, is use of a material and build that keeps water from entering the work boots. Both these feature can be and are found in a single pair.
For greater comfort inside your work boots, there has to be a shock absorbing mechanism built into them. This is usually provided by the outer sole and midsole collaboration. The material used for these needs to be flexible and lightweight, able to provide a cushioning for the feet. Materials like EVA- Ethylene Vinyl Acetate- are known to be quite flexible. It easily compresses to absorb a lot of the shock from a rugged terrain. A rubber material such as Vibram provides maximum traction and bolsters a pair of boots’ shock absorbing quality by giving an excellent grip. With this, you remain stable while your feet sit comfortably in the boots.
We all know that your ankles are an integral part of your feet. With the right support, they help you maintain proper standing and walking posture, stabilizing your movement with each step. And without the right support, the ankles can feel a huge amount of strain and give in long before you want to. The right work boots take this into account. They ensure your ankles have the required support. Manufacturers design the shafts to provide this much needed support. This also gives the boots an anti-fatigue feature.
The best work boots must have well thought out safety features as well. There’s no point in wearing a pair of comfortable and cuddly pair of boots that are too flimsy to protect your feet inside. You need boots that are rugged and durable. You want boots that remain graceful in the face of perils that threaten the safety of your feet. And you want the boots to provide utmost comfort in the process.
A prime feature is the safety toe protective guards. These are placed on the inside, at the tip of the boot to keep your toes safe. Materials used are steel, aluminum or a composite material. All these have their pros and cons.
Steel is known to be a tough metal that presents a no nonsense aura. It provides prime protection to your feet but tends to be a little bit on the heavy side. In effect, the boots become heavy and thus comfort is compromised. Aluminum, however, is a lightweight material that offers the same level of protection as steel. This would be ideal for those interested in a more comfortable and flexible pair of boots. But for the ultimate comfort and protection, composite materials such as carbon fiber or even Kevlar material are used. These are as rugged and hard wearing as steel but are utterly lightweight.
Protection could extend to the metatarsal area of your foot. This is the top portion of your foot that curves from your toes and rises to your shin. They are found in premium safety boots, for those who are in highly risky work places.
To answer the question, what do we look for in the most comfortable work boots; we look for a hardwearing build. We look for a well thought out design. We look for uncompromised safety. And as we’ve seen, all these can be found in a single pair of boots. The breathability, waterproofing, shock absorbing plus the safety features can all be coalesced into the ultimate pair of work boots. These are the boots that you’ll love to sink your feet into.
Where do you find such work boots, you ask? We’ve done the sifting for you. After scouring the market for the most comfortable work boots, we’ve come up with a list of five of our favorite. Take a look.
TIMBERLAND PRO MEN’S 26078 TITAN 6” WATERPROOF WORK BOOTS
They’re rugged and muscular. They are the true definition of power and strength. From their very look, their mien, everything about them screams assertiveness. There is no doubt that these shoes are made for the tough grind. Perhaps it’s the Timberland brand that creates an air of reassurance. Maybe it’s the way the shoes are designed. Perhaps it’s less of the superficial and more of the intrinsic qualities. I think it’s a combination of all of these. The Timberland Pro work boots are made of premium leather that’s soft and supple to your feet. And the leather comes with its waterproof quality, one that will ensure your feet remain dry inside the Titans.
Your toes are secured by an alloy that is tough yet flexible enough to provide comfort while you’re in motion. This safety toe is also lightweight. See, the Titan’s are both safe and comfortable.
For enhanced breathability, the Titans have moisture channeling spacer mesh linings which provide proper airflow within while maintaining odor control.
The midsoles are made of polyurethane. This is a soft and flexible material which provides cozy cushioning for your feet to rest on. It compresses easily with each step, taking in the rugged nature of the terrain, absorbing shock. It works in tandem with the Timberland PRO rubber outsoles which are not only abrasion and slip resistant but they also provide extra shock absorption.
RED WING HERITAGE MEN’S CLASSIC WORK 6 INCH MOC TOE BOOTS
These are elegant looking boots. They have a beautiful aesthetic and a calm demeanor. But don’t let this fool you. The Red Wings are an excellent pair of tough and durable work boots. They don’t, however, believe in compromising on looks for strength. With these works of art you get both. And your feet will love you for choosing them. They are made of what Red Wing call copper rough and tough leather. This is the kind of leather that can withstand total punishment that’s characteristic of your day to day work life. The leather also presents the shoes with the perfect level of water proofing, meaning your feet will remain dry inside no matter the situation.
The outsole is made of a rubber material. This isn’t any kind of rubber; it’s Red Wing’s Traction Tred kind. This provides a tremendous amount of grip on whatever surface. And to make it even more comfortable, it has a Good Year Norwegian welt construction. This gives it flexibility together with strength and durability. And we all know how amazing it is to walk in boots that have the Goodyear welt build. Built with ergonomics in mind, the heel is raised to a mere 1 inch. This keeps your foot at the perfect position for comfort while standing up, making these boots great for the workplace.
WOLVERINE MEN’S RAIDER 6” CONTOUR WELT BOOTS
Just like their name, Wolverine, these boots have grit. They are boots with a personality. And it’s a personality that comes off as self assured. When you put them on, you feel that confidence. You immediately know they’ll support you. They have a way of reassuring you of their strength. Still, putting them on and resting your feet on the inner sole, a feeling of comfort transcends from your heel to your toes. They welcome you with warmth and gentleness. Their rugged and tough look certainly belies their ability to snugly embrace your feet. This isn’t an exaggeration. The insole is made of what they call a full cushion Wolverine Multishox material. It is this that gives your foot a supple positioning in the boots giving you the much needed all day comfort.
The upper is made of full grain leather that looks good and acts tough. The leather, as we know, is strong enough to withstand the daily abuse at the action packed work place. On the inside, there’s a mesh lining that provides breathability. Air freely circulates in the boots, keeping your feet cool and dry all day.
Underneath, the Wolverine Raiders have their trademark Multishox lugged rubber outsoles. These provide an excellent level of grip to keep you stably upright even in the face of oil. They are also abrasion resistant and so should stay in good shape for a long time.
THOROGOOD AMERICAN HERITAGE SAFETY TOE BOOTS
Just like the Wolverine boots, these well crafted work boots from Thorogood Company stand tall and confident. They are manly boots made for the man with a desire for comfort and style combined with safety. The American Heritage boots present these qualities that are the hallmarks of excellent work boots. And you’ll certainly love owning this pair. They stand out with their looks. Because of this, you too will stand out. And if standing is your thing, then you’ll find yourself on your feet for a prolonged period without feeling the strain on your feet and ankles. Why is that? Thorogood have built into them, dual density shock absorption insoles. They hug your feet, flexibly taking their shape to give ultimate ergonomics. The midsole is made of PORON 4000, a comfortable cushion rubber which flexibly compresses to provide shock absorption with each step. Then underneath, it has slip resistant outsoles which are made of polyurethane. The 6 inch shaft provides support for your ankles.
For protection and as the cherry on top of these wonderful boots, the tips are reinforced with steel safety toe guards. You need not worry about foot injuries when in the impressive Thorogood American Heritage boots.
CATERPILLAR MEN’S SECOND SHIFT ST WORK BOOTS
Caterpillar has built a reputation of designing and building strong, long lasting, rugged footwear. And the Second Shift work boots are no exception. They proudly bear the CAT brand, wearing the badge with confidence. Seeing this mark of quality, you’re assured of a wonderfully built pair of work boots. And they certainly are. Clad in leather, the material endows the boots with an appealing aesthetic and a durable quality. The leather is capable of withstanding battering from a hectic work life without flinching. The Second Shifts do a good job of keeping your feet protected. With the super strong Steel Toe safety feature, not even a saw will penetrate to your toes. They’re safe inside these boots.
The outsole is made of rubber. They are thus able to resist slips and retain an excellent grip. And working with the insole, the boots provide excellent shock absorption to ensure total comfort while on your feet.
There you have it, the 5 top most comfortable work boots. And they don’t compromise on safety either. Finally, of course cost is always an issue and in this case, cheaper isn’t always expensive. Depending on your work life, choose the right work boots for you. Perhaps you don’t really need the assortment of safety features offered in certain boots. Perhaps your line of work requires you to put safety first. Whatever your budget is, our list above has boots with different levels of safety. What we are certain of is that they all present impeccable levels of comfort.