Work Boot Insulation and Ratings
Outside of injuries caused by heavy, falling objects and punctures to your boot, one of the most common workplace threats is hypothermia during cold working months. If you don’t have a quality pair of insulated work boots, you could put your health at risk. Then, in addition to bone-chilling temperatures, you’ll have to worry about rain and ice underfoot that makes even the simplest of tasks dangerous.
To combat cold weather hazards, you’ll need a pair of well-insulated work boots. Before you buy, it’s important that you know what the best type of insulation is for your particular job and to know the ratings on insulated work boots.
Types of Insulation in Work Boots
There are two types of insulation for work boots – synthetic insulation and non-synthetic insulation. There are pros and cons to both types, so it is important to know your job and the conditions you’ll be working in well before you make an educated decision.
Synthetic insulation like Thinsulate is a method of insulation that works double-time to keep cold air from reaching your feet and contain warm air within the shoe that keeps your toes warm. Thinsulate is measured in grams per square; the higher the grams, the warmer the boot. Make your decision on the number of grams per square of insulation based on the severity of the cold you will be working in. For instance, if the air is chilly, but only enough for a single layer of warmer clothing, you could choose a boot closer to 100 grams of insulation. However, if you will be working long hours in temperatures below freezing, you’ll want insulation closer to the maximum of 1,000 grams.
There are two very large advantages to synthetic insulated work boots. The first advantage is that your boots are much more breathable, which means you can avoid other health risks like fungus because this type of insulation retains less moisture and sweat that non-synthetic insulation. Secondly, synthetic insulation is not bulky, allowing you more room in your work boots and your feet will feel lighter and allow you to move around much more freely.
The only real con to synthetic insulation is that they are more expensive than their non-synthetic brothers. However, if you can afford to spend the extra money, a synthetic insulation like Thinsulate is the best option for most jobs.
A non-synthetic insulation typically means that a boot has a removable wool and felt liner or a fleece and shearling lining. Unlike synthetic insulation, non-synthetic insulation doesn’t have a true rating and is measured instead by the thickness of the insulation. Unfortunately, that means that for a warmer boot, you’ll have to add layers, which ultimately makes your boots bulky and unmanageable. Additionally, this type of insulation wears down quickly. After a few wears and washes, the insulation will become less and less able to keep the cold air out of your boots.
If you’re only wearing these types of boots lightly, the plus side is that they typically cost less money. And, since the insulation can be removable, you can wash the interior to prevent smell and mold growth.
Best Insulated Boots at Benny’s Boot Hill
For the coldest of cold weather, you want the highest rated insulation possible, and that’s the Timberland Pro 1000 Gram Insulated Boondock. In addition to the highest rated insulation, the Timberland Pro is waterproof and resistant to oils, slips and abrasions. The sole is made of deeply lugged rubber to help increase traction on icy surfaces in cold weather. It’s a great boot for most outdoor laborers during the coldest winter months.
If you’re working in chilly weather during early fall or if you live in an area that doesn’t frequently have temperatures below 40, the 10” Lacrosse 200 Gram Goretex Metatarsal Boot. The Goretex Metatarsal Boot is made of waterproof full-grain leather and a GORE-TEX waterproof liner that keeps snow and cold rain out. The 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation is a low grade of insulation that is satisfactory for areas that don’t experience much cold or working environments that don’t require you to be out in harsh conditions for long periods of time.