I’ve always been curious about the history of everything around me. From a very young age I’ve follow my dad around the house asking the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. Years passed, but my curiosity remains the same. The only thing that have changed is that I am a designer now, and somehow everything is filtered through my designer perspective. I’ve been at my parents’ house few weeks ago and once again helped my dad do his work around the house. My eyes fell on his work boots, and this was maybe the first time that got me thinking how exactly those evolved.


The only thing I knew at the time was that workers that dealt with heavy objects wore wooden shoes to protect their feet. Little did I know that the safety boots have developed on many other levels. Although short from high-tech product, these have transformed a lot during the last half a century. Unlike other protective equipment, the safety boots continue to develop and reflect the current demand and fashion.

Evolution of features

The first safety boots were invented at the beginning of the 20th century, when the industrial safety became an issue. It was mainly addressed due to the laws on compensation which forced the large industrials to take measures to prevent injuries.

Safety toes


The steel-cap boots’ history started around the end of the World War II and their roots can be traced back to Germany. They were first made to protect the workers while performing their duties. Only wooden clogs and some leather boots were used before making the first work boots. The first real safety toes were exclusively made of steel. Nowadays there are not only steel toe work boots, but also composite toes, aluminum toes and even metatarsal guards to protect not only the toes but the upper part of the foot as well. Also the modern safety tools are designed to withstand much heavier objects.

Improved insulation

better insulation

Unlike waterproofness, which has always been a prominent feature for workers, the importance of insulation was not considered so important until recently. Modern work boots are offered in wider range, including boots with such a good insulation that can be worn in even the harshest winters.

Better attachment of soles

During the course of the years, many different construction methods were invented and improved. The construction is very important to the durability of the shoes, as it is the method used to attach the sole to the upper of the boot. The quality of the attachment has improved dramatically, and the price was lowered significantly due to the constant improvement of the technology used to produce them. Some of the most durable work boots can serve for years.

Variety of safety features

Some of the modern work boots offer much more than features mentioned above. Some have puncture resistant soles, others are constructed to withstand electrical hazards, and some boots are even chemical and slip-resistant.

Color and length


The design of the work boots has drastically improved from what it used to be. Nowadays boots come in variety of color – red, yellow, green, black, orange, brown and in different heights with most popular being the 6, 9 and 11-inch ones.

Modern work boots offer not only basic protection but also have great variety of features, are very comfortable, and come in bazillion different colors and styles.

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