Comp / Composite Toe (CT) vs Steel Toe (ST) vs Aluminum Toe (AT) Boots

 If you work in an industrial environment, a good pair of safety toe boots is crucial to your safety and job performance. In addition to protecting your feet from falling objects, a good pair of boots will also protect you from bruises, burns, sprains and cuts.  


In the past steel was used for foot protection in the manufacture of safety toe boots. However, with the advent of modern materials, composites, and alloys are now being used by all of the major footwear companies in their safety toe footwear.  All safety toe boots will protect your foot from impact and compression given an ASTM rating.  All of our boots are ASTM rated and we refuse to carry non ASTM rated boots.


Steel Toe Boots are the original standard;  they have are a protective reinforcement made out of steel in the toe area. This is meant to protect your feet from the impact and compression of falling objects. Steel toe boots must meet ASTM safety requirements and are often used by electrical, construction, and workers who work in dangerous environments.


Alloy Toe Boots

The Pros: All of the positives of a steel toe boot but with a 30-50$

  • All pros of steel toe boots listed above
  • 30-50% Weight reduction over a similar sized steel toe boot
  • Typically thinner than steel toe boots leaving more wiggle room for your toes
  • Will not set off metal detectors allowing easy travel through secure areas

The Cons: Somewhat more expensive that steel toe boots but many of the positives will outweigh the small cost to upgrade.

Composite toe boots




are boots that have a protective reinforcement made out of non-metal materials, such as carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass, or plastic. Initial press and compression ASTM tests show that composite toe boots meet safety requirements, but the composite material couldn’t hold up to additional testing that the steel toe boots passed.


Here are the differences between composite toe boots and steel toe boots:


Composite Toe

Aluminum / Alloy Toe

Steel Toe

Significantly less than both

About half of Steel Toe


Offers better insulation in cold climates.


Offers poor insulation in cold climates.

Does not set off metal detectors.

Sets off metal detectors.

Initial press and compression ASTM (Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection) tests show that composite toe boots meet safety requirements; however, additional tests lead to weakening of the composite material.

Steel toe boots meet ASTM (American National Standard for Personal Protection) safety requirements and passes press and compressions tests.

Composite toe boots have average puncture protection.

Steel toe boots offer high-quality puncture protection.

Composite toe boots work best for workers who handle electrical components. Composite material do not conduct electricity.

Steel toe boots pass ASTM tests and therefore are considered safe for workers handling electrical components, but it performs averagely in comparison to composite toe boots.

Composite toe boot manufacturers are working on making these type of work boots lighter by incorporating carbon fiber.

Although some steel toe shoe manufacturers are conducting research to make them lighter, there are no set plans to do so in the near future.

Composite toe boots are suitable for extremely low and high temperatures because they do not heat up or cool off easily.

Steel toe boots should not be work in extreme temperatures because they easily increase temperature or cool down, making your feet uncomfortable.


The most important thing to consider is what type of job you have, the conditions you work in, and the type of protection you need to keep safe. Composite toe boots may be lighter and don’t set off metal detectors, but they also don’t offer the same level of protection as steel toe boots.

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