Random streets, construction sites, and wrecked roads can cause any kind of injury to our feet and may lead to dangerous impacts. However, if you have steel toe shoes, they make sure to keep your feet protected from such concerns and reduce the chances of injuries.
Having said that, steel toe shoes are not everyone’s cup of tea. Several people and new users are not very comfortable with the idea of wearing steel toe shoes simply because they are heavy and cause your feet to feel compressed.
With such controversial views on steel toe boots, we decided to clear the confusion and answer the common question that has got various boot users scratching their heads “Are Steel Toe Shoes Bad for your Feet?”
How are Steel Toe Shoes Helpful?
Steel Toe Shoes are a form of durable boots or shoes that are meant to offer a superior level of protection from high-impact activities. These shoes are known to protect your toes from getting injured or suffering from pain due to compression and falling objects. These boots are widely used by people on construction sites and for civil work where they constantly come in contact with sharp and heavy objects that may cause injuries.
These shoes were traditionally known to be made of steel covering but in modern times, they are made of much more composite materials like polyurethane plastic or aluminium and even heavy-duty rubber. This covering around the toe area may make your boots heavy but keeps your feet protected from any heavy objects or chances of injuries.
Are Steel Toe Shoes Bad for your Feet?
Steel toe shoes are not exactly bad for your feet. In fact, they are extremely protective have zero scopes of causing any harm to your feet. However, since the upper part, is of firm steel, the break-in period for these shoes may be comparatively high and they may cause a certain level of discomfort to you while getting used to wearing these pairs of shoes.
Common Problems of Steel Toe Shoes
Here is what we think is the general list of issues that people face with steel toe boots:
The Steel Toe Area:
The toe area of the shoe is made of extremely heavy quality steel or strong rubber material that is not quite easy to give in or bend. People may start thinking that the shoes would feel comfortable over a period of time but it requires only some “Hercules like power” to bend the top surface of the shoe that is a steel toe type.
Obviously, it will not bend easily given the strength of steel and therefore, your toes are certainly not enough to push and make them flexible and comfortable. Eventually, people end up buying the wrong size that causes further discomfort and ruins the purpose of the shoe altogether.
Tip: Make sure to check where the steel toe protector ends as it may constantly keep poking out of the fabric of the shoe if the shoe is of poor quality and eventually injure the skin of your feet.
It is not the toe area of the shoe alone but also the sole area that is known to be extremely rigid and does not give you a rolling effect while walking. Therefore, steel toe shoes usually fail to support your stance from the toe to the heel area. It feels as though you are walking on a concrete flat surface and wearing such shoes that provide no support to the arch for hours can become awkward and painful.
Tip: Agreed that steel-toe shoes are meant to be rigid but the least you can expect them to be is to provide you with good arch support.
This distributes the weight of your body evenly across the feet and does not pressurize them thereby causing less discomfort and pain.
The Heel & Shock Absorbance:
One of the toughest challenges in finding the right pair of steel toes is to get a heel that provides maximum support while walking and reduces the pressure on the feet, even during high impact activities.
Steel toes that have superior shock absorbance absorb most of the pressure created due to walking as well as high impact activities. The heel should also be capable of providing a bounce and not be as rigid as the rest of the sole of the steel toe shoes.
Getting the right balance of rigidity as well as bounciness is tough to find in steel toe shoes but you can find a range of steel toes that best fit your requirements.
It is not just the upper part of the steel toes but the overall breathability of the shoe that matters. Apart from the encased toe surface and the rigid sole, the steel toe shoes are made of a material that is up to ten times stronger with reinforced stitches and extra tight to keep up to the superior strength.
Due to such rigidity and reinforced materials, your feet are almost covered in sweat after a whole day of use. If not chosen properly, your feet may end up rotting and stinking and fall prey to harmful infections.
Therefore, it is advisable to look for steel toes that have breathable fabric. At the same time, consider wearing woollen socks over cotton ones as woollen material allows the air to circulate rather than soaking the sweat in.
Steel-toe shoes make use of heavy steel metal and are made of thicker materials in general that make it heavier for your feet as compared to other types of footwear.
Unless your feet are used to carrying such a heavy load, it can cause sore legs and feet due to the added weight. Make sure to inculcate some proper leg exercises before making use of steel toe boots and carrying all the weight on your feet.
Rubbing and Chaffing:
There are several parts of steel toe boots that might feel quite hard irrespective of the size you purchase. If it’s a size larger, it might keep rubbing across either of the ends and if it’s extremely small in size, then it would make your legs feel too compressed.
The best solution is trying and buying the right size for yourself to ensure that neither of the ends causes excessive rubbing else you can always consider inserting a soft insole or heel.
While steel toe shoes are made for those who are constantly exposed to areas of danger of injuries, the shoes are very effective in keeping your feet protected and preventing your toes as well as bottom feet from getting injured.
For new users, it may feel a bit stiff at first, because low-quality steel toes may not provide the optimum level of comfort. But looking for the best quality steel toes will minimize problems like chaffing, stuffiness, and flexibility of the shoes and make them more user-friendly in the long run.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.