Steel Toe vs Composite Toe Boots

Steel Toe vs Composite Toe Boots

What’s the difference between Composite Toe & Steel Toe and which is the right choice for you?

Both Composite boots and steel toe boots are designed to protect your feet. One may wonder how you should choose between them. In order to make the best decision, you must first understand the difference between these boots.


As the name suggests, steel toe boots contains a piece of steel in the toe area for immense protection – they also meet the ANSI safety requirements. They are, after all, designed to protect the feet of construction workers and other workers who function in a hazardous environment.

• Puncture Protection
• Shatter Proof
• Lower Costs

• Weighs More
• Poor Insulation in cold climates
• Sets off Metal detectors:

Unfortunately, some people must regularly pass through security which may entail metal detectors. The metal within the steel toe boots can set off the metal detectors causing some annoyance and possibly wasting some time. Therefore, if a worker does not have to pass through detectors, steel toe boots are an ideal choice.


These boots does not contain any form of metals and are lighter than the steel toe boots. The composite materials include, but are not limited to, Kevlar, Plastic and Carbon Fiber. Composite boots also meet the ANSI safety requirements for shoes intended to provide protection in comparison to boots without a safety toe.

• Lightweight
• Better electrical resistance
• Great insulation in cold climates
• Does not set off metal detectors:

However, composite toe boots are typically more suitable for people who have to pass through metal detectors, such as nuclear workers, security personnel, and airport workers.

• Less Puncture Protection
• More Expensive.

There are two main things you must know when considering either steel toe boots or composite toe boots:
Compression Rating and Impact Rating.

The impact rating is a number that informs you of the amount of pounds of impact the shoes will protect against. For example, an I/75 impact rated pair of boots can withstand an impact of 75 pounds. The test done to determine the impact rating is done by dropping a weight from a certain height at a specified speed onto the boots. If the boots can withstand the 75 pound weight, they are labeled as I/75. The minimum impact rating for safety toe boots is I/50.

The compression rating is the number of loads the shoes can withstand before cracking or breaking. For example, a C/75 will guard against compressive loads of up to 2,500 pounds. A C/50 pair of boots can protect against compressive loads of up to 1,750 pounds.

In conclusion, the major factor when choosing between these boots, is the job requirements. What dangers will you face, with what equipment will you be working, how heavy is the equipment around you and what boot do you feel more comfortable in?

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