Safety Footwear Classifications & requirements

Safety boots and safety shoes are an essential component of every workplace, and wearing them can give the worker and the organisation various levels of protection, in conformity with laws and regulations.

Anyone working in a warehouse or the industrial or agriculture arena, with heavy objects or machinery, hazardous items or chemicals should wear the requisite safety footwear, to make sure that avoidable accidents do not happen.

Safety footwear is designed to provide various forms of protection from impact, oil resistance and slipping to punctures. Safety footwear is equipped with various components and materials that provide the necessary protection from these risks in the workplace.

Safety Footwear Classifications Basic Overview:

Protective Footwear comes in many forms, offering various features and level of protection.

Below is a list of abbreviations that you will find in our range:

(Safety Basic)

Toe Protection

Anti-static, Oil-Resistant

& Energy Absorption


Water Penetration

S2 Plus Midsole for

Penetration Resistance

Midsole Penetration


Heat Resistance


What does this mean?


 SB (Safety Basic)

The basic standard for safety footwear. These have steel toe protection against a 200-joule impact. They may also have additional safety features which will be shown via other symbols. For example, if you see SB-P this means that the safety footwear also has the additional feature of Penetration Resistance of the Midsole.


Whilst including the basic protection found in the SB classification, S1 also ensures the footwear has antistatic protection, is resistant to fuel oil and has energy absorption in the heel. Again other symbols can be added, such as S1-P as above.


S2 offers all the same protection as S1, but also includes the added protection of preventing water penetration and absorption of the upper.


S3 safety footwear also offers all the same levels of protection as S2, plus a midsole for penetration resistance.


Slip Restistance Standards

In many workplaces, slip resistant footwear is required. Below are the separate standards of slip resistance:

Tested on ceramic tile

wet with sodium lauryl sulphate

(a dilute soap solution)

Tested on steel

with glycerol

Tested under SRA

and SRB conditions

There are many different specifications of safety footwear.

When choosing the appropriate safety footwear for your industry and workforce, it is important that you are comparing ‘apples with apples’ and understand what you are purchasing- i.e. cost and quality of boots that have the same or very similar technical specifications as described above.  Make sure to ask your supplier’s these questions. Reputable footwear brands will have detailed specifications of their boots available and allow you to compare boots within their range.