Nevertheless, several jobs are very vulnerable to injury, and you might not be really protected in that case. Under such working circumstances, you will need a heavy-duty, durable, highly protective pair of work boots that protects almost all of your feet. And if that’s what you are looking for, you should look no further than the metatarsal work boots. So, in this article, I will provide you with a thorough guide to metatarsal protection in work boots.
In the matter of protecting your feet at the construction site or workplace, nothing can be better than a pair of safety toe boots. Many of you have heard and seen that steel toe caps protect your toes from sharp objects and other impacts. You can also benefit from the shanks that help you avoid potential punctures.
Table of Contents
- What is A Metatarsal Guard?
- What are the Differences Between Metatarsal Work Boots and Other Types Of Work Boots, and What Are Their Best Alternatives?
- Types of Metatarsal Work Boots
- Benefits of Metatarsal Guards
- Key features of the Best Metatarsal Work Boots
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is A Metatarsal Guard?
The metatarsal or tarsal bones are five long chains of bones on the top of your feet. They extend from the ankle to the top of your toes. As these bones are the tallest structure, they are really more prone to injury and breaking than your toes. Therefore, work boots manufacturers come up with metatarsal guards. They are particularly made to work in conjunction with safety toe caps for maximum protection for your feet from above.
Over several decades until now, employers have required workers to wear comfortable safety toe work boots at the workplace. However, these types don’t really provide them with really good protection to the metatarsal area in the event of severe shock, impacts, or compression. Even when your job site is safe and is not prone to lots of harsh conditions, metatarsal work boots can still protect your feet from lots of pain and costs as you have less possibility of getting an injury.
However, there are different types of metatarsal guard. What are they, and are there any differences between these and other types of work boots? Let’s have a look at the following part to get your answer.
What are the Differences Between Metatarsal Work Boots and Other Types Of Work Boots, and What Are Their Best Alternatives?
Metatarsal work boots come in many variations, with a wide range of alternative metatarsal work boots available on the market. Therefore, you can easily choose a pair that meets your needs and preferences. Below are some of the most common types of metatarsal work boots out there and their best alternatives. But before delving into that, let’s see what metatarsal boots are.
Metatarsal Boots Definition
Metatarsal work boots are a kind of work boots with met guards (almost all kinds feature safety toe caps). They are commonly used in different industries, such as manufacturing, mining, transportation, maintenance, construction, shipping, etc. The metatarsal area is very sensitive, and the bones in that region are more likely to be damaged, broken, or prone to injury than your toes. Hence, metatarsal work boots are considered the standard for any job site where the top of your feet and toes are susceptible to be injured by hazardous materials or heavy objects.
Work boots with an external metatarsal protection
Construction work boots featuring external metatarsal protection often look bulkier than normal boots. This is because they are equipped with a cushioned metatarsal shield or guard on the top area. Regardless of their cumbersome appearance, they provide you lots of comfortable and protective pads. Therefore, they will be a great option for those who work in high-intense, severe construction sites.
Work boots with an internal metatarsal protection
If you don’t like the bulky outlook of external metatarsal boots and are searching for a more elegant option, then models with internal metatarsal protection will be an ideal option. Even though the internal met guard doesn’t give you as much pad or cushion as the external one does, it still provides you with enough protection and safety when you have to work in hazardous, medium-intense construction sites.
Metatarsal work boots with composite safety toes
Metatarsal work boots with composite toe caps will give you more comprehensive protection. This is because they offer an extra guard on the toe areas besides the metatarsal region. Composite safety toe work boots can be made from different materials, but the most commonly used ones include carbon fiber, Kevlar, or plastic. Because these materials are thicker than steel, they tend to come in a thicker build. What’s more, you won’t have a chance of getting hot or cold temperatures because they have no metal components.
Metatarsal work boots with aluminum safety toes
These types of lightweight work boots is much more lightweight than both composite and steel, because as you know, aluminum is far lighter than these two materials. Having said that, they are still really robust and heavy-duty in nature and even stronger than steel toe caps. If lightweight is your priority when looking for the best metatarsal work boots with toe cap protections, then this type will be a great option.
Metatarsal work boots with TPU outsoles
Thermoplastic polyurethane is considered one of the best materials used to make outsoles of work boots in general and metatarsal work boots in particular. The first benefit of this material is oil-resistant. It allows you to work on oily or slippery surfaces without worrying about slipping or falling. What’s more, it can resist chemicals and abrasion, which is a huge plus when you work in hazardous job sites. Another strong point of TPU outsoles is that it is relatively resilient and far more lightweight than rubber outsoles.
So, that’s all about different types of metatarsal work boots and their great alternatives in case you can’t find your suitable one. The question here is, what can you benefit from a good pair of metatarsal work boots? Keep reading to know the functions and advantages of metatarsal protection.
Types of Metatarsal Work Boots
If the above section provides you with an overview of the differences between metatarsal work boots and other types of work boots, you will get more detailed information about this great boot type in this part. Basically, metatarsal work boots have two types of safeguarding, including internal and external met guards. Let’s dig into these types and find a suitable model that fits your feet and job requirements.
External Metatarsal Guard
Like a thick tortoise’s shell, external metatarsal protection gives you safeguarding and wrap over the outside of your boots. Usually, they are placed at the top of your boots as the first layer of defense against bumps and toxic materials that can damage your feet. With regard to safeguarding, external protection is considered the safest type available on the market. Because they are on the outside, they can be as thin or thick as you want. You can opt for the extra thick model for extra protection. These bulky types can also protect the upper of your work boots from corrosive substances or debris.
Having said that, external met guards have their own disadvantages. The first and most evident thing is the decrease in flexibility while moving due to the thick guard. You might also face problems, such as being stuck on ladders or and other tight areas due to the giant protruding guard. But there is no need to worry because these morden models are typically designed to deal with those issues. What’s more, you can remove the outer protective guards if you want more flexible and lighter activities.
Internal Metatarsal Guards
Internal met guards, as their names suggest, are integrated into the comfortable work boots and always there. And as you can imagine, they provide you with a layer of shield from inside of your work boots. Until recently, these inner guards fell out of favor on account of the original fit caused by the massive and thick designs. However, with more advanced technology, later versions are made with different, better pieces for more versatility and flexibility when moving.
In particular, you now can easily find a pair of internal met guard work boots featuring a liquid-type pouch. This guard is much more flexible and softer than traditional ones while still providing enough resilience. The biggest draw of these guards is the technology will come into play when you need it most. When something heavy falls on your feet, it will activate a chemical reaction that makes the soft gel become a rock-hard protective layer. Nevertheless, some people are still a little hesitant to try this type, but they seem to be the future of metatarsal protection.
Benefits of Metatarsal Guards
Below are some great advantages a pair of metatarsal work boots give you. Let’s take a look!
Offer protection to your toes and the whole metatarsal region
It is obvious that metatarsal guards give you safeguarding to the whole upper parts of your foot. It includes not only your toes but also regions above your toes. This way, you can be assured to work in severe working environments without worrying about getting injured due to heavy falling objects.
Protection your feet from sharp objects
Metatarsal work boots will be a great option for those who have to work in a working environment having lots of sharp objects, such as powered cutting tools, high-power saws, etc. Angle grinders are also considered one of the deadliest tools that can completely cut off your foot and met guards help protect against that, too.
Keep your feet safe from high impact
Met guards are considered comprehensive protection because they can protect against heavy loads and high impact not only for the top of your feet but also the front parts and the sides.
Minimize the possibility of penetration
If you usually work with your nail guns, shooting tools, ramset, etc., the possibility of getting them pierced in your feet is very high. Met guard work boots can make these tools pop out instead of letting them get inside and hurt your feet.
Keep your feet against chemicals and flames
If your working conditions are hazardous, and you have to be exposed to chemicals and heat, met guard work boots will be your lifesaver. They are so stiff that they can resist substances molten and burning directly on the surfaces of the boots without even allowing your feet to feel or recognize their presence.
Key features of the Best Metatarsal Work Boots
There are some key features of the best metatarsal work boots that, if you bear in mind when looking for a suitable pair, you can benefit a lot from them and easily choose yours. Even though work boots are usually talked about when mentioning sturdiness, it is better to get the combination of protection and comfort. Below are some of the most common features you might want to consider when looking for the best metatarsal work boots.
External met guard and internal met guard
This is considered the most important part of a good pair of metatarsal work boots. Usually, they offer two types of met guards, including inner and outer ones. So, you can choose either of them, depending on your working conditions and preferences.
Opt for external guards if you need more protection for your hazardous working environment. On the other hand, if you prefer lightweight and work in medium-intense and less severe working conditions, internal guards will be the best option. Just remember that both types provide ultimate protection to your feet.
When it comes to work boots’ material, leather is considered the most heavy-duty, robust type. But make sure that the boots you choose need to be made from high-quality leather. This material resists not only water but also abrasion. What’s more, it is very durable and not easily worn down, which will increase your boot’s lifespan. Leather is also a kind of material that is very easy to clean and needs less maintenance.
Solid and strong rubber outsole
The rubber outsole of metatarsal work boots will boost the grip and traction levels. What’s more, it is anti-skid, preventing you from slipping or falling when walking on slippery or oily terrains. Plus, it’s lightweight, which means users won’t have a hard time with the extra weight!
Water-resistant inner lining
Because you usually wear your metatarsal work boots for an extended period in a day, the possibility of water accumulation inside the boots is very high. Nevertheless, the water-tight internal lining is typically designed to wick moisture and prevent odor. This, as a result, will minimize the chance of getting the pungent smell and bacterial infection, keeping your feet always fresh and dry.
Padded collar design
Some metatarsal work boots are equipped with a padded collar right at the boot’s entrance area. This design allows the boot to hug your ankle more closely and comfortably. It also provides extra support to your ankle.
Supportive steel shank
For optimal arch support, you should get a steel shank for your metatarsal work boots that fits your arch size. The steel shank is typically designed to be comfortably placed in your boots and free from any sort of pain or discomfort.
Safety shoes are often worn for a longer time than regular shoes. So, you should choose metatarsal work boots that feature cushioned or padded insoles. This design will provide you with extra comfort and keep your feet free from fatigue, pain, or swelling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s look at the following frequently asked questions relating to metatarsal work boots to get a better understanding of them.
What are metatarsal work boots?
Metatarsal work boots are a kind of safety shoes that are equipped with either internal or external met guards. In the old days, there were only external met guard work boots. They are usually reinforced from impact-resistant plastic, securely covering from your metatarsal bones to your toes. Sometimes, they can also be covered with leather to protect against sparks and heat.
What are metatarsal work boots usually used for?
Like other safety work boots, metatarsal boots are used mostly in hazardous working conditions. They could be an environment exposed to heat, chemicals, toxic substances, heavy or sharp objects. If you have to work with some powered cutting tools, met guard boots are also a great option to protect your feet from being pierced.
What is the difference between met guard and steel toe cap?
Both types protect your feet from harsh working conditions. However, steel toe caps, as the name implies, keep your toes safe from heavy loads, sharp or falling objects, and other toxic substances. Met guards, on the other hand, will give main protection to your metatarsal region.
What does an internal metatarsal guard mean?
It is a met guard built inside your boots, under the metatarsal region. It is lighter than the external met guards while still giving almost the same protection for your feet. Because of its lightweight, it provides you with better flexibility and versatility when walking.
What is an external met guard?
External met guard provides you with a layer of protection to your feet and metatarsal area. As its name suggests, the guard is placed on the outer side of your boot. Therefore, it can be as thick as you want for extra protection. Nowadays, some models are also designed with removable external met guards. So, you can easily remove it when not necessary.
So, that’s all information you need to know about metatarsal work boots. You can see that they provide you with lots of protection, keeping your feet safe from severe working conditions. With the two main types, including internal and external met guards, you can easily opt for a model that meets your working environment and your preference, too. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share this article if you find it helpful to you and others.