Safety Shoe Care

Safety Shoe Care

Safety shoes are extremely important when it comes to protecting your feet. If you work with heavy items, machinery, electrical items, or even in busy environments then a good pair of safety shoes is a must have staple for your wardrobe. There are a number of different types of safety shoe, and each of them serves a great purpose in the workplace.

Despite the many benefits of safety shoes, they are still shoes, and they will eventually wear out over time. This is natural and is going to happen to any pair of shoes that you wear on a regular basis, and when it comes to work boots this can happen more often than we would like.

However, the good news is that knowing how to look after your safety shoes effectively can hugely extend their lifespan and help your favourite pair last as long as possible. In this article, we’re going to show your how to wash safety footwear and how to preserve their practical use.

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How to Clean & Maintain Safety Shoes

If you work within an environment where your safety shoes are likely to get dirty, scuffed, or generally in contact with any materials that you would want to remove, then learning how to properly clean and maintain your shoes is incredibly important for preserving their condition.

We’re going to look at the do’s and don’ts of cleaning and maintaining your footwear to help you make your pair last as long as possible.

Men’s Shoe Care Guide

How to Clean your Safety Shoes

As the majority of safety shoes use either leather or suede material, we’re going to look at the best practice for cleaning these styles:

Cleaning Leather Safety Shoes

So, firstly you need to ensure that any large chunks of dirt are removed from the shoe. Then you want to apply a leather cleaner to a clean cloth and gently rub this into your shoes to remove any stains on the leather. Then you need to wipe the shoes down with a second dry cloth and leave these to dry naturally.

To add extra protection, you should then rub mink oil into the leather; this will help to preserve it. Rub the shoes again with another clean cloth to remove any excess mink oil. Then you should apply a weather-resistant product, in the form of a spray or gel, to the leather and allow the shoes to dry.

Cleaning Suede Leather Shoes

You need to begin with running a dry suede brush over your safety shoes. Pay special attention to any areas with dirt on to remove this from the material. Then you want to pour a small amount of baking soda over oil stains/wet stains, leaving overnight to allow the footwear to absorb the powder.

In the morning, you need to brush the powder from the boots and ensure that no powder is left in the material, use your suede brush for this. Finally, spray your safety footwear with a weather-resistant spray created specifically for suede material.

Maintaining your Safety Shoes

Now you know how to clean safety boots, let’s look at the best practices for maintaining your footwear.

How to Maintain Safety Shoes

  • Clean on a regular basis
  • If the shoes are leather, polish and treat with a leather preservative
  • If the shoes are suede, brush first and treat with a water resistant spray
  • Brush and wash the soles to remove any dirt and contaminants
  • Keep your shoes stored in a cool, dry location away from sunlight

What to Avoid

  • Don’t clean with solvent
  • Don’t force dry
  • Don’t leave in direct sunlight (especially if your shoes are leather)

It’s important to note that the information above is a useful guideline for safety shoes as a whole, but in order to fully understand how to clean your safety shoes it’s best to check with the manufacturer’s specific advice.

One final piece of advice when washing your shoes is to ensure that they are fully dry before wearing them as this can lead to mildew forming and leave you asking, “why do my work boots smell?” which is not something you need whilst on the job.

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Safety Shoe Lacing & Tying

Knowing how to lace safety boots probably doesn’t seem that relevant when it comes to maintaining your safety shoes, but it is! We’re not going to teach you how to tie safety boot laces as we’re sure you’ve done it 100 times. All we can say about this is that it’s important to ensure that you have tied them as tight as you can without becoming uncomfortable; this is vital as a loose-fitting shoe can be more prone to scuffing and marking and this can damage the leather/suede of your footwear and lead to safety issues.

Safety Shoe Lacing & Tying
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When Should Safety Boots Be Replaced?

Working in an environment that requires safety boots has inherent risks that can damage your footwear. Knowing how to inspect your safety shoes and when to get new work boots is so important in preserving your safety.

How Long Should Safety Shoes Last?

There isn’t a universal answer to this question unfortunately, as it all depends on how well maintained the shoes are and for what purpose they are being used (among many other factors).

If you wear your shoes five times per week, in an active role in which your footwear is in contact with various substances or materials that could damage the material, then you should consider replacing your boots with a new pair every 6-12 months. However, this should be taken on a case by case basis as your shoes may need replaced before this time.

We’ve created a checklist below of items to look out for when deciding when to replace your safety shoes:

  • Cracks in the material
  • Holes in the material
  • Breaks in the leather
  • Exposed toecaps
  • Broken heel
  • Loose sole

How to Inspect Safety Boots

Knowing how to look for issues is just as important as knowing what to look for! Here’s a guide to checking your shoes effectively to make sure you know when to change your safety shoes for a safer pair:

  • Test the sole – pull the sole around the shoe to make sure it has not come loose
  • Check the sole for holes
  • Check the material all around the shoe for scratches or holes
  • Pull the heel – ensure it is not coming loose

Now you know how to inspect safety boots and how to tell when work boots are worn out, if you happen to see any of the items on the list above then it’s best to find a new pair to keep your feet safe. It’s very important to remember that safety shoes require replacing after less damage than regular shoes as they have to remain intact and fully practical for your safety needs.

We hope that this article has provided the insight you need to keep yourself as protected as possible in your safety boots. It’s recommended that you check your shoes on a monthly basis at the very least, to ensure that they are intact and safe. The important thing to remember is that there is no universal answer to the question of how long safety shoes should last, it all depends on your pair. The safest thing to do is continuously check your pair and know when to replace your work boots.