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Vöelkl firefightingboots Primus 21 give ideal foothold on ladders
Understanding burocracy

Standards explained easily

Anyone who risks his own life for other people deserves a high degree of personal protection. To ensure this, the European Union has set uniformly valid safety standards for personal protective equipment. The standard for firefighters footwear is EN 15090: 2012. To better understand what stands behind the exact requirements and test procedures of these standards, we extracted and explained some of the most important features.
  • Protective midsole
  • Shock absorption
  • Insulation against contact heat
  • Water vapour permeability
  • Water resistance
  • Toe protection
Without a yearly compliance audit and certification firefighting boots must not be sold on the European market. All together over 80 different values are tested, including tear resistance, slip resistance, water resistance and many, many more!
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Protective midsole

Requirements: While walking an pointed object like a nail must not penetrate the sole hurting to the foot. To avoid this, the sole can be provided with a pierce-proof midsole and withstand a pressure of 1100 Newton.

This corresponds to: A pressure of 1100 newton is roughly the weight of a 110 kg heavy man. Our VÖLKL boots reach 156% of the standard, and thus the protective midsole withstands a weight of 172 Kg.

How is it tested? The shoe is rolled over an approximately 4.5 mm wide, blunt nail just as it would imitate the walking movement. The nail penetrates the sole, but must non pentrate the midsole.

VÖLKL Advice: Unfortunately, in the real world nails are thin, pointed and terribly rusty. That's why we build our fire boots with a midsole made of steel. This guarantees you a permanent puncture protection, even if you step on something pointed a little more energetically.

Shock absorption

Requirements: In order to assess the comfort of a shoe, the energy absorption is measured in the heel area. The more energy is absorbed by the sole the better are the dampening properties of the shoes. The standard requirements are therefore a minimum energy absorption of 20 joules.

This corresponds to: 20 joules correspond to the of energy that a 200 kg heavy body develops when falling from 10 cm. Our VÖLKL boots exceed the required standard value by 145%.

How is it tested? With the heel of a last pressure is exerted onto the sole. A force-displacement curve records how much this sole can be compressed under constantly increasing pressure. If the material does not give way with a pressure of 20 joule, it does not fulfill the requirements.

VÖLKL Advice: In order to ensure an optimal energy absorption of our VÖLKL Professional boots are injcetion moulded. The very light and absorbing PU is distributed under the entire sole to guarantee a great energy absorption.

Insulation against contact heat

Requirements: On missions firefighters are exposed to extreme heat. To guarantee full capacity for action of the firefighter only a very small part of the heat should reach his body. Therefore the standard CE 0197 EN ISO 15090;2012 F2A CI HI3 recrees that the internal temperature of firefighter boots after 10 minutes in 250°C / 480°F hot sand-bath do not exeed the critical temperature of 42°C/108°F.

This corresponds to a temperature increase at the foot of about 20°C/36°F after 10 minutes. The temperature of our VÖLKL boots increases only by 1,3°C / 2°F. The temperature increase is therefore hardly noticeable to the firefighter.

How is it tested? The firefighting boots are conditioned in a climate chamber at room temperature of 22°C / 72°F and filled with small steel balls. Thereafter they are put into the sand-bath with a temperature of 250°C for 30 minutes: the temperature must not exceed 42°C.

VÖLKL Advice: The injection moulded soles with a strong polyurethane layer guarantee, together with the cork insole, the best insulation values possible both for extremely high and extreme low temperatures. In the test for the cold infitrations (CI) VÖLKL boots exceed the standards requirments for several times.

Water vapour permeability

Requirements: To avoid sweaty feet during the daily use, firefighter boots must not only be waterproof but also breathable. According to the firefighting boots standard EN 15090:2012 the leather has to guarantee that at least 0.8 mg of water vapor penetrates in one hour per square centimeter.

This corresponds to: the european standard requires, applicated to a pair of boots and an 8-hour mission, a water vapor permeability of a well filled shot glass (25.6 ml). Our VÖLKL firefighting boots reach 525% of the required value. Thus, a VÖLKL firefighting boot yields nearly a full juice glass of liquid (135 ml) to the environment.

How is it tested? A piece of leather is stretched over the opening of a receptable filled with desiccant. After one hour, in an enviroment surrounded by water vapor a certain amount of water vapor (liquid) has passed through the leather into the desiccant. The permeability can finally be measured by the weight difference of the dessicant.

VÖLKL Advice: We only use high quality leather produced from recognized and certified tanneries for our firefighting boots. In addition, we use the moisture-absorbing Sympatex membrane to exploit completely the potential of our leathers.

Water resistance

Requirements: Adverse weather conditions on missions are not uncommon. To ensure that the fire fighting boots can withstand moisture for an acceptable period, the standards require that the used leathers withstand water penetration for at least 60 minutes.

This corresponds to: In the test VÖLKL boots withstood 6 hours with no detectable water penetration. This corresponds to 600% of the required value.

How is it tested? The inside of an upper sample is covered with conductive wires and the whole sample is immersed in electrically charged water. In addition, the machine simulates compression movements of the leather. Once water penetrates the leather, the electric charge stops a timer.

VÖLKL Advice: We only use waterproof quality leathers. Although leather is very resistant by its nature and through special tanning processes, we ensure a double protection by using water-repellent threads.

Toe protection

Requirements: On a mission it is a possible that a heavy object falls on your feet. In order to protect your toes the european standards for firefighting boots require a toe protection that withstands an energy up to 200 joules.

This corresponds to: 200 joules correspond to a 200 kg heavy object falling from one meter onto the toes. Simultaneously 200 joules correspond also with a 2-ton heavy object falling from 10 cm height onto your foot.

How is it tested? A wedge is shot with an energy of 200 joules onto the toe cap. Then the residual height inside at the level of your toes is verified: for a shoe size 43 it must remain at least 14.5 mm of space between the toe cap and bottom of the shoe.

VÖLKL Advice: In VÖLKL we use use, apart of some function related exceptions, steel caps to ensure the highest level of security. Wether there are extreme situations or cold temperatures and forces over 200 joules, it can be excluded that splinters cause grave injuries.
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