Each year, the choice of work and safety footwear expands as more brands enter the market – Result and Regatta are both recent arrivals. Advances in technologies also mean that heavy, utilitarian footwear has faded into the background to be replaced by retail-inspired boots and lightweight trainers with composite toe-caps. There’s no question, now is the time to add these profitable items to your stock list
It’s impossible to write a round-up of the latest safety footwear without kicking off with the recent story of Malcolm Copeland from Doncaster, whose Fife Dealer Safety boot from Dickies saved his foot from being ripped off in a horrific car accident. Malcolm was walking to a garage after his car had run out of petrol when a car hit him, with his foot being dragged under the wheels. While his leg was fractured, his foot was left only bruised thanks to the boot’s steel toe-cap and midsole.
According to his surgeon, if it wasn’t for the strength of the boot – which Dickies reports as being a little mangled after the crash – Malcolm’s foot would have been pulled off in the accident.
Aside from the toe cap and the steel anti-penetration underfoot protection, the Fife Dealer Safety boot also features Cambrelle lining, a leather heel puller, an elasticated gusset, cushioned insole, and Goodyear- welted construction. It is slip-resistant and heat-resistant to 300°C.
The Dickies new winter catalogue is out now and includes a range of boots such as the Quebec lined boot and the Medway safety hiker, which is both Thinsulate-insulated and water-resistant. It also has an energy-absorbing heel to help cushion feet against rough ground.
Ralawise highlights the Dickies Groundwater Super Safety Boot (WD162), which has a PVC upper nitrile rubber outsole and a polyester fleece lining, along with two leather pull-up loops. It also features a steel toe-cap, flexible steel midsole and a slip-resistant sole to SRA standard. Also from Dickies, and recommended by PenCarrie, are the Graton Boots. Made from nubuck leather, they have a breathable mesh lining plus steel toe-cap and midsole, and are heat-resistant to 300°C. The S1P Dealer Safety Boots are another PenCarrie selection with an elasticated gusset, pull-up loops and, of course, steel toe-cap and midsole.
According to Blackrock, safety footwear exists for the obvious purpose of protecting feet from injury. The company notes, however, that while “fitness for that purpose is critical, aesthetically it’s fair to say that safety footwear by and large hasn’t been at the forefront of fashion”. It also points out that wearing heavy boots and safety shoes can be tiring on feet, especially if they’re being worn all day.
Blackrock is looking to change both of these perceptions with its new range of safety trainers. The three new styles combine the necessary protection with fashionable design and lightweight construction. The Hudson is a classic blue and yellow suede, while the Delaware has an eye-catching orange and grey colourway – and both feature steel toe-caps and midsoles. The ultra-lightweight Jay has a steel toe-cap but no midsole, minimising foot fatigue, especially for those whose jobs involve a lot of bending or kneeling.
The Regatta Hardwear range from Regatta Professional has been designed to protect wearers from head to toe. “From waterproof boots to trainers and safety shoes, Hardwear helps you choose the right footwear for the job,” says the brand. The Prime Softshell S3 Safety Hiker offers all-round protection, says Regatta Professional, with a steel toe-cap and a protective steel midsole ensuring feet remain safe in hazardous environments. There are a number of special safety features, such as the fuel oil-resistant and SRC-rated, slip-resistant outsole, while the rubber shock-absorbent sole and fully moulded and removable insole provide additional comfort for the wearer.
“Striding into Work-Guard, the Result Professional Safety Footwear range provides extended cover for those expecting function, purpose and exceptional value for money,” says Result. “The extensive range of boots, shoes and trainers offer great overall protection on and off site.” Included in the range is the Defence Safety Boot (R340X), which has a steel toe-cap and midsole, padded collar and tongue, energy absorption heel, and dual density polyurethane sole. It is made from water-resistant leather and is SRC-rated slip-resistant as well as the sole being resistant to oil. Another boot style from Result, and recommended by PenCarrie, is the Strider Safety Boot (R344X), which, along with the expected steel toe-cap and midsole, is made from hardwearing Nubuck leather, is anti-static and has a lightweight rubber sole. Ralawise suggests the Carrick Safety Boot (R346X) as a tough and durable product, with steel toe-cap, Kevlar midsole for underfoot protection, ankle support, padded cuff and tongue, an energy absorption heel and SRC slip resistance with a sole that is also resistant to oil.
For those looking for something with a steel toe-cap and sole yet different to the usual boot style, Result has the Managers Brogue (R345X) with its relaxed fit, dual density sole and hardwearing Crazy Horse cow leather (as highlighted by Ralawise). Another alternative to the traditional safety boot, says PenCarrie, is the Lightweight Safety Trainer (R348X), a breathable, lightweight shoe which has a Kevlar midsole and composite toe-cap, a low-cut sports look, EVA/rubber sole and reflective detail.
Helly Hansen has a wide range of work and safety footwear, with new styles for the AW16 season including the Magni Boot and the Alna Boa Mid HT. The Magni Boot features a vibram outsole for grip and a PU midsole that, supported by a removable ortholite sock liner, provides cushioning. Made from durable, microfibre synthetic leather with TPU reinforcements around the toe and heel, the boot is water-repellent and has a lightweight composite toe cap and composite plate.
The Alna Boa Mid HT is a high performance leather shoe that features the Boa Lace system for enhanced safety and the water-resistant, breathable, Helly Tech Performance membrane. They have composite toe protection, a Lenzi nail penetration sole, twin line stitching for additional strength and retro-reflective trim to the side for increased visibility at night. They also have an abrasion-resistant, fully moulded toe-cap with scuff protection.
Solid Gear, part of the Hultafors Group UK, (home of Snickers Workwear), has created the Athletic Safety Trainers range. “With modern, sporty looks, the Athletic range of Safety Trainers brings together superb functionality and top class safety in a range of styles, designs and colours to create versatile safety shoes that are well suited to a variety of work tasks,” says the brand.
There are six styles in the line, with sizes from 3-13, all of which have been designed with superlight, high performance EVA midsoles combined with anti-slip rubber outsoles and lightweight, breathable uppers. The modern sports styles are all constructed using a composite plate with aluminium toe-caps to protect the wearer’s feet.
“Portwest is renowned for its Steelite footwear designed for safety, comfort and reliability,” says Ralawise. The range includes footwear for both men and women, from safety trainers to rigger boots and wellingtons, all of which include protective steel toe-caps and/or steel midsoles to protect the wearer while they are in hazardous working environments. The PW302 Steelite protector boot S1P (FW10) from Portwest is a comfortable, sturdy boot that has a 200 joule steel toe-cap and steel midsole, and is slip-resistant with an energy absorbent heel.