Safety Footwear Ratings Explained

When shopping for safety footwear like work and safety boots look and style are what people typically base their decision on but function and safety standards should also be at the forefront of your mind. Depending on your work environment you will need to have a certain safety rating for your safety boots or shoes. These are "S ratings" and you are probably familiar with them already but if not here is a quick guide to make sure you are getting not just a nice looking fashionable boot or shoe but that it is up to standard for your work environment also.

 Each one of our safety footwear will be labelled with an S rating eg. "S3" and this signifies what safety features the boot/shoe has. All safety boots, shoes and safety trainers have to have toe protection against a 200 joule impact. This is the very basic safety featured required but here is a table of the S rating safety features to help you understand what they mean:

Composite vs Steel Toe:

Composite toe boots provide toe protection however are metal free. This can be useful in certain environments for example a prison guard or airport security who have to pass through metal detectors on a daily basis. Composite toe boots are usually lighter than their steel toe counterpart. 

This is the Safety Basic toe protection rating. It is tested with 200J impact and 15kN compression force.

These shoes are slip resistant. SRA safety footwear has been tested on tiles with NaLSlubricant. While SRB safety footwear has been tested on steel with glycerol lubricant. SRC safety footwear has been tested with both lubricants.

This is where the ratings get a little more complex. The S1 rating essentially means that on top of the safety features offered by SB footwear, you also get the features of A, E, and FO. So, as well as toe protection, you get antistatic protection, an energy absorbent heel, and a fuel oil resistant outer sole.

In addition to all the safety features of S1 footwear, you get WRU – a water resistant upper.

In addition to all the safety features of S2 footwear, you get added midsole protection against sharp objects (P).

In addition there are some other safety ratings which you may see across our website:

Heat Resistant Outsole. These shoes have been made using a compound that’s been tested at 300°C, to ensure its heat resistance levels.

These shoes have midsole protection against sharp objects, such as nails and other protrusions. Safety footwear with a P rating have been tested to withstand penetration forces of up to 1,100Nm using either steel inserts, aluminium inserts, or Kevlar insoles.Image removed.

This is antistatic protection. Safety footwear with an A rating offers electrical resistance between the foot and the ground ranging from 0.1 to 1000 MegaOhms.

This rating means that the energy absorption of the heel region has been tested at 20J.Remember – absorptive shoes are, generally speaking, comfortable shoes. Safety footwear with an E rating will keep you comfortable throughout even your longest of shifts.


The outsole is resistant to Fuel Oil.

The safety boot is Water Resistant.

The shoe is fitted with a Water Resistant Upper.

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