With global fame for construction equipment, you would like to think that JCB would only put its name to well made boots that are truly fit for purpose. Well, it has.
Honey-coloured nubuck with W-Tex breathable and waterproof lining, plus dual-density Phylon and rubber oiland slip-resistant anti-static soles, the boots are both stylish and practical. With steel toecap and pierce-resistant midsole, the Fast Track meets EN ISO 20345 and has double stitching for added strength.
Being JCB-branded there has to be some engineering involved - a dual forked safety chassis with anti-twist technology. Sounds more like a utility vehicle but in essence it means comfort on uneven ground.
I liked how quick they were to break in. They had a degree of suppleness from the start. The padded collar, removable moulded insert and thermoplastic heel supports provide an excellent degree of comfort, especially when walking. Driving is easy too. When new, they are smart enough to wear to the shops. But they do scuff in time.
JCB Fast Track Safety Boot, also available in black, is supplied under licence (UK and Ireland) by Progressive Safety Footwear & Clothing (0114 273 8349), available in sizes 4 to 13. Ecpect to pay £54-£57.
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.