A steel-toe boot (also known as a safety toe boot, safety boot, or steel-capped boot) is a durable, reinforced boot that has protective reinforcement in the toe. A steel toe shoe has an actual piece of steel inside the tip (about 2 1/2 inches or so) to protect the toes from crushing impact from above if a heavy object falls on the foot. Steel toe boots are often combined with a sole plate as well, which protects the foot from punctures from below. Read More
Traditionally steel-toe boots were naturally made of steel. Today however, you can find composite toe boots, where the reinforcement is made of a "composite" material such as kevlar, carbon fiber, or a high-strength plastic such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The biggest difference is that composit toe shoes don't set off metal detectors, and are generally lighter weight than their traditional steel toe counterparts, while offering a similiar degree of toe protection.
In the United States, most safety boots and shoes have symbols on the outside, to indicate the type of protection the boot or shoe offers.
Safety boot protection symbol examples are: