Everything You Need To Know About Safety Boots

Health and safety are important aspects in any workplace, which is why it’s so important that you wear the correct safety boots. Understanding which boots to get and what each of the codes means can be difficult. Not only this but choosing the right safety footwear in terms of durability and comfort can be tricky too, which is why we’ve created this blog post to help you find the right safety boot.

There are many things to consider when choosing safety boots. However, while we all still want to look good when working, colour and style take a backseat in the decision process! Here are some of the most important things to consider when making your choice:

Are your boots compliant with safety standards?

The number one factor to take into consideration when shopping for safety boots is, of course, whether they meet the required safety standards of the job; whether that’s the specific requirements of your employer or the national safety laws and regulations of your country. 

These safety standards specify the minimum requirements for safety footwear, including impact resistance, compression resistance and electrical resistance. The most common safety standard is EN ISO 20345 which requires a 200 joules impact resistance and a 15KN compression test. 

S3 safety shoes and work boots

How long will my safety boots last?

Of course, when making your purchase, you hope that your safety boots will be durable and last for a long time, but unlike standard shoes, once they begin to show signs of damage or wear and tear, you shouldn’t continue to use them. 

Looking after your safety boots will help to extend their lifespan and help you get the most for your money. Here are some best practices for safety boot care:

  • Clean your boots regularly – avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the material.
  • If your boots get wet, dry them out completely and don’t let them hold onto moisture. It is a good idea to make a habit of storing them in a cool, dry place.
  • Be diligent with checking for signs of wear and tear.

If your safety shoes or boots show any signs of damage or are no longer fit for purpose, you will need to replace them immediately. 

Choosing the right pair of safety footwear

Once you’ve determined what safety standards need to be met and how best to care for your safety shoes or boots, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind. 

Get the right protection

Depending on what your job entails, you may need to make some specific considerations about the type of protection required from your work boots. For example, will you be working in an environment with heat, water or cold? Make sure you guard yourself with the right level of protection.

For example, if you are working with oil or somewhere with high flammability, make sure you buy safety boots with an antistatic/electrical resistance feature (“A” in the key feature description).

What about steel toe caps?

It’s a common assumption that safety boots = steel-toe boots, but this isn’t necessarily the case. For example, a composite toe cap boot, made from non-metal materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or carbon fibre, does not tend to withstand the same level of force as a steel toe boot, but they are more lightweight and are well suited to those working in an electrical environment.

Be comfortable

One of the most important requirements of safety work boots is that they’re comfortable! As with any purchase, if it’s something that you will be getting heavy and regular use out of, make sure you are happy with the quality. 

safety trainers

Work boots with a cushioned insole or breathable lining will help you be more comfortable over long periods of standing or walking. If you will be wearing these boots 5 days a week, buy something comfortable and perhaps consider spending a little extra to ensure you have the best quality of comfort. 

Never buy second-hand boots

Never buy second-hand safety boots. When buying safety boots make sure they are brand new. You don’t know what events have happened to second-hand boots and they could have been previously damaged. Meaning that your safety could be in danger.

Further reading: 

Safety boots footwear abbreviations you need to know

Each safety aspect has its own code, and to make it easier for you, we have decrypted the codes to help you work out what you need for your line of work. It is easy to understand as each boot will have a rating feature which then can have additional features added to it depending on how high quality the boot is. For example, an S3 safety boot has the following rating features: A + FO + E + WRU + P. According to the definitions of the features below, this would mean that an S3 safety footwear is or has:

  • Antistatic (A)
  • Resistance to fuel oil from outside (FO)
  • Energy absorption of heel region (E)
  • Water resistance upper (WRU)
  • Penetration resistance (P)

Here is the full list of safety boots ratings:

SB (Safety Basic)

This is the most basic safety boot; these boots have toe protection against 200-joule impact. Most boots have additional features added to them, and this will be shown with extra codes added.


In addition to the 200-joule toe protection toe cap, it is resistant to fuel oil outside and it is also energy absorption in the heel area.


The S2 safety rating has all the features of S1 with the addition of a water-resistant upper. It also has the added feature of an SB with 200-joule toe protection.


S3 boots have the 200-joule toe cap with the added features of an S2 boot, however with the addition of penetration resistance. This can be either a stainless steel or aluminium insert in the sole or Kevlar sole.


This type of boot has the same properties as S1, yet with the addition of a fully waterproof safety boot.


This is the best type of basic rating you can get; any other feature will be added to this rating. It is the same as the S4 boot, with the addition of penetration resistance. This can be either a stainless steel or aluminium insert in the sole or Kevlar sole.


Sometimes, additional letters can be added to a safety boot rating to account for additional features to the boot. For example, an SB-P offers standard safety boot protection, as well as penetration resistance. 

Here are the definitions of all of the additional letters that can be added to the descriptions:

Rating features

A – Antistatic footwear

C – Cut resistance of upper

CI – Cold insulation of sole complex

E – Energy absorption of the heel region

FO – Resistance to fuel oil from outside

HI- Heat insulation of sole complex

HRO – Resistance to hot contact of the outsole

M – Metatarsal protection

P – Penetration resistance

WR – Water resistance

WRU – Water resistance upper

Safety boots Video

Now you know all the codes and best practices, it’s time to choose the best protective footwear for your needs. Our range of S3 safety boots is available in a variety of features and styles to accommodate different job types and industries.

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