What Types of Shoes Are for Working on a Metal Roof?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Navigating a steep metal roof safely requires special shoes.

Tradesmen who must install metal roofing materials, or others who need to regularly and safely access metal rooftops to conduct home inspections or insurance investigations, require adequate footwear to reduce the risk of slips, falls and injuries. Several foot wear products are available that are designed for use when walking on a metal roof.

The Hazard

Metal roofing can be excessively slippery if your footwear is not designed to grip a metal surface. A steeply pitched roof exacerbates the danger because one slip can result in a long slide ending in a nasty fall to the ground. A safety harnesses, properly tied off and a wooden crossbeam attached to the roof help somewhat, but the adequate grip provided by specially designed footwear is still essential. Three basic footwear solutions are available to meet the needs of people who must navigate a metal roof.

Workboot -- Mounted Sandals

Safety footwear producers and distributors offer tie-on sandals that attach to your own steel-toed shoes or workboots. Webbing, strapping and sidewall options differ with each sandal depending on the pitch of the roof and the roofing material that the worker must walk upon. Higher-pitched roofs require sturdy straps, buckles and D-rings so that sandals are firmly attached to boots that are exposed to greater angles.

Special Spikes

The workboot-mounted sandals can be fitted with threaded spikes to provide more grip on wet metal surfaces. For easily perforated metal roofing, soft aluminum threaded spikes are best. For tradesmen whose work surfaces often change, the spikes can be removed from the strap-on sandals using an optional replacement tool. For wearers who will be working only on metal surfaces, some safety footwear comes equipped with stationary, non-removable soft aluminum spikes.

Gripper Soles

Yet another solution lies with a foam rubber pad that is designed to attach either to strap-on sandals or to attach directly to safety boots and shoes using an industrial strength form of velcro. These pads are designed to be used, worn through, and replaced as necessary. Considerable savings are realized when a safety sole is replaced rather than an entire boot or sandal. Inquire about these foot wear solutions wherever industrial safety clothing and equipment is sold.


Kevin Ann Reinhart

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.