When you think of footwear designed for worker safety you probably think of the features that are designed to protect workers from immediate harm, like steel tips to protect the toes from being crushed, or anti-slip soles to prevent workplace falls.

But there’s a hidden safety feature that industry leaders like HS Footwear Co. consider just as important as external safety measures. Properly designed insoles. These are equally protective as their external brethren, but provide protection over the long run. Insoles cradle and support the foot so that repeated impacts and prolonged standing don’t, over a long period of time, start causing pain and other issues.

The Stresses of Work

Worker’s feet can be subjected to a number of stresses that can build up over time to cause nerve damage, arch issues, and general pain. Consider construction workers that walk along hard steel girders or delivery workers jumping out of the trucks repeatedly onto hard pavement. There are plenty of other occupations that involve repetitive impact stress. Without proper support within a worker’s shoes, these repeated impacts can damage their feet over time.

Stationary workers are also subjected to foot stress. Impacts are rarely a concern, but the simple act of standing in the same place for hours on end can be just as abusive to feet. Muscle fatigue is a constant concern. The muscles, bones, and tendons in your feet bear a lot of weight as you stand. Balancing and distributing this for long periods of time can take a toll.

Without proper insole support, workers can develop poor posture trying to compensate for foot pain. As a result, lower back problems can develop when workers are required to stand for long periods of time.

Proper Insoles Protect Against Harm

HS Footwear Co. has been manufacturing custom insoles designed to promote worker safety for years. What they’ve learned is that both static and heavily mobile workers can benefit from insoles designed with their specific issues in mind.

Stationary workers need padding and overall support. Standing improperly can impinge on blood flow to the feet and toes, which can dramatically accelerate fatigue and the possibility of long-term damage. Insoles that promote proper weight distribution across the entire surface of the foot allow stationary workers much greater comfort, which relieves pain and helps restore proper posture.

For mobile workers that frequently subject their feet to impact shocks, heel support is critical. Properly designed insoles function as shock absorbers, mitigating impacts and helping to protect the feet, lower legs, and spine. Heel supports also wrap up around the ankle to protect against ankle rolling, a common problem among workers that regularly move around on wobbly, loose or uneven surfaces.

A final insole feature that can protect all varieties of workers is proper airflow and antimicrobial and antifungal treatments. These are particularly helpful for workers that wear heavy work boots or work outdoors or in hot conditions. Keeping the foot cool and free of fungal or bacterial infections is an important function of any safety insole.