Work boots today differ a lot in style and appearance. Still, there are characteristics that you should still take note of. Here, we look into the types of safety toes and soles that differentiate work boots from one another.
Types of Safety Toe Caps
The need for work boots expanded across many industries. With this change, materials changed from steel to composite and alloy. Depending on your job in a given workplace, you might have to own more than one type of work boots. They all meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Also, they adhere to the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
1) Steel Toe Caps
Aside from being the most common choice, steel toe caps are also the heaviest among the three. This has long been a fantastic choice. It has a compact design that offers flat protection. Some people think that steel toe caps sever your toes once a heavy object drops on your feet. But, that is an erroneous story that the MythBusters have long disproven. Check out the video of that MythBusters episode right here:
You cannot go wrong with the best steel-toe work boots if you value impact resistance. It’s rare to end up in a situation where you push the limits of steel toe caps. Still, they are a standard choice for the harshest work environments. It also helps that steel toe caps are more affordable than composite toe caps.
2) Alloy Toe Caps
This type is as tough as steel because it uses aluminium and titanium. Still, the work boots with alloy toe caps are lighter than steel-toed variants. This is because the alloy is at least 30 percent lighter than steel. Another difference is that the alloy variant has more space in the toe box. Both of them will set off metal detectors, but that’s a minor issue compared to safety hazards at work.
3) Composite Toe Caps
This one makes use of a lot of material such as carbon fibre, fibreglass, plastic, and Kevlar. These materials aren’t metal, so rest assured that no metal detectors will go off with these toe caps. Having a non-metal material means that thermal conduction won’t happen. Thus, the toe box won’t be either too hot or too cold at any given time. Like alloy toe caps, they are 30 percent lighter than steel toe caps.
Aside from toe caps, a work boot can provide even more protection by having metatarsal guards. Metatarsal refers to the five long bones located in the foot. Falling objects can damage these bones. With a metatarsal guard, both the toe area and the upper section of your feet get added protection. These guards come in steel, aluminium, and composite variants.
Types of Work Boot Soles
Like the toe caps, manufacturers can use various materials to improve durability. Here, we’ll delve into why they use rubber, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) for the soles.
1) Rubber Outsole
The bottom area of the boot refers to the outsole, which is usually made of rubber. The rubber material will help you in industrial workplaces. It will prevent you from slipping, and it is resistant to both oil and abrasion. This is why the construction boots use rubber outsoles. Still, the rubber quality will affect the performance of your work boots. Some proprietary rubbers actually offer better traction than others.
2) TPU Outsole
Like the rubber material, TPU is a good choice for resisting oil and abrasion. It is chemical-resistant – a bonus for those working in chemical plants. While they are as reliable as rubber outsoles, a TPU outsole is lighter than them.
3) EVA Midsole
Work boots tend to be heavy, so it’s not that easy to move around with them on. This is why manufacturers use EVA for the midsole area. After all, this is important for stability. As Reference.com states, EVA is lightweight and improves flexibility. The EVA material achieves this without sacrificing the impact-cushioning feature. This is why our collection of police boots should have an EVA midsole.