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The History of Footwear for Labor

Aug 22, 2017

    If you’ve ever worked a tough job, 10 or more hours on your feet, hauling, grinding, or patrolling away, you can appreciate what difference your favorite pair of work boots make. It’s quite the wonder, then, to take a look back at where footwear for laborers started and its evolution through the ages.

Around the 16th century, sabots were the common “protective” footwear for steel workers and the like, all the way up through the Industrial Revolution. The word sabotage originated from the known act of workers’ throwing a sabot into factory machinery, in order to shut down production.

However, as you can imagine, wooden sabots were protective only to a degree and mobility was gravely compromised. Leather boots came out on the rise but without any real protective qualities, protective toe components became the compromise to satisfy performance capability and safety.

Seeing how far work footwear has come over the years, we are proud to be part of the newest generation of footwear innovators. From space-age material SuperFabric® to world-reknown Vibram® soles, we will continue to outfit the hardest working people with the hardest working boots.

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