Protective footwear

Feet come in for a lot of abuse in the workplace. They are particularly at risk from mechanical hazards such a falling objects and other impacts. In addition, footwear must be suitable for the environment of its intended use. Considerations of the slip resistance of the sole, the ability of the upper to repel water or chemicals and the anti-static qualities of footwear may all be important.

There are two important differentiations to make when selecting footwear:

  1. Safety footwear, as defined by EN 20345, provides a basic level of protection to the foot. Footwear conforming to this standard should be selected in instances when the hazard posed to the feet is minimal.
  2. Standard EN 20346 provides for improved safety and should be selected where the risk to the foot increased due to the nature of activity.

There are many types of marking added to footwear. Here are some that may help in selection:

P – penetration resistance
C – conductive
A – antistatic
I – electrically insulating
HI – insulating against heat
CI – insulating against cold
E – energy-absorbing seat region
WR – whole footwear resistant to water penetration / absorption
M – metatarsal protection
AN – ankle protection
WRU – water-resistant upper only
CR – cut-resistant upper
HRO – outsole resistant to hot contact
FO – fuel-oil-resistant sole

Slip resistance rating:
SRA – on ceramic surface with ‘soap’
SRB – on steel with glycerol

Examples of pictograms used on safety footwear and their meaning:


ESD Safety Shoe Spider Roller


ESD Safety Shoes

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