What Is A Composite Toe Boot?

Steel-toe boots have been the go-to protective footwear for a lot of people. These are heavy work boots that can protect your feet from hazards such as falling or rolling objects. But, there is another kind of work boot that has been gaining popularity over the years. 

Composite toe boots, as the name suggests, are made up of composite materials to protect the feet from risks and injuries in the workplace. They are constructed with lightweight materials that make composite toe boots lighter than steel-toe boots. 

In this article, we will be talking about the different kinds of materials used in composite toe boots. We will also be discussing the pros and cons of these boots. So, if you are new to composite toe boots, read on to see if you should make the switch or just stick to steel-toe boots.

What Are Composite Toe Boots?

What Are Composite Toe Boots

A composite toe boot is a type of protective footwear that is designed to protect your feet against hazards in the workplace. 

These boots are commonly worn by people in the manual labor industry. 

Falling or rolling objects, high heat, and electrical incidents are some of the common risks people face in a manual labor workplace. This is why along with hard hats, people wear safety boots for protection.

Composite toe boots are designed to be able to handle dangers in the workplace which is why there is a protective toe cap in safety boots.

Safety shoes are actually required by OSHA in work areas that are prone to risks and injuries. The American Society for Testing and Materials also has a standard requirement for work boots. Safety shoes that have the ASTM tag meant that they passed the standards and procedures for safety set by the ASTM.

Materials Used In A Composite Toe Boot

Unlike steel-toe boots, composite toe boots do not have a steel-toe cap. It is called a composite toe because it is made up of various materials such as Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, Plastic, and Fiberglass.

These materials create strong non-metal protection for the toes.

And, since it is a non-metal toe cap, you can pass through metal detectors with no problem if the rest of the boots have no metal parts in them.

Let’s take a look at the different materials used in a composite toe boot.


According to Wikipedia, “Kevlar is a strong, heat-resistant synthetic fiber.” Kevlar is a form of aramid fiber that was developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965.

It is a lightweight fiber but is five times stronger than steel. It is also a material used in bulletproof vests as it can be used as protection against bullets.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is another lightweight and high-strength material used in composite toe boots. It is lighter than steel but it is also stronger and stiffer than steel. Carbon fiber is also a material that has a high-temperature tolerance.


Composite toe boots have Plastic such as Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) as its component. This kind of plastic has elastic and flexible properties while still being durable and strong. TPU is used rather than Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) as TPU has a longer lifespan than PVC.


Fiberglass is a reinforced plastic material made of glass that is melted into thin fibers. This material is very durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions which is why it is used as a material in composite toe boots.

Composite Toe Boot: Weight

Since composite toe boots are made up of various materials that are lightweight, these boots are lighter compared to steel-toe boots. Composite toe boots can weigh between 1.75 lbs and 4 lbs while steel toe work boots can weigh around 3 to 4.5 lbs.

The lighter weight of the boots is preferred by a lot of people especially those who walk around a lot in their workplace. Composite toe boots work well as protective footwear with a lighter and more comfortable design.

Some people who are on their feet a lot prefer composite toe boots as they feel that the shoes do not add to their fatigue because of their weight.

Composite Toe Boot: Insulation

The composite toe caps are non-conductive, meaning they are not able to conduct heat, cold, and even electricity. This makes it a great option for electricians and builders.

Most work boots have insulation in them but steel caps tend to get colder, especially during winter which is why most people prefer composite work boots.

Benefits of Composite Toe Boots

There is a reason why composite toe boots are popular among a lot of workers.

Composite boots are lighter than steel-toe boots but it does not compromise safety for the weight. Composite work boots can still protect your feet as the materials used are very durable.

Since composite toes are non-conductive, which means they will not only not conduct electricity, but they’ll keep you warmer than steel toes in the cold. 

Since composite toe boots are lightweight, people who wear these boots said that they have less leg fatigued as the weight of the shoes is not wearing them down.

Drawbacks of Composite Toe Boots

While composite toe boots can provide protection from risks such as falling or rolling objects, repeated impact can affect the composite toe cap. If your composite toe boots have been repeatedly hit by heavy objects, you might have to replace them quickly more than you would like.

Once the composite toe cap has been compromised, it may not be enough to protect your feet from hazards.

Composite toe boots can also be more expensive because of the various materials that are used for the toe cap.

Composite Toe Boots vs. Steel Toe Boots: Which is Better?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. It will largely depend on your workload whether you would prefer to use a composite toe vs a steel-toe boot.

Workplaces often require their workers to wear steel-toe boots as steel toe caps can offer more protection and withstand repeated impacts than composite toe boots can.

If you are planning on getting safety boots for work, make sure to check what kind of safety boots your job or the site you will be working in would require.

If you work with heavy types of machinery or very demanding workloads, steel toes would be better as they can withstand more pressure than composite toe boots.

While electricians and freelance contractors might prefer composite toe boots as they are lighter and they do not usually use heavy types of machinery as part of their job.

Are Composite Toe Boots OSHA Approved?

Are Composite Toe Boots OSHA Approved

Yes, composite toe boots are OSHA Approved and they are also ASTM-approved. 

Composite toe boots meet the ASTM F2413-18 standards.

Safety work boots usually have a tag pertaining to the ASTM safety features. This means that that particular work boot has been approved by ASTM.


Both definitely have their advantages and both can protect your feet from injuries. Composite toe boots are just lighter and are made of various materials like Kevlar, plastic, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. In comparison, steel-toe boots are traditionally made out of steel which makes them heavier.

Whether you plan on switching to composite toe boots or not, check your workplace first to see if they require steel-toe or composite work boots.