For all jobs that involve manual labor, a good pair of safety footwear is an important safety feature and can prevent all manner of damage to the wearer’s feet.
Quite often a safety shoe is preferable over a safety boot or rigger boot. It may not offer as much protection around the ankle, but they are often just as fashionable as some of the best shoes and trainers out there, offering both style and safety, and a better freedom of movement that you just don’t get in a boot.
This article concentrates on safety shoes. If you think you may prefer to look into safety boots, please check out our best safety boots post. Or if you think rigger boots might be better for you, please see our best rigger boots post.
Safety shoes are popular across a wide range of industries, and as such there are many different options available. And not all safety shoes are created equal.
But not to worry – we’ve been working hard to make your decision of what safety shoes to get an easy choice.
We’ve handpicked our Top 5 of all the safety shoes that are out on the market today, and they’re all listed in Amazon’s best sellers for the category.
Our reviews on them will follow shortly, and then we have a buying guide for you, which plows through everything you might want to think about before you buy.
After that, we’ve also got a handy little section where we provide answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.
BREATHABLE & COMFORTABLE: Upper Material of our safety shoes are made from breathable knit mesh, make your foot cool and dry.
ANTI-SHOCK STEEL TOE: Mens steel toe shoes with European standard steel toe can impact resistance of 200J, prevent your feet from being harmed by large and heavy falling or moving objects.
PUNCTURE PROOF STEEL MIDSOLE: Safety Shoes with 2mm thickness insole ensures the flexibility of shoes, and steel midsole inside can also prove anti-puncture resistant 1100N, protect your feet from sharp injuries and make you safer.
When we saw just how well these safety shoes were selling on Amazon, we simply had to see what all the fuss was about!
It has that all important anti-shock steel cap toe to provide real safety from falling heavy objects.
The shoes are waterproof and have SRC level slip resistant gum rubber outsoles, which is so important if you have to work out in the rain, or in other wet ground conditions.
The other element which adds to safety is the reflective stripe, which provides that all important visibility when you’re pulling a night shift.
Overall these shoes are sufficiently safe to wear in a variety of industries and settings. Please scroll down on the Amazon page for a full list.
We love the breathable knit mesh on it’s upper material, which prevents your foot from getting sticky and sweaty.
But that’s not all that goes into making it comfortable. There’s a sweat absorbent, breathable arch support insole. This is great when you have to stay on your feet for long periods of time.
It’s available in 24 different color options, including many modest looking ones, and some more funky and vibrant ones too. It’s worth noting that some of the colour options use a lace closure, whilst others are velcro.
And sizes range from 3 to 13, and there’s half sizes included, so you can be sure of a good fit.
Overall customer feedback on these shoes has been very positive.
Black Hammer is a great brand in safety footwear. But you don’t have to take it from us. Their average customer rating on Amazon comes in at an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5 – even after well over 600 ratings.
There’s a lot to love about, but we especially like the price, coming in at under £30.
There’s a heavy duty reinforced toe cap to protect against damage from heavy dops or impacts. And rather than being steel per se, they’re designed as a composite toe cap, which makes them lighter to wear and which has a reduced rubbing effect on the feet.
But that’s not the only safety feature. They have anti-slip soles, which is great if you’re working outdoors or working with oil. And the soles are also anti-static too. They prevent the buildup of static electricity by dissipating it in the ground.
They’re built with premium quality suede leather and feature robust binding finish around the seams to avoid any unnecessary ripping or tearing.
They comply with EU Safety Regulations, and as far as we’re concerned they meet our standards for comfort too. The textile stripes on the sides provide real breathability and keep your feet at a comfortable temperature, even through a long 12 hour shift.
There’s a 6 month warranty on the insoles, which we think says a lot about just how good quality they are. They’re made with Kevlar, which means even bullets can’t get through it!
Here’s a great safety shoe from a great brand at a steal of a price.
The Amazon average customer rating is impressive too, coming in at 4 and a half stars out of 5, even after well over 500 ratings.
You get real steel capped toes to protect your feet from damage caused by heavy falls, drops or impacts. But despite using steel in the toe cap, they’re still fairly lightweight for such a heavy duty shoe.
It’s also got the highest anti slip rating a safety shoe can get, SRC. This means you won’t slip even on smooth soapy surfaces.
The PU soles of the shoes are also anti-static. They prevent the buildup of static electricity by dissipating it into the ground.
They both meet and exceed EU Safety Standards, which qualifies not just for use in a workshop, but also on building sites and all other trades.
They’re a really good build quality, with suede leather as the upper material, double stitching on hard wearing areas, and soles which feature their own 6 month warranty.
There’s a nice cushion support on the soles, and the lining is designed to be breathable.
Good well established brand
Impressive customer rating
Real steel capped toes
Highest available anti slip rating
Meets and exceeds EU safety standards
Double stitching on hard wearing areas
Nice cushioned support
Designed to be breathable
No half sizes available
Please make use of the size chart, some customers have found that the size they received wasn’t as expected
These safety shoes from Larnmern come with an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5 customer rating.
It has that all important steel cap toe to project from heavy impacts, but looks so much better than their plain safety boot counterparts.
The gum rubber outsole is just superb. They’re SRC non-slip, wear resistant and even shock resistant to boot.
And that’s not all the safety features, the middle is not only puncture resistant – it’s even bulletproof (not that we think you’ll need that feature, lol).
And there’s a lot that goes into making these shoes comfortable too. The knit weaving on the upper material is super breathable. And better yet the mesh lining inside has moisture wicking properties too. To help not only but with breathability but also enabling any sweat to evaporate right out of the shoe.
There are 10 stylish colours available and they’re available in sizes from 3 to 13, with half sizes available too.
In addition to the bright colors featured there’s also a reflective strip for added visibility.
All in all there’s a lot going for these shoes, and at a fairly reasonable price too.
Impressive customer rating
Good value for money
Steel cap toe
Moisture wicking properties
Choose from 10 stylish colours Half sizes available
Some customers (not many) have complained about the insoles. If your not happy with the insoles, this is something you replace very cheaply from any shoe store
With their super smart shiny brogue look, these safety shoes are ideal for workers who flit between labour based work and more customer facing roles. Where a more casual look won’t do. They would make a great addition to a smart black uniform.
They feature a real steel cap toe, to provide that all important protection from heavy impact such as drops and falls.
But that’s not the only safety feature – they’re also anti-static too, and will draw and distribute any static that’s built up down into the ground below.
They’re of a high quality build, with a smooth leather upper material, and with a dual density polyurethane outsole on the bottom.
And this high standard of quality goes into the inside of the shoe too. There’s a composite midsole, a comfortable insole, a padded collar for added comfort, and there’s even a moisture wicking inner lining. What this does is to absorb any moisture such as sweat and evaporate it quickly through the shoe to keep the wearer dry.
Customers certainly seem impressed with them, scoring it an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5 on the Amazon page.
Overall it’s a great safety shoe to go for when appearance is paramount, but is not designed for use when an anti-puncture feature is important.
To start our buying guide, we’ll begin with the different types of protection that safety shoes can offer, and then we’ll go into the details on safety shoe requirements.
Protection Against Falling Objects
Having something very heavy fall on your foot can be very painful and even debilitating if you don’t have sufficient toe protection, and is the most common cause of foot injury.
The primary feature of safety shoes, or any safety footwear for that matter, is the reinforced toe cap. What this feature does, is allow you to release your foot, should it become trapped under something.
Traditionally this reinforced toe cap is made from steel due to its sheer strength. But nowadays you can get reinforced toe caps that are much much lighter to wear. These composite toe caps can be made from a number of different materials, such as kevlar, fibreglass, plastic, and carbon fibre. Quite often these composite toe caps can be more durable than their steel counterparts.
Protection Against Slipping
Protection against slipping in your safety shoes all comes down to the outsoles, the part of the shoe in contact with the ground. Outsoles are typically made from polyurethane, TPU or rubber, and they are designed to provide the best possible grip on the ground (or other surface).
You need to select the right outsole for the environment the worker is in. Different surfaces provide different levels of grip, and some surfaces are more slippery than others.
Protection Against Punctures and Cutting
All of the outer materials of a safety shoe can come into protection against punctures and cuts.
If there’s a potential danger of walking on broken glass or scrap metal, then a good outsole is essential.
But if the wearer is going to be using machinery designed to cut, whether it be logging machines, or chainsaws etc, then you will also need a shoe with a good upper coating to prevent nasty accidents.
Other Types of Protection
Before buying your safety shoe, it’s important to think about all the different types of protection that might be required. We’ve touched on the main 3 types, but there are many more.
Many pairs of safety footwear out on the market today can protect the wearer from a wide range of dangers, including electrocution, protection against burns, water resistance, antistatic protection, and insulation against cold.
We’re going to level with you here – not all safety shoes have all of these different forms of protection in one shoe, and you must ensure that you double check the specs on your safety shoes so that the wearer gets all the protection they will need.
On closer examination of what safety features you need, you may possibly feel that a safety boot or rigger boot may better suit your needs. If you think this may be the case, please check out the articles on the safety boot link or the rigger boot link.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the work, safety and protective shoe norms?
In the UK, safety shoes must meet the EN ISO 20345 norm which requires:
200 joule impact resistance at the front of the shoe
anti-slip soles on smooth and greasy floors in industrial environments
closed back of the shoe
In order to meet the right level of impact resistance, the safety shoe must feature a reinforced toe cap. This can be made from still, which is more traditional and still quite popular, or it can be a composite material. Composite toe caps are often lighter to wear than their steel counterparts.
The fact that it stipulates a closed back to the shoe, means that flip flop style shoes are out of the question. It does not mean however that it has to be a boot. All of the safety shoes and safety trainers in our Top 5 picks have a closed back to them.
Who should wear safety shoes?
There are many occupations that require safety shoes, not just out of common sense, but as a requirement within the appropriate uniform of the role. Roofers, plumbers, tilers, labourers, handymen and women, and electricians should all wear safety shoes or boots.
But this is by no means an exhaustive list and it may surprise you to learn that safety shoes can also make a valuable contribution to chefs and store assistants in some instances.
Basically, safety shoes or boots should be worn by anyone dealing with Hazardous materials, Electrical instruments, Sharp objects, Heavy objects, or when Operating heavy machinery.
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