I do sufficient work with colleges to know that youngsters are not keen on wearing safety boots. So, I reckon anything - be it branding or style - that encourages people to take steps to protect their feet must be a good thing. And let's be honest, students love trainers.
Made for Makita by Dickies, the Sprint Trainer has a suede upper, padded collar and tongue. The steel toecap meets EN ISO 20345:2004 - that's 200J. The trainer also has a steel midsole and thermoplastic sole, heat resistant to 150 degsC, as well as a scuff cap on the toe.
Thinking it would be "cool" to be seen wearing trainers rather than boots, I persevered with these and wore them to Saltex in September. But despite having shock absorbency, I could not wear them all day. For me, the lack of ankle support, especially when dealing with what is inevitably a heavy footwear item, makes a trainer impractical. But in all other respects, these trainers are good.
I found the Sprint Trainer one of the most suitable to wear while driving. The steel midsole also serves as an aid to digging, although the low sides mean that the trainers quickly fill with soil.
- Makita is discontinuing its workwear but items can still be found by searching online. Sprint Trainer: expect to pay £40-£45.
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.