Choose right footwear for work and sports

Published On: Sep 27 2012 03:42:18 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 09 2012 03:35:24 PM EDT

By Polly Turner, Pure Matters

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the feet of an average adult during an average day bear a force equal to several hundred tons. Feet need the protection of proper footwear.

Work shoes

Both men and women should wear safety shoes and boots appropriate for the job and designed specifically to protect feet. Safety shoes and boots can be waterproof (or water-resistant), can have insulated steel toe caps and soles of non-conducting materials, and cushioned soles. If your work requires you to be on your feet for long periods, your shoes need to be comfortable and support your feet. It's also necessary that your shoes be able to absorb shock while you walk and provide stability to the heel.

If you must stand on your feet for long periods, or if you work with materials or in potentially hazardous areas, ask your supervisor about the type of footwear you need. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to ensure their employees wear protective footwear in settings in which foot injuries could occur from falling or rolling objects, from objects piercing the sole, or from exposure to electrical hazards.

Each year, more than 60,000 foot injuries result in lost work days in the United States. According to the journal Occupational Health and Safety, 75 percent of injuries resulted because workers were non-compliant.

Choosing your work shoes

The website Osh.Net and other safety sources recommend certain types of safety shoes or boots to protect from various hazards, including:

Shoes for athletics

Different sports activities require different movement and positions for feet. The structure of the foot and any abnormalities, such as over or under pronation) should be considered in choosing a shoe for sports. An evaluation by a podiatrist can determine if there are any problems that need to be considered in choosing shoes. Some problems can be corrected by orthotic devices.

The following are recommendations from the APMA:

Other footwear tips

Experts advise workers to: