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Do you work in an industry where your feet are exposed to direct danger? If so, having a pair of protective work boots is essential. In today’s market, you can find limitless work boot options to keep your feet safe and comfortable while you focus on your job.
Currently, steel toe boots are one of the most popular options preferred by many professionals. They offer protection in the toe area, keeping your feet safe from heavy objects that may fall on your toes. But what if we told you there’s another work boot option that not only protects your toe area but also extends the protection to the rest of your feet? Well, there is, and they’re called metatarsal boots.
Without further ado, let us answer your question of what are metatarsal boots and help you choose the right pair for you.
Understanding Metatarsal Fractures Pain
Before explaining what metatarsal boots are, it’s important you understand the metatarsal fracture pain and how these boots can prevent it. Metatarsal bones are very fragile; they’re located between the toe area and the ankle, and a metatarsal fracture is one of the most common foot fractures one can experience.
In cases of an incomplete fracture, you’ll deal with a lot of pain and swelling, making it hard for your feet to bear the body weight, and you’ll likely need to take some time off work until it fully heals. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll need to ask for surgical help and take time off up to 12 weeks if displacement occurs. Considering all the pain you may go through, and all the work you might miss in cases of this foot damage, investing in metatarsal protection for this sensitive foot area is the smartest thing to do.
What Is Metatarsal Protection?
Metatarsal protection is a form of personal guarding through footwear, designed to protect the top area of the foot from impact and compression injuries. This work footwear consists of guards that fit over the foot arch, safeguarding it against foot severing and protecting it from burns, harmful chemicals, and heavyweights. There are several ways metatarsal protection keeps your feet safe. Let’s go through some of them.
Protection from Impact
While working in an environment where your feet are exposed to heavy falling objects, having a pair of work boots that provide protection from impact is vital. Metatarsal work boots’ first and most valuable function is to provide the greatest possible resistance to massive impacts, blows, and forces from the side and above.
Most metatarsal boot models have passed tests that involve forces of up to 15kN (kilonewton), which can severely damage your foot. So, you shouldn’t be concerned if objects hit you or land on your feet while wearing metatarsal boots since the guards will capture the impact without straining your foot.
Safeguarding Against Foot Severing
If your work includes power saws, angle grinders, or other high-powered cutting tools, the first thing you should look for in a work boot is a metatarsal guard. These guards protect your feet from cuts, gashes, and blades that could completely sever your feet. In such hazardous environments, a metatarsal boot will keep your foot safe from foot severing and allow you to focus and be productive in your job.
Protection from Burns and Harmful Chemicals
Despite most factory processes having been industrialized, some workers are still subjected to extreme heat and hazardous chemicals. Welders are the first group of workers who should never be seen without metatarsal footwear. Most metatarsal guards are so tough that they can be exposed directly to boiling and molten substances. Therefore, professionals working in the chemistry and solvent industries who deal with acids, alkalis, hydrocarbons, and fuels need strong metatarsal guards to safely get through the day.
What Are Metatarsal Boots and Why Get Them?
As previously mentioned, metatarsal boots are exclusively designed to cover and protect the foot area between your toes and ankle, which is mainly exposed to impact from falling objects, burns, and injuries from harmful chemicals. Metatarsal work boots feature rigid yet flexible steel or plastic materials, providing protection without sacrificing comfort.
This modern work footwear option will protect professionals in different industries. Whether you work in the chemistry industry or deal with power saws and angle grinders all day long, metatarsal work boots are there to help you get through the day without any feet injury.
Types of Metatarsal Boots
Back in the day, there was only one type of metatarsal boots available: the external metatarsal guard boots. They were made of impact-resistant plastics covering the metatarsal bones up to the safety toe and wrapped in leather for heat and spark protection. Some wearers found them heavy, stiff, and prone to getting caught in things in their surroundings, causing them to trip or even fall.
Luckily, today’s advanced technology offers two types of metatarsal boots: the external metatarsal guards and, the new invention, the internal met guards. Which kind of metatarsal boots you choose depends on your job, needs, style, and preference.
External metatarsal guards
External metatarsal guards provide coverage and protection to the outside of your work boots. They’re typically folded on top of the work boot as the first line of defense against impact and harmful substances that could harm your feet. External guards are the safest type of protection available. Being on the outside, you can make them as thick as you want for added protection. Additionally, they also protect the uppers of your boots from debris and corrosives.
External metatarsal guards, however, have their own set of limitations. The most obvious is, of course, decreased walking flexibility. However, you can still remove the external guards if you want to engage in lighter activities. Another issue workers may experience is getting caught on ladders and in tight spaces due to the massive guard protruding.
Internal metatarsal guards
True to their name, internal guards are constructed into your work boots to provide a layer of protection from the inside. Due to the initial fit and feel caused by thick and oversized components, internal guards were not as popular until recently. However, later versions are built with separate parts that are linked together for more flexibility, similar to an armadillo shell.
Most of the internal metatarsal guards are now made of a liquid-like pouch that is more flexible and softer while also remaining resilient. The most appealing feature of these guards is that the advanced technology kicks in when you need it the most. When a heavy object falls to your feet, a chemical reaction transforms the soft gel into a rock-hard guard. Sounds like one of those high-tech boots that agents wear in the movies, right?
How To Choose Metatarsal Boots?
Before purchasing your pair of metatarsal boots, it’s best you check their price, material, appearance, and type. Also, you must make sure that they’re a perfect fit for your feet. Other work boots typically have a break-in period and become more comfortable with time, but this isn’t the case with metatarsal boots, particularly those with an internal guard. They may sometimes stretch for about an inch, but generally, how good they fit at first determines how comfortable they’ll be.
Ultimately, metatarsal boots are a great modern option that will keep you safe while working in vital industries. They’re durable, protective, and comfortable, especially the internal type. Before choosing your favorite pair of metatarsal work boots, don’t forget to consider some essential factors such as type, features, and fit. We hope that by using the information provided above, you’ll be able to pick a pair that fulfills all your needs.