Padding and cushioning are often thought of as favorable qualities when it comes to comfortable shoes. However, with work boots, softness might not be what's best for those who spend long hours on their feet.
In today's post, we address a question that was recently submitted to us : "Why are soft work boots not always the most comfortable?"
Not too soft, not too hard, just right
Softness in safety footwear can be useful when it comes to absorbing impact forces on the foot. However, too much softness can bring about several issues, including improper foot striking and overpronation.
Foot striking and wear patterns - Typically when we walk, our feet strike the ground first near the heel and forces radiate through the rest of the foot and up into the lower leg. With excessively soft boots, the foot may compress too much upon impact, causing it to roll to the outside. Over time, the boot will experience wear and tear to the outside edge. Our feet also have to roll inwards to compensate for this movement, leading to overpronation.
Overpronation - When the feet roll inwards too much, they are overpronating. This motion induces a lot of stress on the foot and its structures (joints, ligaments, and muscles). With prolonged use, these structures have to work harder to keep the foot in position and they become fatigued and achy.
How to find the right amount of softness
The key to finding the right amount of softness lies in the midsole density. The most comfortable work boots will have a midsole with a medium density that offers adequate cushioning but also supports the feet. Boots that have excessively hard midsoles can cause more impact forces to be transmitted through the foot. This leads to more extensive foot pronation, potentially contributing to discomfort and foot pain. On the other hand, overtly soft midsoles increase the range of motion that the foot goes through during walking. The foot is left feeling unstable and wobbly.
The quest for comfortable boots requires finding a careful balance between softness and firmness. Podiatrist-designed and -recommended, the Ergonx Elements Work Boots fit the bill. Their EVA midsole has the perfect density that protects the feet while delivering cloud-like comfort. With each step, the midsole absorbs forces that would otherwise strain the feet. They also boast a series of safety features that make them a standout among many quality brands. When it comes to workplace safety, your feet deserve the ultimate protection.
While it may seem counterintuitive, soft safety boots are not always the most comfortable and can even cause foot pain. We hope that this video helped shed some light on why this is the case. An overly pliable midsole fails to provide adequate support and stability. This, in turn, causes the foot to overpronate, placing pressure on the foot's muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Ultimately, softness can provide enhanced comfort, but only when it is balanced with the proper fit and support.
With so many products on the market and a multitude of work boot brands to choose from, we know that it can be challenging finding quality boots. Depending on your work environment, you might also need boots that have other safety features. For example, you may require steel toe boots or waterproof boots. However, boots with the correct fit will always benefit the wearer. Stylish work boots may keep you looking great, but prioritizing finding comfortable work boots will keep you feeling great too.
If you have more questions about what makes work boots comfortable, please comment below. You can also reach out to our team at ergonx.com.au to learn more about pull on work boots, foot health, and orthotic insoles. We'd be happy to hear from you!