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Steel Toe Cap vs Composite Toe Cap

Date: 09-01-2019

Steel Toe Cap Safety Boots

Steel toe cap safety boots and shoes have a heavy-duty steel cover cap across the toes and have protected the toes of countless workers across the globe and are considered the ‘classic’. To meet standards (AS/NZS 2210.1) they are required to provide protection against 200J of energy and bear a compression load of at least 15kN.

Pros of Steel Caps

  • Higher ‘flat’ protection, making them better for environments with very heavy hazards, such as machinery handling
  • High puncture resistance
  • They don’t shatter
  • Good value – steel caps are more economical to produce than composite toe caps, so they are often cheaper to buy as well
  • Pass ASTM tests, meaning they are considered safe for workers handling electrical components. Having said that, composite toe boots are still considered safer in this regard as they do not conduct electricity.
  • Do not weaken over time


Cons of Steel Caps

  • The steel caps are heavier than composite materials, so they are less suited to workers doing lots of walking. However, steel toe cap footwear is continually improving and getting lighter.
  • Set off metal detectors – inconvenient and annoying for those than need to regularly pass security checks with metal detectors
  • Poor insulation in extreme temperatures. They get extremely cold in cold conditions, and very hot in warm conditions, making them less comfortable.


Composite Toe Cap Safety Boots

Composite toe cap safety boots and shoes, considered the ‘new kid on the block’, are made from non-metal materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Kevlar or carbon fibre.

Pros of Composite Caps

  • Generally, significantly lighter than steel caps, meaning they offer a higher level of comfort for those on their feet for long periods
  • Non-metal materials meaning they don’t set off metal detectors, making them great for FIFO workers as they pass through airport security
  • Superior electrical resistance for those working around live wires
  • Provide better thermal insulation, meaning your toes stay warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat


Cons of Composite Caps

  • Cannot withstand the same level of down force as steel caps
  • Average puncture resistance
  • More expensive to produce, leading to a higher purchase price
  • Caps are often thicker and more bulbous, meaning they cannot be used in as many styles of footwear as steel caps
  • Generally, rebound after compression but can be weakened significantly after an impact, meaning they can be less protective as they age

What we offer for composite toe safety boots consist of the Oliver footwear 45 series range. Mangum MPN100 – to colours to choose from black or wheat offer a composite to. John Bull 6521 and the Blundstone – 793, 795