If you are likely to be in areas exposed to harsh outdoor weather conditions on a daily basis we recommend footwear with a rating of 'W/P' which means that the footwear is lined with a breathable, waterproof membrane which prevents water penetrating. If you work in predominantly indoor environments which may include some minor outdoor work with light rainfall you may be happier with a water-resistant upper marked with a rating 'WR'.
If you are likely to be exposed to flames we recommend a boot with a heat resistant outsole of at least 300°C. Some of our more specialist footwear has special features such as quick release mechanisms.
If you work hazardous conditions where there is likely to be risks of hazards penetrating the sole, we recommend footwear with midsole protection with a penetration resistance of 1100 Newtons. Safety categories 'S3' and 'S5' feature a penetration resistant sole. However, if you do not require all the safety features in these categories 'SB', 'S1' and 'S2' may also include a safety midsole if it has the marking 'P'.
Energy Absorbing Heel
A good choice of footwear ensures all day comfort, particularly if you are on harsh surfaces or wearing the footwear all day. Footwear with energy absorbing qualities in the heel strike area reduces the level of impact on the joints. Footwear with a rating of 'SB-E' and 'S1' and above features heel energy absorption of 20 joules.
Underfoot Cut Resistance
If you work in environments where there is a risk from sharp objects we recommend footwear with 'TPU' outsoles, nitrile rubber outsoles as well as vulcanised nitrile soles as these soles provide a high degree of cut resistance. You may also wish to have midsole protection within these industries.
One of the largest risk within the workplace comes from slips and trips. This can be caused by inappropriate footwear and the surface which you are working on. Work&Safety's footwear goes through strict slip testing procedures where they are tested on a range of surfaces with slippery solutions applied. There are three ratings, the first rating is 'SRA' which means it has been tested to be slip resistant on a ceramic wetted tile contaminated with a diluted soap solution and passed. The next option is 'SRB' where the footwear has passed a slip test on a smooth steel surface contaminated with a dilute soap solution. The highest of these ratings is 'SRC' which means it passes both 'SRA' and 'SRB' standards. If you work on a range of floor surfaces where there is particular risk of slips, or hazards from spills, Work&Safety recommend footwear with this rating to ensure highest protection.
Water-repellent uppers have a special coating which repels water and solutions and allows the footwear to be wiped clean. Water-repellent footwear is marked 'SB-WR', 'S1-WR', 'S2', 'S3', 'S4' or 'S5'.
Workers who are required to spend too much time on their feet are at a risk of pain and discomfort around their feet, legs, hips and lower back. There are a number of qualities you can look for in footwear to assist with pressure points. Look for footwear with an energy absorbing heel (rated SB-E, or S1 and above). How the sole is created can provide cushioning comfort through the day. A Rubber/EVA (also known as rubber/phylon) sole is created by injecting compressed ethylene vinyl acetate into a mould, which allows for light, flexible and resilient cushioning as well as providing a hardwearing rubber outer sole. Dual density PU has a similar effect by allowing for a harder outer layer of polyurethane and a softer inner layer to ensure comfort and durability. Rubber can also be combined with polyurethane in the midsole to offer cushioning comfort. Look also for padded collars and padded tongues at pressure points on the footwear. When picking footwear, allow for plenty of wiggle room in the forefoot and allow space for a removable cushioning insole (some footwear already has this provided), and space for medium to heavy cushion socks with cushioning at the toe and heel.
|SB||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression|
|S1||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression. Antistatic and Energy absorbing heel.|
|S2||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression. Antistatic and Energy absorbing heel. Water resistant upper.|
|S3||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression. Antistatic and Energy absorbing heel. Water resistant upper. Penetration resistant sole.|
|S4||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression. Antistatic and Energy absorbing heel. Waterproof polymer upper.|
|S5||Toe protection tested to 200 Joules impact and 15,000 Newtons compression. Antistatic and Energy absorbing heel. Waterproof polymer upper. Penetration resistant sole.|
|PB||Toe protection tested to 100 Joules|
|OB||No protective toe cap|
|HRO||Resistance to high heat 300ºc|
|FO||Resistance to fuel of outsole|
|E||Heel energy absorption 20 joules|
|P||Penetration resistance 1100 newtons|
|CI||Insulation against cold|
|HI||Heat insulation of sole complex|
|WRU||Water penetration resistant uppers|
|A||Antistatic range 100kΩ – 1000mΩ|
|CR||Cut Resistant Upper|
|SRA||Passes SRA slip resistant standards: tested on ceramic wetted tile contamination with a diluted soap solution.|
|SRB||Passes SRB slip resistant standards: tested on smooth steel contamination with glycerol.|
|SRC||Passes SRC slip resistant standards: tested on ceramic tile contamination with a dilute soap solution and smooth steel contamination with glycerol.|