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October 9, 2015

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Safety footwear: the standards and ratings explained


shoe-98743_640All safety footwear must meet the minimum safety standards set out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The current standard for Safety Footwear across Europe (EN) is EN ISO 20345:2011. This was updated in 2011 to make it stricter.

Under this standard, all safety footwear must now have toe protection against a 200 joule impact. This is the amount of energy the toe region can absorb before breaking.

All new products must be manufactured and certified under EN ISO 20345:2011.

Any product certified under any previous version of the standard (2004; 2007) was required to be recertified.

Safety ratings explained

Category EN ISO 20345 requirements
SB Basic requirements

  • For safety footwear with a toe cap resistant to an impact of 200 Joules


S1 Basic requirements +

  • Closed heel area
  • Energy absorption at seat area
  • Antistatic properties
  • Resistance to fuel oil
S1P S1 +

  • Penetration resistance (P)


S2 S1 +

  • Water penetration and absorption


S3 S2 +

  • Penetration resistance
  • Cleated outsole


S4 S1 +

  • Entirely moulded polymer/rubber upper (e.g Wellington Boots) making them waterproof and leak proof
S5 S4 +

  • Midsole penetration resistance.



Slip resistance ratings

Footwear that has passed tests for slip resistance will also have one of the following codes:


Tested on ceramic tile wetted with sodium lauryl sulphate (a diluted soap solution)


Tested on steel with glycerol


Tested under SRA and SRB conditions

Additional symbols/abbreviations

P – Penetration resistance

C – Conductive

A – Antistatic

I – Electricity insulating footwear

WR – Water Resistance

M – Metatarsal Protection

AN – Ankle Protection

CR – Cut Resistant Upper

WRU – Water Penetration and Water Absorption Upper

HRO – Outsole Resistance to Hot Contact

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6 years ago

I’d pair my leggings with very short ankle boots.My leggings are long and I tuck into my boots and wear the combination with a dress, skirt or long blouse.

5 years ago

So new standards footy safety footwear state that all shoes should now include steel toe cap. Well that’s simply not suitable for bus drivers who just need anti slip