Do Asphalt Pavers Really Need Special Asphalt Work Boots?

Everybody needs to make a living, right? If you’re sitting here reading this from behind a desk in a comfortable office chair, you may have no idea what asphalt pavers go through. But I suspect if you reached this page, you probably do know what life as an asphalt paver entails, whether you’re part of a pave crew yourself or supplying workers with the tools and gear they need to do their jobs.

Asphalt paving is exhausting, harrowing and often thankless. The unfavorable conditions include crews working with molten tar that reaches superficial temps of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s almost hot enough to bake a pie and definitely warm enough to slow cook a roast. You don’t want your feet to get cooked like Sunday’s dinner, right?
Workers must take frequent breaks to permit their hot feet to cool off — and even that may not prevent heat blisters. Double layered socks and special asphalt boots can protect the feet by creating manual insulation.

Enter COFRA Asphalt Boots

COFRA safety boots have been manufactured in Italy since the 1930s, but only recently came to save the feet of U.S. road paving crews.

Just a few years ago, at the Association of Safety Engineers (ASSE) trade show in Chicago, North American distributors showcased the COFRA boots. Neither elegant to look at nor glamorous to use, these asphalt boots aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think Italian footwear. But watching them in action was another story.

In the demonstration, which kept trade show attendees captivated, the asphalt boot appeared to radiate heat rather than absorb it. Asphalt workers need no longer fear “hot foot,” and can work as if they were standing on normal pavement.

You could get by with standard workboots for asphalt paving, taking frequent breaks and still risking hot foot, not to mention buying new boots every few weeks. A disproportionate amount of road pavers’ salaries go toward work gear, and especially asphalt boots.