Having the proper safety work boots is crucial for your well-being, performance and actually lays the foundation for the safety at work. This is why choosing the proper safety toe boots or other protective footwear should be done carefully and with the specific risks at your workplace I mind.
Aluminum safety toes are also known as alloy toes. Other alloy toes are titanium ones. The alloy toes are just as strong as the most popular steel toes, but are much lighter because aluminum, titanium and other alloys used are much lighter than steel. The main benefits of the aluminum safety toe caps is that they are about 30-50% lighter than the steel ones, and are slightly thinner than the steel caps, so there is more space in the toe box.
The disadvantages of aluminum and other alloy toes are that they are usually more expensive than steel toes. Also, just like steel toes, they set off metal detectors, so if you have one of those at your work place, this could be an inconvenience, and composite toes should be used instead.
The steel safety toe caps are the oldest and most popular type of safety toe cap. Made out of heavy duty steel, these caps are placed in the toe boxes for protection against falling and rolling heavy objects and machinery. Overall, the advantages are that they provide maximum protection from heavy falling objects. Also, they are not as expensive as the alloy or composite safety toes. You can check our composite vs steel toes comparison here.
On the other hand, steel caps are heavier than the other safety toe caps on the market. They are thicker and thus the toe box has less space, which can be uncomfortable. However, there are some gems out there that are both safe and comfortable for your day job check our article with hand picked options for the most comfortable steel toe working boots. Also, just like aluminum caps, these steel toes set off metal detectors as well.
Aluminum toe vs Steel toe: How to pick the right boots for you?
In case your employer doesn’t have specific requirements for the brand and type of work safety boot to get, you should keep the following in mind when picking the best safety toe cap work boots:
- What are the actual risks at your workplace? Is there a danger of falling or rolling heavy machinery and objects? Is there a danger of kicking something heavy and crushing your toes? Is there an electrical or slippage hazard, and so on. If there is a danger of heavy objects crushing your toes, then the most sensible choice is to get steel toe safety boots. Steel is the thickest and most resistant safety toe, so you will get maximum protection. If the objects which can fall are not as heavy, you can pick the lighter aluminum toes or composite toes for your work boots.
- Do you spend a lot of time standing and walking on your job? If you need to walk and climb a lot at your work place, then choosing a lighter variant is crucial, so that you don’t end up with fatigued and sore feet and legs in the middle of the day. This means, you should get composite or alloy safety toe shoes, which are much lighter than the steel option.
- Is your workplace extremely hot or cold? If this is the case, composite toes are the best option, because they do not conduct heat or coolness as much as the metal safety toe caps, and this will keep your feet more comfortable during work.
- Do you need to pass through metal detectors at your work place? Both steel and aluminum safety toes set off metal detector alarms, so in case this is an inconvenience to you, you should choose the composite safety toe variant.
- Do you need other protection? You should keep in mind the other work hazards when you are looking for the best safety footwear. You should consider purchasing boots with safety caps, but you may also need metatarsal guards, electric hazard protection, slippage protection, water resistance, oil resistance and many other safety features as well.
Overall, apart from the abovementioned, the budget you have planned as well as your comfort are crucial as well. You don’t want to buy work boots which are so uncomfortable that it is impossible to work normally. Plus, you don’t want to buy safety toe shoes which last for only a couple of months.
This is why you should think about buying your safety toe shoes as a long term investment. Also, think about the hours and hours you will be spending in them, and then consider which work safety boots are worth buying.