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Best safety trainers 2024: Comfortable foot protection from £43

best safety trainers header c. Derek Adams

Keep your feet safe from DIY injuries with some suitable footwear

If you work in lighter forms of construction or DIY and don’t fancy the idea of ankle-high safety boots, perhaps consider a pair of safety trainers instead. After all, some are indistinguishable from standard trainers, and that makes them a shoo-in for driving in and visiting the pub after work.

Safety trainers are generally more comfortable than the boot variety and are much more supple when it comes to working in a crouched position. They’re also better ventilated, so are especially good to use in the summertime.

While safety trainers don’t offer the same level of ankle and lower shin protection as the best safety boots, they do offer similar degrees of impact and puncture resistance, slip protection and, in some cases, waterproofing.

Since there are so many different brands and models on the market, we’ve collated this list of the top-performing candidates and put them through their paces so you can order with confidence.

How to choose the best safety trainers for you

What features should I look for?

Safety coding
The majority of safety trainers adhere to both the Basic and S1 safety codes. The Basic code relates to steel toe-cap impact resistance measured at 200J, while the S1 code is associated with puncture resistance, antistatic properties, oil resistance and energy absorption in the heel.

Since they’re lighter and only fit the foot area, safety trainers are generally more comfortable to wear than safety boots and are also typically made with breathable materials that help keep feet cool. As they don’t grip the ankles like working boots, safety trainers are often more flexible so you can kneel and crouch more comfortably when working near ground level. Their low-cut shape also makes it easier to operate construction machinery with foot pedals, just like a normal shoe.

Like most outdoor footwear, safety trainers are usually manufactured a size bigger than normal shoes to allow for thicker socks. They’re also normally wider across the toes than indoor shoes, with plenty of airspace around the toe-caps so the toes can move freely.

Impact protection
If you work in construction, agriculture or any other industry involving heavy equipment and materials, chances are you will drop something on your toes at some point, and that’s no joke when it’s a breeze block, forklift wheel or steel beam.

All safety trainers have to meet certain European safety standards, and key among them is the inclusion of reinforced toe-caps. All reinforced toe-caps must conform to the European standard EN ISO 20345:2011 and be tough enough to protect the toes against a 200J impact.

Puncture resistance
Puncture-resistant midsoles are essential for workers in construction where nails, screws and other shop objects may litter the site. The midsoles on most good safety trainers are equipped with steel plates that guard against anything sharp.

Slip resistance
Most safety trainers are equipped with slip-resistant soles tested on both wet and oily surfaces. Though these are hard to distinguish from standard ones, slip-resistant soles tend to have a softer type of tread that provides better traction on slippery surfaces. Most models will mention slip resistance in their specifications.

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Are safety trainers waterproof?
By their nature, safety trainers are designed for lighter construction duties during the warmer months of the year and, as a result, many models are equipped with breathable mesh linings rather than leather or synthetic waterproof materials.

Consequently, some safety trainers aren’t waterproof or even water-resistant. Bear this in mind if your work involves toiling in the rain or in wet and muddy conditions.

How we test safety trainers

Our first step is to inspect the materials used in the trainers. This includes checking the upper material (leather, synthetic materials, etc) and the flexibility of the sole.

Fit and comfort is crucial for workers who wear safety trainers for extended periods, so we wear these test shoes for about 20 minutes at a time and walk around a building site to which we have access, including through thick mud.

Our next test involves impact resistance: we drop a hollowed breeze block and a standard brick on the front of the shoe from chest height to see how well the toe-caps perform. All of the trainers in this test passed with flying colours.

For the puncture-resistance test, we try them out on a small upturned nail to see if it penetrates beyond the outer sole, and we’re pleased to report that all entries did the job they were designed for.

Our final test is to see how well each trainer’s waterproofing properties perform after being doused by a hosepipe. All except the models listed as “non-water-resistant” performed reliably.

READ NEXT: Best insoles for work boots

The best safety trainers you can buy in 2024

1. Site Scoria: Best all-rounder for price

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Screwfix

best safety trainers Site Scoria

These keenly priced safety trainers recently proved their worth when worn on an outrageously muddy and slippery construction site. Though they’re not rated as waterproof, their treaded penetration-resistant midsoles were invaluable on the site’s slippery surface and uneven terrain.

The Site Scorias fit superbly well, with plenty of room under the steel toe-caps to wiggle the toes. They’re quite a wide fit, too, so are a great choice for anyone with slightly broader feet. Padding around the shaft and the tongue is excellent, while the non-slip laces are really easy to adjust.

These trainers are supremely flexible, too, and that’s a major bonus for on-site engineers or gardeners working in a crouched or kneeling position.

Even though these trainers aren’t water-resistant, our tester did tread in a few muddy puddles and the denim-like breathable mesh upper deflected the splashing water surprisingly well. They looked a mess at the end of our test, but it was nothing a good rinse under a hot tap couldn’t deal with.

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a pair of steel-capped, puncture-resistant trainers, these functional trainers really cut the mustard.

Key specs – Uppers: Synthetic; Steel toe-caps: Yes; Puncture-resistant: Yes; Waterproof: No; Slip-resistant: Yes

Check price at Screwfix

2. Rona Shoes Safety Shoes: Best unisex/water-resistant option

Price when reviewed: £43 | Check price at Amazonbest safety trainers Rona

These natty unisex trainers meet all the right safety criteria and are among a small handful to offer some form of water resistance, in this instance a breathable, water-repellent fabric that will keep your feet dry in all but the most stormy conditions.

For the price, the Rona provide a good range of safety features, including steel toe protection, a puncture-resistant Kevlar midsole, slip-, oil- and water-resistant outer soles and the aforementioned waterproof properties.

In terms of design, these are arguably the most attractive trainers in this roundup. In fact, you wouldn’t think they were made for anything other than a quick jog to the coffee bar and back. They’re also supremely comfortable to wear and, for a working trainer, remarkably light.

If you don’t want to spend too much and are after safety trainers for DIY tasks and light construction duties, the Rona meets the brief.

Key specs – Uppers: Synthetic; Steel toe-caps: Yes; Puncture-resistant: Yes; Waterproof: Yes; Slip-resistant: Yes

3. Uvex Motion Style Safety Trainer S1 SRC: Best for light duties

Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at Amazon

best safety trainers Uvex Motion Style Safety Trainer

Uvex safety shoe products are among the very best on the market. The Germany-based company produces and tests safety gear for a wide variety of industries. These lightweight safety trainers are ideal for the spring and summer, but bear in mind that because their synthetic uppers are perforated for supreme breathability, they’re not waterproof or even water-resistant.

On the plus side, these trainers are exceedingly well made to fit comfortably, with ample padding on the tongue and around the shaft, breathable lining and 3D hydroflex foam insoles for effective shock absorption around the heel and ball of the foot.

In terms of safety, the Uvex Motion Style are equipped with a steel toe-cap that meets the 200J regulation and anti-slip soles with antistatic insulation. Though these trainers have excellent energy absorption around the heel area, including anti-twist heel caps, the soles aren’t puncture-resistant so you’ll need to tread more carefully if worn in areas where loose nails and screws are likely to be littered.

If you’re in the market for a pair of safety trainers that look less like a builder’s shoe and more like standard trainers, and you don’t require a full set of safety features, the Uvex Motion Style come highly recommended.

Key specs – Uppers: Synthetic; Steel toe-caps: Yes; Puncture-resistant: No; Waterproof: No; Slip-resistant: Yes

4. DeWalt Mens Krypton PU Sports Safety Trainers: Best for style

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Amazonbest safety trainers DeWalt Mens Krypton PU Sports Safety Trainers

For the dapper construction worker or DIY-er looking for a more stylish alternative, consider this traditionally designed option from the highly regarded power tool manufacturer, DeWalt.

The sporty-looking Krypton is SBP-rated for safety; it comes fitted with a steel safety toe-cap and composite midsole protection against sharp objects. As to be expected for a safety trainer, the Krypton’s synthetic upper with TPU overlay (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) isn’t water-resistant, so they’re not recommended for use in rainy weather.

On the plus side, the soft and extremely lightweight “Phylon” sole provides excellent traction and superb flexibility – and let me tell you, these trainers are comfortable with a capital C. There’s plenty of space around the toes, they’re not too narrow a fit, the upper section has great flexibility and they won’t look incongruous when worn outside of the work space. Unless, of course, they’re splattered in mud.

Key specs – Uppers: Synthetic; Steel toe-caps: Yes; Puncture-resistant: Yes; Waterproof: No; Slip-resistant: Yes

5. ZoeAshley Waterproof Safety Trainers: Best budget/colour option

Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at Amazonbest safety trainers ZoeAshley

If you want to spend the bare minimum while still getting a trainer that’s fully waterproof to the lace line and meets most safety requirements, consider this chunky model. It’s equipped with 200J steel toe-caps, a puncture-resistant midsole comprising high-strength composite material and a non-slip rubber sole.

Available in five colours and all UK adult sizes from 3.5 to 13, the ZoeAshleys are very comfortable, though they’re not the lightest in this roundup. Nevertheless, their non-metal midsole with 60 degrees of flexibility makes it easy when bending down to pick things up or crouch when working at waist height.

The ZoeAshleys won’t win any prizes for style, but for the low price they’re a great choice for casual tasks such as DIY, gardening and any working scenarios that involve heavy-ish materials and equipment.

Key specs – Uppers: Synthetic; Steel toe-caps: Yes; Puncture-resistant: Yes; Waterproof: Yes; Slipresistant: Yes

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