Melbourne podiatrists Jess and Tim get asked all the time about what are the best work boots. Well, we had to write about it.
When it comes to questions in clinic, there’s a few standouts for us podiatrists…
Why is my toenail all thick and yellow?
Why do my heels hurt in the morning?
What are the best work boots for me?
Well, there’s always the subjective side of what makes up the best of anything… If you ask me who’s the best footballer today I’ll vacillate between Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins, clearly there is no wrong answer there. There is NO WRONG ANSWER BETWEEN JOEL AND TOM.
But considering what makes the best work boot in Australia is going to come down to your needs and some personal preferences…
Let’s get started.
What Features Do I Need In My Work Boots?
Depending on your work and usage, the features you need in a safety boot will vary person to person, trade to trade.
Your employer, union or industry will usually have a set requirement that your safety boots will have to live up to. These are tightly regulated and monitored by Australian Standards.
The main standard is AS/NZS 2210 which covers safety and protective footwear. There’s other standards relating to impact protection and whether a toe cap is needed or not.
Next up, what activities are you doing at work?
Are you up and down ladders?
Crawling through ceilings or under floors?
Kicking about digging holes that keep filling with water?
Thinking about how waterproof and how flexible a sole you need is important. That flexible sole you need for twisting around on the roof is not going to help you if you’re walking long distances or standing on a shovel all day.
What About Fit?
Oh so important when it comes to a boot that you’ll have on for 10 plus hours every single day.
If your foot is wide, get a wide fitting boot.
Conversely, if your foot is narrow, get a narrow fit.
If you have a high volume foot with a high arch, make sure there’s plenty of space in the midfoot so that the top of your foot does not rub on the upper or laces and lead to burning pain.
A consideration that few of us take into account when selecting a work boot is how our feet change shape throughout the day. Particularly those of us who are a little older with either a spot of venous disease (varicose veins) or a pot belly.
After a long day on your feet they do swell and get longer, wider and deeper. This happens even more to those who fit in the former categories.
Ensuring a boot fits you at the start and end of a shift is important, adjustable fixation with laces and zippers help here.
With that in mind, it’s time to look at the Best Work Boots In Australia right now.
Best Work Boots In Australia
Steel Blue Argyle/Parkes Range
Combining lots of fit options (half sizes throughout the range) and both Men’s and Women’s range these Steel Blue boots are versatile for many needs.
The Wide One
Wide Load is an Australian company who specialise in wide fitting safety boots.
They combine a steel cap that’s 15mm wider and 6mm deeper than its competitors with a removable insole and non-slip outsole. For broad feet the 690WZ is the best work boot for you!
The Sporty One
Ok, now this boot is not sporty like a Ferrari, more so like a TRD Hilux.
Ascent have been producing “sports shoes in disguise” for many years now where they take the midsole technology of an athletic shoe and put it in a work boot or safety shoe.
The Alpha 2 is marketed as a work boot you can run in. Well, I wouldn’t want to run too far in them but they are very comfortable on the job site.
The Lightweight One
While you’re not going to forget you have your work boot on instead of your thongs, this supportive safety boot from Blundstone has a lighter midsole to reduce leg fatigue.
The Other One
When it comes to all our shoes, we know that having a rotation of shoes is much better than just having the one pair.
A rotation allows our shoes to rest and recover so that fungal spores can die off, materials can dry out and midsoles can rebound to their original shape.
Our feet also appreciate variety in our footwear so getting a 2nd pair of slightly different work boots is one of the best investments you can make in your foot health.
With that in mind, the Oliver 55-322 is an excellent all round boot with large and small sizes available. Being slip on means they are less supportive compared to your primary work boot.
This is usually OK when using an alternating boot strategy where your different boots work your leg and foot muscles differently.
Fitting Advice For Your Work Boots
It’s not always possible but try to get into your local safety boot retailer in the afternoon with a clean pair of your go to work socks ready to try on some boots.
Make sure you take your orthotics with you so that you can see what boot and orthotic combination will feel just right for you.