Safety Shoe Term Glossary

Glossary of Terms

Abrasion Resistant

Safety footwear is made abrasion resistant through the use synthetic leather or an added coating to conventional leather. This technology helps to prevent cutting of shoes as well as over all wear-and-tear.

Alloy Toe

A toe cap with a blend of metals to produce a cap that is lighter than steel while still meeting ASTM F2413 standard for protective footwear.


Found in many types of safety footwear, anti-fatigue technology functions similarly to anti-fatigue floor mats found in work stations where employees must stand on their feet constantly.

Carbon Nano Fiber Toe

The lightest and most advanced safety toe available today. The weight of these toes is 50%


A toe cap made from a non-ferrous elastomeric material, which is light and will not conduct heat, cold or electricity. Composite toes meet or exceed ASTM F2413 standards.


Safety Footwear used in areas with highly volatile and explosive materials.

Electrical Hazard

Footwear tested by an independent lab that can withstand applications of 18,000 volts at 60hz for one minute with leakage

Electro Static Dissipating

Footwear that allows static electricity to be dissipated from the wearer’s body into the walking surface to prevent static electricity build up. SD10 is the highest rating for Electro Static Dissipating by OSHA standards.

Heel Counter

Often made of plastic or other hard materials, Heel counters add stability to your foot by aiding in the prevention of rolling ankles and providing support for those often climbing up and down ladders or stairs.


The inner sole of a shoe or boot. Removable insoles allow for the accommodation of individual footwear needs.

Leather Upper

 The most predominant material for safety shoe “uppers”, leather provides durability, breathability, and moisture wicking capabilities that are beneficial to those working in hot conditions.


Linings in the inner portion of shoes are used to aid in water proofing and insulation.

Mesh Upper

Mesh “uppers” provide the most movement and flexibility for your feet, as well as being beneficial to those working in a hot environment by providing enhanced breathability.


Footwear designed to provide additional protection to the instep area. Traditionally used in areas where there is a higher risk of objects falling or rolling on to instep. Metatarsal guards can be internal or external, and made out of rigid plastics, rubber, and hinged or solid metal.


The outer most layer of the sole of a shoe or boot.

Poron Metatarsal

Different from the stiff and rigid plates used by other metatarsal guards, Poron Metatarsal Guards are made of poron, an open cell foam, that aids in the protection of the top of your foot by dispersing energy when a heavy item is dropped on it. This type of guard allows more flexibility and comfort for your shoe.

Puncture Resistant

Shoes with a non metallic insole material affixed to inside of shoe to retard penetration of certain objects through the bottom of the sole of the shoe.

Puncture Resistant Insoles

Insoles (Kevlar, etc.) that can be placed underneath the insole of any shoe to make the shoe puncture resistant by OSHA standards.

Safety Toe

Any Shoe or boot with a Safety toe cap, either steel, composite or alloy that provides protection against impact and compression according to ASTM F2413 standards.

Slip Resistant

Soles designed to provide a higher coefficient of friction with the walking surface.

Steel Toe

The original type of safety toe, made from steel, has a long history of performance in the industrial market.


A type of insulating liner, Thinsulate helps to trap in heat while still allowing moisture to escape. Both warm and light weight, Thinsulate is can also be made water resistant through the use of hydrophobic fibers, keeping your feet both warm and dry.

Water Proof

 Waterproofing capabilities help to seal the surface of the shoe to keep water from penetrating the shoe. This type of technology provides a high level of protection against water even under tough conditions. Types of water proofing include Gortex, Drylex, and other water proofing membranes.

Water Resistant

Water Resistant footwear allows for the resisting of water for an extended period of time. This provides protection from water when the shoe comes in contact with it on the surface.