Safety footwear, toe cap materials

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Safety toe caps for shoes

It is clear that you need at work a good pair of safety shoes, usually called safety toe capped shoes, the question is: what materials can the toe cap of your safety shoes be made from? Safety toe caps for shoes

In this article I will describe you all the types of materials of your next pair of work boots!

When you have to choose your new pair of safety shoes you need to know what type of toe cap it should have.

  • How many different toe caps are there on the market?
  • What is the difference between toe cap materials?

Also in this case learning more about the technical plus invented by the manufacturers will help you a lot.

In this article I’ll explain to you technically what to do if you need safety cap toe shoes but you don’t know what type of toe cap material you should choose.

I bet you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect product yourself!

Safety toe cap shoes
Safety toe cap shoes
    • You need metal-free safety footwear?
    • You need sport and not so “bulky” style safety footwear?
    • You need toe caps with exceptional resistance to impacts?
    • You need the lightest possible safety footwear?

What is a toe cap?

Toe caps must shield toes from impacts and compressions, but the selection among various types is influenced not only by protection needs but also by factors such as comfort, job type, and foot shape. As a result, the material and shape of the toe cap for safety shoes may vary.

Following the standard ASTM F2413-11 I/C75 all the toe caps give protection from impacts up to 125J.

The difference between the various toe caps can be found basically in weight, type of protection and cost.

What is a toe cap?
What is a toe cap?

Let me list the most common toe cap materials and their basic properties:

  1. steel
  2. aluminum
  3. carbon fiber
  4. fiberglass
  5. plastic / composite

Let’s divide them in Metallic and Non Metallic toe caps

METAL TOE CAP SHOES

Shoes with metal toe cap mark the inception of safety footwear, as the earliest safety shoes were crafted with steel toe caps.

STEEL: steel toe caps for shoes are strong, thin and economic. They are very much appreciated for the high level of protection, not really for the lightness. The average weight is about 0.18/0.2 lb. The best application is in regular work footwear, not really for sport styles because they are a bit heavy.

Some additional details:

  • resists to the weight of a forklift of a weight of 10000 lb;
  • resists to the chain of a chainsaw;
  • the impact test gives good results but not great, there is not a real elastic effect;
  • The thermal insulation is not good;
  • Cheap steel toecaps could develop rust.

 

Steel toe safety shoes, selected by SafetyShoesToday

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Last updated on 02/07/2020 7:01 PM

THE STEEL CAP TOES SHOES ARE PROBABLY THE BEST CHOICE IF THERE IS DANGER OF HEAVY OBJECTS CRUSHING YOUR TOES

 

ALUMINUM: aluminum toe caps (also known as “alloy toe“) have been developed to bring the resistance of steel toes to a lighter weight (30-50% lighter than steel). Of course they are a compromise between resistance and weight, I would go with a steel toe cap if extreme resistance is needed and aluminum toe if both weight and good resistance are needed. A difference between aluminum toe caps and composite toe caps for shoes is that both are light, though aluminum toes are not metal free, however they have a low profile, which makes them ideal for sport shoes; composite toe caps are metal free but they are a little too “bulbous” for sport and ladies shoes. The average weight of the aluminum toe is about 0.11/ 0.13 lb.

Some additional details:

  • has a medium resistance to a forklift of 10000 lb of weight;
  • The thermal insulation is not very good.

 

Aluminum toe safety shoes, selected by SafetyShoesToday

COMPOSITE TOE CAPS FOR SHOES:

NON METALLIC TOE CAPS
NON METALLIC TOE CAPS

This type of toe caps are made of non metallic materials. The most common composite materials are carbon fiber, fiberglass or plastic.

PLASTIC: Plastic toe caps safety shoes are very light, quite cheap and also metal free. Their profile is a little bit “bulbous” so they’re not the best solution for sport and ladies safety shoes even if you will find hundreds of products with plastic “composite” toe caps in sport style. What is the reason od their thickness? In order to pass the impact tests and have the same resistance of other materials, safety shoes plastic toe caps have to be built a bit thicker. The average weight is about 0.10 / 0.12 lb.

Some additional details:

  • They can’t withstand a forklift of 10000 lb of weight;
  • Have no resistance to the chain of a chainsaw;
  • The thermal insulation is good, they are great for extreme high or low temperatures;
  • The composition of the material makes it not electricity conductive.

Comp toe safety shoes, selected by SafetyShoesToday

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Last updated on 02/07/2020 7:01 PM

 

FIBERGLASS: fiberglass toe caps are a great compromise between sturdiness and absence of metal parts. The biggest difference between plastic and fiberglass toe cap is that fiberglass can be thinner than plastic and still pass the impact and compression tests, so the shoe where fiberglass toe caps are used can be a bit smaller and have a lower profile compared to plastic toe ones. The number of safety shoes with this type of toe cap is increasing all the time. The only problem is the price, they are quite expensive compared to other materials. The average weight is about 0.12/0.14 lb.

Some additional details:

  • the impact test gives a great result, there is an elastic effect, so the toe cap doesn’t look affected by the impact;
  • The thermal insulation is good, they are great for extremely high or low temperatures;
  • The composition of the material makes it not electricity-conductive.

 

CARBON FIBER: The carbon fiber toe caps are the best compromise between weight and sturdiness, but they are the most expensive. There are only a few products with carbon fiber toe cap nowadays.

Some additional details:

  • Has no resistance to the chain of a chainsaw;
  • The thermal insulation is good, they are great for extreme high or low temperatures;
  • The composition of the material makes it not electricity conductive.

Now that you know different types of toe cap materials, let’s see some examples of products:

These are the solutions that I suggest when you’re looking for the best toe cap for your safety footwear, whether you’re searching for mens cap toe shoes or cap toe shoes for women.

When you’ll have selected your safety shoe with the right toe cap you’ll be more protected and comfortable at work.

I promise that if you use the right toe cap you’ll live a better working experience.

What do you think about safety toe caps for shoes?

Do you have points to add?

Please write your comments below!

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Robert Frog
I was born in London in 1975 and still live here. I could define myself, summing up in a few words my long working career, a great expert in the field of foot and foot problems. Immediately after graduating in Motor Science I started working in an orthopaedics in which orthotics were made to measure for people with foot problems. In 1999 I was hired as Key Account Manager in a well-known chain of safety footwear and other personal protective equipment. Among my clients I had several industries, which I visited regularly to understand the needs of workers, both in terms of protection and comfort. During these years I have consolidated my knowledge on foot problems. Furthermore, I studied carefully the products I proposed: attending courses, participating in trade fairs and, often, accepting the invitation of manufacturers to visit the factories. I was thus able to observe closely the techniques and materials used to produce the best safety shoes. Since 2015 I have been collaborating with the PPE Academy for the content of Safety Shoes Today.

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