Speciality work boots are essential for people working in a hazardous environment. They are specially designed to keep feet comfortable, which is vital for jobs that require standing and walking around for hours. But more important than ever is their capability to protect workers from injury, shock, or any adverse conditions. That’s why picking the correct type of work boots is a must.
Your work boots are an excellent investment. But as much as you would like to hold on to them for as long as possible, nothing is permanent in life – including your work boots. But how do you know it is time to discard your boots and pick up a new pair?
When Should You Replace Your Work Boots?
A high-quality pair of boots will last for a long time. However, you’re probably wearing your shoes every time you go to work. Even the most expensive and durable material will give up, mainly if the footwear is used regularly.
On average, the lifespan of work boots is about six to 12 months. Leather boots, when used by a construction worker, can last about six months. On the other hand, Cowboy boots are much sturdier and can last anywhere five to 10 years. Suede boots are standard in engineering and manufacturing jobs. Unfortunately, they do not last as long as the other mentioned work boots. They typically have a lifespan of four to five months.
The above are simply estimates. With proper care and maintenance, it’s possible to extend your work boots’ life to 24 months or even more! Usually, it depends on several factors, including:
- The material used
- Your job
- The environment you subject your work boots to
- The potential hazards that can lead to injuries due to slips and falling objects
- How frequent the boots are worn
Now that probably makes everything so much more confusing. To your relief, some signs indicate it’s time to buy a new pair of work boots, including the following:
- Outsoles, or the part that comes in contact with the ground or rough terrain, will look damaged or worn out. Lint-like pieces start to appear on the soles, along with holes or cracks.
- Insoles, or the part with which your feet come in contact, no longer provide the cushioning you need. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing your work boots, there is no point in holding on to them.
- Try the flexibility test where you hang the boots using their laces. Then, try to touch the boot’s tip to its heel. If it bends completely almost without any resistance, your shoes need replacement. Work boots do not have to be flexible, but they do appear and feel a little limber. However, if they have become too supple, it’s time to buy a new pair.
- Damaged midsoles also show you to change your boots, especially if they no longer offer the same cushioning when you bought them. A noticeable change is a decreased shoe height, indicating the midsoles are worn.
If you have steel cap shoes, check if the steel cap stops springing back, which can happen when a heavy object falls on it. If so, it’s time to look for a replacement here. Of course, the damages are not visible right away, but you will start to feel them after several days of use. Frankly speaking, there is no strict time frame in replacing work boots. Consider the signs above and decide if you need a new pair. A good boot, however, should last about six months long. If you put a lot of pressure on the shoes and wear them for several hours every day, they can give you three to six months of use.
If you see any signs of damage, don’t use your work boots. You wear your work boots for a reason, and that is for your protection. Safety is not an aspect to be frugal with. Damaged or worn-out boots can lead to cracking, soles coming out whilst you’re at work, and even cause blisters and pain. If you work in a wet environment, water can easily seep through the cracks, getting your feet wet.
Make sure you’re wearing good quality shoes and the right ones for your job. Australia has strict protective gear and clothing requirements, which include footwear, under AS/NZS 2210. Choose work boots that protect your feet against:
- Heavy falling or rolling objects
- Sharp items that can cut or puncture your feet
- Slippery surfaces
- Hot surfaces
- Corrosive and poisonous components
- Electrocution or electric shock
- Explosions caused by static electrical discharge
Work boots are not always comfortable, especially the first time you wear them. It takes about 80 to 100 hours for new boots to break in. That means you need about four days before you get used to your shoes. To avoid wincing while at work because your feet hurt, keep a second pair that you can change into for a few days. Repeat the process until you feel comfortable with your new boots.
Caring for Your Work Boots
You can increase the longevity of your work boots. Here are some proven tips to ensure you enjoy your shoes for longer:
- Have an alternative pair. Your favourite pair may have gotten wet, but there is not enough time to let it dry for your job the next day. Instead of wearing those boots, use your other pair. Ideally, you should have two extra pairs. If it’s not possible, alternate your two pairs of boots every week or so. That way, you expose them to less stress and environmental effects.
- Wear your work boots at work. Have another pair when you’re outside of the workplace, especially for everyday use. Doing so helps reduce exhaustion on the boots.
- Boot maintenance is important. It includes cleaning, dusting, and polishing. If there are worn out parts that can be repaired, you should have them fixed right away. Get your boot maintenance essentials, including wax, polish pad, and covers, here.
Work boots can help prevent injuries in the workplace. But don’t wear old, worn-out boots because they will not offer you the protection you bought them for. When it’s time to replace your work boots, you’ve come to the right place. Head to our work boots section and find the most suitable pair for you here at The Workers Shop.