Do Work Boots have a Steel Shank? (7 Benefits)

Are you wondering if all work boots have a steel shank? Is it a necessary feature to look for while buying a new pair of work boots? 

To answer your question – No, all work boots don’t come with a steel shank inserted in it.

There are various types of work boots designed for different job roles. Hence, some work boots come with steel shanks and some don’t. Depending on the type of work some work boots have composite shanks instead. 

Do Work Boots have a Steel Shank

Let’s start with understanding the meaning of a steel shank. 

A steel shank is a piece of flat and thin steel inserted between the outsole and insole of a work boot. It is rectangular and is made from a very durable steel material that protects the bottom of the foot from any possible injuries in a hazardous workplace. They also assist in maintaining the shape of the foot. 

What is the Use of a Steel Shank?

Here is a list of benefits of a steel shank in work boots;

1.) The first and foremost advantage is its ability to shield your foot against any punctures.

2.) It helps in keeping the shape of the work boot intact for a longer duration.

3.) It retains the sturdiness of the boots, making it very reliable.

4.) You don’t have to buy a new pair for a long time as they are very durable, hence saving you quite a few hundred dollars.

What is the Use of a Steel Shank

5.) It helps improve your stability as steel is very sturdy.

6.) Provides a lot of arch support, especially beneficial for people whose work demands long-standing hours.

7.) It gives a lot of comfort while working.

These are a few of the important strengths of a steel shank work boot. 

What kind of job requires a steel shank work boot?

People who work at construction sites, factories, lineman and industries dealing with sharp objects or heavy pieces of equipment should have a good pair of work boots that have a steel shank. This will give them ample protection against anything penetrating through the bottom of the foot. 

If your work requires you to be up and about on your feet through the day, then investing in a steel shank work boot will be very helpful as it gives additional comfort, arch support, and reduces fatigue.

Another important factor of having a steel shank is its ability to take the impact of bruises, injuries, discomfort caused by climbing ladders, walking on uneven grounds, or rocky terrains. You will find more balance, as well as comfort.

Are steel shank work boots expensive?

When you are looking to buy a reliable pair of work boots, you already know that it will be an expensive affair. Steel shanks work boots can be expensive too, however, you need to look at it this way – it will be a one-time investment.

You just need to get yourself a pair from a trusted and reliable brand. Its durability is worth every penny considering you won’t have to worry about the boots losing its shape, structure, or sturdiness. 

Do shanks come only in steel? 

Shanks is an important feature in a work boot. While they originated with the material being steel, manufacturers have come up with composite shanks too. These are made of materials like fiberglass nylon, plastic, wood, and carbon fiber. 

steel shank and composite shank

Composite shanks have their pros and cons. They protect the wearer in various workplaces that don’t deal with heavy equipment or sharp objects. It is a good option to shield yourself from electrical hazards as they have a higher level of resistance against electricity.    

Are there any other differences between a steel shank and a composite shank work boot?

Yes, there are numerous differences between a steel shank and a composite shank work boot. 

1.) Steel shank boots are slightly heavier than composite shank boots. Composite shank materials are intended to be lightweight that allows a person to move around much more freely and be more relaxed.

2.) Composite shank boots are more expensive compared to steel shank boots due to the materials used and its construction.

3.) The protection that a person receives from a steel shank is much higher than a composite shank. Steel is a stronger material that protects your feet from the penetration of sharp items, and also it can withstand the impact of heavy objects falling on your feet. 

4.) Composite shanks are comparatively more comfortable than steel shanks considering they are lighter.

5.) Steel shanks are more rigid than composite shanks, which make the latter more flexible.

6.) Steel shanks set off metal detectors while composite shanks don’t. 

7.) Composite shanks are preferred during colder weather as they have better insulation than steel shanks. The latter are better worn during hot or mild temperatures.

8.) Steel shanks have a longer life span compared to composite shanks.

Below is a list of recommended steel shank work boots

Wrapping up

Remember to always be safe than sorry when your work environment is hazardous, by investing in reliable footwear.

If you are thinking of compromising in this sector it could lead to spending hundreds of dollars in medical bills alone after you have met with an unfortunate accident.

There are so many brands offering work boots in a different price range, I am certain that one of them will click for you. 

When you come across steel toe work boots, do not mistake them for also having steel shanks in them. Not all steel toe boots necessarily have a steel shank feature, as they can come with a composite shank too. It is advisable to check the label and/or description of the boot to be certain.  

If you are confused about whether to buy a steel shank or a composite shank work boot, then you can make your decision based on the differences that I have mentioned above.

Check your budget, the kind of industry you work in, and all the other factors that deem necessary to fit your requirement. 

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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