Safety Boots – The Evolution and Construction of Safety Footwear

Many peoples across the world go bare foot every day, particularly those in warmer climates. As early man colonized more temperate and extreme climates the need for ‘footwear’ has driven men to devise many ways to cover and protect the foot. Evolution began with the simple sandal 7000 years BC and quickly evolved to provide protection and warmth for the foot and the leg.

The making of shoes became a specialized skill and shoemakers or cordwainers, cobblers are those who only repair shoes, produced a range of footwear items using many techniques.

During the 17th century the method that became the most popular, and remains so today, takes the ‘sole’ of a shoe, made of a tough material and the ‘upper’, a softer material, and stitches them together on a ‘last’. This is a metal or wooden foot shaped mould that the shoemaker would use to assemble the shoe. Until the early 18th century shoes were made without differentiation for the left or right foot, after this ‘lasts’ were made for each foot.

The Parts of Modern Footwear

The Outsole

The outsole is the layer in direct contact with the ground and be made of rubber or synthetic materials like Polyurethane. The outsole may be made as a single piece, constructed from separate pieces of materials with different properties. The majority of work boots have a dual density construction, normally two different types of material. The outer material is the tougher hardwearing layer while the inner is softer to provide cushioning along the entire foot bed.

The Insole

The insole is the interior bottom of a boot, which sits directly beneath the foot under the foot bed, known as the sock liner. The insole is attached to the ‘lasting’ margin of the upper, which is wrapped around the ‘last’ during the closing of the boot during the final assembly. The insoles are made from a type of paper board or synthetic board. Many boots have removable and replaceable foot beds so adjustments can be made for the wearer who requires additional support to help deal with defects in the natural shape of the foot or positioning of the foot during standing or walking.

Extra cushioning elements can be added to improve comfort or deal with moisture, shoe odours or for other health reasons. fake jordan shoes


The midsole layer sits between the outsole and the insole and is added for shock absorption. Some types of sport shoe add other materials to the heel area for additional shock absorption. Different companies can make use of several different materials for the midsoles, some boots may not have a midsole at all.

Protective Midsole

The protective midsole protects the underneath of the foot from sharp objects in the workplace. The protective insert is added to the midsole area of the boot, and was traditionally made from a shaped piece of steel. Today thanks to the advances in material technology many boots have a Kevlar protective midsole.

Protective Toe Cap

For a number of decades the protective toe cap of safety boots was constructed from steel. Today composite or non-metal toe caps have become increasingly popular due to their light weight, and are less prone to temperature variations. Temperature variations in steel toe caps can cause internal condensation making the inside of the boot damp and can cause blisters or foot sores.

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