Noticed the drastic difference in the pricing of different types of work boots? This is normal and could be due to the various types of material used, the brand name, the country of origin, the manufacturer and many other reasons. But not many people are aware that one of the biggest differences between the varied types and categories of work boots is in their construction. The boot construction is the way in which the boot is put together, namely how the uppers of the boots are attached to the soles. The different types of construction provide many kinds of advantages. Some are more durable than others which is usually why the prices of several pairs of seemingly similar work boots can be drastically different.
Here are some basic facts which you need to know in regard to the separate parts of the work boots, as well as the various types of boot constructions, their pros and cons:
Parts of the work boots
These are the top parts of the work boots covering your foot, ankle and part of the leg. They are usually made of leather, canvas or other material. They can have zippers, tongues, eyelets, collars and others.
This is the inner layer of the shoe which is directly under your foot. It is usually comfortable, soft, and can be cushioned, moisture wicking, removable and can be treated with anti-microbial chemicals.
This is the material which is found on the outside of the bottom part of the sole, and the one we actually step on and which makes contact with the ground. In most cases, work boots will have outsoles which provide good traction against slippage. There are outsoles which provide further safety, such as: oil slippage protection, chemical protection, puncture safety, electrical hazard or static electrical safety and others.
The last (3-D shape)
The last is the name for the actual 3D shape of the boot. Lasts are used for both the design and the production of the work boots. Often various brands rely on the same lasts for their boots, which have become trademarks for these particular styles for work boots.
The boot construction types vary, so here is a brief overview of the most common types of construction as well as their benefits and possible negative features:
Pros and Cons of boot construction types:
Goodyear welt construction
Developed by and named after its inventor Sir Charles Goodyear Jr., this machine-based construction method is an improved alternative to the hand welting technique. It is renowned as the oldest, sturdiest and most labor intensive boot construction method. It begins with the creation of a perpendicular rib across the insole, and followed by the lasting made with a 3D last model which is stretched on top of the insole and attached to it. As a final step, a strong thread is used to sow the welt, the upper and the insole together. Lock stitches are used for each stitching point, so that it doesn’t unravel, in case it gets broken somewhere along the stitch. The benefits of this type of construction are many. The boots made with this technology are very durable and strong, and they can be resoled and thus used for decades. The negative side is the fact that this type of construction is on a higher end price-wise. Some of the best-known Goodyearwelt boots are the Red Wing 875 and the Wolverine 1000 mile boots.
Some of our most comfortable picks use that welt. Check them out here: https://mybootprint.com/most-comfortable-work-boots/
This construction is commonly used for both every day and for work boots. It is cost-efficient and yet provides significant resilience, and is quick and easy to make. The method involves shaping and making the uppers separately, after which they are glued to the soles with the appropriate adhesive. No welts or stitches are used. The pros are that these shoes are quite durable, and yet are much cheaper than the Goodyear and other stitched constructions. They are much easier to produce and thus the price is way lower. The cons are that these boots are not resolable, and are not as durable as the others.
Done with a machine invented by Lyman Blake in 1856, this boot construction method does something which cannot be done by hand – it stitches the uppers of the shoes to the soles but from the inside. Very popular in Italian shoes, the Blake stitch relies on robust inside stitching which creates resilient, flexible and sleek looking boots. The boots made with this construction technology have fewer layers of material and thus are much lighter than the Goodyear welt construction boots. They are more durable and strong than the Cement construction boots but not as waterproof or durable as those made with the Goodyear construction. They do provide sufficient longevity and can be resoled by experienced cobblers with the appropriate equipment, but are not waterproof which can be a serious problem for people who require waterproof work boots for their jobs.
Depending on your specific needs, your budget and your expectations, you can choose any of the abovementioned construction types for your next work boots. If you are planning on making a very long-term investment and expect your work boots to serve you for decades, then you should consider spending more and buying a pair of high quality Goodyear construction boots. These are the most resilient type of work boots, which with proper care can last for years. They can be resoled once the soles get worn out, so in fact a good pair of work boots made with this type of construction can serve you for life.
If you are looking for sleeker and yet strong and resilient work boots, then you should opt for the Blake stitch construction type. They are lighter and look much more presentable. A good cobbler can have them resoled once the soles are worn or break, but keep in mind that they are not waterproof and not as heavy duty as the Goodyear construction based ones.
For people with a limited budget who are planning on renewing their work boots every other year or so, the ones with cement construction are a great option. You can wear them until the soles or uppers get worn or break, or until they get unstuck from one another.
The most important thing about work boots is getting a pair which fits you well, provides the comfort and safety you need, and which will help improve your productivity and not have a negative impact on your foot health or on your personal safety on the job!