Can Steel Toe Boots Cause Foot Problems? [ Explained ]

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Be it for safety or stylish expression; the steel toe boots are one of the most sought-after shoes these days. The steel toe boots are highly acclaimed as protective gear in the workplace to prevent hazards and injuries.

But can steel toe boots cause foot problems?

Although it seems a maddening question since the purpose of such shoes it to protect you, the reality is a bit different.  We researched the internet and talked with steel toe boots users and find out some shocking news.

Can you guess?

Yes, probably you got it- if you pick an improper pair of toe boots, it causes several problems to you, including toe aches, sores, and so on.

Thus, for your safety, we are going to discuss the problems caused by the wrong choice and use of steel toe boots in the following sections.

Can Steel Toe Boots Cause Foot Problems?

The steel toe boots are popularly known as safety boots. These are durable and work fine in protecting your legs from injuries. But are steel toe boots bad for your feet?  Yes, we found that long hours of wearing safety boots cause several issues. And if you don’t know them, you will also be unable to treat the problems.

So, the most common foot problems from steel toe shoes are listed below for your convenience.

The Chafing

Chafing, as described by Health Line, is a common skin problem that is caused mainly because of excessive friction and irritation. And if you purchase an incorrect size of safety shoes, you will most likely face it.

Safety or steel toe boots have integrated steel plates right on the instep area along with the steel toes in the back.  The shoes are usually flexible and so comfortable to wear.

But the scenario changes quickly when you get a wrong pair.

At such moments, the steel toe and plate will probably cut through your feet that cause chafing. When it happens, you will feel the utmost discomfort. At the worst, you can experience swelling and find it challenging to stand on the feet even.

Leg Sores

Safety shoes use a heavy steel plate as well as thicker material (mostly leather). It makes the shoe heavier than any type of shoe.

can steel toe boots cause foot problems

So, what to do with heavier steel toe shoes?

Well, cumbersome shoes mean the chances of leg sores are higher too. You will mostly observe such irritating and painful sores when you wear safety shoes for a prolonged time.  During the work time, you may not notice it due to workload, but it will be visible when you remove the shoe pair after the job.

You will feel the soreness. But there’s nothing to be worried about as such.

You can get relief from such soreness with regular feet exercises before and after work time.

Foot Problems from Tight Steel Toe Boots

Safety shoes are excellent to safeguard your feet from work time injuries. But when you get a wrong sized steel toe shoe pair, it will wreak havoc on your feet. Especially if you wear a too-tight shoe pair, you will face the following foot injuries:

  • Blisters: Tightly fitted safety shoes cause excessive friction. It, thus, does create blisters in the foot. The blisters are very disturbing.
  • Calluses: Due to friction or pressure put on the toes by the safety shoes, the skin may get thickened. It will then form calluses at the feet and making you uncomfortable.
  • Corn: It is similar to calluses with a pack of dead skin. You will experience it on the side and top of your toes with a tightly fitted steel toe boots.
  • Neuromas: Morton Neuroma affects the ball with sharp pain. It takes place mostly between 3rd and 4th toe. You will feel like standing on a ground of sharp pebbles when it happens.

All these problems are more than enough to cause severe discomfort and disturb your attention during work time. So, when you purchase the safety shoes, get a pair that fits perfectly in the feet.

Don’t believe that the shoe will stretch in the future. It doesn’t happen with the thick materials of steel toe boots.

Foot Problems from Loose Steel Toe Boots

The steel toe boot injuries are not linked with the tightness of the safety boots only.  The poorly fitted toe boots will cause several problems too. It will be more evident if you own wider feet compared to average people.

We have observed that people with broader feet tend to compensate for their above-average feet size with a larger steel toe boots pair. While you might think it’s a good idea, the result is far from people’s thoughts.

Loosely fitted safety shoes can cause unwanted twist of folding at the feet. Also, excessive friction with the shoes rough part can cause you chafing.

So, here’s our take-

Always get the right pair of steel toe boots. Wear every pair during the purchase and walk a few meters to see how it feels.

And in case you end up buying poorly fitted safety shoes, there’s scope to adjust it with ease. You just need to insert a soft and thin material on the heel or insole area- that’s it.

Isn’t it an easy fix?

Related: For more advice on foot care advice, read our other article, “Can I Wear a steel toe Boot for a Sprained Ankle?.” It’s got tons of helpful information.

Common Foot Injuries Related to Workplace

We have already described the most common cause of steel toe boot injuries. Still, there is a long list of foot injuries related to the specific workplace. Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety Authority has described a few of them.

Foot InjuriesReasons
Toe amputation, crushed or broken feetFeet getting cracked due to fall of heavy objects or getting caught between objects or under vehicles
Punctures on the feet soleSharp glass or metal object
Lacerations and cutsUnguarded power tools and machinery
Twisted anklesSlippery workplace and inappropriate footwear
You can get rid of these misfortunes with the right pair of steel toe boots.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can safety shoes damage your feet?

Yes, safety shoes can damage your feet. A pair of tight steel toe boots hurt the top of the foot with friction and swelling. It is a major reason for discomfort during work. Also, loosely fit safety boots may cause accidental ankle twists that can damage the feet too.

Where should my toes be in steel toe boots?

When you wear steel toe boots, it should have one inch of space in the shoe front. Space should be sufficient so that your toe doesn’t hit the shoe front. Also, make sure the toe doesn’t slide and is rightly placed with the shoe sides.

Why do my toes hurt when I wear boots?

If you experience your toes hurting, it is a sign that you have a too-tight pair of boots. It will cause you soreness. At this time, you need to replace your shoes with the right pair.

What could cause boots to wear out?

The steel caps on the safety boots frequently put pressure on the leather. Thus, the leather tends to wear out faster in steel toe boots. Also, if you put your body weight on a feet more than the one, it will wear out the boots.


So, this is the complete guideline on the industrial workers’ stock questions, ‘Can work boots cause foot problems?’

As you see that two reasons cause all the foot problems linked with the safety boots-

  • Loosely fitted toe boots
  • Tightly fitted toe boots

So, if you observe such feet issues, know that you have picked the wrong size of the shoes. It implies that proper shoe size matters the most. We, thereby, urge you to spend on the right-size safety boots and enjoy a perfect wearing and safety.

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