Proper Footwear Leads to Healthy Feet and Better Overall Quality of Life
Our feet do more than just provide a base for standing and a means for movement. A simple lack of extension in the big toe or a fallen arch during walking can impact how efficiently our body moves, ultimately leading to a greater risk for injury. The body’s “Kinetic Chain” is a phrase used to describe how everything works together; just like anything, if one component is off, the entire system falls into disarray.
Work boots protect the feet from harm, but do not provide much in the way of functional support. They have often caused more harm than good.
Common pathologies caused by improper footwear include:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Knee Pain
- Hip Pain
- Low Back Pain
What’s The Solution?
Good News! Boots do not have to be uncomfortable and modifications can be made to ensure that the wearer has the support they need. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society released a statement with some tips on how to get the best boots that work for you.
10 points for purchasing work boots:
- Safety first. Know the specific hazards of your work environment. Safety toe caps (steel or composite), metatarsal guards, puncture-resistant soles, and special construction materials can help protect against falling objects, sharp metal edges, chemicals or electrical hazards.
- Buy what you need. Go to a store that carries footwear specific to your job. An experienced fitter knows the characteristics of the footwear the store carries and can match the footwear’s design and materials to your special requirements.
- Check your soles. Make sure the footwear soles are appropriate to your working conditions. Soles can be designed to be slip resistant and protect your feet from heat, puncture, and electrical shock.
- Wick away the moisture. Buy leather uppers lined with moisture-wicking lining to keep your feet dry. This will help prevent blisters and corns.
- Stability is important. Wear shoes or boots with flat soles and a wide base. They will provide greater stability when working on uneven surfaces.
- Completely cover your feet. Protective footwear must completely cover the foot with puncture-resistant material. High-top lace boots should lace 1/2” to 1” of the full length of the lace row to keep your heel securely in the boot.
- Make sure you can wiggle your toes. The toe box needs to be deep enough so you can move all your toes inside without feeling pressure.
- Try boots on at the end of the day or shift when your feet are largest.
- Wear your usual work socks.
- Usually one foot is larger than the other so buy to fit the larger foot.
- Get the proper support. Strong heel counters provide stability for your ankle and should fit snugly. A wedge bottom sole or puncture-resistant midsole improves stability for ankle and arch support.
- Comfort is critical. Footwear should feel comfortable when you first try it on. Don’t expect to need a “break-in” period before footwear feels comfortable.
- Try protective footwear out while you’re in the store. Walk on a hard surface and not a carpeted showroom floor. Shock-absorbent removable insoles provide the best available footbed. They can be removed to be cleaned, replaced as needed or substituted with a custom prescription insert.
For more information on how to get started with prevention, industrial performance and wellness services, contact the team at
1American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society – http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/footwear/Pages/10-Points-for-Purchasing-Protective-Footwear.aspx