Steel Toe Cap Vs Composite Toe Cap Safety Boots
Steel toe cap boots are the most commonly used type of safety footwear on the market today and have been for over half a century. Used in many industries they have proved extremely popular. What many people don’t know is that there is a metal-free alternative out there known as the composite toe boot.
Composite safety boots are new to the industry and are manufactured from several types of material including fibreglass, carbon fibre, Kevlar and plastics. They have steadily been gaining in popularity over the last few years due to a lighter construction than the traditional steel alternative.
So, what’s the difference between the two and more to the point which are the best option? Let’s look at one at a time.
Steel Toe Caps:
Steel is stronger than the materials used in composite, so a thinner layer can be used which makes them appear less bulky. They are also cheaper to produce making them a sounder choice economically.
Steel work boots will withstand somewhat greater impact and compression resistance than composite making them more suited for trades where there is a possibility of coming into contact with heavier loads.
A downside Is that they conduct heat, the temperature inside a boot with steel toe caps will be subject to much greater fluctuations with the weather. Hot temperatures will lead to overheating and on the opposite end of the spectrum icy conditions will lead to cold feet!
It is often thought that you should not wear metal boots when working around electricity as they can be a conductor. The fact is that both these types of boots are perfectly sound to wear as they are encased in rubber and other non-conductive materials. If the steel option as a rubber sole, there is no reason that these should be any more dangerous in and around electricity than composite boots.
Composite Toe Caps:
Although bulkier, composite overall are the lighter option (anywhere up to 30%), making them a preferred choice for those toiling on their feet all day. Been metal free they are ideal for people working in security such as events, courts of law and airports as they won’t trigger metal detectors.
Because Comp boots are the new kid on the block there is a common misconception that these have not been tested to the same standards as steel toe and do not offer the same protection. This is simply not true, both types undergo the same set of tests as laid down in the EN ISO 20345:2011.
So, which are best the best?
Well, as is often the case, that depends on yourself and the industry you are working in. Both steel and composite offer effective protection for feet. Take the time to consider the hazards you face daily, and purchase based on this.
Author Bio: PPE Work Solutions (PWS) are an online retailer of workwear and PPE, including safety boots and hi-vis wear.