Work boots are an important and expensive item that have a major impact on your comfort and safety at work every day. Yet they are usually not paid for by employers. Skimping on work boots is not the way to save money on work boots. 

Instead, concentrate on making your work boots last longer. Not only will quality boots save you money in the long run, but it’ll increase the amount of time before you have to break in a new pair.

The first step to make your work boots last longer is to choose a good quality pair. Cheap work boots are going to be just that- cheap. That means cheap stitching, cheap materials, and rushed workmanship. That’s not a recipe for long-lasting boots. Choose a good quality pair of boots and don’t be afraid to pay more for them, they’ll more than make up for it with longevity and comfort.

Second, treat your boots when you get them. You’ll want a water-based stain and water repellant. This will minimize the amount of water that soaks into the leather. Water can not only stain leather, but it can cause it to stretch and then shrink. This process can tear out the stitching, cause gaps at the seams and generally ruin your boots, causing them to fall apart long before their time. Follow the directions on the water-proofing agent for periodic retreatment, these products are good, but they don’t last forever.

If they do get wet, don’t panic. When you get home set them to dry without using heat. Heat can also cause damage to boot leather, over-drying and cracking it. You can put them in front of an ordinary fan, or use a hair dryer with the heat turned off. The faster they dry (without using heat) the better off they’ll be. Just in case, let’s be clear- do NOT use a microwave to dry your boots.

Using cedar tree shoes inside your boots overnight will help them retain their shape and it’ll draw out moisture inside the boot caused by sweating feet. This will increase the lifespan of the work boot while also helping to prevent that certain old boot smell that, in some cases, can be reason enough to get a new pair.

Work boots will also last longer if they are given a break between wearing. Consider buying two pair and then switching them off between days. This practice will help give them time to get thoroughly dry between wearings, and let the leather relax back into its natural shape.

Remember that in some cases, boots that are only worn for your job, like steel-toed boots, may be tax deductible if your employer did not reimburse you for their cost and care, but check with your own tax-accountant to see if that applies in your specific circumstances.

Saving money on work boots isn’t a matter of spending less, but a matter of making a good investment and then taking care of that investment.