Best Construction Boots Reviewed for Performance
It’s tough work being in the construction industry; you continually have to over-exert yourself to keep up with the physically demanding workload. Not to mention, the ever-present dangers you face everyday while on the job site. If you are going to work construction, there is mandatory personal protective equipment that you have to have before stepping foot on the site and one necessary element is adequate construction boots.
Construction boots have to be able to withstand the harsh work conditions and provide protection, comfort, and stability to prevent work-related injuries. A work boot needs to incorporate slip-resistance, toe-protection, waterproofing, and insulation to qualify as a construction level boot.
- Thorogood American Heritage
- Comfort Cushioned
- Caterpillar Second Shift
- Steel Toe
- Wolverine Durashock SR
- Shock Absorbing Pads
It can be overwhelming searching for the right pair of boots, especially when they’re so vital to your safety while on the job. There are countless brands all claiming to offer the best construction boots on the market, but how can you tell which ones are being truthful and which are simply scamming? That’s why we have written this list, after careful research and review, to bring you a clear and simple list of the best boots for construction work and make your selection process a simpler one.
10 Best Construction Boots
1. Thorogood American Heritage
The shoes are made to completely slip resistant which is good for when working with liquids or on slippery surfaces but this makes sure the shoes are good when walking on all surfaces and reduce the chance of having any accidents when slipping because of frictionless soles.
The shoes also have an added factor which is shock absorption.The absorption that the shoes have makes it easier to carry heavier things and won't allow for that painful shock of pain you can feel on your heels when you apply too much pressure on them.
Cost and Value
The shoes are expensive but if you're looking for shoes that can give you everything the others have to offer but also have a sleek frame and fashionable look than these shoes are for you.
Removable PU Footbed
2. Caterpillar Second Shift
Anyone who knows construction knows that a boot with a reinforced toe is a must when on the worksite, even if you’re just doing lighter work. It helps protect you from any serious incidents that are unexpected, and the quality of the toe can range from minimal to quite rigid. The Second Shift keeps a steel toe reinforcement to give you maximal protection against accidents, stubbing your toes, or other worksite related hazards. Top it off with an electrical hazard approval, and you’re set for anything thrown your way!
Comfort and Wear
On top of full grain leather uppers that provide durability and give flex to the boot, nylon mesh lines the inside to help keep breathability. A removable sock liner helps add more comfort, and a Climasphere insole helps cushion each step. A T3 rubber outsole gives slip resistance to a deep lugged sole, and a steel shank helps give reinforced support and stability all day long.
Cost and Value
For a work boot, it’s quite reasonably priced, and by no means expensive for the investment. With a steel toe to protect from the occasional unforeseen accidents, electrical hazard rating, and cushioning and support found within the boot, it’s definitely worth a look. Great for those onsite all day doing the heavy work, or just visiting site to site, the Caterpillar Second Shift will keep you protected and ready for anything.
Electrical Hazard Rating
T3 Rubber Outsole
3. Wolverine Durashock SR
The permanent direct-attach molding seals out water. The special lining rids your shoes of sweat and keeps your skin dry and comfortable. This is incredibly handy when working because it's known that all the hard work leads to sweating.
The fiberglass shank helps stabilize your feet, and it weighs 75% less than steel which makes the shoes especially unique because steel is a common feature on construction boots. This feature also helps by reducing fatigue that occurs when working.
Cost and Value
The shoes are on the expensive side of the ones earlier, but the price is high for a reason. The special technology and features the shoe offers, make them worth their hefty price.
- Fiberglass Shank
- Moisture Reducing Mesh Linings
- Absorbs Shock
- Synthetic Sole
Bland Color Options
4. Ever Boots Tank
Made with Goodyear welt construction and a 100% leather upper, the Tank is a well-built work boot. It’s approved for work with concrete and construction and features a grippy rubber outsole for superior traction on any surface.
The Tank features a cushioned insole and easy hook & loop fasteners for a no-hassle wearing experience. It’s solid rubber outsole, and leather upper makes for a breathable boot that will keep your feet comfortable all day while you’re at work.
Cost & Value
One of the least expensive options on this list, the Tank is an exceptional value for its price. Walk secure in these comfortable work boots that are approved for work with concrete and construction.
- Cushioned Insole
- Rubber Outsole
- Leather Upper
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- Untrue To Size
5. KEEN Utility Pittsburgh
Within the Pittsburgh is a removable EVA footbed, helping to keep you stable and cushioned. However, it’s easy to remove and replace with custom orthotics or an insole if you prefer. A contoured heel lock keeps you snuggly in place, minimizing heel slip during wear. Most worksites will have you walking or on your feet most days, so having a boot that acts as a hiking shoe is a win!
Steel Toe Protection
Along with a solid steel toe to beef up the toe cap, the Pittsburgh is ASTM F2412-11 and F2413-11 certified, and meets I/75 and C/75 standards as well. Reflective webbing also helps keep you safe in low light situations, and the slip resistant sole helps keep you going even in nasty weather or wet conditions. Add a Nubuck leather for waterproof quality, and the Pittsburgh proves to be an all around boot ready for anything.
Cost and Value
Depending on the color options selected, this can range in price from average to slightly more expensive for a work boot. As with many of KEEN’s hiking boots, quality and comfort do come at a premium, but it’s well worth the investment as they tend to last years, even with daily wear and tear. The KEEN Utility Pittsburgh is a great medium duty boot to consider for your next new pair.
Removable EVA Insole
Slip Resistant Sole
6. Timberland Pro Boondock
Leather uppers created the Boondock, giving it durability needed for daily wear and tear. They’ve been specially treated however, so that if they get wet, water will bead up on the surface and roll off the boot. Waterproof membrane also helps them with resisting abrasion. In addition, the outsole is oil-resistant, giving you traction not just in wet weather, but also when you need it most on the worksite.
Comfort and Durability
As with many of Timberland’s Pro line of boots, the Boondock has a rubber toe protector to give added durability, and help against abrasions, wear, and tear. Composite safety toe protects the toe box, and a padded collar helps irritation from occurring around the ankle. Anti-fatigue and shock-absorbing technology line the Boondock, so you can go hard and go long if the job requires it. Lace up vamp allows for you to adjust the fit and security of the boot, and hooks at the top for added ankle support.
Cost and Value
When compared to other models of Timberland boots, the Boondock is quite similar in price. To others here on this list, it runs slightly more expensive than average, but is well worth the investment with its brand name construction, waterproof tech, comfort, and composite toe. Great for those who work in the elements, or find themselves dealing with wet or messy conditions daily.
Oil Resistant Sole
7. KEEN Utility Detroit
The Utility Detroit is constructed of waterproof nubuck leather, with a Keen Dry Waterproof membrane, which allows breathability as well to help keep your feet dry, and blisters at bay. Dry-lex lining adds a bit of comfort, but it’s two-zone hydrophobic/ hydrophilic comfort technology is key to alleviate any wetness in the boot. Add to this CleanSport NXT treatment to help fight odor from building up, and you’ve got a boot to seriously work hard without leaving you damp after long days.
In addition to it’s waterproofing technology, the Detroit has a steel toe to help reinforce the toe box and protect you onsite. Reflective webbing gives low light safety and visibility for night work or early morning wrap ups, and the outsole is oil and slip resistant. A TSS helps support the midfoot for stabilization, while a dual density EVA footbed gives cushioned comfort.
Cost and Value
Slightly less expensive than some of the other KEEN brand of footwear and hiking boots, it’s a great budget friendly option if you’re in search of new pair of boots. With steel toe protection, oil and slip resistant sole, and waterproof technology that packs this boot to the collar, the KEEN Utility Detroit is a great purchase for those braving the elements.
Sizing Can Vary
8. Carhartt CMF6366
The CMF6366 has several approved boot requirements, including ASTM 2413-11, oil and slip resistant sole, and chemical resistance. Great for those who work in semi-hazardous conditions such as laboratory construction, or chemical plants. A composite safety toe helps to make these lighter than steel toe protected boots, but still gives piece of mind knowing your toes are covered.
Flex and Comfort
Rugged Flex technology is designed to stretch and move with your natural movements. The Cement constructed Carhartt Rugged Flex outsole brings durability to the boot, but also lets you take this boot out on the town with its ability to act similar to hiking boots in terms of mobility and flex. EVA midsole, and OrthoLite insole help cushion and comfort your feet, while weather resistant full grain leather uppers give structure to help support ankles.
Cost and Value
Reasonable priced for a work boot when compared to those on our list, the Carhartt CMF6366 is a great composite toe option boot for those looking for more comfort, and don’t require rigid construction of steel toe boots. Ideal for those who want a boot that’s versatile enough to wear inside or out for the day’s work, and then step out on the town in the evening.
Oil and Slip Resistant
9. Timberland Pro Titan
What makes the shoes a good investment are the firm rubber soles the shoes offer. When working with various circumstances, it's important to have shoes that are approved to be "oil resistant" thus completely slip resistant which will help in many circumstances.
The shoes are a special premium leather that ensures a first-class experience when wearing the shoes. This also allows you to incorporate a little bit of style into your everyday life with the leather and not adhere to whats normal.
Cost and Value
Compared to the other shoes on this list, the boots could be considered to be slightly on the expensive side, but for the quality shoe, they offer it all seems to be worth it.
- Water Resistant Leather
- Strong Laces
Excess ankle bone rubbing
10. Caterpillar Hydraulic Mid Cut
The shock absorption is an important factor because of the smaller amount of stress that it allows on the wearer's feet. The shock absorption is also promised to return the energy that's used against the shock absorption.
Flexibility of Design
The black full grain leather padded collar that shoes have to add to the flexibility of their design and along with this, the shoes have a steel toe on the outside of the shoe and nylon sock liner on the inside of the shoes.
Cost and Value
The cost of the shoes of the shoes is averagely priced compared to the rest. This makes the things the shoes have to offer even better because they come at an even smaller price.
Only comes in black
We have a put together a hefty list of some of the greatest shoes for construction. Each of these shoes is respectively top rated and each has something different to offer. When it comes to construction we know that you’ll be dealing with a lot of tough and heavy-duty surroundings and we hope that the shoes featured on this list can help lessen these problems for you.
Some of the shoes featured are waterproof, so in a situation when you’re getting wet, your boots perform right along with you and before you know it they’ll be dry. When you’re carrying huge objects, many of the boots have shock absorption which helps you lift more massive things without putting such a strain on yourself. All these things make sense because the shoes are designed with you in mind. So when you have shoes specially made for your field of work, of course, they’ll help a lot. Hopefully, as you read through the different shoes on the list, you found something that you can wear next time you go to work!
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Construction Boots
Save Your Feet
Construction boots are a well-engineered line of defense between your feet and everything else. When selecting construction boots for this top fifteen list, we took special consideration for boots that ranked high in safety and comfort. All construction boots on this list offer a multitude of safety features such as steel toes, stability shanks, water resistance, and moisture wicking technology. Every single aspect of the criteria for evaluation concerns the overall safety of our chosen construction boots. So, if you’re looking for a pair of new construction boots on your own, take a page from our book and consider these features.
Durability and Resistance
A good pair of construction boots must be durable to handle your activities day in and day out while also resistant to the elements and weather. Most of the shoes on our list feature some resistance to the outside world. Here’s a quick break down of the type of resistances features and what they mean for your construction boots.
- Water Resistance: Water resistance, the most common treatment for construction boots and outdoor shoes, treats the exterior of the boot to be hydrophobic, this means the boot won’t get soaked through with water or moisture, even if you work in a very wet environment. Typically, water resistance is only a treatment for the outside of the shoe. So if water gets inside the interior, then problems may occur.
- Snow Resistance: ‘Snow Resistance’ is a broad term for construction boots that have been treated to withstand freezing temperatures, sleet, and are strong enough to trudge through multiple inches of snow. This type of resistance is terrific if you work in freezing temperatures, whether inside or outside. Storm resistant shoes are insulated most of the time, so your feet stay pleasantly warm even in the dead of winter.
- Heat Resistance: Heat resistance is another broad term for boots that have been treated to solve some issues. Typically, heat-resistant shoes are designed to withstand high temperatures and are flame retardant. Welders, smelters or anyone working with hot liquids or metals would purchase heat-resistant shoes.
Stability is a feature of construct boots which deals with the traction, grip, and balance of a particular shoe. In construction especially, stable shoes that are resistant to slipping and provide excellent stability for the wearer is a must.
- Fiberglass and Steel Shanks: Stability shanks are flat pieces of material, usually composed of steel or fiberglass, located within the sole of the shoe. These shanks give more support to the arch and keep the wearer upright and comfortable for long hours on end. Most construction boots come equipped with stability shanks for both stability and as added protection from sharp objects.
- Slip Resistance: Construction boots are typically slip-resistant. Slip resistance can either come from the material of the sole or a grooved pattern etched into the sole of the shoe. Of all the features discussed, slip resistance is a top priority on this list because slipping at any job site can prove fatal.
- Multi-directional lug patterns: Traction is another essential feature of a construction boot. Multi-directional lug patterns are excellent for traction and grip, creating an incredibly stable and safe boot for labor-intensive work. Usually, you’ll want the bottom of your boot’s sole to have thick, deep grooves so that they can grip onto any floor surface.
Accidents always occur, no matter where you are or how prepared you might feel. That’s why a good pair of construction boots needs to be ultra protective of your feet. For this list, we consider the following features paramount to safety.
- Steel toe: A steel toe within a construction boot means a steel plate protects the toe box either outside the exterior or in between the interior and exterior of the shoe. Steel toes ensure that if anything substantial falls on your foot or anything sharp comes into contact with your construction boot, the steel plate has you covered. If you work in areas of high risk, a steel toe is a must for your safety and protection.
- Insulated: Insulation or an insulated construction boot keeps your foot at a pleasant temperature while working, this promotes air circulation and lessens your chances of athlete’s foot. It’s also a great feature to have if your area’s weather is particularly unpredictable (lookin’ at you, Texas).
- Shock Absorption: Shock absorption comes from an excellent outsole and footbed. If you’re on your feet all day, or if your activities take place on unforgiving materials like concrete, shock absorption will save you. All the shoes on this list come equipped with thick outsoles that even distribute force all along the bottom of your shoe and protect your arches, heels, and metatarsals for all-day comfort and prevents further damage to your feet after repeated activity.
Your construction boots can be the safest, most durable boots on the planet, but if they aren’t comfortable, then what’s the point? For the sake of comfort, we considered all the following features as critical contributors to a boot’s overall comfortability.
- Padded interior: An ultra plush, padded interior means happy feet all day long. All of our chosen construction boots feature padded uppers, inner lips, toe boxes, and heels to cushion your feet while at the job. A well-padded interior should leave your feet feeling pleasantly snug and not overheated, hence why many padded boots come with moisture-wicking technology.
- Removable Footbeds: Sometimes manufacturer designed footbeds don’t work for us. That’s why we gave special consideration to work boots with removable footbeds. If you have specific orthopedic issues that call for individual assistance, just remove the factory footbed for your own. That gives the perfect durable and resistant shoe with your comfort in mind.
- Moisture Wicking Mesh: A well-developed moisture-wicking mesh goes hand in hand with plushness and coziness. While a shoe should be pleasantly snug and cushiony, your feet should never sweat out. Moisture-wicking mesh combats the uncomfortableness of sweat while also maintaining a plush interior.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best brand of construction boots?
A: While brand preferences are up to each person’s needs, you can’t go wrong with Timberlands. Timberlands are known for their durability and protection; Timberland construction boots are the trusted option for many laborers and outdoor enthusiasts. Timberlands also fit nearly every single point of evaluation, making them incredible work boots all around. Usually, Timberland work boots and construction boots come equipped with water resistance for the exterior, and moisture-wicking technology in the interior, which leaves their shoes impeccably dry even in the most turbulent of weather while also combating foot odor and athlete’s foot. Timberland’s tough exteriors also keep your feet well protected from any trouble experienced on site. So while everyone has their favorite brand of construction boots, the beginner can’t go wrong with a sturdy pair of Timberlands.
Q: What features should I look for in construction boots?
A: For a personalized construction boot suited to your needs, evaluate what activities you’ll put these boots through. If you’re working in an area with lots of sharp objects and heavy machinery, then boots sporting a steel toe and reinforced exterior will be your top priority. Work sites facing unexpected weather or temperature require a construction boot to be well insulated and resistant to heat, water, and the cold. And if your activities call for lots of heavy lifting, walking, or running than a construction boot with grip and shock absorption is needed to protect yourself and your feet. So, before purchasing a new pair of boots, study your activities in depth to understand what you need.
Q: How should construction boots fit?
A: A construction boot should fit snugly around your ankle and heel for optimal security. However, the fit should not be so tight that blood circulation suffers or that sores develop along with your ankles. The lip of the shoe should cushion the top portion of your foot, secure enough to protect the foot while loose enough to provide air flow. And finally, the toe box should have lots of room for your toes to wriggle and breath. If every single one of these aspects is not met, then problems such as excessive sweating, smell, or blisters, can develop. This can make online purchasing very difficult, so try on many sizes in store to nail down your brand and size within that brand. This will make online shopping a breeze, and it takes out the guesswork of picking a size.
Q: Where can I buy high-quality construction boots?
A: If you favor a particular brand, then their official website is always a great option. Not only is this the most direct form of contact, but if any problems occur you don’t have to go through a third party to correct any issues. If you are not partial to a brand, then Amazon has a plethora of options for construction boots from dozens of trusted brands. And even if you are in love with an individual company, online retailers like Amazon offer incredible deals on products and shipping, so you don’t have to break the bank for a new pair of shoes. If online shopping isn’t your thing, or you prefer trying on shoes in the store, then stores like Academy and Dick’s Sporting Goods are perfect. Both stores specialize in durable footwear fit for athletics and work, offering a vast selection of brands at pretty reasonable prices.
Q: How do I clean my construction boots?
A: Cleaning your construction boots depends heavily on the material if you have leather construction boots than you want to keep in mind the luster and integrity of the leather. Products like leather polish and beeswax are needed to keep your leather boots shining after years of use. Before you clean your leather boots, be sure to knock off or brush any vast spots of dirt. After that wet the leather with a warm, damp cloth and then rub circular motions into the shoe with a gentle cleaning solution. Allow the boots to dry overnight entirely before wearing. If your boots are suede or textile-based, spot cleaning is the route you want to take. Merely use a mixture of one parts vinegar to one part warm water and scrub at the afflicted area. After cleaning, use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess water or moisture. If you’re not sure what materials you’re constructions boots are made of, check the packaging or the brand’s website for further details. Once you know the elements, google or search around for cleaning methods not mentioned.
Q: What materials are construction boots typically made from?
A: All construction boots typically share a durable, rubber bottom with a multi-directional pattern. This hard rubber prevents injury to the foot while the grooved design gives the shoe ample grip on any surface. Depending on the brand or type of construction boot, steel plates or stability shanks are inserted along the bottom of the shoe as an extra safety feature. And while most construction boots have a rubber outsole, some use TPU or EVA for their lighter weight and temperature regulating abilities. The upper and exterior typically consist of leather, treated fabrics, nylon, or a combination thereof. While leather is the most durable of these options, nylon is usually more comfortable to clean and lightweight in comparison. The same can be said of treated fabrics, but those are much cheaper than leather or nylon.
Q: How do I dry my construction boots?
A: Typically, you want to let your construction boots air dry overnight if they are not soaked all the way through. But if your construction boots are drenched, you might have to intervene. Without assistance, your construction boots might not be completely dry in specific, moisture-loving areas like the footbed. If even the smallest bit of dampness persisted in these areas, mold and odor-producing bacteria could multiply and infect your feet. So your options for prevention are speeding up the drying process or disinfecting your shoes after removal. If you wish to speed up the drying process, a hair dryer or placing your shoes near a heat source works wonders. The one drawback of these methods is that leather and treated shoe fabric might shrink or warp if they’re exposed to heat for too long. If you go the disinfecting route, wipe down the interior of your shoes with vinegar or a trusted shoe disinfectant while the books air out overnight.
Q: How long do construction boots last?
A: Depending on your activity and the brand of the shoe, construction boots have a lifespan of three to twelve months. And that’s just the shoe as a whole. Features like water resistance and heat resistance might wear off after three to six months of usage. So what can you do to make them last longer? Proper care and maintenance of your construction boots is key to their longevity. Be sure after every use you properly air out your boots. This prevents fungus and bacteria growth. About once a week, or depending on the intensity of your activities, give your boots and deep cleaning with gentle cleaners. If your boots are leather, use leather polishes and beeswax conditioners to keep their shine. The conditioners also reinforce the leather’s durability and toughness, so be sure to incorporate this step into your care routine. Along with proper care and maintenance, be sure that you switch out your construction boots frequently. Continuously wearing the same pair of construction boots weakens the shoe and allows odors and fungus to produce. In your work wardrobe, have at least two to three pairs of construction boots at the ready, alternating between them for optimal care.
Q: When do I need a new pair of construction boots?
A: Ideally, you should buy a new pair when the old boots can no longer perform its designated functions. So if you notice your water-resistant shoe is no longer that resistant to moisture, or your heat-resistant shoes feel hotter than usual, then it’s time to get a new pair. Don’t wait until your construction boots are falling apart to get a new pair. Not only is a split shoe dangerous, but a construction boot that damaged no longer offers support. Even if your feet feel okay in a busted construction boot, understand that your feet are so used to them they can no longer feel how uncomfortable the boot is. So, in short, if you notice some stark changes in your shoe performance, it’s time to upgrade.
Q: What’s the price range for construction boots?
A: A pair of construction boots can range from $50 to $250, depending on the brand. While a more expensive construction boot is a sign of quality, don’t look only at the price tag. Do lots of research into your desired shoe before splurging or skimping on the price. Sometimes that $200 boot isn’t worth all the hype, and other times a cheap boot has you paying two months later in sore feet and shoe repairs. So always be mindful of the shoe’s price about the shoe itself, and never base a purchase solely on money.
Q: Do I need construction boots?
A: If you’re asking that question, that the answer is most likely ‘yes.’ Carefully look into your activities and weigh out all the pros and cons a construction boot brings to your life. If you’re on construction sites or labor-intensive jobs, then you most likely need a construction boot. If you work in an office most of your days and rarely leave the building, then a construction boot is not for you. But what if you love the style of construction boots? Then, by all means, buy a pair. But you need construction boots if your job demands hazardous solvents, materials, or lots of manual labor.
Q: How do I prevent my construction boots from smelling?
A: Vinegar is your best friend for this very reason. If at any point you feel the high rising winds of foot odor creep from your closet, dash those shoes with some diluted vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar to warm water before transferring this solution to a squirt bottle. Spritz a generous amount on the interior of your construction boots, allowing five to ten minutes for optimal soaking and stench killing. After that simply wipe out the excess and dry overnight. If you want a little bit of luxury, mix in some lavender essence or lemon for a soothing scent.
- Collar: Consists of the stitching that forms the outer rim of a boot.
- Dual-density: Referring to something being double the standard or expected overall in size.
- EVA: A lightweight and manmade foam material that has excellent elastic properties.
- Footbed: A fixed or removable part of shoes insert that sits beneath the foot and between the outsole.
- Goodyear Welt Construction: The most resilient and solid type of welting used in construction.
- Insulation: Lining material that provides warmth and protection from the harsh elements.
- Outsole: The outer part of the shoe that makes direct contact with the ground.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a safety standard equipment that is used in a variety of employment avenues that deal directly with hazardous materials.
- Toe-cap: An added layer of protection in the toe area that can be made from steel, carbon, or a slew of other compounds.
- Welt: A piece of leather or other material that is fastened to the shoe to hold to parts together.
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