Proper Work Boot Maintenance

Words: Uma Basso

Words: Uma Basso
Photos: kozmoat98, ljpat, michaelmjc

Editor’s note: We would like to give a special thank you to Matt McCaig of Kodiak footwear for providing us with this important information. 

Knowing that a good pair of work boots can cost a pretty penny, it is worth putting in the time to maintain them properly. Keeping them in good shape can significantly lengthen their useful life. Boots that aren’t regularly cared for may lead to fatigue and injury on the job. If your feet are hurting at the end of the day, there’s a good chance that some simple boot maintenance can help. 

Proper Care and Maintenance 

Not only can a well-maintained pair of work boots withstand the harsh elements that masons face on the job site, but they can also stay comfortable and supportive throughout the day. 

Keeping your work boots in tip-top shape involves regular cleaning and inspection. A few ways to protect the quality of your work boots include:

Clean Boots Regularly

Boots gather dust, dirt, and mud on the job site. It’s a good idea to brush dust and dirt off after each wear. If only mild cleaning is necessary, a damp cloth or brush can effectively clean most work boots. But when a more thorough cleaning is needed, choose a cleaning substance made for your work boots’ material. Water-based or specially-designed soaps or solutions work best for leather. 

Be sure to keep the inside of boots clean and well-maintained. Moisture that seeps into boots can damage them over time. Depending on the type of boots you wear, you may be able to use water, soap, vinegar, or baking soda to wipe them down inside. Cleaning the insoles keeps them fresh and supportive. They can be removed from the boots and wiped down or put into a washing machine. 

It’s best to give the interior of your boots enough time to dry out before you wear them again. Placing them in an open area where they can breathe will help. 

Maintain Your Work Boots

Visually inspect boots regularly. Keep an eye out for small rocks embedded in the outsoles or tears to the interior lining. It is a good idea to address scratches, rips, and tears when they happen. Timely repairs prevent further damage to boots during wear. 

Be sure to check the insoles. If the insoles are worn out or have lost their cushion, you should replace them. Supportive insoles help to keep feet comfortable during wear. To keep your boots fresh, consider using specialized insoles and powders to help cut down on odors. 

A road construction worker cleans hot sticky tar and asphalt from his work boots. Shot with shallow dof with focus on boot.

Not only does regular maintenance help to keep feet comfortable, but it can also extend the life of your boots.   

Proper Storage

Increase the longevity of your boots by storing them properly. Please don’t leave them in your truck overnight. Instead, let your boots breathe by choosing an area that is open, dry, and free of dust. Avoid places where your boots could be subject to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

Condition Work Boots

Exposure to extreme temperatures, water, and moisture can damage boots over time. Proper conditioning protects boots against the elements and helps to increase their life. Leather conditioner keeps work boots soft by enhancing the natural oil in the leather. If work boots are frequently exposed to water, consider waterproofing them at least once a month.

What to Look For in a Work Boot

When choosing which pair of work boots to invest in, safety is a crucial consideration. Steel or reinforced toes can keep feet safe from falling concrete or bricks. Non-slip soles give added grip to prevent slipping on wet surfaces. Durable materials keep feet protected against the elements.

Work boots should be supportive and comfortable to wear. If they are too heavy, they can cause unnecessary strain on your body, especially if you find yourself walking long distances on the job. 

Construction boots and gloves. Desaturated grunge look applied.

Waterproofing boots keep feet from getting wet on the job site. You want a pair that can protect your feet against heat and moisture when conditions are harsh. Look for boots made with waterproof leathers or textiles and constructed with waterproof membranes and sealed seams.

Skimp on Work Boot Maintenance, and It Will Cost You.

A good pair of workboots isn’t cheap, but they are well worth the investment. Work boots keep you safe from injury, reduce fatigue, and help you complete jobs efficiently and effectively. 

Boots keep your feet safe from falling objects or slippery conditions. The more comfort and support your work boots provide, the less fatigue your body endures as you go about your day. Not only do your feet stay dry, but ample support also reduces strain on your back and neck on the job. 

Face it – when your feet are wet or your back hurts, it’s hard not to be miserable on the job. If your boots cause continued strain or fatigue on your back or neck, you may be in a position where you can’t even work. But when your feet are dry and your boots provide good support, it is much easier to get through the day.  

What’s the Bottom Line?

A good pair of work boots is well worth the investment. With their rugged design and durable materials, work boots can prevent you from getting hurt on the job. Their supportive insoles can keep your feet comfortable and reduce stress on your back and neck when you are on the job. And the more comfortable you are, the more work you can get done. The bottom line? When you take care of your work boots, your work boots will take care of you.  

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