An increasingly ‘comfy’ safetyWork and safety shoes increasingly go beyond the concept of mere ‘protection’, a concept that rather becomes the starting point in offering the end user an increasingly high level of comfort. Accordingly, we find work and safety footwear that is lightweight, breathable, capable of keeping the foot dry, without seams, and with highly technological and anti-fatigue soles, etc. From A+A 2017, the worldwide leading platform of reference for safety and health at work, which is held every two years, – here is a selection of the latest innovations that best interpret this important trend.
- Redlion by U Power
- Arctic Grip Pro by Vibram
- New Evolution by Alba & N
- Monti – Running Line by Cofra
- Gore-Tex Surround Line by Grisport
- Urban Line and Jogging Line by Bicap
- Noramax and Noratherm by Nora
- Evolution 2.0 and Dot.it Line by Lewer
- SKL OU2 by Neri
- Glove Tech and D-Trail by Diadora
- Kaptiv™ Line by Base Protection
- Ufo by Sir Safety System
- “Cuban Boa” Rhythm by Sixton Peak
- Gravel and Twister Models by Garsport
U Power – Gaetano Orlando
“New Redlion footwear, introduced into the market in March 2017, revolutionised the way jobs are done, while meeting up with a resounding success, especially among small-sized artisanal companies. This is thanks to the exclusive Infinergy technology developed by worldwide chemical leader BASF, which Redlion has inserted into the soles of its footwear through an anti-fatigue gel insert, thus creating the first genuine ‘resilient’ work shoe capable of providing an energy return with each step taken. Infinergy is, in fact, the first expanded TPU, which as such combines the properties typical of thermoplastic PU with the specific advantages of foam, uniting seemingly contrasting features like softness and comfort from one end, with stability and resilience from the other end. Initially conceived for the sports world, Infinergy technology allows energy to be stored and then returned through the sole of the shoe during the phase of foot movement, pushing the foot forward with a 55% coefficient of restitution. Moreover, unlike traditional foams, Infinergy retains an elastic memory at temperatures ranging from +40°C to -20°C”.
Vibram – Chiara Broggini (Green Media Lab)
“The latest proposal from Vibram is its innovative Arctic Grip Pro technology, the most advanced anti-slip system for wet icy surfaces, which has been developed in a special version and in collaboration with its partner companies Cat, DeWalt, Jalas, Maspica, Mogepam, Royer, Sixton Peak, and Solid Gear. Accordingly, ‘all rubber’ inserts, without the addition of any metallic parts, are combined with special compounds developed in collaboration and exclusively for the above-mentioned companies, in order to give life to especially high performance collections that are longer lasting and capable of guaranteeing greater comfort for the end user. Arctic Grip technology, which is specially designed for wet icy surfaces, also guarantees an excellent grip on greasy surfaces and at extreme temperatures ranging up to -40 degrees”.
Alba & N – Michele Rizzi
“Today, we focus above all on greater lightness and breathability. In the former case, the latest proposal is the New Evolution line, which is an evolution of our iconic product. It is characterised by an extremely light sole united with an elevated grip that is guaranteed by its special trademark design. In terms of greater breathability, an important innovation is the Performer prototype, which is characterised by a tri-colour – and aesthetically striking – injected sole, a knit-effect perforated nylon upper that is extremely breathable, and a high resistance to abrasion”.
Cofra – Giuseppe Ricco
“The new Running Line ‘Monti’ model is characterised by a use of innovative seamless fabric that is extremely tough but also very comfortable at the same time, and resistant to abrasion, waterproof, and breathable. S3 certification for water resistance and a high level of breathability make this model ideal for use throughout the entire day, both indoors and outdoors, in maximum comfort”.
Grisport – Giovanni Grigolato
“Among our latest leading products is the Gore-Tex Surround Line, made up by 6 models – 4 Low and 2 Mid – which are characterised by an upper and sole fitted with an exclusive system that guarantees maximum breathability and water resistance, while keeping the foot constantly dry and in maximum comfort”.
Bicap – Giuseppe Battaglia
“The latest arrival presented in a sneak preview at A+A is the Urban collection, which offers the user an especially lightweight feel and high level of comfort. In fact, it is characterised by an ultralight aluminium toe-cap with Flex Textile Plate anti-perforation multi-layered fabric midplate, and a perfumed PU footbed that eliminates bad odours resulting from sweat, along with an ultra-thin sole, thus diversifying it from the ‘classic’ work shoe.
Another brand new proposal developed in terms of comfort and high performance is the Jaquard technology used in the Jogging Line, where the upper is seamless and made of nylon fabric that is ultra-resistant to abrasion and wear-and-tear”.
Nora (Spirale) – Giulia Baron
“Our company has a longstanding tradition behind it in the production of PVC and TPR boots, but today we are capable of offering also a new line of polyurethane boots, which is lighter and more resistant, as well as capable of maintaining a constant foot temperature inside the shoe, without making it sweat. The line includes two models – Noramax and Noratherm –, which are fitted with a heat-sealed seamless inner lining, that is accordingly more comfortable, and a removable Ortholite insole, for a feeling of comfort that is without equal. Noramax revamps the garden version of our traditional work boots and proposes reinforced metal toe-caps and soles that are S5 certified, S4 certified metal toe-caps, or 20347 without metallic protection. Moreover, it comes available in Food, Industrial, and Agriculture versions. Noratherm is instead specifically designed to withstand low temperatures, ranging up to -40 degrees, and is S5 certified”.
Lewer – Raffaella and Antonio Scotto
“In 2017, we celebrated thirty years of activity in the safety footwear industry and our main value has always been that of providing comfort, while guaranteeing that each of our products has the highest level of flexibility and breathability. In accordance with our mission, the Evolution 2.0 Line that is fitted with Track Tyres soles was developed, and it stands out for its unique softness and slip resistance. The outsole, made of compact material, features a design based on the tread of truck tires, with a grip that is 20% superior to the minimum required by law, and resistance to wear-and-tear and abrasion. A dual density polyurethane compound designed to absorb impacts and energy in the heel area ensures the complete well-being of the foot. Another important feature for comfort is the weight, which has been reduced by 18%.
The second new proposal regards the Dot.it Line, with its main advantages lying in its softness and grip (a +20% greater grip than the minimum required by law). In this line, the Shark model stands out in particular. It is a sneaker conceived from a partnership with Crotone soccer, with Lewer as the main sponsor: a work shoe designed for the arts and crafts industry, which is lightweight and attractive, with an aluminium toe-cap, anti-perforation insole, and extra-resistant nylon and suede upper completed by an Air Plus lining, with a high evaporation rate and resistance to abrasion”.
Neri – Gessica Iori
“Maximum comfort is the concept guiding our new work shoe: SKL OU2. Characterising it is a newly conceived sole, designed to allow the foot the possibility of assuming the best and most natural position, with significant benefits for the back and joints, while also allowing for a decreased level of fatigue during work hours. Since it is free of sharp edges, this sole guarantees a high degree of adherence to terrain, while the self-cleaning grooves keep liquids far away. The special cradle shape, instead, creates a pendulum-like effect that supports muscles and posture. Moreover, it is fitted with an energy-absorption system in the heel area, capable of reducing the amount of stress placed on joints, while providing correct support to the body’s weight. Made from a special high density PU compound (in the tread) and low density PU (in the midsole), the sole is antistatic, and resistant to oils, hydrocarbons, and abrasion. OU2 footwear is made using technical state-of-the-art materials, which are especially lightweight, breathable, resistant, and long-lasting, with a new toe-cap in aluminium alloy and anti-perforation midplate in ultralight fibre. The padded lining in breathable Dry Pol fabric that extends to include also the toe-cap, and the antistatic inner lining with antibacterial treatment, contribute to making this footwear extremely comfortable”.
Diadora Utility – Claudia Zapperini
“The iconic Glove model, our bestseller for more than 10 years, today is proposed in a new version called Glove Tech, which makes use of innovative Net Breathing System technology, proposing itself as the most breathable safety footwear available on the market. The system, designed by Geox laboratories, is based on a breathable membrane placed within the midsole, which maintains a constant temperature inside the shoe during its use, thus guaranteeing maximum comfort. Enriching the model is also the use of high quality Perwanger leather, which offers excellent advantages in terms of water resistance, together with a high degree of breathability.
Another important new addition is the D-Trail line, designed specifically to offer maximum comfort in all weather conditions, thanks to the use of a special Sympatex membrane, which guarantees maximum resistance to water and wind, in accordance with WR certification standards. The Sympatex membrane, which is extremely slim and elastic, is made of a non-toxic polyester that is completely free of fluorocarbons, and therefore 100% recyclable”.
Base Protection – Enzo de Gennaro
“More comfort equals more safety: this is the idea that is at the heart of Base Protection’s designs and production, because an employee working in comfortable conditions is less tired, and accordingly more focused and reactive to dangerous situations. In connection with this philosophy are the newly conceived models of the Kaptiv™ line, which will be available starting from the end of February 2018. With a sporty and young style, they are characterised by the use of i-daptive™ technology; an intelligent, active, and adjustable system that can be adapted to suit a number of different footwear uses. They can be worn both in indoor and outdoor work environments, and during activities that require constant movement or which require the same position to be held for long periods. I-daptive™ allows for the dissipation of energy that is released when the foot comes into contact with the ground, thus reducing painful shocks that can travel through the legs all the way up to the spinal column. The new patent provides stability when walking, in order to correct posture problems, while realigning the feet, thus reducing the risk of trauma and sprains. Moreover, the system manages to neutralize imperfections in the floor, while also overcoming the presence of stones, in favour of stability. I-daptive™ maintains a constant equilibrium for the feet, favouring a correct posture during each and every moment of the day on all surface types”.
Sir Safety System – Antonio Spaccapanico
“Our latest innovation in terms of footwear is called Ufo, which was developed in collaboration with Michelin specifically for use on slippery and uneven surfaces. The sole’s inspiration comes from the Michelin Pilot Road 3 motorcycle tire, which is characterised by an innovative design, allowing for a stronger grip on wet surfaces, while the high performance compound ensures maximum adaptability on every kind of terrain. Available in three models, and in S1P and S3 versions, the shoe features an upper that is almost seamless, and therefore more comfortable and flexible, using highly technological materials in its production. The rubber print finishes ensure greater mechanical resistance, without sacrificing the lightness and breathability. Another new proposal is the Ultra Light Line, which has been designed to reply to the demand of workers for especially lightweight, breathable, and comfortable footwear. In fact, the series combines a state-of-the-art seamless ‘one-piece’ upper in anti-abrasion knit nylon, with a rubber sole and ultra-flexible and ergonomic EVA midsole”.
Sixton Peak – Angela Canton
“The latest fruit of Sixton Peak’s research is “Cuban Boa” Rhythm footwear, resulting from a constant quest for lightness. The brand new FiberTop selected microfiber and Suede with a high degree of resistance, softness, and eco-compatibility, perform an exclusive action of waterproofing and breathability, while also providing an incredibly lightweight feeling. Moreover, new “Sxt pro-tech light” polyurethane technology protects the microfiber of the toe-cap, which is subject to wear-and-tear in work environments that are classified ‘light duty’, like in the logistics, automotive, and transportation sectors. The quick and personalised BOA fastening system instead allows for a perfect fit. Comfort and energy absorption are ensured also by the anatomical “Soft-Fit” insole, capable of offering support and shock-absorption, in order to satisfy every requirement of torsional stability. Finally, protection from perforation is guaranteed by the “Zero (k) anti-perforation” fabric insert, but if desired, the footwear also comes available in a simple S1 certified version. Other options include K+ anti-perforation inserts in preparation for the upcoming EN 12568 safety standard, with normal anti-static properties or with those for ESD areas”.
Garsport – Mauro Garbuio
“Among the new products we proposed at A+A, is the Gravel model, which comes available in a Low and Mid version. It is characterised by a sole realised in collaboration with Michelin and inspired by the Cross Climate road tire, the first genuine summer tire to also be winter certified. Thanks to the V sculpture design, which we also find in the new Adaptive Sole Unit solution, maximum adherence on the snow and on wet surfaces is ensured, with wide grooves that make the discharging of water and other liquids easy, while sturdy side lugs allow for greater stability and control. The innovative compound makes this model suitable for indoor and outdoor jobs, with optimal performance in any kind of weather, and at temperatures ranging from – 10° to + 30°. Completing the footwear is a lightweight and flexible EVA insole, toe-cap with shatterproof fiberglass support, a rapid M4 fastening Boa System in the Mid version and L6 in the Low version, anti-perforation Carpentir midplate, and removable insole that is antibacterial and perfumed.
Another important innovation is the Twister model, which is also fitted with a Michelin Adaptive Sole Unit, together with a highly resistant nylon upper that is free of inserts and stitching, in order to offer maximum resistance and comfort. Moreover, it is enriched by photoengraving for a more striking design. At A+A, we also presented our line of safety apparel for the first time, which is completely Made in Italy and manufactured following the same concept of the footwear. So, it is capable of combining high performance features with a striking design, while it is produced exclusively with natural fibres and inserts in the points most subject to wear”.