How to Prevent Buying Painful Safety Shoes

You know that feeling you get when you commit to something, and you know from the start that you shouldn’t? Like lease agreements in not-so-great apartments, expensive gym memberships, and last but certainly not least, improper fitting safety toe shoes that cause painful rubbing sensations on your toes?

Each one of those scenarios is painful for different reasons, and we’ve all been there. While we can’t help you with all of the issues above, we can certainly give you some guidance on how to find the perfect fit when it comes to safety toe footwear… one out of three bad scenarios isn’t the best, but darn it, it’s something!

Let’s jump in…

Remember, safety toe comfort comes in length, not width

You have to get a shoe long enough to accommodate the back and forth toe movement in the shoes. The proper fit happens when the widest point of your foot (the ball) is located exactly in the widest part of the shoe. When that happens, the arch of your foot fits precisely with the arch of the shoe, giving you maximum support.

So what’s happening?

Your arch has probably dropped over the years, extending the toes of the shoes forward. This back and forth motion of your toes is why you need to fit your shoes (not just safety shoes) using your arch measurement.

Are you measuring up?

The arch measurement can be obtained with a Brannock Foot Measuring Device, you can find this in most reputable shoe stores. For more information on how to measure your feet, check out our blog here.

Suggestion: Try to get your foot measured in a shoe store before you buy your next pair of safety shoes to see if your arch has dropped a little, extending the toes further into your shoes to the point where they are rubbing the safety toe.

Reason: As we age and potentially get weaker and heavier your arch drops. When the arch drops, it causes our feet to get longer. It happens to everyone! We know, in your younger days your shoe size might have been 9.5; and now you wear an 11 at 50 years of age. Over that time, you’ve probably also gone from a 32-inch waist to a 36, and packed on a few extra pounds. Time is, after all, a cruel master.

Now, your foot really hasn’t grown in this timespan, it’s just changed shape (the same thing happened to our waistlines… right?). The arch drops and the toes and arch extend further in the shoe. All this means is that you need a longer shoe.

If you are finding that you still don’t seem to have enough distance widthwise, you can look into getting a wider safety toe shoe.

One final tip: Bigger brands typically have their shoes made by different manufacturers. Different styles within the same brand may fit differently because of this fact. Again, the most reliable solution is to try the shoes on and test the location of the “ball” of your foot in the shoe to make sure you are getting the right fit.

Try out some of these tips, and you should be able to find the perfect fit!

Still a little confused? Our retail store associates and Mobile Shoe Managers are all trained and ready to help you find the best safety toe shoes for your needs! Click here to find a location near you!

Dealing With Foot Pain (From Standing All Day)

In many of the industries that our customers work in, you’re required to be on your feet for eight hours a day or longer. People who work in factories, warehouses, outdoor construction sites and more are expected to stand nearly all day, and we understand that doing your best work sometimes gets a bit difficult when your feet and legs are screaming at you. So if standing on your feet all day is causing you to wish for a broken leg and eight weeks off of work, read on for some tips on how to keep the pain in your feet to a minimum after a long day.

Change how you stand

Yes, you’ve been standing since you learned how to walk, so we trust that you know how to do it fairly well by now. However, you may still be standing incorrectly while working. First, don’t lock your knees and stand in the same position for long periods of time. This puts stress on your joints and will cause pain and potential health problems later in life. Also, it might cause you to get light headed and pass out. And while that does get you out of work, good luck facing your coworkers the next day after you passed out on the roof and fell through a window.

Casually bounce on your knees often and do some simple leg stretches during your shift. Also, make sure that your weight is not always shifted more on one leg than the other. Balance your weight equally between both of your feet.

Take some “posture breaks”

When you do get quick breaks from work and you’re scarfing down as much food as you can before it ends, remember to use these times as a chance to change your poster a bit and do some easy foot exercises. A good one to try is rolling, and this is when you remove your shoes (away from your coworkers, please and thanks), and roll a tennis or lacrosse ball around under each foot for one to five minutes. This “massage” gives your feet some relief before standing again.

Lunges are also a great way to stretch out your thigh and hamstring muscles when you get a free minute or two. They get you out of your standing posture and give your leg muscles a chance to “breathe” by stretching them out. Also, ankle rolls are a great way to relieve some stress on your feet. Roll your foot clockwise and counterclockwise from the ankle down 10 to 15 times. These are best to do when you’re sitting down so that you don’t have to stand on one leg while doing them.

Did we say strrrreeeetch?

Do some foot stretches! The plantar muscle runs from the back of your feet to the toes, and it gets tight and painful after being used all day. You can stretch it out in a few different ways. You could simply cross one leg over the other while sitting and grab the big toe and pull on it to create a nice stretch. Or you could stretch your leg out and wrap a towel around the bottom of your foot and pull on it that way.

These stretches, combined with the rolling and lunges that we mentioned earlier, are a great way to relieve your feet and calves from the pain of standing and walking around all day.

Make sure you have on the proper footwear

If you’re trying to work on your feet for eight hours a day in shoes with little to no padding or cushioning, best of luck to you. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you when you’re laying in bed that night wondering if you’ll ever be able to walk again. Having shoes with extra padding and cushioning that actually support your feet make a world of difference during those long days on your feet.

Also, getting your feet and shoes properly sized is necessary if you don’t want them to pinch or rub the wrong way all day. You’d hate to be working on a construction site with blisters all over your feet by noon. The last thing we need is you in horrible pain with a drill in your hand. So follow these tips, get your feet properly measured, and enjoy the pain-free work days!

Looking for more tips and tricks when it comes to safety toe footwear? Learn more at www.safgard.com

Why You Should Take the Time to Get a Shoe Fitting

What do we want? More time!! When do we want it? Yesterday!!

Yes, with the long work week and the hassle of every other activity and event going on in our lives, it seems like we have no free time for anything. So how we choose to spend this free time is extremely valuable, and something as small as a shoe fitting will likely get swept under the rug.

I mean, come on! What’s the point right? We’re all over the age of five, so we all know our own shoe sizes. Obviously, we don’t need our safety shoes to be fitted by a professional because we can clearly do it ourselves, right?

One would think.

But, there’s actually more to sizing than meets the eye. When you’re on your feet for eight hours a day, your shoes need to fit perfectly. Or else…the improperly fitted shoe demons will haunt you until you find yourself cursing the creator of the first ever pair of shoes.

Remember back in elementary school when we had to do compare/contrast exercises? Let’s go ahead and do one of those here.

Your first day at work without getting your new safety shoes properly fitted:

You arrive at the warehouse for your first day on the job. Your new steel-toe boots look great on you, you’re feeling confident, and you’re ready for this exciting new challenge in your life.

Flash forward five hours: That same steel toe protecting your foot has now caused you to lose all feeling in your big toe. For all that you know, your big toe could have fallen off by now and ended up in one of those boxes that you just loaded onto a truck. As you hobble around on just the heel of your foot, the judgmental side-eye glare from your coworkers is all too real.

But that’s not all.  Another two hours (if only all work days could move this fast), and the boot on your other foot is creating blisters the size of Mars. At this point, you’re debating whether or not just chopping your foot off entirely is the best option (hint: it’s not. Don’t do that).

Every step feels like you’re walking on knives, and you end the day by throwing your new pair of boots in the giant warehouse trash compactor. Sounds like a cheerful first day, huh?

Now here’s your first day with shoes that have been properly fitted:

When you take the extra time to get your shoes fitted by a professional, they would know exactly where your big toe should be within the shoe while standing. They’d double check this before you left the store, and they’d have you walk a few laps around the store to ensure that the shoes feel good while you walk.

A professional would also know exactly how long and wide the shoe should be on your feet. They would check to make sure that the ball of your foot is resting on the widest part of your shoe to make sure that they don’t slip around and cause those nasty blisters.

So you arrive at work in your new, stylish, and properly fitted safety shoes, and you have a completely normal and ordinary day! There’s the thrilling and anticlimactic ending that we were looking for. Safety shoes are meant to keep you safe and looking good, and they also shouldn’t distract you from your everyday activities at work.

So don’t be that person who says, “But they felt ok when I tried them on in the store!” as you hobble around while cursing your new shoes. Get them properly fitted and checked out by a professional.

Any questions? Feel free to visit our sizing and fitting page here to read about specific shoe sizes and width letters: https://www.safgard.com/education/sizing-fit

Exercises for Preventing Foot Injuries

Unfortunately, people don’t always wear safety shoes when they should. Obviously, we don’t recommend doing that. You could hurt yourself and cost your company a lot of money. And unless you really hate your job, who wants that to happen?

However, sometimes accidents just happen. But there are some foot exercises that you can do on a regular basis to prevent these injuries.

Heel and Toe Walks

Heels and toes aren’t getting along right now, so let’s take each of them on separate walks for this exercise. Basically, spend a minute or so walking around on your heels, and then spend another minute or two walking on just your toes. This can improve strength in different areas of your feet and improve mobility, by isolating various parts of your foot.

Toe Lifts

Do you even toe lift, bro?

Yes, your toes can lift too. However, you’ll only be lifting a marble instead of a giant dumbbell (don’t try lifting a dumbbell with your toes, please. You won’t look cool). Use your toes to pick up a marble and lift it up. Hold the marble in the air for 20 seconds, repeat twice, and then switch feet and do the same thing. If you’re finding that that’s too easy, try using just one toe at a time.

Foot Taps

Here’s an exercise that you can do while sitting (the best kind of exercise). Simply sit with your feet on the floor and tap them 50 times with your heel remaining on the ground. You can even play airport background noises and pretend that you’re waiting for a flight that’s been delayed twice already.

Toe Spelling

Let’s take your feet to school. For this exercise, you will need to elevate one foot, and then write the alphabet in the air with your toes. This flexes your ankle and uses a lot of muscles in your feet. After you’ve finished with one foot, do the same thing with the other one. You can even sing along out loud (best recommended if you live alone).

Toe Spread

While seated (woo!), place a thick rubber band around your toes. You can use two bands if one isn’t tight enough to provide resistance. Spread your toes apart and hold this position for five seconds. Do this 10 times on both feet.

All of these exercises are designed to work the small muscles in your toes and feet to strengthen them and improve your overall balance. All of these exercises help to roll your feet through their full range of motion, making them better prepared for any possible accidents at work. With stronger toes and feet and a better overall balance, you’ll be less prone to foot injuries.

Want more information on how to protect your feet, or the products we offer? Check us out at www.safgard.com   

Why Wear Steel-Toed Boots?

Why You Should Wear Steel Toe Boots

So you’re looking into getting some steel-toed boots, or perhaps your employer is requiring you to invest in a pair. But what’s really the point of these boots? Let’s walk through a few reasons why wearing steel-toed boots is the right choice for you.

1. Prevent foot injuries

Obviously, you buy safety shoes for the whole safety features. Foot injuries are among the leading causes of workplace injuries, and safety shoes are designed to prevent those types of accidents from doing some serious damage.

The right pair of safety toe boots can protect you from falling objects, punctures, lacerations, sprains, and even falls. That’s a list that you that don’t want your feet to be a part of. With a pair of steel-toed boots, these injuries can be prevented. You’ll also be saving yourself a trip to the doctor’s office and a few weeks with your foot wrapped and elevated.

2. They alleviate pain and provide more comfort

While the common perception is that work boots are less comfortable than regular shoes, that’s not the case. If your boots are properly fitted, then the extra support and padding that these boots have will actually provide your feet with more comfort than a regular shoe with no added support. If you have the correct sized shoes with the right socks to go with them, then you’ll actually be making your feet happier than they are in regular shoes.

3. They look good

Steel-toed safety work boots must look as ugly as they sound, right? Wrong! With so many different brands making several different lines of boots, you’ll find boots in multiple colors and styles. Steel-toed boots are designed today to look fashionable as well as functional, so you won’t be sacrificing anything when you buy a pair. Feel free to get rid of the image of large, hulking black boots that make you look like the villain in a crime movie.

4. If it’s required…then it’s required

Like we hinted at above, sometimes your employer requires you to have a pair of steel-toed work boots. Sometimes, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) standards require that all employees within your workplace wear safety shoes or boots while on the job. This is usually the case within industries where employees are exposed to potential hazards that could injure their feet.

If your employer is requiring you to have a pair of steel-toed boots to comply with OSHA standards, then you have to wear them while at work. Otherwise, your employer can send you home under OSHA compliance standards for failing to act in a safe manner. So don’t be the one who gets sent home for not having the right shoes on. That’s not a fun walk out the door.

5. Above everything else, you’ll feel safe

If you work in any kind of hazardous environment with the potential to injure your feet, having a sturdy and reliable pair of safety boots on can give you the peace of mind that you need to do your job well. You’re the most important part of the job, so your own safety should be the priority above anything else.

You may think that the possibility of hurting yourself is low, but fluke injuries are always just a misstep away, so it’s important to be prepared by protecting yourself and your feet. The easiest way to do that is to put them in a work boot that’s comfortable, fashionable and, above everything else, safe.

Ready to take a look at some of the steel-toed boots that we have to offer? Feel free to browse through them here: https://www.safgard.com/mens-shoes/heights/8+Inch+Work

Do’s and Don’ts of Launching a Successful Shoe Program

If you’re thinking about starting a corporate shoe program with Saf-Gard, you probably have a couple of questions. Luckily for you, we have the answers here. Corporate shoe programs allow your employees to pick the style and brand that best fits your workplace and their individual needs. The payroll deduction plans keep your employees safe while saving your company money and time at work lost due to injuries. Without further ado, let’s get into the do’s and don’ts of having your own corporate shoe program.

DO:

  • Get rid of those ugly shoes. When people think of a safety shoe, they often think that it has to be ugly to be functional. In reality, we offer many styles and brands that your employees already know and love, so you can create a culture of safety and style.
  • Offer a Payroll Deduction Program in order to give employees more options on how to pay for their shoes.
  • Let people know about the shoe program! You alone are not an entire corporation, so advertise your shoe program through internal newsletters, breakroom posters, or the occasional email blast.
  • Let new employees know about the corporate shoe program right away, and get them registered for it and your Payroll Deduction Program.
  • Keep the ordering process simple. Employees can order online for themselves or submit their orders through your management team to us. That process is entirely up to you and how you want your shoe program to operate.
  • Sometimes, the shoe just doesn’t fit. Make it easy for your employee to return shoes if they aren’t satisfied. No one wants grumpy employees because their feet hurt.
  • Make it clear to employees which types of shoes are required for their specific job duties. It’s important to know about the potential hazards that each employee might face, so that they can have the safest shoes possible for their job.

DON’T:

  • Force your employees to wear ugly shoes. We can’t stress this enough: safety shoes do not have to sacrifice style for safety! We have plenty of brands and styles that your employees have likely interacted with in the past, so there are plenty of shoes to choose from.
  • Trust that your employees will buy safety shoes just because you told them to. Therefore, you should offer rewards and discounts for those employees who do participate in the shoe program (ask your Saf-Gard account manager for details).
  • Throw away money on workers compensation claims and work days lost due to injuries and accidents that could have been avoided had your employees been wearing the appropriate safety attire.
  • Start a corporate shoe program and keep it a secret. If no one else in your company knows about it, your program is not going to succeed. Selling anything without telling people about the product is not exactly the ideal way to conduct business of any kind.
  • Make it difficult for employees to return shoes that don’t fit, aren’t comfortable or aren’t the style the were hoping for. We don’t need anyone hating your shoe program.
  • Not start a shoe program! Corporate shoe programs with Payroll Deduction Plans are a great way to save your company money while giving your employees the styles that they like and lowering the amount of accidents affecting your employees.

Have any further questions or want to get started with your own program? Feel free to call us at 1-800-221-8843 or visit https://www.safgard.com/corporate-shoe-programs/start-a-program

How to Keep Your Feet Cool This Summer

Ah…summer. The days when the sun seems to stay up forever. It’s time for cookouts with friends and family, summer vacation for the kids out of school, some time spent on the beach or lake, long days by the pool, and (unfortunately) hot weather and sweaty feet while at work.

The secret to keeping cool during the summer months has been sought out ever since the beginning of time, so we want to help you out by giving a few tips for keeping your feet cool this summer.

Your feet need to breathe, too

If you know that you’ll be working in the heat regularly, you’ll want to have shoes that can breathe. Some shoes have a breathable mesh lining that allows air to flow in and out of the shoes, keeping your feet cooler. You’ll want to avoid insulated shoes in this case, since those types of shoes are designed to trap the warmth within them. Trapping warmth inside your shoes on a hot day is going to make you hate the world, so don’t do that.

Also, when you get breaks, go sit down and untie your shoes for a second to give your feet some extra air. Just make sure you’re separated from your coworkers so they don’t have to smell your sweaty feet!

Switch up your shoes regularly

If you’ve been sweating in your work shoes all day, they’re not likely to be completely dry by the next morning. In fact, it can take up to 24 hours for your shoes to completely dry out from the day before. Therefore, you’ll be putting on damp shoes the next morning, which will only add to the heat and moisture that your feet produce throughout the day.

So even if you have that favorite pair of work shoes or boots, it might be best to set them aside for a day and alternate the shoes that you wear each day. This gives your shoes a chance to fully dry and will keep your feet cool and dry the next day.

Don’t forget about the socks

Your socks are the ones actually touching your feet, so they get to deal with the full blast of sweat and odor (socks really don’t get enough appreciation, do they?) If you find your socks getting soaked by the end of each day, bring another pair! Changing your socks during your lunch break in the middle of the day is a great way to keep your feet cool and dry during the afternoon. Again, remember to do this away from your coworkers. We want them to actually still like you.

Deodorant on your feet…?

That’s right. Underarm antiperspirant and deodorant can be used in more places than just under your arms! If you use it on your feet, it can prevent them from sweating as much throughout the day and keep them smelling fresh and clean. All you’ll need to do is lightly apply it to the soles of your feet and a little bit on the top of your feet if needed. Be careful not to apply too much, though! You’ll end up with white streaks on your socks and feet, and that look is not in style.

Lastly (and obviously), keep your shoes and feet clean

It may be common sense, but proper hygiene is a must to keep your feet from getting too sweaty and hot. If you’re washing your feet regularly and using deodorant like we mentioned above, your feet will stay much cooler and drier than someone who doesn’t. You’ll also smell much better!

For your actual shoes, plain rubbing alcohol is a safe cleaner for the insides of your shoes. This kills bacteria and can decrease your risk of foot odor or fungal infections from all of that moisture that gets trapped in your shoes during hot months.

Summer is a fun time, but the hot temperatures and sweaty feet get in the way of that while at work. Use these tips this summer to keep your feet cool, dry, smelling great (well, as great as summer work feet can possibly smell). If you’re interested in getting a new pair of shoes with some breathability for the summer, feel free to browse through some of ours.

What is a Shoemobile?

What is a Shoemobile?

What’s better than a store full of over 1,600 pairs of safety shoes? A store full of over 1,600 safety shoes….on wheels. You may have heard about our shoemobiles, or even seen one driving around or parked near your place of work before, but what really goes on inside these shoe stores on wheels? Here’s exactly what you can expect each time you visit one of our 46 shoemobiles.

Our shoemobiles truly are a safety shoe retail store on wheels.

Our shoemobiles are always stocked with a minimum of 1,600 pairs of safety shoes, so there’s plenty for you to choose from! When you first step foot into a Saf-Gard shoemobile, you’ll be greeted by one of our Mobile Store Managers, ready to fit you for your new pair of safety shoes. You’ll be asked about the environment that you work within and what kind of safety shoe you’re looking for specifically.

Decisions, decisions

After learning a little bit about you, our safety shoe expert will give you a few options that he or she feels will best fit your needs. You’ll be able to select the brand and color of your safety shoe, and then our Saf-Gard employee will size you and give you a pair to try on. It’s like your own personal shoe assistant, except it’s on wheels, so it’s a lot cooler.

If the Shoe Fits…

Once you have the shoes on, our expert will quickly work with you to ensure that the shoes fit your feet perfectly. No one wants to be sized incorrectly and end up with shoes that pinch or rub the wrong way, so we take great care in this step of the process. The last thing we want is for you to work an eight-hour shift the next day cursing us and our shoemobile by the end of it, so we make sure that the shoe is a perfect fit!

After you’ve found the perfect pair of safety shoes, all you need to do is sign and pay for them. Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a brand new pair of safety shoes. You’ll be thanked by our Saf-Gard employee and then you’ll be on your way out the door. It’s as easy as that! So the next time you see one of our shoemobiles parked near you, make sure to stop by and check it out. Trust us, they’re awesome.

We are always ready and willing to help you come up with the best selection possible for your employees.

Want to learn more about our Shoemobiles? Click here.

Preparing for an OSHA Safety Inspection

OSHA inspections can arise at any time, and it’s crucial that you’re prepared for it in order to avoid any negative consequences to your company.

First, let’s take a look at what can prompt an OSHA inspection:

  • Workplace catastrophes and fatalities
  • Employee complaints
  • Referrals (can come from any corporation, including other government agencies)
  • Programmed inspections
    • Could be based on emphasis programs, injury rates, or previous citations
  • Random inspections
  • Follow-up inspections

Since most inspections aren’t announced beforehand, it’s important to have a plan in place before an OSHA inspector comes knocking.

Identify your Safety Manager and Back-up

First, an employee should be identified as a safety manager who walks the OSHA representative around while they are conducting their inspection. A “Plan B” person should also be assigned in case the safety manager is out on the day of the inspection. Always ask to see the representative’s identification to ensure that they are not an imposter before conducting the inspection.

Get your Information Straight

Before the inspection begins, you will be informed about the reasoning behind the inspection. The inspector will also ask for basic information about the facility, including the type of work performed, number of employees, names of those in charge, and contact information.

Duration and Preparation

The length of the inspection will vary depending on the focus and size of the facility. It could take anywhere from a day to multiple weeks. The inspector will likely ask for documents relevant to the inspection (e.g. injury and illness logs), and it is important to have these documents accurate and readily available at all times.

Safety Guidelines for Footwear

When it comes to protective footwear, general requirements state that “the employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.”

Saf-Gard is committed to providing your company with up-to-date safety shoes, ensuring that your employees are in compliance with all OSHA regulations. To learn more about OSHA regulations, just visit https://www.safgard.com/education/osha

Safety Tips for Any Industry

Warehouses, foundries, construction sites and factories can be some of the most dangerous places to work when it comes to accidents and injury. Think about it… large and moving machinery such as forklifts, carrying heavy loads such as pallets and heavy equipment can be hazardous for you and your workers, and we all know accidents can happen regardless of how careful we try to be.

Check out these safety tips and learn how to make your own work environments safer and more productive:

Want to download this infographic for your team? Click here for your free PDF download!