Content supplied by Engelbert Strauss
Construction sites can mean danger and risks due to many potential hazards on site. For this reason it is essential to have the right protective clothing and footwear. While workers tend to be suited up in the right reflective and protective clothing, one of the most vital safety precautions: having the right shoes- is often neglected. It is important to find the right footwear for safety reasons as well as to ensure stability and prevent discomfort and fatigue while working. Threats onsite can include sharp nails, heavy objects falling or construction vehicles.
Different work boots will be appropriate for different situations, so it is essential to find the ones that best fit your needs. In order to this, it is helpful to familiarise yourself with industry terminology, to understand what you are looking for.
Engelbert Strauss categorises their work shoes by the safety boot ratings non-safety, S1, S2 and S3.
S1 adds anti-static protection, fuel resistance and an energy-absorbing heel on top of the basic toe protection that is a basic safety requirement for all safety footwear.
S2 offers an additional protection from water penetration and absorption of the upper.
S3- rated safety shoes have midsole penetration resistance and a cleated outsole along with all the same levels of protection as the S1 and S2-rated shoes.
When it comes to the safety toes, you will generally find steel toes, aluminium toes and composite toes.
Composite toes are lighter than the steel cap, but are the thickest and bulkiest safety toe. Composite toes are ideal for metal-free environments, and do not transfer cold or heat. These are therefore the best option if your workplace is extremely hot or cold.
In safety footwear, the sole is important for the slip-resistant aspect as well as offering protection from certain substances that the shows may come into contact with as well as stability on certain grounds.
TPU Outsole: These thermo poly-urethane soles are tough soles (yet still a lighter weight option) that do not tend to split and are oil, chemical and abrasion-resistant.
EVA Midsole: Ethylene vinyl acetate material is perfect for dispersing weight and providing stability as it is a lightweight material that is flexible and cushioning for the foot.
Rubber Outsole: These soles refer to the general bottom of the boot, with the rubber soles offering abrasion, oil and slip-resistant features. Some manufacturers offer rubber outsoles that have extra safety features.
How Should My Safety Shoes Fit?
If you are not exactly sure how to make sure your work-boots fit correctly, follow a few simple steps when trying them on in the store.
Remember to take the socks along with you that you would most likely be wearing for work. You will want to invest in socks that allow your feet to breathe and absorb moisture.
Always test the shoes on both your feet. We tend to have different sized feet and while the difference may only be a slight one, it is important to make sure the comfort applies to both your right and left foot.
Test the boots by doing any and all movements that you might have to do at work. Jump, kneel, do a few knee raises, possibly even test running and of course test the comfort in your normal everyday walking style. When walking in your potential new boots, you should make sure that your toes have about an inch of room in the front and that the heel does not come out of the shoe or rub towards the back of it. You do not want to be feeling any pressure on the sides of your food and there should not be any room for your toes to slide. Last but not least, make sure that the boot has sufficient ankle support-you can test this by slowly rolling your ankle while wearing them. When you have followed all these steps and your foot is no longer in the shoe check for any red marks as these indicate pressure points or chafing that may have occurred.
Most work-wear shops will have a professional on site that should be able to give you some additional advice or possibly suggest different boots. So if you remain unsure after testing your boot-ask him or her for help.