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Pharmacist putting on his shoe covers at the laboratory

Disposable Shoe Covers or Reusable? Deciding which shoe covers are right for your industry

There are many great reasons to wear shoe covers. However, once you’ve made up your mind to use them, you need to decide whether you’ll use disposable shoe covers or reusable shoe covers. If you can’t quite make the decision yet, sit down and consider why, exactly, you need shoe covers.

For some, like renovation contractors, shoe covers act as a means to keep their client’s floor clean and free from damage from heavy, hard work boots. For lab workers, however, shoe covers are a means of stopping cross-contamination. These very different purposes require very different shoe covers.

Once you’ve gone over why you need shoe covers for your industry, it’s time to run through the list below and match your needs with the type of shoe cover you require.


For many businesses, cost is a top priority. At first glance, this might make disposable shoe covers look like the obvious choice. However, while the initial cost for disposable shoe covers is lower, the ongoing cost can look much different.

A box of disposable shoe covers can cost anywhere from $35 for 150 to $84 for 120 covers. Depending on how often you go through disposable shoe covers, this can last you anywhere from 30 weeks to 30 days.

However, a pair of reusable shoe covers can cost anywhere between $15 to $30 dollars, and last you up to four months, depending on the quality of the shoe cover as well as the environment it’s being used in.

With so many factors built into costing out shoe covers, it’s difficult to determine what the best cost-effective option is for you until you’ve tried them all out. For more direction on matching your industry with the correct shoe cover, call an expert at Colony Distribution today!

Disposable shoe covers


If your primary use for shoe covers is to prevent cross-contamination, disposable shoe covers are the best and only option you have. With proper removal and disposal, disposable shoe covers are the perfect weapon against cross-contamination.

Sensitive spaces

For some workers operating in sensitive spaces, absolute cleanliness is required. This means more than just zero mud in the workspace – it means even dust is forbidden. This is an almost impossible requirement for reusable shoe covers. However, disposable shoe covers come out of the box perfectly clean every time, keeping dust and other fine debris out of your workspace.

Simplicity of use

While both reusable and disposable shoe covers are used in the same way (by just slipping them over your boot or shoe), reusable shoe covers require a greater commitment over the long run than disposable. While clean, reusable shoe covers do a great job, once dirty they are no different than a worker’s soiled boots. This means a regular washing schedule is required to keep your reusable shoe covers clean and useful. And while washing reusable shoe covers is a simple procedure, it does require that workers stay vigilant. For simpler usage, disposable shoe covers are the better choice.

Reusable shoe covers

Protecting floors

Heavy work boots, with rocks or other outdoor debris caught between lugs, can cause major damage to flooring, meaning your boots can cause more problems than you bargained for. This is the reason why many contractors wear shoe covers while working inside a client’s home. While disposable shoe covers can keep the dirt and mud out of your client’s houses, reusable shoe covers, typically made with stronger, thicker material, are better at protecting floors from heavy treads.

Staying green

In today’s increasingly green culture, many companies are trying to lighten their footprint (pun intended) by creating less waste. For those looking for a greener alternative, reusable shoe covers offer a great option for reducing the amount of waste created.

Ease of transport

For employees in the same workspace every day, where boxes of disposable shoe covers can be stashed somewhere in the workplace, transport is not a concern. However, for contractors who work out of their trucks, ease of transport is a must. Boxes of shoe covers can create a less than ideal situation for contractors who already carry an array of material and equipment inside their vehicle, like first aid kits, high-viz vests, garbage bags and more. Reusable shoe covers can be easily stashed in glove boxes, centre consoles or even coat pockets to open up more space and to make them easily accessible no matter where you’re working.

The right shoe covers for your job

In the end, only you know the requirements of your job, your worksite and your workforce. By understanding which shoe covers best suit your industry, you can invest in the correct shoe cover, saving you time, money and energy down the road.

For more detailed help in choosing the proper shoe covers for your industry, call Colony Distribution today! Or, to get a rundown of the various shoe covers we carry, check out our variety of shoe covers!

Colony Distribution Inc.