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What Are Steel Shank Shoes?

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Purchasing the right footwear for your feet helps reduce discomfort and ensures your feet remain protected against workplace hazards or chronic medical conditions bothering your soles. Shoes with steel shanks feature a rigid sole that supports people who work on their feet and those with problems with the bottoms of their feet.

Steel Shank Construction

Shoes and boots with steel shanks feature a stainless steel insert that's contoured to fit the shape of the shoe and designed to strengthen the construction of the bottom of your footwear. Steel shanks vary in size and shape, but the most common type resembles the shape of a small pocket comb. Manufacturers install these types of shanks in the thinner part of the shoe, in between the sole and your foot. Some steel shanks extend to cover the entire sole.

Steel Shank Protection

Some people wear steel shank shoes because of medical conditions that affect the bottom of their foot, such as fallen arches. The shank helps maintain the shape of the sole, preventing fatigue and discomfort. Steel shanked shoes and boots protect construction workers on sites with sharp items that may puncture the bottom of their boots and cause injury. People who spend a lot of time on their feet, such as servers, guards, outdoor workers or painters, wear steel shanks to prevent the muscles in their feet from becoming injured and worn out. Those who climb ladders frequently use steel shanks to reduce the pressure of the rungs against the bottom of their feet.


Kent Tukeli has been writing for business and media organizations since 2007, including Valnet Inc., Top Affiliate Publishing and Mirvish Productions. He honed his skills at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

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