What Are Composite Toe Work Boots?
Composite toe work boots are safety boots that provide workers with the same level of protection as steel toe work boots without the extra weight, discomfort, and electric conductivity that steel is infamous for.
Composite toes are made of materials that are 30% lighter than safety steel toes, making them an excellent choice for some workers.
Wearing work boots that are too heavy for you strains your muscles and ligaments and causes fatigue.
Do you know what the hardest part of construction work is?
Don’t be hard on your feet by wearing the wrong boots for your job. Instead, take a look at these benefits of wearing composite toes.
Through this article, you’ll discover:
Our editorial gang at MyBestWorkBoots strives to bring you the hottest industry developments.
That’s why we’ve done hardcore research to bring this comprehensive guide to composite toe work boots.
Let’s get started.
What’s a Composite Toe Cap?
A composite toe cap is a non-metallic protective toe cap in a safety boot that offers the wearer protection from various workplace hazards, like rolling or falling objects.
These toe caps are even harder than steel toe caps and have no potential to cause any injury to your toes.
What Are Composite Toe Caps Made Of?
Composite toe caps are made of various materials such as aramid, fiberglass, kevlar, carbon fiber, and plastic.
Aramid is a material largely employed in spacecraft production and ballistic military synthetic fiber.
It has no melting point and has a high heat resistance and is non-flammable.
It is also electric current resistant1.
It’s even more resistant to solvents and abrasion than carbon.
Fiberglass2 is created when glass is heated into very thin fibers.
They have a lot of flexibility and are rather sturdy.
However, because fiberglass is brittle, it cannot be used alone to make safety toes.
To manufacture fiber-reinforced plastic, fiberglass is combined with plastic.
Kevlar is an aramid fiber that’s five times lighter than steel, as well as five times stronger.
They are also utilized in manufacturing military equipment such as grenades, tires, and bulletproof jackets.
Carbon fiber3 is extremely tough and can be made thinner, tougher, and lighter than anything else.
Carbon has tremendous bonding potential; don’t forget that diamond is the toughest naturally occurring substance.
Carbon fiber conducts electricity, is highly combustible, and melts at high temperatures.
As a result, carbon fiber is combined with other materials to create composite toe caps.
Plastic is carbon-based4 and has the same hexagonal aromatic benzene structure as aramid, kevlar, and fiberglass.
They don’t conduct electricity but are combustible.
As a result, they must be blended with other materials for creating composite toe caps.
What Are Composite Toe Work Boots Used For?
Composite toe work boots are used for work in high-risk areas.
They can shield you from high-impact risks and lower your chances of having your toes amputated.
Because these boots do not provide insulation or water resistance, they are best suited for use on dry land, such as farms or construction sites.
Pros of Composite Toe Work Boots
The pros of composite toe work boots are:
- Electric and heat resistance.
- Lightweight, thus less fatigue.
- Safety standard compliance.
- Metal detectors
Let’s take a closer look at these.
Electric & Heat Resistance
Composite toe work boots are electric and heat resistant because there are no metallic substances present,
These boots are comprised of a non-conductive plastic substance that will not hurt you.
Wearing them will keep your feet safe if exposed to high voltage.
Because they don’t conduct heat, they can be worn even on hot summer days.
Lightweight, Thus Less Fatigue
Composite toe work boots are lightweight materials that reduce fatigue levels because there is as little strain on the wearer’s legs as possible.
These boots are significantly lighter than traditional construction work boots composed of leather and steel.
They are ideal for people who must work for long periods.
They are beneficial for those who have previously worn heavy construction boots too.
Safety Standard Compliance
Composite toe work boots comply with the required safety standards in various trades.
They are specifically built for high-risk areas and provide the same level of protection as steel-capped footwear.
They reduce the risk of injury from accidental falls or impacts with hard items that could induce a fall if you’re not wearing protective footwear.
Composite toes work boots are high in durability; they must be to give adequate support for your feet and toes.
Composite toe work boots have a lower price than many other safety boots available.
As a result, they may not be as effective as safety boots constructed of more expensive silica or polymer materials.
If you want safety and durability on a budget, these work boots are the ones for you.
Composite toe work boots do not trigger metal detectors, which is great for anyone looking to avoid that annoying bleeping that happens from time to time!
Cons of Composite Toe work Boots
The cons of composite toe work boots are their:
- Lack of water resistance
- Unsuitability for wide feet
Let’s delve into these a bit more
Durability is not the strongest feature of composite toe work boots.
Though they have a sufficient level of durability, they are not as durable as steel toe safety boots.
You should frequently replace your composite toe work boots, especially if you wear them every day.
Working in these boots often can cause them to be damaged by frequent rubbing of the upper section of the boot against rough terrain or other items.
Lack of Water Resistance
Composite toe work boots lack the water resistance of steel toe safety boots, but they are significantly more appropriate for warmer weather.
Work Boots are not intended for use in wet circumstances.
If you must labor in rainy conditions, you should wear different footwear.
Ventilation is a con of composite toe work boots because the upper half of the boot is less permeable to air movement than leather boots, for instance.
Your feet will sweat profusely if you wear them on a hot summer day; however, sweating can be averted by wearing appropriate socks.
Your feet will feel warmer in composite toe work boots than in safety boots made of suede or nubuck.
Chafing is another con of composite toe work boots, your feet brush against the surface of the hard plastic substance used in the upper half of the boot, causing irritation and damage to your skin.
These boots provide superior protection at the expense of increased pressure against your skin.
As a result
Composite toe work boots put a strain on your feet with each step.
You can avoid getting blisters by wearing these boots with protective socks.
For this reason, composite toe work boots are not as comfortable as leather work boots.
Unsuitability for Wide Feet
Composite toe work boots are unsuitable for people with wide feet since they are excessively tight and can restrict circulation in your ankles.
You may also struggle to get your toes into the small toe box.
You can improve the fit of the boots by using a larger size or experimenting with alternative approaches.
To avoid the discomfort of wearing these boots if you have wide feet, try to use larger shoe sizes and socks created specifically for work boots.
Factors That Make Composite Toe Work Boots Different From Other Work Boots
Factors that make composite toe work boots different from other work boots are material, features, uses, history, and comparison.
Let’s unpack these factors.
The material used to construct composite toe work boots is often leather, especially the top sections.
There is usually a thick plastic base of various compositions depending on the manufacturers’ taste, which typically incorporates EVA foam material and nylon or polyester fillers for extra cushioning at the forefoot of the boot.
Composite toe boots often have a steel or aluminum inner plate that serves as the toe cap.
This feature protects the toes from impact, but also keeps the feet warmer because air circulation around the foot is not restricted.
The outsole of composite toe boots is often constructed of rubber material to give better traction in slick weather.
Composite toe work boots are typically used by persons who work in fields or warehouses where there is a risk of high-impact damage to their feet.
Still, they are also extensively used because of their low cost compared to other safety features such as steel toe-capped footwear.
Composite toe boots are relatively new compared to other forms of safety footwear, but they are gaining popularity due to their lower cost compared to other safety elements.
Composite toe boots are less expensive than steel toe boots5; however, they do not provide the same amount of protection.
They are intended for high-impact scenarios, yet the air movement around the foot also keeps the feet warm.
Their longevity is called into doubt when there is continual rubbing between the upper material and the base of composite toe footwear, which is why they are designed for less demanding job conditions.
Steel toe work boots, on the other hand, are still the favored choice in high-risk and demanding work conditions.
What Are Other Toe Protection Options Available?
The other toe protection options available are steel toe and alloy toe.
Let’s get into them.
Steel toe protective caps are what’s available in steel toe work boots.
Steel toe work boots are practically synonymous with work boots, and they’ve been around for a long time.
Steel provides workers in hazardous jobs with a dependable way to keep their feet safe.
However, steel is not the lightest material available, and it is not a viable option in some jobs.
Alloy toe protective caps are lightweight metals like military-grade aluminum, titanium, or other metals.
They can be anywhere from 30-50% lighter than steel.
Alloy toe caps are more resistant to impact than composite alternatives.
They are, however, more expensive than composite and steel toe work boots.
Comparison Between Composite vs. Steel vs. Alloy Toes
We’ve made a comparison between composite, steel, and alloy toes for your benefit.
We compared the following features of composite, steel, and alloy toes:
- Metal detectors
- Toe box
- Electrical resistance
- Puncture protection
- Extreme temperatures
Let’s unpack these further.
Composite toe caps are made of non-metal materials.
Steel toe caps are clearly made of steel.
Alloy toe caps are made of thinner metals.
Composite toes are the lightest in weight.
Steel toes are the heaviest.
Alloy toes are 30-50% lighter than steel toes.
Composite toes don’t set off metal detectors.
Steel toes do set off metal detectors.
Alloy toes set off metal detectors as well.
Composite toes offer the most toe box room.
Steel toes offer less room in the toe box.
Alloy toes offer more toe box space than steel toe caps.
Composite toes offer electric resistance.
Steel toes don’t offer any electric resistance.
Alloy toes are less conductive than steel.
Composite toes provide insulation in the cold.
Steel toes offer no insulation from the cold at all.
Alloy toes offer poorer insulation than composite toes.
Composite toes offer average puncture protection.
Steel toes offer excellent puncture protection.
Alloy toes’ puncture protection level is less than that of steel toes.
Composite toes are the best boots for extremes of temperature.
Steel toes offer no protection in extreme temperatures.
Alloy toes offer average comfort in extreme temperatures.
Types of Composite Toe Work Boots
The types of composite toe work boots are tall, ralf, rubber toe, and half work boots.
Let’s examine these.
Tall Work Boot
Tall work boots are popular among mechanics and heavy equipment operators who require more ankle support but less ankle protection.
Ralf Work Boot
Ralf work boots are available in a wide toe and standard widths and full-length composite toe boots that cover the entire foot, providing additional ankle support and impact protection.
Rubber Toe Work Boot
Rubber toe work boots provide good ankle support and a non-slip alternative to steel toe boots in critical safety locations.
These boots offer added comfort and flexibility.
They also offer additional padding at the collar for comfort.
Half Work Boot
A half work boot combines the features of a standard full-length composite toe boot and a rubber-toed work boot, providing high levels of ankle support and arch cushioning for total comfort.
Are Composite Toe Boots OSHA Approved?
While most composite toe boots are OSHA-approved, the less expensive ones are not.
OSHA6 – Occupational Safety and Health Administration – recommends that a company’s safety personnel or a consultant conduct an assessment to determine the need for types of footwear that employees should wear.
OSHA requires employees to wear only footwear that complies with their standards and fines those who do not.
How Strong Are Composite Toes?
Composite toes are very strong; they are made of solid materials that make the boot stronger than the sum of its parts.
The strength of composite toe work boots can be assessed by examining their ability to withstand impact and compression.
Composite Toe Impact & Compression
Composite toes are tested for impact and compression according to the ASTM – American Society for Testing and Materials – F2413 standard.
The ASTM F2412 standard specifies the following tests and methods for impact and compression:
Impact evaluation: It is concerned with the effect of something very heavy falling on your boots.
Compression examination: It is concerned with the effect of something very heavy rolling on your boots.
As a result
In ASTM-tested boots, the toe cap will provide the same level of protection regardless of whether it’s made of steel or composite.
You’ll be glad to know that composite toe caps effectively pass both tests.
How Much Weight Can Composite Toes Hold?
Composite toes can hold up to 1.1 metric tons of weight.
Composite toes can support the same weight as steel toes.
A 4.5t forklift truck ran over a composite safety toecap without the boot incurring deformity!
This shows how strong composite toes are and that they can withstand a great deal of weight while also being a great savior for your toes.
If it can handle a truck like that, it can also handle heavy loads on your construction site or another similarly dangerous workplace.
Does Composite Toe Bend or Break?
No, composite toes don’t bend or break, work boots that pass as safety footwear must meet the ASTM international standards for impact and compression resistance.
Composite toe boots are designed to protect your feet from such workplace incidents.
As a result, the boots must pass several tests before they are available for purchase.
Keep in mind that the toe cap may bend or break after repeated impact.
Your boots will be fine for the first 2-3 times, but after that, depending on the amount of weight falling on them, they may break.
After the first few times of brutal impact, it is best to change the boots consciously.
Can Composite Toe Boots Be Re-Soled?
No, composite toe boots can’t be re-soled because most brands design these boots so that the buyer cannot re-sole them in the future.
The reason for this is simple: because these are safety work boots designed to protect you from foot injuries, re-soling them once they are damaged defeats their purpose.
Keep in mind
Manufacturers don’t believe it is safe to make re-soling an option for such safety toe boots solely for your benefit.
Aside from the toe cap, the midsole and outer sole are made of materials that are resistant to punctures and abrasions.
However, there are a few composite toe boots that can be resoled, but re-soling them is not recommended for your safety.
Instead of re-soling, consider purchasing a new pair of work boots.
Are Composite Toe Boots CSA Approved?
Yes, composite toe boots are CSA – Canadian Standards Association – approved because CSA standards require that the toe cap protect workers from any impact, injuries, or punctures.
Composite toe caps are even better than steel toe caps because they are lighter in weight, non-metallic, and safe for electrical work.
If your composite boots have the green triangle symbol, they are CSA approved and have grade 1 toe protection that can withstand force/impact of up to 125 joules.
CSA-approved composite toe boots may also have the letters “CT” in a white square box.
Do Composite Toes Get Cold?
No, composite toes don’t get cold because composite materials don’t conduct either cold or heat.
As a result, they are ideal for workers who must work in adverse weather conditions.
Can You Remove a Composite Toe Cap From a Work Boot?
Yes, you can remove a composite toe cap from a work boot.
You only need pliers, razor blades, a hammer, shoe glue, and a hard surface to work on.
If you’re attempting to DIY repair your composite toe work boots with a broken cap, we recommend hiring a professional cobbler.
Alternatively, see if the manufacturer of your work boots can do it for you.
Any mistakes made while repairing things yourself can jeopardize your foot’s safety or further damage your work boots.
Is Composite Toe Stronger Than Steel Toe?
Some composite toes are stronger than steel, depending on the material used.
Composite toe work boots are extremely durable and can withstand a great deal of weight and pressure.
One of the primary benefits of composite toe caps is that, unlike steel, which can dent when struck by a heavy object, a composite toe cap will spring back into shape.
However, the durability of a composite toe work boot will deteriorate over time because of repeated impacts and will no longer provide the same level of protection.
The toe cap of your composite work boot is likely to break after one too many encounters with heavy blows.
Is a Composite Toe Lighter Than a Steel Toe?
Yes, composite toe is lighter than steel toe because the material used to make composite toe work boots is lightweight.
When it comes to comfort, the lighter weight of a work boot aids in reducing fatigue from working all day.
It’s critical that you understand the proper footwear to wear to work.
On this planet, there are millions of different jobs, and not all of them are safe.
There are many jobs that come with occupational hazards such as accidents caused by heavy machinery, construction, electrical shocks, and other safety risks.
As a result, there’s protective gear to cover your entire body, beginning with your head, and eyes, and ending with your feet, which is absolutely necessary.
This is it for composite toe caps. We hope we were able to provide you with as much information as possible about the construction and application of composite toe caps.
That’s all for now. Take care.