Specifies basic and additional (optional) requirements for safety footwear used for general purpose. It includes, for example, mechanical risks, slip resistance, thermal risks, ergonomic behaviour. Special risks are covered by complementary job-related standards, e.g. footwear for fire-fighters, electrical insulating footwear, footwear protecting against chain saw injuries, chemicals, molten metal splash, and protection for motor cycle riders.

SB Meets the basic requirements of safety footwear in EN20345:2011

S5 As SB, but with the following additional requirements: Closed seat region, Antistatic properties, Energy absorption of seat region, Resistance to fuel oil, Penetration resistance, Cleated outsole.

HRO Outsole – Resistance to hot contact

SRA Slip resistance on ceramic tile floor with NaLS

SRC Slip resistance on ceraminc file floors with NaLs (SRA) and slip resistance on steel floor with glycerol (SRB)

FO Outsole – Resistance to fuel oil

CI Cold insulation of sole complex

E Energy absorption of seat (heel) region

P Penetration resistance

CR Cut resistance

A Antistatic

I Insulating

Specifies basic and additional (optional) requirements for occupational footwear that is not exposed to any mechanical risks (impact or compression) on the toe.

Footwear protecting against chemicals. Requirements for footwear highly resistant to chemicals.

Live Working – Footwear For Electrical Protection – Insulating Footwear And Overboots. Defines the requirements and testing for PPE footwear used as electrical insulating footwear and overboots used for working live or close to live parts on installations up to 36,000V AC, and DC requirements. This replaces EN 50321:1999.

Specification for Dielectric Footwear. Covers acceptance testing of dielectric overfoot and overshoe footwear designed to provide additional isolation or insulation of workers if in accidental contact with energized electrical conductors, apparatus, or circuits.

The Directives defines “essential requirements” which PPE must satisfy at the time of manufacture and before it is placed on the European market: the general requirements applicable to all PPE; the additional requirements specific to certain types of PPE; and also the additional requirements specific to particular risks.


EN 50321-1:2018 is the new standard for insulating footwear for live working and was published earlier this year, it replaces EN 50321:1999 and is currently out for approval as an IEC standard which will make it a global standard, not just European.

The main changes in the 2018 revision are the introduction of new 4 classes (see below) for working up to 36 KV (the old standard only went up to Class 0 – 1 KV). Boots are now tested by filling with water instead of ball bearings to simulate water or perspiration potentiality wicking up the lining and creating a flash over. There is also now an electrical test after perforation of the sole by a nail, to ensure boots still give electrical protection after perforation. Even non-metallic perforation inserts can allow water to pass through them so will allow an electrical current to pass when the sole is punctured. The table below lists the classes and the test requirements:

Class Rating

Maximum Working Voltage

Withstand Test Voltage

Leakage Current Test Voltage

Maximum Leakage Current

Class 00 500V 5kV 2.5kV 3mA
Class 0 1kV 10kV 5kV 5mA (8mA)
Class 1 7.5kV 20kV 10kV 10mA (16mA)
Class 2 17.5kV 30kV 20kV 18mA
Class 3 26.5kV 40kV 30kV 20mA
Class 4 36kV 50kV 40kV 24mA

(Overboot requirements are in brackets where they are different from knee high boots)

The new standard also includes requirements for DC current; all boots used for DC must be tested for DC according to the new standard and this is available as an option (contact us for details).