Safety boots are shoes made with a protective reinforcement at the front making them quite durable. The reinforcement help protect the toes from falling objects or any kind of compression. They are normally installed with a sole plate in the main sole to prevent against punctures that may come from below. The reinforcement is normally made of steel hence they are sometimes known as steel toe cap boots.
These boots were invented at the end of World War II in Germany. These were originally meant for workers to help protect themselves as they worked. Before these boots were invented, workers used to wear leather boots or wooden clogs. Currently however several other users including civilians and the military personnel use these boots.
The history of the safety boots can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century at a time when people started addressing industrial safety issues. During this time the laws on compensation were enacted. Before this period, replacing an injured worker was cheaper and faster than introducing safety measures. Liability costs however made many large companies to start focusing on having equipment that is safer to use than before. In the 1930s, Red Wing Shoes Company started dealing in steel-toe boots. Germany marching boots that were used by the officers who were not commissioned in the World War II were also reinforced using metal toecaps.
The U.S Congress in 1970 enacted an Act that was aimed at ensuring that workers operated in a safe environment called Occupational Safety and Health Act. An administration was created to ensure that workplace safety standards were enforced. These standards included those that required the use of footwear that is protective in places that posed the threat of foot injuries. Safety footwear these days is a mandatory requirement in many industries like the construction and mining industries.
Various subcultures have adopted the use of the safety boots. These shoes were very dangerous when it came to fights because of their sturdiness and also due to the steel toe. During the 1960s several work boots and a variety of steel toe footwear particularly Grinders and Dr. Martens were popular among the Skinheads. The same trend was carried on to the 1980s and 1990s by the Riverhead and the Punk subcultures.
The safety boots have continued to develop to reflect the current fashions, unlike many other protective gadgets. The customers’ expectations keep changing hence the manufacturers are forced to produce such boots in a variety of styles. Despite steel being the main material used for making reinforcement, other composite materials or even plastic may be used for the same purpose. The popularity of the safety boots is bound continues into the future due to the importance they have to various industries.
Safety footwear these days come in different styles like clogs and sneakers. Some are meant for formal purposes while engineers who work in sites that require protective footwear use others. Due to the popularity of safety boots, other brands, which mainly featured in the fashion business, have diversified to target safety footwear industry.