Jalas Safety Shoes

Climate control for feet

Safety shoes are a must in industry, craftwork, construction, gardening and landscaping, as well as among fire departments, technical relief organizations and the emergency services. Even in commercial kitchens, safety shoes are mandatory. An ingenious high-tech system protects the foot from injury – but up to now often at the expense of breathability. A new and especially intelligent nonwoven from Freudenberg Performance Materials lets feet breathe while keeping them dry.

At the butcher’s shop watertight, for the electrician antistatic and for the firefighter flame resistant – safety shoes need to meet a wide range of different requirements. They are also equipped with a toecap made from steel or aluminum and provide special cushioning in the heel area. However, this degree of protection comes at a price. Especially in waterproof versions, feet quickly start to sweat unpleasantly due to the commonly used impermeable water barrier. This can lead to skin irritation.

To increase breathability and thus create a significantly improved foot climate, the Swedish-Finnish manufacturer Ejendals developed a safety shoe with holes in the sole. It even meets the safety requirements of the European standard DIN EN ISO 20345, Class S2. S2 stands for waterproof safety shoes. But how can you have holes in a shoe while still retaining its waterproofing characteristics?

Jalas Safety Shoes

Stephan Zimmermann, Key Account Manager, Ejendals Jalas GmbH, Germany.

“Thanks to the holes in the sole, air flows into the inside of the shoe with every step. This allows perspiration to escape and keeps the feet dry, guaranteeing a good foot climate. The idea is unique, but it presented us with great challenges. This is because we had to find a material that functions as a water barrier but does not prevent air circulation – we found the solution at Freudenberg Performance Materials.”

Exactly two years ago, for the first time, Ejendals discovered a special nonwoven fabric on the Freudenberg stand at the Italian leather trade fair, Lineapelle. This material precisely matched the needs of the safety shoe with the holes in the sole.

The laminate consists of a superabsorbent polymer sandwiched between two layers of nonwoven fabric.

Jalas Safety Shoes
Jalas Safety Shoes
Jalas Safety Shoes

The material’s special feature is this: if moisture penetrates through the holes from below, for example when walking through puddles, the superabsorber is activated. This swells into a gel when wet and securely entraps aqueous solutions. The feet do not notice the moisture. When the environment is dry again, the absorbent material releases the liquid through the sole of the shoe and air can freely flow in to aerate the feet.

Ejendals incorporated the nonwoven fabric into their “Respiro” range of safety shoes under the Jalas brand and presented them for the first time in October 2017 at the German safety trade fair A&A in Dusseldorf. Meanwhile, among others trials, a major German car manufacturer undertook a large-scale deployment of the “Respiro” shoes in its production facilities. One employee who suffered from perspiration and skin irritation after wearing safety shoes judged the shoe to be very good. Even after a short test period wearing the shoes, he experienced no skin problems.

Jalas Safety Shoes

Frank Martiné, Business Segment Manager Shoe and Leathergoods, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Weinheim, Germany.

“With our high-tech nonwoven featuring the superabsorber, we offer a true alternative to commonly used membranes. Our material can do two things at once: provide high breathability while also protecting against moisture.”

“Safety shoes have to keep pace with fashion too.”

Stephan Zimmermann, Key Account Manager, Ejendals Jalas GmbH , Germany

Because even safety shoes need to keep pace with fashion, Ejendals is currently working on much more fashionable shoe variants. The difference between a safety shoe and a leisure sneaker is barely visible. The trend is also towards lighter materials, such as mesh (air-permeable textile mesh fabric) in the upper area and hard plastic as toe protection. In the future, even lighter and more breathable materials will be used in the upper.

“Respiro” was first presented by Freudenberg Performance Materials at Lineapelle in Milan at the end of February.

High-tech product safety shoe

Safety shoes belong to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are subject to clearly defined safety guidelines. In Europe, EN ISO 20345 is the current standard. This defines how a safety shoe must be constructed and which requirements need to be met. Due to the numerous individual parts and reinforcements, especially in the toe area, feet begin to perspire more quickly in safety shoes.

The Jalas “Respiro” complies with the S2 standard and can therefore also be used in humid environments. A water barrier is thus mandatory. In contrast to the commonly used water-repellent membranes, the special nonwoven “IQTEX Airliner made by Freudenberg” is both water-repellent and especially breathable at the same time.

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