DESPITE the sunshine here in the south of England, the weather has turned very cold. So, it really is time to dig out the winter work gear, write PETER BRETT.
The prospect of muddy jobsites and cold feet and hands is not one I relish. From November to March I usually prefer the comfort and convenience of working indoors, but we cannot always choose where we work.
Boots made for walking
So it was handy to have a nice parcel of JCB branded winter clothing from Progressive Safety Footwear. In the parcel were two pairs of boots for different work sectors.
First up, JCB 5CX boots
The first pair are butch and tough-looking, entitled the 5CX, which provide the following specifications:
• The uppers are made of tough black leather, a feature I like because my feet prefer the comfort that leather promotes.
• The seams are double or quadruple stitched and the protective toecap is covered with a TPU ‘scuff cap’ to remind users these are indeed tough work boots.
• The boots are S1-rated, which is a level above Safety Basic; so safety protection includes anti-static safety, sole-piercing protection, and protection from flames and heat, outside grip, and resistance to some chemicals.
• The sole has a strong ‘blocked’ grip pattern that will help to grip in muddy and wet conditions outdoors – but the downside for indoors, is that they can drop off lumps of mud on interior floor coverings.
The 5cx’s message is clear: they are intended for tough outdoor use, but there’s a particular twist with these boots – although they lace up all the way past ankle level, on the inside ankles, there is a strong YKK zip that can be slid down. This means the boots simply slip straight off.
A leather hook and loop strap helps prevent the zip from sliding down by itself, and the choices offered by the various lacing loops means users can personalise the fit around the ankle for a combination of support and ease of taking on/off.
The boots stay dry, cool and warm through a padded and part-lined material.
My experience of wearing these boots for a few days was they were almost instantly comfortable, and with a chance to adjust the laces and zip over a couple of days, I was soon able to get them to feel like a very tough and protective second skin.
I found they came up a bit smaller than other pairs of JCB boots, so it will pay to try them on if you can, while remembering to take into account a pair of cosy JCB winter work socks.
Secondly, a pair of HYDRADIG/B boots for lighter duty
Next up was a pair of HYDRADIG/B black mesh mid cut boots. With a lightweight sole and mesh fabric construction they are aimed at trades whose work is largely indoors.
The sole reflects this too – it has a lightly-hatched pattern to provide good grip on ‘smooth-ish’ surfaces, which will help remove mud and dirt easily by simply wiping your feet on a doormat.
• These mid-cut boots have a full mesh lining designed for comfort;
• Much like the 5CX, the HYDRADIG/B provide S1-rated levels of protection for toes and sole penetration as well as anti-static insulation and grip, but unlike the leather boots above, they do not resist heat or fire.
Having worn a pair of JCB safety trainers this summer I found that moving up to the mid-cut pattern was seamless. They feel similarly comfortable and the lacing is easy to customise for a compromise between a secure fit and getting them off easily.
Again, on a cold winter’s day it is easy to slip on a pair of slightly thicker JCB work socks to ensure cosy feet.
Some more treats
A warm and rugged sweatshirt is good to have on a cold jobsite. To be part of a more exclusive crowd, the Limited Edition J C Bamford 1945 logo sweatshirt is distinctive – and practical.
Made from polyester and cotton, it is ‘roomy’ and fits comfortably – which is complemented through a thumb loop on the end of the sleeves, which keeps them from riding up and exposing arms to the cold.
The lightly fleecy inner certainly helped to keep me warm and the crew neck kept draughts to a minimum. Of course, it is the first item of clothing to get paint or plaster splattered, but it washes and dries quite easily because of its polyester content.
Underneath the sweatshirt, a subtly branded JCB polo shirt is a great choice.
Made of 100% polyester it is breathable, antibacterial, pill-resistant, colour fast and anti-stretch. In summer, it will also protect its wearer from UV light.
The sleeves and underarms of the shirt are made with a breathable mesh fabric (as seen on football strips) and these help to keep the wearer fragrant.
I have already mentioned the warm JCB socks – I have a couple of pairs now – but the additional pair will help solve the one pair on, one pair washed and last pair in the laundry basket dilemma.
Not-so baggy trousers
Finally, the JCB Trade Plus Rip Stop Work Trousers (in grey and black), are styled in a classic and comfortable way.
I find these trousers suit me very well for most jobs because they are not only tough and practical but comfortable too.
With seven substantial belt loops (an extra wide one at the back to avoid builder’s bottom) they stay up. I like the holster pockets on the front of each thigh, but of course they are very easy to overload with tape measure, knife, pencils etc etc. Not the trousers’ fault though!
With nine other pockets for everything from a screwdriver to the ever-present mobile phone, these trousers are a useful standard layout that has many applications in a variety of trades.
I almost always manage to test the rip-stop qualities of the material via a nail or bit of scaffolding – but it is what it says – Rip Stop.
In my experience, the JCB clothing above has scored well for practicality, comfort and washing. There is an advantage to a coordinated work wardrobe – it adds to comfort and even safety, and the JCB ranges come without a premium price tag.