Safety Footwear is a No-Brainer
I routinely wear safety footwear every working day just because it makes a huge amount of sense. But I am still surprised by how many tradespeople don’t. Before getting safety shoes, I had suffered from sore toes because of stuff that got dropped on them, and once I had a really nasty 4-inch nail through the bottom of a cleated rubber sole that narrowly avoided being serious.
Truth is, nowadays, there really isn’t a good reason not to invest in a pair of safety shoes, simply because there is a huge range of very good ones available at very good prices, in all sizes and many styles to suit just about anyone. I am actually spoilt since I have acquired a small range of shoes and boots that pretty well cover all my needs – indoors and out, wet and dry.
I was pleased to welcome the KEZ trainer and EAZY boot from Buckler Boots to my boot rack. They are a new addition to the wide range of Buckler Boots that includes not only safety footwear, but also non-safety footwear for walkers, farming and leisure related activities. A look at the Buckler Boots catalogue is very informative – in my view it has pretty well something for everyone.
The KEZ and EAZY styles have been launched only this summer, and are designed for the lighter use end of the market – light trades, driving, indoor maintenance and factory floor wear. This end of the market has different needs from the real heavy duty applications – the shoes and boots need to be lighter, and more in line with fashion trends. They also need to be supremely comfortable, since they are going to be worn for long stretches at a time, but could also afford to be less water protected than others intended for major outdoor use.
The first shoes I tried on for review were the KEZ and what made that decision for me was the weather – it has been blazing hot here in Sussex and I wanted a lighter style of shoe to wear to a job refurbishing and repairing an outdoor swimming pool. It was not only the heat factor that came into play here - a lot of the job involved working on my knees, so you need flexible footwear that allows your feet to bend easily when you are on your knees.
First impressions were great – they came fully laced and simply by loosening the laces a bit they could be slid onto my feet. The padded inside “soccerball” linings of the KEZ makes for instant comfort, and even my wide feet had enough room despite the fact that the shoes looked a lot like ordinary trainers.
They also feel quite light – not at all ”clompy” – you can actually walk quietly and lightly around indoors and they feel like trainers.
On my first day of wearing them I took a spare pair of workshoes with me in case the comfort factor ‘wore off’ during the day. I find it hard to work when I have sore feet! But, in fact, I went the whole day and the rest of the week wearing the KEZ without really noticing I had them on my feet – the sign of true comfort I think.
As you might have gathered, comfort is the number one priority for me, and that test was passed with flying colours, so I really ought to say something about the construction of the shoe to reassure readers that it is a safety shoe as well.
The upper is black KPU with a composite toecap and the Buckstop anti-static, anti-penetration, non-metallic midsole. It is heat (300 degree C) and oil resistant and is 100% non-metallic with a certified rubber slip resistant, non-marking sole and anti- scuff toecap. Not a bad package in a shoe that takes its design cues from sports and active wear designs. The all-important EN S1HRO SRC certification has been met in full, so users can take comfort that they are indeed ‘proper’ safety shoes despite the fashionable looks of them.
The EAZY BK
The EAZY boot style has the same design origins as the KEZ, in the sense that it is designed to look a bit less workboot and a lot more ‘fashionable’. The uppers are largely made of leather, and I am quite a sucker for the use of leather in footwear because I tend to find it more comfortable and ‘breathable’ than completely man made materials. (I must admit the EAZY is changing my mind on this – a longer term wearing of both EAZY and KEZ might give me more info)
EAZY is also aimed at a similar audience – basically lighter trades that often work indoors where the non-marking sole is quite important. Delivery drivers shouldn’t leave black marks on the new laminate or tiled floors of offices.
The soles of both EAZY and KEZ are works of art in themselves because they have several areas designed to do different things. For example, the front and back sections of the sole have angular sipes that give extra grip on toes and heels for those occasions when the shoes are being worn outdoors. And it also has a large section in the middle, with deep ribs that provide easy grip on flat surfaces with a slightly raised heel for comfort.
Of course, the sole is also heat, oil, water and slip resistant, anti-static and meets the EN S3 HRO SRC certified requirements.
With a steel toecap there is a bit more of an obvious swell on the toe area of the boot, but I found that the cushion comfort insole made my feet feel safe and secure.
It does take a little more effort to get the boots on first thing since the laces come up higher on the ankle, but it is easy to find the comfort level. Like the KEZ trainers, within a short time of putting them on, I found that I hardly noticed them – my feet just felt comfortable. No doubt when the weather gets colder they will get a bit more of a run out – and I am certain that they will do the job well.
Buckler Boots are new to me, but my experience of them tells me that they are comfortable and well specified – they do the job well. The list of testimonials from other users is a long one too, so Buckler Boots are definitely worth a look.
Aimed at: Professional wearers largely for regular indoor use
Pros: New sole design gives good grip, meets all the specs and very comfortable.