There are countless applications of anti static products in several industries and workplaces. I have written about many of these products that can be used by people like you and me on a daily basis or by professionals to facilitate their line of work.
To learn more about some of these incredibly useful items, head over to this article that I wrote about anti-static or ESD Bracelets, or this article, where I talk about anti static bars and their myriad of applications.
Today, I will talk about another one of these very useful products: ESD shoes. What are ESD shoes? Should electricians be wearing ESD shoes? This guide will answer all of your questions:
What are ESD Shoes?
As suggested by the name of the product, ESD shoes are electrostatic discharge or anti static shoes. These shoes are primarily used for safety purposes in professional fields and workplaces.
They facilitate the discharge of accumulated static charge in a safe manner without causing any complications or accidents in the surrounding.
ESD shoes are often used in conjunction with ESD flooring or conductive flooring. Conductive flooring is able to ground the charge that is transferred to the floor by the ESD shoes.
Why Would I Need to Use ESD Shoes?
Whenever two objects or surfaces rub against each other, friction is produced. Because of this physical friction, electrons are transferred from one surface to the other. As a result of this electron transfer, one surface acquires a positive charge and the other acquires a negative charge.
These charged surfaces either attract each other and cause static cling or they discharge suddenly as soon as they find the means to and result in a minor electric shock.
The same happens when you walk on the floor. As the bottoms of your shoes rub against the floor, the friction generates an electric charge. If the flooring is not conductive or does not have anti static properties, it will result in the development of static electricity.
The electric shock is small enough that it does not cause any bodily damage to your body- it is nothing more than a nuisance.
But it becomes a problem in certain environments. For example, in a warehouse or a workplace that is rife with inflammable material or electronic equipment that is extremely sensitive to the smallest of currents, a small electrostatic discharge could prove to be absolutely disastrous in nature.
Therefore, in such sensitive settings and workplaces, the use of ESD and antistatic shoes is extremely important.
Other products that may be used in such places include anti-static bracelets and anti-static flooring to prevent the buildup of electrostatic charge in the first place.
How Do ESD Shoes Work?
Most of the time, anti static or ESD shoes have an anti static sole that is electrostatically dissipative or conductive in nature.
The goal is to offer the accumulating static charge a safe means through which to be discharged or removed.
ESD shoes are made with conductive material in the insoles and linings which transfers the charges from your body to the outside environment and into the ground.
What Do ESD Shoes Look Like?
ESD shoes are typically white in color and rather bulky in size. They are similar to the orthopedic shoes that may be used by elderly individuals or those with bone problems.
The reason why most ESD shoes have such a distinctive look is that they are most commonly used in professional workplaces, especially those that deal with the manufacturing and maintenance of electronic equipment and appliances.
The distinctive look of the shoes ensures compliance and makes it easier to implement and follow the proper ESD footwear protocol of the given workplace.
What Are the Various Types of ESD Footwear?
There are many different types of footwear that you can choose from to fulfil your anti static and ESD needs.
For example, you may use shoes that are entirely anti-static or you can use parts that can be individually attached to your existing shoes to give them anti-static properties, such as anti-static heel and toe straps or anti-static shoes soles.
What is Better to Use: ESD Shoes or ESD Straps?
You may think that it is much easier to simply attach an ESD strap to your current shoes, but I would recommend using ESD shoes over ESD straps.
This is because ESD shoes are much more effective at performing their function.
Heel and toe straps can very easily slide off of your shoe and thus render you unsafe. On the other hand, you may fail to mount it correctly in the first place which would expose you and your surrounding material to great danger.
The ESD shoes cover your foot in its entirety, make a great amount of contact, and effectively dissipate static charge regardless of their position or condition.
Should Electricians Wear ESD Shoes?
As I have mentioned before, one of the most common and important applications of ESD and anti static footwear is when dealing with sensitive electronics.
So it makes a lot of sense for electricians to use ESD shoes when they are on duty.
As you move around and do your work, there is a lot of friction that is generated on your body which becomes responsible for the generation of static electricity.
If these charges are discharged unsafely, they can mess with the sensitive transistors and components in the electrical equipment that you are dealing with and render them useless or damaged.
Therefore, it is a very wise decision for electricians to wear ESD shoes. If anything, most workplaces dealing with electrical components and equipment require their workers to wear ESD and anti static products such as ESD bracelets and ESD shoes.
There are many other workplaces and settings where ESD shoes are also used. These include electronics manufacturers, appliance assemblies, laboratories, technology and vehicle manufacturing, and industries that work intensively with inflammable materials, like plastics.