Can Steel Toe Shoes Get You Electrocuted?

Well we are not ‘Men/Women of Steel’ to save our feet from heavy rods or huge packages. So to save our feet from falling objects and compression we do have to depend on Steel Toe shoes.

But most people fear that this savior too might flip out like Superman in Justice League, and would end up getting you electrocuted. So the question is, will it? Chill out, we have the answer and it is “NO!”

Can Steel Toe Shoes Get You Electrocuted

What are Steel Toe Shoes?? 

A Steel Toe Shoe/boot is a long-lasting footwear, with a metallic cap that provides protection to your toes from falling objects and compression. Steel Toe shoes can save your toes from saws and drills as well. 

The reinforcement of the boots were made of steel, but was later replaced by plastics such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and metals like aluminium.

The presence of the metallic reinforcement is what really brews up worry in consumers. Since metals are naturally good conductors of electricity, people fear that steel toe shoes would allow free flow of electric current and would electrocute the one wearing them. But this is just a big misconception. 

Parts of steel toe boots

Will Steel Toe Shoes electrocute you??

The metallic reinforcement in steel toe shoes are always enclosed within insulating layers of non-conductors. Therefore the electric current never ever comes in contact with the metallic part and in such situation getting electrocuted because of a steel toe shoe is just a baseless claim. 

According to the US Labor Department’s OSHA(Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandate, steel toe shoes are not considered to be hazardous in the electrical trade as long as the metallic portion is not exposed or is in contact with the labourer. 

So labourers do not have to be wary of steel toe shoes, as long as the conductive material is not exposed. 

Benefits of wearing Steel Toe Shoes

These lifesavers can protect your feet from heavy objects, skidding, chemicals, cuts, shocks and freezing temperatures.

If you own a pair of steel toe shoes that fit you perfectly, they will definitely provide your feet with greater comfort and support to keep tiredness at bay. 

It should also be noted that safety shoes suited to various needs are available in the market. 

See also: 14 Reasons to Wear Steel-toe Boots to Work

Does the Reinforcement Material matter a lot?? 

Steel toe shoes can differ in the type of material of the reinforcement and the nature of protection it provides. 

The most common types of Safety Shoes have reinforcements made of steel, alloys, aluminium and composite materials such as TPU.

The fact that composite materials are not exclusively metallic, often leads people to assume that they would do far better than steel toes in electrical hazard tests.

But according to the ASTM Electrical Hazard Tests, Steel and Composite Toe Shoes exhibit the same level of resistance to electric current.

Well if you are still worried about your safety as you are a tad bit lousy to maintain your safety shoes, it is best to choose safety boots having reinforcement materials with the lowest conductivity. 

The following graph provides the individual conductivity of the common reinforcement materials

conductivity of the common reinforcement materials


Since composite materials are non-conductors, they can fully guarantee that you won’t get electrocuted no matter what.

If you can maintain your safety shoes, steel reinforced shoes would be the next option as it is cheaper and less of an electric conductor as compared to aluminium alloys. 

How to find the perfect pair of Steel Toe Shoes?? 

In the United States the employers are to follow the ASTM International Standards F2412-18a and F2413-18 for protective footwear. ASTM certified footwear contains labels that indicate the level of safety that is provided by the footwear. (Are Employers Required To Pay For Steel Toe Boots?)

The labels can usually be seen on the insoles of the shoes/boots and the following table shows the safety standards represented by the labels. 

I Impact 
C Compression
Mt Metatarsal
Cd Conductive 
EH Electrical Hazard
SD Static Dissipating 
PR Puncture Resistant 

People working in the electrical industry can opt for EH and SD labels. Electrical Hazard shoes protects you from electric shocks and electrocution and Static Dissipating shoes are designed to minimize the static electricity build-up in your body. 

What makes Electrical Hazard Shoes special?? 

Electrical Hazard boots are made entirely of non-conducting materials. Since you are fully insulated from the earth, electric current cannot flow through your body on to the earth to cause electrocution. Outsoles of such shoes are made of insulating materials such as rubber or PU compounds. 

Few rules to follow to avoid Electrical Hazards

Even though these safety shoes won’t electrocute you, it is important to stay safe and stay away from electrical hazards at your work place. 

Since prevention is better than cure, it is best to follow these simple rules to make sure that your work space has minimal electrical hazards

1.) Employers should ensure that electrical systems are built in such a way as to prevent danger.

2.) Regular maintenance is required to make sure that the components and electrical systems are functioning properly.

3.) All the wired and conductive components should be properly insulated. 

4.) Should make sure that there is no power overload 

5.) Avoid water dripping or leakages as water is a conductor of electricity.

6.) Wear gloves made of insulators like leather or rubber

7.) Exercise caution while using metallic tools 

So that’s it folks! 

Here’s to a new era of safety and Worry-free Steel Toe Shoes!!! 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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