Tips For Choosing Soft Toe Work Boots - A Detailed Guide

Tips For Choosing Soft Toe Work Boots - A Detailed Guide

When you work all day long, you need to select the right boots that can offer a conducive environment for optimal foot health. The soft toe work boot is ideal for desk jobs or work where safety is not a primary concern.

Simply explained, soft toe work boots are those boots that do not have safety toe or composite toe metals in their toe area. They are also called non-protective toe boots and are usually lightweight, comfortable, and ideal for workplaces where one does not have to climb, walk on slippery surfaces, or deal with sharp objects or falling debris.

Before we move on to the tips that can help you choose a soft toe work boot that is right for you, let us see a quick tabular difference between soft toe and steel toe or safety toe boots:

Soft Toe
Safety Toe
Greater protection due to steel or composite material in the toe-region
Lighter in weight and more comfortable to walk in
Heavier to walk around and could be uncomfortable. Can cause feet fatigue due to the weight.
All work places where safety is not a primary concern
Areas where there are hazards like sharp objects, crush and compression injuries, falling debris, splashes of hot or acidic liquids, etc.
More affordable than safety toe boots
Pricier than soft toe boots.

Tips for Selecting Best Soft Toe Work Boots

Tips For Choosing Soft Toe Work Boots - A Detailed Guide

1. Select a good brand/shop

If you are shopping offline, then select a reputed shop to buy your boots from. Ask friends for recommendations. Try on several pairs of boots and do not hesitate to ask the store clerks for recommendations.

Visit the shop when it not too crowded. You must set aside time (at least an hour) for the boot shopping. Also, wait until afternoon to shop as feet tend to expand through the day and even swell in hot weather.

In case you shop online, then select a reputed brand or a tried-and-tested one. Look for boots that you can return if the fit is not comfortable. The brand must be willing to work on the boots or replace them until you are satisfied.

2. Don’t base the selection on the price alone

The best soft toe work boot is the one that fits you right, regardless of its price. So, do not expect to buy the cheapest boots in the stock. Every boot is different so try on several pairs and let the price be the last deciding factor.

3. Get measured

The sizing clerk can advise you regarding the size differences between brands. If you are buying online, note that there are different sizing scales used by manufacturers: European, American, metric, English, etc.

In case you shop offline, get the clerk to measure your feet. If you are shopping from the comforts of your home, then measure your feet yourself or get a family member to help. Remember: you must measure your feet every time you buy boots.

If one foot is larger or wider than the other, select a size that fits the larger/wider foot comfortably.

4. Try different sizes

To be on the safe side, if you are trying on boots at a store, and once you have decided on a pair, then try one size smaller in it. If your work entails walking around, then the boots are likely to expand as you muscle around. So, in time, your foot might start skidding inside the boots and that can give rise to blisters.

Also, try standing in the boots. Experts recommend having at least quarter to half-an-inch of space between the longest toe and the boot.

5. Wear socks when you try the boots on

Always wear the same pair of socks that you usually wear to work. This way, you can try on the soft toe boots with the same pair of socks for a snug fit.

The boot should feel snug but comfortable. You should be able to wiggle your toes in them. At the same time, your heels, and your instep should be immobilized.

In particular, your heel should not lift off the sole of the boot. The ball of the foot should not be able to move sideways.

Ensure there are no hotspots or pressure points anywhere. Also make sure that the instep and shin are comfortably cushioned.

Tips For Choosing Soft Toe Work Boots - A Detailed Guide

6. Try different boots on either foot

A great tip for choosing soft toe work boots is trying on different models on each foot. Walk around for 10 minutes and then reject the less appropriate boot. Try on a third model on that foot. Make sure the boots don’t pinch. They should not slip either. Don’t rationalize that you need to break into the boots or something like that.

Do not hesitate to try on all the models the shop has to offer. Surely the best-fitting model will emerge from their stock! Don’t worry if the sales clerk gets mad; better him/her than you if your work boots don’t fit.

Make sure there are no tags or sharp nylon threads inside the boots that could cause blisters, irritation, or pain to your feet.

7. Turn the boots and examine their soles

Turn the boots over and ensure that the soles have good tread. They should be sturdy and resistant to punctures and sharp stones or objects. You can also walk on carpet, floor, tiles, wooden surfaces, etc. to make sure they offer superior grip and traction.

These days, soles can be of different materials: rubber, synthetic, TPU, etc. Select the sole according to your work – especially if you have to work in wet or slippery conditions.

8. Ask for modifications

The advantage of shopping for boots in store is that you can ask them to make modifications in case you are not 100% satisfied. Good boot-fitters can add or remove padding, change the way the boot flexes, even expand the outer shell to ensure that it fits perfectly.

9. Trust your comfort level

Instead of simply going by sizes and brands, trust your comfort level. Remember, you want these soft toe work boots to last you a long time. Sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you should be the judge. Also, do not fall for advertisement claims.

FAQs on Tips for Choosing Soft Toe Work Boots

1. Should you be able to wiggle your toes in the boots?

Yes. Ideally you must select boots that have at least quarter to half-an-inch of room between the toe and boots. This way, you can wiggle your toes comfortably and ensure enough room. Sometimes, boots tend to widen up if your work entails walking. So do account for that as well. That is why, some activities like skiing etc. recommend starting with tighter boots so they can expand with use. However, whether or not a boot will expand depends on the materials used. So speak to a clerk and ask them for the right size recommendations.

2. Are boots better off tight or loose?

The boots should fit snugly but not too snug. Too tight and they could cause pain and blisters and too loose and they could cause your feet to slip inside them. This is not safe and could cause slips and falls. So, ensure a snug fit.

3. How to stop boots from hurting your feet?

You could try a number of tricks to stop your boots from causing pain and blisters on your feet:

  • Try wearing thicker socks
  • Use tongue pad inserts
  • Get the boots modified
  • Apply lubrication like oil or Vaseline.

4. Should I buy boots half-size bigger?

It depends on the kind of boots you buy. Sometimes, boots tend to open up after use. In such cases, if you already purchase a bigger boot then your feet could end up slipping inside them. That is why, it is best to ensure boots with a snug-but-not-too-tight fit. If you plan on wearing thick socks or use some padding or insulation inside, then you could go in for half-size larger boots.

5. Is there such a thing as soft toe safety boots?

Yes, you can get soft toe safety or soft toe tactical boots. These are useful in areas where you may face hazards like liquid splashes, blood borne microbes, chemicals, grease, etc. but they do not have a safety toe or composite toe. That is why, they cannot protect your feet against crushing or compression injuries. However, they do provide superior traction on wet and slippery surfaces.

6. Do soft toe boots cause foot problems?

Doctors recommend not to wear boots all-day long – whether you choose soft toe or safety toe. All-day use can weaken your tendons and ligaments.  Also, soft toe boots can actually be better than steel toe boots in the long term as they are lighter and do not cause foot fatigue.


Soft toe work boots are boots that do not contain steel or composite metal reinforcement in their toe-box area. As a result, they are lighter and more comfortable especially for all day use. Also, they tend to be cheaper than steel toe boots.

If you are shopping for a pair of soft toe work boots, then use the above tips and guidelines to help you make a choice.

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