Footwear Standards Explained


A brief guide to safety footwear standards and terms used in  All safety footwear sold in the UK has to conform to EN ISO safety standards to ensure the wearer can be confident that the footwear they are about to purchase, is fit for purpose.

Footwear Standards Explained

Safety footwear has an 'S' classification showing it's safety rating and a slip rating for the sole unit under given conditions.  

EN ISO 20345 'S' ratings:

  • SB Basic safety protection, 200 joules. ‚ÄčThis is a basic safety boot with steel or composite toe cap only, no midsole protection.
  • S1 200 joule toe cap protection with the addition of a closed seat region (fully enclosed heel). Anti-static properties and energy absorption of the seat region.
  • S2 as above plus water penetration and water absorption resistance.
  • S3 as above plus puncture resistant midsole and cleated outsole.
  • It is also possible to have a 'P' designation against SB, S1 and S2 indicating the style has a puncture resistant midsole.

There is no classification for metal free footwear.  These will use components that are made from composite materials with no metal present.  These are ideal for areas where metal may interfere with the apparatus, such as air port metal detectors.  Composite is also generally ligther and more flexible than steel making them feel warmer in winter and help to reduce fatigue sometimes associated with wearing heavier boots.


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