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Safety Shoes: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Are you buying safety shoes for your business or workers but need help knowing where to start? If so, we suggest you read this guide. It will help you understand the protective features of safety shoes, their types, and required protection standards. We’ll also take you through their selection process.

What are Safety Shoes?

Safety shoes are shoes that you wear in dangerous places. They are called so for being designed to protect your feet— and sometimes the ankle and lower leg — against specified hazards.

Safety footwear is typically made from high-quality materials with anti-skid soles and reinforced fronts. Additional features like electrical insulation and waterproofness make the shoes risk-specific.  

In many countries, workers must wear them as part of PPE. A company may also have work shoe policies to prevent job site accidents. People may also wear them outside of working environments, such as hiking, doing DIY projects, or participating in sports.

What is Different Between Safety Shoes and Ordinary Shoes?

Safety shoes have different levels of protection and are often used in various industrial fields to achieve the purpose of protection.

Some of the safety shoes design style is from ordinary shoes, it looks the same, such as the sporty style, but in fact, the toe of safety shoes is relatively wide, because there is have a steel toe inside

What Are Safety Shoes Made Of?

The typical safety shoe or work boot has these main sections: the upper, the sole (outer, mid, and insole), the lining, and the toe cap.

Safety Shoe Upper

This part covers your foot’s upper side. It can be leather or synthetics like PU or fabric, and sometimes a combination of these materials. Leather is usually the preferred material due to its strength and durability. It’s also natural and breathable.  

Safety Shoe Sole

Safety shoe soles include the outsole, midsole, and insole. The outsole must offer a firm grip and resist wear, so it’s typically thick and cleated. Popular materials for outsole are PU, TPR, Rubber, PU/rubber, PU/TPU, and Eva/Rubber.

The midsole absorbs shock. It also prevents sharp objects from piercing the foot by providing an over 1100N anti-puncture protection rating. It’s usually a Kevlar or steel insert and sometimes aluminum.

The insole must provide comfort and breathability. It’s, therefore, made from soft and breathable materials like PU, Eva with BKmesh, memory foam, and HI-ploy.

Safety Shoe Lining

The lining directly contacts your foot and must be breathable and have moisture-absorbing capabilities. It’s usually cotton, but it can also be leather or a synthetic material.

Toe Cap

Safety footwear is known for its reinforced front or toe cap. It protects against the impact or compression force that heavy falling and rolling objects may cause. It can be metal, such as steel, aluminum, or an alloy.

Other toe cap materials include lightweight composites or fiberglass and carbon fiber. Metal caps provide the best protection but weigh more. They also cost more and conduct both heat and electricity.

Non-metals are lightweight, insulating, and less costly. They do not conduct electricity and will not set off metal detection systems, making them an excellent choice for electricians and workers in high-security places.

Different Types of Safety Shoes

Various types of footwear offer varying safety levels. So manufacturers group them by their protective features or capabilities. They include the following:

Steel Toe Leather Work shoes

Made from tough leather and equipped with steel toe caps, they protect workers in industrial settings against compression and impact forces, cuts, and other dangers. They’re helpful in factories, warehouses, and farms.

Steel Toe Construction Work Boots

They have protective steel toe caps, puncture-resistant outsoles, and several other features. Use them at construction or demolition sites where your feet are exposed to injury by heavy objects, sharp metal and glass pieces, or uneven ground.

Waterproof Safety Shoes

They protect your feet and keep them dry in wet conditions. Made from water-repelling materials, you need them if your tasks involve coming into contact with water and other liquids.

Electrical Safety Shoes

They are divided into conductive, insulation, and anti-static types. Conductive types dissipate electrical charges to the ground. They prevent electrostatic sparks when working near flammable materials.

The anti-static types prevent charges from the ground from traveling through your body and are crucial when working in the electronics industry. The insulation safety types have a high electrical resistance that prevents shock if you accidentally step on bare wires.

Metal-Free Safety Shoes

They have no metal components. Instead, they use alternative materials like fiberglass, making them lightweight and insulating. They also do not set off metal detection alarms, making them suitable for workers in government buildings, airports, and military bases.

Office Safety Shoes

You wear these for inspections and other supervisory duties in risky places. They can be anti-slip for slippery surfaces, puncture-resistant for construction site visits, or ESD for electronic industry managers.

Sports Safety Shoes

They have a sports footwear design but with features to protect your feet from getting injured. Sports protective shoes are popular among young people looking for trendy, stylish protective footwear. Lightweight and comfortable, they are great for indoor and outdoor activities.

Food Safety Shoes

These are built for the food processing industry. They have features to match the working conditions: heat-resistance to protect you from hot liquids, anti-slip soles to prevent you from falling if you step on spilled liquids, white color to signify cleanliness, and more.

Military Combat Boots

Regular footwear cannot stand harsh military and police training or combat grounds. Military safety boots offer the required protection. They are typically made using hard-wearing and waterproof materials and equipped with slip-resisting soles, among other features.

Safety Gumboots

These are typically manufactured using PVC or rubber and extend upwards to cover the lower leg. They also usually have steel toes. You can use them in various settings, including indoor and outdoor working conditions.

Metatarsal Safety Shoes

In addition to protecting the toes, they protect your foot’s upper part. This feature makes them useful in the following environments: construction sites, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses.

Velcro Safety Shoes

They offer the same protection features but use Velcro in place of laces. Using Velcro makes them easy to put on or take off. They are an excellent choice if the work environment involves wearing protective footwear frequently or convenience is paramount.

You also could OEM safety shoes in China manufacturer

 How to Process Safety Shoes?

Your safety shoe order mass production in our factory takes about 30 days.

The whole process from raw material to finished product.

1.Raw material quality control into the warehouse.

2.Cutting leather and accessories out of the warehouse.

3.Assigned each sewing machine department to assemble the quarter.

4.Button department punching eyelet.

5.Assemble department fit toe cap shape vamp.

6.Sole department with injection PU sole or cemented sole.

7.Packaging department to tide the lace, pairing shoes, put footbed, package color box.

What Type of Safety Shoes are Best in Wet Environments?

Safety gumboot, Water-resistant, or Waterproof safety shoes in best in wet environments.

Those types reach S3 S3 WR, S4, S5 ranting, those grade of shoes have specific waterproofing features on the upper surface and waterproof safety shoes are made of waterproof membrane Dynamic water resistance testing up to 60-120mins.

Static water resistance can also be tested.

Are Safety Shoes for Women?

Women’s safety shoes including white safety shoes, pink outdoor safety shoes, high-heeled women’s safety shoes, these are all women’s safety shoes.

Some jobs require women to operate or have women workers,  safety shoes are necessary, such as nursing, food shop packing, and laboratory.

What is Safety Boot Cerifited Issue?

All protective shoes undergo standardized tests concerning impact, compression, metatarsal, conduction rating, electrical hazards, penetration resistance, and static dissipation, this is a basic safety test requirement, you could see in as below chart is different standards in a different country.

EN20347, EN20345, EN13832 test standard for CE

ASTM F2013-11/F2012018 test standard for OSHA

AS/NZS 2210-3 test standard for CSA

SANS / EN 20345South African
SII/ EN 20345Israel
QAS/AS/NZS 2210.Australian
CE EN 20345Europen
CE EN 20345South American
CSA Z195-09Canada
Tuv laboratory Applus or Bureau VeritasMorocco

What are CSA Safety Shoes?

CSA is safety shoes test standard from the Canada safety association group, founded in 1919.

The CSA safety shoes not only test safety shoe products but also factory evaluation and test training.

After approval, each batch product will remark logo, such as CE.

As below is a test item for CSA safety shoes

  1. Toe protection
  2. Protective sole above1200N, Withstands 1.5 million bending cycles without cracking.
  3. Electric shock resistant (ESR)
  4. Static dissipative ( SD) 100k Ω~1000M Ω
  5. Chainsaw protective
  6. Metatarsal protection
  7. Conductive standards 1MΩ~100MΩ
  8. Slip-resistant sole

The product must pass the A, D, H protection function, the rest can be followed up with optional testing if you need it.

You can research the company name that approves CSA.

AS below is CSA product standard labels for your reference

What are ASTM Safety Shoes?

OSHA mandates protective footwear in areas having the potential danger or foot injuries.

The shoes must meet ASTM International standards.

ASTM 2414-18 test method of safety shoe that offers a sufficient protection level.

Test a steel or composite toe protection, midsole puncture, and so on.

You can see below the test required for ASTM safety shoes

  • C/75 = Compressiontest toe cap
  • I/75 =Anti- Impact toe cap
  • Mt/75 = Metatarsal impact
  • CD = Conductive properties
  • EH = Electrical hazard properties
  • SD 100 = Static dissipative(1-100 megohms)
  • SD 35 = Static dissipative (1-35 megohms)
  • SD 10 = Static dissipative (1-10 megohms)
  • PR = Puncture resistant
  • M = Footwear designated for a male
  • F = Footwear designated for a female

Does ASTM Require Metatarsal Guards?

ASTM is the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Metatarsal boots are required when rolling or lifting heavy and typically metal items such as loaded drums of liquid or train wheels.

When the hazard is more significant due to sharp surfaces that concentrate or focus the weight is dropped, metatarsal guards are recommended.

The likelihood or risk of an object dropping is also a consideration.

A rule of thumb is metatarsal protection for a median weight of 65 pounds dropped less than four feet or a rolling object weighing more than 50 pounds.

What is Safety Shoes Safety CE Standards?

You always can’t how to make a spec in your safety shoes products

After reading this chart, you will easily understand what spec you should pack in your safety shoes products.

OB: without any safety standards the same as a normal boot.

SRC leave good for anti-slip and energy absorbing heel, like walking shoes.

SB: only with 200J safety toe cap+energy absorbing heel

S1:200J safety toe cap +anti-static sole

S2: S1+upper water-resistant +energy absorbing heel

S1P: S1+penetration resistant midsole +energy absorbing heel

S3: has the safety elements of S1P+water resistant upper

As below is the rating for the outsole

How Many Different Sole for Safety Shoes?

  • PU/PU

Double density Polyurethane injection,cold-resistant-10’C


Double density Polyurethane rubber combine injection, reach to HRO

  • PU/TPU

Double density Polyurethane TPU combine injection, cold-resistant -20’C-30’C


Excellent Shock absorb, light and soft cemented sole, outsole could reach to HRO

  • All Rubber

Double density rubber cemented sole cold-resistant -50’C heat resistant 300’c

  • TPR

Thermoplastic rubber injection slip-resistant well but heavy the same as all rubber

How Many Different Toe Cap for Safety Shoes?

You should choose the correct toe cap for your OEM safety shoes, as below many different types of toe cap for your reference :

  • Steel toe cap made of metal materials anti-impact 200J mass production pass 100%
  • Composite toe cap made of PVC materials anti-impact 200J mass production pass 85%
  • Fiberglass toe cap
  • Carbon fiber toe cap
  • Alloy toe cap

Is Alloy Toe Better than Steel Toe?

At one time, steel toe shoes were the safety champions.

Aluminum is a bit lighter but a little bulkier.

The development of better alloys has buyers rethinking the choice.

Alloy toe shoes can be safe and much lighter.

Pros and cons of steel toe shoes include:

+ Maximum protection for feet

+ Adds little cost to the shoes

  • Can be heavy and irritate sensitive feet
  • Conduct electricity, which makes them dangerous for electricians

Alloy toe pros and cons

+ Do not conduct electricity

+ Lighter than steel toe shoes

  • Shatter under the weight of heavy equipment
  • Generally, cost more than steel toe shoes

What is a European Toe Cap?

You are always asking for a European standard, in fact, a European standard toe cap has different test mothed.

A European standard is adopted by one of three European Standardization Organizations – ETSI, CENELEC, or CEN.

Video of European steel toe safety shoe:

Which is Better Composite or Steel Toe?

Hazardous conditions with the potential for falling debris and objects or heavy impact require steel-toe safety shoes.

Composite toes have nearly the same strength as steel toe shoes, with fewer drawbacks.

It is non-metallic and can be worn through a metal detector.

For workers in airports, a composite toe is appropriate over steel toe shoes.

Composite toe is poor conductors of electricity.

Heavy-duty workers require boots with steel toe cap protection and ankle support.

Steel toes are traditional and heaviest, are not good for outdoor activity, are good for mining and heavy industry.

Are composite Toe Lighter than Steel Toe Safety Shoes?

Safety shoes are made of more than just a protective toe material, so the toe is not the only measure of weight.

A lightweight safety shoe must be matched by a lightweight outsole. In addition to the outsole’s puncture-resistant midsole and upper material, weight control is also important.

If the right outsole and upper material are not selected, a composite toe safety shoe will not necessarily be lighter than a steel toe safety shoe.

A pairs aluminum toe weight is 0.05KG

A pair of composite toe weight is 0.09kg

A pairs steel toe weight is 0.2Kg

Explanation of steel, aluminum, and composite toe caps:

What is a Moc Toe Safety Shoes?

A shoe with a moc toe design has a seam that runs around the top of the boot.

The ‘U’ shaped stitching on the toe is similar to traditional moccasins.

It provides increased comfort, flexibility, and protection.

Example of moc toes:

What is the weight a steel toe boot can withstand?

200-joule protection is the European safety specification.

It is a steel toe cap that offers more flat protection than a composite cap.

It essentially handles weights above the standard requirement.

Most steel toe shoes can withstand a weight of three tons.

Subjecting them to that kind of pressure is not recommended.

Regular work shoes that have a steel toe box withstand about 1200 pounds of weight.

How to Choose the Best Safety Shoes?

  • Moderate toe cap

The feet of American workers tend to be wider than those of European workers.

There is also a difference in the last length and width.

The width of the toe cap must be suitable for your market foot.

  • Breathable vamp

Materials to choose from include leather and man-made fabrics and materials.

Leather is the preferred material for the uppers of work boots and shoes, it’s more breathable and strong than others.

  • Comfortable insole /midsole

safety shoes with memory foam cushioned midsole is helpful due to the constant weight transfer between the ball of the foot and the heel.

A Steel shank or plastic shank midsole offers balance, comfort, and deduce painful overworked arches.

  • SRC sole design

The thickness of a cleated outsole is the key to slip resistance level.

A spacious upper foot splay accommodates the interior.

What Materials of Safety Shoes?

  • Leather materials including split leather, cow suede leather, nubuck leather, horse-crazy leather, embossed leather, buffalo leather,full-grain, microfiber, canvas those are common leather style for safety shoes.
  • You can choose the different thicknesses for this leather, the leather thickness from1.4-2.0mm, and you could custom leather color.
  • Fabric materials including breathable mesh, cotton fabric, pigskin, fur wool, Sandwich mesh Canberra mesh,nylon mesh
  • Eyelet including D-ring, punched metal plastic hook, webbing fabric, BOA rotate
  • Accessories including toe cap ,midsole plate ,trap,reflective stripe,rubber logo,side zip,lace
  • Insole including PU, HI-ploy, EVA+BKmesh, memory foam

What is the Feature of safety shoes?

Look for safety, health, and comfort features instead of the cheapest price.

AS below feature, you must consider

  • Water-resistant &Breathable

The materials used to upper water-resistant and breathable, the lining and leather also include reinforcing materials, breathable upper won’t make your feet sweat.

  • Flexibility &Lightweight

Hiking safety shoes must be lightweight in order for your users to have a more comfortable experience.

  • Soft Padded collars

0.8-1.0mm sponge tucked into the collar of the shoe can be better, reducing ankle chafing.

  • Short break-in time

Proper inside structure design and high-quality lining materials can be important factors in determining the break-in period.

  • Durability

Your end customers often use safety shoes in tough environments, purchase safety shoes must be durable.

  • Abrasion-resistant &slip resistant sole

The outsole’s abrasion-resistant properties increase the life of the shoe and its excellent slip resistance reduces the risk of injury from falls.

What are Safety Shoes Protective Midsole?

Midsole protection guards against objects such as nails,1100N penetration force is needed for footwear protection.

The protection is provided by a Kevlar insole, steel plate, or stainless steel insert.

The protective midsoles of safety shoes are typically made from one of two materials – steel or a woven fabric like Kevlar.

steel, stainless steel recommended for a cheap price or heavy industry protecting shoes.

Steel midsoles conduct electricity, cold, and heat, more economical than fabric midsole,disadvantage is not light.

Woven fabric midsoles are also named kevlar, this midsole more light, and flexible.

You could choose one of the materials as your product’s midsole.

How to Design Safety Shoes?

Design the best safety shoes actually starts with the excellent design of the outsole, because the sole texture directly affects the slip resistance performance.

After done CAD design of the outsole, the shoe lasts designer starts design plastic last length and the width, match up the toe cap.

The shoe designer creates a drawing of safety shoes upper, and the pattern maker makes a paper pattern based on the plastic lasts.

How Long do Safety Shoes Last?

There are no guidelines as to how often you need to replace safety shoes.

It depends on the work environment.

Typically, safety toe shoes last in the six-to-12-month range in an average work environment.

Some last longer, others not as long.

Who Makes the Best Safety Shoes?

Safeft manufactures safety boots, work boots, hiking boots, and military boots of various types.

Safety shoes made by safeft with more than 12years’ experience in producing different standards.

The company has a strong development team.

Supply for 5 top brands in Euro and South America for many years.

You can order safety shoes products with ASTM and CE certified, this is ready certified for your business.

You can see brand design comfortable steel toe safety shoes manufactured by safeft.

What is Safety Shoes Price in China?

You can find many different Safety shoes price in china.

Most customers don’t know why the price range such different.

Here I share with you some experience, with different raw materials, will make different price safety shoes.

Different safety shoe machines, different safety shoemaking skills, cause different cost and mass production will also make the price different.

Normal, tested safety shoes are $6-10. These prices are set at the basic model, which is the most heavily produced model.

What are Safety Shoes Required?

Manufacturing safety shoe plants must have ISO 90001 certified, and Safety footwear products are tested by authoritative testing centers and issued with test reports and certificates.

Different countries have different testing methods, but the intent of the test is the same.

It is better to provide real protection than to cause harm to your feet.

The most basic protection is to pass the smash test, the puncture test, which is mentioned in the ASTM, EN20345, CSA test requirements.

The metatarsal impact test is required by ASTM F2414-18 and CSA Z195-09

Therefore, passed test safety shoes will be marked with different certification standards on the label

Label for safety shoe export to the USA shows the C/I M,

As for safety shoes, ASTM test, only issue test report haven’t certificate

LA symbol for Chinese safety shoes

CE for Europe safety shoes

UKCA for safety shoes in the UK.

These logos are based on the safety shoes that have certified.


Safety shoes protect you against a specified hazard or hazards. They can be slip-resistant types that allow you to safely walk on slippery surfaces, shoes for wet environments, or work boots with various features. These shoes have many design options and protection levels. So it helps to understand what to look for when buying them.

The low-end safety shoes, we used to arch support footbeds, which provide comfort and low your purchase budget.

Work with us you could get arch support sole and unique safety shoes.

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