They used to be in vogue decades ago. Baby boomers would wear shoe covers over different kinds of footwear, and would walk long distances through rain or even snow. But with new roads and modes of transportation, as well as new kinds of footwear, these eventually went out of fashion. Yet they are still practical, and that has led them to be used in a lot of other ways today.
Why use shoe covers or shoe protectors?
There are a variety of reasons to use them. One main reason is to prevent potential contaminants from being brought inside a sterile or clean room environment, or vice versa. For example, a doctor must perform a delicate emergency procedure on a patient. That doctor doesn’t have the time to change into another pair of shoes before entering the operating room, and changing back again. There is also the potential of getting blood all over the shoes. It is then easier for that doctor to simply slap on a disposable shoe cover that he or she can easily throw away after a procedure.
Another situation is when the wearer is on the move; transferring from a clean room to a non-clean room and vice versa. This would apply to plant operators who are working in a plant that has a clean room and an ordinary assembly line. Even real-estate agents and developers use them to make sure that they won’t dirty or damage the floor of a brand new house, especially if previously coming from a construction site.
Protection from the elements is another good reason. Say that you have to go out and attend an event. However, while in your car on the way to the event, it started to rain; you are wearing expensive suede shoes that are not waterproofed. Instead of completely skipping that event out of fear that your shoes will get damaged by rainwater, you can put shoe protectors on your suede shoes. That way, you can walk that distance between the outdoor parking lot and the event location.
What are they made of?
Shoe protectors come in a variety of different materials. These materials dictate what they can do. Generally, most disposable types today are made out of plastic and secured by an elastic band. These are used in a lot of different fields, from medicine to food service and even manufacturing. They are also suitable for general, everyday use.
Some disposable kinds in the past were actually even made out of paper. However, their use in the medical profession is discouraged. As a 1992 study published in the Western Journal of Medicine documents, 32 out of around one hundred shoe covers used in the operating room of the Tulane University Hospital were soaked through the inside with blood. The study encourages finding and using alternative materials.
Meanwhile, rubber is the most preferred material when making reusable shoe protectors. Apart from being extremely waterproof, they also do not conduct electricity. This has made them suitable for a wide variety of industries that deal with electrical equipment. With all these uses in a variety of industries, they’re surely here to stay.