JLC author, Lee McGinley and I were talking on the phone the other day, asking if we'd see each other at JLC-Live in Providence at the end of March. We've been working together on articles since the mid-90's, but haven't seen each other in a very long time. Lee asked me: "So do you still wear those engineer's boots." I admitted I did. I began wearing them after I stepped on a rusty spike during a demolition job. The steel shank and the steel toe have given peace of mind ever since. And, hey, once I'd broken in a pair of  Chippewas (which is a real investment in extended foot pain) I just kept wearing them. I still have the first pair I bought in 1989. They're pretty beat, as you can imagine, and I recently upgraded to a shorter style - a little lighter, but still just as painful to break-in.

In the industrial trades, few folks argue that steel-toed work boots are a must-have on the jobsite. The experience of Darren Sisson, working on a tunnel project in Brisbane, Australia, is a keen reminder. (see "Please Don’t Let Me See What I Think I’ll See," Tools of the Trade, 8/13).

On residential sites, however, regular ol' tennis shoes and hiking boots are common. It's all about  agility, I realize that, and no one really wants the Li'l Abner comments  (trust me on this one). But if you use a roofing nailer or framing gun a lot, this slow motion video might convince you to wear more protective footwear.  Watch now. (Hat tip to Julian Lee.)

Fortunately, not all work boots with safety toes are clodhoppers. Last summer, Tim Uhler reviewed a line of Keen work boots (see "Keen Work Boots," Tools of the Trade, 6/13) that are considerably lighter and easier to break-in. These have composite plastic safety toes that meet ASTM Standards for impact and compression. (With plastic. Who'd a thunk?)

So what do you all wear to protect your feet on the job site?