Whether you are a carpenter, landscaper, hiker, or another type of active individual, a comfortable work boot or hiking boot that is sturdy with proven slip resistance is crucial to your daily tool kit in order to avoid foot pain and experience maximum performance. For on-the-job footwear, you might have a good idea of the material or even the general look you’re aiming for.
However, the shoe debate of the century still rages on. Lace up vs. slip on work boots: which is more comfortable and better at preventing foot pain?
Should you go for easy-access or a firm fit? Looking for a sleek, but waterproof leather boot or a rugged steel toe boot with a sturdy rubber outsole? Whatever your personal taste and needs are, this guide will help you make the final decision regarding what type of boot is right for you.
Lace Up vs. Slip On: The Difference
At first glance, very little distinguishes lace up and slip on work boots besides what their names already tell you. They are both able to receive similar protections should you need to have a waterproof leather, suede or nubuck ankle boot. However, there are several ways in which having or not having laces makes all the difference.
Both types of work boots offer different benefits, so you should choose a pair based on your day-to-day activities. The main factors you should consider when deciding between men’s lace up work boots and slip on work boots are:
Work boots designed for safety are not always the safest in certain situations—a paradox, we know. That’s why you have to pay extra attention to your work environment and use before choosing a pair.
Keep these points in mind:
Lace Up – Lace ups are ideal for workspaces that require maximum puncture and slip resistance, like construction sites. Their firmness aids in ankle support, which will come in handy should you trip or slip. However, they can also slow you down or present a potential trip hazard should their laces come loose.
Slip On – Slip ons, also known as a toe boot, are notoriously more comfortable, which actually prevents on-the-job slipping, according to Harvard researchers. As for ankle support, the higher quality the slip on, the happier your ankles will be. The downside is that these often offer less puncture resistance than lace up boots.
However, even the safest and most high-quality shoes won’t protect you if you don’t know how to wear work boots properly. Save yourself the hassle of injuries, missed work, and sore feet by practicing good footwear habits, which include:
Properly lacing up your shoes
Choosing the ideal size boot for each foot (your feet are sisters, not twins)
Wearing the correct socks to ensure the perfect fit
Break them in before wearing them to work
Depending on your job, you won’t always need (or want) a work boot that clings to your foot for dear life. Convenience might be the deciding factor in your work boot-selection. Here’s how:
Lace Up – If you work on a construction site, you’ll be keeping your shoes on all day, and they’ll need to be snug and secure to ensure maximum protection and comfort.
Slip On – On the other hand, if you were on an oil rig or any other worksite that requires you to put on and take off your shoes frequently, a slip on toe boot is ideal.
As a rule of thumb, ask your manager or coworker what type of boot they prefer for your line of work. If no one seems to have a preference, there are other factors you can use to decide on your perfect piece of footwear.
When it comes to a work boot or safety boot, fit matters. Although, a common question people are left asking themselves is “how should boots fit?” The construction of the shoe has quite an impact on how they fit initially and how they fit over time.
Here’s where they differ:
Lace Up – Lace up boots are firmer and therefore maintain their fit for longer. And once they loosen, you can adjust them by tightening the laces. You can notice this if you feel heel slippage or an unexpected surplus of room within the boot. These definitely win in the fit retention department.
Slip On – While they don’t maintain their shape as long, slip ons are generally more comfortable than their lace-up counterparts. They’ll lose snugness over time, so you’ll either need to buy an insole for each of the boots or replace them entirely after they stop fitting. Purchasing an insole for your working boot is a great option because it can add a needed layer of cushion to support you throughout the day.
While you may invest in more than one pair of work boots, it’s unlikely that you’ll be dropping big bucks on a boot for each day of the week. In other words, you’ll be wearing these a lot. Consistent use of a working boot under strenuous conditions without waterproof protection or other suggested upkeep treatments means a high demand for upkeep.
Different types of work boots will require different levels of maintenance, like:
Lace Up – Lace ups have higher upkeep. That’s because lace up boots offer less ventilation for your feet, leading to more sweating and, yes, more odor. This, of course, is manageable through periodic cleaning and spraying. Additionally, the proper cleaning method includes removing the laces, washing them, and then relacing your boots. Need additional advice on how to clean work boots? Follow the link provided.
Slip On – These boots really let your feet breathe! While still snug, they do offer a bit more ventilation and, therefore, less odor. They’re also generally more water-resistant. While you’ll still want to practice proper hygiene and care, you won’t have to worry as much about your boots stinking up your closet.
However, no matter how durable your work boot, it won’t last forever. Remember that these shoes are meant to keep you safe—if they’re no longer serving their purpose, chuck ‘em.
Stay Comfortable With Boot World
At Boot World, footwear is second nature.
We know you won’t settle for less than excellent in your day-to-day work, which is why we don’t settle for less when it comes to work boots. Our materials are sourced with the highest quality in mind, and we work with some of the best brands in the business, including:
Whether you prefer slip on safety toe boots or lace up work boots, you can start your workday on the right foot with Boot World. Check out our extensive collection today for workwear that won’t disappoint.
EHS Today. The Hazards Affecting Your Employees’ Foot Safety. https://www.ehstoday.com/ppe/foot-protection/article/21919755/the-hazards-affecting-your-employees-foot-safety
H2F Safety. Pull On Vs Lace Up Work Boots - Which is best for your job. https://www.headtofeetsafety.com/post/pull-on-vs-lace-up-work-boots
Harvard Health Publishing. Feet and falling. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/feet-and-falling