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Steel Cap Shoes

I have to wear steel capped boots at work, and also walk long distances… at least 10,000 steps per day, often much more.
Is there a work boot that is better than others in this regard, because I’m trying different brands but my feet still hurt the same! :grimacing:


Hi @DrNikRBokr, welcome to the community.

Do you need a work boot or can you wear other footwear?..the reason for this question is there are walking shoe/sneaker type steel capped shoes which are generally lighter and more flexible. …which can lead to a more comfortable wear.


I’d probably get away with steel capped sneakers, didn’t know they made them :grinning:


I like Blundstone or Steel Blue as brands but they have so many choices it is difficult to recommend one, the wear is very individual and this makes it difficult. Another brand to look at is Oliver. I needed wide fitting and higher front ones when I worked in the mines and used thick socks to help cushion the foot in the boot. The high front in particular to avoid the crimping of the toes at the front by the cap dipping in on the push off part of the step.

An Oliver I like but it is special order from RSEA, you probably can find other retailers of these brands and this boot:

You can also get elastic side and zip ups if they are better for you.

Sneakers can be harder to avoid the crimping on the push off as the fronts tend not to be so high so the steel cap can be more noticeable on that push. The fabric can also show wear sooner at that junction where the steel cap ends.


They were my preference for mixed office and workshop type environments. Depending on price range they are light and well cushioned under foot. There was the option of composite rather than steel caps in some models last time I had the need.

I had a pair of Oliver joggers that lasted well for several years of daily use in a light environment. They were not as durable as my now ancient Oliver high ankle lace ups, made in Ballarat Australia.

The typical male work boot seems to assume your foot is shaped to match a 200kg capacity cling and jerk. If you can it may be worth a trip to one of your local safety wear suppliers. Depending on brand, style and designer the shape and fit varies between brands. It may be wise to prioritise on fit and comfort, providing the brand is well known and the local supplier well established (warranty/reliability).

One other observation is I found the jogger styles great for everyday wear in well managed environments, EG concrete workshop floors, graded storage yards. For the more uneven conditions of earthworks sites or mining the high ankle leather boots really saved the ankles. It sounds as if you are in the former. Many heavy construction sites restrict the style of protective footware.


Most good and larger safety/PPE stores will have fhem. @grahroll provides some good advice and some ideas. If you google ‘steel capped sneakers’ or ‘steel capped lightweight shoes’ there will be other Australian sites which show what is available. Check they also comply with the relevant Australian Standard…has the ticks before buying.

Also, check with your employer, if your not a sole trader, to see if they have any issues with more casual steel capped work shoes. Some work environments may require full ankle leather boots, while others will be more flexible. I have worked in a organisation where only ankle high steel capped leather boots could be worn. The employer paid for them as part of standard PPE.

I had Steel Blue lace ups which fitted the shape of my foot better. After walking something 5km+ in a day, I was always happy to get them off. Two pair of socks can help as well…so take or wear two pair when trying them on. The downside to two socks is feet can get hot and sweaty in summer or when one exerts oneself.


A really really good pair of insoles makes a big difference with work boots too, like memory foam. Helps with the fatigue element.
I’m not really a fan of the safety sneakers I’ve tried. I like Steel Blue Argyle ladies, although I’ve had the mens as well (depending on what was in stock). They’re a good sturdy boot you can wear all day every day without hating them.


Depends very much on your employer’s requirements. I did road works for over 15 years. Depending on where, and with whom, our contract was I had to change boots, till eventually they decided to go to the highest standard to move quickly between jobs.

While a zip up side is convenient, some places won’t let you wear them, this, I gather, is because too many blokes left the zip partly undone leaving loose bits to be caught in machinery. It is a pain having to lace up the above ankle / half calf, but I made it easier with two sets of laces. It has been years since elastic sided steel caps were acceptable on any of our jobs.

One site insisted on 360 degree soles. Not so I could look good from all angles - so I could stand in hot bitumen and not burn my feet. They were rigid soles and like wearing a brick. The guys would swear by Red Wings as the best and most comfortable and got 2 years out of them.

I have small feet and still wear children’s sizes. When children on farms were required to wear steel caps I was spoilt for choice, then that was relaxed and I found it hard to get boots again. The last pairs I had were Olivers & Steel Blue, but next pair will have to be specially made as no one makes my size.


Many thanks to you and everyone who answered, for the great advice :slight_smile:


Plus one to Blundstone. I work around 30 hours a week on concrete floors and I’ve found them to be super comfortable. Insanely durable too. My last pair lasted a little over 3 years. I use their sneaker designs


My son wore Volley Safety Canvas shoes to work, and loved them. Heavier than the classic Volleys, but they don’t look any different, and are more comfortable than boots.