Safety Shoe Sizing & Fitting

Safety Shoe Sizing & Fitting

Wearing safety shoes is mandatory if you work in an environment where there are hazards and potential for injury. If you’re tasked with wearing safety boots or shoes everyday, it’s important to make sure they fit correctly so as not to cause any long term foot problems.

Here we’re going to take a look at how to choose the right safety footwear for you and how to correctly fit and size them ready for long term wear. The fit can also influence how safe they are so we’ll also touch on what needs to be considered when buying a pair of safety shoes.

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What Size Safety Boots Should I Buy?

No two people have exactly the same size feet, so no safety footwear is going to fit in exactly the same way.

One important thing to remember is that over the course of a day, it’s standard for your feet to swell slightly. With that in mind, you should consider leaving a little extra space for your feet to spread and breathe. If you work in all types of weather, additional insulation may be needed in the colder months. Buying safety shoes that are skin tight can mean they become uncomfortable when adding layers.

Like with any shoes, it’s important to try them on properly before committing to long term wear. When trying on safety boots, always wear the same socks that you would typically wear on a day to day basis, this will give you a better idea of how comfortable they’re likely to be for you going forward. Also, like we recommend with all footwear, trying them on later in the day will allow your feet to swell over the course of the day, reducing the chances of the pair you choose being too tight.

Generally, safety shoes and boots are manufactured to be slightly more generous in terms of size depending on the style, so there may be no need to size up. Don’t automatically assume you will need to size up to accommodate thick socks as this could mean they’re too big, becoming a trip hazard.

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How To Fit Safety Shoes

Comfort is a big deal when it comes to safety footwear, especially as they’ll be something that you could be wearing for most of your working day. With that in mind, getting the correct fit is paramount.

But how should safety boots fit? Safety footwear should fit in much the same way that normal shoes do, so a good insole that supports the arches of the feet as well as the balls of the feet and the heel with minimal amounts of movement.

Any movement can cause friction which will lead to sores and blisters, definitely not something you need when you’re on your feet all day!

For the best fit, lace up safety shoes can allow for more adjustment compared to slip on safety shoes. This also means that should you need a little extra give for thicker socks, you can alter them accordingly. It is however important not to over tighten safety boots, this can cause issues with circulation as well as reducing the amount of air that gets to your feet. If your feet aren’t able to breathe properly, it will cause excess sweating and ultimately smelly work boots!

If you do find that your safety boots allow for a small amount of movement, a supportive insole may reduce movement and provide additional comfort.

The difference that safety shoes have compared to normal shoes is a rigid, often steel, toe cap. This can and should play a big part in how they fit. The cap should cover all of your toes and should sit so that the shoe or boot flexes inline with the natural walking motion of the foot. If the shoes are too big or too small, the toe cap won’t sit correctly and can cause irritation as well as reduce the amount of protection they provide.

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Safety Shoe Comfort

Comfort and protection are the two key factors of any safety shoes and both should be taken very seriously when shopping around. It may be that you need a particular level of protection from your new work boots but getting the right protection and the right kind of comfort for you can be a bit of a juggling act. As mentioned before, always thoroughly try out a new pair before committing yourself to wearing them all day.

Often times, new work boots are quite stiff and don’t allow for much flexing of the feet initially, they can however be stretched out and softened slightly. We would always recommend “breaking in” new safety shoes before you proceed to wear them for long periods of time anyway, but wearing them for a couple of hours around the house for a with a thick pair of socks should make them more comfortable. Using a hair dryer to gently heat them up as you wear them can also help to soften and stretch them.

Another way to ensure comfort throughout the day, is to make sure the socks that you’re wearing are made from natural materials. Materials such as cotton and wool have fantastic moisture wicking properties as opposed to socks made from manmade materials such as polyester, which can encourage sweating with minimal amounts of wicking.

TOP TIP: Once you find a pair that works for you, make a note of the brand, style and size. That way you can pick up a new pair when needed without the hassle of having to shop around.

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Conclusion

These days, safety shoes play a huge role in health and safety measures that are implemented in many workplaces. Buying a pair of safety footwear perfectly suited to you will make your working day easier as well as provide you with protection against hazards, spills and falling objects… Certainly not something any of us want to encounter!