Weekly Featured Product: Merrell Fullbench (Men's and Women's

These athletic shoes are from the new Merrell Work line, Merrell has used the highest quality materials in their work line and it shows! Like all shoes in this line, these feature a composite toe, EH rating, and a free footbed from Merrell with an online registration. These shoes also feature a unique lacing system that makes donning and doffing easier and faster, they also ship with an extra set of traditional laces. These shoes are now available to purchase athttps://shop.sidboedeker.com/all-brands/merrell.html!

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When it Comes to Footwear, Size Really Does Matter

You're probably wearing the wrong shoe size

Depending on who you believe, somewhere between 50-80% of all people are wearing the wrong size shoe.  While there are many reasons for this, us retailers are partially at fault for this epidemic.  The retail game has changed, so many places no longer fit their customers for shoes; either boxes with many sizes are left out or associates will just grab whatever size a customer asks for.  All too often, customers are left attempting to understand how to measure their foot properly, generally without a proper measuring device.  We aim to address this problem in our stores and Shoemobiles.

We always strive to measure every customer that comes into our stores, mobile or otherwise, this makes sure that we know what we are working with when we recommend shoes, and the customer is confident that we are striving to take care of them.

What you can do about it

In short, make sure your feet are measured.  Most shoe stores will have something called a Brannock Device; you've probably seen these, a (usually) metal plank with lines designating a size.  Many of these will also have a slider to measure your arch and a slider to measure the width of your foot.


Make sure you use these if available.  Many times (especially in safety footwear!), your arch measurement means more than your toe.  This is because your arch measurement determines where the shoe flexes at the outsole and on your toes.  If your arch is too short, a steel toe cap or tight laces could cause you pain in your foot, if it is too long, it will cause your foot to slide around, which can damage the shoes and cause blisters.  

If you don't have access to a Brannock device, there are some tips you can use to check fit.  First, you should have room to move your toes freely; if you can't wiggle them, your shoes are too tight!  Next, your laces should run parallel to one another in roughly straight lines,  if they are touching, the shoe is too big, if they are spreading, they are too small.  Third, there may be some heel slip in a new shoe, this can be because the soles are stiff when new.  About a quarter inch of slip is generally acceptable, any more will cause premature wear of the lining of the shoes.  Leather will stretch but do not rely on it, lower quality leathers or action leather will not stretch or may become weak when stretched.  

Safety footwear MUST be fitted

One final point of conversation; Per OSHA, all PPE must be properly fitted, donned and doffed.  This means that a trained person must make sure that your footwear fits correctly, just like a respirator or fall arrestors.  This includes properly putting the shoes on (lace them up!) and taking them off (untie and don't kick them off!) Our trained personnel make sure that your footwear is fitting the  way that it should to protect you and be comfortable.

Safety Toes And You

Probably the most common question we get asked in our line of work is "What kind of safety toe is best?".  I don't think that that is surprising in the least, most people who have never worn safety footwear only have a vague idea of what the differences between the options are.  To answer that question, we first have to look at the types of safety toes most widely available on the market today, which are; steel, alloy, composite, and carbon composite.  The first thing to recognize is that all of these types of toes must meet the exact same ASTM safety standards; ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75.  This means that no matter what type of toe you have, it will be rated for a 75 ft/lb impact and up to 2,500lbs of compressive force.  So knowing all that, what advantages or disadvantages do each have?


Steel toes are the most common type of toe cap on the market today.  Steel is the most cost effective safety toe available, meaning that there is little increase in the cost of a shoe using a steel toe.  Steel toe caps also offer a lower profile allowing for better clearance and appearance over a traditional composite toe cap, making them ideal for athletic and dress style safety footwear.  On the other hand, steel toe caps are marginally (~1.5 oz) heavier than a traditional composite toe.  Steel toe caps also transmit heat and cold at a much faster rate than composite toe caps.


Alloy Toe caps are in much the same boat as steel ones.  They are a thin profile, ideal for use in athletic and dress style shoes. Alloy toes are also somewhat lighter than a steel toe. They have the same thermal downside as steel, in addition to costing slightly more than a steel toe.


Composite toe caps are the second most common type fo toe cap on the market.  There is a long living myth about the significant weight difference between composite and steel toes; while composite toes are lighter, the overall makeup of shoes make that difference negligible for most footwear.  Composite toes have to be roughly twice as thick as a steel toe to meet the same rating, making them difficult to use in athletic or dress shoes without looking somewhat bulbous.  Where composite toes really shine are in cold environments.  Composite transfers heat at a much slower rate than steel or alloy, making them ideal in boots for outdoor use or insulated boots.  Composite toes also have the advantage of being able to go through a metal detector so long as the rest of the construction of the footwear is non-metallic.


Carbon Composite toe caps are the newest style in the mainstream market.  Often advertised under proprietary names such as Wolverine's CarbonMax or Hytest's Hy-Light Nanotech, these are the most technologically advanced of the toe caps.  Offering all of the benefits of a composite toe cap, while retaining the slim profile available from a steel or alloy toe cap.  Keep in mind that while these are very light, the overall construction of the shoe is the final determining factor of the weight of footwear.

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So what should you wear?

The short answer?  What feels good to you.

The long answer?  What you wear should be determined by the job you are doing and the overall features of the shoe.  If you are looking for the lightest shoe available, keep in mind that the lightest shoe in the style you are looking for may NOT be a composite toe boot after all.

The most important thing to remember is that you have to wear these for eight, ten, or twelve hours straight, and at the end of the day, comfort and safety are more important than what your toe caps are made out of.