Standards and directives for safety footwear

EN ISO 20345 – Personal protective equipment, safety shoes

The standard EN ISO 20345 defines both the basic and additional requirements for safety shoes for commercial use. Footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20345 is intended to protect the wearer from bumps, crushing, falling or rolling objects, from walking into sharp or pointed objects, heat or cold, and hot substances.

Examples of aspects dealt with in the standard are handling mechanical risks, slip resistance, thermal risks and ergonomic properties. Additional standards relating to individual activities deal with risks in relation to footwear with electrical insulation, for example, and shoes to protect against chemicals, etc.

The basic requirements described in EN ISO 20345 include:

  • height of the upper
  • heel area on boots
  • minimum length, pressure and bump impact resistance of the toe cap
  • water vapour permeability and water vapour number of the upper
  • outsole thickness and abrasion resistance of the outsole

Safety footwear is divided into different protection classes depending on the requirements fulfilled. The safety footwear in protection class SB fulfil the minimum requirements in accordance with EN ISO 20345.

Understanding the new protection levels

Under the 2011 standard, the protection levels were divided into six classes: SB, S1, S2, S3, S4 and S5. Under the new standard, there are now eight main protection classes: SB, S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6 and S7.

The two new protection classes – S6 and S7 – are used to indicate those with higher water resistance properties in line with the new ‘WR’ certification (see above section on water resistance). In addition to the new classes, the class codes may also be followed by ‘P’, ‘L’ (or ‘PL’) and ‘S’ (or ‘PS’) to indicate additional perforation resistance in line with the ‘P’, ‘PL’ and ‘PS’ certifications.

Using the chart below, you can identify the protection level you require based on your specific workplace risk requirements.

A simple guide to EN ISO 20345:2022

EN ISO 20345:2022

  Class Protective toecap Mandatory slip resistance Full enclosed heel A
Electrical resistance
Energy absorption under the heel
Puncture protection WPA
Water penetration and absorption of upper
Cleated outsole WR
Whole shoe water-resistant
Metal insert
Non-metal insert 4.5mm test nail
Non-metal insert 3.0mm test nail


Note: S1, S2, S3, S6 and S7 shoes are made from leather and other materials (class 1). S4 and S5 shoes are all-rubber or all-polymeric (class 2). SB shoes – which allow for an open heel – can be either class 1 or class 2.

Standards and labels

Safety footwear labelling

The labelling on the shoe contains the following information:

  1. Manufacturer
  2. CE symbol
  3. Manufacturer’s type designation
  4. Article number
  5. Size
  6. Number of European standard
  7. Symbol for protection
  8. Date of manufacture
  9. Country of manufacture
  10. Address of manufacturer
  11. UKCA symbol

Footwear symbols for industrial use

uvex’s leading edge technology centre is located in Ceva, Italy and is committed to producing the highest quality and most technologically advanced safety footwear in Europe. The plant is able to manufacture all of uvex’s PUR and rubber sole technologies in one location, allowing for greater flexibility in the manufacturing process. All our plants are certified in accordance with the ISO 1900: 2008 quality management standard.

Basic requirements/additional requirements/categories e.g. for leather shoes Safety footwear EN ISO 20345
Basic requirements for shoes and impact resistance of toecaps SB 200 Joule
Additional requirements:
- Closed seat region
- Antistatic properties
- Energy absorption of seat region
- Fuel resistance
Additional requirements: as above, plus:
- S2 Water penetration and absorption
Additional requirements: as above, plus:
- Penetration resistance
- Cleated outsole

One of the three following requirements must be met and labelled in the shoe:

SRA Slip resistance on ceramic tile floors with sodium lauryl sulfate solution (SLS) Forward slip of the heel
Forward slip on a flat surface
No less than 0.28
No less than 0.32
SRB Slip resistance on steel floors with glycerol Forward slip of the heel
Forward slip on a flat surface
No less than 0.13
No less than 0.18
SRC Slip resistance on ceramic tile floors with sodium lauryl sulfate solution and on steel floors with glycerol Includes all test conditions cited under A and B  

EN ISO 20345:2011 Additional requirements for special applications with corresponding symbols

Symbol Risk covered EN ISO 20345
    SB S1 S2 S3 S5
- Basic
P Penetration resistance*      
A Antistatic footwear  
E Energy absorption around heel  
HI Heat insulation          
CI Cold insulation          
WRU Water resistance of upper      
HRO Heat resistance of outsole (+300°C/min)          
WR Whole shoe waterproof          
M Metatarsal protection          
FO Resistance to oil and petrol  

* Penetration resistance

Warning – Please note that the penetration resistance of this footwear has been measured in the laboratory using a truncated nail of diameter 4.5 mm and a force of 1,100 N. Higher forces or nails of smaller diameter will increase the risk of penetration occurring. In such circumstances alternative preventative measures should be considered. Two generic types of penetration resistant insert are currently available in PPE footwear. These are metal types and those from non-metal materials. Both types meet the minimum requirements for penetration resistance of the standard marked on this footwear but each has different additional advantages or disadvantages including the following:

  • Metal: Is less affected by the shape of the sharp object/hazard (i.e. diameter, geometry, sharpness) but due to shoemaking limitations does not cover the entire lower area of the shoe.
  • Non-metal: May be lighter, more flexible and provide greater coverage area when compared with metal but the penetration resistance may vary more depending on the shape of the sharp object/hazard (i. e. diameter, geometry, sharpness). For more information about the type of penetration resistant insert provided in your footwear please contact the manufacturer or supplier detailed on these instructions.

Guide to EN ISO 20345:2022

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