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Steel-toe safety shoes

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding steel-toe safety shoes:

  • What kind of characteristics should this footwear include?

  • What kind of outsole?

  • What kind of leather?

  • What marking?

  • What additional properties might it have?

In this article I’ll explain you technically what to do if you need steel-toe safety shoes.

After reading this article I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find the perfect product for yourself!

Steel-toe safety shoes - Safety Shoes Today

 

There’s a huge variety of products on the market and you need to choose, let me explain to you, technically, what exists on the market, what technical specifications you have to look at to find the perfect steel-toe safety shoe for your needs.

In general, some average situations where you could do a distinction between steel-toe safety shoes are

  • You work indoor, no risk of water sprays, you need protection for your toes, and you need a good breathability? Then you need a breathable and non water resistant steel toe safety shoe, maybe a suede leather or textile upper steel-toe safety shoe
  • You work indoor, no risk of water sprays, you need protection for your toes, and you need protection against perforation and a good breathability? Then you need steel-toe safety shoes with puncture resistant plate
  • You work outdoor, you need protection for your toes and you need protection against water sprays? Then you need steel-toe safety shoes with a water repellent leather, it can be a full grain leather or a nubuck leather

  • You work outdoor, you need protection for your toes, and you need protection against perforation and against water sprays? Then you need steel-toe safety shoes with a water repellent leather and a puncture resistant plate

  • What other features should I consider for my steel-toe safety shoes?

As you can see, the biggest difference between steel-toe safety shoes consists in the resistance to water sprays and the puncture resistant plate.

Steel-toe safety shoes - Safety Shoes Today

The standard for steel-toe shoes is the ASTM F2413-11 (America) and CSA Z195-14 (Canada)

The steel toe safety shoes can also have some other markings if it has additional features

basically needed in special work applications:

  • PR: if it is equipped with puncture resistant plate
  • EH: if the footwear has an electrically insulated outsole (Electrical Hazard)
  • SD: if the footwear has a Static Dissipative outsole
  • MT: if the footwear is equipped with a metatarsal protection (MT/75 standard)

Now let’s look at some construction features for your steel toe safety shoes

 

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Steel-toe safety shoes - Safety Shoes Today

What type of outsole do you need? What type of leather? And what about slip resistance?

Steel-toe safety shoes - Safety Shoes Today

The most common types of outsoles used for safety footwear are:

  • PU MONO (SINGLE) DENSITY: It is a material with a very low weight and a good comfort. It has a good resistance to the chemical agents and oils, but no resistance to the strong acids. The resistance to temperatures goes from 14/-4 to +266 max +284 Farenheit degrees . The softness gives a good grip to this material giving it a slip resistance similar to TPU and rubber. RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and not very aggressive work places.
  • PU/PU: it is a double-density profile sole made of PU. It has a good resistance to the chemical agents and oils, but no resistance to the strong acids. The resistance to temperatures goes from 14/-4 to 248 max 302 degrees. The soft PU midsole provides good impact absorption and wearing comfort. RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and outdoor, not really suggested for contacts with chemical agents.
  • PU/TPU: It is particularly sturdy, abrasion-resistant and flexible. TPU therefore provides higher performances: abrasion resistance, slip resistance at a very good level like single density PU and rubber, flexibility. In the average it is more durable than PU and it has an higher resistance to the cold from 23 up to -4 degrees. Not very resistant to high temperatures: maximum 212 degrees. RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and outdoor, cold weather, not really suggested for contacts with hot surfaces.
  • MONO DENSITY RUBBER: exceptionally sturdy: temperature-resistant from -22 up to +572°F, hard to penetrate for sharp objects and resistant to fuels, oils, microbes and numerous chemicals. However, rubber is heavier than PU and TPU, and is less flexible when submitted to cold temperatures. The rubber outsoles are also known for the great slip resistance as single density PU and TPU. RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and outdoor, in contact with oils, chemicals, acids. If it contains Nitrile in the composition, it is also recommended for contacts with hot surfaces. It is a compact and heavy material so it is not the best choice if you need extremely light footwear.
  • PU/RUBBER: (generally an injection molded outsole). Keeping the properties of rubber for the outsole, in this type of footwear the midsole is made of PU so the footwear is lighter. The PU in this case is the weak point in the toughest situations where the rubber performs the best. RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and outdoor, in contact with oils, chemicals, acids. If it contains Nitrile in the composition, it is also recommended for the contact with hot floors. It is a compact and heavy material, so to make it lighter it is joined with PU.
  • EVA/RUBBER: RECOMMENDED USAGE: indoor and outdoor, for the contact with oils, chemicals, acids. If it contains Nitrile in the composition, it is also recommended for the contact with hot floors. It is a compact and heavy material, so to make it lighter it is joined with PU.

Steel-toe safety shoes - Safety Shoes Today

 

The most common types of leather used for steel toe safety shoes are:

  • FULL GRAIN LEATHER: In the average it’s the most breathable, flexible and durable. It has a very nice feeling to the touch, and the most natural appearance.

  • SPLIT PRINTED LEATHER: In the average it is less breathable, but is tough and economic. The flaws are covered with a PU coating and then printed for a better look.

  • NUBUCK LEATHER: Often it comes from grain leather, with a different sanded finish, it is breathable, tough and oil resistant. It looks wicker than full grain leather but in most cases it performs just about the same.

  • SUEDE LEATHER: It is often used for non water resistant safety footwear, but there are also waterproof products in suede leather. It is very breathable and quite sturdy. It can be either economic or expensive, depending if it comes from grain or split leather.

  • SYNTETIC LEATHER: MICROFIBER: It is a very light and flexible material. It has very good resistance against soft chemicals and organic acids, in most cases it is washable at an average of 104 F degrees. Being it synthetic it is recommendable in sanitary and food industry. Breathability depends from the quality of the product. It is used very often in sanitary, food, and sport safety footwear.

 

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SLIP RESISTANCE

This is one of the most important features to look for when you are choosing your steel toe safety shoes. Take care and read properly what is the grade of slip resistance of your footwear when buying it.

These are the recommendations that I suggest to you when you’re looking for the best steel toe safety shoes for your needs.

When you’ll have selected your steel toe safety shoes you’ll be more protected at work.

I guarantee that if you use the right steel toe safety shoes you’ll live a better working experience.

What do you think about steel toe safety shoes?

Do you have points to add?

Please write your comments below!

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