Foot Protection

Trends in … foot protection

Finding the right fit

To quote Tito Warren, president of global industrial sales and operations at Red Wing Shoe Co.: “A work boot that doesn’t fit correctly isn’t living up to its safety potential.”

But what can workers do if their foot protection isn’t fitting properly? What can employers do to ensure fit issues don’t occur?

Safety+Health spoke with experts in the industry to find out.

Understanding proper fit

“Employers and workers could be more knowledgeable about the critical significance of proper foot protection in workplaces,” says Sam Sproull, brand marketing manager for Warson Brands. If a worker is on their feet all day, for instance, cushioning and support are important in footwear. And the footwear options offered today are plentiful.

“Beyond common knowledge, lesser-known safety features like metatarsal guards – shielding the top of the foot – exist,” Sproull said. “Understanding these nuances can prevent accidents and chronic health issues, creating a safer and healthier work environment overall.”

Employers can team up with a manufacturer to fit foot protection to the workplace.

“We emphasize the importance of selecting footwear that matches the particular job’s demands, highlighting features like slip resistance, metatarsal guards, toe protection, electrical hazard protection and static-dissipating technology,” Sproull said. “We also recommend being conscious of comfort and fit to prevent fatigue.

“Regular inspections and replacements also help to ensure continued safety.”

For workers, you can talk with a safety professional. Follow guidance they provide on foot protection. Ask questions.

“Finding the right fit for every employee matters. It’s essential to maintaining a safe workplace,” Sproull said, adding that manufacturers are taking a closer look at properly fitting footwear for female workers. As she noted, “As more women work in safety-related fields, there’s a growing need for women’s specific safety footwear.”

Added Warren: “It’s crucial for employers to recognize that modern workers prioritize both safety and comfort when selecting work boots, with a strong emphasis on proper fit.”

As Sproull says, proper workplace footwear is “vital for both immediate safety and long-term well-being.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Facility safety
  • Women’s PPE

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