Steel Toe vs Composite Toe - Which is right for you?

Author: Alana Baker   Date Posted:18 September 2018 


When searching for safety footwear, it is very important to look into the details of the style and brand you are thinking of buying to properly decipher which one is for you. Buying these types of shoes can be a serious investment and will set you back a pretty penny but in the long run, the quality and durability of the shoe will pay you back ten-fold.

There are two types of safety boots to think about – steel toe and composite toe. Which one is right for you?


Steel Toe Caps:

  • Safety boots and wellingtons with steel toe caps contain a piece of steel in the toe area to protect to toes from various hazards in the workplace.
  • Ensure the steel-capped boots adhere to the Australian safety regulations before purchasing
  • Steel caps offer more flat protection than a composite toe and can handle heavier weights than the composite toe if an object is to fall on it
  • These boots can be tiring and heavy on the legs so wearing them in will take some time for your body to adjust to lagging around the extra weight. Some brands include a lightweight steel toe but will still be slightly heavier than a composite toe
  • Perfect for those who work in environments with the risk of ultra-heavy or sharp objects that are at risk of falling

Composite Toe Caps:

  • These types of boots are lighter than the steel caps and are completely metal-free
  • They do not conduct electricity and therefore are more suited to those who work with electricity often
  • They are made out of materials such as fibreglass, Kevlar, or carbon fibre
  • Ensure you check the brand and type of shoe meets the Australian safety standards before purchasing
  • Composite toe shoes are also very useful if needing to pass through metal detectors regularly (workplaces such as airports, courts, and nuclear plants) as they are non-metallic


Both these types of boots are perfect at protecting feet, although you must study your working environment to ensure you are buying the right type of boot that suits your working needs.

Some important questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you have security measures at your workplace such as passing through metal detectors?
  • Will you be working with heavy machinery or objects?
  • Will you be in danger of objects fallings regularly (eg. Bricklaying)
  • Do you work with electricity often?
  • What other properties of footwear do you desire? 

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