Providing the toughest and safest gear since 1979

Safety Footwear

In UK law, if you are working in potentially dangerous environments, you need to wear Safety Boots.

  • Chapter1: Let's Start with This: Safety Boots vs Safety Shoes
  • Chapter2: Composite Toe Cap vs Steel Toe Cap
  • Chapter3: S1, S2, S3 Safety Shoes: Which is the best for your work?
  • Chapter4: What do Safety Footwear Abbreviations Mean?
  • Chapter5: Inspection & Maintenance

  • 📝 Chapter 1:
    Let's Start with This: Safety Boots vs Safety Shoes?

    This question looks simple yet many of our customers have come to us for advice.

    Boots cover not only the feet but also the ankles and sometimes even the lower leg, so have better weather protection to keep your feet warm and dry. They also offer higher ankle support, helping guard against ankle twists and sprains, as well as cuts, scrapes and bangs.

    If you work outdoors for long hours, a pair of high quality boots are ideal.

    Shoes cover and protect the feet and generally stay below the ankles. They are lightweight and not as heavy as safety boots, enabling you to move faster at work. Many safety shoes have a high level of protection such as midsole penetration resistance, heat resistance, antistatic protection and water penetration & absorption prevention

    📝 Chapter 2:
    Composite Toe Cap vs Steel Toe Cap

    SIMILARITY: Are composite toe caps as safe as steel? Both will have the same safety footwear standards across the board and so either is suitable for general work. You will not compromise on safety on job site. 

    DIFFERENCE: While they both can meet the EN safety regulation basic requirements of toe protection, composite toe cap footwear is not able to withstand the same level of impact as a steel toe boot. It means steel toe cap footwear offers a higher level of protection. Check the table below to find out their differences:

    Composite toe caps Steel toe caps
    Kevlar, carbon, plastic or fiberglass Steel
    30% Lighter Heavier
    Less puncture resistance High puncture resistance
    More expensive Cheaper
    More comfortable & breathable Less comfortable & breathable
    Do not set off metal detectors Set off metal detectors
    Do not conduct heat or cold Conduct heat or cold


    So, you will need to choose composite toe footwear if you

    • pass through metal detectors frequently
    • work in extreme temperatures (encounter cold/heat)
    • work around electricity without the need of utmost toe protection, e.g. electricians and engineers.

    But, steel toe footwear will be better for you if you

    • work with heavy objects and carry them around, e.g. warehousing jobs
    • have a higher risk of injury to toes or feet, e.g. heavy items stored overhead

    📝 Chapter 3:
    S1, S2, S3 Safety Shoes: Which is the best for your work?

    How to choose the right safety rating for your work boots and shoes? Let's skip lengthy explanation and start with this easy-to-read table.

    EN ISO 20345:2011  SB S1 S2 S3 S4 S5
    Basic Protection:
    (Toe protection, Slip resistance, Outsole strength, Upper tensile Strength etc)
    Antistatic properties
    Resistance to fuel oil
    Energy absorption of seat region (in heel)
    Closed seat region (fully enclosed heel)
    Water penetration & absorption prevention
    Midsole penetration resistance
    Cleated Outsole
    Waterproofness & leakproofness

    • Basic toe protection: Offer protection against a 200-joule impact & 15kN compression force
    • Antistatic protection: Prevent electrostatic build-up and ensure it is discharged effectively. This is essential to eliminate the risk of electric shock from electrical equipment or live parts as well as that posed by sparks igniting flammable substances or vapours.
    • Resistance to fuel oil: Ensure the working life of the boot won't be compromised if used in oily environments.
    • Energy absorption in the heel: Prevent injuries that occur through impact loading to the foot in daily activities such as jumping, running or and even walking.
    • Fully-enclosed heel: The seat region (heel) is enclosed meaning no holes other than to form seams.
    • Water penetration & absorption prevention: Keep you dry.
    • Midsole penetration resistance: Guard against nails and other sharp objects, preventing them from piercing through the sole
    • Cleated Outsole (protrusions on the sole): Provide additional traction on a soft or slippery surface
    • Waterproofness & leakproofness: Made out of a vinyl or rubber based material, not letting any water in and out such as wellington boots 

    Here are what our customer top picks


    SB Footwear


    S2 Footwear


    S3 Footwear

    Lightweight & Breathable

    S4 Footwear


    S5 Footwear

    📝 Chapter 4:
    What do Safety Footwear Abbreviations Mean?

    SRA slip resistant soles: Tested on a ceramic tile wetted with dilute soap solution. SRC slip resistant soles: Offer the highest slip resistance protection as they pass both SRA and SRB slip resistance tests.
    P: Midsole Penetration Protection (Resist penetration force of 1100N) WR: Water Resistance
    C: Conductive M: Metatarsal Protection 
    A: Antistatic Protection AN: Ankle Protection
    I: Electricity Insulating Footwear CR: Cut Resistant Upper
    E: Energy Absorption in the heel region WRU: Water Resistant Upper
    HI: Insulation Against Heat (Tested for 30 minutes at 150°C) HRO: Heat Resistant Outsole (Resist 300°C for 60 seconds)
    CI: Insulation Against Cold (Tested for 30 minutes at -20°C) FO: Fuel Oil-Resistant Outsole


    Now, you should understand how protective a pair of safety shoes is by looking at their ratings. For example, if you see a shoe is rated as below, it means it offers all-round protection of the highest safety level (i.e. S5), together with great insulation against the cold (i.e. CI) and highest slip resistance protection (i.e. SRC). 

      EN ISO 20345:2011 S5 CI CR SRC  

    📝 Chapter 5:
    How to Do Shoe Care?

    Even the toughest and the most expensive footwear experience wear and tear. But without proper care, this can be even faster and worse. We want to provide you with shoe care tips so that you can enjoy a safe pair of shoes/boots from MTN SHOP for as long as possible.

    ✓ Use two different pairs: Allow one pair to rest and release moisture before they are put to work, extending the life span of both pairs.
    Maintain clean workspace: Check to see whether you can keep your workspace clean and free from additional dangers because clean workspace = clean shoes
    Dry shoes properly: Loosen the tongue and the laces. Remove the insole and stuff the shoe with newspaper.
    ✓ Use shoe wax or cream: Prevent dirts from sticking
    ✓ Store shoes safely: Place your shoes in a box or shoe bag but not a plastic bag because it provides the perfect conditions for mould to form
    ✘ Do not machine wash: This can destroy the outer materials and safety features.
    ✘ Do not make changes to your shoes: Using any foreign parts such as insoles can quickly lose their protective properties if unsuitable parts are used.
    Do not dry shoes in the sun or using a heat source: This makes leather quickly turn hard and brittle.