An Introduction to the Basics of Steel Cap Boots
Steel cap boots are typically used for work. They’re regular work boots that feature sturdy steel caps in the end of shoes, located above and around toes. While many people wear steel cap boots in their lines of work, or at home when performing duties requiring intensive physical labor, not everybody understands the origin of steel cap boots, how they’re regulated, and their different types.
Let’s dig into the basics of steel cap boots, their origin, what organizations mandate their safety standards, different types of these boots, and more.
How did a need for steel cap boots come about?
While people have been working for thousands of years in capacities requiring hard labor, safety standards around working conditions haven’t always been in place, let along enforced. In the early 1900s, standards for working conditions started to be established to protect the welfare of hard-working individuals, quite literally the lifeblood of organizations that employ them.
Industrial safety became a concern around this time period. Prior to this time in history, employers often replaced workers that were ill or injured. It was — and still is — cheaper to simply replace them with healthy employees, rather than protect their welfare at work. As industry started to boom, coupled with ignorance towards workplace safety, employers’ liabilities related to workplace injuries became exorbitantly expensive. Desperate to find a cost-effective solution, steel cap boots were born out of necessity.
Here come steel cap boots
Prior to their advent, people used to wear unprotected leather boots, or even wooden shoes known as clogs. Shortly after World War II, boots with steel to protect toes were invented in Germany. Their prevalence in the workplace quickly spread around the world. Red Wing Shoes Company was one of the first organizations based in the United States of America to produce steel toe boots.
How are these shoes regulated?
Without standards in the workplace, organizations likely underserve their employees’ protections, or spend too much money protecting them. The Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted into legislation in 1970 by the United States Congress. This bill created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an organization that regulates safety standards in the workplace of many shapes, sizes, and capacities.
One of these many standards is related to footwear used in working hard labor. While the specific standards are far too detailed for extrapolation herein, just know that manufacturers of footwear intended for usage in the workplace must meet innumerable safety guidelines to keep their customers safe. Virtually every other country in today’s modern world has an equivalent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that regulates workplace safety standards.
Types of steel toe boots
The two most popular types of these boots are true steel caps and composite-toe boots. True steel toe boots, as their name implies, feature steel to protect workers’ feet and toes. Composite-toe shoes, on the other hand, usually feature rigid plastics. These shoes don’t conduct electricity and are better for workplaces that feature lots of electrical current.