Anyone who needs to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at work will be familiar with toecaps already. These metal or plastic plates are integral to the toe of the boot or shoe and protect the delicate toes from painful fractures or dislocations if the wearer sustains a sudden impact to the feet.
Less familiar to many people, though, are bumpcaps for boots and work shoes. In fact, many people aren’t really aware of them at all, but they’re becoming an increasingly common feature of work boots. Bumpcaps fit over the front of the boot, where the toes are housed and they are sometimes smooth, sometimes have ridges across the toe , depending on their purpose.
A tough extra layer
The point of bumpcaps is to protect the toe of the boot from wear and tear. If your boots have a steel or plastic toecap, as the leather outer gets scuffed and damaged it can start to show through.
Not only does this scuffing and ripping look unsightly, it can also let in water, oil or hazardous chemicals, which can soak through into socks and harm your skin. Typically made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is heat-resistant to 130C and impervious to oils and many other chemicals, it provides additional protection to the boot itself, helping it to protect your feet and toes more efficiently and for longer.
Some need them more than others
Some bumpcaps are made of nitrile, which is also tough and chemical-resistant. Bumpcaps are popular among glaziers, sandblasters and bricklayers as they protect the leather of the upper – bricklayers in particular often kneel down to work, which can badly scuff the toe of a boot. Tree surgeons and anyone else who uses a chainsaw on a regular basis also prefer boots with bumpcaps as scaling trees can cause serious scuffing to the front of a boot.
Good work boots are an investment, so they should be as long-lasting and hard-wearing as possible.