Woodworking involves standing for endless hours and moving around the woodworking workshop. It can be heavy on your feet. Moreover, you stand a high chance of dropping heavy or sharp objects on your feet. Therefore, you need suitable footwear to keep your feet comfortable and safe.
What shoes woodworkers wear is an important aspect of woodworking that needs to be seriously addressed. We wear comfortable shoes not only to give our feet some relief but also to provide protection. During a cold, winter day or blisteringly hot summer’s day, you need to wear appropriate footwear. Fortunately, there is a great variety of shoes that woodworkers can wear.
Endless hours standing on a concrete floor can be tough on your feet. Comfortable and practical shoes can save you from untold misery when you are on your feet for long hours in your woodworking workshop.
Generally, woodworkers wear sneakers, Crocs, or flip-flops. Although flip-flops are very comfortable, they are likely to offer the least protection to your feet. The best protection for your feet could be a pair of sturdy but comfortable work boots.
If you work on an industrial installation, then you won’t have much choice. The regulation footwear for such locations is heavy work boots with steel in the toe. But for private establishments, domestic or commercial, the choice of footwear is somewhat flexible.
Inappropriate footwear may not only cause problems with your feet but can also result in backache. So, let’s take a closer look at the type of shoe woodworkers wear, and perhaps you can decide which type is the best for you.
Types of Shoes Used for Woodworking
If you are on a shop floor of any type, it’s always recommendable to wear covered shoes. Flip-flops are comfortable but they won’t protect your feet from falling objects. Also, there are likely to be sharp edges and protruding nails and screws which could hurt your feet while wearing flip-flops. Covered shoes will protect your feet from all this.
The weather is another consideration for your choice of shoes. In the winter months, you would do well to have a nicely laced-up pair of closed shoes. But during summer, you should probably consider a pair of well-ventilated Crocs.
What to Look for in Woodworker’s Shoes
Here are a few considerations you need to make while choosing a pair of shoes to wear while woodworking:
Whenever you buy a pair of shoes, comfort is the primary consideration. It is more critical to be comfortable in your shoes if you work in a woodworking workshop. You are likely to be standing on concrete but your feet should not become too hot or cold.
Therefore, the climatic conditions of where you live are also an important factor. You need to choose shoes that you will be comfortable in during both the cold and hot weather. You will probably find that you need to buy two pairs of shoes for correspondingly hot and cold weather.
Another aspect that you need to consider is the amount of bending, stretching, and kneeling you’ll have to do. You need to have comfortable shoes while performing these contortions, especially keeping the comfort of the arch of your feet in mind.
Whether you are doing heavy work or not, you would do well to wear shoes that protect your feet adequately. Leather thongs are a good option when you are doing light work like hand filing or sanding.
If you are doing heavier work like lathe work, a pair of Crocs would be a suitable choice or even sneakers. For heavy work like hammering and if you are using heavy, sharp tools, then go for a pair of sturdy safety shoes preferably with a steel-capped toe.
Safety boots are a good choice for heavy work as well. The advantage of wearing safety boots is that they also offer ankle protection. But if you find it too cumbersome to wear boots, then high-ankle shoes can also suffice.
Ease of Use
When you are sure that you’ve got comfort and safety covered, then you can look at the convenience aspect – ease of use. If you have your woodworking set up in your garage or the basement, you need to have footwear that you can easily slip into and out of in a jiffy. The most convenient type of shoes would be covered slip-on. You can also use sneakers with minimal laces.
The Grip Factor
Good workshop housekeeping practices recommend cleaning up chemical and oil spills immediately. But there is always the possibility of grease, oil, or chemicals being present on the floor. You could slip on these and have a nasty fall.
Choose shoes that have a good grip on any surface. If you have a wet floor after mopping it, you don’t want to slip and get hurt. Take particular notice of the grip that shoes offer if you are trying them on.
If you are buying shoes online, check the product description carefully to see if a good grip is part of the features of the product. And, while checking out the product features of the shoes, ensure that they have adequate resistance to chemicals.
Pros and Cons of Woodworking Shoes
You may not feel comfortable wearing work boots. Then you can go for safety shoes. There are so many different styles available in the market. You can get safety shoes that look like tennis shoes but are fitted with a steel toe cap.
Whatever style you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages to wearing woodworking shoes.
Pros of Woodworking Shoes
- Woodworking shoes offer adequate protection against protrusions and sharp objects.
- Dedicated woodworking shoes often have protective steel toe caps to protect your toes from getting injured by falling heavy or sharp objects.
- A closed woodworking shoe can also protect your feet from flying chips and shards.
- The soles of most woodworking or safety shoes are made from anti-skid material. You get a good grip over the smooth and sometimes wet concrete or tiled flooring.
- Most safety shoes used for woodworking will give you a better grip while walking over oily or greasy surfaces.
- If you work in cold climates, a fully-covered and snug safety shoe can keep your feet warm on cold, blustery, winter days.
Pros of Woodworking Shoes
- Your feet can get pretty hot in closed woodworking shoes after wearing them for a few hours.
- Your feet may sweat and begin to emit an unpleasant odor over long periods.
- If your shoes are heavy, it could result in aching feet at the end of the day.
As we have seen here, there are many aspects to the shoes woodworkers wear. The reasons are also many. If you have a good pair of shoes for wearing while woodworking that protects your feet adequately, you are off to a good start.
Now, all you have to do is to put your best foot forward and start creating wonderful things in your woodworking workshop.
Related Reading – Why Woodworkers Wear Aprons.