Safety shoes manufacturing involves various stages, processes, and a number of departments. Learn how safety shoes are made here, from start to finish.
Safety shoes manufacturing includes the use of different types of machines and techniques which, in turn, vary slightly from one shoe company to another. This article is intended to give an overview of the safety shoes manufacturing process from material selection, methods used, to the actual making of the shoes.
Safety Shoes Manufacturing- How Safety Shoes are Made?
The manufacture of safety shoes typically starts with the design stage. This mostly happens when custom safety shoes are required or when a new shoe style is to be unveiled. The types of materials to use are also selected or prepared as necessary. This depends on the type of footwear, the intended protection capability, and other features such as shoe comfort and durability.
After that, the actual manufacturing takes place using various steps and machines. One safety shoes making machine will cut the pieces that make the vamp, another sew them together, while a different machine attaches the metal hooks or eyelets, and so on. There are also machines to put the final touches such as buffing and other steps.
Materials for Safety Shoes Manufacturing
What materials do safety shoe manufacturers use when making protective footwear? The effectiveness and durability of protective footwear largely depend on the type of materials used to make it. So it’s crucial that you understand the industry options when it comes to PPE shoes.
The main types of materials used in the manufacturer of safety shoes include leather and synthetics such as rubber, PVC, PU, EVA, and more.
Leather is one of the most materials when it comes to safety shoes manufacturing. Leather safety shoes are comfortable, breathable, and long-lasting. The types of leather include full-grain leather, nubuck leather, printed leather, and suede leather.
Synthetic materials for safety shoes are mostly used to produce the soles (insole, midsole, and outer sole). Other materials such as steel and steel alloys, composites, and aluminum are used to reinforce the toe area or midsole, while Kevlar is a major material for flexible, puncture-resistant soles.
Safety Shoes Manufacturing Methods
There are three main construction methods used to make footwear in the safety shoes industry. The methods include molding, Goodyear welting, and cementing. Each of these ways has its good and bad sides such as shoe stability, durability, and production costs. Here are the safety shoes manufacturing methods explained more deeply.
Molded Safety Shoes
Molding is a safety shoes manufacturing method that involves injecting liquid sole material (PVC, PU, or EVA) in a mold and infusing it with the shoe upper (vamp). Injection-molded shoes are also produced by applying uncured rubber and using heat and pressure to fuse it with the vamp. Most industrial safety shoes are made using this method as it produces a seamless and lasting vamp-sole joint.
Goodyear Welted Safety Shoes
In this method, a piece of leather called welt is stitched to attach it to the shoe upper before stitching the whole shoe to the sole. The welt allows for sole replacement without causing damage, which makes welted shoes easy to repair. Goodyear welted safety shoes are ideal for work environments that contain uneven surfaces as they offer adequate torsion control.
Cemented Safety Shoes
This safety shoes manufacturing method involves gluing the sole to the vamp. Cementing is fast and saves on manufacturing costs. The type of glue that unites the shoe vamp and sole must be very strong, or the two parts will not hold to each other for long. Cemented shoes are generally lightweight and suited for jobs that involve flat surfaces.
The Safety Shoe Manufacturing Process
The safety shoes manufacturing process includes various processes and steps. Some of these processes make use of advanced technologies, while others are fairly simple and straightforward. The processes may also differ from one safety shoe manufacturer to another and include simple or complex stages and machines. Here’s a quick walk through the sequence of making leather safety shoes.
1. Cutting the Safety Shoe Parts
Workers use movable, hydraulic machines to die-cut sections of the safety shoe vamp parts or vamp. The machines can cut through leather or synthetic materials depending on what’s being used to make the shoe. Different die sizes and designs are used to achieve patterns for different shoes.
2. Sewing the Safety Shoe Parts Together
Sewing machines stitch the cut pieces together to make the vamp or safety shoe upper parts. Meanwhile, the foot front or toe area is being prepared. During this stage of the safety shoes manufacturing process, a machine also attaches metal hooks or eyelets (if the shoe is designed to use laces).
3. Shaping the Safety Shoe
The protective midsole is attached at this stage as required. After that, the mold or shoe last it attached. The last is shaped to take the form of the final product and serves to give the shoe its shape. It’s at this point where the safety shoe toe cap is also installed. The cap can be steel, composite, and other material.
4. Making the Safety shoe Sole
The safety shoe sole is prepared is using the required method. After that, it’s attached to the shoe upper. The sole may be mold injected, sewn, or glued to the upper. The shoe is then sanded to remove imperfections such as excess material and the shoe last or mold removed.
5. Safety Shoe Final Touches
Finally, the safety shoe is buffed and polished. This gives them a more finished appearance. Laces, zippers, and other types of closures are also usually added during this stage of the safety shoes manufacturing process. Other additions include inserting the insole and attaching the label.
6. Safety Shoe Quality Controls
Once they’re finished, safety shoes are checked for quality in what’s called shoes testing and quality control using specialized measuring instruments. After that, the shoes are packed in boxes. Note that the final touches vary across different safety shoes manufacturers and involve different inspection processes or machines.
The manufacture of safety shoes varies from one manufacturer to another. However, the typical process includes design, cutting the upper sections, sewing them together, and joining the vamp to the outer sole. The procedure explained here covers what typically happens in a safety shoe factory, and includes the general production process followed by many manufacturers in the safety shoes industry.