When it comes to safety in the workplace, no detail should be overlooked when it comes to choosing the right safety shoes. Safety shoes are an important part of personal protective equipment (PPE) and should be considered a priority for any employee who works in an environment where there is a risk of foot injury. With the many choices available in terms of material, design and protection, you may feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which safety shoe is best for you. Here are some considerations when choosing the best safety shoes for your individual needs.
Types of Safety Shoes
The type of safety shoe you need depends largely on the work environment and industry you work in. Athletic shoes and slip-resistant shoes are not an appropriate solution for workplace hazards such as heavy machinery or electrical wiring, since they do not offer adequate protection. Common types of safety shoes include steel toe boots, composite toe boots, and waterproof insulated footwear.
Steel Toe Boots
Steel toe boots are the most common type of safety footwear and offer superior protection against falling or rolling objects. Most steel toe boots also meet compliance with ANSI/ASTM standards, meaning they must pass specific tests before they are approved to be sold. Steel toe boots offer maximum impact resistance and usually have a composite sole, but can be more expensive than other options.
Composite Toe Boots and Shoes
Composite toe footwear (also known as non-metallic) offers a lightweight alternative to steel toe boots, with the same level of protection from punctures, falling and rolling objects without the weight of the boot or shoe. Composite toe boots can also provide protection from electrical hazard environments and are made up of carbon fiber, Kevlar or plastic materials. This makes them an ideal option for those who want puncture-resistant protection without the extra weight of a steel toe boot or shoe.
Waterproof Insulated Footwear
Waterproof insulated footwear offers additional protection from cold temperatures and potentially hazardous wet conditions, ideal for outdoor workers or anyone who finds themselves working in inclement weather conditions. These types of work boots typically come with an insulated inner lining that helps keep feet warm and dry in cold temperatures, and have an outer shell that is waterproof and slip-resistant, keeping feet safe from both cold and wet conditions.
In addition to the type of safety shoe you choose, there are several safety features to consider that will help make sure your feet stay safe while on the job. Look for features such as oil-resistant outsoles, slip-resistant traction, shock absorption midsoles to reduce stress on feet and ankles while walking over uneven or slippery surfaces, advanced cushioning systems that reduce fatigue throughout the day, extra heel padding to prevent slipping, reinforced stitching, anti-bacterial linings to prevent odors and moisture buildup, breathable uppers to help keep feet cool on hot days, along with any additional safety features required by your workplace or industry.
In addition to considering all these factors when choosing the right safety shoe for your needs, it is also important to make sure that it fits properly. Take your time when trying on different brands of shoes to ensure that your toes have enough room to move freely and that there is no excess rubbing or squeezing. Make sure the heel fit is snug so your ankle has stable support when you walk and make sure that none of the seams rub uncomfortably against your foot. A proper fit will help ensure comfort throughout your workday and reduce the risk of a potential injury due to improper fitting footwear.
Overall, finding the best safety shoe for your needs will come down to a combination of factors including work environment, preferred style, budget and comfort level. Each person’s individual needs vary depending on their daily activities in the workplace, so it is important to take the time to research your options before purchasing a pair of work shoes or boots. With this guide, you now have all the information you need to make an informed choice when it comes to selecting safety footwear that will keep your feet safe while providing all-day comfort.
The best safety shoes for different activities depend on the hazard risks you may face. Look for a boot or shoe designed for your specific environment, made of a sturdy material, and offering proper arch and ankle support. Generally speaking, shoes with steel toes and/or midsoles, slip-resistant soles and oil-resistance are good qualities to look for.