Our Team Knows: Chippewa is the Best Footwear for Green Collar Workers
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
Solar Wolf Energy prides itself on innovating in the photovoltaic industry and mastering cutting edge technology that consistently improves energy production, efficiency and savings for our clients. Renewable energy is all about innovation, after all: rethinking the way we utilize resources, being mindful of negative externalities, and prioritizing environmental stewardship alongside cost effectiveness has driven the industry to develop more powerful equipment that lasts longer and produces better, for more affordable prices than ever before. You would think, given the emphasis on modernization and technological advancement in the renewables space, that installers would be serious about safe and supportive workwear on job sites… But that’s an area where we notice even the most state-of-the-art solar experts could use some improvement.
Our team is made up of experts from a variety of construction industries, including roofing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, masonry, and more, so we’ve got experience in just about every hard trade you can imagine… And we’re always surprised to see the lack of attention given to proper workwear on solar sites; especially footwear! Those of us who have spent time in other hard trades know how important it is to have proper shoes for the job. When you’re standing on concrete or asphalt all day long, scaling up and down ladders while carrying heavy materials, and carefully walking across steeply-pitched rooftops, it is critical that your footwear provides protection, stability, traction and support. We cringe whenever we see a solar installer walking across a roof with flimsy sneakers on, because we know that type of shoe does not deliver the level of protection any construction worker needs.
Renewables may be considered “green collar”, but at the end of the day, we are an area of the blue collar sector! That means we are on the front lines of construction fields, using technical skills, braving the elements and working with our hands every day. Just like any other blue collar profession, we must have the right tools for the job, and the gear on our bodies is just as important as what’s in our toolboxes. From our Chairman who is a seasoned Construction Supervisor, to our newest installation trainees who just finished trade school, we always wear and recommend Chippewa Boots. Chippewas are the superior choice for workplace footwear because they are made with safety and support in mind. Each component of a Chippewa work boot is engineered to protect skilled tradespeople no matter what they encounter on a job site, without compromising on comfort. And the best part is, they are built to last! Our Founder has been rocking his favorite pair of Chippewas, day in and day out, for over 5 years.
We advocate so strongly for our team members to wear Chippewas in the field because occupational health and safety is a priority for us. Our electricians and installers are constantly working at steep elevation, climbing tall ladders with a heavy load of materials in tow; so the right support matters. Flexibility and free movement are a necessity for roof workers, but structure in the ankle area is key for minimizing the risk of injury, which is why we love the coverage offered by Chippewa’s durable leather upper. Chippewa boots are also made with high performance Vibram rubber outsoles, which have been called “the most iconic soles on Earth” for their durability, grip control, and support. All of their boots are also rated for Electrical Hazard protection, meaning they are not conductors of electrical potential or magnetic charge. This is crucial for workers in the solar energy industry, as we routinely come in contact with high voltage electrical equipment. The Safety Toe component of Chippewa boots are also lifesavers for green collar workers. Photovoltaic modules can weigh between 40 and 50 pounds, and their size can make them challenging to carry safely on a rooftop, especially in windy conditions. Additionally, inverters can weigh between 120 and 160 pounds, and solar batteries can weigh more than 200 pounds! When handling heavy products like this, the occasional drop is inevitable, so we always recommend our crew come prepared with Chippewas on their feet. Our daily goal is to leave satisfied customers when we finish up at a job site, but that also means ensuring our teammates walk away with all 10 toes intact!
If you’re a green collar worker, you’ve probably witnessed plenty of your colleagues working in lightweight sneakers with little traction or toe protection. The pack at Solar Wolf Energy is sick of seeing our colleagues in the industry suffering from ankle strain and foot injuries, so we’ve teamed up with Chippewa Work Boots to kick off a campaign centered around emphasizing the importance of proper footwear in the renewable energy space. Stay tuned in to our blog, social media and YouTube platforms over the next few months to learn more about what makes Chippewa boots the smartest choice for safety and comfort, from the warehouse to the work truck to the roof - and beyond!