Product Focus 2020 Foot Protection

Trends in ... foot protection

Are you wearing the correct shoe?

Slips, trips and falls were the second leading type of injury resulting in missed work in 2018, according to the National Safety Council statistical database Injury Facts. The 240,160 recorded slip, trip and fall injuries accounted for 26.7% of all injuries that year. Part of the problem, experts say, is workers not wearing the right type of foot protection.

Unfortunately, not all employers make providing comfortable footwear a priority, said Rob Petersen, senior product manager at Tingley. These employers may not realize that "workers who are not constantly distracted by pains in their feet are undoubtedly more productive and make fewer errors."

Get it right

"Finding the right shoe is about the right fit and protection for your occupational duties, not based on your occupation," said Xavier Kawula, senior product manager for Honeywell brands. "Someone who is on their feet walking all day, like health care professionals, will require shoes that offer comfort and protection features for being on their feet for long periods of time."

Added Matt Gould, product development manager at HyTest: "Quite often, we will see where someone really needs a work boot and they are wearing light-duty footwear that does not hold up in the work environment."

If you’re purchasing a pair of shoes for work, Kawula said you should consider how active you are, what kind of surfaces you’re working on and if you need protection from contaminants.

"Looking generically for a shoe may set you down the wrong path," he warned. Ask about the work shoe’s chemical resistance and slip resistance, Petersen added.

‘On trend’

"The most prevalent trend over the past few years in the safety footwear market has been toward lighter weight footwear," Petersen said.

Gould over at HyTest also said he’s seeing anti-fatigue type foams that are used in the running industry starting to move over into work footwear, something he thinks will continue.

"Many younger consumers grew up on athletic styles and they may not want heavy work boots," he said. "Lighter, faster, athletic work boots seem to be on trend."

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Hand protection
  • Spill containment/absorbents

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