This paper presents the results of an extensive survey concerning the experience of safety footwear end-users. Safety footwear has been in widespread use across many industries worldwide since the 1970s, and has become an essential part of industrial Personal Protective Equipment. The number of women entering predominantly male industrial environments, and requiring safety footwear is rising, and this is accompanied by anecdotal reports of ill-fitting and uncomfortable footwear. This research proactively compares the opinions of women and men regarding their experience of safety footwear. A systematically designed survey aims to substantiate previously anecdotal knowledge around safety footwear, including key drivers for end-user purchases, wear habits and comfort issues (establishing any differences between women and men). Chi-squared testing was used to assess statistical significance and ensure robustness of findings. The responses and resulting analysis confirmed that comfort and fit were key drivers for all end users; women and men have different wear habits (women wear their safety footwear less frequently and for shorter periods of time than men – likely due to the reported comfort issues); a significant proportion of women (60%) found their safety footwear less comfortable than their regular footwear, however, 45% of men also reported the same, which has not been reported anecdotally. In general, the users of safety footwear accepted a level of discomfort in at least one area of the foot before deeming footwear ‘uncomfortable’. The significant analysis performed on the captured data has, to the authors knowledge, never before been undertaken for this breadth of industry, age and gender with 632 responses received. This makes it the largest study of this field to date.
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Safety footwear
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Engineering (miscellaneous)