Dr Martens Izzy ST steel toecap boot

There is a lot of difference between men's and women's feet so I was pleased to find these boots based on a women's last for an improved fit. Although I am not a fan of chukka boots, what's not to like about Dr Martens AirWair?

They are engineered for comfort. The fully air-cushioned sole plus Smartmask PU-cushioned footbed provide comfort for day-long use. In short, they've got bounce.

Everything you would expect of a safety boot is here - steel toecap for protection from 200J impact and 15kN compression force, slip-resistant soles and anti-static properties. A wooden shank improves mid-foot rigidity. Goodyear-welted, the upper and sole are heat-sealed and sewn together rather than glued.

From a hygiene point of view, these boots have Agion scent protection to help combat foot odour as well as restricting fungal, mould and mildew growth.

There is no denying that these boots look stunning - well, at least until you have done a few months work in them.

The nubuck leather is soft and has Cambrelle water-resistant treatment. Driving is easy, walking comfortable. For a moment I was tempted to swap these for my old boots, but I want more protection and support around my ankles.

Dr Martens Izzy St Boot, in sizes 3 to 9, is available online (www.drmartens.com/uk - 0845 437 3141), priced £65 (free delivery).

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

The Reviewer

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.

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