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We can agree that if you work all day on your feet on physically demanding jobs or in hazardous environments, your choice of footwear is very important. It is a question of comfort, safety, and health. Finding the pair that best suits your needs is no easy task, and once you have found them, you may start worrying asking yourself how often you should replace your work shoes. Read on to find out how long work boots last and what are the indications that you need to start looking for new ones.
How Do You Know You Need a New Pair of Work Shoes?
That our shoes do not look damaged outwardly is NOT a sign that they are in good condition and can keep going. Discomfort or the loss of some of their properties (e.g. waterproofing) are indications that your shoes may be on their last few days or months of life. Let’s explore some common and some not-so-well-known signs that indicate your need to replace your workplace shoes.
You feel uncomfortable while wearing them
One of the critical signs that your work shoes need a change is when you start feeling uncomfortable in them. Sometimes you may even start feeling foot pain or having blisters. If you’re standing for long periods of time, uncomfortable shoes and foot pain are a huge hassle. If you notice a change in how your shoes fit or your feet are getting injured, it may be time to look for a new pair. Changing your insoles may help, but it may not be a long-term solution.
Shoes have lost their water-resistant features
If you start feeling your feet wet while at work on a rainy day, then that’s a clear sign that your boots have lost their waterproofing features. For a short-term solution, you could see where the leak is coming from and sew the shoe up, but it will probably happen again in no time.
Shoes look like they’ve been through hell
Although the outward look of a shoe is not a definitive factor that your shoes need to be replaced, if they look like they’ve been through hell, there is a pretty high chance that they are worn out and lost some of the safety properties.
You’ve found yourself slipping and falling more frequently
Slippage at work could lead to serious injuries and should not be taken lightly. If you find yourself slipping or falling more than usual, this is a very clear sign that you need to be on the lookout for new work boots. There is a wide range of non-slip work boots in the market; try one of those for extra safety at work!
How Long Should Work Boots Last?
Unfortunately, this question does not have a straight answer. All shoes need replacing after a period of time. How long boots can last will depend on a number of factors: frequency of use, the environment they are used in, the material, and the quality of their construction.
If we were to do an estimate, we could say that the life span of a work boot is on average between six and twelve months. However, you may find work boots that can last up to 10 years. But of course, this will depend on the factors mentioned above.
Boots made out of leather uppers will wear out faster than, for example, synthetic material. In addition, those with a thick insulating liner will last longer than those without it. Boots with steel-toe caps are made to last between two to five years.
How Can You Increase Your Work Shoes’ Lifespan?
Maintaining and caring for your work shoes is an important aspect of their durability. It makes sense that after a long search for your ideal work boots, including a number of failed attempts, when you have found the perfect ones, you find it very hard to let go of them. In order to keep them for longer, try the following tips.
Keeping an alternate pair is always a good idea. Having an additional pair will save you when, for example, you got them wet and there is not enough time to dry them from one day to the next. Also, alternating pairs every so often will increase their lifespan as they will endure less strain.
Using your work boots exclusively when you are at work will help avoid exposing them to unnecessary stress. So have another pair of footwear you go to work with and change to when you leave.
Maintaining your work boots on a regular basis will also increase their life. This can mean cleaning, oiling, or polishing them. Depending on the type of boot and material, they may need to be cared for differently.
While performing maintenance of your work shoes, you may notice that the insoles must be changed or some stitches fixed to avoid water penetrating the shoe. While these adjustments can help your shoes last longer, those fixes are just indications that you will need a replacement sooner or later, as we addressed above.
The Bottom Line
Maybe finding your ideal pair of work shoes is not the most pleasant experience, but it must be done as your health is at stake. And yes, whether you are a heavy-duty worker or not, you can foresee having to replace them sooner or later. Taking good care of them and fixing them when needed can prolong their life; however, it is important not to drag this situation as very old and worn-out shoes that have lost their cushioning and other protection features can be causing damage to our feet, knees, and back without realizing.