Safety footwear are one of the most important pieces of clothing you need in the workplace. They provide optimal protection for the user’s feet against hazardous chemicals in the factory as well as heavy objects in the worksite. As they are frequently used in the workplace, they are subjected to wear and tear.
Therefore, it is important to maintain them to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible, without compromising on protection. Here is a simple guide which will help you care for your safety shoes, making them last longer than ever!
How long safety shoes usually last for
A vast majority of manufacturers of safety shoes state that the average lifespan of their products is a minimum of one year. However, the actual lifespan is also dependent on the frequency of wearing as well as the work environment. Also, when used in wet conditions, the safety shoes also wear and tear at a faster rate.
When to give safety shoes the boot
Even the smallest tear or defect on the safety shoes can cause injuries, especially when working in an extremely hazardous environment. Here are five indicators you should look out for to know when its time to throw out your current pair of safety shoes:
Wear and tear
The first thing you need to keep a look out for is wear and tear. Is the steel toe of your safety shoe visible? Can you see the metatarsal guard of your safety shoe? Are the insoles of your shoes beginning to come off? If your answer for all these questions is a clear “yes”, it’s high time you purchase a new pair.
Take a look at the treads of your safety shoe. If it feels smooth or has shows significant wear, your safety shoes are no longer slip-resistant. To put this into perspective, you can compare the treads of the safety shoes to those of tires. You know it is unsafe to drive a vehicle with tires that have no treads as it is no longer as slip-resistant as before. The same applies to safety footwear as they may no longer protect you from wet or greasy floors. How you can identify wear and tear on the treads of your shoes is to look for the distinct grid design. If the grids appear worn off, it’s best to get them replaced.
When you are working in wet environments or regularly exposed to corrosive materials or hazardous chemicals, it is vital to look for any cuts, holes or punctures on the footwear. Such damages can result in direct contact with harmful substances. Also, if there are signs of fluids leaking in, you should get rid off your current footwear immediately.
One of the main contributing factors of wear and tear is mileage or the amount of standing and walking you have done with your safety shoes. Your footwear starts showing signs of wear and tear after a year of everyday use or covering 1500 km on average.
Comfort is one of the major factors which indicate that you have to get a new pair of safety shoes. Discomfort is footwear can result in cuts on your foot or blisters and can even result in musculoskeletal pain in other parts of your body.
For starters, if your footwear starts to hurt your feet, you can try changing the insole to see if it makes a difference. If there is no difference in comfort, then you may want to replace them with a newer, more comfortable pair.
Alternatively, you can opt for a pair of sports safety shoes instead of the regular executive safety shoes for extra comfort. The KTG Steel Toe Sports Safety SS15 from KaiTheGent offers style, comfort as well as functionality. Instead of using leather, the upper is made of Kevlar Knitted Mesh Top ensures air circulation and stretchability for the feet.
A fairly simple indicator of damage is that if any heavy object falls on your safety shoes, you would have to replace them immediately. This is because any heavy item dropped on a pair of steel toed safety shoes will result in an inward dent. However, when it comes to their composite counterparts, its harder to know if they are damaged or not. The rule of thumb is that as long as any heavy item falls on it or causes a puncture, you should get a new brand pair.
Tips to care/clean your safety shoes
Besides knowing when to replace your safety footwear, it’s also good to know how to take care of them so as to increase its lifespan. Here are a few tips which will help you care/clean your safety shoes:
The first thing you have to do is ensure that your safety shoes are free of dirt. This is especially important is you are working on a construction site where you tread on dirt, concrete and even small rocks. The debris can get stuck to your footwear and result in punctures or dents. Use a brush to remove large chunks of debris and ensure that the treads are washed regularly.
Use leather cleaner
Once the safety shoes are dirt-free, you can start using leather cleaner. This helps to clean, condition and moisturize the leather on your footwear. It also restores the sheen on your footwear and also protects the leather from drying and cracking.
With the help of a clean cloth, rub the leather cleaner on your footwear to remove stains. Use a dry cloth to remove excess leather cleaner.
Apply mink oil
If you want to give your safety shoes an extra layer of protection, you can apply mink oil. Make sure that you remove excess amounts of this oil after application. Mink oil is best used with dark-coloured or black leather.
Allow the shoes to dry naturally
To ensure that your shoes last a long time, make sure that you dry them out naturally. Store it in a cool place free of moisture.
What you should avoid doing
As workers tend to be hard-pressed for time and require urgent use of their safety shoes, they try to speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer or sunlight. However, this damages the footwear even more. Drying the shoes this way will cause the leather to fade and crack.
Avoid using nail polish remover to get rid of difficult stains as they damage the leather. These products contain acetone, which removes the leather’s color. Also, avoid using products that contain alcohol as they damage the top layer of leather.
Caring for Your Safety Footwear
It’s important to note that while the information above serves as a useful guideline for all types of safety shoes, it’s best to check with the manufacturer’s recommended instructions to fully understand how to clean and maintain the specific safety footwear that you own.
Your safety shoes’ lifespan is heavily dependent on how they are used and maintained. Therefore, it is important to take utmost care of them to maximize its usage as well as to ensure that your feet are well-protected at all times.
On another note, it is also important to know when to get them replaced by looking at several telltale signs, as mentioned above.
If you are looking for a replacement for safety footwear, check out our catalogue of safety shoes. You can also check out our 2018 safety shoes guide to find out the best safety shoes brands in the market such as Kings and Nitti.