So 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.