SAVA puts SA Manufactured Gumboots to the test

The gumboot market is one of the biggest users of vinyl compounds in the local footwear industry. These shoes are typically worn by miners, construction workers, industrial cleaners, employees working at abattoirs, fisheries etc.) – often without a sock and for long periods of time in conditions that are hot, sweaty and damp.

In order to test whether gumboots meet the PSC standards and comply with international health and safety standards, SAVA randomly selected 13 gumboots purchased from various retailers around South Africa. Samples of these gumboots were sent to two independent testing facilities for a series of blind tests.

Without revealing and names of the manufacturers:

  • Only 2 of the samples were compliant with SAVA’s PSC in that their main plasticiser was DINP (Diisononylphthalate) – endorsed by the European Commission as being safe for use in all current applications.
  • Whilst 8 of the gumboots tested used DINP as their main plasticiser, we also found large amounts of DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) present in these samples.
  • Three of the gumboots used DEHP as their main plasticiser, making them high risk to wearers.
  • All of the gumboots had either Chlorine (Cl) or Calcium (Ca) or a combination of the two as their major elements
  • (>10 %) – the main components of PVC. However it was concerning to note that 10 of the gumboots tested, also contained elements of lead (Pb).


SAVA is mindful of the fact that the shoe manufacturing industry, like most other industries, was badly affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It is not the Association’s aim to expose the non-compliant gumboot producers, but instead to invite them to work closely with us to ensure the health and safety of their workers and end-users. To this end, SAVA has sent out letters of engagement to all the major shoe manufacturers. We are hoping to bring these brand owners on board as members of SAVA and soon to have the first gumboot in South Africa displaying the Vinyl. product label.