What Is A Steel Shank In A Boot?

In this short article, we shall look at one of the most underrated part of your boot. What is a steel shank in a boot?

For footwear to work optimally, protect your feet and keep you stable as you stand and move, it need a few important features and the shank is one of them.

So what is a steel shank in a boot? This is a flexible strip of steel about half an inch in width that is inserted and stuck with gum on the area between the ball of foot area and the heel. It is located between the footbed and outsole. If you have an old, worn out pair of boots that you do not use any longer, you can check under the footbed. In some boots, the steel shank can extend through the entire length.

Now that we have seen what a steel shank is, do you really need it in a boot? Is it one of the buying factors that you should bear in mind when buying a pair of boots?

As we said, this is one of the most ignored components of a boot. The good thing is that this shank has become the norm rather than the option for the modern work and lifestyle boots.

Reasons to Buy Boots with Steel Shank

There are many reasons to buy steel shank boots. In any case, as we have already mentioned, this has become the norm with all the boots manufacturers.

However, the reason why we are discussing steel shanks here is because boots come with plastic shanks or other materials. It goes without saying that the steel shanks are better because they last longer.

Here are the most obvious ones:

It helps the boots retain their shape for a long time

Boots with steel shank retain their shape for a long time. lf they came without shanks, they would bend at the ball of  foot area because that is where the foot bends most.

Image of boots with steel shank

Therefore, a steel shank helps to keep the boots straight. When you walk, the sole will be flexible enough because the shank is thin and flexible. Even with more usage, it never loses its tension, so when you get the shoes off, they will retain their shape.

If the shoes did not have a shank, they would bend so much such that they would start cracking. At the area where the foot bends most, that is the same place where they would start cracking.

You get better arch support

One of the most important factors when buying shoes is arch support. This is something that people with natural arches also consider. Arch support is not a concern for people with low arches or no arches at all.

When you work in your boots for many hours on end, you need good arch support. All that walking and standing in heavy work boots overworks your arches and they can hurt a lot. However, the shank is usually shaped like the arch.

If you add a footbed that has proper arch support, you get better support all the time. This can enhance your foot health and leave you feeling better throughout your work day.

In fact, if your buy boots that do not have a shank, you may consider taking them to the cobbler so that they can install this important for you.

If your work involves climbing up and down ladders, you definitely need more arch support. This can be enhanced by wearing steel shank work boots. Boots with steel sole give you a better hold on the rungs.

If you work in places where you have to walk on uneven ground all the time, you need good arch support. If you do not get this, your arches will sustain bruises. This will affect your productivity at the end of the day.

Enhances your stability when you are walking

Steel shanks are very good for enhancing your stability when you are walking. If you will walk on uneven grounds, you need the stability that these boots offer.

When you work in the logging industry, construction sites or other jobs that require you to walk a lot, you need boots fitted with shanks to keep you stable on your feet. You should specifically look for steel shank work shoes that have this part stretching to the full length of the shoes.

They Last Longer

While this goes hand in hand with the first point that we raised, still, boots with steel hank can last even longer than boots made with other types of shanks. For example, wood, plastic and fiberglass shanks may not last as long as metal. Therefore, if you want durability, insist on shoes that come with steel rather than a wood or plastic shank.

Disadvantages of Steel shank in a boot

When looking for information for what is a steel shank in a boot, you will find that these shanks are not all glory with no doom. They have one main disadvantage. When you walk through an airport scanner, it will go off, well, in most cases, they set them off in the same way that steel toe boots do.

However, apart from that one disadvantage, steel shank boots have more pros and cons, which makes them a good buy for anyone.


What is a steel shank in a boot and should you specifically look for steel? Well, we have answered this question amply. Shanks offer more durability, more arch support, more stability and they also enhance your comfort.