Foot aches and pains are among the most common complaints, but in a work environment where walking and standing on hard surfaces is common, the issue can become much larger and potentially lead to safety issues. Foot fatigue amongst workers can lead to distracted working and contribute to safety issues like slips, trips and falls. These types of incidents account for 67% of all WSIB claims. So how do you help reduce foot strain and fatigue on the job? The answer is insoles.
Insoles are one of the most underrated methods to help workers reduce foot, leg and back strain and can become an important part of employee health & safety on the job. Insoles provide an additional layer of comfort, shock absorption and support, specifically for the arch of the foot. Because feet are the foundation of the body, wearing insoles can help relieve foot, leg and back strain and help reduce overall MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders). And less strain and pain can improve the productivity of employees because they can stay more focused on their work. Whether you are an employee or an employer there are many benefits for workers wearing insoles while on the job and providing them as part of a health & safety program.
Things You Need To Know About Insoles
- Insoles are more effective than anti-fatigue floor matting because the support and comfort of insoles stay with the worker wherever they go And, insoles can be customized to the individual’s needs vs. floor matting which is a one-size-fits-all solution for all workers.
- Insoles can help give balance to the arch of your feet, improve posture and stabilize overall stride on a daily basis, which will reduce leg, knee and back strain. Using insoles can improve overall toe strength and prevent you from straining other tendons in your feet.
- BONUS: Insoles can increase the lifespan of your safety shoes,
If you are reading this blog, you might already be in pain and in need of insoles or you are a concerned employer looking for solutions to improve your workers’ health & safety, Either way, Mister Safety Shoes is here to help.
At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping find the best safety footwear for workers. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or contact our business solutions team if you’re looking for a safety footwear program for your company.
You can also shop at any of our retail locations in Ontario and Alberta. For the safety of our customers and staff, we are strictly adhering to the guidelines necessary to keep you safe and ensure all our stores and mobile service remain safe too. We’re all in this together!
Work boots and/or safety shoes are essential pieces of personal protective equipment used in workplaces to mitigate physical safety hazards. Although they’re used to protect our feet, they also require regular maintenance to keep feet safe and healthy. Regular cleaning and care are crucial to avoid compromising their effectiveness in performance and protection. Read on to learn about the best methods to clean your work boots and safety shoes, based on the material that has been used.
Leather is one of the most popular materials used on the outside of a safety shoe. Some of the reasons that it is so commonly used is its ability to resist wear and tear, and the flexibility of movement that it offers. Leather is also breathable and absorbs moisture, helping keep feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.
To care for leather, first make sure your shoes are dry. Then use a shoe brush to remove salt or dirt. Using a cleaner that is suited for leather, proceed by rubbing the leather with a soft, clean cloth. Rub until dirt and tough stains have been removed. Next, dab the shoes with a clean, dry cloth and then leave them to air dry. Use mink oil, which is an oil with similar properties to vaseline, to help the leather retain its shine. Finally, apply a protective waterproofing spray, to prevent staining caused by rain and snow and to help the shoes remain water-resistant.
Synthetic materials are also used in the production of safety footwear, and are composed of materials that have been manmade, rather than are natural. Synthetic materials can be treated to prevent staining, wrinkling, improve water-resistance and so forth, but how should you clean it?
Before cleaning the material with a mild soap and cold water, we recommend removing any excess dirt with a stiff brush or a soft cloth. Once cleaned, leave to air dry, as heat will impact the construction of the material.
Suede is a type of leather that features a napped finish. It is softer than regular leather and less durable. While it does fall under the leather category, it does require additional maintenance.
To start, use a shoe brush, specific to suede shoes, to brush off any form of dirt or salt. Then, apply sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, on stubborn stains and leave it to absorb overnight. Clean the shoes with a cloth and dust off the baking soda. Finally, protect your shoes by using the waterproofing spray, as it will help them to remain weather-resistant.
Rubber is another material typically used in safety shoe construction. Rubber is an excellent insulator, provides electrical resistance, and has many shock-absorbing features. While it is durable, it is not breathable and it can limit movement, causing discomfort. However, rubber is water-resistant, allowing for those working in wet environments to remain dry throughout the day. It is also relatively easy to clean.
To clean your rubber shoe, use pressurized water and baking soda to remove stubborn dirt. The pressure from the water will help loosen the dirt, while the baking soda will remove any stains. Be careful not to let any water inside the shoe as it could damage the interior. Follow this by using a brush to remove grime from the sole and sides of the shoe. The rubber is strong enough to withstand harsh brushing. You can then erase scuff marks with olive oil. Finally, let your shoes air-dry overnight.
A Tip from our Pros!
If you are cleaning work boots or safety shoes with water, be mindful of the amount of water that is used, especially if they are comprised of leather. Repeatedly soaking the material with water will cause the leather to dry and crack. If you do expose the boots or shoes to too much water, simply remove the insoles and stuff them with newspaper. This will help to draw out the water quickly and safely.
Looking to buy a new pair of safety shoes? We’ve got you covered! Contact us today and we will help you find the perfect safety shoe based on material, fit, construction, and more! If you are looking for care products designed for your specific shoe, visit our online store.
Wet feet – no one wants them. And a day spent working with wet or damp feet is not only extremely uncomfortable but potentially hazardous. So, if you or your employees are exposed to water on the job, it’s important to know what properties to look for in safety shoes or work boots. Here’s a breakdown of what WATERPROOF, WATER REPELLANT AND WATER RESISTANT mean. And it’s also important to know that although waterproof may sound like the answer, it really depends on the activities you do that help determine if it’s really the best option.
Water-resistant shoes are designed to let less water in than traditional materials, but they’re not as impermeable as water-repellant or waterproof products. Water-resistant shoes are likely built to protect from minimal exposure – like moisture from temperature changes in a warehouse or minor spills. They may be made of more tightly woven materials or a different composition than traditional footwear, but they wouldn’t prevent penetration during submersion.
While water-resistant safety shoes and work boots don’t keep away water or liquid as well as other options, they do still have a big advantage: breathability. If you’re going to be on your feet on your job site and are active, breathability can make all the difference to your comfort.
Water-repellent boots or shoes land somewhere between waterproof and water resistant in their protection level. While they can prevent far more water from penetrating the shoes than water-resistant footwear, they still can’t match the impermeability of waterproof boots. Water-repellent fabrics are considered to be better than water-resistant fabrics simply because they are tightly woven, also because they can have a chemical coating that causes water drops to form beads when it strikes the surface of the fabric. So if you are exposed to small amounts of water on a semi-regular basis but still want a light, more breathable option, this feature may be a good fit.
The term waterproof in safety footwear generally refers to a product that won’t absorb water regardless of the situation. Seams are typically sealed, and/or the construction includes a waterproof membrane. Waterproof footwear makes sense for anyone who will regularly be exposed to water – especially when working outdoors. They may not be as breathable as other options about you have the assurance of complete moisture protection.
COMFORT TIP: Moisture doesn’t always come from external work conditions! The sweat from your own foot can and will create “water” that you don’t want inside your work footwear. Always wear a good comfort sock that wicks moisture away as well!
If you or your employees are working on surfaces or in environments that include water, moisture, oil, chemicals or hot/cold temperatures then making everyone is wearing the best slip resistant safety shoes or work boots for the job is important for helping reduce thei risk of slips. With such a wide range of safety footwear it may seem there’s a lot to know, but it really comes down to 3 factors and they are all related to the sole (or outsole). And much like car tire design, they involve pattern, material and terrain.
In general the more surface area and the busier the pattern, the better the traction. Take a look at these examples.
Pattern #1. This pattern is too flat to provide any real traction other than on a clean, dry surface.
Pattern #2. Lots of surface area and good channels. This sort of sole pattern is not unlike an all-season radial tire. The large surface area gives your employees lots of contact with the walking surface and the well-defined channels help to channel water away to avoid hydroplaning.
Pattern #3. A cross between #2 & #4. It has a slightly deeper lug pattern than #2, but more surface area then #4. It is suitable for outdoor wear on concrete, asphalt, and somewhat rough terrain.
Pattern #4. This sole pattern has a deep lug and is suitable for rugged outdoor work such as forestry. It’s not unlike the types of tires you would find on an All-Train-Vehicle (ATV). These are good for climbing up dirt or grassy hills and are good for walking on gravel but don’t provide good traction for smoother or slicker surfaces.
Polyurethane is a lightweight soling material. It typically is oil & chemical resistant, abrasion resistant and offers a high degree of comfort on hard surfaces
Rubber is very diverse in its nature. Some rubber formulas can be soft and pliable; these types tend to offer better traction in cold weather applications along the same lines as a winter tire.
Nitrile rubber is a highly heat resistant (up to 300°C) rubber soling material that has excellent chemical and abrasion resistance. It also offers excellent traction both in oily environments and in cold weather
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (T.P.U.) is a urethane formula with a rubber compound added to it. The rubber compound makes the TPU perform better in colder temperatures and improves its abrasion resistance.
Dual-density is a combination of softer, low density material made from E.V.A or polyurethane and then add a skin that serves as the sole. E.V.A offers good traction especially in cold weather. P.U (Polyurethane) versions provide “all season” traction.
Understanding the surfaces your employees work on is just as important. Concrete, asphalt, gravel, indoor/outdoor, hot/cold temperatures each play an important contributing factor in how slip resistant your employees’ safety footwear will be. More importantly, they help us recommend the best safety footwear.
We’re here to help
Our experts in safety footwear fit, comfort and safety have “kicked the tires” for every type of industry and work environment and can help evaluate the right outsole pattern and material for the terrain your employees are working on. So whether you are providing direction to your employees or are looking for a full footwear solution for your business, we’re here to help.
When you’re on the job all day, your boots are susceptible to dirt, grime, oil, water and other materials that can stain leather. However, cleaning your leather work boots is a breeze as long as you do it often and do it right.
Prepping and cleaning your boots
New leather work boots need to be prepped before you wear them. Even if they don’t require a breaking in period, you should wear them around the house for a few hours before going to the job site. If they are not waterproof, apply a waterproofing agent to the boots and give it some time to work. Once ready, you can wear your boots on the job.
After each shift, use a nylon brush to wipe off any dirt that has accrued. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe the leather clean. Do not blow dry your boots. Let them dry naturally because heat will dry out the leather and cause it to crack. If your boots are soiled all over, use saddle soap (or soap designed specifically for leather work boots) and a damp cloth to clean them thoroughly. Once every two to three months remove the insoles from your boots and put them in the washing machine or handwash them in mild shampoo. The inside of your boots should be cleaned with mild shampoo and a damp cloth every few months too.
Rid your boots of stains
There are professional-grade leather stain removers on the market or you can use household products to clean your work boots. Depending on the severity of the stain, you should be able to use what you have lying around.
- Water spots: Simply re-moisten the spot with a little bit of water and allow it to air dry.
- Unidentified dark spots: Mix one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar into a paste. Work the paste into the spot then wipe the area clean with a soft cloth. If the stain still doesn’t come out after the tartar/lemon juice paste, try dipping a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rubbing it over the area.
- Road salt stains: These can be particularly hard stains to get out so try blotting them with a soft cloth dipped in a mixture of water and white vinegar.
Tend to your boots while you sleep
Another important part of leather work boot maintenance is storing them properly. Place your boots on cedar shoe trees to keep them smelling fresh. Cedar is the best material for shoe trees because it absorbs moisture, salt and acid, and neutralizes smells. It also smooths out the lining and insoles of the boots without compromising their shape. You can also sprinkle the inside of your boots nightly with a little baking soda to neutralize odours if you don’t have cedar shoe trees.