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I Forge Iron

shoes or boots


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I'm looking to get something to wear while working blacksmithing and around  yard/acreage. Perhaps safety toe but resist burns while forging and welding plus general stuff work that could damage tennis shoes. I don't mind spending for quality and want something that will last. Any experience for getting or staying away from would be helpful. 

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Well fitted comfortable high laced work boots are good, especially if working outdoors where footing isn't always assured.  I like slip on boots like my old Red Wings but they weren't so good in the woods. My lace up White's where the best I've ever worn but big $. The problem with lace is they're a trap for various little bits of stuff say . . . HOT scale or pinch offs. Leather laces are non-flammable and mitigates the foot on fire, effect.

One solid recommendation is foot wear needs to be high top so your pants legs cover them to prevent HOT bits visiting your foot! :o This is a B A D N E S S thing.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Generally, leather rather than anything synthetic to prevent hot, melted stuff from touching your skin.  As Frosty says, something high with your pant legs OVER the boot tops so there isn't a chance of catching anything hot and unpleasant.  This is not a minor thing.  I knew a guy who had to have major reconstructive surgery when a hot drop from a cut off went down the top of his cowboy boot and burned into the front of his ankle.  Not good.  Safety toes and metatarsal protection are good if you think there is a chance of dropping heavy things on your feet.  If you are only using fairly light tools and metal those features are nice to have but not absolutely necessary.

That said, I often forge in whatever I happen to be wearing that day and I still have all my toes, etc..

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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I always wear slip-on Wellington type when forging or working around the shop...no laces to burn and/or trap detrital stuff.  Since it's flat, not as much need for ankle and foot support.  For outside, hillside and other places like that, lace-up boots for ankle and foot support.  I agree with George N. M. on the foot and toe protection in the boots. I NEVER wear tennis or athletic soft shoes to work in the shop or forge.  Get quality boot you can afford...it will pay off in the long run.

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I wear german combat boots: leather, laced, tall; I have arch supports in them and wear thick wool socks---yes even in the summer.  All this is because I bought 4 sets of them brand new---still had the tags on them---for US$3 a set.  When Germany shut down their training program at Fort Bliss; they sold off all their stuff in their Base Exchange and it just so happens that 13 EEEE is NOT a common size down here!  Flea market dealer was happy to get rid of the "unsellable" boots. (I'm coming to the end of set #2)

Had a student try forging in crocs once; humorous to others; painful to himself!

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I'm with Steve on the Red Wing boots. I have 2 pairs of the 9in loggers (#4416 & #4417, basically the same boot in different colors). Steel toe/shank (I'd recommend at least having a steel shank since random bits of metal laying around to step on are pretty common in the shop). I replace the factory insoles with ones I find to be more comfortable, then I replace those every year or so.

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Twisted X driving Mocs. They have composite toe, arch support and they are light. Not to mention most Western wear stores carry them. 
The leather is thick enough for hot work and the top is low enough to handle summer heat. 
As far as acreage, they work great on the tractor but not the best if your terrain is rocky. 
 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/23/2020 at 7:55 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Had a student try forging in crocs once; humorous to others; painful to himself!

i did that mistake one while welding wont do it again got a scar for my efforts:rolleyes:

for me I've preferred steel toes boots protects your foot better if you drop heavy steel also leather is nicer as it doesn't light up from sparks, though a pair of dunlops works well in late fall, winter, and early spring after they get full of holes from sparks you put on some tuff toe from redwing shoes and get another few years out of them

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  • 5 months later...

What about boots which help with plantar fasciitis?  I have some $200 or so sneakers I wear during the week at work, but when I come home I put on work boots. After a few hours my right heel will be hurting pretty good. On weekends, by Sunday night I have to limp around. 

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D, you may need a pair of orthotics or insoles.  You could try commercial insoles that you can buy at larger drug stores or Wally World or you may need to see a podiatrist.  I have a fallen arch on my left foot and have to wear an orthotic to support the arch on that side, otherwise my left ankle starts to tell me bad things.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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You could try commercial insoles that you can buy at larger drug stores or Wally World ... 

This. I’ve learned the hard way I’m susceptible to plantar fasciitis. Those off-the-shelf insoles have made several painful pairs of shoes useful again.

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As someone with arches like a gothic cathedral, the best non-prescription arch supports I’ve found are the SpencoRX Orthotic Arch, which have a semi-rigid plastic support that can be softened in boiling water and reshaped to your foot. They’re a bit more expensive, but fantastically durable. 

I also like Red Wing Irish Setters with a steel toe cap. 

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I picked up a couple of NOS Phase 4 arch supports at a fleamarket in Ohio when I lived there, hard plastic and I'm still wearing them over 17 years later.  Now they are in my German Combat boots that I wear most of the day; unfortunately the company seems to have changed them; but it looks like Peppy Feet have a similar one---I've thought of casting them in Al  and putting a layer of leather on the casting when these wear out!  Takes a while to get used to them at first; then you will never be without them!

I have high arches and once had plantar fasciitis as well. 

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