Women represent almost half of the working population in Canada - 47.5% to be exact, as of 2019. And the number of women working in industrial and skilled trades jobs is increasing rapidly in all areas of our economy. Wearing the right PPE, including footwear, is essential for every worker. For women there are some specific guidelines we have that can help them stay protected and comfortable on the job.
What exactly should you be looking for when purchasing safety shoes as a woman? Here are some things to consider:
Ensuring women have the right safety shoes.
Safety shoes and work boots are designed for function and safety and must meet CSA specifications based on Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
And while safety is the priority, fit and comfort are also very important as most women who wear work boots or safety shoes will wear them all day at work. So it’s imperative that you find safety footwear that provides support and comfort. Safety footwear comes in a wide variety of categories and styles - from athletic to hiker-style, to rubber boots – but by following this guide, no matter what you safety footwear you are looking for, you will be more likely to remain comfortable AND protected on the job.
- The right fit from the start: When you try on safety footwear you should be able to wiggle your toes without touching the toe cap.
- You should be able to slide one finger down the back of the heel with your foot in it. This means your foot is snug but not tight in the shoes.
- Safety shoes and work boots that aren’t comfortable when you try them in the store won’t “break in” substantially, so be sure of the fit before you buy them.
- Before wearing your safety shoes or work boots at work, wear them around your house for a few hours so your feet become used to them. It’s just like going for a long hike and wearing a brand new pair of hiking boots. You may find your feet will be sore if they aren't used to them.
- Consider safety shoes and work boots specifically designed for women vs. smaller sizes of men’s safety footwear. Some brands design safety shoes using “lasts” or “moulds” specifically for women, which may provide better support, fit and overall comfort.
- Safety shoes were historically heavy, but they’ve come a long way. Consider composite toe safety shoes instead of a steel toe shoe as composite is typically the lighest option. And, composite material is just as strong and meets CSA guidelines for safety and protection.
- Don’t forget the importance of insoles and work socks to your overall comfort. Insoles can provide more cushioning to your arch, which is important if you are walking or standing on hard surfaces. The right work socks will keep your foot temperature steady and keep perspiration away from your feet.
- Make sure the safety shoes you buy are CSA approved for your work. You can find a list of the CSA symbols and what they mean here.
Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Safety Shoes.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that shoes, like all other equipment, are subject to wear and tear over time and usage. Depending on how much you wear your work boots, you must keep them in good condition. When they start showing signs of serious wear and tear, make sure to replace them in order to maintain not only safety but your comfort too. Here are some key signs of wear and tear to look out for.
- A dented toe cap or if the toe cap is exposed
- Separation of the stitching, creating gaps that can get caught on equipment and also degrade the support of the shoe.
- The tread is wearing down, which an lead them to become less slip-resistant
At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta and we have conveniently located store locations with experts in fit and comfort ready to help you.