Steel toe boots are usually a requirement on commercial job sites. OSHA 1910.136 says, “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.”
The reference is always about “steel toe boots” but if you actually read the OSHA requirement, it specifically says “steel toe and shank “.
It’s a bit funny on a job site when you are asked by safety inspectors “hey are those steel toe boots” or if you get the same question from a general contractor.
I have never had anything dropped on the toe of my boot in over 30 years but have had many screws and nails pierce the bottom of my steel toe boots. That is the real danger on a construction site. They are all a maze of things to not step on. My advise is to buy/use steel toe and steel shank boots and that actually makes you compliant with OSHA regulations. The shank is a piece of steel between the inner and outer sole.
There is also a tremendous advantage for a painter with the steel shank. When standing on a ladder that steel shank helps with foot fatigue. Your foot wont curve down on the rung of the ladder but will stay straight and be supported by that shank. It makes a big difference at the end of the day!!!