Can Steel Toe Boots Cause Numbness?

When you cannot feel the presence of a certain part of your body even while moving it or pinching it, that certain condition is called numbness.

I have been wearing steel toe boots for around 10 years now, not for my job prospects though, but because I love wearing them and to be very honest, I have not faced any issue regarding numbness in my feet with them.

To the contrary, my friend David, who is an architect, has to wear steel toe boots to the construction sites for his safety and he often complained me about the numbness in his feet.

The condition got to such extreme that he had to run blood work and to his amaze, all his reports were normal. When he consulted the doctor, the doctor told it could be due to wearing of steel toe boots for long periods of time.

According to the doctor, the lack of cushioning in the toe area of the steel toe boots and the constant pressure from the steel walls (as the toes remain cramped inside the steel toe box), put pressure in the nerves of the toes and the feet as a whole and this restricts the blood flow to the toe area that ultimately cause the numbness in the steel toe boots.

The good news is, there are ways to prevent this numbness from the steel toe boots and I have mentioned about all such possible ways in this article! What you have to do is just read on to find them out…

Can Steel Toe Boots Cause Numbness

Reasons why steel toe boots cause the numbness of the feet

1.) The steel toe boots cause pressure on the nerves of the toes

As the steel toe boots are made of hard steel material, they tend to occupy more space inside the toe box area and hence the toe box area become a bit narrow for the toes to move freely and they remain pressed in certain position till the time the boots are on your feet.

This particular pressing of the toes put pressure on the nerves which ultimate lead to the numbness in and around the toes.

2.) The steel toe boots have hard steel walls

This is something similar to the condition mentioned above. When you continue getting hit in a certain part, that particular area becomes numb after a long time and that’s what happen with the toes in the steel toe boots.

Because of getting rubbed continuously against the hard steel walls, the toes lose their sensation after some time due to the constant pain and that’s what causes the numbness in the toes.

3.) The steel toe boots have thin cushioning

Not all, but mostly steel toe boots have thin cushioning in the footbed and that is one of the main reasons for the numb sensation in the feet.

What happens is that when there is thin cushioning in the footbed, the feet experience more pressure of the body weight while walking and that pressure for a continuous period of time cause the numbness.

4.) There is no padding around the toes in steel toe boots

Yes, steel toe boots generally do not have any cushioning around the toe area. Therefore, the toes are always surrounded by the hard steel walls and they experience conditions like chaffing, cramping, pressure and loss of blood flow in the nerves of the feet which at the end leads to numbness.

5.) The steel toe boots get very cold during the cold weather

In the winters, when a body part is exposed to the freezing cold wind, it becomes numb after sometime. Similarly, the steel toe boots being good conductors of heat and cold transfer the outside cold to the feet and make them numb.

How to prevent numbness from steel toe boots?

1.) Get silicone gel padding for your toes

Safeguarding the toe area with a soft cushioning all around will save them from coming in contact with the hard steel walls.

Silicone gel paddings are the best options for this, that can be worn in all the toes or only in the toes that experience the numbness. They are easily available in medical drugstores or on

2.) Put rubber padding under the toe area

Getting a rubber padding under the toes will also help in providing a cushioning to the toes that will help them in experiencing less pressure and thus will not strain the nerves in that particular area and will not cause the numbness.

2.) Wear thick socks to add cushioning to the toes

Another great way to add that cushioning to the feet as well as the toes is to wear thick socks that will save the toes from getting rubbed and pressurized by the hard steel walls of the steel toe caps.

3.) Buy steel toe boots that have wide toe box area

One of the main reasons behind the numbness is that the toes inside the steel toe boxes get very less space to wiggle freely and feel cramped in them.

So, choosing steel toe boots with wide toe box area will solve this problem as when the toes can move freely, the blood flow will not be hindered and hence there will be no numbness.

4.) Buy steel toe boots with a good lacing system

If the steel toe boots do not have any lacing, it means you cannot adjust the fitting of the boots according to your relief and the toes as well as the entire feet can experience pressure from the ill-fitting boots that can cause the numbness. A good lacing system will allow you to adjust the fitting to your own comfort.

5.) Add insulating layer inside the steel toe boots or choose the ones that already have the thermal insulation

As already mentioned, the steel toe caps conduct the outside cold to the feet and cause the numbness. So, better if you get the 3M thinsulate insulated steel toe boots or add insulation to your feet in the form of thick woollen socks.

And it’s a wrap!

Remember the key to prevent numbness of the feet in boots is to get comfy fitting boots with good cushioning and thermal insulation.

And if your steel toe boots have all these 3 features, you will be saved from that numbness!

That’s all for the day, and biding adieu with the hope to meet you in a blink in my next posts!

Till then…

Take care, keep smiling, keep walking and stay tuned to!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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