High vs Low Top Safety Boots

High vs Low Top Safety Boots

Safety boots are a critical element of any working attire when in a potentially unsafe environment, including ships, construction sites, and even hardware stores and healthcare facilities often require their workers to wear safety shoes of some sort – whether they be steel-toed, or simply anti-slip.

Luckily, the world of safety boots only keeps getting bigger and design has changed significantly since the early days of personal protective equipment design. But what are these design changes? What makes a good safety boot?

A Brief History of the Safety Boot

Safety boots have their origins in the 17th century – when shoes for workers feet were carved from wood, in order to protect toes and feet from crush injuries. Unfortunately, these shoes were no magic bullet for workplaces and workers still injured themselves in grave numbers for the next three centuries – it was simply cheaper and easier to replace a worker during this time. It was only during the 20th century that workers began to have some semblance of the rights that they enjoy today.

A Brief History of the Safety Boot

In the 1930s, Red Wing Shoes based in Minnesota began to manufacture steel toe boots, by glueing steel onto the outside of work boots. During the Second World War, soldiers from Germany enjoyed the use of a crude form of steel-toed boots. Today, steel-toed boots are a minimum requirement for most jobs where there is a degree of risk of foot injury in one form or another.

What Features do Safety Boots Have?

Most safety boots will have at least several of the following features: a hardened toe plate – made from either steel or composite plastic, anti-slip material on the soles, hardened rubber soles with a mid-sole to catch wayward nails and screws, reinforced heels, no-tie shoelaces, waterproofing of some sort. Many safety boots are high-top boots, though lower-cut versions are starting to make the rounds on the market.

High-Top or Low Top?

This is the age-old question when it comes to safety boot wearers – which height do you want?

High vs Low Top Safety Boots

High-top boots are the standard. These are typically used for the following reasons:

  • Greater padding and comfort around the ankles.
  • Provide greater stability throughout the entire boot.
  • Extra ankle and heel support.
  • Better protect skin and feet from water and other spillages.
  • Clip-in options for pants, waders, etc.

However, low-top boots are sometimes preferred by those who might work in an environment that doesn’t necessarily require ultimate safety.

There are a few advantages to wearing them:

  • Less weighty than high-top boots.
  • More manoeuvrability than high-tops.
  • Cheaper than high-top boots.

In general, if you need the maximum protection possible, go for the high-top boots. If weight isn’t an issue and you’d rather the coverage of your ankles and lower legs – then high-top is where its at. However, if you favour manoeuvrability and less weight, maybe the low-top boot would be your best bet.

Make sure that, whatever your choice of cut, your safety boots are sturdy, well maintained and have steel toes and a good sole.

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