Many jobs require a safety toe boot, but with a few different options like steel and composite toe boots on the market, it can be confusing deciding which pair is right for you. Here at BRUNT, we use a nano composite toe, but many other brands are still manufacturing steel toe boots. Both options provide toe protection from falling objects or compression, and prevent foot injuries which are some of the most common on the jobsite. For these reasons, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or your employer may actually require a safety toe boot be worn on the jobsite. If this is the case, these boots must meet the regulations in place for safety toe boots.
OUR COMPOSITE TOE TECHNOLOGY
ASTM SAFETY STANDARDS
ASTM, which stands for American Society for Testing and Materials, is the code that OSHA uses to categorize safety boots. More specifically, safety toe boots must meet ASTM F2413-18 which defines the minimum requirements a boot must have to protect against various workplace hazards. This code will be printed on the first line of the tongue on all safety toe boots, with the addition of several other symbols denoting certain protections in the lines below. The second line would include either M or F (male or female), I (impact resistance), and C (compression resistance). In order to meet the impact resistance the boot must be subjected to 75 pounds of force, and to meet compression resistance they must be subjected to a compressive force of 2500 pounds. Lines 3 and 4 would then denote protection against other workplace hazards including EH (electrical hazard), Mt (metatarsal), Cd (conductive), and SD (static dissipative).
STEEL TOE BOOTS
The original and oldest version of a safety toe boot is the steel toe boot, in which a thin cap of steel is placed in the toe area. Steel is one of the strongest metals in the world, so it makes sense that it is so widely used as toe protection in safety boots. One of the main reasons they are still so widely used is that steel toe caps are cheaper to produce than composite. In addition, a thin piece of steel can provide superior protection than the same thickness of a composite toe, so steel toe boots often have a slimmer profile. However, while steel toe boots provide adequate protection on the jobsite, the technology is relatively outdated in comparison to a composite toe.
COMPOSITE TOE BOOTS
A composite toe cap is usually made from strong materials like Kevlar, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or plastic. It offers the same safety protection as a steel toe, but with other benefits that make it a superior option. The first is that these materials are significantly lighter than steel, so they can meet the same ASTM standards at half the weight of a steel toe. Next, since these are non-metal materials, they do not conduct heat or cold like steel, so your feet will not get hot or cold in various temperatures. In addition, these also do not conduct electricity making it a great option for electricians or anyone else who needs that EH rating. There is no denying the strength protection of a steel toe, but the composite toe is a clear winner when you consider that it provides the same protection with all of these additional benefits.