If you sit at a desk, your shoes rarely affect your work. But for those who work on their feet all day, wearing safe and comfortable work boots remains vital for getting the job done. Whether you need a steel toe, a sturdy sole or chemical resistant material — wearing the best work boot for your job can make all the difference.

Decades ago, boots with flat wedge outsoles were a staple in American factories. However, with the decline in U.S. manufacturing, the demand from traditional users declined. Today, thousands of ironworkers, landscapers, factory workers, machine shop operators, forklift drivers and car mechanics benefit from wearing boots with these proven outsoles.

Workers in these occupations stand on concrete floors, steel beams or other hard surfaces for 10 to 12 hours a day — making the work boots they wear important to their safety, comfort and productivity. The appeal of boots with flat bottom outsoles comes from the added support, cushioning and stability compared to work boots with heeled outsoles.

Workers with jobs involving climbing ladders or walking up and down stairs or grated steel steps on their trucks, may prefer boots with a defined heel and lug bottom design. This sturdy outsole helps workers lock in their boots for better grip and safety. Boots with heeled outsoles remain perfect for numerous outdoor and indoor jobs, and many truck drivers also prefer the more aggressive lug profile outsoles to the wedge.

Once you find the right boot, finding the right size also factors into your comfort and safety. If you spend most of your working day on your feet without moving much, leaving ½” extra space in front of your big toe — for soft toe boots — will allow enough room for air circulation inside your boots, which is important for your comfort and productivity on the job. For hard toe safety boots, you might need between 5/8” and 2/3” of extra space. This is important if you do a fair amount of brisk walking or crouching and bending, because your feet and toes are stretched far more than when standing, or just taking the occasional few steps around a machine.

Roofers seem to prefer Liberty Footwear’s 6” wedge lace-up boots, which offer our unique gripping outsoles that are soft enough to avoid damaging asphalt shingles. Our soft and supple leather uppers also will not pinch their feet when flexed at extreme angles. Similarly, workers who lay floor tile appreciate the flexibility of our work boots, combined with superior cushioning, excellent slip resistance and non-marking outsoles.

For workers facing the challenge of working around harsh substances or in rough outdoor environments, our hiker style rubber cup outsole offers excellent resistance to gas, diesel and aggressive cutting oils, raised side walls for better protection and better grip on muddy or rocky terrains and resistance to abrasion.

Unfortunately, many people experience difficulty finding comfortable work boots. In some cases, this results from slight differences in sizing between some people’s feet. Liberty Footwear remains one of the few companies in the world that offers this option. Individuals can benefit from custom sizing and fitting that adjusts their boot size for each foot individually, ensuring comfort and functionality when on the job. Liberty Footwear is proud to offer this unique solution for all of our boots and shoes.

Your work boot’s heel height also factors in how comfortable you will be while working on your feet all day. Work boots with a 5/8” heel height is recommended over work boots with 6/8” and even 7/8” heels. However, the degree of heel lift is personal to each customer, affected by foot structure, weight and posture.

For more information about finding the right boot for your job from the experts at Liberty Footwear, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.930.3060.

Jon Conkling

Author Jon Conkling

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