It’s easy to take foot health for granted. To many, feet are just

But ill-fitting footwear – and the foot health problems it can cause – can have a significant negative impact on wellbeing, including:

Risk of injury – minor and life-changing

Skin infections 

Joint misalignment

Plantar fasciitis

Back and knee pain 

And these are only a few examples from a long list.

If the boot fits

Poor-fitting footwear in safety-critical industries is more common than you might think. In a recent foot health and safety assessment, auditors from V12 Footwear recorded that 88% of the workforce they were assessing were in the wrong-sized boots!

And while this is undoubtedly uncomfortable for wearers, ill-fitting shoes are also a major cause of foot deformities and ailments such as hammer toes, corns, calluses and athlete’s foot – all of which hinder performance, productivity and, most importantly, wellbeing. Why? Enduring ill-fitting footwear is painful, which instantly creates a low mood, but for employees, it’s also a clear indication of the level to which they are valued by their employers. And being valued is a crucial part of wellbeing.

Women’s wellbeing through
foot health

Sadly, a significant number of female wearers are still resorting to wearing smaller-sized men’s footwear, due to the lack of specific female safety footwear being made available. 

In a survey conducted by V12 Footwear, a group of women working in engineering and construction were asked if when they joined their company, they were offered specific female-fit PPE. A staggering 75% of respondents said they weren’t – and had to make do with smaller men’s workwear.

But again, it’s a larger problem than discomfort. Women’s feet aren’t just smaller than men’s – they’re a different shape. The female foot has: 

A narrower heel 

A higher Achilles tendon 

Higher arches 

A lower instep

And this is why women wearing men’s boots can be left with health issues including blistering, corns, calluses, increased risk of ankle twisting and other musculoskeletal problems. For a self-employed wearer, this can mean huge discomfort – but for an employee in a company, on top of the pain, what message does this inappropriate and dangerous PPE send to them about their worth in their organisation?

As part of its sponsorship of International Women in Engineering Day 2020, V12 Footwear interviewed Debbie Janson, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. On the subject of female-fit PPE, she said: 

“Having footwear that fits instils a sense of belonging for women engineers. You don’t want to arrive at work and be given a pair of men’s boots when all you want is footwear that fits.”

V12 created its men’s fit and True Women’s FitTM ranges by using over 4,000 scans of global foot shapes, so they are wide enough to give a global fit. This means that regardless of the wearer’s sex or foot shape and structure, there’s a comfortable and bespoke safety footwear solution in the V12 range for them.

An improved level of comfort gets to the very heart of wellbeing at work. Not only does it positively impact a person’s immediate health, mood and morale but also the very fact that the PPE was issued as a bespoke safety solution for that employee means they will feel valued, validated and motivated.

And physical comfort plus feeling valued in what you do? That’s true wellbeing.

To find out more about V12 Footwear’s men’s fit and True Women’s FitTM ranges, visit