In many work environments, employees tend to be in a vulnerable position while doing their tasks. People involved with heavy industries such as chemicals, metal, and other places where they work around heavy objects and challenging environments can relate to that. That’s why it’s very important to wear safety toe boots in such workplaces. Metal toe and allow toe shoes have been there for quite a while, but they don’t offer superior protection like composite toe boots. Before we head on to the benefits of these shoes, let’s discuss what is composite toe first.
Composite toes are OSHA and ASTM-approved toe caps that offer better protection. These are among the non-metallic toe caps that are very light and comfortable. The name composite comes from the composition of the toe cap, which uses various materials such as fiberglass, Kevlar, etc. The materials are tough; hence they are better than steel toes.
What is the name ‘composite toe’?
We have mentioned that composite toes include many materials that make them harder and more durable than others. That by any chance, do not harm your toes from work-related injuries, such as falling heavy objects, or rolling heavy weight over your feet. But what makes them so strong? Let’s look at the materials so that we can understand what are composite toe boots.
- Aramid fiber – This material has its use in making space voyages and ballistic-military synthetic fiber. The molecules in this have a chain-like formation, which has a hexagonal aromatic chain as the base component. As they are based on carbon, they offer excellent electric current resistance and are also non-combustible. They do not have a melting point, too. Aramid fiber has better abrasion resistance than carbon.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass forms when we melt glass at a very high temperature and convert it into fibers. By that, the material acquires decent elasticity and becomes strong. Still, we cannot use them in composites as they are brittle; so, the manufacturers mix them with plastic to make fiber-reinforced plastic.
- Kevlar – It is important to understand Kevlar in order to know more about what is composite toe. It is also a special form of aramid that makes them one of the most durable materials on the planet. Kevlar is five times stronger than steel; but also five times lighter. The most use we find of Kevlar is in making of military equipment such as bulletproof vests, armors, tires, grenades, and others. That makes Kevlar eligible for making ASTM safety toe boots.
- Carbon fiber – Carbon fiber is a very hard material, and thus, they are one of the primary materials for making composite toes. Some other good things about them are that you can make them thinner and lighter, yet they show extremely high strength and durability. On the other side, they are flammable, and they conduct electricity pretty well. For that, manufacturers mix it with other materials for making composite toe caps.
- Plastic – Plastic is a carbon-based material, which also has the hexagonal aromatic benzene structure at the molecular level. In that matter, they have the same structure as aramid, fiberglass, and Kevlar. Plastic is a bad conductor of electricity, but it is highly flammable. For that reason, they need mixing up with other materials to make them stronger and eliminate heat and electricity conductivity.
Are the composite toe boots OSHA approved?
OSHA is a known term when the matter of safety at workplaces comes to play. OSHA stands as the abbreviation of Occupational Safety and Health hazards. Their job is to regulate and observe safety standards at places, especially in industries and construction. Shoes and safety gear come under the PPE section (personal protective equipment), which strictly regulates the types of footwear.
Under OSHA’s regulation, safety personnel from the company or a third-party inspecting team determines the type of work and the potential health hazards to recommend shoes that are standard. The authority requires the employees to wear shoes that comply with their standards; unless they can sue the company or extract a fine.
In regard to the employees’ safety and the company’s reputation, most composite toe shoes are OSHA and ANSI approved; however, some cheap alternatives are not. So, it’s better to go with a higher-quality variant.
How strong can composite toe caps be?
We saw that many durable materials make up the toe cap in the “What is composite toe” section. Mixing with a number of other materials makes the toe cap commendably stronger. Composite toe shoemakers need to run some tests in order to be sure that their products comply with the standards. There are two standards from ASTM International, which consist of ASTM2412 and ASTM2413. The first specifies an impact and compression test, while the latter specifies the conditions of it.
The impact test monitors the situation when a heavy object falls on the toe cap portion of the boots. It determines how much impact can the toe caps take in.
The compression test testifies to the effect of something heavy rolling over the boots. Heavy, rolling objects can also deal a lot of damage; the toe caps need to take care of that.
In the test, the composite toe caps can withstand 200joules of impact with no scratches and damages.
The toe caps pass the second test without a slight sign of damage after a 4.5ton truck running over them.
This testifies to the tremendous durability that composite toes possess.
Benefits of composite toes:
- They are 30% lighter than others. In fact, they’re the lightest of them all.
- These shoes are comfortable to wear.
- They pass off metal detectors.
- Composite materials provide better insulation, which makes working in extremely cold temperatures easier.
- They also give the best protection from pressure and impact.
- These toe caps are made of non-conductive materials. That implies excellent protection from electrical hazards.
- The toe caps go through ASTM and OSHA certifications, which testifies that the material is very hard and unbreakable.
In this article, we learned about what is composite toe and why they’re the best in terms of safety; it indicates that having composite footwear is essential.