While fire safety is our primary focus on this site, there are other aspects of the industrial field that workers need protection from as well. One of these things is falling debris. While hardhats handle most of the protection from that hazard, two parts of your body stick out far enough that a helmet won’t cover them adequately. These are your feet.
Fortunately, all job sites require safety toe work boots like the ones we offer in our store. But that wasn’t always the case. So, we’re going to take a walk down memory lane and go over the creation and history of steel-toe boots and how they’ve evolved.
How They Came About
Even though we know that steel-toe boots first came about around the end of the Industrial Revolution, it’s unclear who first invented them and why. Historians believe the reason for their creation was the changing of labor laws to protect factory workers. During most of this period, factory owners would simply replace a worker who was injured with someone new because it was cheaper.
Governments made new laws to stop this practice. Therefore, historians assume that a company made these boots to protect their employees better since they were no longer allowed to replace them if they became injured. The first company to publicly sell them was Red Wing Shoes. Before this, the only types of footwear that offered any protection from heavy objects were wooden boots. But those primarily existed in the Netherlands.
Other Industries People Use Them In
After their inception, the idea of steel-toe boots really took off. German soldiers in WWII were the first to use them outside of industrial settings. The boots then became more common in most militaries afterward due to their usefulness.
The spread of steel-toe boots didn’t stop there, though. They eventually made their way into people’s homes for everyday use. This began in the 60s, and the boots slowly worked their way through various groups, turning from trendy choices to everyday items. Today, many people who use them at work continue to wear them after hours due to their comfort and versatility.
How They’ve Changed Over Time
After steel-toe boots became a workplace requirement for dangerous job sites in the 70s, shoemakers started to innovate them to fit various scenarios. Some shoemakers started to use composite materials or hard plastics to shave off some excess weight, making them lighter and more versatile. Obviously, the protection level isn’t as high in these versions as their steel counterparts. Still, they offer way more protection than normal footwear.
As you can see, the creation and history of steel-toe boots have come a long way. They started as a way for companies to save some money. Later, they became a staple of the industrial workplace and even a fashion statement. It will be interesting to see where they’ll go in the coming decades.