Steel toe boots that are also known as steel-capped boots, steel toe shoes, safety shoes or safety toe boots are designed to protect the feet of workers in hazardous work environments where there is a high risk of their stepping on something sharp or a heavy object falling on their toes.
The material used traditionally for reinforcement had been steel through the years, thus the name of the boots. However, advances in the design of steel toe boots have introduced composite materials and thermoplastic polyurethane as alternative materials that have the advantage of being lighter than steel.
But how do you determine high quality and most comfortable steel toe boots? The factors to consider are durability, flexibility, the fabric, the soles and additional features. The first factor, of course, is durability because compliance with safety standards might be a waste if the shoes do not last very long and you may soon need to buy another pair. And it could be a nuisance if the steel reinforcement penetrates the padding because it could be very uncomfortable to wear with the metal digging into your feet.
Also related to durability is the fabric used to construct the steel toe boots. If the kind of fabric used is not durable, the shoes would not last for long. Materials for this include canvas-like fabrics, leather, suede and Gortex-like rubber. Basically, leather has the best quality because it does not ignite into flames and it can also be easily broken in in a matter of days.
The sole is another part of the steel toe boots that is related to durability. If the rubber soles are of low quality, they can easily wear away, especially those designs that are hollow inside. Soles made of tougher rubber may be preferred although they are not as comfortable because they can last for at least a year.
One problem with soles that easily wear away is that they tend to get thinner at a faster rate on one side, depending on the way the user walks. Gradually, this could lead to a tilt in the way the user walks and could result into cramps or the feet may suddenly cave in and this could result into a serious foot injury.
Flexibility is another important factor to consider in steel toe boots because it affects comfort and mobility. If the sole is too hard that it refuses to bend, the worker will soon feel pain on his feet after using it the whole day. It would also be very difficult to walk using this kind of shoes. This is another issue against cheap and low quality shoes. They impede the worker’s ability to focus on his work and do it properly.
Additional features cover a wide range of factors and their importance will depend on the worker. For example, an electrician and other workers exposed to the risk of an electric shock will definitely benefit from shoes that are electrically insulated. And for those who work in wet areas for prolonged periods of time, waterproof shoes would be required.
Why Do You Need Waterproof Work boots?
Waterproof work boots make sure that your workers in the field are capable of working in all conditions, including during rainy weather. These kinds of work boots are for people who have to be outside, which exposes them to the various elements, including rain.
Moreover, waterproof boots are also important in other wet work environments. Basically, workers in certain industries, such as offshore fishing, industrial cleaning, forestry, food processing, building and construction, plant machinery, highways, agriculture, waterways and oil refineries, need waterproof clothing.
And when choosing waterproof work-wear, it is vital to select the proper fabric for the workers’ specific needs. For instance, you may choose a water resistant or a water-repellent fabric. But there are hundreds of waterproof fabrics that provide different kinds of protection. The final choice will depend on the conditions in the work environment and the budget.
For workers who need to work in highways and other places where there is a danger of being run over by motor vehicles, high visibility waterproof work boots are a necessity. This is a matter of life and death during those times when the rain severely reduces visibility.
However, an important requirement for waterproof workwear is that they should be breathable also, which means that the worker will not heat up because his sweat is able to come out of the body and to the environment through the clothing. This is made possible through the use of advanced fabrics that prevent water from the outside to get inside but permits moisture from the inside to get out.
Another important component of work boots are the steel toe boots, which have reinforcements over the toes and under the soles. They protect the feet from sharp objects puncturing the soles or heavy objects falling on the toes.