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Where to get women's work boots and shoes - that actually do work?

 
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Every year I go to the shops that sell workwear.  I ask, where do I find the women's work-safe shoes?  Every year they shake their head and say "we don't sell that kind of stuff". "there's no demand for that", or worse, they show me to some flexible soles (no shank), with no traction, soft toe (no toe cap), pretty shoes that would be better worn to a dinner date than a workplace.  Heaven forbid they would need to be waterproof.

I usually end up buying mens shoes or boots but they don't wear as long because they aren't the right shape for my foot.  I'm also more likely to fall because I don't get ankle support.  

The thing is, even men's work boots aren't very good on the farm.  The year I spent a hundred dollars extra to get the nail-gun protection on the ankle, sole and toe, within two days I had gotten a nail through the sole and a rooster through the ankle protection (spur went through the boot, through what they claimed was a steel guard, through the thin part of my ankle, and out the other side of the boot.  Now both boots leak and the warranty didn't cover 'rooster' (I should have lied, but I was so fed up by then).  This is an unusual occurrence (the rooster that hates black shoes has now passed on), but it just shows how much bad luck I have finding shoes that can stand up to farmwear but still look okay to wear if I do warehouse work (which also needs steel toe caps and to meet Worksafe grip standards for indoor use.  

Because my feet are a weird shape, I don't normally like buying online, but I'm getting frustrated enough to consider it.

So... anyone out there found a good place to buy workboots and workshoes for women?  
 
r ranson
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This video goes into more detail about the safety advantages of getting boots and shoes the right shape for your foot - and why women's boots are different than men's.

 
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That's surprising -- maybe it's a local thing. There are all sorts of women working in industry and construction here, and lots of shops have safety workboots specialized for women.

Check big retailers like Canadian Tire or Mark's Work Warehouse. I'll bet Redwing sells them too (spendy though). I would also try stores that cater to farmers -- women working on farms demand practical boots.
 
r ranson
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:That's surprising -- maybe it's a local thing. There are all sorts of women working in industry and construction here, and lots of shops have safety workboots specialized for women.

Check big retailers like Canadian Tire or Mark's Work Warehouse. I'll bet Redwing sells them too (spendy though). I would also try stores that cater to farmers -- women working on farms demand practical boots.



Marks has pretty much told me not to come back, they don't sell that kind of stuff in the store because women don't need or want work boots or shoes.  

Canadian Tire, the same.

I've been to all the locations near town, even in the giant box store versions.  They have very few women's shoes and cater to the healthcare market or only sell decorative shoes with no tread.  I end up having to buy men's shoes but find it very difficult to get the staff members to look in the back for the size I need.  Yes, I wear a skirt, but that doesn't mean I don't need good shoes.

I used to be able to get hiking boots that would be up to the worksafe standards but they are harder to find now and would take a lot longer to get a good fit.  

No redwings in town.  A quick glance at the online shop is promising.  

 
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I doubt that you have a Tractor Supply where you live.  Do they have them in Canada or can you order online from them:

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/catalog/womens-work-boots

Another option is Sketcher, Carhartt, and Rockport which are all well-known brands in the US and these companies make women's work boots.

I can understand not wanting to buy online.

I have a closet full of work shoes and boots.  I use them for hiking. My favorite brand was Redwings.  I have always bought men's boots because of the "toe space" being larger.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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r ranson wrote:Marks has pretty much told me not to come back, they don't sell that kind of stuff in the store because women don't need or want work boots or shoes.  


That's definitely a decision made by your local Marks store. Looking online, my local store has a dozen varieties of women's safety boots in stock.
 
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Yeah, the two Mark's stores near where I live have women's work boots, and these are small towns. Even the local shoe store has a couple. My problem is my feet are way too wide to fit into anything anyone ever has, and they're too short for men's sizes.

This place in Victoria makes custom work boots. It says they're not accepting orders right now, but it might be something to look into at some point. When I click on their "shop" link it brings me to a site that has some women's CSA certified Keens, but I don't know if they actually have them at a store where you can try them on.

https://www.vibergworkboots.com/

Acklands-Grainger has a location in Victoria. I only checked one women's work boot in the catalogue and it said it was backordered for the Victoria location, but that means they do carry them.

Might have to take a trip to the mainland for some Redwings.

 
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Oh, and you might want to phone around before you decide no one sells Redwings. There are at least two stores in my area that sell them, and they're not listed on the Redwings site.
 
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The easiest way to get attention for the rooster boots is to post a review on line with a recommendation not to waste your money.  Farming is real work and they are not work boots.
 
Paul Fookes
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Have you thought about getting military style boots as work boots?  From experience, they are very comfortable, highly puncture resistant and have a degree of water resistance and or quick drying.  They also are high-sided so resistant to snakebite, ticks and other nasties.  Not sure about the US and Canada, but here we can get them as surplus in disposal stores.  The boots listed on this site are exy but will last really well.  I am wearing boots which I got issued in 1982 https://www.militarybootsdirect.com/about-us.html
 
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Our daughter worked on an automobile assembly line for several years. They had very strict rules about the kind of work boots they could wear. A traveling company came to the plant on a regular basis and they had plenty of very sturdy women's boots in several styles. Maybe there is a similar workplace nearby that you might be able to connect with their supplier??
 
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I have the same issue....i abandoned womans shoes due to poor constuction and tacky colors (except for keens or birkenstocks) and order mens tactical and work boots exclusively.
Most stores seem to have little inventory so I order online and return if they dont work.
I have been happy w/ a pair of comp toe mens Chippewa Apache work boots... wear a 7 wide (equal to 9 wide womens) ....bought as floor sample so had a few scuffs but o/w good as new and were $30. Mens Lowas are also great as an all duty boot.....just expensive!
 
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My favorite is a pair of steel toe combat boots with zipper and laces. The zipper is quick, and the laces let me adjust if I'm having ankle swelling (from an old injury.) They're maybe 20 years old now, and other than lace replacements and regular polishing to protect the leather they haven't needed much care.  Sizing on combat boots can be rough for women, the boots tend to assume wider heels, and a lot of what's available just doesn't go small enough.

My boots never had to duel it out with an angry rooster though. Does anyone make fine chain mail ankle warmers?
 
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Although not specifically women's boots you might try -   https://originmaine.com/durable-goods/boots/

I'm a boot snob and these live up to their price tag.  
 
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Almost 20 years working for the US Forest Service and living on a ranch. I have long narrow feet with high arches. I wear either Keen hiking boots or White’s Boots in Spokane WA. Yes, they are expensive but last forever and they will rebuild them.
 
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Had to find some really good work boots for forestry work a few years ago and came across two companies that were at the top of every list.  You pay top dollar but the quality is amazing and they will rebuild the boot if you have any problems.  Both are local to the Pacific Northwest Region, but they have a really specific measuring guide if you are going to order long-distance.  You do have to break them in when you first get them, but I have heard that they become a second skin once you do:

White's Boots
https://whitesboots.com/

Wesco Boots
https://builder.wescoboots.com/

We ended up with a pair of Discounted Boots from Wesco - saved a little bit, we were lucky they had it in the right size.  They were amazing and still hold up ten years later.  Their website is pretty easy to navigate and I was able to talk to somebody when I called.  But that was 10 years ago and hiring shortages may have changed that.

Good Luck!
 
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Okay at one point I worked in a leased children's show depart in Houston Texas.  One of the facts I found out was that if you wanted heavy duty work boots go to the men's shoe area and look at the boots.  Then select a boot which is about two sizes smaller than your regular women's shoe size.  If you were a size 9 select a size 7 and check to see if it may fit.   This may help if you are needing steel toe type shoes.  These shoes from men's department may run a bit wider than your regular shoes.  Bonus if it is winter and you need to wear two pairs of socks.    If you are looking for a mud type boot this is a company  which might help https://www.sloggers.com/Rain-and-Garden-Shoes-s/1824.htm   i have three pairs of the garden shoes for when I go to the farmers market or other places,  
 
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"Rooster-Proof" boots should be the industry bare-minimum requirement...Where is Ralph Nader when we truly need him? IMO, nothing beats a good quality pair of work boots. I  don't have a good answer for all the ladies out there.
 
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I know this frustration!

I've landed on a pair of men's work boots from Walmart.  The first time I bought them I wore them regularly for 9 years as a not-farming-yet hiking and winter boot (living in the Rockies). When that pair finally succumbed I reckoned that I could probably spring for a "solid boot."  That far more expensive boot lasted for under 2 years in farming conditions. I went back to Walmart. They still sell the same cheap boot. I wore that one on-farm daily for 4 years before the sole cracked this spring and I was getting my socks soaked. I was in a crunch, so I went back to Walmart and got my third pair.  The price had gone up $10 since the last time I had purchased, but still very reasonably priced.

Brahma Men's Bravo, they only come in Wide, but for me, they've worked.





And because I can, I invoke Sir Terry Pratchett.  

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

 
Sandra Gill
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Hi as I wrote earlier I mentioned a brand of boot called sloggers I have narrow feet and high arches and have ended up purchasing boots two size larger (I wear a 9 in most woman's shoes in this brand I wear an eleven.  I have seen them at hardware store and a local garden center too.  True Value  carries them  https://www.truevalue.com/shop/lawn-garden/gardening-workwear/gardening-footwear  i forgot to mention these do not have steel toes which is something to consider.    
 
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You can buy an inexpensive pair for $50 every year, or you can buy one pair every 10+ years for $500.

I happen to be able to do the latter, and experience much more comfort for those 10+ years as a result. I buy my boots, built by hand on a custom last at Russell Moccasin in Berlin, Wisconsin. I just had my 10 year old boots re-soled by them for a little over $100. That means I will probably get 20+ years out of them for around $600 and they fit like slippers. No joke.

If you have any foot or leg anomaly this is a no-brainer. If you are okay with off the shelf boots, this is also an option because they do standard sizes as well (at a lower price).  

Obviously, you still have to take care of the boot by cleaning and conditioning it regularly, but you can’t get a better fitting, longer lasting boot than a custom Russell. I have friends who switched from Red Wing (my second choice).
 
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