Captive Footwear Programs 101

What is a Captive Footwear Program?

A captive footwear program is truly the precipice of great footwear hygiene practices at any organization. “Captive” or “Zoned” footwear is a subcategory of plant shoes where the footwear is designated to a certain zone in the plant, such as an allergen or ready-to-eat production zone. Essentially with this program, the footwear stays in one particular area of the plant, ensuring zero cross-contamination between high and low risk production areas and provides the ultimate safety for your consumers.


Learn more about footwear hygiene methods in our footwear hygiene ebook!

Considerations for a Captive Footwear Program

While a captive footwear program may be one of the best methods for footwear hygiene There are several key aspects to consider before starting a captive footwear program at your facility:

Cost of a Captive Footwear Program

While it is the gold standard for footwear hygiene, a captive footwear program also comes with significant initial and upkeep costs, especially if employers are providing the footwear to employees. Not only will the employer need to purchase all footwear at the start of this program but will also need to replace worn out footwear throughout the year and provide footwear for any new hires.

Environment Considerations for Captive Footwear

AdobeStock_201809925 (3)How many different types of footwear are needed for a captive footwear program really depends on the people, place and products of the organization. Realistically each facility could need over six different types of footwear depending on the area (e.g. cold, wet, or allergen) as well as for the different groups of people and the processes they’re conducting (e.g. maintenance, sanitation, and auditors or visitors).

Hygienic Process for Footwear

Where footwear is cleaned or sanitized in the facility is just as important. These areas need to be able to accommodate both employees and the extra storage space needed for a captive footwear program.

Footwear Buying Guide Pg 1

Hygienic Design for Boot Captive Programs

As mentioned earlier, the design of footwear itself is crucial. How easy a footwear is cleaned or sanitized is the foundation for any footwear program, including a captive one.

Download this hygienic footwear buying guide for employees here. 


Comfortable Footwear for Employees

Comfort is what employees care about most. If an employer is providing the shoes or boots for a captive footwear program, they need to ensure that the purchased shoes are comfortable for employees during long shifts.

Safety Considerations for Footwear

Is the shoe protecting employees from their working environment? Footwear should protect employees from cold temperatures, drop risks, slip risks and moisture.

Storage Considerations for Footwear

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Storage is a crucial aspect of a captive footwear program. Whether they are shared, stored dirty or clean, and where they are stored such as in a locker or drying rack should all be taken into account.


Onboarding / Off-boarding Footwear

Who maintains ownership of the footwear is key in a captive footwear program. If the employer is keeping the footwear after an employee leaves the company, how is the footwear deodorized and cleaned for the next employee? Is it even the right size? These are especially important if the organization uses a lot of contract or temporary labor.

Topics:Footwear Hygiene ResourcesFood Processing