Your safety shoes could be doing more harm than good
We hear a lot of complaints about safety footwear. It’s an all-too familiar problem among customers who’ve struggled to find shoes they can wear all day long. Safety shoes are often uncomfortable and sometimes even painful to wear. But worse still, research suggests that the shoes which are designed to protect your feet, could actually be doing them harm.
Recent studies by scientist and biomechanical researcher Terje Haugaa found that more than 30% of people who wear safety shoes have one or more health-related foot problems. Not only do they suffer foot, knee and leg complaints, but also, poor footwear was shown to have an adverse effect on the wearer’s performance, concentration and energy levels.
Workers simply should not be suffering for the sake of safety. But it’s also a big problem for businesses. If comfort affects performance, then it also affects productivity and profit – serious issues arise simply because of shoes. And that’s why it’s important for managers to consider employees’ shoes carefully - especially the features that can result in discomfort or injury.
Haugaa’s studies show that most offending safety shoes share a simple design fault. They’re designed with a ‘banana’ shape that forces the foot into an unnatural position so it’s unable to flex, rotate and move freely. The footwear may provide protection from other elements in the workplace, but it’s not doing your feet any good.
How do I resolve the uncomfortable safety shoe issue?
Fortunately, there is a solution now available, thanks to the Bata Industrials research team, which teamed up with Haugaa to create a new range of working footwear. The shoes they designed work on a highly effective principle; they don’t deviate more than 1.5cms from the natural longitudinal axis of the foot. In other words, they don’t unnaturally bend or restrict the foot – they work with its natural form.
But the design innovation doesn’t stop there. The Bata Industrials researchers and Haugaa identified a further 17 factors that can trigger or aggravate foot, leg and knee problems. With these in mind, they developed shoes with the right anatomy and ergonomics to promote healthy feet that help keep the wearer alert and energised. The shoes offer:
- Revolutionary design: Safety shoes with the Walkline® Inside technology give feet all the freedom they need to move in a natural manner. They do this thanks to seven unique design features.
- Three-width system: No two feet are alike. This also applies to width - shoes should not be too wide, nor too tight. Walkline® uses a ‘three-width’ system, so that Bata Industrials safety shoes fit properly.
- Natural last: Most safety shoes are based on a curved ‘banana’ shaped last which forces the foot into an improper, cramped position, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the mid-foot’s shock-absorbing ability. Walkline® has a straight last, which gives feet all the room they need to absorb shock in a natural manner while you walk. This means the wearer doesn’t tire as easily, suffers fewer injuries and is more comfortable. A traditional last is not only curved like a banana, but also concave, causing the mid-foot to sag. The Walkline® last, on the other hand, is nearly completely flat, ensuring that the foot’s shock-absorbing ability remains intact.
- Triple shock-absorption system: Shoes with Walkline® Inside have a triple shock-absorption system, consisting of the Tunnelsystem®, shank and mid-sole. This design ensures that the shoe will absorb shock from impact, thus relieving pressure on joints.
- Locking of the foot: A traditional fastening pulls the top of the shoe tightly against the instep, preventing the foot from springing downward. Walkline® applies a fastening system which causes the shoe to be pulled firmly against the heel. The angle of the laces and the shape of the shoe enable the mid-foot to move more freely and in a more natural manner.
- Dynamic sole: Walkline® has a sole with varying densities. By placing harder and softer sections in exactly the right spots on the soles, a perfect balance is created between shock-absorption, stability and support for the foot’s natural rolling movement.
- Flexlines: The Walkline® sole is equipped with ‘Flexlines’ which precisely follow the foot’s flexing zones. This means that the sole gives in just the right places, requiring less energy, so it's less tiring for the wearer and reduces the likelihood of accidents.
- Anti-slip soles: Different types of surfaces demand different soles. Walkline® takes this into account, and uses different combinations of materials and treads that ensure optimal grip on a variety of different types of surfaces.
There are many more advantages for wearers of Bata Industrials safety shoes. For instance, they’re built to optimise the foot’s biomechanical properties by locking the shoe towards the heel and not to the metatarsus (the bones between the ankle and the toes) to help the wearer remain comfortable all day.
Safety will always remain a top priority for PPE. But today’s smart manufacturers truly understand the importance of practicality and comfort for increasing productivity and reducing injuries. The Bata Industrials safety shoe is just one example of how this innovation is working in modern PPE design.
At Anchor Safety, we aim to highlight the products we believe are best for your business and your employees. We supply Bata Industrials safety shoes, so if you have any questions about these or any other items of safety clothing, Anchor Safety can help. Please give us a call on 0800 328 5028