Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX
With the colder weather upon us, and heavy rainfall likely, your working conditions will become even more challenging. To cope with unpredictable climates, the protection your boots offer will become more important than ever. However, your ‘waterproof’ boots might not actually be as waterproof as you think, with the current minimum standard still allowing some water penetration. Do you know how harmful wet feet could be to your health?
A picture of health
If boots fail to provide the right level of waterproof protection and your feet become wet and cold, this could lead to serious health problems for the whole body. Wet feet are known to aggravate symptoms, weakening the immune system and reducing the blood flow to the nose and throat, allowing the body to be more susceptible to infections.
Keeping your feet warm at 28-30 degrees and the body at a healthy temperature of 37-37.5 degrees is crucial in maintaining performance and wellbeing, also ensuring working time is not lost.
Learning the features that make a boot waterproof and understanding the consequences of not wearing the right protection could be the key to going home healthy and comfortable with dry feet.
The EN ISO standard: 20345/20347 is the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve for boots to be labelled as waterproof. The standard stipulates up to 3cm2 of water can still enter the boot. Whilst you may think your boots are completely waterproof, this is the basic standard, and water can still get in.
A series of tests are conducted ensuring boots comply with the EN ISO standard. The first is a trough test where boots are subject to 1000 steps in a trough of water, for the equivalent of standing or walking in water for 10-15 minutes. The second test is the Dynamic Water Resistant Test involving a minimum of 4800 steps for the equivalent of walking or standing in water for 90-80 minutes. The trough test allows a maximum of 3cm2 water into the boot but the Dynamic test doesn’t allow any water ingress into the boot, anything above this limit, the boot fails to achieve the standard and is not considered waterproof.
Preventing water penetration
To combat water penetration, many of the boots designed by HAIX, also incorporate a GORE-TEX® Laminate that is durably waterproof, breathable and moderately insulated. The protection this offers is essential for providing the best protection for those working in unpredictable conditions. Each pore in the GORE-TEX® membrane is 20,000 times smaller than a droplet of water, ensuring the boot is completely and durably waterproof.
The GORE-TEX® Laminate combined with the outer materials and manufacturing techniques stipulated by Gore also ensures water does not become trapped between the upper and the membrane, something that could stop the boot from performing as it should. Water intake not only causes wet fit but will also, reduce protection, and thermal efficiency within the boot. Internal components could rot, lessening material strength and encouraging bacterial growth as well as bad odours.
Footwear incorporating the GORE-TEX® Laminate must undergo rigorous testing in a walking simulator ensuring absolutely no water penetration. The test involves 300,000 flexes for which is the equivalent of standing or walking for 80 hours in ankle high water, 300 times higher than the minimum EN ISO standard requirement.
Check your features
When working in the forest, you should ensure boots labelled as waterproof perform as you need them to. The GORE-TEX® Laminate provides you with assurance that your boots are completely waterproof. This will enhance your working life and also possibly benefit you financially, as boots will not have to be regularly replaced.
As the sky is set to get gloomier, ensure your boots are waterproof or pay the price physically and financially.