Since you’re googling this, you’re probably curious, and a bit worried, right? Rumor has it that a certain someone somewhere had a certain accident on the construction site, and now you’re wondering how frequent steel toe boots accidents really are.
If that’s the case, then thankfully, you’re at the right place. This article will help you bust all the myths about steel toe boots and will shed the light on the actual truth.
If you happen to be someone (or at least know someone) who works on a construction site or in any other similar work environment, the probability of your authorities demanding wearing safety equipment is very high.
It’s important to be responsible and stay safe, but that safety equipment can sometimes be very annoying and obstructing. Especially footwear like steel toe boots. These boots can often be too heavy, hot, and even uncomfortable if they don’t fit you properly.
But are they good for you? Do they really protect your feet? Or are they actually foot hazards? Can steel toe boots cause your feet more harm than good?
All of these questions will be answered in this article. So, let’s not waste any more of your precious time and find out how high the possibility of steel toe boots accidents really is.
Are steel toe boots comfortable?
Steel toe boots are durable boots made for heavy-duty work environments and designed with protective reinforcement in the toe area. Although usually made of steel, that protective reinforcement can be made out of other composite materials, like thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or aluminum.
So, it’s natural to assume that these boots are uncomfortable since their initial task is to be protective. However, there’s no actual reason why a good pair of well-fitting, high-quality, steel toe boots shouldn’t be comfortable.
Like with many other clothing items, fit is the key. If you buy a cool black leather jacket which is two sizes too small, you would probably feel too stiff, your arms would stick out strangely, the sleeves of the jacket wouldn’t reach your wrists and overall, your jacket would be too small.
And wearing anything underneath would be a complete nightmare.
The same thing goes for footwear. If you buy steel toe boots that don’t fit you, of course, they will be uncomfortable. Ill-fitting boots can be extremely bad for your feet. The hard boot interior can rub against your feet and cause some serious discomfort.
Therefore, in order not to compromise comfort, make sure you opt for the right size of your steel toe boots.
However, if you’re in the store, and you’re trying on the boots with your regular socks on, keep in mind you will probably be wearing some thicker socks on the job for added comfort. Thicker socks will add volume to your feet, so your regular shoe size won’t be your size anymore.
Overall, always think about the quality. I know that high-quality steel toe boots can be expensive, but think of them as an investment. You know you’ll be wearing them, so they have to have all the necessary features, including being comfortable.
Those boots might have a price tag, but your comfort doesn’t. Remember that.
The possibility of steel toe boots accidents: what’s the truth?
Steel toe boots were made to protect your feet from any external threats. But, there’s a reason why these boots have a bad reputation as being dangerous to wear.
As mentioned in the introduction, you have probably heard of an accident that unfortunately didn’t have a happy ending. The most famous among the steel toe boots accidents is the one that happened in Australia back in 2002.
Allegedly, during a forklift accident, a worker lost his third toe when some steel pipes fell to his steel toe boots. This opened Pandora’s box of suspicions and misinterpretations that steel toe boots can cut off toes.
However, this is far from the truth. Steel toe boots, no matter how heavy or even uncomfortable they be, do not cut off toes. They actually protect your feet and toes from getting severely crushed.
So, the Australian worker was actually saved by his steel toe boots and only ended up with one toe missing. If he had been wearing sneakers or other boots, maybe his entire foot would have been cut off.
Over the past twenty years, many experiments have been conducted to prove that steel toe boots do not cause such awful damage. The most famous ones were two experiments conducted by a TV show on Discovery Channel, called MythBusters.
1. The Guillotine drop test on clay-filled steel toe boots
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, the show’s original hosts, filled a steel toe boot and a regular boot with clay which is generally used by ANSI (American National Standard Institute) in determining the strength of boots.
They threw a 75lbs heavy Guillotine toe smasher from a height of 3ft, first on a steel toe boot, then on a regular one.
The results were amazing. The clay in the regular boot was completely splashed. And in steel toe boots, the clay was compressed only by 0.5 inches, and the steel didn’t curl or cut into the boots. It was obvious that the steel toe boots did a better job at protecting the clay (aka. the foot) from the external impact.
2. The arbor press test to determine the total failure point
For the second experiment, Savage and Hyneman used an arbor press. Their aim was to completely destroy both boots and determine at what point does the destruction occur.
The regular boot was completely destroyed at the mere pressure of 1200 lbs. However, the steel toe boot was crushed when the pressure reached 6000 lbs.
3. Shearing attachment tests
Savage and Hyneman took things one step further and made a shearing attachment – a thin metal plate that would hit the boots. They attached it to the arbor press and the Guillotine toe smasher.
The results were completely destroyed boots. However, steel toe boots were proven to be a better option in most cases, offering better overall protection.
All in all, some accidents and injuries are simply inevitable in dangerous work environments. But, it’s important to keep in mind that steel toe boots will not increase the chances of your toes being cut off. Quite the contrary, with them on, you’ll be better protected than ever.
What are the most common steel toe boots injuries?
Now that we know that steel toe boots accidents are not that likely to happen and that these shoes don’t cut off toes in their spare time, we can talk about some actual steel toe boots foot injuries that can occur.
It’s important to note that most of these injuries are avoidable, preventable, and easily treatable. If you ensure your boots fit you perfectly if you take good care of them and use them correctly and if you invest in other footwear “additions”, you’ll be good to go.
One of the most common injuries is plantar fasciitis. This condition refers to a stabbing pain in the heel area, and it occurs when the arch of the foot is not supported properly. This injury can be extremely painful, and the recovery can last for several months.
The treatment of plantar fasciitis might include physical therapy, medication, night splints, or orthotics. However, to prevent it, make sure you buy steel toe boots that provide enough support for your feet.
Another common injury includes ankle sprains. With rigid safety boots whose main aim is to provide foot protection, ankles are often neglected. Since these boots have sturdy and durable outsoles, uneven surfaces are harder to detect, so slips and trips are regular occurrences.
When you roll, twist, or turn your ankle in a weird way, the tough bands of tissue that help hold your ankle bones together (called the ligaments), actually get stretched or even torn. So, a sprained ankle occurs when those ligaments are forced beyond their usual range of motion.
To prevent this, make sure your boots are – you’ve guessed it – the right size, and that they are laced up properly. You want a snug fit, not something that feels too loose.
Basically, many foot injuries can be avoided by just opting for the right size. Make sure you keep this in mind during your next purchase.