Do you do heavy lifting at work? Are you around heavy machinery or objects that get hoisted in the air? If so, you’re probably required to wear steel toe boots.
The problem is, if your steel toe boots are too heavy, they can be cumbersome and make your legs tired. However, they won’t protect your feet if they’re too light for your workspace. So how much should your steel toe boots weigh?
In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about steel toe boots and other types of work boots, so you know how to choose the perfect pair of work boots.
Table of Contents
How Much Do Work Boots Weigh?
Work boots are usually heavier than regular boots (like hiking boots or mud boots) because their outsoles are thicker and stronger. What’s more, steel toe work boots include a steel toe cap as added protection, which adds extra weight.
How Much Do Non-Steel Toe Work Boots Weigh?
Not all work boots are steel toe boots. Some work boots include safety toes made of alloy or composite materials. See the difference in steel toe vs. alloy vs. composite in this video.
While steel is the standard, work boots that contain other toe cap materials are called “safety toe boots.” These work boots typically contain toe caps made of three other common materials, which are:
- Composite materials, such as plastic or fiberglass. These materials don’t conduct electricity, so they’re ideal for electricians and people who work on power lines. They can’t withstand as high of pressure or impact as steel, so they work better in environments that don’t involve heavy equipment or potentially falling objects.
- Alloy, which usually includes aluminum or titanium. An alloy safety toe can be more lightweight than a steel toe for a less cumbersome yet still protected feel. However, ensure the safety ratings align with your job site’s requirements.
- Carbon fiber. Carbon is a hardening agent, which is why it’s used in safety toe caps. It’s quite a bit lighter than steel and alloy and it non-metallic and non-magnetic.
Composite toe boots, which are made with non-metal materials such as fiberglass, can weigh anywhere from 1.75-4 pounds.
Alloy/aluminum toe boots can weigh anywhere from 3-4 pounds. However, alloy can weigh 30-50% lighter than steel, so depending on the other factors and materials in your work boots, an alloy toe boot may be much lighter than a steel toe boot.
How Much Do Insulated Work Boots Weigh?
Insulated work boots are your best friend if you work in cold temperatures. Insulation is measured in grams. Insulated boots are available in 200-gram, 400-gram, 600-gram, 800-gram, and 1000+-gram weights.
The lower the grams, the less insulated your boots are. While insulation keeps your feet nice and warm, it also adds extra weight. Insulated work boots range from 4-6 pounds.
What Affects the Weight of Steel Toe Boots?
Several factors affect the weight of steel toe boots, including:
- The kind of steel. For example, if you’re looking at a pair made out of chrome-molybdenum steel, they’ll be lighter than a pair made out of carbon steel because chrome-moly is lighter than carbon.
- Other materials used in construction. An all-leather boot is generally heavier than one made with synthetic materials like nylon or polyester.
- The thickness of the sole and heel. The thinner the sole and heel, the lighter the boot. Although heavier, a thicker sole and heel will likely last longer and be more durable.
- How much reinforcement and padding they have. The more padding and reinforcement there is to support and protect your foot, the heavier your boots will be.
- The type of shank material. The shank is the piece of material that sits between your foot’s ball and heel. A leather or fiberglass shank is lighter than a steel shank.
- What the outsole is constructed of. A rubber outsole is heavier than a leather outsole, however, many people prefer rubber because it’s more durable and better able to withstand the elements.
How Much Weight Can Steel Toe Boots Take?
Steel toe boots are designed to protect your feet from falling objects, compression, and extreme temperatures. However, they’re not indestructible. If a pallet of bricks falls on your steel toe boots or a semi-truck runs over them, your feet will likely be injured.
Compression and Impact Ratings
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), steel toe boots usually have a compression rating of 75 and an impact rating of 75.
Compression means the pressure applied to your boot if something rolled onto it. A compression rating of 75 means your boot can withstand 2,500 pounds of force rolling onto the toe.
Impact means how much force your boot can withstand if something dropped on it. An impact rating of 75 means your boot can withstand 75 ft-lbs of force onto the toe of the shoe. This means if 50 pounds is dropped from 18 inches high, it’ll hit your boot with 75 ft-lbs of force and do no damage.
When buying a pair of steel toe boots, always check their safety ratings to ensure they comply with your employer’s OSHA requirements.
What to Check on the Safety Rating Label
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F2413-05 is the standard that work boots must measure up to. ASTM sets requirements for design, performance, testing, and classification for protective footwear.
Section 5.1 sets forth the minimum requirements for “Impact Resistant Footwear,” while Section 5.2 covers “Compression Resistant Footwear.” From there, employers, insurance companies or OSHA may require additional protection, such as for electric shock, punctures, static dissipative, and metatarsal.
3 Types of Injuries Steel Toe Boots Protect Against
- Cuts. If a sharp object falls on your steel toe cap, the steel can prevent it from cutting through to your foot.
- Falling objects. If a limb falls on your foot or a brick drops, the steel cap will protect your toes from injury.
- Rolling objects. If a barrel full of materials rolls over your foot or even a piece of smaller machinery like a forklift, the steel will withstand the weight and keep your toes from being crushed.
What Makes Steel Toe Boots So Strong?
Steel is an altered form of iron that’s technically an alloy and has been mixed with a few compounds. However, alloy toe caps are made with titanium or aluminum, not steel, so there’s a big difference.
Steel also contains around 2% of carbon, which helps keep the steel rigid and not flexible. This compound mix makes a steel toe boot able to withstand intense pressure.
What Makes Steel Toe Boots Uncomfortable?
Steel toe boots shouldn’t feel uncomfortable if they fit right. So if they’re hurting your feet or are just plain uncomfortable, you likely have the wrong size or fit. You may need a wider or narrower boot.
The toe box is where the steel insert is placed, which takes away a bit of room from your foot. For safety reasons, there’s very little wiggle room. If your toes feel cramped, try going up a size to accommodate for the tighter fit.
You may also want to try a different brand. Some brands are made cheaper than others and may provide less arch support or break down faster.
A high-quality boot made with a good footbed and supportive insoles can make all the difference in how comfortable you are.
3 Ways to Make Sure Your Work Boots Are a Good Fit
- Slide your toes forward so they touch the front of the boot. Bend your knee. Can you put your index finger between your heel and the back of your boot? If so, you’ve got the perfect length.
- Lace up and walk. If your foot slides inside your work boots, they’re too big.
- Make sure your boot flexes at the ball of your foot when you walk. If it flexes in the arch, they won’t support your feet.
Steel toe boots protect your feet from injury so you can put your best foot forward at work.
Now that you know everything about steel toe boots, from how much they weigh (usually 2-4 pounds) to what affects their weight to safety ratings and more, you can feel confident choosing your perfect pair of work boots.
Are steel toe boots heavier than regular boots?
Steel toe boots are heavier than regular boots because they include a toe cap made of steel. Each cap can weigh about one pound, which makes a steel toe boot significantly heavier than regular boots.
How much does the average boot weigh?
The average boot not designed for heavy-duty work weighs about 2-3 pounds less than steel toe boots. However, many factors play into this, such as the boot’s size and its materials.
Which safety toe is the lightest?
Carbon is the lightest safety toe available, although it’s not as easy to find as steel or alloy safety toes. Carbon nanofiber, a composite material, is also one of the lightest safety toes available.
Can you wear work boots every day?
You can wear work boots every day. You can wear work boots daily if they provide proper support and you’re not having trouble with your feet, legs, or back.