Safety shoes are the industry standard for a multitude of jobs that require protection of the feet from workplace injury. Safety footwear was developed in the early 20th century as health and safety laws were brought into existence to account for occupational hazards that were not being addressed. In this article, HS Footwear Co. gives us a glimpse into how safety shoes are made.

Materials Used to Make Safety Shoes:

Steel, thermoplastic polyurethane, and aluminum: These materials form the toe cap part of a safety shoe. The toe region of a foot is the most frequently impacted area by blunt force trauma and therefore requires extra reinforcement in order to make sure that debilitating injury is avoided. Classically called the “steel toe” of the safety shoe or boot, this area of the shoe is tested rigorously to meet safety standards and requirements based on the work-specific indication for the shoe.

 Leather, textile material, and synthetic material: Leather is the gold-standard for the upper aspect of the shoe in the safety shoe industry. It is a highly stable material in all sorts of weather conditions and offers protection against the elements. However, safety footwear is manufactured with various types of textiles and synthetic materials, like micro-velour as well.

Cotton, wool, and leather: These materials are used as the internal lining of a safety shoe. Since the lining material is in direct contact with the foot, it is crucial that they are non-allergic, breathable, able to absorb moisture and quick to dry.

Rubber and polyurethane: Rubber is often the material of choice to form the outsole of the shoe. Usually, the material for the outsole is chosen based on the nature of the work surface and the amount of grip needed. This is the aspect of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground and therefore needs to be highly durable and last the test of time.

Steps in Shoe Fabrication:

Lasting: This is the first step in creating a safety shoe. A shoe ‘last’ is a mold of the form the shoe will take and it can be made out of either wood, metal or plastic. Lasts come in all shapes and sizes. The upper material of the safety shoe is placed on top of the last and pressed around it with the aid of steam or other processes to retain the shape of the last.

 Adding the safety toe: In this step, the material of choice for the particular toe cap region will be added. This is an essential step as the safety area over the toes is one of the central features within a safety boot.

Sealing the outsole: Once the safety material is added to the toe cap, the shoe enters its final stages of production. The outsole of the shoe is applied to the lasted shoe by  one of the following methods: vulcanizing, or stitching. How footwear is sealed with the outsole depends on safety shoe manufacturing factory processes.

Placing the insole: This is the last step in the fabrication of a safety shoe. The insole is positioned within the shoe, and this indicates that the process of shoe manufacturing is complete and the footwear is ready to be packaged and shipped.

The process in which safety shoes are made is precise and based on meeting certain standards and regulations for impact. Each step is contingent on the one prior, and each material is chosen with great care as to the purpose of the shoe. Safety shoes present a vital part of workplace safety in a large number of industries, and their production has never been more critical.