Footwear Guide - get the right safety shoes for you
26 May 2023
Clair Weston from uvex explains what to look for when procuring safety footwear for those who spend most of the working day on their feet .
FAILING TO look after the feet can cause difficulties throughout the body. Without suitable footwear, workers who spend all day standing or walking on hard surfaces can face a broad range of ailments.
Standing for extended periods increases the risk of issues ranging from varicose veins to bunions and plantar fasciitis to high blood pressure and poor circulation. Hard surfaces, meanwhile, can cause shock with every step, requiring the feet, ankles and calf muscles to work hard to support the rest of the body. This can lead to discomfort in the feet, legs, hips, back, neck and shoulders.
From fit and comfort to performance and style, here are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when deciding which safety footwear to purchase.
Properly fitting footwear can make a significant difference to comfort, concentration levels and the avoidance of accidents. Footwear should not push on toes or make them curl or feel squashed. A wide-toe box is essential. Features such as adaptive fit insoles that increase or decrease the space within the footwear and align your feet in a healthy position can create a customised fit for enhanced comfort.
Men and women have different shaped feet. Women generally have a smaller achillies tendon, lighter bone weight, with softer and more flexible joints. These physiological differences should be translated to differences in footwear design, particularly with safety footwear. Simply reducing the male product size for females is not sufficient, therefore, they should be designed using a special last.
Ergonomically designed footwear that can flex and roll the way your foot does naturally, and bend where your toes bend, can help reduce early onset fatigue, ensuring the wearer can remain vigilant and concentrate on the job.
Footwear with good shock absorption and cushioning can also help support the musculoskeletal system by reducing the strain walking can put on the body. As your feet hit the ground, kinetic energy is transferred to the body which can lead to painful feet, joints and soft tissue after prolonged periods and is often associated with lower back pain. If you are on your feet all day, opt for footwear with a dual-density PU anti-fatigue, flexible sole that offers optimum slip resistance, exceptional shock absorption in the heel and forefoot, and good arch support.
Lightweight materials that offer temperature regulation and sweat management also play an essential role in ensuring footwear remains comfortable and hygienic throughout the working day.
The design and quality of materials appropriate for the intended environment of use all have a bearing on the wearer's experience in terms of comfort, slip-resistance, protection and durability. For instance, a non-metallic construction can provide superior protection while promoting the natural and flexible movement of the foot.
Safety footwear must also be durable to provide reliable, long-lasting protection. Look for high-quality materials and features that ensure longevity, such as scuff caps to help protect the upper material.
Footwear that combines high performance and comfort with sport- and fashion–inspired style – can easily transition between work and leisure. This can boost worker wellbeing by making wearers look and feel good and, in turn, significantly improve compliance. Wearer-friendly features can also help. For example, elastic 'speed' laces that allow the shoes to be individually and quickly adjusted, slipped on or off, or a pull tab for an easy on-off fit.
The new uvex 1 trainer has been created to tick every box. Designed for those who spend most of their working day on their feet, the uvex 1 trainer provides comfort, support, cushioning, flexibility of the sole, and high levels of slip resistance. The breathable, lightweight materials match the feel of a sports trainer, while its modern look is straight from the high street.
The metal-free toecap is anatomically shaped to promote a biologically normal structure and function while offering good lateral stability and no thermal conductivity. It also features a metal-free, highly flexible, penetration-resistant midsole and meets the ESD specification with volume resistance under 35 megaohm.
For those operating in workplaces that require you to be on your feet all day, such as manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, it is essential to choose footwear that delivers on support, comfort and protection while encouraging compliance.
The uvex 1 trainer is an innovative new option that combines strong PPE functionality with the fit, comfort and style of leisure footwear to ensure wearers feel and look their best whether they're at work or off the clock.
For more information, visit www.uvex-safety.co.uk