If you’re reading this, you are most likely either employed as an asphalt paver or you know someone who is. If you are employed as an asphalt paver, I don’t have to tell you how hard this work is. If you know an asphalt paver, go and ask them how hard their job is. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you’re done.
Back now? Well, you probably got an earful! This is exhausting and harrowing work that entails working with molten tar that can reach up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Know-how in movies and books set before the Industrial Revolution the townspeople will talk of tarring and feathering someone they don’t like?
Well, in real life, the punishment wasn’t merely humiliating. Burns from boiling tar can be life-threatening. The fumes can be toxic. But the worst part is feet getting too hot too quickly. The workers may take frequent breaks and still get heat blisters. But those roads got to be built. So, what to do?
What To Look For In A Pair Of Asphalt Boots
It looks like the only thing you can do, besides take your breaks and stay hydrated, is to invest in a quality pair of boots specially made for asphalt paving. The correct asphalt boots and shoes are without a doubt crucial to just getting through the day. But just what is it that makes a pair of asphalt boots “correct,” or “right” or the best asphalt boots on the market? Let’s start by exploring some of the many features that are vitally important for asphalt paving.
- A Flat or Almost Flat Outsole This is an important feature of asphalt boots. Firstly, flat soles that do not have any or at least only a shallow tread pattern are ideal due to the fact that they do not become stopped up with stones, asphalt, pebbles, debris, and tar. Not only are clogged soles completely annoying they could become a tripping hazard. The other advantage of a flat sole is that without a ninety-degree heel, there are impacts and impressions in new, pliant asphalt. What’s more wedge style boots offer an entire surface contact without the sharp heel.
- Heat Resistant Sole Both the outer sole and the inner sole should be constructed from materials that can stand up to the heat plus have a few characteristics that should lessen heat transfer via the boot sole into your foot. For example, many types of boots have a thermic insole that can insulate against the highest temperatures because of a certain Polyurethane compound.
- Safety Toe Any footwear you put on before taking part in road construction should come with an ASTM F2413-11 I/75, C/75 safety toe cap. A composite safety toe fabricated from fiberglass and nylon elements will be less apt to transfer heat as a steel safety toe does.
- Full Gusset Tongue A shoe tongue with a full gusset is vital due to the fact that the design does not allow stones, hot tar, and hot oils from entering into the shoe via the tongue lace area. At 300 degrees, getting hot asphalt in the shoe and on the foot would cause grave injury. As in, a trip to the emergency room serious. A full gusset will keep feet dry as well if you step into a puddle or there is rainwater running down your pants leg.
- Proper Fit A shoe that does not fit can lead to dire safety issues as well as health problems not to mention great discomfort. Anyone who has ever had to walk in a pair of shoes that are just the wrong size entirely knows all about this. Your outer sole needs to have ample clamping with the footfall. What this means is that the boot should not flop around while you walk and your foot should not abrade against the inside surface of the boot.
Now that you know what to look for in a good pair of asphalt boots, let’s look at a few brands that have all the qualities you’re looking for. Compare them and buy what would be best for you.
1. COFRA Leather Work Boots
The COFRA US Road work boot is up to any task you might put it to. It is fabricated from leather that is both water repellent and breathable leather. What’s more, it has a Thermic Insole that guards against high temperatures. The outsole constructed from a special nitrile rubber compound that is resistant to temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
The composite safety toe is a non-metallic top return and will keep its shape and make sure your feet are well-protected. Additionally, the APT plate imbedded in the sole will guard against punctures and has high resistance to electricity.
Features and Benefits:
The boot has a heat defender rubber sole made up of a Polyurethane/nitrile compound that is resistant up to an excess of 572 degrees Fahrenheit after one minute of contact. The composite toe cap is crush resistant and the puncture-resistant soleplate and superior slip resistance provide additional protection in the harshest of conditions for ultimate job site safety.
The special insulated thermic polyurethane insole guards your feet against the highest of temperatures. A non-metallic APT plate prevents any perforation along with high electrical resistance. They are highly resistant to chemical spills, designed with the purpose of withstanding the harshest of refinery conditions, guarding against a vast variety of chemicals and solvents.
- They will competently protect your feet from a myriad of dangers your feet may be exposed to.
- They provide very good ankle support.
- They have no metal parts and are relatively light.
- They may get a year of wear at the most.
- If the surface is wet and not asphalt, these shoes will provide little in slip resistance.
- The construction is rigid.
2.Timberland PRO Men’s 40000 Met Guard 6′ Steel Toe Boot
This hardy work boot will not back down when things get rough. Built with Ever-Guard® leather, this ankle boot provides the wearer with ideal pliability and durability. A steel shank and comfortably contoured footbed support and cradle your feet, even after all those long hours on the job.
All the while, a metatarsal shield plus a steel toe provide impact and heat protection. A ridged slip-resistant rubber outsole that provides electrical hazard protection tops off this industrious profile.
Features and Benefits:
They are slip-resistant so you will not fall over easily while wearing them. Your feet are well supported by the contoured footbed and steel shank.
- They are extremely lightweight at only two pounds.
- The boot is durable and long-lasting.
- They are constructed well and are perfect for people with wide feet.
- They are both sturdy and comfortable.
- There is great ankle support.
- The shank is made of steel.
- The fit can be on the tight side, so order a size larger than usual.
- The sole is stiff, but some people with joint or ball of the foot problems may find this a plus.
- The laces are a bit weak.
3. Dr. Martens Men’s Spate Electrical Hazard Waterproof Steel Toe 8-Eye Boot
Spate EH is a completely waterproof, high-cut boot designed for the most rigorous of workplaces. Richly oiled leather uppers are layered with an extremely breathable and yet waterproof membrane and patented BreatheRight wicking lining to see to it that you stay dry all day.
All the while, a padded tongue, collar, and removable smart foam footbed offer additional cushioning to ensure comfort for the user. The composite elements making up the safety toe cap gives all the protection you could possibly need. A pliable, cushiony PU midsole and 300 Celsius heat-resistant rubber compound sole are all that’s needed in this high-performance work boot.
Features and Benefits:
The safety toe cap provides protection from a minimum of 200J impact and 15kN compression force. The slip-resistant sole lowers the risk of slips and falls on dangerous surfaces. Electrical hazard protection will guard protect the wearer from any accidental contact with electrical charge by providing extra insulation from the ground.
A heat resistant outsole provides heat resistance up to 300 degrees Celsius (that’s about 572 degrees Fahrenheit) for a minute of contact. The boot makes use of a completely waterproof membrane bootie built for complete waterproofing. Breathable materials are used in the construction in order to better allow the passage of the air and moisture that enable the wearer’s feet to breathe.
- At just over two pounds, these boots are fairly lightweight.
- They are very comfortable and only take about a week to break in.
- They fit like they’re expected to.
- They are very durable and can stand up to most abuse.
- You might get only a year of wear out of them.
- They are more water-resistant than waterproof.
- The stitching can be abrasive.
4. ARIAT Men’s Hermosa Xr 8″ Work Boot
Hermosa XR 8 Work Boot provides the wearer with maximum toughness along with the most technologically-advanced support system available. It is quite obvious that high-quality full-grained leather was used by Ariat in the formation of their Hermosa boot. What is not readily evident are the many features that make more than simply functional
Features and Benefits:
A Goodyear welt construction extends the use of the boot. A Cobalt XR Technology sole provides both comfort and support. The patented X-static® linings and a Roper toe protect the foot. The XR technology lowers stress on the body with the perfect mix of cushioning, stability and flex.
The X-static lining stabilizes temperature and lowers static electricity build-up. The oil- and slip-resisting sole stands up to extreme heat (tested to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 400 degrees Celsius) plus abrasion. It’s a very good choice for those with foot or ankle problems.
- The stitching is very sturdy.
- The boots are long-lasting.
- They have good cushioning and are warm and comfortable.
- They are on the heavy side.
- The traction needs work.
5. Irish Setter Men’s 83606 6″ Aluminum Toe Work Boot
Irish Setter works with their clients to do what must be done in this attractive work boot. The leather upper comes with a moc-toe for a classy look. The Goodyear welt adds to the durability and the aluminum toe provides protection without adding weight.
It all started in 1950 when Red Wing Shoes first created boot style 854, designed with unique Red Russet leather which lent to the Irish Setter name. Irish Setter became the most respected boot brand for hunters and workers for many decades by proving itself both in the field and on the job site.
In the modern era, more than a century of Red Wing work boot experience added to the over sixty year legacy of Irish Setter outdoor footwear brings us the purposely crafted Irish Setter footwear for today’s craftsman and keen hunter.
Features and Benefits:
Exclusive Trout Brook leather cannot be found in any other boot. The electrical hazard protective sole and heel make up of this boot is made to reduce hazards because of contact of the outsole to electrically energized parts, thus providing a secondary source of protection.
The outsoles have been engineered and tested to perform on high heat surfaces identifying them as HRO, being heat resistant towards melting at a minimum of 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Red Wing’s safety toe footwear complies with safety standards regarding impact and compression.
- The boots are strong and sturdy.
- The leather is soft and yet highly durable.
- They are very comfortable.
- They are rather lightweight and have little to no break-in period.
- The polyurethane footbed is removable.
- There is almost no traction.
- The soles are rather wide.
A Wide Variety Of Asphalt Boots
You may think one pair of work boots is just like another, but you would be very wrong. The safety boots that are used by road construction laborers, frequently known as asphalt boots, are available in a plethora of all sorts, colors, and types. They can be sumptuous with comfortable sole bases and yielding side linings.
They can also be roughly built just to serve the simple purpose that they are required for, which would be guarding against the heat of molten tarmac. Let us have a gander at the various categories of safety boots that are most often seen in the market.
Preliminary Asphalt Boots
We will begin with the most fundamental forms of asphalt boots that street pavers use. These are nothing fancy. They are built simply but are both impervious and rudimentary. For the most part, the companies of modest means that do not have the resources to afford the expenses of high-quality asphalt boots are those who offer their workers these types of shoes.
The prime motivator of such companies behind purchasing for its employees these boots is not to look out for their safety and well being. However, due to the modern workers strictly refusing to labor on the roads over the searing heat of liquid pitch, some compromise must be made.
These kinds of boots have slim outer layers of felt that are built with the purpose of reflecting the heat which the bottoms of the shoes meet with. These lines are of the most fundamental of technology with little to no sophisticated addition to see to it that there is both enhanced service and continued viability.
These safety boots have practically no safety features in themselves, to begin with. After just a few weeks of use, the felt linings may start to wear out due to their lining being very thin. What’s more, due to this thin slip of lining, no matter how meticulous the unfortunate worker uses it, it is ultimately going to give away and this happening will take place often sooner than later.
Intermediary Asphalt Boots
We should continue on and tread into the provinces where improved feet walk wearing superior shoes. It’s true, that it refers to the more solvent class of this economic society. The greater established companies with more coordinated policies and an advanced vision towards the edges of sensitivity towards their workers are those who give their asphalt pavers such improved boots.
These boots are made with more advanced technologies built into their manufacture and set up. This ultimately provides them with a strengthened defense against molten blacktop plus the heat that emanates from it. To start with, the linings of insulation about these boots are extremely thick, with safety designs with the aim being to make them endure for longer stretches of time.
Aside from the thickness, the layers of insulation are much more technologically sophisticated and less likely to suffer the many damages that can be caused by extremes in heat and temperature. In the event that any sort of marring is done to the boot by unexpected events or reasons, accidents or chemical spill, for example, the boots will still keep their usability for an appreciable level of time.
Ultimate Asphalt Boots
The far-reaching multinational franchises that make up the main thoroughfares of the grand metropolises of the free world make sure their workers are provided with these asphalt boots. These truly add a new side to the multitude of asphalt boots.
Not only are these strongly guarded against many types of temperature and heat-related damages, but they are comfortable and cozy as well. If you have on one such boot yourself, you will never even realize that you are not wearing just an ordinary shoe, but a safety shoe built with the purpose of protecting your feet against that might hurt them
What Else Should I Look For On An Asphalt Boot?
Those who work on road construction crews accrue an additional expense that takes a significant bite out of their paycheck. A quality pair of asphalt boots does not come cheap. Without premium, uniquely designed asphalt boots, many pavers might find that they are replacing their boots once a week.
Road crew work also exposes asphalt pavers to the risk of “hot foot” not to mention blisters and many other injuries that are quite common to road construction crews. So, what is the solution? That would be asphalt boots known to stand up to temperatures of 300 degrees Fahrenheit or more and have a non-stick surface ensuring that the asphalt will not stick to them and mar the boots.
With the proper boots, you can work harder for a longer period of time which will virtually guarantee yourself a firm path of work. Just as soon as one paving job ends, you can rest easy knowing that there’s another one lined up. You will even save money. Investing a bit more in the proper boots is actually the one and only option for asphalt pavers.
It is evident that you will require a boot that will lend protection to your feet in the face of extremely high temperatures. Here is all that you should be looking for in an asphalt boot:
- Non-sticky sole You do not want debris being tracked in, sticking to your shoe and reducing its lifespan.
- Easily cleanable Hard work makes boots dirty, that’s a simple fact. You want boots that will allow grime to slough off.
- Leaves no imprints in hot asphalt Asphalt is ideally very smooth and level. You don’t want to leave imprints in it.
- Lasts seven to nine months Asphalt boots take on a lot of damage very quickly and don’t often last long. Invest in something that will last at least seven months.
- Protects feet from the dangerous environment of road construction Road construction is hot and heavy work. Foot injury is common. A good pair of boots can mean the difference between a Band-Aid and a trip to the Emergency Room.
How to Treat Your Hot Feet
Address first the reason for your hot feet. If you are on a road crew, working with hot asphalt is the most likely reason for your hot feet. However, certain medications can lead to feet feeling hot. Discuss this with your doctor. Increased alcohol intake can lead to hot feet. Here are some other tips to consider:
- Alternate pairs of shoes in order to allow each pair to air out in between wearings.
- See to it that your shoes fit correctly and have decent airflow. You may use supportive inserts if you find it necessary.
- Change your socks often, particularly after exercising. Seek out socks that wick moisture away from the skin. Better yet, opt for natural cotton socks.
- Never wear socks or shoes that are wet.
- Use foot powder to absorb moisture.
- Take a break and rest your feet when you can.
- Cool your feet off after a long day by soaking them in a basin of cool water. Make sure to dry between the toes when you’re done.
When Should I See A Doctor?
If you are constantly experiencing hot feet or the pain is unbearably severe or accompanied by other symptoms you should see a doctor in order to define the underlying cause. When the cause is nerve damage, urgent treatment is needed in order to halt the progression of the neuropathy. Seek emergency medical treatment immediately should you experience any of the following:
- A hot or burning feeling in the feet comes on with no explanation. If anything abnormal is going on in your body, that is a sign that you need medical intervention.
- Hot feet, or any other symptoms, coming from being exposed to toxins. If you think your hot feet or other symptoms are due to poisoning you need medical attention right away.
- The burning sensation spreads up the legs. If the sensation of heat is not staying in your feet but moving up your legs, this could be a problem that may affect your entire body.
- There is a loss of feeling in the toes or feet. The only thing worse than aching feet is feet that feel nothing. This can mean nerve damage and needs professional help.
How To Get Tar And Asphalt Off Boots
Tar and asphalt can be the toughest stains to remove. But with a little elbow grease and the right tools, you can pull it off. You will need a plastic knife, dish detergent, an old toothbrush, and some WD-40. If you don’t have WD-40, baby oil will do. Putting your shoes in the freezer overnight first will make this job a lot easier.
Start by scraping as much of the stain off with the plastic knife as you can. Do not gouge the shoe. Mix the dish detergent with warm water. dip the old toothbrush in this solution and use it to scrub the rest of the tar away.
You may need to do this several times. A stubborn stain can be lubricated with WD-40. Just spray a little on the stain and let it rest a few minutes. Then start the scrubbing again. Once the tar is gone, wash it with more detergent and water to remove the WD-40 residue. If you want to know more details about getting tar off your shoes then check this article.
Road work is difficult and dangerous work that requires handling hot tar and asphalt along with being on your feet for long stretches of time. You will need boots that are not only comfortable but will stand up to heat, shock, compression, and impact. The boots must have a flat outsole and be heat resistant.
A safety toe is helpful as is a full gusset tongue. Above all else, the boots must be comfortable and fit properly. Whatever kind of boot you go for, a comfortable fit must be the main priority. Keep these guidelines in mind and you are sure to find the perfect boot to help you get through the workday.