A busy job site is no place for a talking shoe. But if your sole unexpectedly detaches from your boot’s upper and starts flapping in the breeze, that’s exactly what you’ll have. If you’re on your feet all day you know how important it is to have work boots that are safe, comfortable and meet the needs of your environment. A big part of what makes your boots right — or not — for your job is the way they’re constructed.
Four main types of boot sole construction provide different support for your feet and may help you decide what’s right for you the next time you invest. Goodyear welt, cement, vulcanized and Opanka construction are four common techniques that offer varying benefits for wearers. Learn what type will best support your line of work.
A Goodyear Welt is a strip of leather or other material. In the Goodyear Welt construction, the strip is stitched to the upper of the boot — or the part that covers your foot — as well as the insole. Then the outsole is stitched to the bottom of the welt.
Many consider Goodyear Welt to be the “gold standard” of shoe construction. A major benefit of this construction type is its longevity. The extra stitching also makes them more water resistant. It also allows for multiple sole replacements, which extends the life of your boot.
Cement construction is one of the most common methods of attaching the sole of a shoe. With this approach, the upper and the sole are attached with an adhesive and no welting is used. This technique creates boots that are flexible and lightweight. It’s also one of the most economical ways to create boots so the price is typically less for this footwear. Once the upper begins to separate from the sole or the sole is damaged, the shoes need to be replaced, rather than repaired.
With an Opanka Construction, the boot uppers, soles, and sock linings are hand sewn together with double-needle stitching. The hand-stitching allows the boot to flex and move with the foot. Giving added cushioning, the Opanka construction process enables boots to conform to your foot and rebound with your steps.
The Vulcanization technique is used to create durable, waterproof boots. With this construction, the outsole and upper are molded together with a band of soft rubber and then heated in an oven. These boots are stable, durable, and more resistant to heat. This footwear offers long-lasting soles that won’t split or wear away.
Finding the right work boots is critical to success and comfort on the job site. Invest in boots crafted with your needs in mind.
Are your work boots holding up to the job?