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Footwear for farmers

12/05/2012 @ 1:13pm

Durability. Comfort. Protection. These three words are the foundation on which work boots are built. Yet, not all work boots are created equal. There are several styles and features available. The right pair, tailored to meet the demands of your job, will keep your feet happy all day long.

A good pair of work boots should be as important as the tools in your shop. Before you step into a new pair of boots, consider these five features.

1. Outsole material. The outermost layer of the sole of a boot, the outsole, is available in three options.

• Rubber outsole offers excellent performance when it comes to abrasion-, oil-, and slip-resistant features. It is a top choice for work sites with rugged terrains, because it provides maximum traction on both wet and dry surfaces.

• Thermoplastic polyurethane outsole is long-wearing and is abrasion-, oil-, and chemical-resistant. Designed to be tough, it typically resists splitting and is more lightweight than rubber.

• Polyurethane outsole provides a lightweight, flexible, and comfort-enhancing option to the typical rubber outsole. Yet it still provides abrasion-, slip-, and oil-resistant qualities.

2. Toe style. Steel and composite are the two most common toe cap types.

“Steel-toe caps have long been the standard toe-cap material, offering maximum protection from sudden impact or compression,” says Roger Huard, vice president of product development for Wolverine. “Composite-toe caps are gaining popularity, because they meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards but are lighter than steel.”

Construction; Upper materials; Outsole; Lining Toe style

They also are often more comfortable in extreme weather conditions, because they are less conductive in heat and cold.

Toe protection should also meet or exceed ASTM standard F2415-11.

3. Construction. The way a boot is constructed affects its weight, flexibility, and longevity.

“A good pair of work boots should be as important as the tools in your shop.”

“Different construction methods provide different benefits,” notes Huard.

Direct-attach or injection construction is when the sole material is permanently and chemically fused to the upper. “This construction is very lightweight and is generally the most flexible type of construction,” says Huard. “It also has the added benefit of being watertight.”

Goodyear welt construction stitches together the upper and inner sole with a strip or welt. This process extends the footwear's life because boots can be re-soled or repaired.

Cement construction means the boot's outsole and midsole are cemented permanently to the upper. This construction is lightweight and flexible.

4. Lining. When it comes to farming, waterproof boots are a necessity. “The most reliable waterproof work boots on today's market feature waterproof leather combined with a waterproof membrane lining, like Gore-Tex, within the boot. That keeps moisture out while allowing for air circulation,” notes Huard.

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