Steel or Composite Toe Boots, What Do I Need?!

Safety toe work boots are designed to protect against a variety of hazards and injuries. The footwear and its protective grade is best chosen after evaluation (risk assessment) of the potential dangers in the work environment. Safety toe work boots should always be used as a last resort, it is the final line of defence against hazards, after all other reasonable or practical measures have been taken to manage the risks of the workplace. Impact, compression and puncture are the most common types of foot injury.

Common dangers are related to the kind of materials that are handled by the worker, risks of objects falling on or rolling over the feet, blades that might cut the top of the feet, ... Below we are going a little deeper into the differences between steel toe work boots and composite toe work boots.

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difference between steel toe work boots and composite toe work boots


icon for steel toe work boots or composite toe work boots

If you’re involved in the purchase of safety toe work boots, it is important not just to know about safety footwear codes and standards, but also to have an understanding of the materials they are made from.

You will see safety toe work boots that have steel toe caps in their specifications while others have composite toe caps. Strange, because both materials have the same purpose. A protective toe cap made according to European or ASTM standard will protect the feet from impact, regardless the material.

But than what exactly is the difference between steel toe work boots and composite toe work boots and what could be your best choice? An understanding of the differences between steel toe work boots and composite toe work boots means that you can make a confident and correct purchase for your work activities.

This list, with all the differences you should know about steel toe work boots and composite toe work boots, will help you cut the knot!

steel toe work boots
Work boots with steel toe cap
Made from steel only
Used since 1930's and steel toe caps are still very popular
Naturally stronger than composite toe caps, a thinner layer is used in the work boots to reach the same strength as a composite toe
Cheaper compared to composite toe work boots
Conducting cold, heat and electricity
Work boots with composite toe cap
Made from non-metal materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber or plastics
Gaining popularity due to several benefits in comfort
Lighter compared to a steel toe, reducing stress and fatigue on the legs and joints throughout long workdays
Mostly used in a higher quality- and price range of safety toe work boots
Not conducting heat or cold in extreme temperatures, for extra comfort
More thick and bulky compared to steel toe work boots. Nanocarbon toe caps are a solution for the dimensional problems, as they are very lightweight and thin toe caps.
Metal-free work boots, practical when working in electrical hazardous environments, or workplaces with metal detectors such as courts, airports, ...

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