What risks will you encounter?
Although there are multi-purpose safety shoes and boots you may select, in order to reduce exposure to foot injury it’s important to know what risks you will encounter. Safety footwear is so important, the Government of Canada has a publication on the topic called Protect Your Feet!
There are specific protection options for particular risks such as:
- Electric Shock
- Sharp objects that could penetrate any part of the foot
- Objects that might fall from above the foot
- Explosive or electrostatic discharge
- Exposure to water, heat or cold
- Exposure to welding spray, molten metal or corrosive liquids
- Uneven ground where ankle support is required
What symbols ought to be there?
Most people have heard of or seen the green triangle on safety boots and they feel assured that this indicates they boots have met a standard. But what do all the symbols actually mean? Our website has a Safety Symbol Index to help clarify the symbols and what they indicate.
Should I choose style or comfort?
Comfort should trump style but you shouldn’t have to choose one or the other. With so many safety footwear manufacturers, safety shoes come in athletic, full boot and dress options. It is important to select an option that does not feel uncomfortable especially with the number of hours they may be worn. Here are some considerations:
- Shoes should not pinch your feet.
- You should not feel the toe caps against your toes.
- Shoes that are either too narrow or too wide will cause discomfort over time.
- If your feet tend to perspire, look for moisture-wicking or leather.
- Walk around with your shoes on before buying them to test the fit.
- Allow for potential swelling of feet.
- Put safety first, comfort second and then look at style.
- Don’t forget to wear quality socks to aid in your comfort.
How much should I expect to pay?
Perhaps you’ve heard the adage, you get what you pay for. When it comes to safety shoes, depending on the risks you are exposed to, this can certainly apply. Leather can be more breathable than synthetics, the outer sole durability can make a difference to the lifespan of the footwear and insoles that rip and tear can cause pain an discomfort. An educated retail professional will help you select the right boot for your needs and budget! As a general idea, you can expect to pay in the range of $100 to $150 for a safety shoe or athletic style, $100 to $180 for safety boots and in the range of $190-$300 for waterproof safety boots.
When should I replace my boots?
We all want to get the most wear we can from our footwear. When does worn footwear increase our risk to injury? Here’s a former Work Authority blog post that covers this issue.
In addition, Shoes.com provides some insight that can help you decide – should they stay or should they go?
- Wear and Tear: As soon as you notice a protective component beginning to show through, be it a reinforced toe, steel midsole, steel shank or metatarsal guard, you should replace your boots right away. Safety first!
- Dented Toe: Your steel toe will dent and fail to spring back, while composite is less likely to show physical damage, so try to make mental notes as your boots are tested by major impact or punctures. Again, think safety!
- Separation of Parts or Seams: If your boots are made with rubber or PVC materials, any visible separation should tell you it's time to buy new shoes. Falling apart pairs don't look professional, right?
- Worn Outside: The same attention should be paid to the shoe's tread as well, since once it has been worn smooth, they'll no longer be slip-resistant. You wouldn't drive a truck with bald tires, right?
- Leakage: If your work involves damp environments or exposure to hazardous chemicals or other corrosive materials, any sign of leakage should prompt you to look for a new pair. It's not just about comfort – it's your health!
Finally, if you aren’t sure what footwear to purchase for your job, ask your employer!
Here are some more resources on this topic: