Footwear for welders. Hmmm. Have you ever given much thought to what kind of effort you are putting into protecting your feet? I’ve recently seen people welding in flip flops and shorts. Now that may seem like a joke, if you add in a case of beer, but it truly happens every day. And a number of those guys end up sooner or later being called “stumpy”. There are three basic areas you need to protect your feet while welding.
1) Burn. Burns are part of welding. Since sparks fall down with gravity, and your feet are usually located on the ground while welding, it’s only natural the two should eventually meet up at the worst possible moment. All welding shoes should be made of leather, or some sort of flame resistant canvas. (treated). These two materials are generally considered safe for light burn through protection. Leather would be my choice.
2) Falling objects. Bring out the steel toes. Falling objects, or sheets of metal, can severe a foot or toes in a split second, without warning. I’ve heard that people rather have their toes crushed by a falling object rather than have them cut off if the metal toe collapses. Well, research shoes this to be a myth. You’re far more likely to have your toes ground into mush without the steel toes.
3) Electric shock protection. They have special rubber soles that can protect a welder from shock. They also make a rubber clad, leather upper as well. Companies like Justin market boots just for welders and linesmen who work on power transmission lines. They are durable and tough and meet the rugged OSHA standards for work place safety. Whatever the brand make sure you are meeting the basic requirements of a safe welding boot or shoe. There are more factors you should consider, but these are the ones that will keep your feet properly attached to your body the longest.