Why Do My Work Boots Hurt My Feet?

Work boots can often feel like a blessing and a curse. They keep your feet safe from the many dangers of specific jobs but can frequently hurt like crazy. If you are left with aching feet, legs, or back at the end of the day, it’s important for your long-term health to address this issue.

Depending on your job, your employer may require you to wear reinforced work boots in adherence with OSHA and US Department of Labor laws. This is great for safety, but they’re designed for protection, not for comfort. They aren’t like a light and flexible sneaker; they’re thick and clunky, with extra thick soles and steel toes. That’s a lot of weight for your feet to be dragging around all day.


Why Do My Work Boots Hurt My Feet?

There are several reasons that your boots may hurt your feet. The good news is that once you’ve pinpointed the cause, you can then zero in on how to get relief.

1. Inadequate Arch Support

One of the main reasons for foot pain from your work boots is their lack of arch support. Most work boot manufacturers don’t design adequate support in their shoes; they’re focused on safety features instead.

However, this is a problem because when your arches aren’t supported, they take a lot of pressure that they just aren’t designed to withstand. This much strain over the long term can have significant repercussions, such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.

The pain your work boots are causing you may not even be felt most acutely in your feet. Your hips, knees, and back are often casualties of footwear with a lack of support.

Proper arch support relieves pressure on your foot and redistributes your weight more evenly from your heel to your toe. As a result, your body will be back in alignment, and you’ll notice these areas are feeling relief.

2. Wrong Boot Type

Another common cause of foot pain is having the wrong type of work boot for your day to day work, or not having the best work boots for sore feet. Not all boots are designed the same; they are developed with specific jobs in mind.

So, for example, if you are wearing logger boots to work on a construction site, you are wearing boots with higher heels than you need. If your heels are too high for you, you’ll feel pain in your feet, back, and your legs.

In addition, because the heel holds your foot in an abnormal position, your blood doesn’t circulate as easily as it should. This can cause a lot of lower back pain, as well as constant strain on your calves and thighs.

3. Wrong Boot Size

Make sure that your work boots are absolutely the correct size for you. It may sound basic, but quite often, foot pain is caused by the wrong size shoe. And in the case of work boots, that can be extra painful. At the end of a long day of working on your feet, it’s natural that your feet will swell.

So, if your work boots are too small for you, they are unbearable by the end of the day. Conversely, if your work boots are too large, your feet may slide around inside them and cause some friction pain.

4. Toe Boxes and Laces May be Too Constricting

Perhaps you have the exact correct size work boot but the wrong toe shape. Steel-toed boots aren’t usually very wide, especially in the toe area, and can cause rubbing. Boots with an asymmetrical toe, where the big toe side is longer than the outside, provide relief for your toes, preventing cramping common to steel toes.

If you are lacing your work boots too tightly, you could also be causing your foot further pain. If you’ve laced them too tightly, you are putting unnecessary pressure on the top of your foot. Instead, remove your laces entirely, and replace them all over again. This time, pull them firmly but comfortably against your foot. You shouldn’t feel your laces cutting into the top of your foot.

5. Not Broken In Yet

There may be nothing wrong with your work boots at all. However, they may be causing you pain because you haven’t yet adequately broken them in.

Until they’re well broken in, work boots don’t allow your feet to move naturally. This constriction can lead to foot cramps and tightness in your foot muscles. So do your best to break in your work boots outside of the job.

For example, go for a long walk, or wear them around town while you run errands. The more you wear them, the sooner they’ll become comfortable for you.


Next article: If you’d like to learn more about work boots and sore feet, then head over to the next article in this series which discusses if it’s bad to wear your work boots every day.


Written by Chris

I'm one of the founders of this site and having worked in environments were I'm on my feet most of the day, I took a side interest around the different work boot products and what they are best used for. I now write part-time, adding more content as my knowledge expands.

December 4, 2021

Sore Feet

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