Not every type of boot is built the same. And these differing techniques can result in varying strengths and weaknesses. The direct attach method is a popular way to build boots. What are direct attach boots?
Direct attach boots are boots that are built by injecting molten rubber or other materials into a pre-made mold to form the sole of the boot. Then, that formed sole is immediately attached directly to the bottom of the boot, allowing the injection to securely bind to the boot, which connects the boot upper to this newly formed sole.
Although there are many variations, direct attach boots are often known for their comfort, and can also be cheaper than boots made using a welt construction.
In this article let’s take a closer look at direct attach boots so you have a better idea whether or not they will be right for you. We will also briefly discuss some of the other boot construction methods that are popular.
Here’s a look at a pair of direct attach boots that I own:
Types of Boot Construction
Not all work boots are built the same way. There are several different methods used to connect a boot upper to the sole. Two of the most popular methods are:
- welt construction
- direct attach
Welt construction is considered by many to be the best way to build a work boot. A welt boot is built by stitching a welt to the boot upper. The welt is a stripping, usually made of leather, that rides around the outside of the boot.
The welt cavity is usually filled with cork, which can add comfort to the boot. Then, another piece of material is stitched to the bottom of the welt, creating a platform under the foot.
Welt work boots are best for you if you need heavy-duty work boots, or if you are someone who likes to get your boots resoled (direct attach boots cannot be re-soled).
As we discussed earlier in the article, direct attach boots are boots that are built by injecting molten rubber or other materials into a pre-made mold to form the sole of the boot.
Then, that mold is immediately attached directly to the bottom of the boot, allowing the injection to securely bind to the boot, which connects the boot upper to this newly formed sole.
This molten rubber sole ensures that the boots are lightweight and great for those who work in a fast-paced environment. This process is usually more economic than a welt construction.
Other Types of Boot Construction
Cementing is another method that may be used to build boots, and it usually creates a lightweight boot best used in less rugged environments.
There are also combinations of these builds that different companies may use, for example, a “cement to welt” construction that will be a combination of both.
Pros of Direct Attach Boots
Why are direct attach boots popular? Well, although they aren’t perfect for all types of jobs, they do have a few qualities that make them appealing in comparison to welt boots. Here are some advantages you need to consider.
Direct Attach boots are usually a bit more affordable than welt boots. Overall, it takes less effort and less materials to make a direct attach boot.
These savings are usually reflected in the retail price. Of course, you must also consider that although the boots are usually cheaper on the front end, they usually wear out quicker than welt boots (more on that later).
Direct attach boots are usually a bit lighter in weight than welt work boots. Not only are there less materials, sometimes the injection that forms the sole of the boot is made using a lightweight material.
Although the weight of a boot can be impacted by several different factors, if you are someone who spends an extended amount of time on your feet, direct attach boots might be a nice option.
Direct-attach boots are considered to be very comfortable compared to welt boots. There are several reasons why.
- Lightweight – Ask we discussed above, direct attach boots are generally lighter in weight than welt boots.
- Shock Absorption – The direct attach boots naturally help deter shock and stress to the bottom of the foot.
- Flexibility – Although boots using cement construction are generally considered to be the most flexible type of work boots, direct attach boots are also considered quite flexible.
As we discussed above, direct attach boots are built by allowing the injection to securely bind to the bottom of the upper. Welt boots are different; they are stitched to the upper.
As you can imagine, even though stitching can be secure, it isn’t necessarily watertight. Because direct attach boots don’t rely on stitching, they are built in a way that helps keep water from leaking in around the midsole.
Now, this doesn’t mean every direct attach boot on the market is considered to be waterproof. But it’s worth noting that if everything else is equal, a stitched welt construction can be more susceptible to water than a direct attach construction.
Cons of Direct Attach Boots
Yes, there are some serious drawbacks to direct attach boots as well. You will want to be aware of these disadvantages and consider how much of an impact they will have on your job.
Can’t Be Re-Crafted
Yes, this one hurts. Direct Attach boots cannot be recrafted once they are worn out. So if you grow to love your boots, you can’t simply get them sent away and re-soled. You will need to buy entirely new boots.
Another major downside of direct-attach boots is that they are simply not as durable as welt constructed boots. They rely on molten rubber to create a comfortable and lightweight feel, but that doesn’t do much for durability.
If you need absolute durability while on the job, you might bypass direct-attach boots and opt for welt-constructed boots instead.
Premium Work Boots
Most premium work boots will be made using a welt construction. Obviously, there’s a reason why.
In general, a welt work boot is more durable, lasts longer, can be recrafted, and is often better for heavy-duty work. If you want to buy a premium work boot that may last you years and year, then you will need to buy a welt work boot.
Are Direct Attach Boots Right for You?
Direct-attach boots are built in a way that results in a more affordable, often more lightweight and comfortable work boot. As good as that sounds, that doesn’t always mean they will make sense for your job.
If you work on your feet all day, direct attach boots are a good option to consider. Obviously, each brand may design their direct attach boots a bit differently, so other things can impact comfort.
But you’ll want to remember that direct attach boots can’t be recrafted. So when your boots start to wear out, you will need to buy a new pair of boots to replace them, instead of having them repaired.