Asphalt paving can be brutally hard work. Hard on your body, and especially your feet with searing heat and unforgiving hard surfaces. Wearing the proper footwear can help ease the pain.
The right asphalt boots and shoes are critical. But what makes a pair of asphalt boots “right,” “good” or the best asphalt boots available? Let’s explore some of the features that are critically important for asphalt paving.
1. A Flat or Nearly Flat Outsole – This is a key feature of asphalt boots. First, a flat sole, without any or with only shallow tread patterns are best because the they don’t become clogged with pebbles, stones, asphalt and tar. Not only are clogged soles an aggravation they could be a tripping hazard. The other benefit of a flat sole is that without a 90 degree heel, there is impact or impressions in new, soft asphalt. Cofra manufactures a completely flat soled Asphalt Boot. In addition, wedge style boots provide full surface contact with no sharp heel. Thorogood has a number of wedge style work boots that can work for paving such as the Thorogood 8044518 American Heritage Wedge.
2. Heat Resistant Sole – Both the outsole and the insole should be made of materials that can withstand the heat and have some characteristics to minimize heat transfer through the boot sole into your foot. For instance, Cofra Asphalt Boots have a Thermic Insole that insulates against high temperatures due to a special Polyurathane compound. The Cofra Asphalt Boots provide The Cofra sole system has been tested to provide heat resistance for 8 hours against 212 degrees F.
3. Safety Toe – Any footwear worn in road construction should feature ASTM F2413-11 I/75, C/75 safety toe cap. A composite safety toe made from fiberglass and nylon materials will be less likely to transfer heat like a steel safety toe.
4. Full Gusset Tongue – A full gusset shoe tongue is important because the design prevents stones, hot tar and hot oil from getting into the shoe through the tongue lace area. At 300 degrees, getting hot asphalt into the shoe would cause serious injury. A full gusset will also keep feet dry if you stepped in a puddle or have rain water running down your pant leg.
5. Proper Fit – A shoe that doesn’t fit can cause safety issues, health problems and discomfort, as anyone who’s ever walked in a pair of shoes that are too big or too small knows. Your outer sole must have sufficient clamping with the footfall; that means the boot shouldn’t flop when you walk and your foot shouldn’t rub against the inner surface of the boot.