What is the difference between composite and steel toe caps?

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Visitors to our retail store often ask us what the difference is between a composite toe cap and a steel toecap. Although in essence they provide the same functionality, each one has specific characteristics - pros and cons which give them different properties. We've broken down the differences for you.

Composite Toe Caps

photo of a composite toe cap
A composite toe cap

The composite toe cap is a new take on the traditional steel toe cap which has been the industry standard since the first safety boot was manufactured in the 1930's. One of the main characteristics which sets them apart is they are lighter in weight than traditional toe caps which makes for a more comfortable fit over long periods. Like their steel counterparts, composite toe caps offer the same 200kj maximum pressure conformity, however they will not warp under impact.

The use of non-metallic safety shoes and boots also offers a unique advantage for security workers, especially those who work in customs at airports, as their lack of metal ensures they do not set inadvertently set off metal detectors.

ProsCons
LightweightCan be more expensive
Will not set off metal detectorsOffers less puncture resistance
Will not warp after impact 
Not affected by changes in temperature 
Good electrical resistance 

Steel Toe Caps

photo of a steel toe cap
A steel toe cap

First manufactured in response to increasing numbers of work-related accidents involving workers dropping heavy loads onto their feet, steel toe cap boots became popular almost overnight. The modern day steel toe cap is affordable and offers excellent puncture resistance.

They can easily withstand the same 200kj of pressure which their composite counterparts can, but they are heavier on the feet and the caps can become deformed after an impact - trapping feet inside the boots. Steel toe caps are also not ideal for security workers as they set off metal detectors, and they are reactive to heat which can make them uncomfortable in cold weather.

ProsCons
CheaperWill trigger metal detectors
Offers great puncture resistanceAffected by temperature changes
 Heavy
 Can warp from impacts
 Poor electrical resistance

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