In the past, workers requiring protection for their feet on the job had limited choices that met ANSI and OSHA requirements. Today, in addition to steel toed work boots, men and women can also opt to consider composite toe work boots.
While very similar in style and appearance on the outside, steel toed and composite toe boots are different. Steel toes, as the name implies, are made from steel caps inserted into the structure of the boot from the front of the footbed arching over the top and sizes of the toes to about the mid-foot range.
The material used in composite toe work boots is a mixture of different types of compounds that are slightly different based on the manufacturer. Most will have specific types of thermosetting plastics as well as carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar fibers. This provides a solid, durable protective cap for the toes that is actually as strong as steel.
Advantages of Composite Toe Boots
A big consideration for many with composite toe work boots is that the boots are prone to the heat and cold issue that can occur with the steel toed boots. Unlike steel, the composite material does not heat up or cool down like metal, which means less temperature change on the feet.
Depending on the specific combination of materials used the manufacturing of the composite material, these boots can be as much as one third lighter than steel toed boots of the same style.
Generally, the use of composite toe boots is considered a benefit when extremely heavy objects in the workplace are not a concern. They are also ideal if a workplace has a security system in place with a metal detector as they do not trigger the device like the steel toe does.