Modern society has many tools, technologies, and equipment that help people perform their job functions more effectively. Construction workers have power tools that have only been around for the past century or so. Teachers have interactive “smart boards” that help the learning process. Laborers, fortunately for their safety and the success of the companies they work for, most always wear work boots for a variety of performance-boosting reasons.
While most everybody has used work boots in past or current lines of work — or at least know what they look like — not everybody is aware of the history of work boots, different types, and other facts about them. Let’s dig into the basics of work boots, most of which you’re probably not aware of. Get ready to learn!
How work boots got started
During the early 1900s, workers around the world increasingly became conscious of their workplace safety. Employers and government agencies became concerned, as well. It was actually during this time period where governments began enacting rules regarding minimum wages and safety standards in the workplace. Rather than replacing ill or injured employees with new ones, organizations widely adopted views of maintaining the safety of existing workers. As such, early forms of work boots were born. These prevented injuries like slips, falls, and outright damage to toes and feet, as well as infections, ailments, and illnesses directly related from foot-related injuries.
The advancement of work boots
Congress in the United States of America enacted legislature in the early 1970s called the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This body of law created what’s now known as OSHA, the organization that sets standards, inspects, and punishes employers for not adhering to rules and guidelines. One of the rules OSHA set in place immediately following its creation was about footwear at work. Thanks to OSHA, work boots became highly popular in the United States, with many countries that weren’t up to speed already quickly following suit following OSHA’s hard work.
How these boots are made
First, these shoes are designed by manufacturers to provide comfort, safety, and — unarguably what’s most important to their producers — adhere to guidelines mandated by OSHA. Pieces of leather, cloth, rubber, or other materials used to craft these shoes are cut out to fit certain patterns. Next, the now-flat pieces of material used to create boots are sewn together, slowly taking the shape of their finished form.
After the fabric, upper part of boots are completed, they are glued or sewn, or maybe both, to their soles. These soles are usually crafted from rubber, although boots and shoes not used for work can be either rubber, wood, plastic, or other material outside of rubber.
Boots are now finished for sale. This process includes trimming off short pieces of stitching sticking out, polishing the leather surface of boots to provide sometimes-waterproof shine, cleaned to remove any lasting debris, and brushed to rid the surface of any stubborn material.
And that’s the basics of workplace footwear!