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Safety shoes and foot protection

Safety shoes, boots or work shoes? Get help finding the footwear you need here

Choose the right safety shoes

Your feet have many functions. They must bear your weight, adapt to the surface you walk and stand on, transport you, help you keep your balance and absorb shocks of many kilos.


At the same time, the underside of the foot has a high concentration of sweat pores and nerve endings that make them extremely sensitive to cold, heat, pain and hard and soft surfaces.

The right safety shoes are therefore about more than protection. Let us help you make the correct choice for your feet and job.

Considerations when choosing safety shoes

Before you can decide which type of shoe you should have, it is useful to ask yourself the following question: What should the shoe protect against?
For example, should it be with or without a toe cap?
Must it have certain protective properties such as water-repellent, cut-resistant, electrically conductive, ESD approved, etc.

When choosing your safety shoe, the first thing you should look for is whether it is CE marked. If it is, it meets EN ISO 20345 which also categorizes the shoe according to characteristics.

Foot protection classes and categories

Foot protection is divided into 2 classes:
> Class 1: Footwear made of leather, textile and the like. materials
> Class 2
Footwear made of rubber or polyurethane

In addition, the safety shoes are divided into categories:
> Category: S1-S5: Safety footwear with toe cap up to 200 J
CategoryPB-P5: Safety footwear with toe cap up to 100 J

CategoryO1-O5: Safety footwear without toe cap

When you are looking for new footwear, it is important not only to be dazzled by appearance or price, but also to find the shoe that suits your work area. Here you can use the standard symbols to find the right safety shoe.

In the table below, you can find the right shoe through protective properties with listed symbols.

Oversigt over sko egenskaber og klasificering

Explanations
√ = Mandatory
+ = In addition to the basic requirements, the footwear must also meet at least one of these requirements
◊ = In addition to the basic requirements, the footwear must also meet at least one of these additional requirements

Example:
1. If you work with water, it doesn't matter that the shoes are always full of water because you chose a safety shoe that is not water resistant.

2. If you look at the standard, you can quickly see that shoes marked S1-S5 all contain the basic features, but if you want a shoe that is water resistant (WRU), you only need shoes marked S2 or S3 choose.

It is therefore only by looking at the sole and the description that you can find out whether the shoe is suitable. Once you have secured the above, the rest is up to ergonomics.

New symbols and categories for safety shoes

The EN standard for safety shoes has been updated and will enter into force on 1/4-2023. There are a number of changes in it compared to the version of the standard described above. For example, two new protection classes and six new properties have been added. 

But since an EU type test (certificate) is valid for 5 years, in the next few years you will be able to buy footwear certified according to both the new and old standard. That is that safety shoes that are already on the market and have a valid certificate do not need to be certified according to the new standard, even if we get past 30 March 2023. 

You can read everything about the new EN 20345:2022 in the article The new EN ISO 20345:2022 for foot protection - Everything about the new version of the EN 20345 standard for safety shoes.

Insoles for shoes with safety

Strain injuries are today one of the biggest causes of sick leave at work. Pain in e.g. knees, hips and back can come from your feet. In order to prevent such injuries, it is important that the soles of your work shoes fit your feet.

Have you heard of OTTER MFUS® safety shoes?

If not, read more here.

Over the course of a day, you may feel that you become 2-5 cm shorter, and there is a reason for this, as it is because the entire weight of the body compensates for the arch of the foot.


OTTER MFUS® is a unique development which is based on an adjustable arch for extra support and a perfect fit - thus you get the optimal support for the foot and can also go through a whole working day without having pain and feeling tired in the feet.

The patented system is built around an adjustable bandage, which is placed around the foot under the insole of the safety shoe itself.

When the laces are tightened, the bandage is raised and creates an arch. The necessary support for the arch depends on how much the laces are tightened.

The user therefore always has the opportunity to adjust the support for the foot in the safety shoe, which serves the purpose of preventing fatigue and thus lack of concentration.

Otter MFUS beskrivelse

Advantages of safety shoes with MFUS

  • Perfect fit - a personal and variable width adjustment of the shoe.

  • The optimal support of the arch reduces the risk of the foot sliding back and forth in the shoe itself.

  • Provides the necessary support and ensures a lift of the medial foot structure and guarantees less fatigue after prolonged stationary work.

  • If you choose an OTTER MFUS shoe, you get a comfortable safety shoe that actively supports the foot's natural movement pattern.

The picture on the right shows what the system looks like (for more models, see each individual product page, use the link).

Otter MFUS betydning for foden

Good advice on maintenance of safety shoes

Shoes are exposed to heavy loads and require care in order to last a long time. Lack of maintenance can reduce or completely eliminate certain properties. Below are some basic tips on how to extend the life of your work shoes:

  • Clean your shoes with a damp cloth, alternatively remove clay, sand, dust and other dirt with a soft shoe brush after use.

  • If the shoes get wet, always dry them at room temperature - never in a drying cabinet or similar.

  • Shoes in fully tanned or oiled leather, we recommend impregnating them regularly.

  • Leather shoes are recommended to be lubricated regularly with shoe cream or leather grease.

Foot protection signage

Also remember that the employer must ensure that work areas where protective footwear must be used are marked with signs.

The sign is blue with a white symbol and can be provided with a supplementary sign indicating types of safety footwear.

Skiltning Værnefodtøj påbudt
Skiltning Antistatisk fodtøj påbudt
Skiltning Skridsikker fodtøj påbudt

Extended information on foot protection

What are the requirements for safety shoes and when should the safety shoes be used?
What are safety shoes?
When should safety shoes be worn?
And what are the norms and requirements for safety shoes?

You will find answers to these questions and more below.

Choose the correct safety shoes

Safety shoes, also called foot protection or protective footwear) must be used if the work cannot be organized and carried out properly using ordinary, appropriate footwear. Safety shoes are divided into two types:

  1. Safety shoes with toe cap (also called toe cap, toe nose and toe iron) must be used where there is a risk of crushing, or where there is a risk of foot injury from falling objects, e.g. where heavy and unwieldy objects are handled or worked, i.e. over 16-20 kg.

  2. Safety shoes with toe cap and protective sole to protect against penetration of sharp objects into the sole (e.g. stepping on a nail)

In addition, the safety shoes must be marked clearly and permanently with the following information:

> Size
> The manufacturer's type designation and trademark or other identification
> Production date and country
> Number of current EN standard (EN 20345, EN 20346 or EN 20347)
> Symbol or category designation for basic requirements and other requirements
> An instruction manual in Local Language must always be included

Classes and categorization of safety shoes

Safety shoes are divided into 2 classes (not to be compared with categorization):
> Class I: Footwear made of leather, textile and the like. materials
Class II: Footwear made of rubber or polyurethane

Labeling of safety footwear with several properties can be grouped into the following categories, thus a safety shoe can be a class 1 (made of leather) and approved as a category S3 (has nail protection and wear pattern):

Odoo image and text block

    Definitions for safety shoes

    What do the categories and classes mean for a shoe? You will get the answer to that here

    Category

    Class


    Demand


    SB
    I or II
    Basic
    S1
    I
    Closed tread
    Antistatic properties
    Tread surface energy absorption
    S2
    I
    As S1 + Water resistant
    S3
    I
    As S2
    +
    Penetration resistance (nail protection)
    Outsole with wear pattern
    S4
    II
    Antistatic properties
    Tread surface energy absorption
    S5
    I
    As S4
    +
    Penetration resistance (nail protection) Outsole with abrasion pattern

    Danish and English shoe sizes

    Below is a precise comparison of the Danish and English shoe sizes, which often cause problems when they have to be "translated" one way or the other.

    Pictograms for safety shoes

    Here are the pictograms used on our website and catalogue:

    Piktogram fodtøj S1

    Safety footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20345:2007 S1

    Piktogram fodtøj S2

    Safety footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20345:2007 S2

    Piktogram fodtøj S3

    Safety footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20345:2007 S3

    Piktogram fodtøj S1P

    Safety footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20345:2007 S1P

    Piktogram fodtøj STEEL

    Steel toe cap

    Piktogram fodtøj ALU

    Aluminum toe cap

    Piktogram fodtøj ESD

    ESD tested safety footwear in accordance with EN 61340-5-1:2007
    ESD-marked footwear with vertical resistance in the range between 1 × 10^5 Ω and 1 × 10^8 Ω

    Pictogram fodtøj Codura S2

    Extremely robust, durable, light, breathable and dirt-repellent material

    Pictogram fodtøj Vita Tex

    Breathable Vita-Tex lining. No harmful substances. Oeko-Tex class 1

    Pictogram fodtøj MFUS

    Equipped with the patented Otter MFUS® system for adjustable arch support

    Pictogram fodtøj HRO 300 grader

    Heat-resistant outer sole (+300° C contact heat) according to EN ISO 20345:2007 HRO

    Pictogram fodtøj C1

    Cold-insulating footwear in accordance with An ISO 20345:2007 C1

    Toe cap, nail protection and saw protection in safety shoes

    Toe cap
    The toe cap is the part built into the safety shoe that protects your toes from pressure and weight and the tip of the shoe. They are available in different materials with different properties.

    Material


    Information


    Steel toe cap

    Since the middle of the 20th century, steel safety caps have been the obvious alternative when manufacturing safety shoes.


    The strength and properties of the steel make it possible to manufacture the safety toe cap from a thin steel, which means it does not restrict the internal dimensions of the shoe. The protective properties of the steel toe cap are not affected by age or by external circumstances such as cold and heat. The properties of the steel toe cap are well known, which makes it a safe protection.

    Aluminum toe cap

    The demand for lighter safety shoes has stimulated the development of alternative materials for safety shoe covers. The low weight means that a safety shoe with an aluminum toe cap weighs around 50 grams less than a similar shoe with a steel toe cap. Since the entire weight reduction comes in the front part of the shoes, it means that the shoe gets a better balance, which provides reduced load and better comfort.


    The protective properties of the aluminum roof covering are not affected by age or by external conditions such as cold and heat.

    Plastic toe cap

    Plastic toe caps have both the strength and the properties required to achieve full protection according to the European standard (EN ISO 20345) which applies to safety shoes.


    The plastic toe cap is approx. 40% lighter than a steel toe cap. The plastic toe cap also makes it possible to get completely metal-free safety shoes. In addition, plastic conducts neither cold nor heat.

    Komposittåkappe

    Composite is a material composed of different component materials with different functions and properties.


    Eg. Composite plastic - which is a very light protective toe cap made of foam plastic, epoxy resin and carbon fiber.


    Characteristic of composite toe caps is that they are very light, are insulating, do not conduct electricity and are not magnetic, as they do not contain metal.

    Sømværn

    Nail protection

    Divided into:

    • Flexible nail protection

    Is a nail guard in a light, flexible and metal-free textile material with ceramic coated fibres.

    • Steel nail protection

    A nail guard made of steel which means that no sharp objects can penetrate.

    Saw protection

    Is protection against e.g. chain saw. The protective properties are usually divided into 3 classes, where products such as foot and leg protection usually use saw protection in class 1 and class 2.

    > Class 1: 20 meters/second.
    > Class 2: 24 meters/second. (Higher protection than class 1).

    Fodtøj med savbeskyttelse

    Sole materials in safety shoes

    Shoe soles are among the most important components for your comfort and safety. They are produced in various materials with different properties.

    Material


    Information


    PU (Polyuretan) Polyurethane is a chemical mixture which is a good damping material with good grip properties and is resistant to oils.
    TPU
    Is a rubber material that is resistant to oils and wear. Gives a very good grip on most surfaces.
    Nitrile rubber Gives an extremely good grip on smooth surfaces, is oil-resistant and is also heat-resistant up to 300°C.
    Vibram An extra strong rubber sole, which is designed to provide an extremely good grip on uneven surfaces. Vibram is also heat resistant up to 300°C.
    EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) Is a lightweight foam that provides good shock absorption and absorption.

    ESD approved safety shoes

    Electrostatic discharges (ESD) are a major problem in the electronics industry when manufacturing and handling components.

    • On average, 1% of all sensitive components are exposed to ESD, which often leads to parameter changes and malfunctions.

    • The most common cause of ESD damage to electrical components is a discharge from a charged person or tool - through the component to ground.

    • Getting charged is not that difficult. A person walking on a textile mat is quickly charged with 15,000 volts, and unpacking goods in ordinary bubble wrap can give up to 20,000 volts.

    • A good way to prevent electrostatic discharges is to use ESD-approved shoes together with a dissipative floor.

    • ESD footwear is in the limit values between 100k OHM to 35M OHM. The values are stricter than for ordinary antistatic shoes.

    Note: It is recommended that the classification of footwear is indicated by wear-resistant markings on the surface of the sole.

    ESD godkendte sko
    Oversigt ESD godkendelse af fodtøj
    # Foot Protection

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