Why are the toecaps of safety shoes so important?
Safety footwear is the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect your feet from all the attacks they face every day in your workplace. Learn about the essential role the safety toe cap plays for your feet, as well as the regulations surrounding it. Find out more about the materials used to make them, so you can choose the shoe that best suits you.
What is the purpose of a safety shoe shell?
Located in the front of the safety shoe, in the upper part of the upper, the toe cap is an essential part of the shoe, as it protects your toes from injury. Also known as the toe cap, the shell protects the very fragile end of your foot from collisions, crushing and falling objects. Note that these situations can have very serious consequences, such as an injury that can lead to months of sick leave, or the permanent loss of use of part or all of the foot. To avoid this, strict regulations concerning PPE have been put in place.
EN ISO 20345 standard: the guarantee of effective protection
The EN ISO 20345 standard is there to certify that the safety shoes you use are really resistant and protective against heavy impacts. Shoes that meet this European standard are tested to withstand an impact of 200 joules. Simply put, 200 joules is the energy released by a 20 kg object falling from a height of one meter. This also corresponds to a pressure of one and a half tons placed on the shoe. So it's the most reliable standard for avoiding toe injuries. And that's why all our Ultrabold safety shoes comply with the EN ISO 20345 standard.
This should not be confused with EN ISO 20346, which only applies to so-called "protective" shoes. This type of professional footwear is less effective against impacts, as it only resists 100 joules.
What is the protective toe cap made of?
Often made of metal, the protective toe cap can also be made of polycarbonate, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Each material offers different advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to know them in order to choose your safety shoes correctly.
Made of steel or aluminum, the main advantage of metal shells is their extreme resistance. They exceed the other shells in this respect, which is a considerable advantage when you know the risks incurred during an impact or a crushing of the foot. In addition, these materials are much less expensive than composite. This allows you to have high-performance safety shoes at a very attractive price.
The downside is the weight of steel, which is a bit heavier than aluminum or composite. However, if the rest of the safety shoe is made of ultra-light materials, this is more than compensated. The metal protective shell is also conductive, so it is necessary to be aware of this before using it for certain activities.
Other existing materials
Safety shoes with a non-metallic shell can be lighter and more ergonomic.
- Polycarbonate is a lightweight material. However, in order to meet all safety standards, the volume of the polycarbonate shell must be significant.
- The advantage of fiberglass is its excellent thermal insulation.
- As for carbon fiber, it is the most modern material. It is characterized by its lightness (sometimes less than 40 grams) and its thinner volume.
This type of protective tip is very useful in certain industries, especially in places where it is mandatory to pass through several security checkpoints (such as in airports).
Replace your shoes for more safety
When your safety shoes are subjected to a significant impact on the shell, the force of the shock absorbed is not negligible. As a result, the shell can become deformed or even crack slightly. Since this deformation can alter the shape and structure of the shoe, it is imperative to change your PPE to ensure that you still benefit from its attributes. The rule is the same as for an impact against a bicycle or motorcycle helmet. If it is not replaced immediately after a major impact, it may provide less protection the next time, which is very risky.
Replacing your pair of safety shoes can also be an opportunity to discover one of our new models, always more resistant, lighter and more aesthetic.