By Rehan Iqbal
Like most people, you’re no doubt looking for some of the most reliable personal protective equipment that the industry has to offer. From hard hats to safety gloves, all these work great to keep you safe and working as efficiently as you can. While the market is indeed flooded with all the different types of PPE you need to make it through the day, one particular area still remains a bit foggy and confusing for most buyers. What type of safety toe should I get for my work boots?
On one hand, you got good old steel and metal that can literally stand up to anything. On the other hand, there are tons of other options such as alloy toes which hold great promise for numerous applications. This segment aims to shed some light on which safety toe will work best for you.
First off, there’s one thing you should know before you even get to making your choice of safety toe. No matter what type you settle on, all safety toe caps are required to pass ANSI, ASTM, and OSHA safety standards to guarantee that they are at par with regulations. Ensure that your pair has gone through the right product testing and has been certified as a safety toe work boot.
What Are Steel Safety Toes?
Yes, the classic, long-lived steel toe cap has been around since work boots were first made. Steel toe safety shoes are among the most durable shoes that provide reliable reinforcement in the toe. During factory construction, a hardened steel toe cap is built in the toe compartment of your work boots to facilitate additional protection of your lower extremities. Generally, the steel toe safety caps are designed to safeguard your foot against compression, falling objects or obstacles ahead. However, most manufacturers also combine them with a hardy midsole plate that protects your under sole from below.
What Are Alloy Toes?
Most recently, Alloy toe safety boots have been gaining quite the loyal following. While they are as strong as steel, the only real difference is in the materials and components used in construction. Alloy toes are made from lightweight materials such as titanium, aluminum or a combination of other light materials. So, how does the Alloy Toe compare to the Steel toe?
You may be wondering how alloy toes stack up against good old steel. I mean, why should you go for alloy if it offers similar protection to steel safety toes? Well, for starters, alloy safety boots are 30 to 50 percent lighter than steel toes. This means that you can move around freely with less weight attached to your feet. Additionally, materials like titanium are much thinner than steel. This translates to more comfort for the wearer thanks to significantly more room in the toes. However, alloy safety boots definitely cost more than steel toes and they will still set off that annoying metal detector at the airport or workplace.
Steel, however, also offers significantly crucial benefits over the alloy toe. First off, they are less expensive than other types of safety boots; which make them a popular choice for most. As far as straight impact protection resistance and shear resistance from grinders and chainsaws, steel safety toes offer maximum protection than the thinner alloy. In fact, most steel toe boots go as far as exceeding ASTM safety standards. However, they are heavier than alloy boots and can be uncomfortable due to the smaller toe box.
A word of caution, though; both these safety toes should not be used in environments with electrical hazards since they conduct electricity.