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Wear | February 2023

Buying your first work boots

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A guide for apprentices and new tradies

One of the first lessons new tradies and apprentices learn is also among the most important: 

The right equipment keeps you safe and enables you to excel.

Like any tradie’s tool, high-quality work boots are made of tougher stuff than the cheap alternatives. The investment is well worth it.

From your first day on the job, you’ll notice the difference a comfortable pair of work boots can make:

  • Better mobility
  • More stability
  • Sturdier ankle support
  • Less fatigue after a long day
  • Heightened safety
  • Reduced slip risk

A few months down the road, your mates will be replacing busted boots and complaining about lower back pain. Meanwhile, you’ll be energized and excelling because you chose the most comfortable work boots from the start.

What to expect when buying your first work boots

So, how do you know you’re getting the right gear? And where is the best place to buy work boots, locally or online?

It’s easy to get bamboozled by boots and branding. Use this guide to make an informed decision and buy the best boots for you.


Work boots should be snug on the sides with a ~1cm gap between your toes and the end of the boot (or inbuilt toe protection), leaving room for your foot to flex. 

You’ll notice the signs of poorly fitted work boots straight away:

  • Slipping
  • Pinching
  • Pressure points
  • Heel rubbing

Getting a true fit is an essential first step, which is why a local retailer is the best place to buy work boots. Steel Blue boots are available in half-sizes with a range of fastening styles for a tailored fit.



The most comfortable work boots are the pair that fit your feet snugly, cushion your steps, and flex in the right places so you can move freely.

Steel Blue’s 60-day 100% comfort guarantee means that if your new boots don’t meet your expectations, you can bring them back to the point of purchase for a replacement or refund. 

Breaking-in period 

Good-quality work boots should be comfortable when you buy them. Don’t buy tight boots assuming they’ll stretch over time.

The upper leather might give a little as you work. However, the inner lining should stay snug while the cushioning footbed molds to your foot.

Fit for the job 

Most tradies need toe protection at a minimum. Steel caps are the industry standard.

Beyond toe protection, Steel Blue boots have a range of built-in safety features:

And if you’re going into a trade with specific PPE requirements – like oil and gas, electrical work or construction – choose work boots that offer the proper protection.

Read more: Your practical guide to choosing the best work boots for your trade.


The right accessories can make adjusting to life in boots that little bit easier, especially if you have podiatric requirements like arch support, pronation or supination.

Laces: High-quality work boot laces should keep your foot from sliding without being too tight

Southern Cross Zip Work Boots - Sand

Tips for adjusting to work boots

  • Try in person: Sizing, fastening, fit and comfort can vary between brands and styles, so it’s best to try and buy work boots locally
  • Wear work socks: Trying on boots with the same socks you’ll wear on the job will confirm the right fit
  • Take a test run: With your boots on, walk, bend, step up and stoop down to ensure you can move comfortably
  • Allow for swelling: Your feet naturally swell during the day, so it’s best to try work boots in the afternoon

Start your career on the right foot with Steel Blue boots, the most comfortable work boots for hardworking tradies and apprentices. You’ll find our boots and accessories in all the best workwear stores, or you can use our store finder to locate your nearest local distributor.

Argyle Zip - Black
Heeler - Oak
Hobart - Black

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