Safety boots are essential for foot protection across a wide range of industry. The construction industry in particular springs to mind, but they’re also vital in a range of other industries, such as for kitchen installation, warehousing and a lot of factory work.
And with such wide demand, as you might imagine, there is quite the array of options out there.
A good pair of safety boots can protect you from several different types of injury and risk, but a perfect pair that will cover all possible scenarios are somewhat harder to come by, and it can be difficult to ascertain which pair is the best for your needs.
Even the government’s HSE suggest that the final choice may have to be a compromise.
But not to worry – we’ve identified 5 of the best safety boots out on the market today and have reviews of them for you. After that we also have a buying guide to walk you through a few things you might like to think about before making your purchase.
Then we have a handy FAQ section which explains the standard European symbols and classifications used to grade safety footwear.
BUILT TO WORK: Steel toe cap protects against impact from falling objects and against compression, giving 200 Joules of protection - equivalent to dropping 20kg from a height of 1m or a weight of 1.5 tonnes resting on the toe area
PROTECTION FROM BELOW: Steel midsole - a thin yet strong steel plate that runs the length of the sole and protects against objects penetrating from below and piercing your foot, such as nails, tacks, glass shards and more, that could otherwise cause a potentially serious injury
DURABILITY: Dual density PU/PU sole that is resistant to fuel oil, so it won't degrade, stain or retain grease that would otherwise cause slips and trips
This best selling safety boot from Blackrock has proved to be a big hit – and at that price we can see why! It’s fantastic value for money.
The boot comes with a genuine steel cap toe, so you can be assured of protection from heavy impact drops, SB-P rating to be exact.
As well as featuring steel to cap the toe, there’s steel in the midsole too. This acts to prevent penetration from sharp objects on the ground or surface.
The midsole is further protected by the PU injected outsole. This double density sole means you get increased abrasion resistance.
It also provides excellent slip resistance, it’s rating for slip resistance is SRC, which is the highest slip resistance rating you can get. It will protect from all sorts of slippery surfaces, whether wet from rain or from oil.
The boot also has an energy absorbing heel, which can help to prevent back injury following landing heavily on the boot, say from jumping.
Another plus to this boot is the wide folding bellows tongue situated at the sides under the eyelets, which reduces the chance of water and rain entering the boot. It also stops dust particles and other debris too.
We love that there’s a scuff cap, to protect from scuffs and keep the boot in good condition for longer.
The upper is made from real leather – very durable.
These safety boots just fly off the shelves at Amazon – and customers rave about them!
The stand out feature of these safety boots is just how waterproof they are. With their durable leather upper, they’re truly designed for the outdoors. They feature an advanced weatherproof outer membrane, which will keep your feet dry however heavy it’s raining. Great for doing jet washing in.
These heavy-duty safety boots from Black Hammer are S3 safety rated, which means it meets (actually they exceed) the EU safety standards in safety boots, and the genuine steel cap toe can take a big impact without your feet getting hurt.
The outsole of the boot is slip resistant, even with oily ground, you can walk with confidence on any surface.
The midsole of the boot is reinforced with steel and this really helps prevent punctures from sharp objects on the ground
The construction of the boot is such that it can prevent the build up of static electricity in your body, by dissipating it into the ground, so it’s truly antistatic. Important with various types of machinery.
They provide all day comfort, thanks to their breathable and lightweight mesh layer in the lining, and the ergonomic cushioned interiors.
Caterpillar represents a big name in work boots, and it’s their strong reputation that enables them to charge so much money for a pair of boots. If you buy a pair of Caterpillar safety boots, you know you’re going to get fantastic quality and the ultimate than can be provided in safety wear.
First of all, the toe cap is made with genuine steel, so you get that all important impact protection should a heavy object drop in your foot.
The slip resistance feature is great too – it doesn’t matter whether you’re working around oil, or water, you’ll be safe from slips. The T1260 outsoles also mean that you’re safe from heat and abrasion too.
They’re really comfortable, and this is down in part to it’s molded EVA footbed. Also, the lining is nylon mesh, with a microfiber sockliner to give real breathability.
The upper of the boot is made with premium full grain leather – really durable
I suppose the stand out feature of these boots is that they can also protect against electrical hazards, so if that’s important for you then these would be a good pair of safety boots to go for.
One thing we particularly like about this safety boot, is that you’re not just limited to plain black. You can also get it in seal brown, dark gull grey, and honey. It’s also available in wide foot sizes.
We had to include this shoe in our Top 5, if not purely for the sheer volume of sales this boot generates – practically flying off the shelves!
The stand out feature of these boots is the extra high ankle support, which we would argue is unparalleled across the market. You don’t have to lace them all the way up if you don’t want to though.
The toe cap is genuine steel for protection from high impact drops, and they have an anti-slip, oil, petrol & chemical resistant sole. Bit of mud? No problem.
We also like that the boots are 100% black, real stylish, simply exudes quality.
Despite it’s hard, tough, durable real leather veneer, the inside gives real comfort, with a soft touch cushion insole.
We think the zip on the side is super handy, no more having to disrupt the lace up ties, simply pull them on and off while leaving the laces just as you like them.
Customers love them
Extra high ankle support
Toe cap is genuine steel
Chemical resistant sole
Durable real leather veneer
Soft touch cushion insole
Zip on the side
Not as waterproof as we would like
Best Safety Boots – Buyer’s Guide
To start with we’ll go through the different elements of a safety boot, and we’ll follow that up with some of the different types of protection that safety boots can offer, focusing on the more commonly required types of protection.
Reinforced Toe Caps
Safety boots always feature a reinforced toe cap. And although they’re frequently referred to as steel toe caps, they can be made from composite materials including very strong plastics or aluminium.
The soles of the shoes are composed of the outsole, which touches the ground, and the insoles on the inside. It is the outsole which enables you to grip your foot on the ground or surface. Outsoles are typically made from polyurethane, TPU or rubber.
When it comes to insoles, comfort becomes more important. Most insoles in safety shoes are made from leather or a non-woven material. They are designed to absorb moisture from sweat efficiently and then dry quickly.
Similarly, the lining of the boot needs to absorb moisture and dry quickly. This breathability of the lining is achieved by using materials such as cotton, wool or other thermoregulating materials.
The rest of the shoe is referred to as the upper. Most safety boots have smooth or nubuck leather uppers, which offer great protection against the elements and hazards. The remaining safety boots meanwhile, can have textile or synthetic uppers such as micro-velour, which make the boot more breathable.
Protection Against Falling Objects
Foot injury can be debilitating and can mean the difference between being able to work and not. And one of the most common causes of foot injury is the impact of something heavy landing on them.
Safety boots will protect against such impact, and they have a reinforced toe cap, as discussed earlier, which allows you to release your foot easily should they become trapped under something.
All protective toe caps in safety boots should be able to withstand a minimum of a 100 joule impact in a drop test.
Protection Against Slipping
Having appropriate outsoles on your safety boots is important for preventing slips. You need to select the right outsole for the environment you’re working in. This is important because not only does the ground have different surfaces in different areas, but some workers will be using them on ladders too. Some safety boots anti-slip capability is tested on ceramic flooring, while others are tested on a steel floor.
Protection Against Punctures and Cutting
A good outsole in your safety boot will project you from punctures caused by sharp objects such as broken glass or scrap metal.
In addition to that you need a good upper on your safety boot if you’re going to be using machinery designed to cut, such as logging machines or tools such as chainsaws, to prevent against nasty accidents.
Other Types of Protection
Depending on the working environment, you may also want to look into other forms of protection that safety boots can offer. There’s protection against electrocution, protection against burns, antistatic protection, water resistance, and insulation against cold.
If you specifically need a pair of safety boots that are waterproof, we would highly recommend that you go for our Number 2 pair of safety boots, the Black Hammer Mens Waterproof Safety Boots.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the standard European symbols and classifications used to grade safety footwear?
SB – A toe cap capable of withstanding an impact up to 200 joules. This is the basic level for safety footwear.
S1 – A toe cap capable of withstanding an impact up to 200 joules as well as a fully enclosed heel and anti-static properties within the sole.
S2 – A toe cap capable of withstanding an impact up to 200 joules as well as a fully enclosed heel, anti-static properties and water resistant.
S3 – The same as S2 plus penetration resistance and a cleated sole.
S4 – 200 joule toe cap protection and all rubber or polymeric outsole and upper with anti-static properties and energy absorbing insole.
S5 – The same as S4 plus penetration resistance and cleated outsole.
SBP – A toe cap capable of withstanding an impact up to 200 joules and a penetration resistant midsole.
S1P – The same as S1 but with an additional penetration resistant midsole.
S2P – As with S2 but with an additional penetration resistant midsole.
SRA – Safety footwear marked with this has been tested on ceramic flooring using a sodium lauryl solution (typical of all diluted commercial cleaning products).
SRB – This means the shoes have been tested on a steel floor using glycerol (typical viscosity of food sauces and other viscous liquids)
SRC – Safety footwear marked with this has been tested and conforms to both of the above.
Are rigger boots banned?
Although Rigger boots are not strictly legally banned in the UK, they may be prohibited on certain building sites and construction jobs. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, they are a looser fit, and don’t feature as much ankle support. This in turn means that the wearer is less able to prevent the foot from twisting to the side on uneven ground, and hence they represent a higher risk of injury.
What are the most comfortable safety boots?
We’re going to level with you here. This is not an easy question to answer, and a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
Many people like boots that have breathability in the lining, so if that sounds like you, please check out our Number 2, the Black Hammer Mens Safety Boots.
Some people like boots with a fur lining, and if that’s what floats your boat, you should go for our Number 4, the Black Hammer Mens Leather Safety Boots.
Some people like boots with a lot of good ankle support, and if that’s more for you, we would highly recommend that you go for our Number 5, the Steel Toe Cap Combat Boots from Groundwork.
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