What Shoes To Wear For Woodworking

Woodworking By LPI - What Shoes To Wear For Woodworking

What shoes to wear for woodworking to be safe and comfortable. If you are in a wood shop big or small you know the length of time you spend standing and working around woodworking tools and machinery which makes you wonder what is the best footwear for your feet when in your wood shop.

The best shoes, boots or footwear for woodworking is the most comfortable and safe. Ensure you have steel toes and protection. Also ensure you consider comfort. Padding and support for the arch for your feet is a must. Consider these options when purchasing your shoes, boots or footwear for your woodworking shop.


Why Would You Wear Special Footwear In A Wood Shop

If you work in a wood shop you know the dangers which are present there. These include dust and chemicals which you may inhale or get into your eyes and tools which can potentially hurt you by falling. You also need to consider your hands and eyes as it is a dangerous environment.

What I found interesting in my research for this article was not many people talk about their footwear. I’m not sure why this isn’t discussed much but it is just as important as the dangers are there for your feet also.

Wearing protection for your feet is so important because you just don’t know what will happen. You will want to consider a couple of things.

  • Safety – Most importantly you will want to consider safety. Between tools and machinery, wood and heavy items moving and falling you need to protect your feet.
  • Comfort – While in your wood shop performing your woodworking you will definitely stand for long periods of time. Also you will be kneeling, bending and extending your reach, for example, many times during your day. With this in mind you need to consider comfort and support for your arch on your feet.
  • Solvents – In every wood shop there are solvents which are used. These include sealer, paint and other liquids which we all know spill on the floor at one time or another. From a footwear perspective you will want shoes or boots which resist these solvents. The reason why is because these solvents will make your shoes or boots slippery and cause a hazard for you to potentially fall.

Let’s look at a few categories of footwear for your consideration in your wood shop.

If you would like to see information about sealing your wood signs or wood projects you can see my other article here.

Woodworking Shop Shoes

Woodworking By LPI - Boots

Some folks would not consider wearing shoes in a wood shop while woodworking. The question asked is, are shoes safe and comfortable for use in a woodworking wood shop. Ironically there are shoes on the market which works to provide safety and comfort.

If boots are you not your thing or you are not able to wear safety boots, safety shoes may be the way to go. There are many different styles which you can consider and believe it or not most of them look like tennis shoes with steel toes.

However, if tennis shoes are not what you are looking for there are brands which are available which are more of your traditional type of shoes with leather. These are typically worn in factories, construction sites or other work shops which provide the same type of safety and comfort however are more like your traditional shoe.

Pros Of Wearing Shoes In Woodworking

Some of the pros to wearing shoes versus boots for example are if you are unable to wear boots due to a foot issue the safety shoes definitely are a good alternative. Additionally, the shoes are not as hot as a boot would be and not cause your feet to sweat as much, not to mention they are just easier to put on.

Cons of Wearing Shoes In Woodworking

There are cons to wearing shoes versus boots as well. A boot, which has taller sides will protect your feet from banging into work benches or any other item which may stick out in your wood shop work paths. For example a scrap piece of wood which may or may not have a rusty nail in it.

These are some of the hazards where a boot would come in very handy and provide you the protection you would need. Lastly a boot will provide you the support for your ankle as well if anything would fall and provide that extra protection above the ankle.

As you can see there are many reasons for and against shoes in a wood shop. Please take into consideration your situation and what you may encounter in your wood shop while woodworking.


Best Workshop Shoes

Shoes in the woodworking shops are not a new concept but they have come a long way from the basic leather shoes of the old days where they are very cumbersome and not very easy to wear. Today we have many options which we can look at for comfort and usability perspective.

Please note if you are looking at shoes for your job in a commercial woodworking environment for example there may be safety ratings or regulations which you need to consider. If this is the case ensure the shoes you are purchasing are rated for that environment.

Looking at the products available on the market I wanted to recommend the best on the market for your consideration.

#1 Recommended Shoe To Wear For Woodworking

This is the KEEN Utility Men’s Detroit XT Low Steel Toe ESD Work Shoe, Cascade Brown. They are a low profile shoe which includes many safety features as well as a steel toe. They allow for the comfort of a type of tennis shoe style with the safety of a boot.

Additionally they are rugged enough to take the beating of the daily woodworking wood shop you will put to them.

Pros:

The shoe contains a steel toe both left and right which is very wide for the most protection. This shoe meets or exceeds the ASTM F2412 and F2413 EH compression and impact safety standards.

Has a slip resistant and non-marking sole – This meets or exceeds the ASTM F1677-96 and F2913 SATRA standards. Additionally this shoes is rated as having shock reductions technology (ESD).

Cons:

Of course this being a shoe does not provide protection to the ankle or above from debris or other woodworking wood shop hazards.

If you are interested in purchasing these you can get them from Amazon here.


Woodworking Boots

Working in woodworking and a wood shop boots are the staple footwear for most woodworkers. They provide the ultimate protection versus shoes for your feet. There are many new and innovative boots on the market today and provide more purpose driven types for you to consider.

In my experience as a woodworker I have found that my boots have been invaluable. They have taken their fair share of beatings if you will and protected my feet from spills, equipment, workbenches and debris when I go to a wood mill looking for lumber.

Please note if you are looking at shoes for your job in a commercial woodworking environment for example there may be safety ratings or regulations which you need to consider. If this is the case ensure the shoes you are purchasing are rated for that environment.

Looking at the products available on the market I wanted to recommend the number one boot that I have used for years.

#1 Recommended Boot To Wear For Woodworking

This is the Caterpillar Men’s Threshold Waterproof Steel Toe Industrial Boot Brown. They are a low profile boot which includes many safety features as well as a steel toe. They allow for the comfort and support plus for one of the most important things for your feet to breath, which is very important when selecting a woodworking boot.

Additionally they are rugged enough to take the beating of the daily woodworking wood shop you will put to them.

Pros:

The boot is made of 100 leather which makes it very rugged. It is water proof and has a slip resistant sole. It contains a steel toe which is excellent for protecting your toes.

Cons:

The only main con I found with this boot is it sometimes takes a little bit to break them in. Additionally I found they come in a little bigger than stated size.

If you are interested in purchasing these you can get them from Amazon here.

Conclusion

Looking at footwear for your woodworking shop is crucial. It is another tool in your hat for that protection. We all discuss the dangers and hazards of dust and solvents, but rarely do we discuss the hazards of footwear.

I would ask you to consider your footwear when in your wood shop for many reasons, as stated above. And the reason is the same as a dust mask or gloves, protection and you just don’t know when you will need them. I hope this has been helpful.

Henry Brady

I have been working wood signs since 2018, however my experience goes further back to my childhood working on wood projects from home decor to home repair. Prior to 2018 my business was rehabbing homes and then creating wood furniture products. My passion is wood signs and how many ways you can create them.

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