What is Putek, and how does it enhance the performance of safety footwear? As part of a new series of blogs looking at technologies in safety footwear, Nick Grinnell dives into detail about the fabric that claims to be as tough as armadillo skin…
What is Putek?
Putek or PU Tek is a fabric technology used to produce high-performance material with maximum resistance against abrasions.
Made with coated polyester ‘yarns’ that are directly woven into the structure of the fabric to provide extra strength and durability, Putek fabrics are extremely strong, and yet lightweight and flexible, allowing them to be easily cut, shaped and sewn into garments, footwear and accessories.
How does Putek work?
Patented PU Tek thread consists of a polyurethane coating over a high tenacity polyester core. The combination results in yarns that are extremely resistant to traction and abrasion, which can then be directly woven into the structure of different fabrics to achieve textiles with ultimate mechanical performances.
As well as meeting and exceeding EN 20345:2021 for abrasion resistance of scuff cap area material, independent tests against the more rigorous EN 388 standard for work gloves showed Putek to be more than eight times as strong as the leading Cordura® 1000 material commonly used in high-performance safety footwear.
An RCS-certified Putek fabric made with 68% recycled polyester was five times as strong as Cordura® 1000.
What are the benefits of Putek in safety footwear?
At iSB Group, we offer several safety trainers made with Putek uppers. As well as providing fantastic protection for the wearer and excellent durability, these uppers are lightweight, flexible, breathable and water resistant, contributing to safety trainers that are excellent all-round options for multiple workplace roles.
How do you tell the difference between Putek fabric and lower quality alternatives?
Fabrics made with PVC-coated yarns may look similar to Putek, and cost less, but these imitations will not offer the same high levels of resistance to abrasion as Putek fabrics.
As well as representing a false economy for your business, purchasing safety footwear made with a poor imitation of Putek technology may harm your business’s environmental credentials. This is because PVC releases harmful emissions during production, and cannot be recycled at the end of its life.
Find out more: Read our guide to switching to sustainable workwear and PPE.
Genuine Putek fabrics are designed to be completely PVC-free, so they can be recycled. They should also come with documentation clearly bearing the tagline: ‘PU Tek – As Strong as an Armadillo Skin’.
If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask your safety footwear supplier for evidence of footwear’s safety credentials. A good supplier will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have, and to provide further information about the technologies used in manufacturing the products they offer.