PROTECTION FOR FEET
Our feet are an extremely important part of our body, not only allowing us to remain balanced and to move, but above all they pick up a series of sensations which affect our well-being. Shoes house our feet, and therefore, like our own homes, they must be studied and chosen carefully to obtain the best possible comfort. Inside materials in contact with the feet must be as natural as possible. Synthetics, in fact, do not create a natural inside micro-climate because they are less breathable. The shape of the shoes must also be the proper size even after the first two hours of use, after which the foot, due to stress and fatigue, tend to swell and occupy more space. After these first two hours, our feet undergo other 6 working hours in which comfort and well-being must be ensured constantly.
EA main component in footwear, delegated with the job of breathing. In synthesis, these can be created in:
- grain leather (natural leather, good breathability, good water repellence, soft)
- coated split leather (coating carried out to have them resemble grain leather but occludes leather porosity)
- suede split leather (maximised breathability if not coated inside, generally utilised for summer footwear, does not however offer any impermeability but easily soaks with water and oils)
- other materials
Can be made with many different materials, for example:
- rubber – good mechanical resistance and can be mixed with accentuated resistance to oils and heat, with antistatic properties, etc
- polyurethane (mono or bi-density) – material widely used for its lightness, flexibility and softness, as well as for its elevated chemical resistance, for its elevated anti-slip and anti-static properties. The bi-density version includes an expanded layer which is softer and more flexible on the side of the foot and a more compact layer like a tread. Low heat resistance.
- polyurethane + rubber (or polyurethane and nitrile) – the sum of the above-indicated features
- nitrile rubber – optimal resistance to chemical agents and heat, generally less flexible
- in natural leather: perfectly absorbs transpiration and has good resistance
- in regenerated leather: created using ground leather with bonding agents
Notable differences exist between toes: the most important are their form and type of lining at the connection point with the upper.
CE marking certifies that footwear satisfies the following essential requirements of European directive 89/686/CEE:
- Protection against falls due to slipping
Work footwear according to Norm EN 20345 are marked with an "S" (safety) like safety footwear. On "base" shoes we can find the letters "SB" (Safety - Base). This footwear must meet the following minimum requirements:
- upper height
- tip (minimum length, minimum weight-bearing base)
- front lining
- sole in any type of material (can be smooth)
- upper of base footwear can be open.
"SB" footwear need not include all following requirements if not specified:
- energy absorption from the heel
- dynamic impenetrability on the upper
- sole with anti-slipping features
- sole with foot grips
- rear lining
- grain leather upper
- anti-hole laminate
Work footwear according to Norm EN 20346 is called "protective footwear." These are essentially identical to safety footwear. The only differences are:
Note: use in all workplaces where protection 100 J is sufficient
Work footwear according to Norm EN 20347 are called "Work" or "professional" footwear.
These are essentially identical to previously-detailed footwear. They are different because they do not have any protective tip and markings "S" and "P" are replaced with "O" (occupational) and therefore are identified with 01, 02, 03.
On the basis of category SB, S1, S2, S3, footwear must possess determined requirements identifiable by symbol markings: A, E, WRU, P, HI, CI, HRO
Category SB - requirements: minimum requirements.
Category S1 - requirements: minimum requirements, A (supplementary anti-static requirements), E (energy absorption in the heel area).
Category S2 - requirements: minimum requirements, A (supplementary anti-static requirements), E (energy absorption in the heel area) ,WRU (water –penetration and absorption – upper).
Category S3 - requirements: minimum requirements, A (supplementary anti-static requirements), E (energy absorption in the heel area),WRU (water –penetration and absorption – upper), P (perforation resistance).
HI (heat insulation), CI (cold insulation) and HRO (resistance to contact heat) are non-compulsory requirements, indicated on footwear if present.