Safety Footwear Standards Explained

Posted by Cathy Houghton at

All safety footwear must meet the minimum safety standards set out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The current standard for Safety Footwear across Europe (EN) is EN ISO 20345:2011. This was updated in 2011 to make it stricter.

Under this standard, all safety footwear must now have toe protection against a 200 joule impact. This is the amount of energy the toe region can absorb before breaking.  All new products must be manufactured and certified under EN ISO 20345:2011.

Any product certified under any previous version of the standard (2004; 2007) was required to be recertified.

SB           Basic requirements for safety footwear with a toe cap resistant to an impact of 200 Joules

S1           Basic requirements of SB+ Closed heel area, Energy absorption at seat area, Antistatic properties, Resistance to fuel oil.

S1P         S1 standard plus Penetration resistance (steel midsole or Composite)(P)

S2           S1 standard plus water penetration and absorption resistant

S3           S2 standard plus Penetration resistance, Cleated outsole

S4           S1 standard plus entirely moulded polymer/rubber upper (e.g Wellington Boots) making them waterproof and leak proof.

S5           S4 standard plus Midsole penetration resistance

Slip resistance ratings

Footwear that has passed tests for slip resistance will also have one of the following codes:


Tested on ceramic tile wetted with sodium lauryl sulphate (a diluted soap solution)


Tested on steel with glycerol


Tested under SRA and SRB conditions

Additional symbols/abbreviations

P – Penetration resistance

C – Conductive

A – Antistatic

I – Electricity insulating footwear

WR – Water Resistance

M – Metatarsal Protection

AN – Ankle Protection

CR – Cut Resistant Upper

WRU – Water Penetration and Water Absorption Upper

HRO – Outsole Resistance to Hot Contact

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published