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Safety Boots

Wearing the correct safety boots is vitally important to keep your feet safe and comfortable while working, whether on-site or on your home roofing project. We stock a wide range of steel toe boots an...

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Common Questions About Safety Boots

What Are S3 Safety Boots?

You may have encountered a number of work boot safety ratings such as SBP, S1 or S3 while researching safety boots. These indicate categories of safety set out in EN ISO 20345 – 2011, which is the regulation that defines footwear safety. S3 is one of the highest safety ratings, meaning an S3 safety boot will have a toe cap capable of resisting a 200 joule impact, as well as antistatic protection, water-resistant upper material, a fuel-resistant sole as well as a protective midsole which guards against penetrative damage such as stepping onto a sharp nail.

How Should I Maintain My Safety Boots?

Proper safety boot maintenance is one of the most important things to do to preserve and lengthen the lifespan of your work boots. To keep them in usable condition for longer you should:

  • Wear multiple pairs: If you have multiple pairs of safety boots, you can rotate them with a second (or third) pair, which will reduce wear-and-tear over time and give your boots a chance to dry out properly between wears.

  • Allow your boots to dry out fully: To keep your boots comfortable and prevent them from smelling, you should give them enough time to dry out after a day’s work. To maintain the condition of the materials don’t expose them to excessive heat, as this could warp materials and cause unnecessary damage.

  • Keep your site boots clean: At the end of every work day, you should clean your boots thoroughly to ensure they’re free of mud or other dirt – this will prevent the leather upper from drying out and potentially cracking long-term. Abrasive contaminants such as salt should also be cleaned away thoroughly to prevent damage.

What is Midsole Protection?

One common hazard faced while working in construction or doing a DIY project is treading onto sharp objects such as nails. This is why many safety boots are equipped with midsole protection, usually made out of steel or composite material to help prevent injury standing on something sharp. If you’re looking for midsole protection, choose a pair of SBP, S1P or S3 rated safety boots.

Are Steel or Composite Midsoles Better?

Both composite and steel midsoles are built to conform to the same European safety regulations, however there are a few key differences which may help you decide between the two. Both variants are built to withstand penetration by a nail with a force of 1100 Newtons, as well as go through one million flexes without showing signs of cracking or other damage.

In addition, steel midsoles are tested against corrosion while composite midsoles are subjected to extreme temperatures as well as a number of corrosive materials before their penetration testing.

Steel Midsoles


  • Strength: Steel midsoles are stronger than composite midsoles, as the material is more rigid.

  • Protection: Steel midsoles can protect against the finest of sharp hazards such as needles or tiny pieces of glass.
  • Price: Due to the cheaper production process, like steel-toed boots, footwear containing steel midsoles tend to be cheaper than composite.


  • Inflexibility: Steel midsoles are more protective due to their rigidity, however, they aren’t as comfortable as composite.

  • Smaller Area of Protection: Steel midsoles are not designed to cover the mid-section of the foot right to the edge, meaning a greater part of your foot is exposed.

Composite Midsoles


  • Comfort: The composite material used (usually kevlar, fiberglass or carbon fibre) is more pliant than steel, meaning the wearer has a greater degree of comfort and flexibility.

  • Metal free: Composite midsoles contain no metal, meaning anyone who works in a high-security environment such as an airport doesn’t need to worry about setting off metal detectors.

  • Wider Protected Area: Composite midsoles are built to cover the mid-section of the foot from edge-to-edge, exposing less of your foot to danger.


  • Cost: Composite midsoles are made in a much newer process from more expensive materials, meaning the boots will likely cost more.

  • Protection against fine sharps: Theoretically, due to their construction, it may be possible for a very fine needle or piece of glass to penetrate a composite midsole. In practice, however, it’s very unlikely that such a hazard would penetrate the sturdy outer sole and the midsole.

My Safety Boots Hurt – What Can I Do?

When you work in construction, looking after your feet is very important. As you’re on your feet all day performing strenuous tasks, each day your feet will receive roughly the same amount of impact equivalent to a fully-loaded cement truck!

There are a few things you can do if your safety boots are giving you pain, depending on the root cause. If your arches aren’t being supported properly, it can lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis; if this is the case, a pair of high-quality insoles would be a wise investment.

If you find that the toe caps are hurting you, which is more common with steel toe boots, try adding some padding to the front to prevent direct contact. You should also make sure that your shoes fit snugly enough, which will prevent your feet from moving around inside the boot.

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