If OSHA Made Safety Boots, What Would They Look Like?

Safety BootsOSHA, OSHA, OSHA…So many regulations, what are we to do? Simple. Follow them. No matter what we think, or what we hear, the bottom line is that OSHA regulations are in place to protect us on the job site. I mean, who really wants to lose their toes because they didn’t lace up the right safety boots in the morning? Seriously.

And that’s what I’d like to talk to you about. That is, how you can protect your feet on the job site by abiding by OSHA’s policies. Let’s take it a little further. If you’ve ever read some of OSHA’s policies regarding footwear, you will know that according to regulation 1910.136(a), “Each affected employee shall wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.

The thing is, for many of us, we have constantly changing work environments and work hazards. So why not just plan ahead and be ready for the worst,right? That’s why I wanted to go inside the mind of OSHA and see what they would do. Yup. If OSHA made a pair of safety boots, what would it look like. In this article, I am going to take the 4 biggest protective footwear concerns and:

  • Identify the OSHA regulations
  • Explain what they mean in laymen terms
  • Highlight protective footwear features that would meet those standards
  • Sum it all up by identifying a boot out there that encompasses it all

So, here we go…

Protective Toe (PT): Safety Toe Boots

Of course, when we think of OSHA footwear safety requirements, we think of the Safety Toe Boots. While this is not mandatory on all jobs, it is definitely a must if you are working in a place where you risk injury from a falling object. This is vaguely defined in OSHA’s “1926.96 – Occupational foot protection.” regulation. Really, they are looking for you to wear a boot that meets the “American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard for Men’s Safety-Toe Footwear, Z41.1-1967”. Essentially, the ANSI standard mandates that work boots meet or exceed a compression and an impact test. Typically, when you are looking for Safety Toe Boots, they will specify that the boots meet or exceed the ANSI standard. And of course, you will see the initials “PT” for Protective Toe.

Then, what options do you have? Steel Toe, Aluminum Toe, and Composite Toe. Steel Toe is the most common that you will find out there. It is super durable, however it is the heaviest of the options. Whereas the Aluminum and Composite Toe are much lighter than Steel, but they make the toe box pretty wide and somewhat clunky. Also, Aluminum and Composite Safety Toe Boots will be your go-to if you are looking for boots that don’t conduct electricity. So, there is a bit of a trade off there. Bottom line, as long as you get one of these that meet or exceed the ANSI standard you will be good to go.

Metatarsal Resistance (Mt): Metatarsal Guard Boots

WARNING: This video is both dramatic and impressive. It will get you  thinking about the importance of metatarsal guard boots.

So, do you want to get your hands on these boots? Check them out here: Justin’s 8″ Met Guard Boot with Composite Toe

The metatarsal bones are located on the top, middle of your foot. Just think about where the Protective Toe ends and the laces begin. That’s where they are located. So, if you are in a place with risk of any objects falling on your foot you should be looking into Metatarsal Guard Boots. After all, you are already spending the money to protect your toes anyway with the Protective Toe. But, if something falls higher on your foot you will be in a world of hurt. That’s why it is seriously important to have a Metatarsal Guard that complies with the metatarsal impact resistance standards F2412-05 ASTM.

metatarsal guard bootsThen what should you do? Well, there are two options. Get an add-on Metatarsal Guard or buy a new pair of Metatarsal Guard Boots that have a built-in guard. OK. Understandably, if you have a perfectly good pair of boots you may not be inclined to go out and buy a whole new pair of work boots with a built-in Metatarsal Guard. So, you can get an add-on which just straps onto your existing boot and provides all of the protection. I recommend the Kanga Tuff Met Guard Metatarsal Guard Safety Footwear Attachment By MidasG. Not only does it comply with the metatarsal impact resistance standards F2412-05 ASTM, but it can be attached with your laces or by using optional straps (for boots without laces).

Puncture Resistance (PR): Puncture Resistant Boots

Ever catch a flat tire because a nail jabbed straight into it? Well, the rubber on a tire isn’t too different from the rubber on a work boot. That is, of course, if you step on a nail or something sharp you can bet that it will penetrate through your boot into the bottom of your foot. OUCH! The thing is, there aren’t too many options for Puncture Resistant Boots to protect you in these situations. So, if this is a fear of yours, you need to find where it expressly states “PR” to ensure you are getting this type of Safety Boots.

Like the Metatarsal Guard, you are afforded two options to get this protection. The first is, to buy a pair of work boots that explicitly states that they are Puncture Resistant Boots. Again, I understand that you might not want to replace your existing boots just yet. So, the other option is to buy a pair of Puncture Resistant Insoles that you can put in the footbed underneath the insole or to use as the primary insole. The Puncture Resistant Insoles are typically made out of steel, and will make sure that things like nails, glass, and jagged rocks don’t penetrate through to your foot.

Puncture Resistant Boots

I recommend Impacto RHINOTUFFC Rhinotuff Puncture Resistant Insole, Yellow. They come in various sizes, have a cushioned top so you can use it as the primary insole and, most importantly, uses a stainless steel plate to protect against penetration from sharp objects. According to Impacto’s website it, “meets minimum force resistance of 270 lbs as specified in ASTM F2413.”

Electrical Hazard (EH): Electrical Hazard Boots

electrical hazard bootsAre you working on a job site or in a trade where you are exposed to Electrical Hazards? Then check this out. According to 1910.335(a)(1)(i), “Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.

How do you protect your feet from electrical shock? Sorry, in this case, there isn’t an add-on. What you will need is a pair of Electrical Hazard Boots. This type of footwear is manufactured with non-conductive electrical shock resistant soles and heels. The Workplace Safety Awareness Council deems that, “It must be capable of withstanding the application of 14,000 volts at 60 hertz for one minute with no current flow or leakage current in excess of 3.0 milliamperes, under dry conditions.

When shopping for Electrical Hazard Boots, simply look for the “EH” symbol on the boot or shoes to determine if it is in compliance with OSHA standards.

So, What Do These Safety Boots Look Like???

After doing all of the research and writing this article, I was pretty hard pressed to find a Safety Boot that included all four of these safety features. It seemed like all of the boots that I found with a Puncture Resistant Insole, did not have have a Metatarsal Guard. However, what I found is that the boots featuring a Metatarsal Guard almost always have a Protective Toe and are Electrical Hazard rated. So, the three Safety Boots below feature a Protective Toe, Metatarsal Guard and Electrical Hazard protection, and do not have a Puncture Resistant Insole. I’d recommend buying that pair of Puncture Resistant Insoles separately as an add-on to round out your protection. Now that you are armed with this information, take action and protect one of your most valuable assets, your feet.

The Ultimate Safety Boots Guide To Help Protect Your Feet

Pictures
Brand Name Boot Material & ConstructionSafety Features Amazon Rating
Dr. Martens Men's Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe Met Guard Boot- Full Grain Leather
- Double Stitched Construction
- External Metatarsal Guard
- Steel Toe
- Electrical Hazard Protection
4.3 *
Timberland PRO Men's 40000 Met Guard 6' Steel Toe Boot- Ever-Guard Leather (Waterproof & Heat Resistant Up To 346 degrees)
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- External Metatarsal Guard
- Steel Toe
- Electrical Hazard Protection
- Slip-, Oil-, Abrasion-, and Heat-Resistant Sole
4.3 *
Keen Utility Men's Louisville 6-Inch Internal Met Work Boot- Waterproof Nubuck Leather & Synthetic
- Cement Construction
- Internal Metatarsal Guard
- Steel Toe
- Electrical Hazard Protection
- Slip-Resistant Sole
4.5 *

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


The Most Comfortable Work Boots Reviews: Top Choices & Features ->

How To Care For Leather Boots: Discover My Best Practices

Did you just buy a new pair a boots and want to give them the “white glove” treatment? Or let me guess, you are trying to make up for months of savagely neglecting your existing work boots? Either way, I have some bad-ass advice to show you how to take care of leather boots.

Depending on what class you fall into, you will need to follow different steps. Meaning, if you are a “neglector” and need to give your existing boots some TLC, you will need to clean the them first. And for that, I’d first refer you on over to my “How To Clean Work Boots” article. But once you’re done there, come back and join us for round two, showing you how to care for leather boots. Ultimately, there are 3 steps to caring for your leather work boots.

CCW Strategy

How To Care For Leather Boots

But before we jump in, let’s talk about why you should give your boots more than just stank feet and a dark spot in the corner.

Why You MUST Care For Leather Boots: Hold The Excuses

Do you get routine oil changes?
Do you wipe down your faucets?
Do you brush your teeth?

The list goes on…While I’m hoping you do all of these things, I’m not going to sit here and give you advice on why you should. It’s intuitive. OK, maybe I will…

If you don’t get routine oil changes, your car is destined for a breakdown.
If you don’t wipe down your faucets, the finish is bound to pit and peel.
If you don’t brush your teeth, well, you won’t have any.

So, the same goes when we are talking about caring for your work boots. If you are going to spend the money on the best work boots, at least dedicate a little time caring for them. Because if you don’t, you will find that they won’t last too long.

The standard side effects of not caring for leather boots are:

Leather drying out
Leather cracking
Sole separating from boot
Getting your feet soaked (leading to poor foot health)
Looking like a bum (definitely don’t want to fall into this category)

OK. You get it now. Let’s talk about what you can do to prevent these outcomes.

How To Condition Leather Boots: With Leather Honey Leather Conditioner

Many people make the mistake of waiting to condition their leather boots. Although it is important to condition used work boots, it is just as important to condition them brand new, right out of the box, especially since boots usually aren’t conditioned by the manufacturer.

While there are many ways to condition leather boots using different oils, I’m not going to waste your time exploring on this one. There is a leather conditioner out there that will not only protect/restore your boots, but will do it so well that you won’t have to keep lathering them up every month. I mean, this stuff is the bomb! It not only conditions the leather, but it provides water resistance and can help to break in the boot. It’s the trifecta. A hat trick in the world of leather conditioners.

What am I talking about? Leather Honey Leather Conditioner.. While I have provided a plethora of different at home ways to clean your work boots, there really is only one way to properly condition them. And that’s because it takes a whole lot more than your typical around the house product to penetrate leather. And Leather Honey does it better than any brand.

The thing is, leather is just like our skin. It needs natural oils to stay healthy and strong. However, leather is no longer attached to its rightful owner that was providing its nutrients. So, we need to step up and provide for it. And Leather Honey makes it easy for us. That’s because it does something that most leather conditioners can’t – IT PENETRATES DEEP INTO THE LEATHER. The thing with leather is that you can’t just count on a superficial coating to do the trick. You know, if you get your standard leather conditioner it might make your leather look rejuvenated, but in reality that is just on the surface. So you not only lose the natural water resistance that conditioner can provide, but you end up having to recondition the leather multiple times per month.

On the other hand, Leather Honey’s all-natural formula penetrates deep into the leather restoring all of the leather. This means that you don’t have to repeat the process over and over again. The conditioner will hold up, and Leather Honey claims that with the proper application, you can go over 6 months without applying another layer. Now before we get into how to use Leather Honey, let’s just recap what it can do that other conditioners can’t:

  • Penetrates deep into the leather to provide the longest lasting protection
  • Protects new leather
  • Conditions used leather
  • Provides natural water repelling properties
  • Can be used on all leathers, including Nubuck (CANNOT BE USED ON SUEDE)
  • Made in the USA
  • Unlimited 100% satisfaction LIFETIME guarantee! If you’re not satisfied, return the product AT ANY TIME for a full refund

For those of you concerned about the use of this product on Nubuck, I pulled a FAQ from their official site. According to Leather Honey’s FAQ,

“Can I use Leather Honey products on Natuzzi, Aniline, or Nubuck leathers?
Yes! Leather Honey works well on all types of leather, with the exception of suede. If you’d like to hear directly from our customers, please go to testimonials related to using Leather Honey on Natuzzi, Aniline, and Nubuck leathers. Please remember that we always suggest doing a spot test in a hidden area before applying Leather Honey to the entire item.”

Read more: http://www.leatherhoney.com/faq/#ixzz3I3CkXg74

So there you have it, the ultimate leather conditioner.

How To Use Leather Honey: The Right Way

Before using any leather conditioner, including Leather Honey, always spot test it first. Of course, leather conditioner can and will darken the leather of the boot but it is usually only temporary. So start with a small application in a discreet area, such as the tongue or heel.

6 Simple Steps
How To Care For Leather Boots

  1. Remove the laces
  2. Clean boots thoroughly with Saddle Soap, and let fully dry ***Conditioner works best when the boots are dry and can fully absorb the oils
  3. Pour a bit of Leather Honey on a lint free cloth
  4. Apply the Leather Honey onto the boot in a consistent back and forth motion, covering the entire boot
  5. Let the boot sit for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight
  6. Once absorbed, wipe away any excess Leather Honey from the boot

Here’s the thing, I can tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to these types of “chores.” So, one of the reasons that I love this product is because if you do it infrequently, but you do it like a BOSS, it can hold up for a long time. Typically, I’ll start to notice the leather start to dry out or fade, and that’s when it dawns on me to break out the conditioner. When I finally man up and get it going, I’ll repeat this process above 2-3 times.

The only way to know how many applications you need, is to apply the Leather Honey, let it set and see if it fully absorbs. If it does fully absorb without leaving any excess, you can bet that your boots need another application. You can’t hurt the leather by repeating the process. The worst thing that can happen is you use too much and it leaves a thick layer on top of the leather, which you will just have to wipe away. But, if you can give your boot 2-3 applications you can bet your ass that your boots will stay conditioned for 6 months plus.

Not only does Leather Honey penetrate deep into the leather, but its thick consistency naturally fills the pores of the leather, creating natural water resistance. However, if you want to go above and beyond the call of waterproofing, there are some great options, especially for those of you working in wet conditions.

How To Waterproof Leather Boots: With Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather

While there are a bunch of different products out there, I like to pair up Leather Honey with a wax paste. And my go-to, for quite a few reasons, is Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather. The primary reason for using Nikwax, is that it is a great compliment to Leather Honey, since it does not soften leather like Leather Honey can. It simply coats the surface of the leather. So, let me point out the key features of Nikwax’s product.

How To Care For Leather Boots

  • Minimizes water absorption
  • Works right away
  • Does not soften leather
  • Can be applied to wet surfaces
  • Won’t impact breathability
  • 100% Water based and Biodegradable. Contains NO fluorocarbons/ Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

And just how should you use it?

5 Simple Steps

  1. Clean your boots with Saddle Soap (There is no need to wait for your boots to dry)
  2. Shake the bottle
  3. Squeeze some onto your boot
  4. Rub the wax into your boots with the built in applicator or your fingers
  5. After applying, wipe away any excess with a damp cloth

However, if you have Nubuck or Suede leather, you may want to try a different waterproofing option.

How To Waterproof Leather Boots: With Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Proof Spray-on

How To Care For Leather Boots

For those of you with Nubuck or Suede leather, you might want to use a spray designed for this material. Especially since the wax can flatten out the knap of these types of leather.

Again, I am a fan of Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Proof Spray-on And that is of course because it provides the same qualities of the wax, but it is exclusively designed for Nubuck and Suede to maintain the texture of the leather. Oh yea, this spray does not contain any aerosol propellants either so you won’t get light headed while doing this. However, you will have to let this product sit and fully dry before use.

To apply, just:

  1. Brush any dirt off of your boots using a nylon brush
  2. Shake the bottle thoroughly
  3. Spray the boots
  4. Let it sit for 2 minutes
  5. Wipe away excess with a dry cloth
  6. Let it sit for a couple of hours to fully dry

Well, I hope I made it easy on you. You should now have a pretty clear understanding how to care for leather boots. The thing is, when it comes to protecting the leather long term, you just can’t make sacrifices. So sticking with these highly reputable products that are proven to work will go a long way. These products just so happen to be the ones that I use and am comfortable recommending. So as always, if you have any feedback on these products, or have your own go-to products, tell me about it in the comments section.

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


If OSHA Made Safety Boots, What Would They Look Like? ->

How To Clean Work Boots: 10 Easy, At Home Tips (You might need your kids help for #8)

How To Clean Work BootsHave you given your boots the beating that your job demands? Damn straight! That’s what we are in the business for. But, now your boots are stained with oil, caked with mud, and smell like someone put sardines in them. It’s alright. There are solutions for all of these. And it is vital that you take me up on them, because if you don’t implement my tips on how to clean work boots, you will find yourself buying a new pair sooner than expected. And its’ a crying shame to waste that hard earned beer money. Hold up now, before you start reading these kick ass tips, you will want to identify what type of boot material you have. So…

Identifying Your Boot Material: Finished & Unfinished Leather

If you really want to know how to clean leather boots properly, you will first have to identify if they are finished or unfinished. That’s because these types react differently to certain cleaners and conditioners. The two most common types of leather used in work boots are Full Grain and Nubuck Leather. Full Grain will be finished and Nubuck will be unfinished. If you’re not sure what you’re working with, there are a couple of easy ways to identify the boot material. And of course, the easiest way is to see if there is a tag in your boot identifying the material. But, if it isn’t there, you will need to check out these two tests.

Test 1: Give them a grill

No, don’t throw them on the grill just give them a hard look. Since finished leather has a coating applied at the end of the boot making process, you can usually tell pretty easily by looking at the boot. These boots are typically shiny and have a cold, plastic-like feel. On the other hand, unfinished leather work boots have a matte, brushed look that is soft to the touch.

Test 2: Absorption

A quick way to confirm your hypothesis is to put a little bit of water on the boot. If the boot absorbs the water right away it is unfinished, and if it just sits there it is finished. Of course, some unfinished leather, like Waterproof Nubuck Leather, might show as a false positive by not absorbing the water. So you will always want to make the best judgement possible with a combination of the visual and absorption tests.

OK. So now you have identified your work boot material. It’s time to move on to the cleaning preparation.

Boot Cleaning: The Pregame

Before moving on to how to clean your work boots, there is one important last step. And that is, the pregame clean. Since most of these steps will require some form of liquid, mixed with the fact that you are likely facing some dirt covered boots, we want to avoid creating a muddy situation.

So, with that comes THE PREGAME TIP. Get a nylon brush to remove the dirt and sediment that has built up around your boots. You can use anything from an old toothbrush, to a brush for the dishes. The important thing is to make sure that the brush isn’t too jagged, as to not damage the leather. Once you have the brush, work your way around the boot giving it a nice and gentle back and forth motion to remove all dirt.

And now, you are ready for the boot cleaning tips.

How To Clean Leather Boots: For Finished Leather

#1) How To Clean Leather Boots: With Saddle Soap

When it comes to using soap to clean your boots, any old soap won’t do. The tried and true soap is called Saddle Soap. This is a mild soap designed to clean leather boots, without wearing out the leather. And I recommend Fiebing Saddle Soap Yellow. However, if you did want to use a household soap, the key is to find something that is MILD. And most often, household soaps are full of unnatural chemicals which just don’t jive well with leather. But, something like Dr Bronner Magic Soap would be a good option, as it is really mild.

5 Simple Steps sadlre

  1. Dampen a cloth in warm water
  2. Rub cloth on saddle soap or in soapy water to create a lather
  3. Apply lather to the boot using a solid circular scrubbing motion
  4. Wipe the boot down with warm water to remove any excess soap
  5. Dry the boot using a cloth

Ultimately, I have saddle soap as the #1 way to clean leather boots because it is specifically made for cleaning leather. And it has been the product chosen for many years. However, if you want to be more creative, or must clean your boots right this second and don’t have these types of soaps already mentioned, read on to find some other adventurous ways. Just please keep the harsh detergents away. Thank you!

#2) How To Clean Leather Boots: With Baby Wipes

Come on now, don’t act like you don’t have baby wipes lying around the house. While not all baby wipes are created equal, you can bet that they are much more mild than your common household soap. Sometimes…Again, there can often be a lot of alcohol in baby wipes so try and avoid those, if at all possible. Don’t believe me, just think about the last time you used baby wipes, did they sting? If so, you got the ones loaded up with alcohol, which when applied too often can really wear out the leather. My recommendation is something like Seventh Generation Thick & Strong Baby Wipes. They are alcohol free, and are pretty rugged for our purpose.

5 Simple Steps, I mean really simple… how to clean work boots

  1. Get your baby wipes
  2. Scrub the boot leather with the baby wipe (Gets the initial grime off)
  3. Discard soiled baby wipe
  4. Repeat with clean one (Makes sure to get the job done)
  5. Let the boot air dry

#3) How To Remove Salt Stains: With Vinegar

While uncommon in SoCal, I have had my fair share of run-ins with salt stains back in New York. If you live in a place that snows and has salt trucks making routine sweeps pouring salt on the streets, there is a good chance that you are dealing with salt stains on your boots. And this isn’t something to take lightly, as salt can quickly wear out the leather. I mean, just look at what salt does to the pavement!

So, to get rid of those stains you will simply need some vinegar. This is pretty much my go to with any sort of mineral stains, and I always recommend that my customers clean their plumbing fixtures the same way. Vinegar is one of those “around the house” items that is strong enough to break down salt crystals, without being super abrasive like a common household cleaner.

7 Simple Steps how to clean work boots

  1. Make a 50/50 mixture of white distilled vinegar with warm water (dilutes abrasiveness)
  2. Shake up the mixture
  3. Soak a cloth in the solution
  4. Apply it the salt stains in little circular motions
  5. Wipe the boot down with plain old warm water to remove any excess vinegar
  6. Dry the boot off using a cloth
  7. Repeat if necessary

#4) How To Remove Oil Stains: With Cornstarch

Whether you are a pizza addict who just dropped a slice on your boots, or a mechanic that sopped up some engine oil, there is a simple solution to getting rid of your oil stains. And that is, cornstarch.

It is both easy to use, and a multi-purpose ingredient. If you don’t have some lying around your house, you shouldn’t feel too bad running to the store to pick some up. That’s because this is a great ingredient to cook with as well. Primarily used as a thickening agent because of its ability to quickly absorb water and oils, it will do to the trick with the oil on your work boots.

7 Simple Steps

  1. Blot away excess oil/grease with a cloth or a paper towel. (You don’t obviously want to wipe it away as this would cause it to absorb even more.)
  2. Sprinkle the cornstarch on the stain, covering it up entirely. Don’t be afraid to use too much.
  3. Let it sit for several hours, and preferably overnight.
  4. Brush away cornstarch with your nylon brush.
  5. Ensure that all cornstarch is removed by cleaning with soapy water.
  6. Wipe the boot down with warm water to remove any excess soap and cornstarch
  7. Dry the boot off using a cloth

#5) How To Remove Scratches: With Olive Oil

While it tastes great on a piece of bread, Olive Oil is also a great way to remove scratches from your boots. And it is really easy. Although Olive Oil is my preference, you could use any cooking oil as a substitute.

6 Simple Steps oliveoil

  1. Pour a teaspoon of Olive Oil into a little cup
  2. Break out those q-tips that have been collecting dust
  3. Dip the q-tip into the Olive Oil
  4. Apply the Olive Oil to the scratch in a gentle fashion
  5. Let the Olive Oil sit for 1 minute
  6. Wipe away the Olive Oil with a damp cloth

#6) How To Remove Scuffs: With Baking Soda

Another household product, Baking Soda. Yes, who would think that Baking Soda would be the key to removing scuffs from your boots. But, it turns out to be pretty darns reliable. So…

6 Simple Steps baking-soda

  1. Pour a tablespoon of baking soda into a little cup
  2. Wet a cloth in warm water
  3. Dip the cloth into the baking soda
  4. Gently rub the baking soda over the scuff in a gentle circular motion
  5. Wipe the excess baking soda away with a damp cloth
  6. Buff with a dry cloth

How To Clean Leather Boots: For Unfinished Leather

So, if you are faced with dirty boots made of Nubuck or Suede leather, you CANNOT use those methods previously described. The thing is that you don’t want to apply any liquids to these types of leather, as it can darken or stain the leather. Which may have you wondering just what the heck you should do if your Nubuck or Suede leather boots are dirty or stained.

#7) How To Clean Suede Boots & Nubuck Boots: With a Nylon Brush

If you have dirt all over your boots, there aren’t a ton of options that you have. You are really just going to need to use a nylon brush. This will simply brush away dirt, while restoring the knap of the suede or Nubuck.

2 Simple Steps

  1. Brush leather in back and forth direction to best remove dirt
  2. Once dirt has noticeably disappeared, brush in only one direction (This will give you a uniform shade in the knap of the leather)

#8) How To Remove Dirt Stains From Suede And Nubuck: With An Eraser? eraser

Faced with one of those formidable stains on your suede or Nubuck? Don’t fret, because your kid definitely has the solution. It’s time to break out the good old pencil case. Yes, if you have some noticeable scuff stains (not oil stains), you can use a piece of rubber, such as a rubber eraser to remove them. So tell your kid to be a good sport and lend you an eraser so you can erase these stains like a bad grade from a report card.

2 Simple Steps

  1. Rub the piece of rubber/eraser in a back and forth motion over the stains
  2. Once stain has been removed, brush leather in one direction with your nylon brush for a consistent look

#9) How To Remove Oil Stains From Suede And Nubuck: With Cornstarch

And cornstarch strikes again. Only this time, we are going to be deleting some of the steps from the Finished Leather section. Because as I already mentioned, you want to avoid applying any liquids to suede and Nubuck, unless it is expressly designed for these materials. So you will notice that all the steps are the same, except for the last 3 steps which were deleted.

4 Simple Steps

  1. Blot away excess oil/great with a cloth or a paper towel (You don’t obviously want to wipe it aways as this would cause it to absorb even more)
  2. Sprinkle the cornstarch on the stain, covering it up entirely. Don’t be afraid to use too much
  3. Let it sit for several hours, and preferably overnight
  4. Brush away cornstarch with your nylon brush

#10) How To Clean & Care For Nubuck & Suede: The Ultimate Package ultimatekit

So if you are sick of your wife getting on your ass because you’re turning your boot cleaning process into a science project, I got something for you. It is called the Gear Aid ReviveX Nubuck, Suede & Fabric Boot Care Kit. This kit is ideal for cleaning, waterproofing and preventing stains on nubuck and suede leathers. It includes a waterproofer, boot brush, scuff eraser block and a bag to keep it all organized. So not only will you be geared for cleaning your beat up boots, but you will have everything you need to make sure that you protect them moving forward.

With all of these ways you learned how to clean your leather boots, suede boots and Nubuck boots, you should be on the right track to getting more life out of them. And of course, if you have tried any of these tips, whether they worked for you or not, I want you to let me know.

Heck, maybe you even have a tip that just HAS TO BE on this list. Either way, simply hit me up on the contact form so I can get your feedback.

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


 

How To Care For Leather Boots: Discover My Best Practices->

How To Break In Boots: Good, Better, Best…

How To Break In BootsResearch. Check
Purchase. Check
Fits. Check
Broken in ???

So you’ve got a new pair of work boots, but when you tried them on the material felt a little stiff. Well, don’t get pissed off just yet. This happens, especially with leather work boots that have a safety toe. Have you ever played baseball? If so, you probably have gone through a similar experience with breaking in your new leather mitt. It’s just expected that you will have to dedicate some time to break it in. So you oil it, pop a baseball in it, and put it under your mattress while you sleep. Then you…alright, you get the picture.

Anyway, there are quite some similarities between breaking in a new baseball mitt and a new pair of boots. Yea, there are even those people that swear by certain “urban” legend style techniques. But I’m not going to explore that too much. In fact, I’m going to give you 3 simple at home ways to show you how to break in boots. But first, something that we should all do first.

Maximizing Break In Effectiveness: 2 Simple Pregame Tips

Trim your toenails, before they become hangnails

Before jumping to conclusions about the boot fitting, ask yourself, “When was the last time I cut my toenails?” If you can’t recall, then you need to get out the ole’ nail chompers and give them a clip or two.

Not only will this give you a better indication of the boots’ fit, but it will serve you well when you implement one of my steps mentioned later. Basically, if you have some long nails, especially on the big toe, you risk having that nail rub up against the toe box. This can eventually lead to you losing your nail, and increasing the pain of breaking in your work boots. Heck, it could even mean putting your break in methods on hold for a few weeks.

So take heed, and just clip your toenails!

Determine Your “Problem Area”

Pretty easy to comprehend, but vital to breaking in your work boots effectively. Because for 2 of the 3 steps I’m going to throw your way, you will need to determine your problem area.

So, let’s get those stiff boots back out of the box and give it another shot. This time, get some tape, preferably scotch or masking tape. You don’t need anything heavy duty, as it will just be used as an indicator.

Slide the boots back on your feet, with the socks that you would normally wear to work, and walk around your house for a bit until you start to feel where the boots are stiff and causing pain. Once you have a good understanding, bust out the tape. You want to tear a small piece of tape off and place it in each area that your boots are causing discomfort. Don’t forget, each foot is unique and is shaped differently, so focus on one boot at a time.

Now you’re ready to learn how to break in boots…

Good, Better, Best: 3 Tips on How to Break in Boots

Good: Put your boots in the freezer, really?

Do you have kids? Because this could be a 2 for 1 project. You can not only learn how to stretch leather boots, but it can be your kid’s science fair project. I have to admit, until very recently, I had no idea that this was such a popular method for breaking in your boots. But people swear by it! And this can be used on all different types of materials: leather, suede, distressed leather, etc.

The true science happens as the water freezes and turns to ice, which then expands in your boot and stretches out the material. Regardless, I had to do my own research and write about it. And there are basically 10 easy steps to it:

What you’ll need for each boot:
2: Quart or Gallon Sized Freezer Bags
1: Cup Water (Use more for added stretching action)
1: Boot
1: Freezer

how to break in boots

 

***Repeat if necessary.***

Better: Discover The Ultimate Leather Boot Conditioner

When it comes to using a boot oil to break in work boots, it seems that products like mink oil are often the most recommended. Now, while they certainly break in your work boots, they can also break them down. The key to all things boots is, you want to balance comfort with durability. And although mink oil will offer comfort, it will certainly take years off your boot. So, I don’t recommend it, nor do I recommend any animal fat product.

Then, what should you do? Simple! Use Leather Honey. This product is a leather conditioner that not only protects your boots, but it breaks them in the proper way. Because this product penetrates all the way through the thick layer of the leather, it really helps to soften up the leather without breaking them down. Not to mention, it will condition the leather and create natural water resistance.

Some great features of this product are:

  • Breaks in and protects new leather boots
  • Restores used leather boots
  • Absorbs into air pockets in leather, creating natural water repellant
  • Made in the USA, since 1968
  • No Chemicals Used
  • Can be used on all leathers, including Nubuck (Not For Use On Suede)
  • Unlimited 100% satisfaction LIFETIME guarantee! If you’re not satisfied, return the product AT ANY TIME for a full refund

This is a product that I also talk highly of in my “How To Care For Leather Boots” article. But if you are just interested in breaking them in for now, continue to read on.

And the product is really easy to use. Here are the steps that I discuss in my other article:

6 Simple Steps:

  1. Remove the laces
  2. Clean boots thoroughly with Saddle Soap, and let fully dry. (Conditioner works best when the boots are dry and can fully absorb the oils)
  3. Pour a bit of Leather Honey on a lint free cloth
  4. Apply the Leather Honey onto the boot in a consistent back and forth motion, covering the entire boot
  5. Let the boot sit for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight
  6. Once absorbed, wipe away any excess Leather Honey from the boot

You can, and should, repeat this process as much as you want. But I recommend that you apply it until the boot stops absorbing the Leather Honey all the way. Because as long as it is absorbing all of the Leather Honey, it is evident that your leather boots are thirsty for more.

Best: Man up and wear them: Well, Kind of…

While you may think that you can just tough it out and break in your boots, I’m going to caution you and say, yes. Or at least, to a certain degree. And you thought I was going to tell you flat out, no. But the truth is, that wearing your new boots to work is one of the best ways to break those suckers in. Just hold it a second! Did you cut your toenails? OK, good.

So where is the helpful advice? Bring a backup pair of shoes with you. For those of you who are not new to your trade and just replaced a beat down pair of boots, just bring those old beat down pair boots. As for the rookies out there, scrounge together whatever worn in footwear that you can find that will meet the safety requirement of your job. Another option would be to wear a thicker pair of socks, or double them up, as to pad your feet from the areas that are irritating you.

The thing is, you want to wear your new boots as much as possible without hurting your feet and getting blisters. So, wear them until you feel some pain on-setting. Then, replace them with your old torn up boots or maybe your fathers hand-me-downs that you are embarrassed about. This will help to get those boots broken in faster, without compromising your health and comfort. The focus is to keep increasing the amount of time you wear your boots until they are fully equipped to be worn the entire course of the work day.

Whether you read this to learn how to break in boots, or to just find out how to stretch leather boots, you should be on the fast track. I understand that there are a ton of different ways to go about it, but I really just focused on the methods that I know first hand. But if you have found a solid way to get it done, or have used one of these methods successfully, please send me a comment. Maybe I’ll even add it to this article. Until then…

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


 

How To Clean Work Boots: 10 At Home Ways With Simple To Follow Steps  ->

Insulated Work Boots: Best Way To Keep Your Feet Warm?

Insulated Work Boots

Thump, thump, thump…The sound of boots hitting the ground, but you don’t even know it. Why is that? Quite possibly because you have lost the very feeling in your toes. Oooff. Not a good situation to be in, let alone think about. While we have all been there before, we inevitably do a poor job to avoid it. There are certainly a plethora of ways to keep those million dollar feet warm throughout the course of a work day. Then, why can’t we just make it easy on ourselves? Truth be told, there are easy solutions but we either ignore it or just haven’t been informed yet. Since our feet are the furthest extremity from our core center of heat, it beckons for insulation and warmth. So I did some web hunting and tracked down not only the best ways to keep your feet toasty and dry, but solid motivation to do so.

Think it’s just for comfort? How ‘bout avoiding the Flu?

No doubt, it’s a given that cold, wet feet are insanely uncomfortable. It reminds me of going to my first NY Giants game at the Meadowlands. After tailgating for a few hours, we all shamelessly made our way into the game. The first step that I took crossing one of the parking lots landed my foot directly in a puddle of slush. Needless to say, I wasn’t wearing a good pair of insulated boots. Although I was freakin’ uncomfortable throughout the game, I did my best to enjoy. Enough said there.

Not only can cold feet impact your comfortability and mood, but they can lead to the onset of several sicknesses. And the most common is the Flu.

Didn’t think that cold feet had anything to do with the flu? Sorry to say, but cold feet aren’t just a sad expression. In fact, a study from 2005 proved that you are 30% more likely to get the flu when your feet are cold for only 20 minutes during the flu season.

In addition to the flu, other ailments related to cold and wet feet are trench foot, hypothermia, chilblains and frostbite.

Alright, you get the picture. Let’s jump in and talk about some ways to keep those bad boys warm and dry.

Warm Feet, Dry Feet: 5 Keys to Working Comfortably in the Cold

You’ve probably heard a lot on this topic before. But I wanted to spice it up a bit and sprinkle some remedies into the mix of ways to keep your feet warm.

Spice it up with Cayenne Pepper, say what? chilli-pepper

Now, this has nothing to do with my obnoxious addiction to all things spicy, although I’ve pretty much coined Tabasco as a verb in my household. Not enough flavor? Just tabasco it!

Well, how can this spicy something keep your feet warm? Capsicum, aka Chili or Cayenne Pepper, has been proven to increase blood circulation throughout the body. By improving this circulation, your hands and feet will stay warmer when exposed to cold conditions. There are 2 ways to use it:

  • Combine some talcum powder and cayenne pepper and rub it on the sole of your foot. (Avoid getting it on the top of your foot or on cuts, as it can cause some irritation and burning.)
  • Eat it. Ok, so I have an iron stomach. At least for now. And I love all things spicy. So if I am going to be pushing it to the limit on the cold work site, I keep some spicy sauce handy for breakfast and lunch. However, if you aren’t keen on the heat in your mouth and just want to focus it on your feet, you can take a cayenne supplement. I’ve even read that bicyclists take some before a big race like the Tour de France.

Plastic Wrap: Not Just for PB&Js

When you’re done wrapping up that PB&J for lunch, don’t put that saran wrap away just yet. Instead, wrap it around your feet. This is an easy, at home solution to insulate your feet during a long work day. It will help trap the heat you generate while keeping the cold out, especially if you are lacking the proper footwear.

The most effective use is to wrap it around the toe area of your socks. Don’t just wrap your bare feet. The key here is to insulate without causing sweat. So you will want to also keep your heel and middle of your foot unwrapped, as this will help maximize breathability.

Wiggle dem toes

It can’t be overemphasized, so it won’t. Blood circulation is essential to keeping your feet warm in the cold. Despite the fact that you are probably hauling ass throughout the day in those work boots, you might be neglecting your toes. And that’s just not fair. So what if they are the last thing attached to our body? Keep them moving, and they will help keep you warm. That’s why you should wiggle them as much as possible to get them moving. But don’t just try to give them an “ehh” wiggle. Instead, imagine yourself finding a $100 bill on the floor with your hands tied behind your back. Then practice your toe grab method in your boot. This will really get your toes moving and warm ya up right away.

“Sock” the cold right in its teethsock

We have probably all double layered socks to keep our feet warm, but I advise you to not go that route. While putting on 2 pairs of socks will keep your feet warm, it can cause your feet to sweat and you will lose that comfort space in your boot. So get the right pair of socks instead of 2 pairs of lousy ones.

A few easy tips on the right socks:

  • Stay away from cotton
  • Invest in wool or polypropylene

Why? Sticking to these tips will prevent your feet from sweating and will do a solid job at keeping your feet warm. Here’s an excellent pair that I have purchased before if you want to figure out where to get started.

Carhartt Men’s Artic Wool Heavy Boot Socks

Lace up your boots: Insulated work boots that is…

When it comes to keeping your feet warm, there is truly no match for the best insulated work boots. While there are quite a few factors that go into choosing the best work boots, there are two that truly stick out.

  • Waterproof

  • Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

Waterproof: As important as it is to keep your feet warm, it is just as important to keep them dry. Sounding like a broken record yet? That’s why you want to stick with a solid pair of leather boots that are waterproof. Leather naturally helps to wick water from the boot and keep your feet dry. You certainly don’t want to end up with trench foot, chilblains or some other foot rot issue because of wet feet.

The foot construction type can also determine if your boots are great waterproofers. The top options are the Goodyear Welt Construction and the Direct-Attach method.

One last feature to consider is Gore-tex. This is a waterproof line developed by a separate company, Gore-tex, and is featured on many waterproof boots. As good of a job as it does to keep moisture out, it has designed its material to create breathability in the boot. So a true win win here. However, a waterproof boot featuring Gore-tex is obviously going to cost you a bit more coin than your standard waterproof boot.

Insulation: Waterproof helps keep moisture out, but too much insulation can create moisture inside your boot. So there is a healthy balance that you will want to find. Because getting sweaty feet will not only cause some funky smells in your boot, but they will really do damage to your feet. That’s why you need to know a bit about something called Thinsulate insulation and how many grams of insulation are right for you in your situation.

Thinsulate: Insulated work boots and Thinsulate has pretty much become synonymous. Or at least for the work boots that are worth looking at. Ever heard of a company called 3M? Well, they are at it again. It seems like yesterday I was just buying their adhesive hangers from Home Depot and now I’m writing about their insulation innovations. Anyway, they have concocted a type of insulation that is:

  • Super Warm
  • Breathable
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Lightweight

There are a few reasons why Thinsulate is so successful. The key to insulation is to trap air that moves in, while holding in the body’s radiant heat. Since Thinsulate is ten times smaller than the fibers used in most synthetic insulations, it is able to outperform them with this simple insulation method listed before. To boot, Thinsulate not only keeps your feet warm due to it’s thinness, but it absorbs less than 1% of their weight in water as a result. With its compression resistance, Thinsulate will keep its insulation integrity for years to come, even after pounding the cold wet pavement. If you don’t take my word for Thinsulate’s effectiveness, what about Porsche and Jaguar. Yes. These are just 2 of the many large companies that are using Thinsulate in other things than boots.

So how about the hole grams of insulation thing? For those more technical readers — not I — the number of grams used in a Thinsulate boot is referring to grams per square meter of insulation. While there are many ways to explain how grams of insulation relate to warmth, the amount you need boils down to 3 factors:

  • Temperature
  • Activity Level
  • Body Heat Generated

Yes, I could sit here and write you a vague and obscure explanation of what each gram level equates to, but I decided to put it together in an easy to read chart. So here it is.

To clear any confusion, the scale is from 1-5, with 1 being the warmest temperature, lightest activity, and most minimal body heat generated.

 TemperatureActivityBody Heat
200 Grams
1
5
5
400 Grams
2
4
4
600 Grams
3
3
3
800 Grams
4
2
2
1000 Grams
5
1
1

And there you have it. You now not only have some easy to implement remedies on keeping your feet warm at work, but have the keys to determining the proper insulated work boot. However, as always, I’m going to throw your way a couple of insulated work boots that I would seriously recommend if you are intent on getting some badass insulation action.

P.S. When searching for work boots, don’t be misled by searching for “insulated work boots.” Often times the search will pull up boots insulated from electric shock or some other form of insulation, not specifically geared towards cold working conditions.

Wolverine Men’s Gold 6″ Insulated Waterproof Boot

Want the best insulated work boots, look no further. This one has it all, and for a great price. Starting from the top, they feature Waterproof Nubuck leather with 400 gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation. Yes! Warm & Dry! To reinforce the waterproofing, the boot’s construction is direct-attach which keeps out water. Not only will you be warm and dry, but you will be comfortably energized. That’s because the durable polyurethane midsole is lightweight and flexible, preventing fatigue and increasing agility. Oh wait, I forgot to mention that the sole is oil, water, abrasion, chemical, heat, and slip-resistant. There ya go!

Timberland PRO Men’s 6″ Waterproof Steel Toe Boot

Don’t worry. I’m not going to forget about a safety toe. As much as you want to keep them toes toasty, you want to keep them toes. So how about this steel toe insulated work boot from Timberland? With 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, some top notch waterproof leather and a direct-attach seal, your feet are sure to stay warm and dry. So long as you aren’t working on the frozen tundra. Round that out with a rubber lug outsole which will give you some solid traction on those wet surfaces. I’ll just throw this in here too, but it has an anti-microbial lining which will help to reduce foot odors and athletes foot. Let’s just say that your girlfriend or wife will be happy with that.

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


How To Break In Boots: Good, Better, Best… ->

Plantar Fasciitis: Are Good Work Boots The Best Prevention?

The first time I ever heard about plantar fasciitis was watching football. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a NY Giants fan. And not only that, but I was a pretty avid supporter of Plaxico Burress. That is, until he shot himself in the leg. (Don’t know what I’m talking about, read up on this article.) But before that, he had other self inflicted pain. When he was suffering from plantar fasciitis, I started to do a bit of research myself. At first I got some general information, and I thought that you could just “man up” and fight through it. But in doing some more digging I found that it really isn’t that easy and that good work boots are essential.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

First off, the plantar fascia is the ligament connecting the heel bone to the toes. Essential to supporting the arch of the foot — pretty much a natural shock absorber — when strained the plantar fascia will weaken, swell, and become inflamed. As a result, you will feel pains in your heel or the bottom of your foot.

In fact, plantar fasciitis is the most common reason for heel pain. Sorry for the bad news, but about 10% of people get plantar fasciitis in their lifetime. And it is not just athletes…

What increases your risk?

There are some key risk factors for plantar fasciitis.

Age: Typically between 40-60 years old. I know we wish we could turn back time.
Obesity: Almost 70% of people who have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis are overweight. Not Plaxico though. The man is a twig. He was definitely in the lower 30% range.
Work Environment: Those who are constantly on their feet all day, like us Boots Over Suits guys, are at great risk. Especially if you are standing on hard floors for extended periods.
Strenuous Exercise: Activities like running can put stress on your plantar fascia.
Foot mechanics: If you have a high arch in the foot, are flat footed or just walk awkwardly.
Poor Footwear: Yup. Wearing the wrong size, uncomfortable, or torn up boots.

How do you know if you have it? Good Work Boots

Most commonly, plantar fasciitis is associated with heel pain experienced when you first stand in the morningor after resting for an extended period of time. While some describe the pain as dull, others can experience sharp shooting pains as well.

However, there are numerous other injuries that can result in the same symptoms. So, there isn’t a real surefire way to know without seeing the doctor.

Basically, the doc will prod around a bit determining if the pain is occurring in the plantar fascia. Not only that, but tests such as MRIs and X-Rays can be run to ensure that your pain isn’t the result of a broken bone in the foot.

And if it is determined that you have plantar fasciitis…

At home tips

Trust me, I’m not going to sit here and tell you to get younger, lose weight, change jobs, stop running, or switch up your walking style. That being said, I do have some easy to follow at home treatments.

Whether you already have plantar fasciitis or just want to prevent it, it is important to remember that the more stress you remove from your foot the better. So, what can you do?

Rest: Take a load off after you long day’s work. You need to allow time for your foot to recover from the daily grind. Just a warning, once you stand back up you will likely notice some immediate pain. Especially if you were really in action all day.
Stretch: Don’t worry, yoga isn’t involved. Try and stretch your calf and toes each morning before starting the day. Need some inspiration? Check out Foot Stretches to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis.
Ice it: Nothing better for inflammation than icing the problem area. Try and massage the foot with ice in 3 minute intervals.

Although plantar fasciitis can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to go away, these remedies mentioned will help accelerate that time.

What about good work boots? Good Work Boots

No doubt, the right pair of boots can make all the difference in preventing or recovering from this heel pain. And there are some quick ways to tell if you aren’t properly equipped. Just ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your boots look like Cujo chewed on them?
  • Are your boots too small or too big?
  • Is the heel a bit on the high side?
  • Does the insole lack a nice cushion?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have the wrong boots.

So, there are some simple characteristics of the best plantar fasciitis boot.

Boots with laces: Helps to keep your shoes well fastened, versus wearing slip on or zip up boots. The plantar fascia loses support when your feet slip from your boots while walking. And boots with laces prevents that from happening.
Lower profile heels: Choosing a medium heel will elevate the arch and reduce stress on the plantar fascia. Boots with higher heels increase the level of tension on the foot.
Cushioned insole: To help absorb some shock caused by putting weight on your arch all day, look to get a boot that gives a little in the insole.
Good arch: Flat shoes typically don’t support your arch and can disrupt the plantar fascia.

While these are the best qualities to look for when buying new boots, maybe you just don’t want to spend the money on a new pair. And there are options for that too.

Foot orthoses: The quick, but best, fix for plantar fasciitis

Yea the name is pretty technical, but foot orthoses are just insoles. Although it will still cost some money, I have a stat that will make it seem like a drop in the bucket.

According to R.E. Arendse, a researcher at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and the University of Cape Town, “75.5% of injured runners are successfully treated with the prescription of insoles for plantar fasciitis.”

Now you may be thinking, I’m not a runner and what does that have to do with plantar fasciitis? Well, although you may not be a runner, one of the most common running injuries is plantar fasciitis. So the fact that runners can realize such great results with the proper insole likely means that you will have similar success too.

So the best option is to simply replace your insoles, versus going out and buying a complete new pair of boots. That is, of course, considering that your boots seriously don’t look like they’ve been chewed on by Cujo.

Wondering what to look for?

Either get a pair of heel cups or whole boot insoles. Probably the best option are the semi rigid arch support insoles, as they help reduce excessive pronation.

But what the heck is pronation? Another one of these words that boot brands or doctors toss around. It is simply the way your foot rolls inward when walking or running. Excessive pronation can lead to plantar fasciitis.

To make it easy for you, I have a couple of links to direct you to some of the best insoles for plantar fasciitis on the market.

Semi-Rigid Orthotic

Heel Cups

Regardless if you are preventing or already living with plantar fasciitis, just make sure that you put the cups or insoles in both boots. It would just be a shame if you got the same pain in the other foot because you neglected it too.

It’s a wrap on plantar fasciitis

At Boots Over Suits, we want to make sure that you stay on top of your game in your trade. To do that, you not only have to keep up with the daily grind but you have to take care of yourself.

I know, we like to go full steam ahead, especially when we start to see more contracts coming in. (And it seems like business is turning up in 2014.) But the bottom line is that we aren’t going to keep those paychecks rolling in if we get sidelined by preventable injuries.

And something like plantar fasciitis can really put the brakes on our success. While this is just one of many types of injuries that we can sustain from choosing a Boots Over Suits type of job, it is for sure always important to consider how to protect yourself.

As always, we would like to hear from you. How have you managed to get through a bout with plantar fasciitis and what other recommendations do you have?

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


Insulated Work Boots: Best Way To Keep Your Feet Warm? ->

Take A Load Off With Lightweight Work Boots

Lightweight work bootsSo you are thinking about getting some lightweight work boots? Well, they can be a great option, especially for those of you doing a lot of running around during the work day. While there are plenty of work boots out there that are deemed “lightweight,” I’d like to give you some key factors that can tilt the scale when considering if work boots are heavy or light. But let’s first talk about how lightweight work boots will benefit you.

Top Benefits

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Now we know that there are many ways to protect your feet during the workday, but lightweight work boots can really ease the load. By taking some of the weight out of the boot, you are more likely to walk naturally. Then your feet will guide your boots, instead of your boots guiding your feet.

In heavy boots, you will first notice that your feet often slam the ground. Do this for 8-12 hours a day and you will have quite the pain in your feet. In severe situations, it can even lead to plantar fasciitis or edema.

With each step, shock is absorbed not only by your feet but by the rest of your body. So after the feet comes the knees. If you have a clunky pace due to heavy work boots, you can quickly notice pain and throbbing in the knees. This can lead to difficulty squatting, standing, and lifting.

Finally, once your feet and knees have taken a beating, your back is next. It is pretty much a domino effect. Since you are slamming your feet and jamming your knees, you will start to feel more shock and tension develop in your back, especially the lower areas.

Fatigue

You may not always immediately notice pain in these areas, but there are other ways to tell if your shoes are too heavy for you. And that is of course, an early onset of fatigue. Think that the coffee wasn’t strong enough this morning? Could just be that your legs are tired of lugging around those “iron” boots that you strapped on. In the right pair of boots, you should be comfortable, light and spry.

Safety

If you start to feel the wear and tear happening on your body and not your boots, not only will you impact your health and work performance, but you will compromise your overall work site safety. When your body begins to tire from heavy work boots, you will naturally start to walk in a fashion that is less tiring. This often results in you not lifting your feet high enough and moving forward with a slight drag. So if you are carrying heavy objects, for example, you could clip your feet on something and take a dive. Maybe those objects will land on you, or maybe they will land on a co-worker. Who knows? The safe bet is to not put yourself in that situation.

Trim the fat: Boot fat that is…

Now that you see the benefits, you might be wondering how you can identify what a lightweight work boot is made of. Here are 4 easy factors to consider when cutting out some expendable weight in the boot.

Boot Construction

You will notice a big difference by picking the most lightweight construction. Welt, Direct Attach & Cement construction are the 3 most common methods. Despite the durability that you will get from a welt construction boot, the increased amount of weight added by the welt strip can be just those burdening ounces that you want to avoid. So stick with either direct attach or cement construction to keep within the optimal boot weight.

Safety Toe

Steel, Composite, or Aluminum toe are the most common safety toe types that you will find. Most employers won’t even let you on the job site, let alone begin working, without a safety toe feature. Regardless, you should identify whether or not your work justifies having a safety toe feature in the first place. Because if you are not at risk of crushing your toes, consider a soft toe boot. After all, the safety toe is a key contributor to weight in the boot. Once you have decided to move forward with the safety toe feature, it is time to find the best option. While steel toe is the most common, it is the heaviest safety toe type. So your best option is either the aluminum toe or the composite toe.

Boot height

Pretty intuitive, but let’s discuss anyway. By picking a boot with less material, you will naturally cut some of the boot’s weight. So when making the decision between 6” and 8”, go with the 6”. A couple of inches here can mean a solid difference in getting a lightweight boot.

Midsole

This is the part of the boot between the insole and the outsole. It functions as the shock absorber and provides protection from objects penetrating through the sole of the boot. While some boots don’t even have a midsole at all, your popular midsoles, often made by Vibram will either be made of PU (polyurethane), EVA (ethyl-vinyl-acetate) or rubber wedges. Although rubber midsoles are the best for wear and tear, the PU and EVA are the most light weight.

Need a little assistance?

You got a pretty good idea of what to look for, or what to avoid, when choosing lightweight work boots. So what are you waiting for? Oh wait, you want some freebie recommendations? Sure thing. Let me fire a couple at ya just to get you started. These are no doubt the boots that I would be eying if I were in your shoes.

Timberland PRO Men’s Titan 6″ Composite Toe Boot

This 6” boot is the perfect balance of lightweight, comfort and safety. Where to start? The cement construction will not only help with keeping this boot light, but it will increase flexibility and minimize break-in-time. The composite toe, which meets or exceeds ASTM standards, will protect your toes without giving you the heftiness of a steel toe. Rounding it out, the PU midsole is another check in the lightweight box, offering long lasting comfort.

Men’s Wolverine Ripsaw Lightweight Waterproof 6 inch Boots Brown

Yes, this is a soft toe work boot. However, I felt compelled to get it on here for those of you not exposed to certain work hazards. Needless to say, the fact that this 6” boot isn’t bolstered with a safety toe will cut some weight immediately. Between the cement construction and the EVA midsole, they will keep you fresh throughout the day. Even if there is a torrential downpour! That’s because these boots are also waterproof.

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


Plantar Fasciitis: Are Good work Boots The Best Prevention? ->

Work Boots Made in USA: Foundation of Success

 

work boots Made in the USASick and tired of having to inspect every box in a store to see where it’s made? It’s gotten to the point where I can personally tell that a product is Made in China just by picking it up. Well, did you know that over 90% of clothes and shoes sold in America are made overseas? No wonder why it is so difficult to get your hands on a quality pair of work boots made in USA.

You know, the Made in USA stamp is a symbol of great quality from hard working people. Unfortunately, over the past 50 years the manufacturing of consumer goods has quickly been outsourced. Not surprising to see that manufacturing jobs decreased 23% from 1961 to 2010.

But there is an increasing sentiment to bring those jobs back home. Especially since many are trying to get their hands on a decent job in the tail end of the recession. And there is still hope.

While different price points play a heavy factor in where boots are made, companies understand that there are many people who want some badass American made work boots. Not only for the quality, but to support this great nation and the people pursuing the American dream. And we are willing to pay a premium for that.

We can make a difference…

While there can be an inherent belief that it is impossible for one person to make a difference, I say that is a bunch of hoopla. Yea yea, I know. It stems from politics, thinking that our votes don’t mean a thing. But let me tell you, businesses don’t operate the same way as governments. And that is why they are typically much more successful. The bottom line is that businesses listen to the consumers, because that is what got them in business in the first place and continue to bring them more success.

So, yes, we can make a difference. One step at a time. (Or in the Boots over Suits world, one pair of boots at a time.) If we become increasingly aware of where products are made, and choose to buy products made in the USA versus overseas, we will make a difference.

In fact, we are already making it happen. According to a WSJ report, Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, said about 25,000 manufacturing related jobs have returned to the U.S. in recent years. Companies as big as G.E., Caterpillar, and Apple are just a few that are contributing to this number.

Enough said? Let’s talk about some tips to find work boots made in the USA!

Work Boots Made in USA: 5 Tips to Find them

Boldly Stated: While there are varying reasons companies manufacture work boots in the USA, they no doubt use it as a key selling point. Therefore, if they are going to spend the extra money to do so, they will normally market the heck out of it. You will typically see it as one of the top features in the product description section, and there is often an American flag closely in sight. Likely even sewn into the boot.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: On the other hand, if you are having difficulty locating the boots country of origin, there is a strong chance that it is made overseas. So move on to the next. Just as much as a company wants you to know that their work boots are made in the USA, they don’t want you seeing the dubious made in China seal that has taken over the US retail market.

Company’s Website: Tired of doing all of the digging on sites like Amazon, but can’t seem to pinpoint where the boots are made? An easy shortcut is to go direct to the manufacturer’s website. Typically one of the filter features will be “Made in USA.” Heck, I’ve even found that company’s have a whole page dedicated to it.

Give ‘em a call: Boot manufacturers tend to have a solid customer service team. So if all else fails, just give the manufacturer a call or email them. They can tell you right off the bat if the boot you’re interested in is made in the USA or overseas. Plus, they can give you a list of work boots made in the USA to get your search going. For example, I reached out to Wolverine because I’m a fan of their boots but they don’t seem to have American made work boots called out on their website. Here was my easy email conversation with them:

From: ej@bootsoversuits.com
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2014 7:40 PM
To: wolverineinfo@wolverineworldwide.com
Subject: QUESTION Product Information – WOLVERINE.COM

 

The following question was submitted to Wolverine by EJ:

How can I tell if the boot that I like is made in the USA? Is there a site specifically for boots made in the USA?

Response

Dear EJ,Thank you for your inquiry.

We do have several work styles that are manufactured in the U.S.; I have provided a list below:

Tacoma:
W03778 (Men’s)

W03779 (Men’s)

Durashocks:
W03176 (Men’s)

W03177 (Men’s)

We hope this information proves helpful.

Kind Regards,
E-Commerce & Consumer Relations, Corporate Customer Service Center
Richmond, IN 47374, P: 866.699.7369


Cheat Sheet: Do you just want the easiest way possible to find some American made work boots? Not a problem. I put together a list of the 5 best American made work boots. Sink your teeth into that, and see what real boots look like.

The 5 Best American Made Work Boots

Chippewa Men’s Six-Inch Chocolate Apache Steel Toe Lace-Up Boot

I could have easily added Chippewa as one of the tips to finding American made work boots. Although rare, Chippewa has been dedicated to making boots in the USA since 1980. Since then, they only use the best raw materials from America, and the boots are hand crafted in the USA. To this day, you will find the “Hand Crafted in the USA” label on each pair of their boots.

This particular boot is covered with high quality leather and a vibram sole. And boom, the exterior of the boot is ready for some serious man hours.

Wait, what’s Vibram? Good question, because you will see this a lot. Vibram is a company that manufactures soles, amongst other footwear products, and it is synonymous with being heavy duty.

While this boot is rugged and equipped with a steel-toe, the Vibram gumlite sole featured here is lightweight to ease the load on your body. Plus, the removable cushioned insert creates a comfortable footbed to stand on during a long day’s work.

Thorogood Men’s 814-4200 American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot

One of the most iconic looks in footwear, Thorogood’s American Heritage 6`Moc Toe Boot is a symbol of classic American quality.

It’s hard not to notice the genuine leather that is featured on this boot, because it is oil-tanned leather. With a Goodyear Storm Welt Construction, you will get years of use even in the toughest conditions. That’s because the sole is stitched instead of glued on.

And that sole is Vibram, of course. Which in this case is slip & oil resistant. Also, the Cotton Drill Vamp Lining is critical to keeping moisture out of your boot and preventing blisters.

For those of you standing for long hours, you will benefit most from the comfort in the removable dual density ultimate shock absorption footbed on Poron 4000 comfort cushion insole. Yup, lots of words, but lots of comfort.

Justin Original Work Boots Men’s J-Max Work Boot

A true testimonial to the American dream, H.J. Justin started his career as a boot repairman in 1879. However, with a strong work ethic and uncanny skills, he developed a top notch boot company dedicated to the American working man.

For an authentic look, this boot sports some mighty fine distressed five ounce leather. Whether you are racing to the job site, or just itching to get out of your boots at night, the J-Max Work Boot is easy to get on and off of your feet. All due to the extra-large pull loop and speed-lacing hardware on the shaft. So no more excuses for falling asleep with your shoes on!

With an 8” shaft, you will get great ankle support to prevent any rolling of the ankle. While 8” boots can often compromise comfort for support, you will find that the padded collar will help to enhance the comfort level.

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Safety Toe Boot

Once again in the top 5 is another Thorogood Work Boot. Only this time, it’s got some extra badassedness to protect your feet and toes.

Earning its spot stitch by stitch, the Goodyear Welt Construction featured here is no doubt the most durable way to make a boot.

While the padded collar affords you comfort around your leg, the removable dual density Ultimate Shock Absorption insert on Poron 4,000 comfort cushion provides seriously manly comfort on your feet.

Truthfully, this boot is in the top spot because of all of the safety features. First, the steel toe keeps your toes safe and complies with ASTM. Then, the boots non marking rubber outsole offers slip-resistant and electric shock resistant soles and heels.

Last but not least, the fiberglass shank gives your feet, knees, and back support, all while protecting from objects penetrating through the sole.

Red Wing Heritage Men’s 6-Inch Iron Ranger Boot

According to the Red Wing Shoes website, “Today, 98.8% of all footwear purchased in the United States is manufactured offshore. RWSC continues to manufacture over 60% of our Red Wing brand products in the U.S.” Well there ya go, American made action going on!

With a durable stitch down welt and quality American leather, this boot will give you all of the comfort and durability you need while getting the job done. Whether it’s out in the field or home in the yard, it will make you man up! And that’s a gross understatement. These could very well turn into a family heirloom considering how long they will last.

To add more ruggedness to this pavement pounding boot, it is built on a non-marking, oil-resistant sole.

Enough said? Then, there you have it. Get your work boots Made in USA, and start seriously kicking some ass on the job site. One pair at a time, we will “boot” out these outsourced products and bring jobs back home.

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


Take A Load Off With Lightweight Work Boots ->

Best Work Boots For Men: Top Tips & 10 Badass Choices

After getting into the plumbing trade, I quickly realized that skimping on boots adds up financially and physically. Not only did I run through about 4 pairs in a year, but I felt like someone took a 2×4 to my back and knees. Constantly being exposed to falling objects, various work hazards, mother nature, and the grueling hours spent on your feet (or under a rotting sink) can really take its toll. After much procrastination, I decided to figure out the whole internet research thing and find some answers. That’s when I hammered out the time to choose the best work boots for men and keep me away from the desk job. But, it can be a real pain to find out what boots are really high grade. To save you fellas time, I drafted this blueprint so you spend less time searching and more time making money. (Just keep in mind how the boots’ features apply to your job, and you will make the right decision.)best work boots for men

BEST WORK BOOTS FOR MEN CHART

Pictures & Amazon Shopping Link Brand/NameFeatures
Timberland PRO Men's Pitboss 6" Steel-Toe Boot
-Leather
-Synthetic sole
-Open-cell polyurethane footbed with Agion antimicrobial cover
Polyurethane midsole to wick moisture and absorb shock
-Slip-abrasion and oil resistant Timberland Pro outsole

Thorogood Men's American Heritage Six-Inch Plain-Toe Boot

*Made in USA*
-Leather
-Synthetic sole
-Fiberglass support shank
-Dual-density removable footbed
-Non-marking, slip-resistant outsole
Thorogood Men's 6" Moc-Toe Wedge-Heel Non-Safety Boot*Made in USA*
-Leather
-Synthetic sole
-Contrast-stitched leather boot featuring moc toe and wedge heel
-Eyelet and hook lacing
Caterpillar Men's Second Shift 6" Plain Soft Toe Work Boot-Leather
-Rubber sole
-Lace-up work boot featuring Climasphere sockliner and padded collar
-Single stitched Goodyear welt. Round toe
Timberland PRO Direct Attach 6" Steel Safety Toe Waterproof Insulated Boot-Leather
-Synthetic sole-Steel-toe work boot featuring waterproof insulated upper with lace-up vamp
-Padded collar
Wolverine Men's W02421 Raider Boot-Leather
-Rubber sole
-Full-grain leather boot with speed lacing featuring debossed logos on tongue and side
-Cushioned collar
KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot
-Leather and Fabric
-Rubber sole
-Supportive work boot featuring waterproof upper with locking metal hook and lacing eyelets
-Contoured heel lock
-Removable metatomical EVA footbed
-Dry-Lex footwear lining
-Oil and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole
Thorogood Men's 814-4200 American Heritage 6" Moc Toe Boot
*Made in USA*
-Leather
-Synthetic sole
-Cushioning wedge sole
-Slip- and oil-resistant outsole
-Rugged metal eyelet and clamshell lacing
Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot
-Leather work boot featuring lace-up vamp with speed-lace hardware at top and protective toe with TiTAN alloy safety design
-Rubber sole
-Polyurethane midsole for lightweight, durable cushioning
-Moisture-channeling mesh lining with anti-microbial treatment
-Oil- and slip-resistant PRO Rubber outsole
Chippewa Men's 9" Waterproof Insulated Steel-Toe EH Logger Boot
*Made in USA*
-Leather
-Synthetic sole
-Waterproof work boot featuring Goodyear leather welt construction, Chip-A-Tex waterproof bootie, and Ruby Dri Lex 2000 lining
-ATSM Electrical Hazard

 

Core Foundations of the Best Work Boots

Figuring out all the features of the best work boots kind of reminds me of my first time buying tools. While different brands offer various innovations and quality, there are still some core features that always apply. I take a “keep it simple stupid” strategy when it comes to these things, because too much information can often be, well, too much information. So…

Boot Construction

While boot construction is essential to durability, it is also key to having a lightweight and flexible boot. And there are three main types, all with certain trade offs.

Boot ConstructionDurabilityComfortCostCan be resoled
Welt
1
3
$$$
Yes
Direct-attach
2
1
$$
No
Cementing
3
2
$
No

Welt: The old school method of manufacturing a boot, well known for the stitching technique where a welt strip (typically leather, linen or synthetic) is sewn to the inner and upper sole.

Direct Attach: Uses a mold attached to the Upper (area of the boot above the sole) which is then injected with a molten rubber to form the sole.

Cementing: Bonds the outsole to the boot by using an adhesive.

Areas of Support & Comfort

Insole (AKA Footbed): Being the area that our foot rests on, it is essential to comfort. Too often companies neglect to add value here. How many times have you replaced the factory insole?

Outsole (AKA Sole): Like treads on a tire, the outsole ensures our traction. There are slip, oil, and abrasion resistant boots available, among the most notable. Outsole specs will often highlight which resistant options are provided.

Midsole: Located between the insole and the outsole, it absorbs the shock and protects against sharp objects penetrating from the bottom of the boot. While some boots don’t even have a midsole, most good work boots do and they come in handy. Look for indicators like shock absorbent and steel midsole.

Safety Toe Types

For those of you new to your trade out there, take heed to my warning. Protect your toes! The proper safety toe type will not only fend off painful situations, but they will prevent your toes from getting crushed by a ton of bricks.

So what are the options:

Steel Toe: The originator of the safety toe world, they meet the ASTM standards for impact and compression. Basically meaning your toes won’t get flattened out like a pancake from a heavy blow. Now, even though your toes won’t touch the steel, they do conduct temperature. So, if you are in a cold climate you will want to beef up with some thermal socks.

Composite Toe: Typically made of carbon fiber, plastic or Kevlar, they meet the ASTM standards. Due to the materials used, the toe does not conduct temperature and the boots are lighter than your steel toe option. But they tend to be bulkier. Needless to say, if you are dealing with electrical currents, this is a great option to stay metal free.

Aluminum Toe: Also meeting the ASTM standards, they provide a great lightweight option. Still bulky, but if you are hauling materials up and down stairs all day it will keep you fresh.

Soft Toe: While not safety toe boots, you will see this option when looking for work boots. Geared to those on their feet all day, but not exposed to falling objects, these are a great option for, let’s say the mailman.

Slip, Oil, and Abrasion-Resistant Boots: What makes them great features?

While most work boots provide a decent level of traction, there are still upgrades available. Since a majority of work related injuries are due to slipping and falling, and not necessarily from great heights, we should all consider these features.

Slip Resistant: This will “help prevent” you from slipping on surfaces that are wet, icy, oily, greasy, etc. But this doesn’t mean slip proof, because in really harsh environments you can still wipe out onto your backside. Or maybe you are just a bit clumsy…

Oil Resistant: When I first saw this, I thought that it meant that you wouldn’t slip on an oily or greasy surface. But that’s not the case. It simply prevents oil from absorbing into the material of the boot, which can leave permanent stains or soak in and cover your feet.

Abrasion Resistant: A great feature to have to get more longevity out of your boots. Protecting against wear and tear on the sole, abrasion-resistant boots will reduce tearing, ripping or shredding.

Top 3 Best Work Boots for Men: And the Badassedness Award Goes To…

1) Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift 6″ Plain Soft Toe Boot

What happens when you take the best leather and the most durable construction? You get this boot which kicks tail and takes the Badassedness award. Not to mention, you won’t dent your wallet too hard, because they are priced quite nice. Yes sir, the Goodyear Welt Construction and Full-Grain Leather on these boots provide the foundation that allows for these boots to take a beating, day in and day out. If you just take a quick look at the Amazon reviews, you will find that they are full of customers buying their 2nd or 3rd pair of these. That’s because they have stood the test of time longer than other competitive boots, and they are seriously comfortable.

Yes, as you might expect, you are going to need to give these boots a little break in time. After all, the durable foundation just mentioned usually requires that. But hey, there are plenty of people that claim that these boots are 100% comfortable straight out the box. To provide superior comfort out on the job, this boot features a nylon mesh lining to wick away moisture and a Climasphere sock liner ensures that you stay comfortable and dry, no matter the situation. Top it off with a padded collar, and your feet will be nice and cozy.

Last but not least, the safety features. Because this boot is held in such high regard among the boot wearers, CAT has provided a few options for this boot. This particular boot does not feature a safety toe; however, the exact same boot is available with a steel toe. Now, regardless of which one you buy, this model of boot will come equipped with a slip-resistant rubber outsole so you don’t wipe out on slick terrain. To sum it up, you have durability, comfort, and OPTIONS. Now you can tackle the biggest options.

2) Thorogood American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe Boot

The rich leather on this boot, plus the moc toe design is truly vintage. And what better way to pay homage to a vintage style than to make them right here in the USA. Thorogood boots have a long history of putting out some killer American Made Boots, and these are no exception. Rounding out the durability is the Goodyear Welt Construction, and the Vibram outsole. Virbam? Oh, they’re just the world leader in rubber outsoles…That’s about it.

To take the brunt of the pavement pounding, these freedom fighters absorb shock with the removable dual-density insoles while the fiberglass shank provides exceptional support. And there you have it, a durable, comfortable, made in USA work boot!

3) Wolverine Men’s Durashock Boot

Can you see that soft full-grain leather on the boot? Look at it. That is just screaming comfort. But really, the signature to the boot is Wolverine’s Durashock direct attach comfort outsole. Mix that in with the shock absorbing compression pads, and you have a recipe for serious comfort. Because of this type of support and cushion, you will not only feel great while you’re in them, but for the hours after. Top it all off with a padded collar, and you will be kicking up your feet and relaxing after that long day of work.

I hope this list helped with your decision, because I know picking out the right pair of boots can sometimes be like matching the right tie with a suit…Wait a second…86 that. More like choosing the best beer with your shot of whiskey. And if you are wrapping that tie around your neck, DONATE IT!

Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.


Work Boots Made in USA: Foundation of Success>