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  3. PPE guide: How to choose comfortable safety boots


How many times have you heard people say that they’re exhausted because they’ve been ‘on their feet all day’? Our poor feet do take a bit of a beating in the course of the average day, especially for anyone who works outside or in a trade.


For those who work on site or in a physically demanding environment, looking after your feet and staying comfortable is very important. However, as well as comfort, there is also the issue of safety.


In some jobs, especially those that involve working with heavy machinery, power tools and cutting equipment, safety boots are a legal requirement. Steel, alloy and non-metallic toe-capped boots are heavy-duty safety options to keep toes and feet safe.


However, because safety boots are often made from tough materials, they’re not always the most forgiving choice of PPE footwear in terms of comfort. So to help you get the best in protection without sacrificing comfort, here are a few tips you can follow to find the perfect safety boots for you.


Go large

If you find yourself asking what size work boots you should buy, go for boots that are around half a size too big. Not only will this create a little room for your feet to swell and breathe after a hard day’s work, but it also allows room for extra layers of insulation at colder times of year.


When trying on new work boots, take some thick socks to ensure you can get a feel for larger sizes. Go too small and you’re soon going to know about it.


Get boot inserts

Larger boots also allow room to slip in some comfortable boot insoles. These will soften the bottom of the boot, creating a cushioned layer for greater comfort and to create a snugger fit. Fleece insoles are also great for additional warmth on cold days.


Quality socks

You might not realise how much of a difference a pair of quality socks makes but they are very important. It’s worth spending that little bit extra on good quality work socks. Heavier duty socks will provide extra comfort and also last a lot longer. Specialist hiking socks will also dry quickly, keeping feet dry and free from sweat in summer.


Stay dry

There’s a scene in Forest Gump where Lieutenant Dan tells Forest the most important thing to remember in Vietnam is to keep his socks dry. That’s a surprisingly important piece of information! There is little worse than having wet feet while you’re at work, and it can even be dangerous to stand in wet socks or shoes for a long period of time.

Ensure you get boots that are 100% waterproof. The last thing you need is to be squelching around in your boots all day. A building site might not be Vietnam but with wet feet it’s not going to be very fun.


Special requirements

One of the most important pieces of advice when choosing safety shoes or boots is to make sure to factor in any special requirements you have from them, depending on where you work. Safety boots for electricians should have electro-static discharge of anti-static properties for example, while it’s much more important that safety boots for construction have toe and ankle protection.


Choose quality

Always go for good quality safety boots too. Spending a little more now will be well worth the investment. You need to look after your feet in every possible way at work – so get the best quality you can afford.


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