How to Break in Work Boots
Wearing the correct safety footwear is essential in workplaces such as building sites, warehouses and kitchens. Although they keep you safe, they’re not always the most comfortable to wear! Here are some top tips to stop your steel toe boots from hurting, including finding the right fit and how to wear them in.
If you’re wearing steel toe boots every day, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll experience some level of foot pain. The most common causes of foot pain from wearing safety boots include blisters, rubbing, corns and ingrown toenails. While many of these may sound trivial, if you’re wearing your safety shoes or boots for up to ten hours at a time it can be extremely uncomfortable.
Therefore, it’s vital to spend a bit of time making sure your new pair of steel toe work boots fit correctly. We’ve also found plenty of helpful techniques including how to widen steel toe boots, how to stop them from hurting and how to break them in. Keep reading to find out more.
Should Work Boots Be Loose or Tight?
Safety shoes shouldn’t feel either loose or tight to wear. Instead, they should feel snug and comfortable, with some resistance (letting you know they’re there) but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
Finding the right fit when shopping for your new safety footwear is very important. Make sure to try on both shoes, as your feet can often be different shapes and sizes. Putting them both on your feet and walking around for a bit will allow you to identify any pain points. If you do notice anywhere the shoes or boots are rubbing, or you see redness on your feet when you take them off, you may need a different size. Your toes shouldn’t touch the end of your work boots but there also shouldn’t be too much space. This can lead to rubbing and discomfort.
How to Shop for Safety Boots
When you’re shopping for your safety boots remember to wear the same type of socks that you will be wearing on a normal workday. This may sound obvious but it’s an easy thing to forget and wearing thicker or thinner socks on the day will affect the fit.
It’s also worth noting that your feet are at their smallest at the beginning of the day. After eight hours of standing on them they will be slightly swollen. For this reason, the best time of the day to shop for, or to try on, your new shoes is when they are at their largest, at the end of the day.
Another thing to keep in mind is that safety boots often don’t widen as you go up in size. This means that if width is the issue you’re facing it may be best to try another brand rather than simply sizing up.
How Can I Make My Safety Shoes More Comfortable?
Breaking in your safety shoes means helping them conform to the shape of your feet, making them more comfortable to wear. One popular method is using water or heat to soften leather work boots, but this can damage your shoes. There are a few ways to make your new safety boots more comfortable without causing damage, which we’ll explain below.
Wear Them Around the House
One of the most common ways to break in your new safety boots is by wearing them around the house. Do this daily for ten minutes or so at first, and gradually increase the time spent wearing them. You should do this for a while before you wear them for a full day’s work. Make sure to wear the same thick socks you’d work in as well. By doing this, you’ll be gently stretching the leather or fabric of your work boots which will help improve their fit without warping or damaging the material. Thanks to the additional heat from your warm feet in those thick socks, the warmth will help the stretching process making your shoe fit nicely. By the time you take them to work for the first time your shoes should fit comfortably for the whole day with no rubbing.
Break in Work Boots Without Wearing Them
You can even break in your new safety boots without even wearing them! Shoe and boot stretchers are available from shoe repair shops such as Timpsons. These simply apply gradual pressure to the safety boot or safety shoe to stretch it. There’s a variety of shoe stretchers available, including ones that will help stop shoes rubbing the back of your heel.
Shoe stretchers have pros and cons. They’re an easy option as you can just pop them in and leave your work boots to stretch for a week. The disadvantage to this compared to wearing the boots in is they won’t conform to the shape of your feet in the same way. This means they might not be quite as comfortable as a result.
Use Conditioner to Soften Leather Boots
If your work boots are made from leather you can use leather conditioner to soften the material. This will help them mould to your feet quicker. Do this daily when you first buy your new boots and then weekly once you’re happy with the fit.
Adjust the Laces
Another easy way to make your work boots more comfortable is adjusting the laces. If your safety shoes feel tight around the widest part of your foot, simply skip a few eyelets in this area. This will give your foot a little more room to breathe and should make the shoes more comfortable to wear. As long as the laces are done up tightly enough, you shouldn’t experience any slipping.
How long does it take to break in work boots?
This can vary slightly depending on the material your new safety footwear is made from. A general guideline however is that you should allow a couple weeks for wearing work boots in. This will help ensure you can wear them for prolonged periods without experiencing any pain or discomfort.
Are Some Work Boots More Comfortable Than Others?
All safety shoes or boots will come equipped with a protective toe cap. Most are made out of steel, but some more modern safety footwear will contain a composite toe cap. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which you can read more about in our blog ‘Steel Toe vs Composite Toe Boots’.
Steel toe caps are known to rub against the feet, which can cause significant discomfort. When you purchase your work boots, make sure you get the snuggest fit possible to reduce the risk of rubbing. As stated above, lace-up work boots give you greater freedom to adjust fit to your feet.
Have a look through a brilliant selection of safety footwear on Roofing Megastore’s website.
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