The Industrial Protective Footwear Market size is estimated to reach US$6.6 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of around 7.2% from 2022 to 2027. Industrial safety footwear is a type of footwear that is specially designed with protective features such as steel toes, rubber soles, and others. These types of footwear are used by workers working in different industries to protect the feet against a wide variety of industrial injuries. Some examples of workplace foot injuries include ankle sprain and fractures caused due to slipping on slippery floors or improper footwear, Cuts on feet or toes due to some machines like chain saws, rotary mowers and others, punctures of the foot sole due to some loose nails or any sharp metal and other such kind of injuries. These workplace injuries act as the driving force for the Industrial protective footwear industry. Industrial protective footwear like leather boots provide rigidness on the upper area which in turn protect the foot. For Metatarsal Protection, that is, accidents caused by falling objects often occur on the metatarsal region, metatarsal shoes have been introduced, like Met-guards, which aims at providing a cushioned foam on top of the foot which will reduce the impact on the foot. Thus, by minimizing the impact of hazards, the use of such industrial protective footwear has been introduced. In April 2020, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at least 60,000-foot injuries which are responsible for keeping people from work every year. Thus, the rise in health concerns and increase in awareness toward workers safety in industrial sector fueled the growth of industrial protective footwear market.
The COVID-19 had an immense impact on Industrial protective footwear industry. This is because of lockdown measures, closure of retail stores, and salary reductions of workers, severe supply-side disruptions. All this led to a halt and factories were shut down. Though during the pandemic there was a demand for PPE kits, but that was just for medical purposes. Protective footwear was not in demand, due to lockdown rules and regulations. According to Confindustria Moda, whose member associations include the leather goods and footwear sector, the leather goods and footwear sector revenues declined 26% in 2020. Global footwear market has also declined during the pandemic. According to Central Leather Research Institute, India, due to the pandemic, there is a 35% decline in export orders. Leather exports from Tamil Nadu alone has lost worth US$0.37 billion (Rs.2800 crore) due to the cancellation of export orders because of pandemic. The pandemic has also negatively impacted the global construction sector.
Industrial Protective Footwear Market Segment Analysis – By Toe Type
Steel toe type hold the largest share of 37% in the industrial protective footwear market and is expected to grow in the forecast period. Steel toe shoes are the most effective for industrial workers as it protects their foot from injuries like cuts or fractures which can be caused by sharp and heavy objects in factories. The muscle or tendons present in the foot are prone to get damaged easily and thus measures should be taken in order to reduce foot injuries. Steel-toe boots are widely used in construction and manufacturing and other industries. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has introduced some mandatory certifications for the use of such steel toe type shoes and also made compulsory the display of such certifications on the footwear as well. According to the OSHA standards, all the steel toe shoes should abide to ASTM F2413-05 I/75 C/75 standards. This standard contains certain performance requirements for footwear to meet in order to protect the workers’ feet from hazards by providing with protection from electrical hazards, giving compression resistance, and others. The demand for steel toecap is increasing as it gives an overall protection from dropped objects, giving steel midsole protection, protecting against wounds from stepping on sharp objects among others.
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Industrial Protective Footwear Market Segment Analysis – By Material
By material, leather industrial protective footwear holds a significant market share and is expected to dominate the market with a CAGR of over 6% during the forecast period. Leather is a non-conductive material and thus is the best suitable for prevention against electric related hazards. India is one of the leading manufacturers of leather. According to the Leather India organization, the export of footwear, leather and leather products from India was around US$3.68 billion during 2020-21. The leather used in making leather boots and shoes is divided into two namely, grain leather and Split Leather. Grain Leather is made of the outermost layer of animal skin and split leather comes from inner layer of animal skin. Grain leather is responsible for giving the tough texture to the outer covering on industrial protective footwear because it shows properties of tear resistance, breathability and others. There are several types of leather prints used for industrial protective footwear which includes Barton print leather, suede leather, oil pull up leather and others. Leather is the most popular material for different type of industrial protective footwear like steel cap boots and other types of industrial footwear. Protective footwear worn at the industries needs to be flexible for day long usage which makes leather an ideal material. For instance, the new Honeywell safety shoes, HS100X-40/6 Classic Leather Single Density PU Safety Shoe, is made of High-quality full grain leather. This is designed to give excellent properties of durability and flexibility. It has 200J Impact protection steel toe cap and come up with high density PU sole. This makes it suitable for industrial purposes. Thus, superior quality leather material is in high demand for industrial protective footwear market.
Industrial Protective Footwear Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The construction segment is the largest segment in the industrial protective footwear market with a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period. They are designed in a way to protect the foot of workers from injuries that can be caused by accidents due to the falling of heavy equipment, slipping and others. The construction sector is growing at a fast rate and thus the demand for industrial protective footwear will increase. In July 2021, according to World Cement Association, the construction activities are the fastest growing segment, as the global construction output is found to be growing at around 5.7% in 2021 as compared to a drop of 2.4% in 2020. Thus, the construction segment will drive the industrial protective footwear market. Construction involves a lot of employees working for different applications like, cement related work, electrical work and others. These employees involved with different tasks of construction work under severe risks. For instance, the process of bringing raw materials also involves crushing, grinding the then transporting the raw materials to the site. All these activities pose a threat to the employees as there can be accidents like slipping or falling on slippery surfaces or on uneven ground. Therefore, for the protection of workers and employees under such risk related areas of construction work, the need of industrial protective footwear plays a major role. For instance, Industrial protective footwear such as the Alessio S3 foot protector are suitable for construction work as they have an outsole technology known as Safety Grip. These have robust leather design and are also provided with toe caps. Industrial protective footwear used in the construction sites should show properties like water-repellent, waterproof and others. Bata industrials, a major player in the industrial protective footwear market, develops good quality protective footwear specially for construction purposes with steel toes, having rubber and polyurethane soles with anti-slip properties making it suitable for construction purposes.
Industrial Protective Footwear Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Europe held a significant share in the industrial protective footwear market in the year 2021. This is due to the growth of construction and infrastructure growth in the region. The construction industry is considered a very important segment of the EU economy. The EU government is focusing more on construction developments because almost 95% of all the construction and architectural firms are micro-enterprises or small and medium-sized enterprises. The construction industry contributes to about 9% of the EU’s GDP and thus, is considered a very important segment in the EU economy. According to Construction Products Association UK, construction projects are estimated to set an output increase of 29.3%, reaching its highest level on record. This is mainly due to the projects such as HS2. High speed-2 (HS2) is one of the most demanding railway construction projects in Europe. Such major projects going on across Europe, will require more man power. There will be a lot of threat on the sites of these construction projects which can be hazardous, like electrical shocks due to poor quality footwear, cuts and fractures due to sharp objects and others. These hazards can be prevented by using good quality industrial protective footwears, like protective footwear having PU, rubber sole or shoes made of leather material or steel toe boots and others. For instance, to protect from electrical shocks, electric hazard shoes are there with electric resistant properties. Thus, the industrial protective footwear market will be driven because of the growth of the construction segment.
Industrial Protective Footwear Market Drivers
Growing number of workplaces accidents is creating traction for industrial protective footwear
During the past few years, there was an increase in the number of industrial accidents, which is a major driving force for industrial protective footwear market. According to the Provisional data by HSE-UK, a total of 142 workers died at work in Great Britain in the period of 2020-21, which shows an increase of 29 deaths from previous year which was accounted to be around 113. These deaths were not caused by Covid. The most common fatal accidents caused in the industries were mostly due to workers falling from height, being injured by sharp objects which accounts for more than half of injuries in 2020-21. Thus, to prevent such hazards, steps are being taken to ensure proper safety of workers. According to OSHA, the employers should ensure that each employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a risk to foot injuries which can be caused by falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole, or from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard.
Europe is the most growing region for Industrial protective footwear
The growth of the industrial protective footwear market is mainly driven due to increased construction related activities in the region. Therefore, for the protection of the employees working in such harsh conditions, risking their health by accidents such as electrical hazards, fractures and others, the Government has introduced some stringent regulations which has made the use of safety shoes mandatory in the industries by OSHA. For instance, UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), came up with additional slip testing for testing surfaces of the workplace that include slippery floors, like construction sites can have slippery floors due to spill of paint or water. According to the HSE, slip-resistant footwear may not be suitable everywhere. For instance, there footwears made with rubber sole might be suitable for wet floors but would not work well for oily surfaces. Due to such stringent regulations and test, the demand for industrial protective footwear saves increased.
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Industrial Protective Footwear Market Challenges
Production of cheaper low-quality footwear
The major challenge faced by the market is the production of low-quality footwear which can be a threat to the lives of industrial workers. Some private manufactures like Efficacy, Tool Zone and others provide low-cost protective footwear where they use cheap quality products and false materials. This in turn will downsize the market growth of the industrial protective footwear market. Consumers are also attracted more towards low priced footwear which creates a tough challenge amongst they key players in the industrial protective footwear industry.
Industrial Protective Footwear Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions and R&D activities are key strategies which are adopted by the dominant players in this market. Industrial protective footwear top 10 companies include:
Honeywell International Inc.
Wolverine World Wide Inc.
Dunlop Protective Footwear
Saina Corporation Co. Ltd.
UVEX Safety Group
In April 2020, Dunlop Protective Footwear partnered with LineDrive as Dunlop’s sales agency focused on the industrial sector. LineDrive is the leading industrial sales agency. LineDrive will help in the expansion of the Dunlop Protective Footwear’s innovative products to workers in target verticals such as oil and gas, construction, and other industrial sectors
In June 2020, Uvex safety group innovated Uvex 1 G2 safety shoes, which has excellent technology- uvex-I-PURE-nrj which involves polyurethane sole. This will help in resisting to electrical shocks. This is also designed in a way to provide comfort to the foot of workers standing and working for long hours.
There has been a significant demand in leather in the upcoming years. According to the UNIDO Leather and Leather Products Industry Panel, the leather sector is expanding in developing countries. Leather material is mostly used in shoe-uppers in construction industry. Leather protective footwear provides protection against Oil spills as it shows oil resistant properties, they also have acid and heat resistant properties. Leather protective footwear are non-conductive footwear and thus also protects from electrical hazards. Leather provide flexibility to shoes with breathable properties which provide comfort to foot of workers when working for long hours.
The construction industry will drive the Industrial protective footwear market in the forecast period. For instance, In Union Budget 2021, the government of India, has given a massive push to the infrastructure sector by allocating US$ 32.02 billion to enhance the transport infrastructure. Industrial protective footwear like steel-toe boots is majorly used in the construction applications.
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