Footwear Safety 101
According to recent industry reports, home accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries for adults in America. Seven million Americans suffer home injuries each year with home improvement injuries being one of the most common. When the weekday professional decides to become a DIY weekend warrior and home improvement projects are the to-do’s of the weekend, footwear safety is an important detail that should not be overlooked.
Today, work-appropriate footwear is steps above its clunky and often uncomfortable predecessors. Safety styles today incorporate modern design with technological details that provide all-day comfort and security.
Thinking about safety from the bottom-up may just save do-it-yourselfers from a weekend visit to the ER.
Protecting the Digits
The human foot has over 26 bones in it. Wearing footwear to protect delicate tarsal and metatarsal bones is important no matter what the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), objects falling fewer than four feet with a median weight of 65 pounds are one of the most typical causes of foot injuries. The next time a home improvement job takes some heavy lifting, choosing a boot with a safety-toe will help protect the delicate bones in the feet. Today’s work boots offer options other than the traditional steel-toe, supplying buyers with lightweight composite toe options that provide just as much protection.
Stability on Surfaces
It’s important to select an outsole that provides security on a number of surfaces. Looking for a rubber outsole that’s slip or abrasion-resistant and non-conductive to electricity increases stability on uneven terrains or in changing environments. Outsoles made from Vibram® rubber often offer more heavy-duty treads that help to increase durability, stability and wear. Whether it’s backyard landscaping or home construction, finding footwear that maintains your footing may make the difference between slips and successes.
Insulate against the elements
Working outside in the yard or around the house can often mean battling the elements. Finding footwear with waterproof-treated leathers and insulation to keep feet warm creates gear that can last as long as the job does. The waterproof membrane of GORE-TEX™ is often incorporated with waterproof leathers and serves as a breathable barrier, letting moisture out but not in. Thinsulate™insulation offers varying levels of insulation depending on warmth needs to keep feet warm despite falling temperatures.
On the other side of the weather spectrum, finding footwear that can keep feet cool under the hot sun is yet another challenge. In cases where temperatures are hot and elements extreme, buyers should look for un-insulated footwear styles that keep feet ventilated with cooling features like Dry-Lex®a fabric liner that ventilates feet, pulling moisture away from the body and letting it evaporate into the air.
Finding the Right Fit
There’s nothing worse than a blister ten minutes into an all-day job. Finding well-fitting boots that require little or no break-in time will help to make a day of work more comfortable, especially for those not accustomed to hours on their feet. When deciding on which work boots to purchase, it’s important to take the time to try things on, fully lacing up the boots and walking around to make sure there is minimal rubbing and the fit is snug and secure. Breaking in a new pair of work boots by wearing them for a few hours before investing an entire weekend in home improvement jobs will save feet from developing hot spots and blisters. Wearing a pair of sock liners or socks with fabric technologies like Dry-Lex will help to draw moisture away from the foot and provide a snugger fit. If a blister is inevitable, remember to tape it up to help reduce rubbing.
Fight the Fatigue
Those that aren’t used to working on their feet all day will be happy to know that comfort technologies have made serious advances in recent years. Outsoles outfitted with compression pads and gel inserts reduce impact and return energy, customizing comfort with each step. Footwear companies like Wolverine®have been designing work footwear since 1883 and have made comfort and safety a priority for more than a century.
“Finding protective footwear that provides all-day comfort is paramount,” says Mark Morgan, senior designer for Wolverine. “Advances in safety-wear create safety-toes that are now lightweight, outsoles that provide increased traction, slip resistance and comfort technologies that absorb shock and return energy with each step.”
Working in Style
While the traditional gold-toe work boot design never goes out of style, many work boot manufacturers today offer modern styles that incorporate hiking and athletic styles. Many of these contemporary looks also incorporate safety toes, comfort technologies and insulation features to keep feet safe and comfortable while maintaining a more mainstream look-perfect for home improvement projects or running errands around town.
By doing a bit of homework before starting your next home improvement project, you can find the perfect boot that will keep feet comfortable, safe and ready for anything the task at hand might throw your way.
To find a work boot that fits your next weekend DIY project, visit www.wolverine.com or call 1-800-545-2425 for more information.