Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Doug Morneau
We constantly see ironworkers cutting and welding steel parts into place to build bridges, buildings, and other structures, all while wearing wedge boots, and we wonder:
Why do ironworkers use wedge boots?
There are many reasons for that, and in this article, we’ll do a deep dive into the topic.
What Are Wedge Boots?
Wedge boots are one type of work boot that offers several differences over standard work boots:
- Thicker soles: They are designed with a wider outsole that completely comes in contact with the ground when walking, which helps to protect the feet from impacts and provides stability on uneven surfaces
- Wider outsole: They have a wider outsole that totally comes into contact with the ground, which makes these boots ideal for working in wet or icy conditions, as the extra traction can help to prevent slips and falls, and also makes them really comfortable for flat surfaces
- Lighter materials: Wedge boots are often lighter weight than traditional work boots, making them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time
Here’s a quick comparison between wedge work boots and heeled boots so you can get a better idea:
Why Do Ironworkers Wear Wedge Boots?
Let’s do a deep dive into why ironworkers wear only wedge boots. There are three reasons why: for protection, for comfort, and for durability.
Let me explain.
Ironworkers are basically construction workers who primarily work with heavy iron and steel structures. Due to the nature of their job, there are a number of risks that they are exposed to daily:
- Slipping and falling from heights
- Getting injured by heavy steel parts falling in the wrong place at the wrong time
- Breathing welding fumes
- Working outdoors exposed to extreme weather conditions
- Getting electrocuted as they work surrounded by electrical equipment
This is where welding boots get in, as they are essential in preventing most of these risks from taking place.
Wedge boots have a wide, flat outsole that provides a large surface area in contact with the ground giving more traction, which is key to avoiding slips and falls from dangerous heights.
Moreover, most people don’t realize that wedge boots can actually help to prevent electrocution.
This is because most wedge boots come built with a layer of electrical insulation (i.e., thick outsoles). So, by wearing wedge boots, you can create a barrier that will stop the electricity from reaching your body.
Lastly, most wedge boots come with built-in safety toe caps that help protect the toes from being crushed by heavy steel or iron parts that could fall during the ironworker’s shift.
It is not uncommon for ironworkers to work 10 to 12 hours in a single day on their feet, erecting steel frameworks and lifting heavy beams and columns into place.
Due to this, they need work boots that are both comfortable and supportive, so they prefer wedge work boots.
The wide, flat bottom of the wedge boot helps to distribute the ironworker’s weight evenly, preventing them from slipping or losing their balance while being comfortable at the same time.
Moreover, their design allows for the feet to rest naturally inside the boots as opposed to heeled boots, making them much more comfortable to wear.
Ironworkers are constantly on their feet welding and exposed to harsh elements, which can put a lot of wear and tear on the boots.
It’s no wonder, then, that their work boots don’t last long.
This is why they often choose to get wedge work boots, as they’ve got certain features that make them very durable, such as:
- The leather exterior of the boot helps to protect the ironworker’s feet from sharp metal debris or welding sparks and also improves the lifespan of the boots
- The outsoles are often made of polyurethane which is a solid and durable plastic that is also flexible, which results in the perfect choice of material for an outsole as it will easily take on the wear and tear of walking on uneven surfaces full of debris and other harsh stuff
- Most wedge work boots are manufactured with reliable construction materials, such as the Goodyear Welt construction or the Cement Heel construction, which adds years of durability to work boots
What Are The Best Wedge Boots for Ironworkers?
Wolverine Men’s Loader 8″ Steel-Toe Wedge Boot
- Outsole: Polyurethane slip resistant wedge outsole
- Safety Toe Caps: Steel toe caps
- Material: 100% Leather
If you’re an ironworker looking for a quality safety pair of wedge boots, then look no further than these Wolverine Loader wedge boots.
I mean, they come with excellent safety features such as their slip-resistant wedge outsoles that provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces and their steel toe caps that prevent your toes from getting crushed when accidentally dropping heavy steel parts.
Moreover, they have padded collars and cushioned footbeds, which give that extra layer of support and shock absorption, which becomes essential when walking 10 to 12 hours on hard surfaces (such as ironworkers do).
Last but not least, they are manufactured with the globally-recognized Goodyear Welt construction method that makes sure the materials of these wedge boots won’t fall apart after only a few months of heavy use.
- 100% quality leather
- Padded collar for additional comfort
- Fully cushioned footbed
- Slip resistant wedge outsoles made of polyurethane
- Goodyear Welt construction adds ruggedness and durability
- Steel shanks for improved structure stability
- Steel toe caps
- Made of stiff leather (take about two weeks to break in)
Customer Reviews and Scores
There are more than 1,218 reviews on Amazon.com about these work boots at the time of writing, and they have given them a 4.4 out of 5 rating on average. The reviews of this pair of work boots are positive overall.