Did you know that each foot consists of 26 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons? All of them work together to enable you to step on your feet and walk.
Truth be told, no workplace is 100% protected from injury, and sometimes we can be at risk if we are not alert, careful, and prepared. According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips, and falls in the United States alone resulted in 44.5 million injuries, many of them to the feet. Then, there are also foot injuries from punctures, crushing, sprains, and cuts. For this reason, some regulations insist on workers using personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect their feet and avoid the many possible injuries. Two great PPE options are composite toe boots and alloy toe ones.
What Are Composite Toe Boots?
Composite toe boots are among the top choices for such boots. The cap placed at the toe of the boot is non-metallic but yet provides maximum protection from compression. This type of footwear is quite light and comfortable while safeguarding your feet.
What Are Alloy Toe Boots?
Alloy toe boots are a newer type of work boots that have become widely popular among workers due to their lightness. When compared to steel toe boots, they are almost 50% lighter. The lightweight cap is also protected by non-conductive materials, making the boots safer for many professions.
Composite Toe vs. Alloy Toe: The Differences
Both types of boots incorporate a variety of features that help make them good protective equipment. If you are unsure which to buy, we’ll help you decide by discussing composite toe vs. alloy toe boots regarding several elements of their construction and use.
The two boots consist of toe caps that use strong materials. The composite toe caps are made from non-metal materials, such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic, or fiberglass. Whereas the alloy toe caps use a variety of light metals, such as Silicon, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Chromium, Zinc, and Titanium.
Because of the materials used to create their toe caps, alloy toe boots are typically lighter than composite ones. Generally, most work boots weigh anywhere from 2 to 3 pounds. The exact weight depends on the safety elements featured on the boot. When we compare both types to a third boot- the steel toe, composite toe boots are 30% lighter, whereas the alloy toe ones can be up to 50% lighter.
The real power of these boots does not lie in their weight but in the number of pounds they can take.
How much weight can these boots take?
The caps from both types of boots can handle more than 2000 pounds of weight each. The composite toe caps can take up a weight of just over 2400 pounds. Whereas the alloy toe caps take up to 2500 pounds. If we compare the two, we conclude that the alloy toe can bear more weight and handle more compression than the composite type.
To understand the insulation provided by the boots, we have to go back to the materials they use. Alloy toe caps use metals, which are great conductors but bad inductors. This means that the metals will transfer energy, such as heat or coldness, to the inside of the boots. On the other hand, the synthetic materials of the composite toe boots are bad conductors but great inductors. These materials will not allow the outside energy to penetrate and get inside the boots. To put it simply, if you prefer isolation, non-metals and composite toe boots are your friends.
Since both types of boots are quite lightweight, they are also comfortable to walk and work in. But, if you had to pick only one boot based on the comfort, then the alloy toe has a bit of an edge over the composite one. The alloy boots have hardly detectable and very thin caps that make them feel like normal shoes.
As with all other boots, the durability of both boots depends on how you use them, the environment where you wear them, and the risks they are exposed to. But, in general, alloy toe boots have caps that are more durable than the composite type. Both will protect your feet from damage. However, the alloy type might withstand more hits than the other boots.
We mentioned before that composite toe boots are made from non-metal materials. Because of this fact, if they were to go through metal detectors, there would be no problem. So, this type of boot is ideal for workplaces such as airports or any other space that uses such detectors. In that case, if we focus on the insulator characteristics, we can notice that they are also suitable for electricians and engineers.
The alloy toe boots are comfortable and strong enough to protect your toes and feet from injuries. They are suitable for workers that are around construction zones or work outdoors.
In general, the pricing for composite toe boots is somewhat higher than that of alloy boots. However, that can often depend simply on the brand you buy from. You can find boots of both types for some affordable prices, as well as really high ones.
Safety standards they follow
The questions that matter most: Is alloy toe OSHA approved? What about the composite toe? You should never buy any boots meant for safety if they do not follow the safety standards demanded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). And to answer the initial questions, although it can depend on the brand making the boots, generally both types are approved since they passed the impact and compression tests required from OSHA.
Composite Toe vs. Alloy Toe: Which Toe Cap Material is Best?
Both composite and alloy toe boots are great choices. However, depending on the work you do and the risks you are exposed to, the features of one type might be more convenient to you. If you have to walk around a lot, you might be looking for a lighter boot, in which case pick the alloy toe. However, if you prioritize the compression levels of the boot or work as an electrician, then the composite toe would suit you best.
Investing in a good pair of alloy or composite toe boots will be worth it. We’ll go as far as to say that if Achilles’ weak point were his toes, and he had a nice pair of safety toe boots, he might have survived the Trojan war. So, remember to put safety first and you may last.