Safety Footwear

It is important that you choose the correct industrial footwear for your specific working environment. We would therefore recommend that in the first instance a risk assessment is carried out to ensure that the correct protection level and style of footwear is selected.


Risk Assessment

Assess the risks within the working environment to either remove or protect against the hazards. This must involve defining the work area, recognising the risks, and identifying the correct method of reducing them i.e. by removing, controlling, or by choosing suitable safety footwear.

  • Safety features include:
    • Impact resistant toe caps
    • Pierce resistant midsoles
    • Anti-static soles
    • Sole resistance to heat
    • Resistance to cold
    • Water resistance
    • Resistance to fuel oil
    • Resistance to chemicals
    • Slip resistant sole properties

The Health & Safety Executive website provides a number of Case Studies based on real incidents in the workplace with real consequences for the people involved. These Case Studies provide valuable insights in to some of the dangers posed and some of the solutions that can be put in place. Visit the HSE website to read these HSE Case Studies


Materials and Construction

There are various methods of attaching the sole of the footwear to the upper material; this has some considerable influence on product selection depending on the environment in which the footwear will be used.

  • Direct injection moulding – A strong construction method used with either one density of polyurethane (known as single density) or two densities, either polyurethane or an inner density polyurethane and an outer density of nitrile rubber (know as dual density). Both types provide reduced weight with improved comfort and flexibility, without any compromise in performance.
  • Goodyear welded – Another traditional form of construction where the sole is stitched to the upper material, again a very strong method, which would generally be slightly heavier in use than the above. Suitable for most dry environments.
  • Cemented – This is exactly what it suggests; the sole unit is preformed and cemented (glued) onto the upper material creating a strong bond.
  • Cushioned Soles – when standing for long periods of time
  • Wellington boot – The vast majority of Wellingtons in use are direct injection moulded from either raw PVC with varying quantities of nitrile rubber or Polyurethane. Both types provide excellent flexibility and resistance to chemicals.

The Footwear Standard

It should be noted that the concentration and type of chemicals should be identified. Within EN345 there are other features added to the safety footwear which are needed depending on the environment in which they are to be used. Adding numbers or letters after the EN345 mark denotes these additional features. Examples are:

  • SB– Safety Basic has all the features required to pass the standard
  • SBP– As SB with pierce resistant midsole
  • S1– As SB with anti-static sole and cushioned heel area
  • S1P– As S1 with pierce resistant midsole
  • S2– As S1 with water resistant upper
  • S3– As S2 with pierce resistant midsole


Selecting the correct materials

Selecting the correct materials is critical, especially when contaminants are present. By choosing the correct material the maximum lifespan of footwear can be achieved.

  • Nitrile rubber sole – for higher temperatures, oil and solvent resistant.
  • Polyurethane soles – for general purpose use, oil and solvent resistant.
  • Anti-static footwear – to dissipate static electricity
  • Water repellent leather uppers – where there is occasional exposure to water
  • PVC, PVC nitrile, rubber and polyurethane uppers – where there is long term exposure to water and certain chemical applications.


European Footwear Safety

Safety Footwear is governed by a European safety standard which forms part of legislation. It is therefore imperative that safety footwear is purchased from a reputable source and carries the fixed European standard mark EN345. All safety footwear which carries the EN345 mark has been tested in accordance with the standard set and has the following safety features:

EN345 Features

  S1 S1P S2 S3 S4 S5 SB SBP
200 Joule Steel Toe Cap Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Shock Absorber Heel Y Y Y Y        
Steel Midsole   Y   Y   Y   Y
Anti-Static Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Acid & Alkali Resistant Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Oil Resistant Sole Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Heat Resistant Sole Y Y Y Y     Y Y
Anti-Slip Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Leather Upper Y Y Y Y     Y Y
Water Penetration Resistant     Y Y Y Y    


Footwear Sizes