How to choose the right safety shoes

How to choose the right safety shoes


Today’s market offers a vast array of safety footwear. To make the right choice, it is important to assess the working environment and the tasks to be performed. See how you can make an informed choice.

Common foot injuries in the workplace

Foot injuries are divided into two categories. The first category includes foot trauma, for example, walking on a nail, or a foot being crushed by a heavy truck, etc. The second category includes accidents due to slipping, falling, or wrong movements causing sprains and fractures. For example, in Ontario, ankle sprains represent 50% of construction workers’ foot injuries as those workers are exposed to all these situations.

The right safety shoe for the task at hand

To choose the right footwear, it is important to assess the workplace as well as the tasks performed by the worker. Consider the following elements:

  • Equipment or objects that may roll or fall on the feet
  • Sharp or pointed objects that may puncture the shoe
  • Walking surfaces: wet, oily, icy, uneven, etc.
  • Risks related to material handling

Also, evaluate the risks in these areas and make the appropriate choice:

  • Electrical: live conductors, electrostatic discharges
  • Chemical: corrosive and toxic liquids
  • Mechanical: impacts, crushing, punctures, pinching
  • Biological: allergies, germ growth
  • Thermal: cold, heat, bad weather, molten metal, embers

Traction and resistance: outsole selection

Select footwear with an outsole ensuring maximum adherence suitable to your work surfaces.
traction resistance chart

How to choose and adjust your safety shoes

The adjustment of the shoe to the worker’s foot as well as its comfort level both plays an essential role in safety.

  • Choose boots from 15 to 21 cm high. They will better support your ankles and protect against cuts and punctures. Boots must lace all the way up.
  • Try on your shoes midday, when your feet are usually more swollen. 
  • Make sure to have plenty of space inside the shoe to move your toes and wear an extra pair of socks, if necessary.
  • Once laced up, the boots must be adjusted at the heel and ankle.
  • Use the Army lacing pattern (laces on top). In case of emergency, the laces can be easily cut off.

Foot care and hygiene

Foot hygiene depends on the air circulation inside the shoe. Footwear must have absorption and moisture wicking qualities. Ill-fitting shoes may lead to calluses, corns, fungal infections (athlete’s foot), etc. Moisture and wear can reduce the protection against electrical shocks. Regularly check the condition of your boots (cracked outsole, broken leather, punctures). The application of a waterproof protective coating will extend its life.

Our experts can advise you on the best model, adjustment and maintenance for your safety footwear, and for all work environments. Do not hesitate to contact us or visit one of our branches. We have a complete range of footwear to meet your specific needs.