• Sunday, October 20th, 2019
woodshop shoes

Have you given much consideration to your footwear in the shop?

The power input and the control of your tools originate from your stance. If it’s not well placed and reliable, your performance will suffer. You will also fatigue sooner.

Dependable footing is also essential to safety, especially with machine work. There, you cannot afford to compromise.

Our shop floors are usually littered with sawdust and shavings even with a good dust collection system gathering most of the waste from machine work. No matter what type of floor is in your shop, these make it potentially slippery. 

That said, sure, I’ve been known to get a few things done in my jammies and slippers in my home shop. But for serious work, I like low-cut hikers or at least trail-running shoes. Lately, my favorites are these sturdy Red Head Blue Ridge Low Hiking shoes from Bass Pro Shops. They have good support, wonderful grip, and a beefy toe cover. And the camo accents look kinda cool, don’t ya think?

[I have no affiliation with Bass Pro.]

Category: Tools and Shop
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7 Responses

  1. 1
    John Jenkins 


    I’ve actually had a few conversations about shoes with other woodworkers. It seems to come up when we talk about working on a concrete floor as opposed to an improved floor that might have a little give.

    It is surprising how some guys will want to build up a floor on top of their concrete pad to help their back issues without considering that they might accomplish the same effect with different shoes.

    I too go back and forth between my Merrill MOAB and Hoka Stinsons – both trail shoes, depending on how long I’ll be on my feet.


  2. 2

    Thanks, John. It’s hard to be happy in the shop if your feet are not.

  3. Hey Rob,

    I figured I’d chime in with my woodworking studio shoe solution. When I rehabbed the detached two car garage in our backyard into my studio I chose Dricore panels to go over the concrete slab. My old workplace had wood floors and I couldn’t imagine going back to concrete. A wood floor made picking shoes easier. Then on my wife’s advice I went out and got my first pair of Crocs. They are the perfect shop shoe. Comfortable in summer and winter, and they still offer protection from dropped things unlike sandals in the summer. They are like wearing shop slippers!

    Thanks for your lovely blog!


  4. 4

    Thanks, Thomas. The cover photo on my copy of the 1979 Van Nostrand Reinhold edition of The Impractical Cabinetmaker shows Krenov wearing clog-style shoes in his shop in Sweden.
    The Dricore panels sound like a good idea.

  5. 5
    Steven Herbin 

    Hi Rob-

    I have wide feet and found that EE wouldn’t really work. So I tried a pair of Skecher work shoes. The come extra wide and are very slip proof.

    I like them and they’re very comfortable. They are also available in black — guess I’m a Roy Orbison / Johnny Cash fan.

    — Steve.

  6. 6

    Great, Steve. Power in handplaning comes up from the ground, through the hips, core and shoulders, and out via the arms. Shoes, therefore, are important.

  7. 7
    James Cashman 

    I’ve found foot ware to be essentially the most important or least important item in the shop. Confusing? Not really, just depends on the operation being done. Tinkering around, like dry fit and glueing likes my Crocks. But with any operation, planing and sawing, requiring a sure footing calls for my low back hikers. Never flip flops!!