• Head to Feet Safety

How Work Boots Should Fit- Getting The Right Fit and Improving Your Feet Comfort in a Hurting Pair

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Your work boots, Slip on or Lace Up, are doing a great job protecting you but are probably the reason for that excruciating feet pain, blisters and red swollen feet. We all remember that direct experience or know one colleague or a couple of colleagues that have suffered great discomfort from their Safety/Work Boots. However, Work Boots are an essential component of your Safety Clothing designed to protect your feet. consider reading our post on why wear Safety Boots for details.

This post is designed to provide solutions to your challenge and end your suffering.

Most government regulations provide for the design of Work Boots that ensure your protection but do little about helping you choose the best fit for your comfort.

In the end, your choice determines the amount of comfort your enjoy or the degree of discomfort you suffer in your Work Boots.

Making your feet more comfortable in your Work Boot starts form your choice of appropriate size and brand at the point of making a purchase. If however, you are stuck with a hurting pair of boots and unable to get a refund or a new purchase, read on for recommendations on how to improve your comfort.

How your Work Boots should fit

Get the right fitting work boot through five simple steps

If you purchasing a new pair of Work Boots from a physical shop, endeavor to ensure the pair passes the following fitting test. If you have one foot longer or larger than the other, ensure to use your larger feet to test out your Work Boot before making that purchase. The following is a good guide to choosing the right fit for your feet.

  1. When you wear your work Boot, the entire foot should feel a snug like a firm hand shake except your heel. The heel will slip to some degree in the first weeks of wearing your Work Boot. Some persons make the mistake of interpreting this slip as an over sized boot but if your heel does not slip at the point of purchase, your boot will most likely turn out undersized and hurt your feet with time. Some Work Boot makers recommend sufficient room that allows you slide a finger between your heel and the boot material to ensure the comfort of your toes on steep descents and when heavily loaded. If However you have a feeling of excess slip after lacing up your boot properly, the particular pair is likely too long for you.

  2. Check that you have some room for your toes in front of your boots

  3. Because boots bend when you walk in them, check that the widest part of your foot, the ball of your big toe, sits just at the widest part of the boot. This way, the bending of the boot and that of your feet, synchronize when you walk and saves you a great deal of discomfort.

  4. Go shopping in the same thickness of socks you intend to use with your boots.

  5. Remember to walk about in the boot and simulate your most likely work position to have a feel of your likely experience on the field before making payment.

If you intend to shop online and avoid the stress of returning your Work Boots, you will need to pay great attention to your feet sizes and shapes before placing an order. Makers of Work Boots, make provisions for different foot sizes and most persons are able to find a match for their feet size and shape. If however, you have a challenge getting your best fit from available designs, you can consider reaching out to a boot maker in your neighborhood for a custom-made Work Boot. This will usually cost some additional bucks but your long-term comfort and feet health are usually of greater value.

If you end up buying a tight Work Boot, you will be doing your feet a great disservice if you choose to keep them and continue wearing them in the hope they will expand with time. The truth is most work boots will not attain significant expansion and will continue to compress and squeeze your feet over time.

A great rule of thumb – Never size down your Work Boot. Feet compression is not your friend in anyway especially if you will be on your feet for long hours.

How to Achieve Maximum Comfort in Your Work Boots

After you have done your due diligence on getting the right fit and make of Work Boots, the following will help you achieve maximum comfort in your boots.

  1. Properly break in your Work Boots. Most persons would expect that once the right fit has been purchased they can immediately go a full day, a whole week at a stretch in their new pairs with no discomfort. The truth is, the first days of using your boot will cause you some pain if you do not get them properly adapted to your feet through a gradual process called breaking in. This involves wearing your newly purchased Work Boots a few hours a day, increasing gradually until your feet adapt to that right fit you bought. Any fire brigade approach to forcing a new boot to work a full day will end in some form of pain and discomfort to your feet. Allow a gradual adaptation process for your feet to get used to your new boots.

  2. Ensure you use the right pair of socks. Work Boots are rugged and a direct contact of the thick leather will usually hurt parts of your feet. This is more evident with Slip On boots. You notice some redness around the part of your leg in contact with the top most part of the boot if they are in direct contact with your skin for a prolonged time. The right choice of socks will protect your feet and leg and improve comfort in your Work Boots. If you find yourself in a situation of not having the right pairs, stocking your cover all into the boot may improve your condition.

We recommend socks with a high wool content. Wool, as you may already know, have good insulating property, dry fast and is able to hold a reasonable amount of moisture before getting wet. These, among other reasons, stand wool out as a socks material for your Work Boot comfort. ‘

If you are stuck on the field with no hope of getting immediate replacement for your Work Boots that have been causing you pain, read on to the next section.

How to Stop Your Work Boots from Hurting Your Feet

A tight fitting or very loose fitting boot is harmful to your feet. The friction from constant feet movement in a loose boot will lead to injuries and the an under sized boot will lead to feet compression and possible bone injury. I addition, a wrong boot fit betrays that extra balance and confidence that should come with your Work Boot.

If your boots are too large for your feet, doing the following will improve your feet comfort:

  1. Add an extra pair of socks or switch to one of greater thickness.

  2. Change out the insole that came with your Work Boot to a thicker one or just add an additional pair of insoles.

  3. Add or change a heel insert.

If your Work Boots, on the other hand are too tight, reversing the above procedures will improve your comfort.

Switch to a socks of lower thickness, an insole of lower thickness and consider reprogramming the adaptation period of your feet to your boots. You may not have followed the breaking in process properly.

If your company makes provision for your Work Boots, we recommend having a personal collection of accessories such as insoles of varying thickness, socks pairs of different thickness and some heel inserts each time you are off to work. If you end up not needing them, they may save that loved colleague whose performance affects your efficiency.


If you ever used a hurting Work Boot, you want to do your best to avoid getting another pair that hurts. It is very discomforting!

We have considered what you can do to ensure you get the right fit for your feet. Breaking in your boots helps you achieve maximum comfort in the process of time.

The gap between your current discomfort and your comfort maybe a simple change of socks or a new pair of insoles. Don't forget to take a collection of Work Boot Accessories the next time you head out for work.

Tell us how useful this post is to your situation and drop your questions in comments. We will be glad to answer them to the best of our ability.

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Consider these Work Boot Accessories for improved comfort in your work boot.

PEOPLE SOCKS Men's Women's Merino wool crew socks 4 pairs 71% premium with Arch support Made in USA

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Superfeet GREEN Insoles, Professional-Grade High Arch Support, Orthotic Shoe Inserts for Maximum Support, Unisex, Green

Get it on Amazon

Carhartt Insite Technology Footbed CMI9000 Insole

Get it on Amazon

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