What is a Steel Shank in a Boot?

For your boot to perform its function of supporting and protecting your feet, it needs to have a feature designed to offer optimal support. In most cases, it is the shank that provides such support. The shank of your boot actually refers to that part of supportive structure found between the outsole and insole.

The shank is important as it improves the functionality of boots, especially those designed for mountaineering. It is because of the ability of this feature to get rid of the load incurred by your calves and feet during an ascent. The rigid materials used in the shank are also helpful in making your boot even more protective.

They can shield your feet from stone bruises and wounds. In most cases, it is also the shank, which defines and shapes your boots. It can offer you a stable platform by stiffening the outsole.

It should be noted that a shank can be constructed from various materials. Some of the materials used in a shank of a boot are plastic, fiber combinations, steel combinations, and steel. Steel is considered to be the most traditional among the mentioned materials. It is also known for its high level of protection.

Learn more about a steel shank and how it can protect you by reading this article.

Steel Shank Defined


A steel shank refers to the flat piece of material inserted into your boot. You can find it just beneath the arch, specifically between the ball and heel areas. Obviously, the shank is constructed from steel. Contrary to what others believe, though, a boot will not become extremely heavy just because it has a steel shank.

In fact, the steel material used in the shank is a thin piece featuring a natural springiness and flexibility. Such makes the material an excellent choice for a shank of a boot. It is important to note that boots and shoes that feature steel shanks actually come with a stainless steel insert contoured to fit the shoe’s natural shape.

It is also designed in such a way that it can strengthen the footwear’s bottom construction. Also, remember that while steel shanks differ in terms of shape and size, the most common out of them can actually be likened to the shape of a tiny comb that you can put in your pocket.

In most cases, shoe and boot manufacturers install the steel shank in the thinnest part of the footwear, specifically in between the wearer’s feet and the shoe’s sole. You can also find steel shanks that extend in such a way that they cover the whole sole of the footwear.

What are the Benefits of a Steel Shank?


There are actually numerous benefits associated with investing in a steel shank and installing it in your boot. One is that it helps you save money. Note that if your boot wears out or loses its structure, then the first thing that you might think about is to buy a new one.

If you have a steel shank, then there is no need for you to buy a new pair of boots or switch into another brand. You can just use the steel shank as it is guaranteed to help keep your boot sturdy and reliable, making it last longer.

A work boot with a steel shank is also beneficial for those with medical conditions affecting the bottom part of their feet, like fallen arches, flat feet and plantar fasciitis. It can also give you the protection you need from sharp objects. It can reduce injuries as it can help prevent sharp objects from penetrating inside or puncturing the bottom part of your boot.

That benefit can be attributed to the fact that aside from the steel shank, the boot will also have a steel insole. You can expect this insole to run the whole length of the footwear. Such steel insole together with the shank can help prevent sharp objects from penetrating beneath the shoe, thereby preventing injuries.

If you are a worker who spends too much time on your feet, then you will also feel glad that steel shank can give you the optimal support you need. It is comfortable and supportive, which is a big help to your overworked arches. Wearing steel shanks can also help prevent your foot muscles from getting worn out and injured.

In addition, the built-in steel shank is also helpful in maintaining the natural shape of your boot’s sole. Such is the key to preventing discomfort and fatigue. It can also help retain the excellent condition of expensive and comfortable work boots.

If you are someone who climbs a ladder frequently, then the steel shank can also minimize the pressure triggered by the rungs against your feet’s bottom.

Is Steel Shank Better than Composite?


Aside from steel, a composite is also a popular material used in a boot’s shank. Which is actually better than the two? You can make a decision by considering various important factors, like the ones below:


In terms of price, steel is considered to be a clear winner when compared to composite. It is because boots featuring steel shanks tend to be less expensive than those with composite shanks. That said, a steel shank is definitely a great option if you have a limited budget.


In terms of protection, steel is also considered to be better than composite. Boots featuring steel shanks are mainly designed to give wearers superior protection. The steel material used in the shank is really effective in protecting your foot from injuries. It can also fortify your boot.

In addition, it can offer protection from punctures. Most composite shanks lack the solidarity often found in boots with steel shanks, which is why they are not as protective. However, take note that composite shank is also a good choice if you want to protect yourself from injuries caused by electricity.

It is because composite shanks are known for having a higher level of electrical resistance than those made of steel.


Many say that composite shanks are more comfortable than steel. It is probably because composite is lighter in weight compared to steel. Such makes it a good choice if you need to use it for long hours. However, steel shanks come in close second to steel as far as comfort is concerned so it is still a good choice.

Work industry

When you are trying to pick between a steel and a composite shank, you have to determine the work industry you are a part of. It is because it has a say on which between the two will definitely work for you.

If you are part of an industry which requires you to deal with heavy equipment most of the time, then a boot with a steel shank is a must for you as it is more protective.

Picking the most suitable one for you between composite and steel shank can definitely help you wear the right footwear designed to minimize discomfort and pain that your feet may experience, especially in the workplace. It ensures that your feet will stay protected from workplace hazards and certain medical conditions that bother the sole.

The good thing about a boot with a steel shank is that it always comes with a sturdy and rigid sole, capable of supporting those who work for long hours on their feet. It’s also helpful for those with problems affecting the bottom of their feet.

Final Words

With the many benefits provided by a steel shank, investing in it is definitely a wise move. It can offer you a high level of support and protection. It can also give you peace of mind when you are doing your daily routines, whether it involves climbing ladders or ascending inclines.

You will also feel at ease knowing that your boot will be able to retain its excellent condition even if you use it often. The fact that it can protect you from injuries is also one of the reasons why investing in a steel shank and integrating it to your boot is a must for workers, like you.