Can Work Boots Cause Back Pain?

Your work boots are doing a great job for your feet! Work boots feature durable and rugged materials to offer the best foot protection.

But wait! Are they uncomfortable while working? If your feet are killing you after a long day at work, then the problem is with your shoes. The right work boots need proper arch support and comfortable insoles.

What if the work boots are not comfortable? Can work boots cause back pain?

Work boots lack cushioned insoles and can cause back pain. Close to 80% of reported back pain arises from wearing the wrong footwear. Wearing work boots without enough arch support and cushioning strains the feet nerves. This then affects ligaments and tendons in the feet, leading to sharp lower back pain.

Statistics from the American Chiropractic Association show that close to 50% of workers suffer lower back pains. And, most of the cases arise from wearing the wrong footwear while working.

Getting the right work boot is recommended to avoid back pain. OSHA requirements provide rules on how the work boots’ exteriors should be made.

For example, if you’re walking or standing on asphalt, you need safety Boots for asphalt work. The safety boot should feature flat outsoles, offer a good grip and avoid marks on fresh tarmac.

Can Bad Work Boots Cause Back Pain

Yes, you should know that already!

Wearing bad work boots will cause back pain. Bad boots strain nerves and affect the flow of blood to the feet. In addition, wrong boots turn and twist the ligaments and tendons in the feet. This does eventually lead to lower back pain.

So, what is the relation between the feet and lower back?

Can Work Boots Cause Back Pain

Our bodies’ spinal cord begins from the pelvic area. And the bones in our feet are connected to the pelvic joints. Therefore, any damage to the nerves, tendons and ligaments on the feet directly affects the spinal cord. This then causes lower back pain.

Most people experience either a sharp pain or a dull ache. Back pain at work might make it hard for you to stand and move freely. Acute pain is common, especially in people lifting heavy objects.

If you continue wearing the wrong footwear, the pain gets worse in the lumbar region. You need to avoid it getting worse as there are no effective solutions.

5 Reasons Why Work Boots Are Causing Back Pain

Work boots are designed to offer protection from physical and chemical hazards. The boots are generally durable and rugged. Some feature steel caps for added protection.

Despite the excellent protection, wearing a bad work boot can cause back pain. Why would work boots cause pain? Let’s have a look at 5 main reasons for back pain.

Why Work Boots Are Causing Back Pain

1. Having the wrong size boot for our feet

Wearing a small-sized boot smaller than your feet leaves your feet cramped and hurting. Boots need to fit properly without feeling too loose or too tight.

When the foot is cramped, the entire body weight falls on a small part of the foot. This leads to foot pain and discomfort, especially on the arch.

Having the wrong size boot for our feet

Furthermore, tight-fitting shoes can lead to plantar fasciitis. This is a foot condition caused by inflammation of the tissues on the bottom of the foot.


Consider proper-fitting work boots with enough space to move your toes. The boot should fit just right without much space for the heels to slip on the sides.

Laces can then tighten the extra space for the toes.

2. Lack of enough arch support

This is another leading cause of back pain and foot injuries. If a boot lacks enough arch support, it can collapse and stretch the feet muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Lack of enough arch support

The right boot needs to keep feet, muscles and ligaments stable. Poor arch supports cause twists and turns on the foot’s bones and ligaments. This, in turn, affects your lower back leading to sharp pain.


Choose work boots with enough arch support features and ample midsole cushioning. Such boots provide enough support for the feet, keeping them stable.

3. Too much heel on the boots

Work boots with a higher heel and minimal arch support also cause back pains. You need boots that evenly distribute the body’s weight on the feet.

Too much heel on the boots

When the heels are higher than normal, calf muscles tend to contract as you walk. Your hips also shift forward as you adjust to a new foot position to maintain the center of gravity.

Therefore, heels tend to bear more of the body weight. The excessive pressure on the heels dissipates pain directly to the lower back.


For work boots, the ideal heel should not be more than 1-inch in height. Such a heel gives enough support and ensures excellent shock absorption.

4. Wearing regular boots as work boots

Your regular boots are not designed the same as work boots. Wearing regular boots as work boots can lead to injuries, foot pain and back pains.

Work boots feature an anchoring disk in the heel for excellent heel support. They are also more rugged and offer better chemical and abrasion resistance. The boots also come with a shank beneath the midsole for added foot support and stability.

All these features lacking in your regular boot can lead to back pains.


Always wear appropriate footwear when working. The small differences in features can be the difference in preventing lower back pain.

5. Heavier than normal

Work boots are generally heavy. However, there are a few work boots that are heavier than normal and can cause back pain. This is the case, especially when standing and walking around for long hours.

Lifting a heavy boot while also doing heavy-duty tasks can affect your lower back pain.


Take into consideration your body size and choose boots that are not too heavy. Heavy boots put unnecessary pressure on your body.

Ways To Remedy Back Pain From Work Boot

  • Insert extra insoles: If the work boots have thin insole cushioning, consider adding some extra insoles. A good choice is adding some orthopedic insoles. Orthopedic insoles are more comfortable than regular insoles and prevent foot injuries. In addition, consider boots with steel shanks for added foot support.
  • Length test: Before deciding on a work boot, make sure you test the boot length concerning your feet. Place your foot inside and ensure the toes touch the front of the boot. Next, bend your knee forward and insert your index finger between your heel and the back of the foot. The index finger should fit, which indicates correct boot sizing.
  • Proper lacing: Laces should adjust the foot fit and ensure the shoes are not too loose or tight. The laces should keep the foot just right without any sliding movement.
  • Take breaks: As noted earlier, standing for long hours can cause back pain even when wearing the right work boots. If you’re wearing work boots, then avoid standing or walking continuously for more than 8 hours. Take small breaks in between and let the feet rest.
  • Wear the right socks: Wear the normal socks you would wear to work. Avoid cotton socks as they don’t offer enough cushioning. Instead, choose polyester material socks for added comfort.
  • Exercise your feet: Did you know you can train your foot for functional activities. After a long day at work, try and exercise your feet and toes by performing intrinsic foot exercises. You can also massage them and reduce any numbness.

Before we say Goodbye

Choosing the ideal work boot is vital for all-day comfort. If you choose lousy work boots, then you’ve made a grievous mistake that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Wearing bad boots for two hours might not cause any severe back pains. However, wearing bad boots continuously can lead to chronic back pains that might last a lifetime.

Take necessary precautions early enough and choose the right work boot. Choose wisely and stay safe!

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