Steel or Plastic? You Decide!

Steel or Plastic? You Decide!

clock-circular-outline Posted 13 Jan 2017

When it comes to work shoes a lot of clients ask for steel toecap safety boots, or they’ll have heard about Aluminium and Composite but don’t have the confidence to purchase these products. We can offer guidance as to what we think is best, but ultimately, it is for everyone to decide for themselves. It just depends on what you’re working with and how you feel in the boot. We’ve done a comparison below:


Aluminium Toecap Footwear

Aluminium toecaps are very popular.  They’re just as strong as steel but lighter weight.  Our customers really like our Contemporary**** range of safety footwear, these all have aluminium toecaps and are great designs.

Pros: Aluminium toecaps are 30-50% lighter than steel. Thinner and more versatile, you get more room in the toe box too.

Cons: Safety and comfort can come a a premium, with Aluminium a little more expensive. They set off metal detectors, so if you have to go in and out of secured areas often it would be better to go for composite.  They retain/conduct hot or cold temperatures which can negatively affect comfort too, something to consider.


Steel Toecap Footwear

The classic is the steel toecap safety boot. The steel toecap is made from heavy duty steel and protects well from crushing and falling objects.  Our most popular steel toecap footwear is the ladies’ trainer W5600***

Pros: Tendency to be on the less expensive, and maximum protection from falling objects and equipment. 

Cons: They’re heavy. Steel can be uncomfortable with a smaller toe box and they also set off metal detectors like the aluminium toecap. As with Aluminium they retain/conduct hot or cold temperatures which can influence comfort.


Composite Toecap Footwear

Composite toecaps come highly recommended and are great alternative to steel and aluminium. They conform to the same safety standards as other toecap materials and are much lighter in weight. Composite is made of non-metal materials like kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic, or fiberglass.  Over 70% of our range are composite, our most popular styles are found in the M-Soft**** and M-Climber**** footwear ranges.

Pros: Great for extreme high or low temperatures because they won’t heat up or cool down like a metal toe cap would. They’re also 30% lighter than steel toecaps.

Cons: Composite can be slightly wider and can look clumpier than steel, however this is aesthetics not safety!


Under normal working conditions Steel, Aluminum and Composite all provide similar protection, but if over-challenged (taken beyond what they are designed to protect from) steel toe-caps may bend and composites may shatter.

In real terms, a foot is likely to suffer more damage trapped under a disfigured steel toecap than one where it breaks; the latter potentially allowing foot removal.

Figuring out what kind of toecap you need really depends on the job you’ve got to do. Just give us a call at +44 (0) 121 749 4433 for advice on how to find new innovative ways to improve staff safety, morale and productivity.

By iSB Group

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