The answer is simple – metatarsal boots are those that have a metatarsal guard as a feature. They are work boots that you should wear if there is a high chance of objects falling on your feet and injuring them in your workplace. Construction work is probably the most common example of a workplace where metatarsal boots are worn, but you can wear them anyplace you need the additional protection.
How Does the Metatarsal Guard Function?
The metatarsal guard covers the instep and toes of your foot and has cushioning on the inner side. The outer shell protects your metatarsal bones (hence the name) from direct impact while the cushioned inner side distributes the force evenly, lowering the chance of injury. Metatarsal bones are very fragile, so the metatarsal guard is necessary to protect them.
Depending on the material it is made of (steel, aluminum, or composite materials) it will provide different levels of protection, but the purpose of the metatarsal guard is always the same – protecting your feet from compression injuries.
What Is the Difference Between a Metatarsal Guard and a Steel Toe?
The short answer – the area they protect. Met guard boots and steel toe work boots function in the same manner but met guard work boots protect a larger area – everything from your toes to the top of your instep.
Types of Met Guards
Metatarsal work boots can have an internal or external met guard. The first difference is plain to see – the external met guard is clearly visible, while internal met guards don’t stand out as much. If appearance is a concern, see how they both look before making a choice.
However, there are certain advantages that metatarsal work boots with an external guard have. First, you can take the met guard on and off, so the choice is up to you whether you wear it or not. Second, the external guard covers a larger area than the internal one, consequently providing more protection.
The third, and probably the most significant, difference is that external metatarsal guards are safer. Both internal and external met guards must meet certain standards of protection, so the minimum degree of protection provided will be the same, but external met guards usually provide more. So, for maximum protection, the external mett guard is the best choice.
Additionally, even when internal and external met guards have the same level of compression resistance from sudden impact, external met guards offer better protection from continuous pressure – such as when a heavy object is rolling over your foot, instead of just falling on it. If a vehicle running over your feet is a concern, you should choose work boots with an external metatarsal guard.
Are Metatarsal Boots Comfortable?
If the boots are comfortable in general, then yes, the added met guard should not take away from the comfort. Metatarsal boots are manufactured using the latest technologies and the inner side has padding, so comfort should not be an issue. The primary thing you need to worry about is the added weight.
In case your feet run a little wide and your general experience is that boots don’t fit you that well until your stretch them out, then metatarsal boots with an internal guard could cause you discomfort, as it is not intended to stretch easily. However, in that case, you can simply buy boots with an external met guard and you should have no issue.