What Is A Metatarsal Guard?

What is a metatarsal guard in boots and is it very important?

Well, one of the reasons for wearing safety boots is for the ultimate protection of your foot. That is why today, many boots come with several protective and safety features.

These include thick and tough out soles with deep lugs, long tongue to keep debris out, thick leather or synthetic upper, ankle support and arch support. But among all these safety features, the metatarsal foot protection guard is the most important.

So, what is a metatarsal guard? This is an extension of the protection that most work boots come with in the toe area. It extends to the ankle, passing over the lace area of the boots. Just like the toe area that may have steel protection, the metatarsal guard can be made of aluminum, steel, plastic, metal, fiber glass or other material. Some work boots are also designed with metatarsal guards in the interior of the boots.

The metatarsal foot protection is very important for people who work in jobs that pose risks of objects dropping. If you deal with metal work, building and construction, oil industry and others, you may need a pair of boots with metatarsal protectors.

What are metatarsals?

The metatarsals are the five bones that run from the tarsal bone in the heel towards the toes. These are five bones because you have five toes. They help in stabilizing your feet as you walk, run or stand. They also help in propelling you.

Under the metatarsal area, you will find the fleshy ball of feet area, that is, on your sole. You can see that the metatarsals are quite long.

Therefore, you cannot rely on the steel toe alone to offer you the protection that you need. This one offers just a maximum of 1.5 inches only, leaving most of the area between your phalanges (toes) and the ankle unprotected. This is where the metguards come in.

Why you need top of foot protection

Your feet extend ahead of you. Therefore, they are more exposed to falling and rolling objects than the rest of your body. If you work in a job site with the risk of heavy objects rolling or falling, you need to protect your feet because they will be the first victims.

Another thing is that the metatarsal bones are quite exposed. They do not have a fleshy patch covering them. Therefore, if they are exposed to falling items, there is simply no muscle to absorb some of the impact. If you touch the top of your foot, you will feel these bones with your fingers.

Lastly, metatarsal guards are part of the PPE as required by OSHA, which we have already discussed. If you work in areas that require these types of boots as part of the PPE, you had better have them for your foot protection.  

Types of Metatarsal Guards

Metatarsal guards come in different types, mainly two. These are the interior metguards and the exterior ones. In some professions, safety boots with met guards are a required by OSHA. Therefore, you can find out whether the safety standards bodies require your employer to outfit you with such boots. If they are not mandated, you may have to buy them yourself.

Internal Metatarsal Guards

The internal guards are more flexible so that you can walk with them easily. They are designed with hard scales, which are then covered with flexible padding, which makes them more flexible enough to enable you to walk comfortably.

The interior met guard is located behind the tongue of the shoe so that you can lace up the boots comfortably, over it.

External Met Guards

The external top foot protection is more popular than the internal ones. Usually, external met guard is made of tough plastic, metal or even fiberglass that is then wrapped in leather and foam padding.

It is attached to the shoes right after the toe area and it extends to the ankle, running over the laces. The only disadvantage with this type of metatarsal guards for boots is that it makes the boots look bulky, even ugly. However, it is either your safety or beauty.


What is a metatarsal guard and is it important? You have seen why this could save your feet any day.

When are metatarsal guards required? Whenever you know that you will be working with heavy falling or rolling objects, for example, in construction and welding sites.

Metatarsal boot covers offer the ultimate top of foot protection, all the time.