Welcome to SH-shoe.com! We are specialists in safety shoes for construction and industry, and footwear for healthcare personnel.
Safety footwear are safety shoes and safety boots which are used as protective clothing. They are recomended in industry, trade, construction, gardening and landscaping, as well as by the fire brigade, the rescue service, and the police; even cooks wear them.
Safety shoes are equipped with a protective cap made of metal or plastic in the front part of the shoe (between the lining and outer shaft) to protect the toes. The upper material is usually leather and the sole is made of rubber, polyurethane or thermoplastic elastomers. Safety shoes, unlike work shoes, must necessarily have a protective toecap; work shoes only have a protective component, but not necessarily a protective cap.
There are several standardized categories:
SB – Basic requirements
S1 – Additional requirements (A+FO+E)
S1P – Additional requirements (A+FO+E+P)
S2 – same as S1, additionally conditional watertightness (A+FO+E+WRU)
S3 – as S2 and additionally protected against penetration (A+FO+E+WRU+P)
S4 – like S2, but as waterproof boot
S5 – same as S4, additionally protected against penetration
A – antistatic shoes
AN – Ankle protection
C – conductive shoes
CI – cold insulation (sample at -20 °C)
CR – cut resistance
E – Energy absorption in the heel area
FO – oil and petrol resistant sole
HI – Thermal insulation
HRO – behaviour to contact heat (heat resistance of the sole at 300 °C in minutes)
I – electrical insulating footwear
M – Midfoot protection
P – Penetration resistance
SRA – Slip resistance (test method: ceramic tile/cleaning agent)
SRB – Slip resistance (test method: steel floor/glycerine)
SRC – Slip resistance (test procedure: SRA and SRB passed)
WR – Resistance of the entire shoe to water penetration and water absorption
WRU – Resistance of the upper part of the shoe to water penetration and water absorption
The details of the shoe equipment are determined by the requirements in the respective work area. For example, shoes for butchers should be largely waterproof, for electricians they should be insulating, firefighters need shoes whose materials are largely flame-resistant and whose closure can be closed as quickly as possible (see picture: zipper, which can also be adjusted by lacing). In industry, shoes of the classifications S2 and S3 are most frequently encountered.
Safety shoes S1 are protective shoes with the requirement that a toe cap is provided. As with safety shoes S2 and S3, the toe cap has a load capacity of 200 joules. These requirements are regulated in EN 20345:2004 for safety footwear.
Furthermore, the soles of all shoes must be antistatic from safety class S1 upwards. According to DIN EN 61340-4-3, the specific volume resistance of the shoe should be greater than or equal to 105 ohms and less than 108 ohms. However, especially when overshoes or overboots are worn in addition (product protection in clean working areas or clean rooms), the contact resistance becomes so high that the limit value of 108 Ohm is no longer maintained.
As with S1 and S3, the requirements for safety shoes S2 are the protective cap, whose load capacity is 200 joules. In addition to the protective cap, safety shoes S2 have a certain resistance to moisture and wetness, which is maintained by appropriate care.
Safety shoes S3 are equipped with a protective cap with a load capacity of 200 joules (DIN EN 12568). In addition to the protective cap, the safety shoes are equipped with a puncture-resistant sole. These safety shoes must have a certain resistance to moisture and wetness, which can be maintained by appropriate care.
Shoes of protection class S1P have the same characteristics as shoes of protection class S3, but they lack the conditional waterproofness (60′ – water absorption < 30 %).
A puncture-resistant sole is used in safety shoes and boots, such as those used by firefighters. It protects the soles of feet from penetration injuries caused by nails and other sharp objects.
The puncture-resistant sole used to consist only of sheet steel, which was worked into or inserted into the shoe. Modern soles are made of a technical fabric such as Kevlar, Lenzi, Fibre-LS or similar. The fabric and steel inlay must comply with the EN ISO 20344:2011 standard. Woven soles are more comfortable to wear because they are more flexible and provide insulation against cold and heat. They also cover the entire insole, which is not the case with steel.
The toe protection cap, colloquially known as “steel cap”, is used in safety shoes and protective footwear. It protects the toes from injury, for example from falling objects, machines (cut-off machines), or similar. The toe cap can be made of sheet steel or of materials such as plastic, aluminium or titanium. The resistance of a protective toe cap is expressed in joules. In the case of protective footwear, the cap must provide protection against mechanical impacts of 100 J, and 200 J in the case of safety footwear.
Winter safety shoes are available for outdoor work in winter. These usually meet the minimum standards CI and SRC, as well as WR or WRU. For the inner lining, for example, a Thinsulate material or other abrasion-resistant synthetic fur is used, while the upper material consists of a hydrophobic or water-repellent smooth leather. However, the material is primarily dependent on the protection class. For example, safety shoes in classes SB to S3 are made of leather or other materials, whereas shoes in classes S4 and S5 are fully moulded or vulcanised. This is because they are designed for areas with a lot of water and moisture.
Winter safety shoes are available with conventional steel toecap and sole (low-cost versions) or with aluminium or plastic toecap or no-metal sole (better cold-insulating protection).
Cutting protection shoes are available for use in forestry, which offer special protection against cuts with chainsaws.
The classes S1P, S3 and S5 are characterised by:
Toe cap (200 joules)
closed heel area,
Energy absorption capacity in the heel area,
Conditional watertightness (60 min. not greater than 30 %) (not S1P)
Water absorption (30 min > 2 g)
Resistance to penetration
profiled and therefore non-slip outsole
Fire brigade safety shoes
Firefighters’ safety shoes must meet certain requirements according to EN 15090:2012 and the accident prevention regulations (UVV). Shoes for emergency services must comply with protection class EN 15090:2012. This standard contains further subdivisions.
For firefighters, another feature is usually a quick-release fastener in the form of a zip. The leg width of such boots is adjusted once to the wearer by means of lacing, so that only the opening and closing of the zipper is necessary for quick putting on and taking off of the boots. This feature is not required for rubber boots.
Steel toecap boots have been popular as a fashion item since the 1970s. This trend originated in the skinhead scene, whose members began to wear heavy boots (steels) outside working hours in order to externally emphasize their claimed or actual origin from the English working class. This fashion also became popular in other youth cultures, for example in the punk, metal, industrial and wave scene (EBM, Gothic etc.), as well as in parts of the BDSM culture.
Other aspects that contributed to the popularity of steel toecap boots as leisure footwear are the usability of steel toecaps in physical confrontations or the desire for a “hard” image. In fact, steel toecap boots were temporarily banned as weapons in English football stadiums. These boots are useful because they protect the feet when others step on the shoe.
Another aspect is safe walking on the grounds of open-air music festivals, which are often wet and muddy due to the weather; safety shoes also provide protection against tent pegs, broken glass and drinks cans, as well as other objects and uneven terrain, which may have been deliberately or negligently disposed of incorrectly. Likewise, the cushioning of safety shoes prevents heel bruises. Safety shoes are usually lighter than mountain boots, which makes dancing easier.
In addition to the original Doc Martens boots, there are a number of manufacturers who make Rangers, i.e. steel toecap boots that are very similar to army combat boots. A wide range of colours and shapes is available, including those with various buckles or chains, from ankle-high street shoes to boots that reach over the knee. The height of such shoes is indicated by the number of holes for the laces on one side; common sizes are 3 or 4 holes (low shoe), 10, 14 (boot), 20 (high boot), 30 (very high boot).
Imitation safety boots are missing many details of real safety boots in boot variation. Traditionally, there are still relatively many manufacturers in North America (for example WESCO, Red Wing Shoes and White’s) of safety shoes as boot variants in a wide variety of equipment and designs adapted to the respective application requirements (for forest workers, postmen, etc.). Remarkable are the full leather boots (no inner shoe equipment with synthetic fibres or similar), which are sewn (flexibly sewn, welted or double stitched).
Closely related to pure safety boots in boot variant, with or without steel toecap, are the working boots of the American cowboys (western boots) as well as some motorcycle boot types (the latter mostly without steel toecap, which would make the operation of the foot shift lever more difficult).
Fashion has also become an important factor in safety shoes that conform to standards. They therefore often no longer have the character of work shoes, but are fashionably designed. For example, there are elegant ladies’ safety shoes with heels for ladies who have to cross safety areas in “business outfit” (production managers, security personnel at airports etc.).
DIN EN ISO 20345 Safety shoes old: DIN EN 345
DIN EN ISO 20346 Protective shoes old: DIN EN 346
DIN EN ISO 20347 Occupational footwear old: DIN EN 347
DIN EN ISO 20344 Test method
DIN EN 12568 Test method
DIN 4843 Performance characteristics (Obsolete, contained in DIN EN ISO 20344-20347)
DIN VDE 0680 Body protection means in the low voltage range