REDwire Selecting a shoe for winter safety

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Mister Safety Shoes

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A good example of a boot designed for performance in winter conditions.

Working outside in the winter, in cold, slippery conditions, increases the chance for injury due to slips and falls. The proper footwear, specifically designed for these conditions, can help workers stay on their feet. 

If winter-safe boots is something you require, there are certain features to look for, particularly in the sole of the shoe.

Sole selection

Different soles perform very differently under certain conditions. Looking at the compound, construction and tread pattern will help determine how well they will perform. For outdoor slip resistance in cold temperatures, it is essential that the soles remain pliable in low temperatures; that the tread pattern is aggressive enough to “dig in” for traction; and that the sole is “self-cleaning”, meaning that snow or ice is released from the tread as the wearer walks, so that the sole pattern remains deep enough to maintain traction.

Materials

Certain materials excel in cold and slippery conditions. When selecting a winter boot or shoe, make sure its sole is made of any of the following materials:

  • TPU: Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) emerged in response to the poor performance of polyurethane in cold conditions. By adding rubber to the urethane compound, the soles were able to remain more pliable in cold conditions. The mixture allowed for improved performance, and weighed less than rubber or nitrile soles.
  • Nitrile rubber: Nitrile rubber doesn't harden in cold, and offers excellent heat, oil, chemical and abrasion resistance.
  • Vibram Fire and Ice: When soles are tested for performance in sub-zero, slippery conditions, the key factor is how they perform over time. In tests, Vibram Fire and Ice soles maintained their flexibility in freezing temperatures for much longer than other soles tested. The Fire and Ice sole is also highly heat and abrasion resistant.

A safety shoe source

Mister Safety Shoes has a wide selection of safety footwear, including shoes and boots with soles designed to perform in cold conditions. Its lineup includes a selection of boots and shoes with a variety of sole options, including TPU, nitrile rubber and Fire and Ice. 

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