For employers and employees alike, workplace safety is a critical concern that we must work together to ensure at all times. Workplace safety is especially important in warehouse environments.
Keeping yourself safe and comfortable at work is of paramount concern, and it all starts with a quality pair of steel toed shoes or boots. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the best steel toe shoes on the market so you can decide on the perfect pair to help you get the job done.
Why Wear Steel Toe Shoes?
For many workers and businesses within the manual labor industry, steel toe shoes are a requirement in the workplace under OSHA regulations. But, even if you aren’t required to wear them, steel toe shoes or boots can help keep you safe from a variety of different workplace safety hazards.
Foot injuries are among the most common types of workplace injuries, and they can result in lost wages for employees, as well as fines and worker’s comp payouts for employers. Today’s safety footwear is more protective and advanced than ever, so you can stay protected in the workplace without sacrificing comfort or style.
Different Types of Safety Shoes
While we sometimes refer to safety shoes universally as “steel toes,” the fact is that the protective toe isn’t necessarily made from steel. Altogether, there are three different types of safety shoes on the market:
- Steel toe
- Alloy toe
- Composite toe
Steel toes are the original, and they’re considered the industry standard. While steel provides the highest level of impact and compression resistance, it’s also the heaviest material of the three. So, genuine steel toe shoes tend to be heavier than alloy or comp toe varieties, and if you’re on your feet all day, fatigue may become a factor.
To combat the added weight of a steel toe, manufacturers have developed alloy toe shoes. These shoes provide similar impact and compression resistance at a much lighter weight than the average steel toe. However, you’ll want to check the certifications closely with alloy toe shoes, as they may not provide the same standard of impact and compression protection.
Lastly, composite toe or comp toe shoes represent the newest and most advanced style of protective footwear. Composite is the lightest weight material of all three, but it also provides the least impact and compression resistance. In order for comp toe shoes to achieve the same certifications as steel or alloy versions, the protective toe cap must be larger and more bulbous.
The fact that comp toes often have the largest and most obtrusive toe caps means that they often fall short from a style perspective. Plus, composite doesn’t provide the same durability as steel or alloy do, and a single impact is enough to damage and weaken the toe cap area. For this reason, most people replace their comp toe shoes after an impact.
Depending on your needs and what feels most comfortable to you, you’ll need to decide which type of safety shoes will be the best style for you when you’re on the job.
Steel Toe Shoes for Him
Reebok’s Zprint work shoes are ideal for anyone in the market for a classic looking athletic shoe that can help keep them safe at work. This hiking style shoe is cut low for superior ankle mobility, and it features a seamless fabric and mesh upper.
Built for comfort, this shoe features a removable footbed with MemoryTech Massage technology. The 3D-Foam midsole provides plenty of cushioning and flexibility, while the anti-slip outsole keeps you firmly planted on the ground. The steel toe meets or exceeds ASTM F2413 EH, which is one of the most stringent safety standards in the world.
Many people are looking for a shoe that provides them with the workplace protection they need without sacrificing style or comfort. The Timberland PRO Disruptor chukka boot fits the bill perfectly. Disruptor series shoes are made from recycled fabric and leather, so they’re ideal for anyone looking to minimize their impact on the environment, too.
The Disruptor shoe features Timberland’s anti-fatigue technology to keep your feet feeling fresh all day long. This shoe also features the Defender repellent system, which helps keep your shoes looking newer for longer by helping them to resist spills and stains. The alloy toe provides strength and protection at a significantly lighter weight than most competitors.
Keen is well known for producing some of the most protective and functional workplace footwear on the market. Their Atlanta Cool shoe offers hiking-inspired styling and tons of unique features that make this shoe among the most comfortable and protective options on the market.
The Atlanta Cool is crafted from leather and mesh, and it’s entirely waterproof. A breathable mesh liner provides breathability and helps keep your feet comfortable regardless of the temperature. The liner is also treated with Cleansport NXT for superior odor control. The compression-molded EVA midsole has two different densities for enhanced comfort.
One of the most notable features is the asymmetrical steel toes. While other manufacturers use a single toe shape to make both left and right shoes, Keen’s steel toes provide a distinct left and right, which results in a shoe that’s significantly more comfortable and natural feeling than most steel toe shoes and boots.
A classic design that’s been a staple on the floors of warehouses throughout the world, steel toe boots like this pair from Carhartt are the industry standard for protective footwear. This pair offers plenty of upgraded features that will keep you safe and comfortable for years to come.
These 6” boots offer traditional welt construction and are made with oil-tanned leather. The tongue and collar are heavily padded for extra comfort, and the FastDry liner helps wick moisture away from your foot, so your feet stay dry and comfortable all day long. An extra-durable outsole is oil and slip-resistant, and the steel toe meets or exceeds ASTM standards for impact and electrical hazard protection.
If style and comfort are as important to you as protection is, the Greetah Construction shoe from Sketchers may be a wide choice. This hiking-inspired work shoe features a striking two-tone leather and fabric upper that’s available in brown and black or blue and black depending on your personal taste.
A memory foam footbed molds to your foot, providing you with exceptional comfort, even as the shoes get older. The composite toe is lightweight and is ASTM F2412-2011 I/75 C/75 certified to protect against impact and electrical hazards, making it ideal for the warehouse, or any other work site.
Steel Toe Shoes for Her
Thanks to brands like Reebok, protective footwear is lighter and more stylish than ever. Their Sublite steel toe sneakers weigh in at about 12 ounces each, which is roughly half the weight of the average steel toe work shoe.
These shoes feature a mesh upper with a rubber outsole designed for improved mobility and flex. The low-cut design provides plenty of ankle mobility, and the roomy footbed ensures you’ll be comfortable, even if you have wider feet.
The MemoryTech massaging footbed contours to your foot to provide superior cushioning and comfort in all situations. The allow toe meets ASTM F2413 for impact resistance, and it weighs significantly less than steel toes do, so you’ll be protected without having to sacrifice comfort.
For women who need a shoe that’s suitable for every possible scenario, the Echo boot from Caterpillar may be one of the best and most versatile options on the market. This 8” tall leather boot provides the durability and strength of a work boot without sacrificing comfort or flexibility.
This boot is waterproof and features Goodyear welt construction for added durability and water resistance. A nylon mesh lining helps keep the boot breathable while wicking moisture away from the body, and a Nylex sock liner provides comfort and cushioning that’s difficult to beat.
Most importantly, the toe of the Echo boot is ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/85 rated, which is the highest certification possible for impact resistance. The toe is also EH rated for open circuits up to 600 volts.
Whether in the warehouse or on the job site, the Echo boot represents the utmost in safety and protection.
Fun and feminine, the Doyline ST hiking boot from Sketchers provide comfort and protection without sacrificing style.
The Doyline ST offers a smooth nubuck and Cordura mesh upper, a padded collar and tongue, and a relaxed fit design that provides a roomy and comfortable fit. The footbed is memory foam, and the supportive midsole provides superior shock absorption. An anti-slip rubber sole helps keep you grounded, and the steel toe is ASTM F2412-2011 I/75 C/75 rated, which is the highest possible certification for impact resistance.
Even the most fashion-forward steel toe shoes tend to look like bulky workwear, but the Celebrity Knit shoe from Puma is here to change that. This shoe features a Safety Knit upper that provides a customized sock-like fit and patented BreathActive lining, which wicks away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable.
The Evercushion MISS footbed provides cushioning and comfort, and the EVA midsole is filled with tiny bubbles for a cloud-like walking experience. While this shoe looks more geared to fashion than function, looks can be deceiving.
These safety toe shoes are heat resistant to 300°C/572°F, and it’s ASTM F 1677 Mark II certified for secure contact with the ground. The steel toe meets ASTM’s highest standards for impact and compression resistance. At only one pound per shoe, these Puma’s are also among the lightest steel toes on the market, making them one of the most comfortable steel toe shoes you’ll find.
Men have relied on Timberland’s work boots to deliver the highest in comfort and protection for years. Meanwhile, women were forced to either wear a men’s version of the boots or seek out a different brand. Thankfully, the new PRO Direct Attach boots offer the durability and comfort Timberland is known for in a product specifically designed for a woman’s foot. This all-leather boot offers 200 grams of insulation to keep you warm, a slip and oil-resistant lug outsole, Timberland Anti-Fatigue comfort technology, and a slimmer shape that’s tailored for women. The asymmetrical toe boxes provide enhanced comfort, and the steel toe meets the highest ASTM regulations for impact and compression resistance.