Old footwear is unsafe and damaged foot wear is pretty much as bad as not wearing safety shoes at all. If you can’t tell when to replace your work boots here is what you should be looking for:
Wear and Tear
Can you see the steel toe shining through? Is the heel plate rubbed bare? Is your metatarsal guard showing? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s time for a new pair. The same goes for the tread on the bottom – if it’s worn down significantly or rubbed smooth, it isn’t doing its job anymore. Think of it like the tread on your tires – you don’t want to be driving on bald tires, so why walk in shoes that don’t have traction anymore? Another thing to check is the places where materials meet – if the rubber or pvc is separating from the leather, it’s time for a new pair.
Saftey footwear is exactly what it says it is – footwear worn to protect your feet from injury and to protect you from slipping and falling. If there’s a chance that your footwear can no longer perform that function, you need to get a new pair.
Mileage and Comfort
This is a bit trickier – and depends on how much walking and standing you do, but if your feet are hurting you should be thinking about replacing either your insole, or if that doesn’t work, your safety shoe. There’s no set mileage for when to replace your safety footwear, but shoes and boots start to show wear and tear somewhere around the 1500 km mark under average usage – which is about one year of daily wear.
This one is really simple – if something falls onto your safety footwear, it needs to be replaced. With steel toed boots, this is fairly easy to see because the steel dents inwards; however with composite materials, the structural integrity can be damaged without any outward signs so it’s recommended that safety footwear be replaced after a puncture or if something lands on it.
While there isn’t a best before date on safety footwear, there are several signs such as physical wear and tear, comfort, and damage that will help you decide when it’s time to pick up a new pair of safety shoes.