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Are Steel Toe Boots Dangerous For Your Toes? Breaking The Myth

Are you wondering whether your toes can get chopped off while wearing a steel toe safety boot? Are steel toe boots dangerous? I had the same question. Let us ‘de-myth’ this fact together.

The benefits of wearing steel toe safety boots far outweigh the dangers associated with you wearing them. Steel toe boots are not dangerous, rather they are tough, providing you adequate toe protection, ankle support, and the required traction in harsh terrain.

are steel toe dangerous - man tying his laces

When something heavy falls from a height and just kisses the end of the big toe, it can lead to several days of immense pain and limited movement. Now wonder what will happen if that heavy object falls directly on the feet. The steel present in the safety shoe acts as a shield and gives the required peace of mind that the feet are protected in an industrial environment.

When Should Steel Toe Boots Be Worn?

Occupational safety and health administration (OSHA 1910.136) and the US department of labor make it a must to wear steel toe safety shoes in all industrial and warehouse areas where there is a danger of sharp or falling objects, which may injure your feet.

Steel toe boots need to be worn not only out of common sense in such areas, rather there are regulations which make safety shoes a must, as a part of the full safety uniform.

Hazardous environment, electrical equipment, sharp and heavy objects around or working with heavy machinery mandate you to wear steel toe boots to keep your feet and ankle safe.

If you happen to spend quite a substantial amount of time with the above things, you should keep your feet protected with a safety shoe all the time. If you spend only a small amount of time with the above things, you can work out the amount of time you need to wear a safety boot with your employer.

How Are Steel Toe Boots Made?

In order to understand if steel toe boots are dangerous for your toes, you need to know how steel toe boots are made. Steel toe boots of the industrial standard are made with utmost care and precision to help them best meet their requirements.

High quality, genuine, rugged, and thick leather forms the outer layer, whereas a moisture absorbent fabric forms the inner layer. The outer layer of leather makes the steel toe boot water-resistant. It also makes the steel toe boot fashionable with premium colors and textures. The inner layer acts as a comfortable, moisture-absorbent layer for the feet to remain dry and cozy during usage.

Between the two layers at the front is installed a steel toe cap, which acts as a protection for the toe preventing unwanted injury. A high heel rubber sole is heat pasted to the steel toe boot to provide good traction, insulation as well as proper arch support to the feet.

You can watch this YouTube video to learn in detail how the steel toe boots are made.

How Heavy Are Steel Toe Boots?

There is no standard figure when it comes to the weight of a steel toe boot. The weight of the steel toe boots depends on two main factors. Two things mainly add to the weight of the steel robot. The steel toe cap and the thickness of the sole that has been installed in the boot make up the major weight.

But if you want a certain figure in mind while buying a steel toe safety boot, you must be careful that steel toe boots are generally heavier than normal boots.

Steel toe boots can weigh around 4 pounds or 1.8 kilograms. But this weight is a normal estimate.

Boots having a ticker sole may weigh more and there are some lighter steel toe boots available in the market as well. It should be kept in mind that steel toe boots, although being heavier, provide sufficient mobility at the workplace. They serve the purpose of safety more and can protect your foot or metatarsal from getting crushed from a heavy falling object.

Are Steel Toe Boots Bad For You?

Steel toe boots can seldom be considered bad for your feet. They may be bad for your feet if you are having an acute feet problem like Achilles tendonitis or a heel spur. If you are having these kinds of foot problems, then you must take proper care so as to choose a safety boot having proper cushioning.

In most scenarios, a properly medicated insole can ease the discomfort. There are various medicated insoles available in the market today (Buy the best insole from Amazon) which provide adequate cushioning and arch support for better comfort.

Apart from this scenario, steel toe boots always are the purpose of foot protection and traction. The high heels present in the steel toe boots let you handle any terrain with the utmost ease. The rubber sole present in the shoe will provide ample grip to let you handle any slippery surface with confidence.

Overall, weighing the pros and cons, steel toe boots can never be considered bad or dangerous for you. Rather it can save you from a foot injury if you meet with an accident while working on your industrial job. 

If something falls on your boot, the steel toe cap will not curl in and cut off your toes. The steel cap will in fact protect your toes in that scenario and prevent a major damage or injury. The steel toe cap curling in to cut off the toes is a myth that needs to be busted real time.

Related Questions

How long should you wear steel toe boots?

You should try to remain in your steel toe boots as long as you are in a dangerous environment where your feet may get hurt. It needs to be mentioned that wearing safety boots for prolonged periods will not have any special consequences on your foot or overall health as compared to any other shoe.

However, if you need to wear steel toe boots for extended periods, you must choose a proper steel toe boot with adequate cushioning and arch support. You can check and buy such steel toe boots on Amazon here.

You may refer to these articles in order to satisfy your query further:

Best Work Boots for Heel Spurs 2021: Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Work Boots For Knee and Back Pain 2021: Fast Remedy

How long should safety boots last?

Ideally, safety boots can last anywhere between six to twelve months. Shoes being used in the harshest environments should be replaced faster.

A person using a steel toe boot in a steel melting shop of a steel plant will surely need to get the steel toe boot replaced in six months, as the shoe will surely undergo substantial wear and tear in the difficult environment. Whereas a person using a steel toe boot of the same brand in a storeroom or warehouse can use his/her boot for a longer period of time.

However, a daily inspection of the steel toe boot is very important. The steel toe boots should be inspected for any damage every day. Any possibility of the sole separating or the steel cap being visible is a clear sign that the shoe should to be replaced with a new one as soon as possible.

What is the OSHA standard for safety shoes?

OSHA 1910.136 clearly mandates that the employer needs to ensure that his/her employees wear protective footwear when they need to work in areas having a chance of foot injuries. Injuries can be caused due to rolling or falling objects or sharp objects piercing the sole.

The employer must also ensure that the safety shoe protects the employee from electrical accidents like static discharge or electric shock.

OSHA also mentions guidelines of ASTM standards that the safety shoes need to meet, more specifically ASTM F2413-05. You can buy ASTM standard-compliant steel toe boots on Amazon here.

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About the Author: Bellamy Smith

Bellamy is a freelance safety consultant who helps companies and individuals best assess their safety requirements. He is an expert in all kinds of safety gears. He has been with Safe Work Gears from the start, helping the readers with his useful tips and tricks.

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