Why Work Boots Have Heels? (Explained For New Users)

Work boots come wedged or heeled.  Heeled work boots will be what we talk about today. 

If you’re here for a quick answer, the heel has more than one purpose in a pair of work boots. It could help prevent water from coming into the boots as the heels are slightly raised. Also, it can help with providing stability or comfort whilst doing different jobs as we’ll learn below.

In some cases, a raised heel can even help alleviate plantar fasciitis pain as Dr. Bruce Pinker points out in this article: Best Work Boots For Plantar Fasciitis.

showing my pair of work that comes with a heel.

We will cover why heeled work boots are a thing, what’s good and bad about them, and how they compare to wedged (flat-soled) work boots.  You may be surprised by what you learn!

Let’s get into it. But first…

What’s the purpose for a heel in a work boot?

I come from the Pacific Northwest where logging is a common trade to get into.  Several of my friends went into logging when they got out of school and traded in their sneakers for a pair of leather high heel logger boots

When you look at a heel on a work boot, you might assume it’s just for looks but that’s not the case at all. 

More than just looks

The heel on a work boot has a function.  My friends who ended up working in a pair of these would find the heel as an important tool to utilize when climbing trees. 

The right angle created by the heel on the sole of the boot allows for easier climbing on branches and allows for a space for the climbing spikes to lock into. 

When you’re walking over uneven terrain with rocks, branches, and bushes, the heel gives you something to dig into the ground with to keep you from slipping.

Other trades involving climbing like firefighters and power linemen find value in the heel for the same reasons. 

Pro and cons of a heeled work boot

There are always good and bad when presented with any kind of style of shoe or boots. 

Depending on what your job requires you to do or what your feet need to be healthiest, there are different reasons that a heeled boot is great or not.

Benefits of a heeled work boot

First, let’s look at the good in heeled work boots.  Heeled boots are great because:

  • The heels provide space for climbing equipment to click into place
  • The heels give extra arch support, a great thing for people working on or with their feet all day
  • A heel to dig into the ground to keep from slipping
  • In some cases, helps alleviate pain when suffering from heel pain
  • Makes you taller

Disadvantages of a heeled work boot

Certain situations may call for boots without a heel. If that is the case, then heeled work boots may not be so great for you. Heeled work boots might not be so great

  • If you work on roofs and need a flat sole with anti-slip properties
  • You’re working with a small budget.  Heeled work boots can be expensive
  • If your job has requested wedge work boots as part of the uniform

Flat wedge soled work boots

Flat work boots, commonly called wedge soled work boots, offer a wearer much in comfort and usability.  

Wedge soled boots are very useful in occupations like roofing or warehouse work as the sole is built so that all of the bottom of the sole touches the ground at all times. 

This allows for better shock absorbency as all the pressure is evenly distributed throughout the foot and boot. 

The sole will also be lighter than if it had a heel.  This, along with the evenly distributed weight,  allows for better balance and more comfort at the end of the day. Additionally, these work boots are best for flat-footed workers. So if you have that type of foot, you’ll be better off with a flat sole work boot.

Flat versus heeled sole work boots

When you look at getting work boots and find yourself comparing flat vs heeled, you will want to see how they compare.  Let’s take a look…

Arch support

The heeled work boot can provide more support to your arches than a wedged sole boot. 

This can be good in situations where you need that extra arch support. However, the availability of orthotic insole inserts can give someone that extra arch support even if they use wedged (or flat) sole boots.

Pressure points

Flat or wedge boots will evenly distribute your weight in your feet.  This can give you more comfort after a long day on your feet, as well as better balance.  

Heeled work boots will cause your weight to put more pressure toward the front of your foot and may cause pain in your toe area after a long day on your feet. 

There is a breaking-in period with all work boots, and so heeled boots may get better in this area the longer you wear and work in them. Here’s how I break in my work boots if you need help with that.

Occupations

Depending on your work, you may find either a heeled sole boot to be better or a wedge soled boot.  

Wedge soled boots are flat and lightweight, making them ideal for working on hard flat surfaces like asphalt or cement. 

Wedge soled work boots occupations may include

  • Warehouse workers
  • Road Construction
  • Roofing
  • Carpentry
  • Mechanics

Heel soled work boots are more ideal for

Heel and wedge soled work boots are important tools

Heeled work boots are not just for looks for many people working in a trade that involves climbing or traversing uneven terrain. 

They are a valuable tool that can make your job easier and your feet more comfortable when doing all the hard work you do in them. Heeled work boots will have a place among workers for a long time to come.  

Wedge or flat soled boots are equally important depending on your occupation. 

They provide great comfort and balance for hard flat surface work and will also be considered an important part of trade work as long as the work is there to do.  

Before buying work boots for the job you have, be sure to compare and ask around about what would be best for your occupation.

It will make a big difference in safety and comfortability if you do your research beforehand and get the right boots for your job!


Team Members Working On This Page

sondra claflin one of the writers and researches at bestformyfeet.com
Sondra Claflin – Writer And Researcher

Hi!  My name’s Sondra and I am one of the researchers and writers here at BestForMyFeet.com.  I have 5 kids who I spend my days teaching and caring for. I’m married now for 13 years to my dear husband Art, who helps his folks run a housecleaning business as well as a side business of his own for general contracting and home remodel.  I’m just a high school graduate who decided to raise a family and keep the home.

Victor Adrian – Editor And Webmaster

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!