My preferred boots cost £90. Not everyone wants to spend that much on work boots so it is refreshing to find that protection and comfort can be bought for much less.
Dickies Fury has all the required features - steel toecap (200J), steel midsole, dual-density polyurethane sole resistant to petrol and oil and anti-static plus shock-absorbent heel. It has a Cambrelle breathable lining to absorb perspiration and keep feet fresh, plus padded collar and tongue for comfort.
On inspection, this boot does not feel like the toughest of those tested. But being supple from the start it takes no breaking in, gets better with wear and is remarkably comfortable throughout the day - although a minor slip on a wet pavement dented my confidence somewhat.
There is no need to change footwear before jumping into the car. The Fury is lightweight and caused me no hindrance.
For the price, this boot is generously comfortable while affording the protection needed at work. It is a boot I might even consider for hill walking, but I will not be hanging up my old favourites.
A couple of months down the line and Fury began letting in water. Then after five months of not continuous use, the sole began detaching from the upper.
Dickies Fury Super Safety Hiker Boot is available in black or oiled black (matt), sizes 4 to 12, priced around £30 + P&P (www.dickiesstore.co.uk).
Tested this issue
Makita Sprint Trainer
Makita Super Safety Hiker Boot
V Tech Thunder Waterproof Safety Boot V1215
Dr Martens Izzy St Boot
Dr Martens Rosa St Rigger Boot
JCB Fast Track Safety Boot
Dickies Fury Super Safety Hiker Boot
Steitz Secura Vario
Sally Drury, technical editor, Horticulture Week
Safety footwear is a must for outdoor work. Just think of the mess your toes could be in without the protection of a steel toecap, or of the pain a nail would have caused had it not been for a steel midsole.
By their nature, safety boots and shoes are strong and can be stiff and restrictive. They can also be heavy, leading to fatigue. Difficult to walk in, some can make driving almost impossible. Ill-fitting safety boots and shoes can be unforgiving. Yet I wear my safety boots to shows and exhibitions.
I can spend all day on my feet, jogging between press meetings and outlying exhibits. Once asked how I manage to stand all day, I replied that it is down to my "perfect" boots. I have worn them for 15 years. Well, not the same pair, obviously. But each time I needed new boots I replaced them like for like - and there is the dilemma.
As an advocate of trying new machinery, I am always preaching that it is good to explore the latest developments rather than just sticking with the same model or brand year after year. So here is the challenge: can I find another pair of safety boots or shoes to match my preferred footwear?
This trial has been conducted over 18 months, with each pair of boots and shoes being subjected to a variety of tasks from walking and driving to digging and general outdoor duties. Each item has been worn in both wet and dry conditions, on grass and concrete as well as sandy and clay soils.