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Cut protection shoes - optimal safety in the forest

Good stable and resistant cut protection shoes, with high durability, are essential in forestry work, because they provide excellent protection from the chainsaw. Thanks to the cut protection inserts used, cut injuries can be reduced in everyday work. They are a subcategory of safety footwear and are mainly used for cutting work in the forest. Cut protection shoes, which are part of the basic equipment of protective clothing, come in different variants. The most common are leather shoes or leather boots. Here, the manufacturers of high-quality shoes use smooth or nubuck leather. For forestry work, the normal safety shoes are often not enough, because they are not equipped with a cut protection insert. The integrated toe protection caps would protect the toes at this point, but behind them the foot is without protection. Therefore, proper forestry boots are appropriate in the forest. However, not only forestry workers, but also climbers or arborists in municipal service benefit from cut protection shoes or cut protection boots in various protection classes. Manufacturers of such shoes are, for example, Elten, Haix, Kox, Meindl or Pfanner.

Before buying a shoe for forest work, you should consider the intended use. Pay attention to the different requirements of your activity - especially the required cut protection class. For example, many cut protection shoes or cut protection boots have particularly resistant uppers such as nubuck leather and some also offer protection against falling pieces of wood or other objects with a steel toe cap. A sufficient shaft height protects against unintentional twisting of the foot when working. When guiding your chainsaw, always pay attention to the direction in which the saw is facing.

The protective effect of cut-resistant footwear

Cut protection shoes are part of the protective clothing of all forest and woodland workers. In addition to the previously listed points, the main focus is on protection against cut injuries. The protection class and chain speed are also decisive for the optimum protective effect. There are cut protection shoes and cut protection boots in the following classes (Euronorm DIN EN ISO 17249):

  • Cut protection class 0 - Chain speed may be up to 16 m/s
  • Cut protection class 1 - the chain speed must not exceed 20 m/s
  • Cut protection class 2 - the chain speed may be up to 24 m/s
  • Cut protection class 3 - here the chain speed is 28 m/s
  • Cut protection class 4 - the chain speed may be up to 32 m/s

 

All shoes are tested by the German Board of Trustees for Forest Work and Technology (KWF). (KWF) and the associated Forestry Technical Testing Committee (FPA). As part of the test, the forestry shoe is examined, for example, for the strength of the sole or must prove the stability of the toe caps and subsequently receives a test seal. 

In addition to the protection classes listed above, toe protection is important: This is often provided by special toe protection caps in normal work shoes. In forestry, however, other requirements must be met, because the loads are all a bit greater again: Many forestry shoes and boots have protective toe caps made of steel, also called steel caps. Thanks to these steel caps, which are tested in accordance with DIN EN ISO 20345, objects weighing 20kg from a drop height of 1 meter are no problem and thus protect the toes from injury. 

 

Cut protection class 1 can already prevent many accidents, but the greatest protection is offered by cut protection shoes or cut protection boots of protection class 4. A chainsaw can reach very high speeds during operation. To provide effective cut protection against this, again heavier protective clothing is needed, but this limits mobility and ergonomics. Excessive weight and poor ergonomic features lead to faster fatigue. So you need to compromise between protection, comfort and mobility. 

Other important characteristics of cut protection shoes besides the respective protection class:

  • puncture-resistant sole
  • reinforced heel area for extra support
  • waterproof and antistatic materials
  • Strongly defined profile of the outsole
  • breathable lining

The fit of cut protection shoes is crucial

  In order to be able to walk well for hours on end, even in rough terrain in the forest, the right footwear is particularly important. Not only does the footwear provide cut protection, but high wearing comfort also better protects against blisters at the end of the day. And the non-slip sole of the forestry boots or forestry shoes provides extra grip on the difficult-to-walk forest floor. An ergonomic footbed as well as sufficient shaft height contribute to a more comfortable everyday life. With flexible and at the same time non-slip sole, forest boots or forest shoes provide extra grip on the difficult to walk on forest floor.

No matter whether cut protection shoe or even cut protection boot, both offer the foot optimal support, the boots additionally protect the ankle with the shaft. A closed area around the heels absorbs energy. Thanks to the high shoe shaft, a forest worker's foot is better held and twisting is prevented. With your forestry boots, you can scramble over any stick and stone or even a tree trunk in the forest without fearing a sprained ankle every time. The strong and non-slip sole also protects against sharp objects in the forest. 

The breathability of the cut protection shoes also provides additional comfort thanks to a special membrane, as the feet always remain dry even during heavy use thanks to such linings as GORE-TEX®. This breathable membrane is also often waterproof. Water resistance is guaranteed by pores whose diameter is many times smaller than that of a drop of water. At the same time, the pores are large enough to effectively wick away sweat. This guarantees protection from any moisture inside and outside the shoe. Few things are more unpleasant in forestry work than sweaty feet, which to some extent distract our attention and thus create an additional hazard. Fittingly, the forestry shoes are often particularly easy to care for.

So when you buy, pay attention to how well the shoe fits your foot and find out about the manufacturer's clothing sizes. The foot should not have too much play in the shoe, so you may have to deviate from your normal shoe size.

Conclusion: Well equipped in the forest with cut protection shoes

With the right footwear, you are ready for the forest. Cut protection shoes with sufficient shaft height and test seal of the Kuratorium für Waldarbeit und Forsttechnik e.V. (KWF). (KWF) are the ideal companion in the forest, for example, if you regularly handle chainsaws or other heavy equipment. A puncture-resistant midsole prevents the penetration of sharp or pointed objects. To determine the ideal protection class, be specific about your requirements and the area of use. In addition, pay attention to the hold in the shoe and the wearing comfort. A closed area around the heels not only provides sufficient protection, but also contributes to the durability of the shoe. In addition, breathability should be given and the shoe should be equipped with a water-repellent or even waterproof membrane, so that you always have dry feet during cutting work. A strongly profiled outsole should, in addition to the already mentioned cut protection, also facilitate the choice of the right shoe.