Safety is of utmost importance in many occupations. Workers in many occupations are required to follow specific safety precautions, such as high-visibility jackets, gloves, and hard hats to protect them from injuries. One of the more important aspects of protective equipment like these are safety footwear. A good pair of safety boots makes working in harsh environments easier and safer for the wearer. But with the plethora of safety footwear out there, how should be make our decision? Many of you have asked us for help in this regard. So read on as we’ve whipped up a handy guide to picking the perfect pair of safety boots suited for your every need:
Types of safety shoes
Here are five different types of safety footwear that meet the requirements of various work environments:
Safety-toed shoes have a special covering at the toe area that keep them safe from mishaps and hazardous accidents. Workers employed in factories and mills where they have to handle heavy industrial equipment and materials every day wear these type of shoes. Also, they are worn by workers when there is a high risk of heavy objects falling on their feet. Protect those toes!
Steel insole shoes
Workers who have to operate heavy trucks, push pedals, and ride bikes are more vulnerable to foot joint problems. Having safety footwear with steel inserts keeps the foot stabilised, preventing their feet from moving and shifting around a lot. This keeps pesky bone and joint problems at bay! Furthermore, in work places where there are high chances of sharp objects such as glass, screws and nails lying on the floor, the puncture-proof properties of steel insole shoes make it a great choice for people working in these harsh conditions.
The metatarsal bones in the foot are region that sticks out of our body’s line, making them particularly susceptible to harm from falling or moving objects. To protect this region of their feet, they wear metatarsal shoes as it has special design considerations for extra safety. While safety-toe footwear only protects the toes of the wearer, shoes with metatarsal guards also protect higher up the foot (where the boot laces are), providing an additional level of safety.
Electric hazard shoes
Employees working in an area where there is high voltage devices and machines, wiring, circuits, and electricity are prone to shocks when exposed to them. To protect them from such problems, the employees have to wear electric hazard shoes whose soles have special electrical resistance. These types of boots are usually assured by the American Society of Testing and Materials as “Electrical Hazard rated” or “EH rated”. However, this does not mean that the shoes are completely safe from electricity – the best precaution to take is still being cautious in the first place!
Type of cap
Safety-toed shoes come with a variety of toe caps, protecting workers in different work environments. Here are three common variants of safety-toed shoes:
Most employees go for steel safety-toed shoes as they are quite cheap and they provide adequate protection in construction or any other work environment where there are heavy machinery and risk of falling objects. However, the level of protection comes with a price as these type of shoes are quite heavy. Workers who will have to work on their feet and walk around for long periods of time should generally avoid these shoes.
Alloy safety-toed shoes are much better than their steel variants as these shoes offer the same level of protection but are much lighter than their counterparts. At the same time, they are thinner, which gives the worker’s feet more room. As a result of this, alloy safety-toed shoes are more comfortable to wear. The trade-off for this is that alloy-toed boots are usually more expensive compared to their steel toe counterparts.
Composite safety-toed shoes are non-metallic variants that provide workers with better freedom to move their toes. Also, they are much lighter, making the shoes quite comfortable. Carbon fiber, fiberglass, and kevlar are some of the materials used to make these shoes. However, these shoes don’t provide the same level of protection as steel or alloy. Of the three times of soles, these are usually the lightest.
Selecting the right footwear
The first thing you have to take into consideration is comfort. If the safety footwear doesn’t provide adequate levels of comfort, it will distract the workers, affecting their efficiency. There should be a minimum of half-inch distance between the shoe end and the biggest toe. Much like any other type of shoe, they should be snug but not tight on the foot.
Try before you buy
I need to stress the importance of this point: Regardless of the features and size of the safety footwear, the only way to know if it fits is to wear them. As every manufacturer has different sizes for safety footwear, the only way to know how good it fits, is to try them. It is advisable to visit a local shoe store to try on a few pairs before buying those tempting offers online – best of both worlds!
Make space for socks
If you wear safety footwear without socks, there are higher chances of catching fungal infections. Also, it makes your feet smell, which might be unbearable. Always wear a pair of socks to the store before trying the safety footwear to get a good feel of how it will fit!
If the safety footwear doesn’t fit properly, there are chances of getting foot problems such as hammertoes, calluses, corns, and bunions. Here are some factors to take into consideration:
The outer section of the safety footwear fabrics such as leather or other man-made materials that are breathable. If the leather comes with a plastic coating, it is easier to maintain them as they repel water.Lining
The lining has to be seam-free and smooth. Also, the material should be breathable, as it keeps your feet fresh.
It should have the shape of a foot while providing adequate depth that stops the toes from rubbing the material. If you go for safety footwear with protective caps for the toes, it is important that you shouldn’t feel the extra material. Safety is no laughing matter and getting a pair of solid safety boots is important. We hope this has helped you in your search for the perfect pair, do leave us a comment if you have benefited from it. Do stay tuned to future posts about safety boots, where we compare different pairs at different price points!
It is better if you can remove the insole as it allows you to insert orthoses or padding.
The heel has to fit properly into the safety footwear, while preventing it from coming out. Also, it should keep the feet stable when it comes in contact with the ground. The heel should not exceed a height of 4 cm and the base should be broad. If you have to wear them for a long shift, the heel shouldn’t be higher than 2 cm.
The sole must be flexible and strong enough to absorb shock due to walking on surfaces that are hard. It should be made from PVC, polyurethane, or rubber as they are slip resistant.
To secure your feet to the safety footwear, they should have Velcro, buckles, or laces.
Safety is no laughing matter and getting a pair of solid safety boots is important. We hope this has helped you in your search for the perfect pair, do leave us a comment if you have benefited from it. Do stay tuned to future posts about safety boots, where we compare different pairs at different price points!