How To Wear Work Boots The Right Way

Although most footwear fashion articles seem to be aimed at women, men's footwear deserves its own special mention, especially when it comes to boots. In recent times, boots have made a massive resurgence in the men's fashion stakes and it's not hard to see why. Not only are boots comfortable and incredibly practical but they're also stylish and infinitely versatile. 

A single pair of boots is able to take you effortlessly from the workplace into the weekend without any extra effort. Most even work perfectly with semi-formal and smart casual outfits, making them the ideal addition to any man's wardrobe. If you're wondering how to wear work boots to their best advantage, read on and find out more.

What Is The Work Boot?

The term "work boot" encompasses a wealth of styles. From the hiking boot to the combat boot and from the motorcycle boot to the construction boot, work boots are defined more by their practicality than by their physical appearance, and it is precisely this versatility which makes them such a perfect wardrobe choice. 

Although the work boot is, by its nature, designed for the workplace, they also work perfectly as an everyday footwear choice thanks to their highly functional design. Work boots are generally characterized by their thick soles and sturdy, strong materials which are robust enough to withstand anything you throw at them, from poor weather to mud. 

Work boots also offer excellent support to the feet and ankles, making them a comfortable all day choice, especially when a lot of standing and walking is expected. Most work boots are ankle boots, and ankle boots are known as an incredibly versatile fashion choice. 

As you might imagine, the ankle boot rises to either just above or on the ankle itself, making it easy to wear with all kinds of outfits, from the highly casual to the semi-formal. Whether you're sporting jeans and a t shirt or a pair of smart skinny fit trousers and a shirt for a special night out, work boots are the perfect complement to your outfit.

The Best Way To Wear Work Boots

Perhaps the most fashionable look at the moment for work boots is to pair them with the latest skinny jeans. Thanks to their chunky shape they work beautifully with slimline jeans and trousers, making your outfit really stand out and catch the eye without looking over the top. 

When worn with a leather jacket, you can boast an alternative yet clean vibe with either black or brown work boots. Alternatively, rock a more formal look with a smart long line coat and a pair of loose fit, unstructured jeans.

Choose The Right Style

Work boots come in a number of styles so you need to pick the right kind to match the look you're hoping to achieve. Here is a quick guide to choosing the right boots to go with each outfit in your wardrobe:

1. The Casual Look - if you're going for a casual look with a t shirt and jeans, a pair of standard leather or suede work boots like Caterpillar or Timberland boots would be ideal.

2. The Smart Look - if you're heading off to a formal occasion, you will probably be wearing a button-up shirt, smart tailored trousers and a jacket or blazer. A pair of black leather boots like Chelsea boots would be the ideal choice to match their outfit.

3. The Rugged Look - if you're wanting to create a more tough yet casual appearance, dark jeans and leather jackets work perfectly with combat boots or biker boots.

Whichever type of boots you choose, remember that you need to keep them clean otherwise they will appear messy and unkempt, spoiling your whole look.

How Should Work Boots Fit?

One of the problems when choosing a pair of work boots is finding the right fit. As boots are strong and structured, if you get the wrong fit it can seriously hurt your feet, causing rubbing and blistering that can take a long time to heal. You can avoid this problem by bearing a few things in mind when trying work boots on at the shoe store.

Here are some top tips for getting the right fit for your work boots:

1. Try on work boots during the afternoon as your feet will usually swell during the day and therefore you can check how well they fit at their largest and most swollen point. If you try boots on in the morning, your feet will not yet have had a chance to swell, and that means that boots that fit well in the early part of the day could be tight and uncomfortable by the time that evening comes around.

2. Wear a pair of thick boot socks when you try on your work boots in the store. If you wear a pair of thin socks, you may misjudge the fit and end up with boots that are tight or which rub. Wearing a thicker pair of socks will ensure that you have plenty of room for movement.

3. Always try both boots on. Some people make the mistake of only trying on one foot, however this can be a big mistake. The majority of people have feet that are slightly different in size, and if you happen to try the boot on your smaller foot you could find that the other one is too tight or small when you get it home. By trying both boots on, you can be confident that the fit is right on both the left and right sides.

4. When you have your new work boots on you should feel that your whole foot is supported and snug but you should still be able to easily move the ankle and foot around with no pain or difficulty. If the boots are made from tough leather, they may feel somewhat tight at first, however once you have broken them in, the leather will begin to soften up, conforming to your foot's natural shape, however if they are painful or tight around your ankle in the store, it's best to choose a different style or go one size up as there is only so much that breaking in can do to ease discomfort.

A Step By Step Guide To Trying On Work Boots

1. Before you lace the boot, push your foot as far forward as possible to ensure there is sufficient space inside the boot. You should be able to fit one finger into the boot behind your heel. If you cannot do this, the boot is too small and you need the next size up.

2. Lace up the boots firmly, but not too tight. Then stand up.

3. Try to wiggle your toes. Does it feel comfortable? Your toes should not press against the toebox of the shoe or touch the end of your boot. They should be free and able to move easily up and down without feeling squashed, painful or uncomfortable. If your toes reach the end of the boot, you need the next size up or a different style.

4. Squat, bounce and rock down and up on your feet. You shouldn't find that your foot moves around excessively inside the boot. If it does, the boots are too large and you need a smaller size. If you find that it is painful or uncomfortable to carry out any of these movements, your boots are too small and you need a bigger size. You can, however, expect some stiffness while doing this, especially if they are leather boots, but they will break in over time and soften up.

5. Stand on the side of your feet. This will test to see if you can flex your ankle easily and whether the boots offer good ankle support.

6. Do you have especially wide or narrow feet? If so, you may have to try a few different sizes to find out which suit you best. If your feet are very narrow, you may need to go down a half size, whereas if your feet are wider than average going up a half size is probably a good idea. Alternatively, you could buy a work boot which comes in a range of widths so that you can find the right one to suit your feet.

Breaking In Work Boots

Work boots are, by their nature, sturdy and rugged and that means that they will need a bit of breaking in time before you start to wear them on an everyday basis. Initially, they are often rigid and firm, and will need you to turn them into comfortable footwear that supports your foot but which conforms to its natural shape. Here are a few tricks you can try to get those boots ready to wear much more quickly so that you can enjoy style and comfort.

1. One easy way of softening up a pair of tough work boots is to put them on every morning and wear them as you walk around inside your home. You can wear them as you carry out your household chores but don't take them outdoors until you are certain that you don't need to take them back to the store. As soon as you start to feel discomfort, take them off and then put them on again the next day. Although this is a slow way to break in work boots, and can take as long as a few months, you won't suffer from any bruising or blisters and so this is a relatively pain free option.

2. If you don't have time to wait for your work boots to soften up over several months, there are faster ways to break in work boots. Try the freezer method instead. All you need is a couple of ziploc plastic bags, some water and a domestic freezer with enough space inside it for your boots. Fill up the plastic bags with water, fasten them up securely and then pop them into the boots, making sure that the water is pressing against the areas which are causing the most pain - usually the heel or the toe box. Cover the boots with a plastic bag so that they are protected from the freezer and then put them inside. The water will freeze and expand, stretching the leather and making them much more comfortable to wear when you take them out of the freezer the next morning.

Cleaning Work Boots

Although work boots are a very durable kind of footwear, they often become dirty, even if you aren't wearing them on a job site! Knowing how to clean work boots properly is therefore very important. If the boots are made of leather, you should clean them by soaking the dirty laces in some warm water that has been mixed with some laundry detergent. Then you should use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away loose dirt from the boot surface. 

Finally, using a scrubbing brush which has been dipped in the soapy water, clean away any scuffs or marks from the boot and then wipe them using a damp, clean cloth to remove any residue. Take the laces out of the bowl and leave the laces and boots to dry in the open air naturally for the best results and to avoid cracking to the leather.

Storing Your Work Boots

If you want to preserve your investment and ensure that your work boots last for their full lifespan, you need to ensure that you have stored them correctly. Once you have cleaned them and allowed them to dry naturally, stuff shoe trees or paper inside them as this will ensure your boots hold their shape properly when they are not being worn. You should also take care to store the work boots upright so that their shape is maintained for the long term.

Work boots are a versatile and flexible choice no matter what type of outfit you're wearing, so whether you're heading out to work or whether you're going out for a night on the town, you can be sure that work boots are the perfect choice for you.

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