Tag Archive for: Polyurethane Soles

Steel Toe Caps

The Importance of Steel Toe Caps & Anti Slip Polyurethane Soles

Do Safety Boots Need Steel Toe Caps?

Steel toe caps and anti-slip polyurethane soles are two of the most important features in safety footwear. These features not only provide protection for the wearer but also offer additional safety benefits that are crucial in hazardous environments. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of steel toe caps and anti-slip polyurethane soles in safety footwear and why they are essential for industrial workers, construction workers, and anyone who works in potentially dangerous conditions.

Why Do I Need Steel Toe Caps?

Steel toe caps are a crucial element in safety footwear as they provide protection for the toes from heavy objects, sharp materials, and potential crushing accidents. The steel toe cap is designed to withstand impacts and pressure, preventing serious injuries such as fractures, cuts, and amputations. In high-risk environments such as construction sites, factories, and warehouses, steel toe caps are a necessity to protect workers from potential hazards.

In addition to protecting the toes, steel toe caps also provide stability and support for the feet, reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls. The rigid structure of the steel toe cap helps to maintain the shape of the shoe and prevents it from collapsing under pressure, keeping the foot secure and stable. This is crucial for workers who are constantly on their feet and moving around in challenging conditions.

Do Safety Boots Need Anti-slip polyurethane Soles?

Anti-slip polyurethane soles are another important feature in safety footwear that enhances the overall safety and performance of the shoe. These soles are designed to provide maximum traction and grip on slippery surfaces, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries caused by slips and falls. The anti-slip properties of polyurethane soles are particularly beneficial in wet or oily environments where the ground may be slick and hazardous.

The durable and flexible nature of polyurethane soles also offers a comfortable and supportive fit for the wearer. These soles are lightweight and shock-absorbing, reducing strain on the feet and legs during long periods of standing or walking. This is especially important for workers who are required to be on their feet for extended periods of time, as it helps to prevent fatigue and discomfort.

Long Lasting Steel Toe Caps

In addition to their protective and safety benefits, steel toe caps and anti-slip polyurethane soles are also highly durable and long-lasting, making them a cost-effective investment for employers and workers alike. Safety footwear with these features is designed to withstand the rigors of daily wear and tear in harsh working conditions, providing reliable protection and performance over an extended period of time.

Overall, steel toe caps and anti-slip polyurethane soles are essential features in safety footwear that offer crucial protection and safety benefits for workers in hazardous environments. These features help to prevent serious injuries, enhance stability and support, provide maximum traction and grip, and offer long-lasting durability and comfort. By investing in safety footwear with steel toe caps and anti-slip polyurethane soles, employers can ensure the well-being and safety of their workers, while workers can perform their duties confidently and securely in challenging conditions.

For a chat about your work forces safety boot requirements please give us a call on +27 11 892 8030 / 8031 / 8032 or drop an email to organise a call info@profitfootwear.co.za.

The Different Sole Compounds

It is a part of your safety shoe or safety boot that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Again, a critical component that needs understanding in order to make an informed decision prior to your purchase. All shoes have a sole, which is the bottom of a shoe, the part that comes into full contact with the ground.

Modern Soles can be made from a variety of materials, but most modern safety shoes have soles made from:

  • PU (Polyurethane)
  • TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)
  • Rubber soles

Prior to these compounds – during the 90’s – polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was popular. Today however, it is fairly rare and rather obsolete.

More than 90% of the safety footwear sold and purchased globally will be manufactured out of Polyurethane. Either single density or dual/double density. Dual density has become the global standard due to the fact it offers both a hard-wearing outsole (which takes the impact and pounding of the earth below) and a softer, more cushioned midsole. The midsole, being of a different shore hardness (Shore Hardness is a measure of the resistance a material has to indentation) allows spring and cushioning which provides comfort. Single density doesn’t have this best of both worlds scenario – so has to compromise on either the longevity of a hard wearing outsole or the comfort factor. This ends up either being very hard and inflexible… or not hard wearing enough.

Polyurethane Soles

Polyurethane injected soles in safety footwear; are intrinsically flexible, lightweight, antistatic, oil/acid/petrol & diesel resistant, slip resistant and has a heat resistance of around 90’ degrees to 110’ degrees (on better quality chemicals). Due to the massive quantities sold worldwide, it is the cheapest of the predominantly utilised compounds.

Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Thermoplastic Polyurethane soled product is more specialist; a little less flexible, very lightweight, oil/acid/petrol & diesel resistant, but slightly less slip resistant. It also carries a 90’ degree heat resistant but most importantly, it does have the impressive quality of being cut resistant. A nice feature. Due to its specialist nature – it does carry a price premium.

Rubber Soles

And that brings us to the heavy duty sole offering, which is Rubber. More expensive, heavier, but designed to take on the harshest work environments in construction, engineering and mining. It has a harder compound, offering a superior degree of both cut and puncture resistance, as well as resistance to some harsher chemicals. It also boasts a 300’ degree heat resistant outsole which also makes it non-conductive. Great for applications around both heat, extreme cold and electrical current.

At ProFit Safety Footwear we make use of a range of 5 different anti-static, dual density polyurethane soles – and 4 different heat-resistant and non-conductive rubber soles.

Contact the team today to get advice on the best sole for your purpose – info@profitfootwear.co.za or give us a call on +27 11 892 8030

Polyurethane Injected Soles and Hydrolysis

Our soles are made of PU (Polyurethane soles) in order to be anti-slip, anti-static and oil/acid resistant.

Because PU has organic origins, it is biodegradable over time.

In a society where increasing attention is being focused on protecting our fragile environment, many progressive companies are insisting that, as far as possible, consumables such as safety footwear conform to environmentally sound specifications. The process of biodegradation is slow, taking place over many years, ultimately rendering the polyurethane to a number of benign compounds.

However, to ensure the longevity of the footwear it needs to be stored in the correct conditions. If left in an unventilated area for between 12 and 24 months (or longer), the soles will go through a process called Hydrolysis in which the plasticizer (which makes the soles flexible) leaves the sole, and the soles becomes very soft, then brittle, and begin to crack and break into small pieces.

Hydrolysis is a double decomposition reaction, with water as one of the reactants. Simply put, the oxygen atom in water bonds with the carbon atom of the esters in the polyurethane. This carbon – oxygen bond is unstable, and eventually also breaks down, leading to the gradual disintegration of the polyurethane.

Hydrolysis in safety footwear only becomes a serious issue when four factors combine to create the ideal environment:

  • Water
  • Temperature
  • Darkness
  • Time

Therefore, lengthy storage (longer than two years) in a hot and humid climate is potentially the perfect catalyst for hydrolysis.

New polyurethane formulations and the addition of more sophisticated chemicals significantly retard the process of hydrolysis, but following a few simple steps can almost eliminate it entirely:

  • Rotate stock frequently on a first in, first out basis. Do not keep polyurethane soled footwear on the shelf for longer than a year.
  • Be aware of the climate in which the footwear will be worn.
  • Encourage the wearer to properly aerate the footwear after use.
  • Do not wear polyurethane soled footwear where gumboots would be more suitable.

The effects of Hydrolysis cannot be seen as a fault, but simply a characteristic of the compounds used to create the soles.

However, if warn regularly and the shoes are then in fresh air, warmth and sunlight the product will not experience this process. In fact, the shoes should then last for many years. Boots of 4 to 5 years old are quite commonly seen in good condition when maintained and polished regularly.

We have printed the warning regarding Hydrolysis on the fabric insert inside the box, to make end users aware of it.

Contact the team today to get advice on the perfect fitting safety shoe – info@profitfootwear.co.za or give us a call on +27 11 892 8030