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An Introduction to Safety Footwear

Welcome to the InterMountain Safety Shoe, where providing you with safety footwear is our number one priority. We have been serving the Denver and Golden area for over 40 years, and we are proud to be a trusted source of safety footwear in Colorado. We are committed to our customers, and would love to help you find the ideal pair of shoes to keep you safe on the job. Are you wondering why you would need safety footwear? Read on to learn more about how safety shoes can protect your feet, and what jobs they are perfect for. And don’t worry, safety footwear doesn’t have to be clunky or unattractive. At InterMountain Safety Shoe Store we pride ourselves on providing an excellent selection of footwear in all sorts of styles, so you are sure to find something you love!

Electrical Hazards

If you work around electricity, you need footwear that can protect you. There are several kinds of footwear appropriate for electrical hazards, including non-conductive, anti-static, and conductive.

Non-Conductive Footwear

Non-conductive footwear is often classified with an EH rating and can reduce the potential of electric shock if you come in contact with live electrical circuits. While metal in EH rated shoes might seem counterintuitive, EH rated shoes can have either steel or composite safety toes. Because the safety toe is enclosed in non-conductive, non-metallic materials (such as rubber, leather, or synthetic insulation), it is not conductive. Rubber soles help to ground charges if you do encounter an electrical current, and also help protect workers from slips and falls.

Electric Static Dissipative

Footwear with the electrostatic dissipative (ESD) rating help to minimize the buildup of static electricity while on the job while helping to protect against live electrical circuits. There are jobs that specify that shoes must be non-conductive and have the EH rating, and ESD shoes do not fulfill those requirements. ESD rated footwear helps to protect against damage to electronic parts being worked on, as static can quickly build up and result in damage to devices. This can result in unhappy customers and additional cost to the facility. This type of footwear also is appropriate in situations where workers are handling explosive or volatile materials. Static electricity can build up on the body and safety footwear will help to dissipate that static through materials that offer no electrical resistance. Walking around alone can build up static electricity, and these shoes help to reduce the chance of that electricity ever sparking.

Whether you are looking to protect yourself from live circuits and wires on the job, or to dissipate static that can lead to fire risk and damaged materials, InterMountain Safety Shoe Store carries many options of EH and ESD rated shoes. Electrical workers, or anyone who works around high-voltage machinery need to ensure that their footwear will protect them on the job.

Safety Toes

Do you work at a job where falling objects are a concern? Warehouses, manufacturing plants, and many retail and food service jobs have the potential for injury from falling objects. If something heavy falls on your feet what will happen if you are wearing non-safety shoes? Safety toes add an extra layer of protection to the toe area of a shoe or boot to keep your feet safe from accidents, dropped, or flung objects.

Steel Toes

Steel toes are self-explanatory, they have a piece of steel encased inside the toe cap of the shoe to add a durable layer of protection to the toe area. Construction workers, or jobs that require you to work around electricity might be required to wear steel-toed shoes to ensure foot safety. Steel toed shoes are the standard for protection, and won’t ever shatter like a composite toe.

Composite Toes

There can be jobs where you need toe protection, but it cannot be metallic. If you need to pass through a metal detector to enter your workplace, such as airport security or a laboratory, you need a composite safety toe. These composite toes may by plastic, carbon fiber, fiberglass, or even Kevlar fibers, and they offer you the safety features of steel toes while still remaining metal detector compliant. Composite toed shoes can also be more comfortable to work in outdoors, as metal toes conduct heat and can become too warm or too cold quickly in extreme conditions. Composite toed shoes are also usually lighter than steel toed, and can be more comfortable if you are on your feet all day.

Metatarsal Protection

Along with a safety toe cap, there are jobs that require more rugged foot protection. Shoes that are labeled MT have a metatarsal guard that protects the wearer from injuries to the upper foot (the metatarsal bones). A met-guard can be external, as with these Timberland boots, or can be integrated into the shoe like these athletic-styled Reeboks. MT boots have added protection along the instep, and could be made from metal, fiberglass, or a heavy foam. There are standards for impact that will designate whether shoes can have the MT rating. The small bones in the feet can break easily with impact and can take a long time to heal (especially if you continue to work on your feet). Metatarsal protection is crucial if you work in an industry that puts your feet at risk of being injured from falling objects or impact.

Puncture Resistant

Having a shoe that can resist punctures both in the sole and on the upper is crucial if you work around screws, nails, or other sharp objects that could puncture the shoe and injure your foot. Even the most careful workers have times that they step on an unseen hazard, or an object falls unexpectedly. Having puncture resistant materials keeps your feet safe on the job.

Slip Resistant

When people think of getting injured on the job, they often think of slipping and falling. Almost every job that requires you to be on your feet puts you at risk of slips and falls if you are wearing improper footwear. The Slip Resistant, SR, designation meet or exceed the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. While these shoes are not completely slip-proof, they offer added protection. There are many industries that require slip-resistant footwear including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and industrial production lines, and this footwear could keep you steady even on slick or wet surfaces. Many jobs require you to move quickly on surfaces that could be hazardous, and SR footwear can keep you on your feet.

Waterproof

Whether you work indoors with wet materials, or are out in the snow and rain, having wet feet makes the job miserable. If you have an outdoor job you will most likely be exposed to the elements at some point during your career, and a waterproof boot can be the difference between dry feet and a good day, and wet feet that are prone to blisters and pain. While some shoes may be water resistant or water repellent, shoes that are rated Waterproof, or WP, have been tested on a scale that measures how much resistance to water they have. WP footwear won’t absorb water and if it is completely waterproof is usually made from rubber or plastic that water cannot penetrate. While some boots have a waterproof membrane, a fully rubber boot can be submerged in water with no damage. Whether your job requires you to have a waterproof boot or not, you will likely be much more comfortable in a boot that keeps your feet dry.

Insulated

Along with wet feet, cold feet are a concern if you are working in low temperatures. If you dress in layers, hats, gloves, and scarves but leave your feet in uninsulated shoes you will quickly become cold. Prolonged exposure to the cold can put you in danger of frostbite and other complications, and can make your workday miserable. Shoes labeled Insulated, I, are insulated as defined by the manufacturer and give your feet an added layer of warmth and protection against the cold. If you are frequently out in the snow, working in a cold warehouse, or in an industrial freezer, you need to protect your feet! Many of our shoes give you excellent, lightweight, insulation that keep your feet comfortable despite dropping temperatures.

 

As you can see, there are many different safety features to look for in your next pair of work boots or shoes! Every year people sustain injuries that stem from wearing improper footwear, and accidents happen that could have been prevented with safety shoes. Whether you need non-slip soles to stay steady on slippery surfaces, or you are working around electricity and falling objects, the right shoe can make all the difference. At InterMountain Safety Shoe Store, serving Denver and the surrounding areas, we are committed to stocking the best in safety shoes and boots to give you options when you are looking for the perfect pair. Whether you are welding, ranching, or working in a hospital, we have a shoe for you! Stop into our stores in Golden and Colorado Springs to see our selection of safety boots and shoes today! Of course you can always shop online too! Browse our collections here