Although the Covid-19 pandemic and its subsequent restrictions on trade and events have set back personal protective equipment (PPE) specialist Sisi Safety Wear’s Basi boot – which features a metaguard – the company says its other newer ranges have fared well so far this year.
The Basi boot will boast Sisi’s normal footwear technologies, as well as a clear plastic metaguard.
The metaguard is laced to the shoe to offer protection for safety boots/shoes while used in grinding or welding.
One of its newer offerings, the Yvonne economical chukka boot, is Sisi’s first split-leather chukka boot, an economical solution targeted at contract workers and those on a budget.
Additionally, two new steel midsole variants have been launched in response to product gaps in the local female safety footwear market.
The new product offerings were inspired by the fact that a lot of women in industry are still wearing PPE designed for men, as manufacturers have been slow to accommodate the specific needs of women.
“This has further compounded when it comes to local manufacturing solutions,” says Sisi senior brand manager Vanessa Ronald.
She points out that, despite certain environment specifications requiring a steel midsole, there is currently no locally manufactured female-specific safety footwear product that meets required specifications and not many options available internationally either.
As a result, women requiring these levels of protection have had no choice but to purchase ill-fitting male footwear to ensure their safety.
“This often causes discomfort, which leads to a loss of productivity, and can even result in health problems affecting the knees, hips and back, in the long run,” says Ronald.
When it comes to economical chukka boots, the market has an abundance of variations for men within a certain price point but is lacking locally manufactured styles that cater to the contours of women’s feet.
“By replacing full grain leather with split leather, we are able to reduce the price by roughly 17% a boot. “This will assist those in non-heavy industry or contract workers who previously had no choice, owing to price constraints, other than to be issued with split leather male boots,” Ronald says.
“We were also calculating in terms of the colour and designs for this boot. We opted for a more conservative look so that the women wearing these boots blended in with their male counterparts and were not advertising their differences through a ‘girly’ looking boot, that opened the door for criticism.”
These product developments are testament to Sisi’s commitment to women’s safety needs and ongoing dedication to research and improvement.
She adds that there is a high influx of women in industry and Sisi wants to convert them to wearing PPE designed specifically to fit the female anatomy.
“By doing so, women will enjoy better health and safety and will also be able to focus their full attention on the job at hand, increasing their productivity on site,” Ronald concludes.