Concrete is a material that’s used in virtually every construction site across the planet. Known for its high durability and strength, the versatile material is used on everything from sidewalks to building walls. While most people don’t give concrete a second thought as they walk over it every day, there’s a lot of hard-working individuals to thank for the convenience and reliability it offers.
If you work in or around concrete on a regular basis, you know how unforgiving the material can be. Whether you work with wet concrete to create new structures or you’re completing other tasks after the mixture has hardened, it’s crucial that you wear a pair of high-quality work boots that are made to keep you safe.
Concrete can wreak havoc on your feet and body. Despite the praise that the material gets for its toughness, the hard surface is not good for your muscles or bones. Without proper footwear, you’re putting yourself at risk. Years of poor foot support can lead to issues that affect you for the rest of your life. Needless to say, you need to find the best work boots for concrete possible so that you can stay safe, comfortable, and protected.
Who Should Wear Work Boots for Concrete?
There are two distinct types of work boots that are designed for concrete workers. One is made for those that work with the material in its wet form and the other is designed for those that work on top of it once it has dried. Many manufacturers offer options that have features to appeal to both groups.
If your job is to pour, mold, and smooth concrete, boots that keep you protected from the wet slurry are essential. Despite its thick consistency, the mixture can easily seep into the small crevices of a standard work boot. This can lead to chaffing, cuts from the concrete aggregate, illness from the drop in temperature, and much more. If the problem is not dealt with immediately, it can even lead to infection and affect the way you work.
Once the concrete has set, your troubles are not over. Many construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and a slew of other tradesmen must stand on concrete to complete their job. The problem with the material is that issues creep up slowly the longer you’re on your feet. You won’t feel the effects it has on your body until it gets dangerous. Anytime you’re standing on concrete for prolonged periods of time, you should have boots that are designed to provide you with the support you need.
Why Use Boots Made for Concrete?
The main purpose of these boots is to help you avoid potential health problems in the future. The repeated stress that concrete puts on your feet can result in serious pain. This is because concrete doesn’t absorb any of the force of impact as you walk. Other surfaces like carpet or wood will provide a bit of cushion. They will move and flex as weight is applied. Because concrete is so solid, this doesn’t happen. Instead, the pressure is transferred up your foot and into your body. Here are just a couple of health problems that can be caused by walking on concrete.
One of the most common side-effects of walking on concrete all day is plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the tissue that connects the heel of your foot and the toes becomes inflamed. For many people, it feels like a sharp pain on the bottom of the foot. It’s caused by poor support and repeated jarring pressure. If not addressed, it can lead to small tears that will take even longer to heal.
Bunions can be incredibly painful and often require surgical intervention to fix. The issue happens when unnatural pressure is placed on the bones of the big toe. Over time, the bones will become misaligned. As a result, swelling and pain occur.
Just because the pressure starts at your feet doesn’t mean that it can’t affect the rest of your body. The constant high force of impact from walking on concrete will travel up your bones and muscles to affect your spine. It can affect the tendons and ligaments around your spine, essentially causing lumbar strain.
Another painful side-effect of the lack of shock absorption in concrete is shin splints. That hard impact can travel up to your shins and cause microtears in the bone and muscle. Inflammation can also occur, worsening the issue.
Features to Look For
When you’re shopping for a new pair of work boots, you need to take some extra time to find an option that works for your unique work environment. There are a lot of features that can make the world of difference in your comfort and safety as you’re working in or around concrete.
This feature will help you if you work around wet concrete. Go for boots that are made with a water-resistant material like leather. Many manufacturers apply a solution to the finished product that makes moisture slide off without any problems. Also, pay attention to the build of the boots. Waterproof boots should be completely sealed to prevent moisture from penetrating the outside. This means that every aspect from the outsole attachment point to the threads are all secure.
If you work with concrete slurry, you’re bound to find yourself ankle-deep in the mixture at one point or another. A noticeably higher shaft will make sure that the slurry doesn’t slip into the top. Most manufacturers measure the length of the shaft from the arch of the boot. Others include an elastic strap or a tie at the top for added protection.
Rubber outsoles will make the task of cleaning your boots that much easier. It’s not uncommon for concrete mixtures to stick onto the bottom of boots. Rubber is non-porous. This ensures that the mixture doesn’t seep inside or stick. Instead, you can wash it clean or knock off dried pieces with ease.
This feature is ideal when you’re working with both wet and dry concrete. Slip and fall injuries make up the majority of workplace accidents. Concrete, in particular, can be very dangerous when oil or water is thrown into the mix. A slip-resistant sole utilizes treads that are specifically designed to maximize traction. They often have channels that will redirect the moisture away from key pressure points on the foot, allowing you to stay stable.
A higher heel of one and a half inches or so can make a big difference in your overall comfort level. While it may seem subtle, that slight increase in height can lead to better shock-absorption. The thicker portion of rubber will take care of some of the pressure so that it doesn’t travel up your foot.
It’s recommended that you go with a boot that has a prominent insole that’s contoured to meet the natural curve of your arch. This will support the tendons under your foot and may help to prevent issues like plantar fasciitis.
Ample padding throughout the interior of the boots can help avoid premature foot fatigue. Look out for padded linings and footbeds that mold to your foot. Not only do they provide additional support on top of the insole, but they can also help absorb some more shock.
Best Work Boots for Concrete
These boots from Wolverine utilize durable leather throughout and feature strong waterproof construction. It has a thick rubber sole that is fused to the uppers tightly to prevent water penetration. The soles also feature molded compression pads that will absorb shock as you walk over hardened concrete. Inside, there’s a unique anti-fatigue footbed. It has a thick heel and flexible honeycomb design for shock absorption, ample arch support, and a ribbed spine for flexibility. It’s made of low-density EVA foam for comfort.
Built-in support shank
Tongue vulnerable to moisture
Sizing issues for some buyers
Available in three different color options, these work boots from Red Wing are an attractive and durable choice. The uppers are made of 100% leather while the soles are made from a synthetic Vibram material. The soles feature thick lugs that are designed to improve your traction on any surface. In terms of durability, these boots can withstand a lot of wear and tear. The uppers and soles are attached with welt and cement to increase their longevity.
Traction lugs on soles
Made of high-quality leather
Includes EVA midsole
Can be difficult to clean
These Irish Setter’s boots have a distinct appearance thanks to their flat rubber EVA soles. Rather than incorporating a distinct arch and separated heel, the entire bottom of the shoes are flat to improve traction. The boots provide electrical hazard protection and heat protection. The uppers are also waterproof for added durability. Inside, you’ll find a vamp lining and removable polyurethane footbed that provides extra comfort.
Minimal arch support
Another great option from Wolverine, the Raider Boots are built with all-day comfort in mind. They feature removable Multishox insoles. They’re fully cushioned and work to absorb as much force of impact as possible. They work with the thick heel to avoid potential injuries. The outside of the boots is covered in leather. On the bottom, you’ll find a sole that’s resistant to slips, oil, and abrasion.
Can be difficult to clean
Doesn’t provide water protection
These boots are ideal for those that spend their entire day on concrete. They have an anti-fatigue comfort system inside. The footbed is contoured to fit the shape of your foot and includes unique molded shapes that are designed to absorb impact and redirect it to key points. This can help you stay energized and comfortable throughout the day. The uppers are made of leather and have two layers of rubber on the toe for protection against abrasion. The boots rise up about 5.5 inches from the arch for adequate ankle protection.
Some buyers have commented on build issues after heavy use
With a high shaft that measures over 10 inches from the arch, these boots can serve you well when you’re working with wet concrete. They’re completely waterproof thanks to the tight construction methods and leather material. There’s even a waterproof membrane at the toe for added protection. Inside, there is a shock-absorbing PU midsole. The soles are made of leather and feature traction lugs. The heel is also thicker for added stability.
Some users have had sizing issues
One of the most beneficial parts of these boots is the thick wedge sole. The thick rubber will work to absorb shock as you work. Furthermore, the unique wedge design maximizes the surface area of the boot that’s making contact with the ground. This can ultimately help you stay upright. The uppers are made of SRT leather, which is more than twice as protective as traditional leather. It’s resistant to abrasion and many chemicals.
Thick rubber sole
SPR leather uppers
Resistant to chemicals and abrasion
Not a lot of comfort padding inside
The Athens boots from Georgia utilize a moc-toe design. This help to add flexibility and comfort. The uppers are made from a waterproof leather. Both cement and stitching construction methods are used to provide ultimate durability. To help you prevent any lasting injuries, the insides have a memory footbed. It molds to the exact shape of your foot to provide support on your foot’s most vulnerable points. There’s also a TPU shank for rigidity and arch support.
Arch support shank
Not entirely waterproof
Some wearers experienced damage with heavy use
With multiple layers of support and protection, these boots can keep you comfortable all day long. They have a suspension plate that’s designed to redirect energy to key points on your foot for better movement. There are also compression sidewalls to absorb some of the force of impact and a comfort insole that cradles your foot. For added protection against worksite hazards, there’s a composite safety toe built right in. On the outside, you’ll find leather uppers and outsoles that improve traction.
Multiple shock-absorbing layers
Composite toe cap
Some users have commented on heel tightness due to padding
Even with a rugged build, these boots from Carhartt still manage to remain flexible enough for you to work comfortably. They’re clad in leather and feature a waterproof membrane that prevents water leakage. A dual-density Ortholite insole works in tandem with an EVA midsole for excellent shock absorption. There’s also a composite toe for added safety and a rugged outsole that’s built to provide you with better traction in various environments.
Waterproof uppers and membrane
Shock absorbing midsole
Some have had ventilation issues
Some have experienced comfort issues with interior stitching