Work boots are essential safety gear, especially if you are working in a hazardous environment such as a construction site or industrial site. There are several kinds of protective wear to help prevent injury. Safety boots with steel toes are often preferred for their sturdiness and overall durability. However, there are several misconceptions regarding their weight capacity. In this article, we try to clear them.
Types of Safety Toes
- Steel – it is the standard material used for safety toes in work boots.
- Composite – it is made from fibreglass, plastic, or Kevlar. Although not as tough as steel, they’re ideal for working in hot or cold conditions or where there is a risk of electric shock.
- Alloy – it is made of aluminium, titanium, or other lightweight materials. They are lightweight options that provide excellent protection for your toes.
How Much Weight Can a Steel Toe Hold?
While ordinary shoes crumble and break when something heavy falls on them leading to lacerations or broken bones, steel-toed boots don’t crumple. They are much stronger and protect your feet from falling objects, moving equipment, and stubbing your toes. Hence any worker involved in heavy lifting or moving large objects or machinery should ideally wear steel toe boots. So, if you work in manufacturing facilities, steel production plants, mines, mills and warehouses, oil and gas rigs, shipyards, construction sites or other industrial settings, wear a steel toe boot.
According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the minimum compression and impact performance ratings for steel toe boots is ANSI Z41-1991. If you are not sure how strong this makes your steel toe boots, then let’s tell you – an ASTM 75 pound-foot compression resistance means it can tolerate up to 2,500 pounds or 1,133 kilograms of compression. It means that if a car weighing 3,300 pounds runs over your feet, you will be relatively safe as one wheel will not bear the whole weight of the car. Heavy-duty steel toes are strong enough to withstand about 6,000 lbs of pressure before they crumble out of shape.
Other protective features you can add to your steel toe boots
- Waterproofing – if you work in wet conditions, you should waterproof the steel toe boots to keep your feet dry and safe.
- Insulation – adding insulation to steel toe boots is recommended if working in cold conditions. Otherwise, you will end up with numb toes, making it difficult to work.
- Metal insteps – for extra protection against sharp objects that are likely to step on, add metal insteps. It will protect you from sharp items like glass, nails, and rocks.
- Metatarsal guards – ideal for additional protection for the front half of your foot, to reduce/eliminate the risk of injury from heavy falling objects.
- Electrical hazard rating – in case you are working with electricity, your steel toe boots must have an electrical hazard rating for better protection.
It is clear that steel toe boots can withstand a lot of pressure and protect your feet from heavy falling objects. With the added protection features mentioned above, it becomes safer and more durable. However, the trick to better comfort and safety with a pair of steel-toe boots is to select the right shoes for you.