Employee safety is of the upmost importance. To ensure employee's foot safety, many jobs require personal protective footwear. There are two types of personal protective footwear that are can be used: steel toe shoes and composite shoes. Both types of shoes have advantages and disadvantages. One type of shoe may be preferred over the other dependent upon the type of work that is being conducted. "(See Reference 1)"
Steel Toe Shoes
Steel toe shoes are a type of safety shoe. The shoe has steel and/or various alloy materials in the toe area. This reinforces the toe area of the shoe making it strong. The strength is important when working in jobs where there are falling and tripping hazards. The materials that make up steel toe shoes are strong enough that not much material is used in producing the toe area of the shoe. This makes for a shoe that is heavy, yet sleek in design. Steel toe shoes are not the only type of safety shoe that can be used. "(See Reference 1)"
Composite Toe Shoes
Composite toe shoes are made from layers and layers of materials that closely mimic the nature of a steel toe shoe. Although the toe of the shoe consists of layers of material, the shoe is lightweight. These layers affect the look of the shoe as the toe area of composite toe shoes tend to be very round and pillow-like. The reason for the layers is that the materials are not as strong as steel, yet must be able to hold up as steel would. "(See Reference 1)"
Differences between Steel Toe and Composite Toe Shoes
There are a few differences between steel toe and composite toe shoes. Steel toe are much stronger, heavier and sleeker in style. Composite toe shoes are not as strong as steel toe shoes, lighter and bulkier in style. Steel toe shoes, upon impact, will protect a foot and can be used again. Composite toe shoes, upon impact, will initially protect a foot; however, they may not be able to be used again due to the stress caused to the materials used. Be wary, as after impact a composite shoe may not appear to have any damage. "(See Reference 1)"
The Perfect Shoe for the Job
As with other personal protective equipment, different types of safety shoes are used in different types of jobs. Those who work in trade occupations and those working with falling, rolling or piercing hazards should use personal protective footwear. Additionally, it may be required by OSHA or an employer. When working with electrical hazards, it must be decided if the steel toe shoe or composite shoe is safer to work in. "(See Reference 1 & 2)"