There are 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments in every human foot -- and all of them need protection while you're on the job. Selecting the right pair of work boots, however, can be difficult when there are so many options to choose from.
If you're in the market for a new pair of heavy duty work boots but aren't sure where to start, follow these simple steps to guide you to the right choice in footwear.
- Talk to your foreman or HR department
Many jobs have mandatory safety requirements for workers' gear, right down to the boots. Before you make any kind of purchase, talk with the higher-ups to learn about what elements are essential for your job. Every employer has to conduct a hazard assessment under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.132(d) to determine potential workplace hazards, including foot injury risks.
- Consider your environment
If you work in a wet or rainy environment -- or if there's even a remote chance that you might have to deal with water on the job -- make sure to look for waterproof boots. Never underestimate the value of comfortable work boots, either, especially in construction: an average worker or laborer may take more than 30,000 steps a day, compared to the average person's 10,000. When you're on your feet for that long, comfort can mean the difference between a productive work day and a hard one.
- Ask around
After you talk to the powers that be, talk to you coworkers about what kind of boots work best for them. It never hurts to get recommendations from fellow co-workers. What have they found to be the best steel toe boots? Do their waterproof boots really withstand the elements? However, don't assume that someone else's perfect fit will automatically work for you.
- Try them on
That said, the best way to pick the perfect work boots -- after you've done your safety research -- is to simply try on many different pairs to find the pair that's right for you. Every person is different, so the more pairs you try on, the more likely it is you'll find your very own "glass slipper."
Safety and comfort are essential for any construction job. Take the time to do your research when choosing a new pair of work boots, and you'll have the tools you need to take on any job.