Structure of Safety Footwear
October 31, 2018
Safety footwear is an indispensable part of the personal protective equipment. A wide range of industries with sensitive or risky work environments opts for these safety shoes to ensure the well being of their employees. The more the different types of work zones, the more are the kinds of hazards and dangers surrounding them! Needless to say, there are a plethora of options available in the market. To help you choose the best safety shoes, you can consult leading vendors like Best Marine at www.bestmarine.com and get an idea of the perfect shoe fit for your work environment.
Having said that, it is also important to study and comprehend the structure of the safety work boots, to help isolate the best option for you depending on your work environment.
Protective work boots for different purposes usually delineate and focus on distinct areas of safety. For example, steel toe cap boots provide toe protection, metatarsal shoes safeguard the metatarsal area of the foot, and outsoles and metal shanks protect the bottom of the foot from sharp objects. As such, it is vital that you understand the structure of the safety boots in detail. Although specific shoes vary a little from each other, their basic makeup is the same. Let’s have a look at the core different surfaces of protective footwear:
- Toe Cap – This is the part of safety work shoes which covers the front tip of the foot. As this part is most susceptible to injuries due to heavy loads or falling objects, it needs added insulation. Toe caps must sustain at least 100J of pressure to pass safety tests. Toe caps are of different types vis. steel, aluminum, and composite. Steel caps provide the toughest protection but make the shoe heavy. Aluminum caps or composite caps are relatively lighter options but provide mid-level protection. Steel caps though highly effective, are inconvenient in areas with metal detectors like airports or high-security clearance sites.
- Top layer – Industrial shoes are mainly protected by their upper layer. This complete upper protection is one of the main parts of safety shoes. A variety of materials including leather, kevlar, micro-velour or rubber can be used to cover the top surface of the shoes. Based on the requirement, say, if you need the shoe to be inflammable, or waterproof, or electric resistant, or slip resistant or simply more breathable and light, the apt material is used. Kevlar boots, for example, are lighter, but leather boots are tougher and resistant to abrasions.
- Lining – Being the internal part of the footwear, the lining primarily needs to be comfortable and suitable in all weather conditions. The shoes should be roomy and must allow your feet to breathe. Also, the lining must provide protection against moisture and be waterproof. Again, depending on the needs, everything from leather to specific thermal and electric resistant materials, to the non-abrasive anti-static fabric can be used.
- Padding – Padding is usually offered below the lace and tongue of the shoes, to provide better comfort. Usually made with soft, pliable materials, it provides a fine cushioning for your forefoot.
- Outsole – As the final outer barrier between external objects and your feet, outsoles are made with rubber, polyurethane or TPU. Rubber shoes are the preferred choice for heat and electric hazard zones as they offer higher resistance to these factors. TPU is used for slip resistance as it provides a better grip on slippery or greasy surfaces. Polyurethane, on the other hand, makes the footwear much lighter.
- Midsole – This is an additional layer between the insole and the outsole. It is meant to provide support and protection against sharp objects below the feet and can also be made shock resistant. Polyurethane, Kevlar, and Steel are common materials used in the midsole.
- Insole – The base of the footwear which supports the lower part of your feet. It must be comfortable, flexible, and non-slippery. It could be reinforced with a metal shank to provide a robust base and an extra level of protection and support to the feet.
- Heel caps – These are usually given to provide a better grip and comfort for the heel and ankle. Usually made of rubber, they provide comfort, stability and a snug fit.
In addition to these basic protective features, you can customize your footwear to include special ladder support in the midsole which allows you to climb ladders without slipping. You could also incorporate penetration resistant shanks to prevent penetration from nails, glass and other sharp objects.
While choosing the appropriate safety footwear for yourself, make sure that it is flexible, comfortable, and allows your feet to breathe, thus keeping it dry. You can look for safety shoes online and choose merchandise from 3M, Ansell, and Johnson safety products on Best Marine.