Are Expensive Work Shoes Worth It?

Are Expensive Work Shoes Worth It?

Summary: Can being cheap cost you in the long run? We explore why you’d want to spend more money on your work shoes.


My parents were immigrants to this country and had to work hard in order to make their kid a writer. The industrial and construction environments are dangerous. Working in kitchens, catering trucks, and out in the hot filed was their fate, not mine. Instead I got to write this helpful article and hopefully inform a few people to take better care of their shoes and health.

Why Spend More on Work Shoes and Work Boots

Here are some reasons why you may want to upgrade and buy high-quality work boots.

Better Equipment

  • “In this world, you get what you pay for.” -Kurt Vonnegut
  • "Two things a man should spend good money on his boots and his bed, if you're not in one you're in the other" -Tyler Ruthenbeck, personal trainer


  • “Man he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.” -Dalai Lama

Photo: Unsplash: Om Prakash Sethia

Photo: Unsplash: Om Prakash Sethia

  • “You only have the two feet you were born with. Keep them protected and in relatively good shape - because the older years don’t wait for anyone.” -Marian Vale, horticulturist


“Good boots and shoes are like a good helmet for a person on a motorcycle. If your brain is worthless then go with a cheap helmet. If your spine and posture and overall health isn't worth anything to you then go with cheap boots and shoes. This is all part of a speech I gave to troops in the army and back then I also added that a soldier who fails to care for his feet can expect a jail term. A chargeable offense in most combat units.” -Lank3y, Army guy [#1]


“You’ll be taken more seriously at the job site. They are evaluating you on the construction equipment you come in with. Having a mid to high end boot - whether it be steel toe or not, can help make the difference with a finicky employer.” -Joe Zandry, construction worker, retired


  • “In America you have to love labor.” -DeVito, bakery manager, Doris Italian Market
  • “Smile through the pain.” -Mary Tyler Moore

Socioeconomics of Shoes

The following New York Times writer breaks down why the poor remain poor and why the rich continue to remain rich in this quote:  

“Good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford $50 had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in 10 years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet. This was the Captain Samuel Vimes “Boots” theory of socioeconomic unfairness.” -Carl Richards, economist [#2].

Foot Problems Caused By Bad Shoes

When shoes don’t fit, or don’t break in properly, or continued to be used with moisture inside, you’re going to have a bad time. Rubbing, swelling, and binding of feet can cause minor issues to develop over time.

While minor, these issues can escalate into hammertoes, blisters, bunions, corns and calluses, heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis. (To remedy, check out the orthotics and foot health section of our website for handy products).

Your work shoes are meant to protect you from whatever your job may throw at you. However, it’s still important to take every measure to make sure that shoes fit correctly and have the features you need to stay safe and comfortable.

What to Know When Buying Work Boots

What to ask the lady in the store:

  • Are they re-solable? Can you prove it? What sole manufacturer do you recommend for this boot?
  • Is the sole glued on or stitched on? [Look for stitches on the outsole; cheap boots tend to have soles stuck with glue, not stitches].

The Importance of Good Work Shoes

For many physical jobs, the importance of work boots cannot be understated. A higher quality (and more expensive) shoe not only lasts longer, but needs less breaking in, and gives your feet the support they need.

Weight is another important factor. Each step you take throughout the day is an expenditure of force and energy. Therefore wear the lightest boots you can get away with.

A final piece of advice:

“Find that special pair that lasts.”

Finding Joy At Work

“Working never hurt anybody. It’s what kept me living so long.” -Achim Aurelia, farmer, mother of three

Grandmother Achim Aurelia

There is always a kind of process of labor in our lives. However, there always seems to be joy in the work that we do. As children we learn to enjoy jumping over obstacles, and proving ourselves capable by walking and talking.

As adults, responsibilities mount, and your feet, body, and spirit aren’t as sprightly or springy as they used to be be. Nevertheless, with head raised high, we trudge through challenging work day to build what needs to be built so we can bring home the bread and bacon.

It’s been said before, but "when you are doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life."


Last Call

As for my parents, the signs of age are starting to show. While they put balms and creams on their aching joints I’m writing this message that will resonate with laborers. Share this with someone who’s cheap! Help their health out!

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  • Alex Pop
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