Shanks shape and define your work boots. Both steel and composite come with their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see how different Steel Shanks vs Composite Shanks in Work Boots!
Steel Shanks vs Composite Shanks Comparison Chart
|Much cheaper than composite shanksFor low budget wearers
|More expensive due to architecture
|Designed to be more lightweight
|Heavier and consume more energy than the composite shanks
|Provide with the superior protection, especially the toeAssist to protect against puncture
|Served to protect many for several decades Protect well the toe partProvide better electrical resistance
|Best protection but be careful when choosing the size as it is not stretch
|Offer overall more relaxed feelingLightweight structureConsistent comfort for long hours
|Steel shanks make sure to save you from multiple time, dealing with heavy equipmentsNot for the place with metal detector passages
|Convenient in the place with metal detector passage
|Poor in terms of insulation when dealt with cold weather
|Having better insulation for cold weather Keep feet warm and provide the comfort
I am sure that you already imagine the differences between steel shanks vs composite shanks in many types of work boots. From that, you can find what will be suitable ones for you. If you are interested in finding more details about steel toe and composite toe, steel shank and composite shank, even nylon and TPU shanks keep reading!
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What is a Steel Shank in Work Boot?
Steel shank boots come up as rugged and reliable shoes; steel shanks provide excellent support and protection for your geet. Most of the steel shank boots are designed for rugged and harsh working conditions when you need protection and support against external hazards.
Steel shanks boots are used in different fieldwork such as factories and construction sites. The Skechers steel shank comfortable work boot is a flat piece inserted in your boots. It could be seen beneath your boots’ arch, between the ball and heel area. They are primarily designed to fit the natural shape of footwear.
Steel toe and shank work boots are the safest boots. These boots are durable with the protective reinforcement in the toe for protecting your foot from falling compression or objects.
What is Composite Shank in Work Boot?
Composite shanks are also called nonmetal shanks. These are composed of materials such as plastic, nylon, and fiberglass. The composite shank will be much warmer and softer than the steel shanks. Because of their specific material characteristics, they provide lightweight and flexible properties. However, it would help if you did not think that the lightweight and more flexibility means it can not protect well.
Besides, these work boots will give you enough room for moving naturally and ease the pain and stress in your arches. Moreover, they also offer a lot of support. However, it can not stand on the rocks and sharp objects as the steel shank.
What is Nylon Shank?
Nylon, fiberglass, and plastic shank are almost the same. These are warmer and softer than the steel shank boot. However, they are very supportive. Thanks to their excellent materials, they are flexible and lightweight; hence, you can move quickly in place.
Besides, these boots provide you enough bend for creating natural movement. Its support also helps to ease the stress in your arches. Although they can not be as good at standing up to sharp and rocks objects as steel mad, they can still help stabilize your step. The boots with nylon shank are made for lightweight and reduce foot fatigue.
When it comes to work boots, the shank is an important component. Nylon shanks can be a lightweight and flexible alternative to steel or composite shanks, providing the right support for the foot while also being less expensive. Check out this article on shoe anatomy to learn more about how the different parts of a shoe work together to provide comfort and support.
What is a TPU Shank?
TPU is a short form of thermoplastic polyurethane material. Some of the good properties of this type of plastic are flexibility, abrasion resistance, transparency, and oil resistance. Thanks to these properties, it is high shear strength and performs well even under low temperatures. Hence, it is commonly used for the construction of high-quality winter boots.
The primary purpose of this TPU shank in the shoes is to provide extra support, stability, and strength. Besides, these shanks also support properly hending the shoes and boots at the toe area. It can avoid abrupt breaking and damaging footwear while running and walking.
Steel toe vs Composite Toe Work Boots
There are three things to consider for determining which boots are suitable for you.
Firstly, ask yourself if there are any specified boots required for the job and the specifications? Then, if you do not have any specified boots, decide if the job is likely to deal with falling objects or machinery that could damage your toes. If neither of 2 above, decide if a heavier or lighter boot will be more comfortable for your working conditions.
Check out our guide to the 10 types of work boots to learn more about the different features and options for work boots, including composite toe options. Composite toe work boots are lightweight and provide excellent protection against electrical hazards. They’re a great alternative to traditional steel toe work boots.
Steel toe work boots
The classic work boots are the steel toe, which is standard for protecting your foot. When going for the steel toe boots, it is crucial to find one that includes the steel shank.
Pros: The steel toe work boots will be less expensive, but you will get the maximum protection from heavy falling items and equipment such as grinders or chainsaws.
Cons: It might be pretty heavy and not very comfortable with the smaller toe box, and they also set off the metal detectors such as the alloy toe.
Alloy toe work boots
Alloy toe work boots are also one of the most popular safety toes. They are made of light materials such as titanium or aluminum, but they are strong as steel. It is a combination of other materials, making them 30-50% lighter than the steel toe and giving more toe room.
Pros: Be up to 50% lighter than a steel toe. It is designed thinner. Hence, you will get more room in the toe box.
Cons: These boots can run more expensive. However, you can find that it is worth it for comfort and safety. They also set off the metal detectors.
Composite Toe Work Boots
If you are looking for a moderate level of protection, you should go for composite boots. Composite is also another good choice for protective footwear which helps you to get the job done.
These boots are lighter weight, do not set off the metal detectors, and hold in the heat better when working in the cold weather. If you need to work around the electricity or out in the element, composite toe boots will be perfect. Besides, it is also comfortable for all-day wear.
Pros: It supports working in extreme high or low temps. It is comfortable, and they will not heat our cold down like the metal toe. These boots can be 30% or lighter than the steel toes.
Cons: They can not make as much impact and compression as the alloy and steel toe.
Is the shank necessary in work boots?
Apart from structural aspects, the shanks play an essential role in foot support. If you wear the shoes without a strong shank, the boot might flex far more than it should.
Are the steel shank boots comfortable?
As mentioned, shanks are made of steel that can help you work for longer, more balance, comfort, and support those painful and even overworked arches.
Is a fiberglass shank perfect for climbing?
If you climb the ladders and stomp on the shovels, you should have more minor ladder rung bruises and stone bruises with the protective feature. The nylon shank and fiberglass shank are warmer and softer but still very supportive for climbing.
Are composite toe caps as safe as steel toe caps?
If using the correct skills and techniques, composite toe caps are as safe as steel toe caps for compression and impact.
Can the steel toes cut your toes off?
No, the steel toe boots will never cut off your toes. If the item is heavy or the impact is strong, it might result in broken bones but will never severe off your toes.
Do composite toe boots get cold?
No, composite toe boots will not make your feet cold. You can work through even the deepest snow, and the composite boots will never pass that cold into your feet. Or even better, you can prefer these insulated work boots.
Can I remove the steel toe from the boots?
Yes, you can take the steel toe out of your boots by using the pliers, hammer, or shoe glue and razor blades. Take out by pliers and glue the tone parts of boots.