Women have proved for years that they can fill “man-size boots” in the construction industry. But when those big boots give them blisters or heel spurs, they have had nowhere to turn. Enter Woman Up, a construction clothing and safety-gear shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently launched by Deidre Douglas, a craftswoman who turned a workplace problem into a business.
Joanne Foulke, vice president at Cauldwell-Wingate Co., a New York City contractor-construction management firm, knows well how men’s boots can wreck women’s feet. During a typical morning inspecting high-rise building projects, she can cover as much as one million sq ft. “It used to be that you had to buy men’s stuff,” says Foulke. “I would take out five pairs of socks and try combinations, sometimes testing them out for an hour to get a good fit.”