Oct 012016
 
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I had this great idea about shop footwear.  I have terrific Wellington steel-toed boots with non-slip soles that offer fabulous support. They are especially comfortable on my shop’s concrete floor. There is a nearly-zero chance of sliding, even if water or oil gets on the floor.
I love these Wellington boots. I’ve wanted a pair of Wellingtons since I was a little boy; work boots I could slip on and off…no laces! I was about 10 when my Aunt Polly and Uncle Sam gave me my first pair of rubber boots. I felt like I was an official dairy farmer at that point. I had to wait until my 50s to get my first Wellingtons!

I love these Wellington boots. I’ve wanted a pair of Wellingtons since I was a little boy; work boots I could slip on and off…no laces! I was about 10 when my Aunt Polly and Uncle Sam gave me my first pair of rubber boots. I felt like I was an official dairy farmer at that point. I had to wait until my 50s to get my first Wellingtons!

It was a great idea until I started walking around. Those boots are heavy! If there is any danger of dropping something on my feet I’ll still wear them, and I like wearing them for a number of outdoor jobs, especially when I’m working on riprap on our shoreline.
As you can tell by my Imelda Marcos starter kit, I have a shoe for every occasion. Running shoes, walking shoes, good tennis shoes, work tennis shoes, dress shoes for Sunday and dress shoes that alternate working days.

As you can tell by my Imelda Marcos starter kit, I have a shoe for every occasion. Running shoes, walking shoes, good tennis shoes, work tennis shoes, dress shoes for Sunday and dress shoes that alternate working days.

For most occasions in the shop I wear my “everyday” Reeboks. They used to be my good Reeboks, until my last everyday pair was completely worn out. Then, they graduated. For a while the oldest tennis shoes were strictly painting shoes. By then, they were dilapidated and my feet hurt within minutes of standing on concrete. Even I can be convinced to throw things away eventually.
This is my collection of least-used shoes. I used to have a matching pair of duck boots and duck shoes. Not LL Bean, mind you, but cheap knockoffs. No support. Almost no sole. And, no soul whatsoever. The boots died and the shoes became painting shoes, but only for short painting jobs. I still want a real pair of LL Bean duck boots. I hope I don’t have to wait four more decades!

This is my collection of least-used shoes. I used to have a matching pair of duck boots and duck shoes. Not LL Bean, mind you, but cheap knockoffs. No support. Almost no sole. And, no soul whatsoever. The boots died and the shoes became painting shoes, but only for short painting jobs. I still want a real pair of LL Bean duck boots. I hope I don’t have to wait four more decades!

I have a number of things to stand on while I work, but I move around so much that they aren’t much benefit except for sanding, and some finishing jobs, the only times I stand still. Mine aren’t “real” anti-fatigue mats, but you can get some nice ones of those for about $50.
This padded mat came from a drug company representative. I think it’s meant for a dog to stand on, maybe on an examination table. How would you ever sterilize such a thing? It serves the purpose as an anti-fatigue mat.

This padded mat came from a drug company representative. I think it’s meant for a dog to stand on, maybe on an examination table. How would you ever sterilize such a thing? It serves the purpose as an anti-fatigue mat.


Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  9 Responses to “Poll: What kind of footwear do you use in your shop?”

  1. Second picture from the top…

    Second row from top… from left side, Like the scrubby Black pair of shoes… pretty much looks like what I wear most of the time… If not, maybe just some casual good slippers.

    Along with a white tee shirt & Black shorts…

    Mine have Hook & Loop flaps… NO strings attached! 🙂

  2. I remember the Portland Oregonian headline when Imelda Marcos ran for the presidency of the Philippines “Marcos a Shoe-in!”.
    I wear Crocs in all but the coldest months here in Arkansas. Much easier to get the sawdust out of them than socks or cloth insides of tennies.I have learned not to do heavy grinding or arc welding in them 🙂

  3. I have a set of anti-fatigue mats (actually 4 sets – 16 tile), the kind that link together like puzzle pieces, surrounding my assembly bench. They seem to help a lot. I have considered putting them elsewhere, but I was concerned about trip hazards near the power tools, and sawdust would be a pain.

  4. All summer long I’m barefooted 🙂

  5. I usually wear a pair of San Antonio, Texas-made SAS-brand suede shoes that are comfortable and can be worn for hours on my concrete shop floor. I bought that pair specifically for my woodshop and other not-too-messy work around my property. (Wet and muddy conditions call for a pair of, yes, rubber Wellington-style boots.) But if I’m working in my shop for two or more days, I do sometimes go to moccasins or a pair of Crocs to give my feet some relief from being confined to the same shape for a long time. The key, for me, is not only to have comfortable shoes but also a variety, to give my feet a break.

  6. I have a pair of Keen brand “Utility Atlanta Cool” steel toe shoes that are great. They are extremely light with great support, and I wear them daily now, not just in the shop, best I’ve ever had. They look like a low cut hiking shoe/sneaker. They make you fell like a man ought to feel. And stylish for those who care.

  7. The best I’ve found for concrete are New Balance MW928 walkers.

  8. U.S. Army (pre-Desert Storm, et. al.) leather boots. Stand and deliver all day without fear of dropped anything.

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