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The 10 Things About Safety Footwear You Didn't Know

Views: 269     Author: zhongle     Publish Time: 2023-11-01      Origin: Site


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The 10 Things About Safety Footwear You Didn't Know

So you think you know everything there is to know about safety boots? You may wear them every day and consider yourself a work boot expert, but did you know these 10 lesser-known safety footwear facts?

1. The first safety shoe was created more than 400 years ago

The first safety shoes were called Sabots (a combination of the French words for shoe'savate' and boot 'botte') and were invented in the 17th century. Essentially a hollowed-out block of wood, 'Sabats' had little flexibility or comfort and were primarily used by French farmers to protect their feet from being crushed by animals.

2. Some wooden clogs have received official safety certification

Whole-foot clogs, which are sold in the Netherlands by the millions each year, are generally purchased as souvenirs by tourists rather than used in the real world, though some do wear them for foot protection in agricultural and even factory jobs.

Some traditional Dutch all-wooden footwear known as 'Klompen' (Dutch for 'clogs') even has official safety shoe accreditation with a CE mark and can protect the wearer from a wide range of hazards, including penetration from sharp objects and even concentrated acids.

3. Steel toecaps were invented in response to a compensation emergency.

Companies found it cheaper to replace injured workers than to implement proper safety measures in the early 1900s, long before the Health and Safety at Work Act was enacted. However, as the twentieth century progressed and compensation laws were established, companies began to become financially liable for their employees' safety. As a result, they began focusing on safety equipment, and the steel-toed boot was born in 1930 when Red Wing Shoe Company officially introduced it to the market.

4. You do not have to pay VAT on safety boots.

Safety boots are zero-rated for VAT, which means you don't have to pay any VAT when you buy a pair of safety boots for yourself. This changes if it is not a personal purchase; safety boots are not VAT-free if purchased by a company for its employees.

What about safety shoes? Safety shoes, on the other hand, are not zero-rated for VAT, which means that VAT must always be paid on a safety shoe, whether the company is purchasing them for their employees or you are making a personal purchase.

5. A safety boot is transformed into a safety shoe when...

The distinction between a shoe and a boot is based on one specific part of the wearer's lower limbs.

A shoe, as you might expect, will cover the foot but not go above the ankle. When the upper of a shoe comes up over the wearer's ankle, it is considered a boot. This definition is well-suited to what you've just learned in point 4.

6. Not all steel toecap boots are made

Composite toecaps are quickly becoming the safety industry standard. Fiberglass, polycarbonate, and thermoplastic are some of the materials used to make composite toecaps.


There are several reasons for this: For starters, composite toecaps can flex under impact and distribute the load to the side and front walls. After impact, composite toecaps can regain much of their original shape, making it easier to remove footwear in the event of an accident.

7. Wellington boots are named after the Duke of Wellington

When the Duke of Wellington asked his shoemaker to make him a more modern, tight-fitting version of the then-popular Hessian boot, which was a knee-high leather boot with a front tassel worn by British Army officers, the Wellington boot was born.

Following its crucial role in protecting soldiers' feet during WWII, the Wellington boot was modified to include a toecap and the safety wellie was born.

When asked what the most important aspect of a soldier's equipment was, the Duke of Wellington replied, "A pair of good shoes." We couldn't agree with you more.

8. The Dealer boot was a royal favorite

Dealer boots are now a firmly established and well-loved staple of the agribusiness industry, providing wearers across the country and beyond with a combination of style and strength. But did you know they were originally known as Paddock boots because they were made for riding and had royalties? J Sparkes-Hall, Queen Victoria's bootmaker, invented the elastic gusset shoe in 1851, which led to the creation of the now-iconic Dealer boot. Queen Victoria adored them and wore them every day.

9. Slips injuries are more common than foot injuries

According to HSE statistics, less than 1% of occupational accidents involve toe injuries, while slip-related injuries account for more than 30% of non-fatal occupational accidents. This demonstrates that, while a toecap is important for protecting the wearer, having the proper sole grip and understanding the hazards of the surfaces on which we work is arguably even more important.

Slip resistance is now a basic requirement under the new EN ISO 20345:2022 safety standards for footwear. There will be no slip resistance symbol in the future because it is now considered a mandatory safety boot feature. And given the statistics above, this seems like an entirely right decision.

At Nobler Footwear, ensuring our wearers have the best protection from slip hazards is essential. To develop our sole units, we collaborate with numerous experts in safety testing, tire technology, material compounds, and ladder safety.

10. Safety boot wearers frequently walk more than 7 miles per day

In a survey of over 500 safety footwear users conducted by an organization in collaboration with the University of Bath, 94% of respondents stated that they wore their safety footwear for 8 hours per day. That's a long time to be in safety footwear, especially if you're constantly walking in boots that have been weighed down by safety components.

A waste collector, for example, walks 13,000 steps per day (over 6 miles), a farmer walks over 14,000 steps per day (nearly 7 miles), and a groundskeeper regularly walks up to 15,000 steps per day. And warehouse pickers for retailers like Amazon can take up to 22,000 steps per shift—that's over 10 miles. All the more reason to ensure that while your footwear might be safe, it needs to be comfortable too.

But wait, there's more...

So there you have it: ten strange, wonderful, eye-opening, and hopefully useful facts about safety footwear. We hope you learned something new (or old) about safety boots and shoes, or that it was useful in keeping you up to date on products, manufacturing, and standards.

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