The most critical thing with purchasing a pair of safety shoes is finding one that is comfortable!

Most problems with the comfort of safety shoes is caused when the toes (usually the large toe or next to the smallest toe) comes in contact with safety toe and “rubs” a blister on the toes.  Generally this is caused because the Customer is trying to wear safety shoes that are too short.  Yes, that’s right—too short…and not too narrow!  As my Dad taught me, comfort comes in length not width.  Here’s the reason:

The only way to relieve the Customer’s toes from the rubbing sensation of the safety toe is to move the safety toe away from the Customer’s toes.  To do that you need to get a longer shoe not wider.  A wider shoe will still have the safety toe located in the same area relative to the toes, and the safety toe will still be encroaching on the foot.   The longer shoe moves the safety toe forward in the shoe away from the toe of the foot.  The reason Customer’s talk about the rubbing sensation is because as you walk, the foot does actually move forward in the shoe naturally.  If the safety toe is too close to the Customer’s toe, then the toe will rub the safety toe of the shoe.

There is a way to determine the proper length of the foot, and that is to have your foot measured by a trained shoe salesman.  Normally, the standard device being used today is the Brannock Device, but many stores have electronic measuring machines in them too.  From what I have seen personally these do a very good job.  These measuring devices measure two dimensionally, length and width, but not thickness or girth of the foot, but they are still very helpful in determining the right size.  The most important measurement is the arch measurement (sometimes called “ball measurement” because that is what is measured).  The arch measurement is important because it measures the distance from the back of the heel to the widest point of the foot, and that is important because you want to get the widest part of the foot in the widest part of the shoe!  This also causes the shape of the foot’s arch to match the shape of the arch of the shoe, which will provide the wearer of the shoe the maximum support from the shoe.  Typically getting the wide part of the foot in the wide part of the shoe provides relief to the foot because as you step down on the foot the wide part of the foot has room to move forward into the tapering toe of the shoe.  If the foot is too far forward in the shoe, then the wide part of the foot starts to flex forward in the shoe from the tapering part of the shoe which causes the wide part of the foot to “jam” into the narrower part of the shoe where the safety toe is.  That is why it is critical fit all shoes using the arch measurement and not the toe measurement.

The second idea for getting a comfortable safety shoe is to compare the shape of the front part of your foot and with the shape of the shoes you are trying to wear.  I am including some pictures I have taken of my Customers’ feet.  Since everyone’s foot is a little different, yours is probably a combination of these photos.  Note that the toe shape of the foot should approximate the toe of shoe you are trying to wear to get the most comfortable toe.  In other words, if you have a “straight toes” or the “extremely wide foot”, you need to be wearing an oblique toe shoe or an extra wide safety toe style. Trying to wear a pointed-toe Wellington boot is just not going to be comfortable, and you can see that by comparing the width of your toes to the width of a narrow toe safety shoe. 

So if you have problems with the safety toe rubbing your toes or wearing holes in your socks, you need to look at the extra wide safety toe shapes, like the oblique toe styles.  If you need help finding the right styles call our office at 1-888-933-5540 and we will show those styles to you.

And, if you have a wide foot, or a foot with your toes all about the same length, or your big toe is straight forward from the ball of the foot, you need to he wearing the oblique or extra wide safety toe styles.

So the main thing to getting a more comfortable safety shoe, especially for “toe comfort”, is to make sure you have “toe room” in your safety shoes.  The first thing to do is get your arch measured and make sure you are wearing that length shoe.  Get the wide part of your foot into the widest part of the shoe so your shoe’s arch will match the shape of your arch and give you maximum support.  Next, make sure the shape of your foot approximates the shape of the safety toe you are trying to wear.   Give your toes plenty of toe room!

One last tip, when you get your new shoes, try them on in the store first.  Make sure that your toes feel no pressure on the side of the big toe or the side of next to the smallest toe.  Any pressure there means the shoe is too small or too short..  Do NOT try to wear new shoes and think this tightness on your toes will “break in”…your toe is the only thing that will “break in” with a big, bad blister!


Call us if you need more help! 1-888-933-5540