We all need a good pair of boots. They protect our feet and keep them warm. It goes without saying that having a good pair of boots is necessary for people who work in certain work fields. There are specific norms on what shoes or boots to wear in many professions. Heavy-duty jobs like working in factories, firefighting, lumberjacking, even working as safety personnel emphasize wearing specific boots. And in that matter, they will only recommend steel toe boots. Steel toe boots may provide top-class protection to our feet, but they also have some drawbacks. This article is about how to stop steel toe boots from hurting.
Steel toe boots are the toughest and the most durable when working in extreme conditions and potentially dangerous jobs. There are many instances that steel toe boots have saved employees from foot and toe damages and other serious risks. But that doesn’t guarantee that they are very comfortable. In fact, the same material that is there to protect you may actually hurt your feet, even cause pain. Wearing steel toe boots every day can causes you discomfort if you don’t follow some steps.
As employees need to wear those boots for long working hours, that adds more to the discomfort. Steel toe boots don’t come with a design to provide comfort; they are heavy, and the steel cap at the front reduces the ability to move toes. It also results in calluses and bruises from extended usage.
Why do steel toe boots hurt?
Steel toe boots are sometimes uncomfortable, but there are other factors that also add to the discomfort. Why do your steel toe boots hurt and how do you fix them? It is essential to focus on these factors to know about them. The habits of certain people can cause more damage than a pair of steel toe boots typically does. Most people cannot afford high-quality boots; hence, they opt for cheap ones. Cheap boots come across as more uncomfortable to wear. Out of all these reasons, the most prominent one is not finding the right size and shape. Without the right size, expensive steel toe boots can also feel like cheap ones and cause problems. With all that, there may be more reasons for toes getting hurt.
Steel toe boots are generally narrow, so that causes the toes to rub against the shoe wall and cause friction.
Some feet are too wide to fit into most steel-toe boots. So, they don’t fit properly.
Many boots also have alignment issues, which may put stress on the feet, ankle, and hips. Ignoring them may cause injury to the joints. Maintaining a correct arch is also crucial for the boots.
Sometimes, the weight of the steel toe boots can be too much to wear throughout the day. Heavy boots are definitely uncomfortable.
Not ensuring the right tightness can also cause discomfort. Either the boots become very loose, which causes them to sway. On the other hand, a very tight boot will cause your toes to jam inside the steel cap and cause problems.
So, you have to follow these points below to ensure your boots don’t hurt.
Things to do to stop steel toe boots from hurting:
However, people run into problems despite choosing the perfect pair. Wearing the wrong size will definitely not fit properly, and boots may feel loose or too tight and uncomfortable.
· Cut the toes of the insole area
The top front of your shoes is what the professionals call a toe box, as it keeps your toes tucked inside. Too little space in that area makes your feet jammed and the toes tightly pressed into each other. The small room also leaves no space for your toes to move. You can take out the insole first and then remove some parts of the toes region from the insole. After that, put it back inside the boot and try wearing it. That will provide more space for your toes in the area, and they’ll rub against the steel capless. That will save you from hurting your toes.
· Put tongue pads inside
The tongue pads can increase comfort. If your boot’s toe room is small or the steel cap feels hard against your toes, adding an extra level of padding can save your toes from discomfort. To do that, you can use tongue pads to cut them according to the boot size and fit. Attach the strips to the steel toe cap. That will give you the ease of wearing any other shoe while having the protective ability of steel toes. The process is straightforward and saves you from spending a lot on your boots.
· Wear socks
Socks are imperative for wearing boots; however, they can play a significant role in how your shoes feel against your feet. Wearing socks ensures a better fit, and the shoes wobble less. With that, wearing thicker socks can also provide better padding and save you from the pain of the toes rubbing alongside the steel cap. Whenever you walk wearing your boots with thick socks, they function as cushions, absorbing the pressure your feet put on. This can be very helpful in the matter of how to stop steel toe boots from hurting.
· Steel toe size and shape
While the term ‘fit’ describes the overall character of a boot, the size and shape of the steel toe caps can extensively manipulate it. There is more than the correct size. Other factors like shape, toe room make up an important factor in fittings. Look for specific shapes while shopping for steel toes. The pointier the tip, the more problems you will have with the boot. Pointed or narrow fronts leave little space for your toes so that they will feel jammed. Instead, a little rounder or asymmetric shapes suit better for most feet. The shape resembles the natural shape of human feet; hence they fit better and feel more comfortable.
Moreover, check the heel’s ball of the steel toe boots. To diminish heel pain, it should stay in the center of your heel. If the steel toe is very narrow, you may try cotton padding to reduce friction.
· Making use of the band-aids for the toes
The primary reason for discomfort while wearing steel toe boots is the friction between your toes and the steel cap. However, some parts of our feet have more contact than some others. Unless you know which parts are the most prone to friction, you’ll not figure out how to stop steel toe boots from hurting. The big toe and the small toe reside on two sides. Hence, they come closest to the steel cap and the inside. This is why they take the most damage, and you feel pain in those areas. However, using band-aids for the two toes can save you from the pain. The band-aid works as a safety layer that protects toes from scratches, bruises, and calluses. They can also protect existing toe wounds and let you comfortably wear your steel toe boots.
· Choosing laced steel toe boots
When you’re choosing a pair of steel toe boots, make sure that it has laces in it. The boots which don’t have laces on them, will not give you comfort in the proper way. As a result, your boot sways, and your toes continue to move in the toe cap, rubbing alongside the steel cap. That causes pain and bruises. On the other hand, the boots with laces allow you to tighten the boot according to your comfort and stop your toes from moving and hurting against the steel cap. You can also customize your own steel toe boots. For that, you have to cut a rectangular portion from the front of the shoe, where the other shoes have laces. After that, punch holes in them, put on lace, and tie them. That will give you a better fit and lessen your pain experience.
· Arch support
One great thing that ensures comfort is the arch support of steel toe boots. Many pairs of boots don’t have good arch support; hence, they hurt your feet and eventually cause other spinal and back issues. Make sure that the steel toe boot’s ball is positioned at the most expansive area of it. Only that way the curvature of your feet will correctly match and fit the boots’ arch. You will get the best support only from those boots. Moreover, it will also help with your spinal, back, and feet problems.
· Applying lubricant
How to stop steel toe boots from hurting? With all the measures above, there’s also a way on it. Rubbing any kind of lubricant, especially petroleum jelly, can work wonders. The jelly can act as a dense layer for the big and small toe and save it from hurting. With that, it also prevents your toes and feet from bruises and calluses. You can also couple it with band-aids to add an additional layer of safety.
Wearing steel toe boots is necessary for the safety of your feet. Hence, you need to make them comfortable as much as you can to ensure safety for longer periods. You can also use metatarsal boots instead. Though there are few differences between metatarsal boots and steel toe boots. To know them please read here. If you don’t know what is a metatarsal guard read here.