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October 9, 2015

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Steel toe cap boots explained

Steel toe work shoes and boots are designed to protect your feet from being crushed by falling objects or from being punctured by sharp objects.

Also known as a safety boot, steel-capped boot or safety shoe, the steel-toe boot is a durable boot or shoe that has a protective reinforcement in the toe protecting the foot from falling objects or compression. The toe cap is usually combined with a midsole plate to protect against punctures from below.

5 things you should know

  1. the reinforcement can also be made of a composite material – plastic such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or even Aluminium
  2. EN ISO 20345:2011 is the latest standard for footwear designed or retested after 2011. The EN ISO 20345:2011 standard sets out minimum requirements that safety footwear must be successfully tested against. The standard specifies all safety footwear must have toe protection against a 200 Joule impact
  3. the different protective features of footwear are represented by a combination of letters; the markings on the boot label will indicate the standards that the boot is intended to meet, and identify the level of protection offered for impact, penetration, electric shock, and chemical hazards
  4. when shopping for steel toe or composite boots be aware of the impact rating and compression rating:
    1. the impact rating is a number that informs you of the amount of pounds of impact the shoes will protect against. For example, an I/75 impact rated pair of boots can withstand an impact of 75 pounds. The minimum impact rating for safety toe boots is I/50
    2. the compression rating is the number of loads the shoes can withstand before cracking or breaking. For example, a C/75 will guard against compressive loads of up to 2,500 pounds. A C/50 pair of boots can protect against compressive loads of up to 1,750 pounds.
  5. when it comes to choosing between steel toe and composite toe boots, the major determining factor will be the job. Will you have to regularly walk through metal detectors? What dangers will you face on the job? How heavy is the equipment around you that could fall on your feet? What level of protection do you feel most comfortable with?

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