If you’re working in a harmful environment, safety is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when buying a new pair of shoes. Even if you don’t work in a particularly hazardous environment, it’s still important to know what type of footwear protects your entire foot.
No matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, it’s always good to protect your feet the best way possible. That way you’ll prevent any potential injuries, especially if you’re exposed to different kinds of terrains. Whether it’s for work or a sports-related hobby – a pair of protective footwear is a must-have.
We’re all guilty of looking for shoes that look trendy and don’t pay much attention to what kind of protection they provide. However, a lot of manufacturers incorporate small details that help boost your shoes’ protection levels, and they definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
Before you find the right footwear for you, it’s important to think about what you’re looking for and where you plan on wearing your new pair. Only then you can start looking for your perfect pair.
Occasions where you might need protective footwear
Although there are some types of footwear you should wear every day, not all shoes can provide enough protection for your feet. For optimal safety, you need different types of shoes. This is particularly important for people who work at worksites where they’re exposed to hazardous terrains.
The activities you engage in play the main role in deciding what type of footwear you need because different activities carry different risks. Let’s go over some occasions that require different types of footwear.
1. Casual and everyday shoes
If you’re looking for a new pair of shoes for your daily usage, you won’t need much protection. For this, you can explore different styles and let your fashion sense decide what you’d like to wear. Although, you should still make sure your shoes provide at least some kind of protection.
For the best kind of safety, you should opt for either sneakers or clogs. They’re a great choice for people who are looking for a nice pair to walk around the town, or if they’re working as a waiter and spend most of their days on their feet.
Your daily footwear should have:
- Non-slip outsoles: There’s nothing more annoying than a pair of shoes that keep slipping off your feet. Not only is it irritating, but it can also cause you to fall and injure yourself. Because of that, a lot of daily footwear comes with slip-proof outsoles. Investing in good soles is the best thing you can do for yourself, especially if you walk long distances.
- Good quality materials: Before you purchase your new pair, make sure it’s made of firm and durable materials. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be soft enough for your feet, but you should be able to wear them for a long time.
- Proper fit: It’s common sense that your shoes should properly fit you. With daily footwear, it’s important that your toe box is wide enough for your toes to move.
2. Sport footwear
Although being active and athletic brings a lot of benefits, wearing the wrong shoes when training can lead to many injuries, including foot strain, ingrown toenails, ankle sprain, and more.
Unfortunately, putting on your daily sneakers for a training session isn’t enough. There are different shoes specifically designed for each sport and activity. For your typical training sessions, a pair of cross-trainers is always a good choice.
Because sports shoes wear out pretty quickly, make sure they’re made of durable materials that fit your feet properly. Focus on protection, comfort, and stability.
3. Hazardous working environment
If you’re working in a hazardous environment, you’ll want your footwear to provide you with the highest level of protection. Because the Occupational Safety & Health Administration made safety shoes mandatory at some worksites, it’s normal to wonder what type of footwear protects your entire foot.
There are different types of safety footwear, depending on the conditions you’re working in.
For example, if you’re working with electricity sources, you should invest in good-quality boots with soles that will keep you from electric shocks and other injuries. If you’re exposed to chainsaws, cut-resistant boots are a must-have.
There are specialized shoes for pretty much every workplace, yet most of them have some common features, such as:
- Their soles are hard and sturdy, made from resilient materials such as rubber.
- Most of them are made from protective and durable materials, including leather, suede, and synthetic leather.
- They usually cover the ankle bone and they’re at least 6 inches tall.
What type of footwear protects your entire foot?
Now that we’ve seen different occasions that have different requirements when it comes to shoes, let’s see what type of footwear protects your entire foot. This is especially important for people who are often exposed to hazardous environments.
We get it, it can be pretty overwhelming looking for the right pair for you among the hundreds of types and brands we have on the market today. To make it easier to choose, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Although there are safety shoes made for a specific use, each has unique features that can help you choose the right pair. The safest footwear you can have as a construction worker is the one that protects more than just toes. Look for shoes that will shield your ankle, forefoot, and heel.
Let’s see some examples.
1. Safety-toed footwear
If you work at a construction site, there’s always a possibility of heavy materials falling on your toes. Because of that, it’s always a good idea to invest in safety-toed footwear. That means that your pair has toe caps reinforced with a protective feature.
There are three most common types of toe-cap shoes: steel, composite, and alloy. Although all of them protect your foot, they differ in durability, comfort, and cost depending on the material used.
While composite-toe shoes are the most comfortable, alloy ones are the most popular for being light on your feet, while steel-toed shoes are the cheapest and most commonly used.
Safety-toed footwear protects your toes from being crushed by falling objects. You should wear it if you work in manufacturing, construction, shipping, and logistic. In most of these workplaces, they’re required by law.
They provide protection from fracturing and frying, while also giving some extra support and anti-rotation.
Most of the time, the soles have features that make them appropriate for walking on slipper surfaces. So, if you’re wondering what type of footwear protects your entire foot, safety-toed shoes are always a good choice as they protect against impacts, vibrations, and heavyweights.
2. Metal instep footwear
Another great choice for all-around foot protection is metal instep shoes. This type of footwear comes with a metal plate added to its instep. Although these kinds of shoes can be a bit heavier compared to other instep footwear, they provide great protection.
Steel or metal instep footwear protects the outside of your shoes from any damage and crushing caused by falling objects. It also protects your feet from sharp instruments and industrial equipment.
They’re a great choice for people who work in hazardous workplaces and want to protect more than just their toes. Because they’re reinforced with metal insteps, they minimize outside foot injuries caused by broken glass, hammers, nails, tiles, bricks, and more.
They’re a must-have for people who work in a glass factory, construction sites, or any other work environment where there’s a risk of stepping on or being stabbed by sharp objects.
3. Steel-soled footwear
In steel-soled footwear, the sole is reinforced with a steel plate which makes it harder to bend. Although this might sound like a bad thing at first, it’s great for keeping your feet safe and protected when working around sharp objects.
So, what’s the point of the steel stabilizer plate? Its main purpose is to protect your foot in case you step on sharp materials, including broken glass, nails, etc. The steel plate inside will make it harder for sharp debris to penetrate through your shoe and injure your feet.
However, wearing steel-soled footwear isn’t the most comfortable experience. It can be pretty straining for the feet because they lack flexibility. Because the steel plate inside makes it harder for shoes to bend when you run or walk, they’re often recommended for people who spend most of their shifts sitting.
For example, they would be a great choice if you’re working as a crane operator, a truck driver, or if your work involves any sort of pedaling. Not only does it protect the soles of your feet from penetration, but the plates also stabilize your feet.
With that, they reduce the chances of any joint or bone-related injuries, making them a great choice when looking for footwear that protects your entire foot. Just make sure you don’t plan on running around your worksite because it would be pretty much impossible and very uncomfortable.
4. Metatarsal footwear
When wondering what type of shoe protects your entire foot, a metatarsal one is always a good choice. But, what exactly are metatarsals in the first place?
They’re bones that connect your toes with the ankles, and their role is to stabilize the structure of your foot. Trust us when we say that you want to avoid damaging these bones, as it would turn your life upside down…
Because of that, metatarsal shoes are designed to distribute the impact caused by heavy objects falling on your foot. They’re cushioned to relieve stress on joints, tendons, bones, and muscles.
Because they come with metatarsal pads, extra cushioning at the balls of your feet, and arch support, they reduce discomfort to the very minimum. This makes them perfect for construction workers who lift heavy objects and that often experience an unpleasant feeling in the arch of their feet.
This type of protection is often made from steel, aluminum, composite, and other synthetic materials. They can be integrated into your shoes or removable, depending on what you like best.
These shoes are ideal for people who want to protect the outer part of their entire foot. They protect both the inside and outside of your feet from compression or from heavy materials and equipment falling and crushing your bones.
Because of that, they’re a great choice for those of you who work in the metal industry or any other workplace where you use large machinery and heavy materials.
Most of the time, you’re facing a risk of rolling and falling objects injuring your foot, so this type of protective footwear is definitely a must.