Your Guide to Buying Work Boots: Getting the Right Fit

When it comes to your work boots, getting the perfect fit is incredibly important.

At Intermountain Safety Shoe Store, we know how essential it is for your productivity and protection to invest in the right safety shoes. But, we also know that buying work boots isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve set out to help in this blog series. In the first blog of this series, we touched on finding the right to protection, and in the second blog, we talked about outsoles. Today, we’re going to be touching on another very important aspect of buying safety boots — fit.

Why getting the right fit matters.

Do you remember the story of Goldilocks that the three bears? When Goldilocks essentially breaks into the bears’ house, she finds three bowls of soup: one is too cold, one is too hot and one is the perfect temperature. Just as Goldilocks needed to find the perfect temperature of soup, you also need to find the perfect fit for your work boots. Boots that are too tight or too loose can cause a lot of trouble, and wearing ill-fitting boots can actually endanger your health, causing back pain, ankle pain, foot pain, knee pain and a whole host of other issues.

Tips for finding the right safety boot size:

#1. Get both feet measured.

Before you start shopping for shoes, it’s important to get both of your feet measured. And, you should do so even if you’re confident that your foot size hasn’t changed since the last time you had your feet measured. Surprisingly enough, many things can cause the size of your feet to change, from certain medical conditions to age, and it never hurts to ensure the proper fit by getting your feet professionally measured in the beginning. It’s also important to get each foot measured independently, as they can be different sizes.

#2. Try on boots with the socks and inserts.

Those thin, disposable socks you often find when trying on shoes aren’t really of much help when you’re trying to find a great fit for work boots. In order to get the most accurate fit when trying boots on, you’ll need to wear your work socks and bring the inserts you plan on using. Though a pair of boots may seem like they will fit with the thin, disposable socks, you may find that they are too tight when you’re wearing your regular socks and have the inserts in.

#3. Make sure that you try on both boots.

As we mentioned in our first point, it’s not uncommon for your feet to be slightly different in size, and you can’t really get a good idea of how your safety boots fit, if you only try on one boot. Also, make sure that each of your feet can move independently. So, if there is a shoe string or something else connected the left and right boots together, unhook them.

#4. Move around when you’re trying on the boots.

When you try on a pair of safety boots, don’t just sit there with them on. You can’t get a good idea of how the shoes fit unless you get moving. So, when you’re trying boots on, walk around, hop, jump, do knee raises or sprint. This will give you a much better idea of how your boots will fit during your work day. Also, roll your ankle slowly while wearing your boots so that you can get an idea of how much ankle support they provide.

#5. Try on new shoes at the end of the day.

Did you know that your feet are larger toward the end of the day? This is especially true if you stand all day or work in a warmer environment, as prolonged standing and warmer temperatures can cause your feet to swell. If you try on safety shoes when your feet are the smallest, like in the morning, you may end up buying shoes that are too tight. Instead, try on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are largest.

#6. Tie your shoelaces in a heel lock pattern.

In order to truly determine how well a pair of boots fits, you’ll want to lace them up properly. The heel lock pattern is the perfect way to tie your boots, because it keeps your heel in place, prevents your foot from moving forward, supports your ankle and prevents blisters.

#7. Look for red spots.

When you take the boots off, thoroughly inspect your feet for red spots. The red spots are the places where the boot rubs too closely against your feet, and these spots may indicate areas where potential issues could come up in the future, like blisters or chafing.

How to tell if your shoes fit correctly.

Now that you know a few tips and tricks for finding the right size of boot, it’s time to learn how to tell if your boots fit you correctly. Here are a few things to look for as you’re walking around in your new safety boots:
  • Your heel shouldn’t rub up against the back of the boot or come out of it.
  • There should be about an inch of room in the front of the boot for your toes at all times, even if you’re walking downhill.
  • You shouldn’t feel any pain or pressure on the sides of your feet.
  • Your feet shouldn’t slide forward.
  • The tongue, nor any interior stitching in the boot, should dig into your foot or chafe your skin.

Special Circumstances

For people with wide feet, buying a boot that’s too narrow will leave you with pain and blisters. It’s also not ideal to simply buy the next size up, because if the boot is longer than necessary, it can cause chafing, blistering and heel slippage. Instead, look for a pair of boots that offers a wider fit. If your feet aren’t the same size, don’t hesitate to buy two different pairs in the appropriate sizes to ensure that you get the perfect fit. If you’re hoping to spend a little less and still get a great fit, you could also consider buying the larger size and using an insert to improve the fit of the boot on your smaller foot.

Let us help you find the right boot and the right fit.

Buying safety boots is more complicated than many people think, but we hope that this blog has helped you learn how to find the perfect fit, which is a very important step in the process. If you’d like more information on how to find the right work boots, make sure to stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll be covering a few more things to consider when buying boots. In the meantime, shop with us online at Intermountain Safety Shoe Store today, or stop by one of our brick and mortar locations in Colorado Springs or Golden.