safety footwear and ergonomics

Safety footwear and ergonomics

This post is also available in: German

ergonomie_schuh_300pxIn relation to work, the term ergonomics is understood to cover optimising working conditions, operational processes and the workspace in order to protect employees from fatigue and dangers.
The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs cites problems relating to the musculoskeletal system as a common cause of work incapacity and early retirement (due to reduced ability to work). The majority of problems relate to the joints and spine. Among other factors, the occurrence of these illnesses is directly linked to the type of movement, energy expended, loads, posture, vibration and fatigue. To combat this, in the first instance it is necessary to adjust work processes, workspaces and conditions – all this falls under the general umbrella of ergonomics in the workplace. In working environments where safety and protective clothing must be worn, a further factor that has not thus far been paid much attention is safety footwear, which has a great influence on the body, movement and load. Studies* have shown that in addition to plantar pressure distribution, the construction and design of shoes also affects the body from joint angles in the legs all the way up to upper body posture. Accordingly, it is possible to alter the muscle activation and the strain that is placed on the different areas.

waermebild_schuh_300pxInsufficient support and pressure points can cause foot pain. Given the connection between bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles, the source of commonly occurring problems in the spinal area can often be found in the feet. Pressure distribution across the foot and joint angles is influenced by the individual foot shape and position as well as walking and rolling movements. Other potential negative factors include incorrect foot positioning, such as hollow, flat and splay foot. These malpositions already cause a change in pressure distribution when standing. Other differences that arise in joint angle positioning can also lead to an increase or decrease in muscle and joint pressure by shifting the leverage and points at which force is applied.

Which components of a safety shoe can influence the effects?


Sole construction

The sole construction can influence the parameters of pressure distribution and joint angles mentioned above. The shape of the sole affects the area on which the force has an impact and therefore also the pressure distribution. In the same way, joint positions that are adopted on contact with the ground can also be adjusted. This applies both when the foot is placed down and during the rolling movement when walking. Additional supporting or guiding elements are commonly incorporated into the sole structure. safety footwear inner soleThese serve to correct foot malalignments and control movement in order to ultimately prevent injury and strain damage. For example, to reduce overpronation of the foot and prevent adverse strain through this movement, medial supports are often attached to the inner side of the foot. Special torsion reinforcements are quite common in the metatarsal area as they reduce the ability of the front and back of the foot to rotate, thereby preventing injury.
Ergonomic sole design also features in safety footwear in the uvex 1 product range. The sole has an optimised mid-foot torsion stability, flexible grooves to increase movement and a pivot point to support rotation in the front of foot. Overall, the design of the outsole supports the natural movement of the foot from the heel along the outer mid-foot all the way to the big toe.


Shock absorption

Without additional shock-absorbing elements, the body must, to a certain extent, absorb the forces that occur when walking itself. Consequently, the forces are distributed to areas of natural subcutaneous fat. The level of absorption is increased through adjustment of joints by bending more strongly when there is greater pressure. The higher the shock absorption in the shoe, the lower the energy requirements of an individual’s muscles to process the corresponding forces. This also applies to strain on joints and all the way up the spine. The additional material increases the surface area and thereby reduces the pressure on zones that are placed under extreme load. The type of material and shape of the sole determine the level of shock absorption and materials of different densities are applied. A greater level of shock absorption is achieved through lower density materials and a higher number of sole layers. EVA materials are often used in sports footwear, with the addition of gel or air pockets in some cases. Depending on the area of application, PUR or rubber soles are often used for safety footwear.  The uvex 1 safety footwear range has a multi-layer sole system, with the mid-sole made from a PUR material with low density to provide optimum shock absorption.



The structure and material of a safety footwear shaft have a major impact on the comfort of the wearer. In addition to fit and breathability, the supporting elements are also critical. Breathable materials are used to create a climate inside the shoe that is as comfortable as possible for the wearer. safety footwear: stress on ankleThe aim is to wick away moisture coming from the foot and ensure good air circulation. For the best-possible result, this should occur across all layers of the shaft. Wearer comfort also comprises the prevention of friction and pressure points. Ways of achieving this include integrating a padded tongue or collar in the shoe, so that there are no hard edges or rough transitions. The uvex 1 safety footwear range includes a special construction to provide a certain amount of stability for the foot. There is an extension to the outsole which goes beyond the shaft and in this way provides reinforcement. The sole therefore supports the mid-foot and heel, which protects against incorrect strain and going over on the joint.



A further important factor that influences the decision for or against a particular safety footwear model is fit. The individual shape of the foot again plays a role. In addition to the particular features and foot malalignments, this is above all determined by the length and width of an individual’s foot. The length of the foot is generally always catered for by standard shoe sizes. Some safety footwear manufacturers offer multiple width systems with the aim of adapting the interior of shoes to different foot widths. The selection is based on measuring the circumference of the ball of the foot at the height of the base toe joints and the width of the foot measured from the metatarsophalangeal joint (at the base of the big toe) to the basal joint of the little toe. A range of different features, such as insoles that reduce or expand the inside of a shoe, are added to implement this system. Ultimately, the multiple width system makes it possible to cater for a broader range of different foot shapes.
Overall, there are many options for incorporating ergonomics in safety footwear. As has been detailed above, safety footwear ranges today already include many ergonomic features. Nonetheless, constant innovation is taking place to ensure the best-possible protection and support is provided to wearers in their everyday working environment.

* U.Noll. 2011, Dissertation: Möglichkeiten der Prävention von Erkrankungen am Stutz- und Bewegungsapparat durch das Sicherheitsschuhwerk bei Mitarbeitern der Automobilindustrie (Options for preventing problems relating to the musculoskeletal system through safety footwear worn by employees in the automotive industry)


Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions on the right equipment in the work place and how to prevent damage and injuries.
Please email and we will be happy to help.

54 thoughts to “Safety footwear and ergonomics”

    1. Hello,

      please find the contact details of our two distributors in Thailand bellow:

      Linde (Thailand) Public Company Ltd.
      15th Floor, Bangna Tower A
      2/3 Moo 14
      Bangna-Trad Road km 6,5
      TH 10540 T.Bangkaew, A. Bangplee, Samutprakan
      phone +66-2-3386100
      fax +66-2-3120126

      Borneo Technical (Thailand) Ltd.
      89/175 Moo 3 Vivhavadi Rangsit Rd.,
      Talad Bangkaen, Laksi
      TH-10210 Bangkok
      phone +66 2790 4900
      fax +66 2522 7289

      Let us know if we can assist you with anything else.
      Kind regards,
      uvex safety team

    2. Dear Chatree,

      the responsible person at uvex for your region is.

      Mr. Anthony Lee
      25 International Business Park
      #03-112/113, German Centre
      Singapore 609916
      +65 65628138

      He is looking forward hearing from you.
      Let us know if we can help you with anything else.

      uvex safety team

  1. I love uvex’s safety shoes, there is a lot of type and eye-catching.

    but please tell me, how to buy this product easily?

    I ask this question because uvex 1 8517.2 S3 SRC is very difficult to find in online store.

    And, why uvex don’t use a special online store that only sell uvex’s products?

    Best regards,

    1. Dear Lutfi,
      Thank you for your message. Please tell us where you come from. In general the uvex 1 8517.2 S3 SRC will be available from January 2015. There will be individual launch dates for each country where we are selling uvex safety footwear.

      uvex safety runs only in Germany and Austria an own online B2B-store.

      Best regards
      uvex safety team

    2. Thank you uvex team….

      I come from Indonesia…and as much as I know that in my country uvex doesn’t have supplier….

      So that’s why I have to find uvex in online store…

      Please give me an online store that uvex recommend to buy at that store…so I know that the shoes that I want to buy is original and the quality is best

      Thank you…please answer my question uvex team

      Best regards,

  2. Hello
    i live in england and ure uvex 1 support boot 8517 s3 src looks great .Can you tell me who is going to stock them.If you dont have a distributor can i buy them from you and if so could you tell me how much they are, thank you D lewis.

    1. The uvex safety group Germany does not sell uvex safety footwear or any other uvex personal protective equipment in the USA. The brand uvex is owned in USA by Honeywell Safety and is only in use for safety eyewear.

      Best regards
      uvex safety team

  3. Hello I’m from South America and I’m interested in this Women’s safety shoe

    EN 20345, EN 60340-5-1 | ladies allround 8698
    How can I buy this? Is it possible to buy online? If I have to buy online is it possible trough the USA?

    With kind regards

    1. Dear Nancy, Thank you for your message.
      Please contact our sales subsidiary in South Africa for any product and sales details.
      But it is not possible to order our products in USA (distributors or online).

      UVEX Safety South Africa (Pty.) Ltd.
      2 Kubu Avenue
      Riverhorse Valley
      Effingham, Durban, 4051
      Phone: +27 31-569 67 80
      Fax: +27 31-569 67 81

  4. Dear Uvex Team

    I would like to ask about your outlet address in Germany???

    Where I can buy uvex 1 8517.2 S3 SRC safety shoes?

    Thank you,

    1. Dear Lufti,

      thank you very much for your interest in our products.
      May we kindly contect you with our representative office in Indonesia. Our colleagues there will be happy to assist you with any further questions regarding the availibility of our uvex 1 safety shoe.

      Conact details:
      Representative Office Indonesia

      Jakarta Menara Standard Chartered
      30th Floor Menara Standard Chartered
      Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav 164
      Jakarta 12930

      Tel.: +62 21 2555 5637
      Fax: +62 21 2555 5601

      Kind regards,
      uvex safety group

  5. Could you please help me to find the lightest and softest safety shoes from your range? I’ve got some health problems which make me troubles to walk in heavy unconfortable shoes and boots for a long time and I’m in need for safety shoes. I’ve already tried Uvex 6999’s on but they seems to be quite heavy as well.

  6. Best product in safety footwear, its actually a ” Health and safety shoe” no stress points the heels, my 12hr shift is not tiring on my feet anymore. There’s magic in the design of Uvex1 safety shoes. Great looks for a safety shoe. Been wearing Uvex1 for over 8months now, still looking new.

    I’ll advise people to get this safety shoe, “its the best away from the rest”, yes its the new generation of Safety foot ware.

    Thanks to Uvex, we need this product in my country


    1. Dear Mikaele,
      thank you very much for your positive feedback.
      We will do our best to be “the best away from the rest” also in the future.
      uvex safety team

    1. 5 July Lethusang posted above about the goodness of ” Uvex1 safety footwear” the best safety footwear away from the rest”. I, Lethusang now import Uvex1 safety shoes to South Africa, . . . I’ve being wearing “Uvex1 model” for almost a year now, i love the lightweight, flexible and sporty looks. Best working shoe in eliminating fatigue, pressure points and discomfort on your feet. So impacted by the product I’m even selling it in my country.

    1. Hello there!

      It would be best to directly contact our office in South Africa regarding your request – as they are responsible for anything related to Africa, the Middle East and India as well:

      Kind regards,
      uvex safety team

  7. You can find best lightweight safety footwear on this site. We manufactures over-the-shoe boot used in concrete, mud, water, chemicals.

  8. Dear Maria,

    our distribution partner in Bulgaria is:
    Office Trade Ltd.
    16, Akad. Boris Stefanov Str.
    1700 Sofia

    Kind regards,
    uvex safety group

  9. Hi,
    Been going through your product range of safety shoes and interested
    Kindly do you have a distributor in East Africa.

    1. Hey there.

      We’d suggest to directly get in touch with our subsidiary in South Africa:

      UVEX Safety South Africa (Pty.) Ltd.
      2 Kubu Avenue
      Riverhorse Valley
      Effingham, Durban, 4051
      Phone: +27 31-569 67 80
      Fax: +27 31-569 67 81

      Kind regards,
      Jürgen from uvex safety team

    1. Hey there!

      Many thanks for your interest in our products. I’m sorry to say: due to existing trade mark right matters, we don’t sell uvex PPE in North, South or Middle America.

      Kind regards,
      Jürgen from uvex safety team

    1. Hi Javier,

      thank you for your message.
      Please find the contact details of our distributor in Spain bellow:

      Teresa Puente
      Departamento de Operaciones

      Dräger Iberia
      C/ Xaudaró, 5
      28034 Madrid
      Tel.: +34 91 728 34 41
      Mobile: +34 638 42 48 40

      Let us know if you need any other information.
      uvex safety team

  10. I had a feet problem before(2015), I searched for orthopaedic, lightweight and extremely comfortable safety shoes. . . I tried Uvex, the wellbeing of my feet changed for the better. So impacted by the Uvex safety shoes. . . I now sell and distribute Uvex safety shoes locally in SA and Botswana. email:

  11. Hi we have to wear antistatic shoes where I work we issue people with insoles if requested and we also have people with orthosole insoles will the insole reduce the standard of the shoe as I am a bit concerned about this.

    1. Hey there.

      Your concerns are absolutely valid, as non-certified insoles will void the safety classification of your shoes. You should contact your shoe vendor which insoles are safe to use with the shoes you have at work.

      Kind regards,
      Jürgen from the uvex safety team

  12. I bought my first pair about a year ago. They are so comfortable I found myself wearing them any chance I could. I typically wore a 5 1/2 so I ordered a 6 and it worked great for me. I would recommend to anyone.
    Really nice blog. Got to understand a lot about the shoes and footwear.

  13. Hi, great thinking and memory you have shared here about the Safety footwear, personally me also a great fan of new soft and safe design shoes indeed. I have enjoyed the blog post a lot, thanks a ton for your true effort and time. Cheers!

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