Category Archives: General Topics

High Quality Asphalt Boots: 5 Tips to Choose the Best Asphalt Boots

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.

How Cofra Asphalt Boots Are Like A Good Italian Meal

If you’re based in the U.S., you may not have heard of COFRA. (We think that’s just a little bit of a tragedy, but that’s why we’re here!) In the Euro zones, this Italian manufacturer is well-known for specialized and safety footwear. In fact, they’ve been manufacturing high-quality, light weight work boots since 1938. They used to produce them 10 pairs at a time, but today, the company has some of the most sophisticated manufacturing plants in the world in order to keep up with demand. If you’re an asphalt paver in Italy, you eat pasta and cannolis, drink wine… and wear COFRA. (You don’t drink the wine on the job site, of course… we are talking about asphalt paving safety here.)

You know that feeling after a great Italian meal? Warm and comfortable, satisfied? There’s even a sense of security that comes from a full belly. Wearing Cofra asphalt boots is kind of like that. The asphalt boot molds to your foot, just like that chair you’re sitting in after your meal seems to be custom designed for you. The engineers call it “extraordinary adaptive mechanical flexibilities,” but what it really means is it can be customized to fit your individual safety needs and the size and shape of your foot. It has the depth to accommodate custom orthotics, and additional arch support inserts.

Cofra = Comfort
We know it might be hard for you to get excited about asphalt boots, but that just means you haven’t tried Cofra asphalt boots yet. The boot invites your foot inside, encasing it in protection and comfort. You’ll forget you’re wearing a highly specialized work boot. The boot is actually designed to nurture the nerves of your feet — and we know you spend so much time on your feet, they could use a little nurturing. If you were the type of guy to get a pedicure (hey, there’s nothing wrong with that) this is what it would feel like.

No More “Hot Foot”
Cofra boots are comfortable. But the real question is: Will they protect your feet from those super high temps of 300 degrees +? In a word, yes. The supple Anti-Perforation Textile (APT) plate lining provides the first level of heat resistance, actually preventing heat from entering the boot. Then, the heat-reflective “Thermic” insole relates any heat that might penetrate the first layer of defense. That’s why those asphalt boots on display at the Chicago Safety Show seemed to be radiating heat — they were!

You have choices in asphalt boots to protect against hot foot and keep your feet safe and comfortable. Cofra has been the choice of European asphalt pavers for decades. Now that the boots are available in the U.S., it might be time to re-consider your choices of the past.

What Makes American Made Footwear so Special

The once massive American footwear industry use to employ hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and women in factories throughout the country. As with so many labor intensive manufacturing processes, (there are about 150 individual processes involved in making a shoe), production moved to low-wage labor in China and other countries. The United States imports over $20,000,000,000 worth of footwear per year, 75% of which comes from China. So what footwear is still made in America?

Top Quality American Made Leather Work Footwear

There are two brands that stand out in producing top quality work footwear right here in the U.S.A. The First in Thorogood, produced by the Weinbrenner Shoe Company of Wisconsin. Started in 1892, Weinbrenner and Thorogood brand are the leaders in American made work footwear. The Thorogood line features over 60 different styles of plain and safety toe work shoes, from specialty roofing shoes, to traditional work boots, western style pull on boots to heavy duty logger boots.

The other brand with a long history of making boots in the U.S. is Danner. Danner is ramping up its domestic manufacturing and now has a variety of top quality, fine leather work footwear.

Materials used to make these products

The hallmark of American made footwear by Danner and Thorogood is the use of top quality, fine leather. The footwear is generally traditional in styling, as excessive stitching of multiple layers and trendy materials is cost prohibitive. As it is, the manufacture of a leather footwear involves more than 200 individual steps and is truly a handmade process.

Different Sizes Including Big Size or King Size Work Footwear

For the most part, imported work footwear comes in two widths. Medium is typically a “D” width and Wide is generally an “E” or double “E” width. One the advantages of American made shoes, is that many styles of Thorogood for example, come in widths from B to D to EE and even EEE. In addition, sizes can range from men’s 6 to men’s 14, 15, 16, 17 and even men’s 18.
Proper sizing means more comfort, better performance and less foot fatigue.

For example, the 8144201 Thorogood 8 Inch Moc Toe Wedge comes in the  narrow width of B, as well as D, EE and 4E ultra wide. The 8044203 and 8044204 Thorogood American Heritage Safety Toe work boots, 6″ and 8″ respectively, come in B width up to size 13, D width up to size 18, EE up to size 14, and EEE up to size 18.