Safety Shoes for Slippery and Unpaved Surfaces

The working place is not always cleanly tarred or consists of a flat industrial floor. Everybody who already worked on a construction site or on the free field knows all too well that these challenging environments and grounds have special demands on the equipment and especially on the safety shoes.

Especially in the autumn and winter months, when the weather becomes unstable, the risk of accidents on construction sites increases. However, you do not just find dangers and demanding environments in the colder seasons, but also in spring and summer. Unpaved subsurfaces can be found in a wide variety of occupational fields and work situations. The risk of accidents due to twisting the ankle is considerably increased. Consequences can be torn ligaments or heavily used muscles, whereby long failures up to chronic complaints are not uncommon.

Reliable Protection
Reliable protection can be reached by wearing ASTM F 2413-5 certified safety shoes (known as the American Society for Testing and Materials). Safety shoes of this standard have a toe cap for high loads.

In order to meet the special requirements of slippery surfaces, the safety shoes should at least have a closed heel area with energy absorption and a petrol- and oil-resistant outsole. A striking profiled outsole and an upper with water-repellent properties are also essential. In order to guarantee the best possible protection against twisting, a safety shoe with a high shaft and resilient eyelets is recommended, which can be laced with a perfect fit. A low center of gravity and a slightly wider sole construction under the heel support more direct contact with the ground and also help to protect against twisting the ankle.

Attractive Design
If you think of the old-fashioned, chunky safety shoe made of black leather with a toe cap made of steel, it is not particularly fashionable and just as uncomfortable. Of course, safety comes first, but nowadays it is common to want to look good while working. So how can you combine reliable protection with fashionable appeal?

This is made possible by creative minds that combine well-thought-out functionality with a modern and fashionable design. In the product development of safety shoes, far more aspects play a role than the fulfilment of the safety standard alone. The wearers' wishes in terms of design and comfort are diverse—a sporty look, the use of durable materials and easy care, are only a fraction of the individual idea of a perfect safety shoe. To create a sustainable safety shoe that meets the requirements of the wearer, you have to take all these aspects into account.

Unlimited Comfort
The musculature is noticeably more demanded through uneven and partially soft terrains than while walking on flat ones or asphalt. The body is forced to adapt continuously to the changing conditions concerning step length and taking the weight on the foot. Constantly, the musculature of lower leg and foot has to stabilize and equilibrate itself. With every step, the feet have to reorient to the terrain and uneven ground.

In order to support the wearing of safety shoes with a maximum comfort, the safety shoes for slippery and unpaved surfaces in particular must be equipped with a few extras. Excellent cushioning and a grip that adapts to a wide variety of conditions are essential for a comfortable fit. The sole must withstand rain, snow, mud and rubble and give the wearer reliable support. This is achieved by a self-cleaning outsole (e.g. made of rubber or TPU) with a specially designed stud profile and wide flex grooves, which ensure optimal flexion and have water-displacing properties according to the car tire principle. Water and dirt are pushed outwards by the profile, which is filled with grooves, in order to guarantee continuous strong traction on soft or hard surfaces.

The stud profile also prevents stones or dirt from getting stuck in the notches in the sole. Some models offer an additional ladder grip, which assures special grip and security when climbing ladders and rungs. Notches in the middle of the outsole and a particularly strong heel edge ensure slip resistance.

The ideal safety shoe for slippery and unpaved surfaces therefore consists of a combination of safety-relevant properties, hard-wearing upper materials, a well-thought-out sole construction with cushioning properties, the right fit and innovative design.


PSS, which is based in Atlanta, is a subsidiary of the German company ISM Heinrich Krämer, that can now look back on 90 years of industry experience and is one of the leading international manufacturer of safety shoes, workwear and outdoor fashion. The brand PUMA SAFETY stands for innovation, best performance, incomparable comfort and pioneering design.

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OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020


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