Different Types of Safety Footwear for the Workplace

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Safety footwear is a crucial item of personal protection equipment (PPE) Depending on the area of work you are in, there will be a style of safety shoe that is most suitable for you. However, with so many different styles of footwear out there on the market it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Let’s discuss the different types of safety footwear available to you to help you find the correct fit and style for your workplace.

Safety Trainers

Safety footwear vary in levels of protection. If you want to go for a more aesthetically pleasing look and you don’t need a high level of protection from your footwear, then safety trainers can be the way to go. Typically, safety trainers are more comfortable, breathable and lightweight. Although they may look the most visually pleasing out of the safety footwear range, they are designed with safety in mind. They differ from a regular trainer as they can have a composite toe cap. These are lighter than those in steel toe cap boots and are often made out of plastic.

Safety trainers can vary as they offer different features depending on the style so you should always bare this in mind when picking your shoes. Some trainers may be waterproof whilst others are slip resistant. Always do your research.

Safety Boots

Safety boots fall under the category of the most popular safety shoe. They can help prevent the risk of injury as they have a number of safety features including slip-resistant soles. Most safety boots also incorporate a protective top-cap. More often than not, these toe caps are made from steel for maximum protection. Safety boots are also great for protection against harsher climates. Most types include insulation against extreme cold and heat. This popular type of safety footwear is commonly worn on construction sites. Because these boots can have traction and correct tread it makes them ideal for working on uneven surfaces or ladders.

Safety Shoes

A safety shoe is similar to a safety boot. Although, they may not provide as much protection around the ankles. They do however, often have a protective steel toe-cap. However, you can get safety shoes which have a composite toe-cap. Composite footwear is often made from strong non-metal materials such as carbon, fibre and plastic, to name a few. This article helps to give you an insight into what composite materials are and why we use them.

Rigger Boots

Riggers are a type of safety boot. They are a type of boot that you would typically pull onto your foot as opposed to lacing it up. Originally this type of footwear was designed for oil rig workers to protect them when faced with a risk of injury. Riggers were designed so they could be quickly removed in the event of an emergency situation. However, in more recent times they are now seen as a more general-purpose work boot, and you can buy different types of rigger boots online from companies like Safety Boots who offer a wide range of safety footwear.


Safety wellingtons are the ideal footwear if you are working outside in wet conditions. Typically made out of rubber, safety wellingtons often incorporate a steel toe-cap for added protection. This helps you avoid possible damage to your foot caused by heavy equipment or sharp blades. Wellingtons can easily be cleaned which can be useful if you work in the food or chemical industry as your footwear will regularly need to be cleaned for hygiene purposes.

Typically, wellingtons are designed with slip protection in mind. Because they are waterproof and designed for wet conditions you can feel safer when working on hard-floor areas which are prone to spillages like water and oil. Some could even argue that wellingtons are a more hygienic form of safety footwear. Because of their style you are more likely to take them off easier without getting dirt on your hands. They can easily be kicked off as they require no laces. You can even get your hands on wellingtons which are more ethical and made out of natural rubber as discussed in this blog post.


Safety clogs are an essential form of footwear if you are on your feet all day. Typically, this style of shoe is worn by healthcare workers to help them minimise their foot, ankle, back and knee pain throughout the day. Clogs are seen as a comfortable safety shoe, and they offer a number of great features such as anti-slip protection and they are an easy design as you simply slip them on and off. They also protect the foot from exposure to any harsh chemicals or liquids as the surface area of the foot is adequately covered by the high-quality rubber they are made from. If you like footwear that is aesthetically pleasing, then there are a range of clogs available online which vary in design and pattern. Although, it is advised that you choose support over style.

The Importance of Safety Footwear

You may question why safety footwear should be held of high importance. The truth is that your workplace will need to follow a number of health and safety regulations to help protect yourself and those around you from risk of injury. Injury to your feet can be serious and it can even be life-changing depending on the severity of the issue. So, it is vital that you wear the correct footwear to help prevent this.

Some of the most common risks you are trying to avoid is protection against debris and harmful chemicals which could result in burns or cuts to your feet. Safety footwear also provides you with slip-resistant soles to prevent any slips or trips which have often led to fatalities in the workplace around the UK. To help give you an insight into the severity of workplace injuries in the 2018/19 reporting year, RIDDOR data shows there were 69,208 company reported non-fatal workplace injuries to employees in Great Britain. This is a shocking figure but one that can be helped by the use of the correct PPE. It is vital as employees that we are doing our bit to prevent the risk of injury and keeping ourselves safe and those around us too.

Choosing The Correct Safety Shoe

The easiest way for you to know what safety footwear you need is through assessing the hazards and risks that are associated with your job and in your workplace. Safety footwear differs and specific shoes are designed for specific jobs. So, it can be a good idea to write down what you require from your footwear. For instance, do they need to be waterproof? Or maybe you need a steel-toe cap if you are working on a construction site? Whatever it is, choosing the right footwear is essential.

If you are ever unsure, then it is always advised that you speak to your colleagues and management to ensure that you are wearing the safest footwear possible. Injuries can often be life changing and most of us work on our feet all day. So, it is important that you protect yourself today and acquire the correct PPE to help you do your job safely.