Work Boot Tips for Tradies

min read


The Sports Injury Clinic

Sam Davies

August 22, 2014


With tradies spending hour upon hour on their feet, work boots often prove to be the most important tool in their kit. Work boots provide an important barrier from potential crush, puncture, chemical and electrical hazards as well as providing valuable supportive and stability to help prevent lower limb injury.

1. What are the most common foot problems experienced amongst tradies?

Poor fitting boots can cause pressure spots resulting in painful callous, corns, blisters and blackened or ingrown toenails. It is important to get the boot properly fitted to help avoid pressure related pathology. The boot should feel comfortable the moment you put it on, and should not need to be "broken in" before it becomes comfortable.

Foot, ankle and knee complaints can also be caused by ill-fitting or unsupportive work boots. Boots that are too flexible or too big for the foot can create movement of the foot within the boot. This will result in the muscles/tendons in the feet-ankle having to work excessively to help gain stability and balance. Complaints such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), achilles tendon pain and shin splints are common complaints associated with a lack of support or shock absorption from your work boots.

2. What are the main features to look for when choosing a work boot?

There are a few simple things to check for when selecting a work boot:

  • Fastening to the foot: If possible, select a boot with a lace, velcro or zip combination as opposed to elastic sided boots. Elastic tends to stretch over time and results in loosening of the boot and decrease in foot and ankle support. Zip sided boots are becoming much more popular and work well for trades that require quick removal of boots on occasions throughout the working day.
  • Flexion point of the sole: The sole of the boot should only flex at the forefoot underneath the flexion point of the forefoot. Boots that flex through the centre of the sole will often "fight" with the foot as it tried to flex in a different position.
  • Torsional and heel counter stability: You should not be able to twist the sole of the boot or easily compress the heel counter (back of the heel). Both these features are important to help increase foot stability and support.

3. What are some examples of suitable work boot brands?

Work boots brands will differ in terms of depth, width and last shape. It is important to get the right boot to fit your foot shape. Keeping this in mind, some suitable work boot brands include:

  • Steel blue; the only boot endorsed by the Australasian Podiatry Council and Australian Physiotherapy Association. Now also have a "response" range without steel caps designed for police officers, security, paramedics and other emergency services.
  • Oliver
  • Blundstone Boots

Despite the use of supportive and well fitted boots, lower limb problems can still occur. Podiatrists can help you with proper work boot prescription and advice, as well as the treatment of skin, nail and musculoskeletal pathology should they arise.


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