32 thoughts on “Fall footwear: toad-trimmed boots

  1. Jerry, this reminds me.

    I’m in need of protective footwear, presumably something steel-toed. And I’ve never ever bought anything like that ever before in my entire life.

    Any suggestions on where I should start, traps to avoid, etc.?



    1. (Working in steel-toe boots for the last 30-odd years.)
      First question is whether you need to do significant off-manufactured-surface walking or not. If you’re off the deck-plate/ gratings/ woodwork/ metalled-road for significant periods, then I’d look to see if your normal supplier of walking/ climbing boots does something suitable. And I’d look closely at the risk assessment that says “steel-toed”. In reality, they really mean things like “protect against 10kg of metal dropped from 10m height” or something similar ; if that is an inappropriate risk assessment, then I’d look at the paperwork and try to get the question changed so that normal boots are appropriate. If you’re doing field work, there are precious few 10m high shelving units to drop 10kg metal blocks on your foot. The risks of poorly-fitting footwear inappropriate to the field (glacier/ cave/ jungle) you’re working in.
      I actually find that a lot of field work, particularly the wetter stuff, works well in steel-toed yellow “wellington” boots, including up to about 15 mile per day of walking through bog and grass and mine spoil and cave rocks (where the toes are actually appropriate). But I know that I’ve got relatively tolerant feet.
      If it’s just a site requirement and you’ll be working in “labs”, then the site’s health and safety person should be able to tell you who their normal suppliers are, and go for an easy life to pick and choose. Treat them as normal shoes. There are “industrial shoes” available – the catering and stewarding people on the rig use them, complete with protective (but not steel) toes and anti-penetration soles. Unfortunately, I’m not on the rig, so can’t ask them ; and those suppliers probably don’t supply outside Europe anyway.
      I’m assuming that you’ve already tried your local (“yellow pages”, or “white pages”, or whatever is used over there) “industrial footwear” supply companies. I could take you to the doors of three in Aberdeen, and then have to resort to the phone book, but I doubt that any would be interested in a Purchase Order from a single purchaser, regardless of country or currency.
      Biggest trap to avoid – buying them without trying them on for at least a half-hour. If you can’t visit the shop (warehouse) or get “sale or return”, move on to the next supplier.

      1. Got distracted part-way through :

        “The risks of poorly-fitting footwear inappropriate to the field (glacier/ cave/ jungle) you’re working in.”

        Should continue something like “[those risks] can easily be greater than the inappropriate protection offered by strict adherence to an inappropriate risk assessment.”
        Out-thinking “health and safety robots” is dirty work, but not too difficult. If you tickle their egos that someone is actually listening to them and values their opinions, then you should be able to get them to completely change their rules in your favour, and also come and feed the cats while you’re on fieldwork. It’s just politics, and the coin they desire is the semblance of attention.

      2. Awesome advice — thank you!

        This actually isn’t for any work-related requirement, but rather for my own self-protection. I’m about to start doing some serious stuff in the garden, and that’s going to involve me not only clumsily throwing shovels and pickaxes in the general direction of my feet, but also breaking up concrete (presumably with a rented pneumatic something-or-other) and running a rototill. I’ve already made myself nervous with the weed whacker.

        So, since you’re the expert, I should ask you: what level of protection do I actually need / want?



        1. Gardening : standard run-of-the-mill industrial “wellies”. I don’t know the American for “welly”. Here’s a picture (I hope) : OK, not a picture (though there are pictures). Your run-of-the-mill industrial footwear supplier should be able to find something equivalent.
          – waterproof (if that’s relevant in your area ; sure is in Britain!) ;
          – appropriate armour for working with tools. A rotovator would normally stop against them (been there, done that, limped away with colourful language). Penetrating tools … YMMV.
          – cheap and effective ;
          – possibly tax-deductable (workwear)
          – high sides – stops you continually fiddling to get stones out of your boots, which is the sort of distraction that is bad around power tools.
          – downside : sweaty.

          Got to go now ; but they’re your tools.

          1. Perfect — thank you! That seems like exactly what I need.

            (Waterproof is good, very good…part of the work I’ll be doing will be putting in an irrigation system so the soil in carefully-selected spots should be as moist (but not soggy) as in Britain, plus it means I can rinse off any nasty shit I might have to spray.)

            Again, thanks!


            P.S. As luck would have it, the Industrial Shoe Company has a location about 2 1/2 miles due north of me. Sweet! b&

      1. He’s always feisty. And frequently a threat to ankles, should you be so careless as to walk past whatever he’s lurking behind.

        But he moderates his attacks very well, and only rarely leaves a scar.

        Not that he ever leaves any particular appendage alone long enough for it to heal….


  2. I love your boots but I couldn’t wear them- they look so uncomfortable with those hard soles. I have always worn rubber soled shoes and boots. Why can’t someone make cowboy boots with rubber soles? Is it because they’d be laughed out of the saloon?

    1. You can have cowboy boots made with rubber soles; it’s not that uncommon. But mine are not at all uncomfortable!

    2. Horses for courses, I suspect. “Wellies” for horse people over here have relatively pronounced heels and hard soles too, compared to sewage-wading “wellies”. I suspect that it’s something to do with whatever horse people do to their mounts with their stirrups – it needs a rigid sole.
      Come to think of it, specialist cycling shoes also have very rigid soles – so it may be something to do with putting your weight onto a narrow pedal / stirrup?
      (The closest I’ve got to horses has bee policemen and huntsmen trying to ride me down. Not a time for detailed examination of their technologies.)

  3. I am from Texas and I have never worn Spanish style riding boots, AKA cowboy boots. That’s because I am an actual Texan. Only people who wear them here are real cowboys, Mexicans, and outsiders.

    Gotta say that the real cowboys and the Mexicans would likely be impressed by his connoisseurship of boot styles.

    Glad I don’t wear them. I have giant, square toed Scottish feet that are also flat and pronated.

  4. I dont want to wear a product made out of an animal for the same reason I dont want to wear a product made out of a person.

  5. They are super cool! Looks a bit like ‘gator or croc skin – while I believe most croc leather comes from farms nowadays it is still a service to the environment to don toad leather if it comes from Australia, the blighters are wrecking the native wildlife over there. That could be a growth industry, maybe I should look into it… I look forward to seeing the full-toad footwear!

Leave a Reply to Stephen Q. Muth Cancel reply