By Rehan Iqbal
The only thing worse than having to stand all day is doing it every single day in the cold. Even then, you may not have it as bad as someone who spends most of their shift on their feet with the wrong pair of shoes on. Before we even get to the features that make up a great ‘standing all day in the cold’ work shoe, I’m not sure you understand just how dangerous this combination is.
First off, if your job involves standing, this won’t change even in the worst winters possible. For most cold industry workers such as factory freezer hands and ice rink workers, standing in the cold all year long is the norm. Guess what, our bodies were not meant to stand for long periods, walk; sure, run; maybe. But definitely not standing. Even with around 800 muscles in our bodies, they still have to work extra hard to maintain an upright posture. With the wrong pair of shoes on, standing incessantly for long hours poses adverse health benefits such as sore feet, swelling, muscle fatigue, varicose veins, flat foot syndrome, and stiffness all around.
Now, couple all the above issues brought by standing all day with extremely low temperatures and you have one deadly combination. And like we established, work doesn’t stop just because of a little cold. That’s why most foot wear companies are taking an interest in insulated work boots and footwear meant for keeping you warm in cold weather. If you don’t want to blow out your back from standing all day on the job and book a toe amputation appointment at the same time for working in extremely cold weather, you need a shoe built for the job. Here’s how to choose the best footwear for standing all day in the cold.
How to Choose Work Shoes for Standing All Day in the Cold
Like all other choices, your decision on your standing shoes will largely depend on what activity you are undertaking. Some winter shoes are massive, tall and bulky while others are very small and compact. Depending on the environment as well as temperatures, you want to make sure you get the right fit. Of course, you wouldn’t want to go for overkill and end up hating your new kicks. Here are a couple features to consider:
Of course, before you even settle on any insulated work boot, you have to know where you’re going to use them. Do you intend to go ice fishing or hiking through the mountains? Or maybe you just want something warm on your feet while working indoors. Knowing the task at hand makes the rest of the choices much easier. From the height, insulation type, outsole all the way to what additional features you will need, all these need to complement your working environment. For example, if you’re a security guard at the mall, I don’t think bulky, knee high boots will work so effectively in the mall. Maybe try something light and compact?
Getting the height right is the most important aspect of insulated work boot shopping. Some winter boots are as tall as 12 inches high while others barely cover your ankles. The choice depends on the environment you will be exposed to. If you are working or standing in deep snow, taller boots will work best since they cover almost the entire shin and won’t let any snow through and won’t allow the warmth to escape.
However, if you prefer not to haul around an incredibly heavy boot or won’t be standing in lots of snow, then a shorter work shoe will do. Additionally, if you will be standing indoors, you won’t need a tall boot since there’s no snow and the AC might kick in.
Thanks to all sorts of impressive technological advancements in the foot wear industry, more and more shoe manufacturers are now offering precise warmth ratings for insulated work shoes. For example, some leading companies have shoes that are capable of maintaining warmth in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Financially speaking, the more insulation your boot has, the more expensive it’s going to be. That’s why you want to match the temperature ratings of your work shoe with the lowest possible temperatures of the spots where you spend most of the day standing. However, be sure to go up a level or two to compensate for factors such as sweating and weight.
This one’s straightforward and simple; with cold weather comes wet and slippery conditions. That’s why you want to make sure that your shoes have very reliable traction on the under soles. While we do recommend getting as much traction as you can in there, we also strive to ensure that you get a tailored experience. That’s why you need to gauge the type of surface you will be stepping on before going for high or low traction.
If you’ll be treading on slippery, icy and wet surfaces, multi-directional lugs are a must; in fact, go all out with the snow spikes if your boss will let you. However, people standing in inches of snow may be well suited by wider outsoles and snowshoeing. Snow shoes can be added to your regular boots to give you a much better footing even in the thickest of snow. Remember, if you fall down, your risk of injury comes with a very generous helping of freezing, wet snow.