Composite Safety Shoes – What Exactly Are They?

For a long time, wearing safety footwear meant wearing steel toed boots. Steel toed boots are great, but they have some definite drawbacks, the biggest one being their weight. Steel toed boots are heavy and if your job involves doing a lot of walking, the extra weight can take a toll. Fortunately, there’s now an alternative that is still CSA approved but is lighter than steel toed boots – composite.

Composite toe safety shoesAs the name suggests, composite safety footwear is made up of multiple materials that together, give the same safety as steel toed shoes. The most common formulation of the composite material is plastic, Kevlar aramid fiber, and carbon fiber. Together these materials create a super strong compound that protects against crushing and impact injuries just like the steel toed boots that immediately come to mind.

Another benefit of composite safety shoes is that they can be worn in work places where having metal in footwear could present safety and security issues. If your workplace has metal-detectors, then steel toed boots can become a huge nuisance as you would have to remove them to pass through the detectors. Composite boots with no metal parts however, can be worn through metal detectors.

One thing to be aware of is that unlike steel toe shoes which can dent, composite shoes often bounce back to their original shape after an impact. Do not be fooled by the fact that the shoes look unharmed. While composite toed shoes return to their original shape, their ability to protect against further impact has been compromised and they are no longer offering the same protection. After a significant impact, both steel and composite toed shoes / boots should be replaced in order to ensure that you are covered.

If you’re in the market for new boots, but want to try out a composite toe instead of the traditional steel toe, there are lots of choices for both men and women at Work Authority – come in and take a look in store or check out our selections online.

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How do I make sure to get the right size?

To measure your feet:

  1. Get a blank piece of paper, a pencil and a tape measure.
  2. Stand with one foot on the piece of paper, and have most of your weight on your foot to simulate walking.
  3. Holding the pencil perfectly vertical and perpendicular to the paper, mark a line at the back of your heel and at the tip of your longest toe. Also mark a line along each side of the widest part of your foot.
  4. Measure length and width to the nearest 16th inch and subtract .20 to .25 inches, or .50 centimetres, to account for the width of the pencil.
  5. Find your corresponding size in the charts below.

A couple of tips to get the perfect fit:

  • Measure your feet later in the day as feet normally swell and can become up to half a size bigger in the evening.
  • Measure both feet and use the measurements of the biggest foot. Many people have feet that are different sizes.
  • Wear the same type of socks you will generally be wearing on the job when you measure your feet.

Here are some general guidelines to assess fit once you’ve received your new boots:

  • Try on new boots towards the end of the day.
  • Walk around in a clean environment for a couple of hours to make sure the boots are comfortable.
  • Try boots on both feet, as many people have feet that are different sizes.
  • Boots should fit snugly around the heel and ankle when laced.
  • The inner side of the boot should be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe.
  • The boot should grip the heel firmly.

Measuring apparel for proper fit

Size X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large 2X-Large 3X-Large
Neck - Inches 13-13.5 14-14.5 15-15.5 16-16.5 17-17.5 18-18.5 19-19.5
Neck - Centimetres 33-35 36-37 38-39 41-42 43-44 45-47 48-50
Chest - Inches 30-32 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52 54-56
Chest - Centimetres 76-81 86-91 97-102 107-112 117-122 127-132 137-147
Waist - Inches 27-28 29-31 32-34 36-38 40-42 44-46 48-50
Waist - Centimetres 68-71 73-78 81-83 91-96 101-106 111-116 121-127

Hint: For the most accurate results, measure yourself in your undergarments.

  • Neck: Measure around the base of your neck, inserting your forefinger between the tape and your neck to allow ease in fit.
  • Chest: Measure around the fullest part of your chest, keeping tape firmly under your armpits and around your shoulder blades.
  • Waist: Measure around your waist, slightly below your natural waist, where you normally wear your pants. Insert your forefinger between the tape and your body to allow ease in fit.
  • Sleeve length: Bend your arm slightly. Measure from centre back neck, across your shoulder, down to your elbow, down to your wrist.
  • Hip: Measure around the fullest part of your hips, inserting your forefinger between the tape and your hip to allow ease in fit.
  • Inseam: Measure a similar pant that fits you well. Measure along the inseam, from the crotch seam to the bottom of the hem.

Between sizes?

If your measurements are in between those listed in the size chart, pick the next larger size.