Composite Toe caps are used in many different types of boots. They’re especially common in work boots and other types of safety shoes. However, what are composite toe boots? What are they made of and what are their benefits?
Let’s find out!
What Does Composite Toe Mean?
Boots and shoes that have a composite toe have toe caps that are made from a mix of several different materials. These materials can include plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber, aramid, and even Kevlar.
The mix of materials makes these toe caps very hard and ensures that your toes are protected. If you drop a heavy object on your feet, then the composite toe will protect your toes from injury.
The Benefits Of Composite Toe Boots
The properties of composite toe caps mean that they are commonly used for work boots and other protective forms of footwear.
There are other shoes available that have similar properties, however, so what makes composite toe caps better than steel or alloy toe caps?
Composite toe caps are much lighter in weight compared to steel toe caps. If you’ve ever worn boots that have steel toe caps you will have noticed the added weight added to the toes of your boots.
As composite toe caps don’t use any metals and only use lightweight materials, your boots can remain strong but light. Alloy toe caps are lighter than steel caps but still cannot compare to composite toe caps.
None of the materials used in composite toes are made from metal. This not only helps them be more lightweight as we just discussed, but it means that your boots will not set off metal detectors.
If you work in an area that has a security check that requires walking through a metal detector, composite toe caps are the best to choose as they won’t be picked up by the metal detector unlike steel or alloy toe caps.
If you’re going to be working in extreme temperatures, composite toe caps are the best. They offer better insulation against cold weather than either steel or alloy toe caps do.
Composite toe caps won’t react to extreme heat or cold either, whereas steel toe caps can be affected by hot temperatures.
More Toe Box Space
Typically, boots that have composite toe caps are roomier in the toe boxes than either steel or alloy. They will put less pressure on your toes and make your feet more comfortable after several hours of wear.
Metal conducts electricity so steel toe caps should be avoided if there is the chance of electric shock.
The tread of your boots is usually made of a non-conductive material so steel toe caps won’t put you in severe danger, but composite toe caps are the safer option.
Composite toe caps are made from several materials that don’t conduct electricity at all. Alloy toes are less conductive than steel toe caps but they still can’t compare to composite toe caps.
How Strong Are Composite Toes?
Manufacturers of composite toe caps test them against a set of standards created by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International.
This means that any composite toe that is ASTM F2412 or ASTM F2413 standard has been tested to withstand heavy impact and compression and is certain to protect your toes.
Many composite toe caps can withstand the weight of a 4.5 ton truck, so you don’t need to worry about your toes in the workplace.
Materials Used In Composite Toes
Let’s look at the different materials used in composite toes in a little more detail.
Plastic is one of the most common materials and is used for a wide range of applications due to its durability and low cost. It’s carbon-based and has a similar structure to other materials on this list, such as aramid, fiberglass, and Kevlar.
Plastic doesn’t conduct electricity but is flammable, so it also needs to be mixed with other materials.
Fiberglass is a durable material that is widely used in construction, sporting equipment, and aircraft. It’s created by melting glass into very thin fibers and is often mixed with plastic to make even stronger plastics.
Fiberglass has high resistance to heat, chemicals, and electricity. Although it is durable it can shatter, so it needs to be mixed with other materials to make toe caps.
Carbon is a very versatile material that naturally makes a variety of materials such as graphite and diamond, the latter of which is the hardest naturally occurring material known to man.
Carbon can be made into very thin and light fibers that are still very hard and durable.
However, despite the tough qualities of carbon fiber, it does have its weaknesses. Carbon fiber can conduct electricity, is flammable, and will melt under high temperatures.
This means that carbon fibers alone are not suitable for toe caps and the material needs to be mixed with others to be adequately protective.
Aramid is a tough material that is often used when making fibers appropriate for space travel and military ballistics. It has no melting point and is highly resistant to conducting electrical current. It’s also non-combustible and is solvent and abrasion-resistant.
The reason for aramid’s toughness can be found in how its carbon molecules are arranged. They are arranged in a hexagonal chain formation that is aromatic in nature.
Kevlar is a type of aramid and is well-known for its toughness and durability. It is commonly used in bulletproof vests due to its combination of impact resistance, low weight, and high strength.
It’s also used for tires, racing sails, and other types of body armor. Kevlar is often described as being five times stronger than steel, despite its lighter weight and flexibility.
Composite toe boots have a toe cap that is made from a mix of materials. The caps are strong and durable and will protect your toes from falling or rolling objects.