By Jayden Mark
Much like any other investment, buying safety boots can be a tad costly. To ensure you spend all your resources wisely, you have to buy only the best quality boots that will ensure durability. However, even the toughest work boot can succumb if it is exposed to unforgiving conditions. This is why you need to take as much care as you can for your safety footwear both on and off the job.
Safety experts say that by simply dedicating a couple of minutes every day to the care and maintenance of your safety footwear, you can significantly contribute to extending their lifespan. So, how exactly do you improve the mileage on your work boots? The following tips should work great in enhancing your footwear’s performance and longevity?
Increasing Your Work Boots Performance and Lifespan
While a very small percentage of workers actually perform this routine on a daily basis, it is the most sure fire way of increasing your boots longevity. After a hard day at work, safety boots and footwear should be sprayed off with a pressure hose, dipped in warm water and cleaned out with a brush, some soap and a rugged cloth. This of course may depend on how dirty they are since more cleaning could be required.
The type of material also plays a crucial role for the cleaning method. For example, full grain leather needs to be cleaned with mild detergent and a damp cloth or sponge. In addition to helping you detect early signs of deterioration; cleaning also helps detect and repair physical damage to your footwear. It also helps improve performance of your footwear such as slip resistant shoes.
If your job involves lots of standing, walking, lifting or any other arduous task, it is highly recommended that you purchase more than one pair of safety footwear. Research shows that a particular worker can sweat as much as 200 ml of moisture into their boots when engaged in physical activities. Couple this with daily impact and compression and you have yourself a recipe for killing boots.
In addition to eating away at the boot, the moisture and wear and tear also causes blisters, corns and a large degree of discomfort for workers. Giving your favorite pair of work boots a rest allows the moisture to evaporate and dry off. You should rotate between at least two pairs every few days to give each a chance to breathe out and recover.
Keep your Leather Supple
The fact of the matter is that most safety work boots are made totally of leather uppers. If this is the case with yours, experts have a lot to say about keeping the leather supple. By using oil, shoe grease and a slew of other moisturizing creams on your shoes, you can ensure you never experience drying or cracking uppers. The uppers are very important to maintaining a strong and sturdy exterior and prevent deterioration of your work boots.
Heel and Toe Tips
Depending on how every individual walks, we usually wear down one particular area of the heel and toe zones. You will notice that all your shoes seem worn out in certain areas while others look almost new. If you know what to expect, you can place a small tip or tap on these areas and further extend the life span of your work boots. Nothing looks more shabby that half worn shoes. Heel and toe tips not only help your shoe last longer, they also enhance your overall look.
Did you know that you could extend the longevity of your work boots even as you sleep? No, we’re not talking about sleep cleaning, although it could help. You can achieve this by simply storing your work boots in a safe, dry place that will keep contaminants, dust and moisture from clinging to your boots. Don’t worry; you don’t have to build a shoe safe. A simple enclosed shoe box or shoe tree should be a safe enough abode for your favorite pair of work boots. Proper storage also enhances your work boots performance, comfort and over-all appearance.
How Long Can a Good Pair of Boots Last?
The length of time a pair of good work boots can last depends on several factors. First, the brand of work boots is a significant factor. If you want to get the best longevity, purchase a boot that's known to last a long time. You'll probably pay more for them, but it's actually a money-saver in the long run. Instead of purchasing work boots every few months, you'll have them for quite a few years or even longer.
Another factor in work boot longevity is the type of work the wearer does daily. Some jobs and environments are much more challenging than others. For example, people who work in damp and dirty environments outside in the elements will go through work boots much faster. Additionally, people who work with chemicals or heat will probably need to buy new boots more often.
On average, however, a worthwhile pair of work boots should last anywhere from one year to a few years under certain conditions. It's worth noting that not all wearers have the same experience. Some people just have harder work boots than others.
The seasonal conditions in your area are a big factor in longevity and the style of work boots you need to purchase. You'll often need to purchase boots, especially for certain seasons with extreme conditions.
If you live in an area with harsh winter conditions, you'll want highly insulated, slip-resistant, or even waterproof work boots. They will keep your feet warm and dry and keep you from slipping into ice and snow. They can also help protect your feet from salt on the roads, which proves irritating to the skin.
If you live in a hot, arid place, you might need a work boot that is designed to breathe and let air flow through. You may also want thick soles to prevent heat from traveling into the shoe from the ground or pavement. Heat-resistant boots are great for those working on the roads or hot surfaces in warm climates.
Workers exposed to seawater, rainy climates, or places where there are leaks, spills, or bodies of water in the summer or spring need waterproof boots to keep their feet from being exposed to damp conditions that lead to skin problems and odor.
If you're in an area with all four seasons and multiple conditions, you may need to invest in more than one pair of work boots designed for different climates and protection, to ensure you get the best mileage from them.
How Often Should I Replace My Work Boots?
The length of time you keep work boots depends on how often you wear them and if they are the only pair of boots you have for that specific job. People who work in labor-intensive jobs can expect to get at least six months of clothing from a well-branded work boot.
However, you may even get one year out of them if you use them moderately. The harder and more volatile the conditions, the less wear you can expect to get from them. For example, workers in the oil field or people who work on construction sites can expect to replace their work boots every six months.
If you work in less intensive conditions, such as builders, warehouse workers, or equipment operators, you can expect to get one to two years out of your work boots if you take care of them. Alternately, boots last longer if you have more than one pair to alternate.
Do Work Boots Have a Shelf Life?
Unfortunately, work boots, especially safety boots, have a shelf life of around three to five years in total. After that, some elements of protection begin to break down.
You'll also notice the soles begin to wear out, the basic materials break down, and the support begins to wear away. Another issue people have with their work boots is the smell. After some time, they develop odors you can get rid of and require you to throw them away.
Should You Have Two Pairs of Work Boots?
If you wear your work boots on a daily basis for your job, it's very beneficial to have more than one pair of work boots. There are a few reasons for this. The first important reason is that you can alternate between your boots and get more longevity.
Additionally, if something happens to one pair unexpectedly, you have a backup pair ready to wear without having to do emergency shopping for a replacement.
You'll also want to have more than one pair of work boots if you live in an area with all four seasons. This is because seasons can change your work conditions quickly and you'll need protection from the elements.
During the winter months, you'll want to purchase boots that provide you with insulation from the cold and damp. During the summertime, you'll want to have a pair of work boots that offer only ideal protection but allow your feet to breathe and allow the air to circulate freely. This can help prevent overheating and other health issues related to your feet.
If you have a hazardous job or work in a volatile environment, you'll want to have a backup pair of boots on hand in case something happens to the pair that you're wearing to work. This is a common practice for people who go through work boots quickly and should help provide additional security and safety should your work boots fail.
How Do You Tell When Work Boots are Worn Out?
It's easy to tell when your boots are beginning to wear out or have passed the point of being useful. One notable issue will be the soles wearing out on the bottoms of the shoes. People who work on their feet all day or on rough terrain will notice that the souls wear out quickly and can leave holes or soft spots on the bottom. When you begin to feel the terrain through your boots, or it's painful to walk, you'll know that your souls have worn out and it's time to replace your boots.
You'll also begin to notice that the seams on your work boots may begin to pull apart or become loose. When this happens, it's time to get a new pair because the boots fall apart off your feet. In some instances, you may be able to get a little more aware if there is sturdy insulation underneath, but it's time to begin shopping for a new pair.
If you begin to notice your back, feet, and legs becoming comfortable during the work day, it's usually attributed to your work boots wearing out. In most cases, the insoles of the work boots begin to wear out and offer less support. They may even begin to tear away and roll up in the shoe. Having worn-out insoles and unstable support will create pain in the body and make working through the day more difficult.
If your work boots begin to develop holes from volatile substances or general wear and tear, it's a sure sign that it's time to buy a new pair of work boots. Additionally, if you have waterproof work boots and you begin to notice moisture getting into your shoes, you'll want to buy a replacement pair to keep your feet healthy and dry throughout the day.
Do Work Boots Last Longer Than Work Shoes?
In general, work boots do tend to last much longer than work shoes. However, this depends on the type of work being done and the personal habits of the wearer. One factor that accounts for work boots lasting longer is that they come above the ankle, offer additional support, and prevent materials from breaking them down. Work shoes also tend to wear out around the ankle much faster, which leads to purchasing a new replacement in a shorter period.
When Should You Throw Away Your Work Boots?
If your work boots begin to develop a strong odor, it's a definite sign that it's time to throw them away. Additionally, if any materials start to break down and create holes, tears, or worn seams, you'll need to buy a new pair. Some other sure signs that your work boots need to be replaced are discomfort during the work day in your feet, legs, or back and the ability to feel the surface beneath your feet.
What Happens to Work Boots That Aren't Worn?
If you purchase a pair of work boots and you don't wear them, you can expect to be able to keep them in your closet for anywhere between 10 years or longer if they are made of durable materials.
However, eventually, the materials will begin to break down, and you'll need to throw them away. If you get a pair of work boots and store them in your closet, try to use them before five years pass to get your money's worth, or you can consider giving them to someone else.
Best Ways to Make Work Boots Last Longer
The best way to make your work boots last longer is to be conscientious when you wear them. However, in volatile situations, this may not always be easy. However, having multiple pairs of boots and changing them throughout the week may help them last longer and provide a better way to keep your feet safe and protected.
It's also essential to wipe off any chemicals or other materials from the boots that can wear them down. Try keeping them out in the air or in the sun and allowing for airflow to prevent odor and any other issues, such as mildew. Please take note of the manufacturer's care instructions and try to follow their advice to get the most wear out of your work boots.
Going the extra length in the care and maintenance of your safety boots will also go a long way to enjoying more service from your footwear. Following the tips above should see you get as much mileage from your shoes as you possibly can. But remember, cleaning and maintenance can only do so much. Sometimes, knowing when to give your safety footwear the boot is very crucial to your health and performance too. And once you purchase you new pair of work boots, don’t forget to take great care of it and get more value for your money. A well maintained boot guarantees better performance too.