How to Choose the Best Lightweight Work Boots
Do you need a heavy duty pair of work boots without all that extra weight? While it’s true that the extra leather, steel, or rubber adds an additional layer of protection, there are now a lot of technological advances that allow you to work hard, yet travel light. Here is a list of five areas where you might be able to find some lighter alternatives to your heavy pair of work boots.
1. The Insole
The insole is the interior bottom of a shoe and it sits directly beneath the foot under the sock liner or footbed. The insole is attached to the upper and shouldn’t be mistaken for the sock liner, which is often removable. That being said, many companies now sell insoles that you can use in place of the manufacturer’s insole for additional comfort. If you have weak arches or flat feet, this will make a world of difference. Two common types are gel and foam insoles, but foam is typically lighter.
2. The Midsole
If you spend a lot of time on your feet or notice that the bottoms of your feet get sore easily, you should choose a boot with a good midsole. The two most popular kinds are EVA and PU. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate and PU stands for polyurethane, but both are types of foam. The midsole is essentially made of thousands of tiny foam bubbles. The bubbles are filled with gas making it lightweight and flexible. You’re literally walking on air! This is a soft cushioning midsole that absorbs of the impact, and you’ll feel less tired and worn out at the end of the day. EVA is lighter, but not as long lasting as PU.
3. The Outsole:
Traditional work boots have a rubber outsole. The great thing about rubber is that it is oil resistant, while maintaining a strong grip on the ground. The downside is that rubber outsoles can be quite heavy. Lightweight work boots tend to have TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) outsoles. TPU outsoles are certainly lighter than rubber, but have the added benefit of being chemically resistant and hardwearing.
4. The Toe
If you need an extra layer of protection, a non-metallic composite or aluminum toe is a lighter alternative to a traditional steel toe boot. A non-metallic composite toe also has the added benefit of never setting off the metal detector. However, it is suggested that after a heavy impact, you replace the boots even if there is no visible sign of damage. Metal toes have the advantage of denting or warping to show damage, while a compromised composite toe may not show any warning signs. Non-metallic boots are suggested for jobs where the likelihood of heavy impacts is low.
5. The Upper
There’s a reason why leather is the preferred material for boots. It is tough, long lasting, supple, and even soft. However, leather boots can also be quite expensive. If you prefer to stay away from leather goods (for example, if you are vegan or vegetarian), then there are many modern and earth-friendly synthetic materials available on the market today. However, if you work regularly in a damp environment, you’ll notice that synthetic shoes wear down quickly. Depending on the synthetic, it may or may not be lighter than genuine leather. Be sure to read reviews and do research before you purchase.
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