4 Reasons Why Shoe Covers Are Essential PPE


Health care worker using disposable shoe covers while mopping the floor.

When you think of personal protective equipment (or PPE), masks and gloves may be the only things that come to mind. Shoe covers are rarely regarded as essential PPE by everyday people, but if you work in a high-risk industry, you’ll know the value of shoe covers.

In health care, for example, shoe covers are designed to keep an area hygienic. Waterproof covers are required in areas where liquids are likely to splash on shoes either damaging the shoes or the potential for the liquid on the shoe to contaminate another area.

What Are Shoe Covers?

Shoe covers are disposable plastic covers that go over the shoe. The cover protects the shoe from any liquid or solid materials and also stops any germs or debris on the shoe from contaminating an area. The type of protection required will determine the type of shoe cover that’s used. Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why this type of PPE is considered essential.

#1 Protects a Sterile Environment

Shoes that are worn outside aren’t suitable to wear in a sterile environment such as an operating theatre. That’s where shoe covers come in, as they ensure that those shoes don’t contaminate any sterile surfaces in the room.

#2 Protects Shoes from Bodily Fluids and Chemicals

Some shoe covers are designed to protect shoes from bodily fluids and chemicals that may splash onto shoes. Waterproof disposable covers mean shoes won’t need to be cleaned at the end of a shift, meaning they also act as protectors for your shoes. Using disinfectant on your shoes regularly is a time consuming, unpleasant task that also involves risk for staff. Shoe covers save valuable work time that could be better spent on patient care. 

#3 Stops the Spread of Bacteria

In some healthcare settings, floors can become a breeding ground for deadly infections. Most bodily fluids can harbour bacteria and viruses that pose a serious health risk to other patients in the facility. By wearing disposable shoe covers while cleaning up a spill, the worker doesn’t risk carrying the bacteria on their shoes to another area. The covers ensure that shoes stay clean and there’s no risk of spreading high-risk liquids from one area to another.

#4 Avoids Slips

Wet floors are common in healthcare settings. Any spills need prompt disinfecting and cleaning, with floors being mopped often to reduce the risk of bacteria in the facility. Walking across wet floors or cleaning them are hazardous in certain shoes. However, shoe covers with a grip on the sole helps to ensure that the worker is kept safe from slips and falls on wet surfaces.

Are Shoe Covers Worn in Other Industries?

Shoe covers are not only considered essential in the healthcare industry. They come in a range of materials to protect the environment or workers across a number of industries.


In the forensic police department, shoe covers should be worn to help preserve crime scenes. Covering shoes keeps evidence uncontaminated so that it can be recorded and collected accurately. A prosecution can be jeopardised if the police don’t adequately protect the crime scene through the use of shoe covers.

Real Estate

A real estate agent may use shoe covers to help protect the floors of a luxury home. This could be the case during home staging and/or home opens.


Once the floors have been installed in new or renovated homes, the homeowner may want to ask contractors to cover their shoes. Most tradespeople must wear steel-capped or closed-in shoes to protect their feet, so removing shoes before entering the home isn’t possible. Wearing shoe covers is the best way to protect feet and keep floors clean and free of damage without removing shoes.

Agriculture & Veterinary Hospitals

Some farms must stay free of contaminants to protect livestock and crops. Harmful pests and bacteria-laden faeces can be carried on to a farm on shoes. Farmers can keep the bacteria and pests off the property by asking all visitors to cover their shoes.

Sick animals are also at risk of being exposed to bacteria on shoes, but the humans caring for sick animals are also at risk of being exposed to the bacteria from an ill animal. By wearing shoe covers in vet hospitals, both the animals and humans are protected.

Manufacturing and Food Production

The only way to keep a location sterile is for workers to cover their clothing with disposable overalls and hair with hair nets. Shoe covers ensure bacteria doesn’t transfer to the clean environment.

Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers

For industries that require regular stocking of shoe covers, Shoe Inn’s shoe cover dispenser can hold whatever type of shoe cover your industry requires. Donning and doffing shoe covers isn’t always easy unless you’re young and have good balance, though the dispenser makes life much easier. Workers just need to stand in front of the machine and place their foot on it while the cover is automatically dispensed around the shoe. Within seconds, a worker’s shoes are covered and they’re ready for work. 

For more information, see Shoe Inn or book a free demo at your business today.