Best Safety Boots Reviewed & Rated
Feet are important! You’re given only one pair at birth, and you need to make them last a good (hopefully) 80 plus years. Safety boots are a critical component to protecting our feet from a number of potential hazards on the job or while at play. For most of us, working or playing isn’t a short-term endeavor. We need footwear that not only lasts under pressure but that is flexible enough for us to stand and move long hours, day after day, in comfort! With so many options out there, choosing the right pair can be overwhelming. But fear not! We’ve taken the guesswork out of it; find out all the details you need to select the right pair of safety boots for you below.
Every day, we’re faced with a variety of potential hazards on the job. From flying objects and burns to spills, slips, trips, and falls… risks surround us! Let’s not forget chemicals, electricity, and extreme temperatures! We need footwear that is slip resistant, durable, and comfortable. Don’t forget about those ten toes (yep, we’re only born with one set of those) and metatarsals; they need protection too! A good safety boot must meet all these conditions and, perhaps most importantly, protect us from fatigue. We’ve reviewed a plethora of products on the market and found the creme of the crop for you!
When selecting the perfect pair of safety boots, you have many things to consider. Is protection valued over comfort? Is comfort valued over protection? Or are both equally important? What type and level of toe protection are required? From the construction materials to the way the sole is melded to the shoe, from the materials used to keep you warm (or cool), a multitude of products exist at almost the same variety of costs.
10 Best Safety Boots
1. The Original MuckBoots
With the Chore’s extra wide heel and reinforced Achilles, toe, and heel areas, you are sure to be steady on your feet while taking care of business! The rubber outsole will keep you from slipping around in the mud and muck.
Resist the Elements
The extra tall shaft coupled with the rubber outsole and breathable liner protects your feet and lower legs from the rain, sleet, and snow as well as any puddles you decide to jump in!
Cost and Value
MuckBoots’ Chore may run you a bit more than other rubber boots on the market, but the extra spend is well worth the optimized stability, breathability, and weather resistance you get with this boot.
- Tall shaft
- Reinforced toe, heel, and achilles
- Extra wide heel
- Kick rim
- 100% waterproof
- Less comfort over time
- Prone to puncture
2. Timberland PRO Pit Boss
This boot will protect you from the elements for years to come. The steel toe and superior tread combined with quality construction mean you won’t be frustrated with broken lace hooks, rips, tears, etc. compromising your protection.
Comfort, comfort, and more comfort!
Timberland considered comfort throughout this model. With a roomy toe box, extra mid-sole support, and removable sock liner, you won’t even need to break them in. The comfort is already present, right out of the box!
Cost and Value
The Pit Boss is a fantastic bargain value! It’s less expensive than most of the products rounding out our top ten list and provides even more protection and comfort. Wearers report using these boots for years at a time!
- Breathable uppers
- Great traction grip
- Excellent mid-sole support
- Long-lasting foot protection
- Not the lightest model
- Sizes run a bit small
3. Thorogood 814-4200
These boots simply ooze quality! From the premium leather uppers to the sole stitching, you will not be disappointed. Slide your feet in upon arrival and enjoy the almost non-existent break-in period!
A safety boot that doesn’t “look” like a safety boot. The attractive design means you can wear them in a variety of situations - a heavy duty construction site, dinner with the family, or a trip to the store. No Frankenstein walking required!
Cost and Value
You may end up shelling out a few extra pennies for the high-end material and construction on these boots, which are made in the USA. While there are other less expensive options, you won’t get nearly as high the quality.
- Full grain leather uppers
- Uppers stitched to sole
- Cushioned wedge sole
- Attractive mocassin toe
- Acceptable for everyday wear
- Slippery on snow or dust
- Heel runs wide
4. Ever Boots Tank
Goodyear welt construction is the original method for attaching the sole to the upper and uses two-level stitching making for the most well-made and long-lasting boots.
The 'Tanks' rubber outsole is oil and slip resistant while offering a durable and long-lasting wear. These are the ideal boot for concrete contractors to ensure that your feet are both comfortable and protected all day long.
Cost & Value
The 'Tank' is a much lower cost boot than some of the other options on this list, making it both practical and budget-friendly. These safety boots offer comfort, protection, and style, all for a reasonable price.
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- Rubber Outsole
- Oil & Slip Resistant
- Easy Closure System
- Removable Comfort Cushion Insole
- Sizes Run Large
5. Wolverine W02421 Raider
The extra care Wolverine put into the cushion of this boot shows! Superior flexibility and comfort for daily wear all in a boot that doesn’t crowd the toes. Users report almost immediate break-in times!
These boots will take you from the job site to other appointments with ease. You won’t be the one with the clunky heels walking stiffly into the room! The Raider pairs well with casual clothing as well.
Cost and Value
A bit more expensive than some other options on the market, but the conditioned leather uppers and the ContourWelt and Multishox construction are well worth the price. The comfort and durability of these boots far surpass similar competitors’ products.
- High quality leather uppers
- Additional cushioning for comfort
- Soft or steel toe options
- Pairs with casual clothing
- Doesn’t crowd toes
- Leather can show wear easily
- Soles can be a bit slippery
6. Danner Quarry
Danner evaluated previously worn Quarry models and recognized the midsole was one of the first parts to go. This led them to work with Vibram® to construct a new extremely durable, 12 Iron Vibram midsole that’s strong enough to last.
Gore-Tex™ is a breathable lining material that’s 100% waterproof and makes sure that no water gets into your boot, while still allowing moisture and sweat to be released.
Cost & Value
Danner’s Quarry is a reasonably priced safety boot which offers excellent protection and comfort. A new-and-improved Vibram® midsole along with Gore-Tex™ lining that’s 100% waterproof makes these boots a brilliant buy. EH certified and slip-resistance all combined in a durable and long-lasting safety boot, for a price that’s affordable.
- 100% Waterproof Gore-Tex ™ lining
- 12 Iron Vibram® Midsole
- EH Certified
- Non-Conductive Electrical Shock Resistant Soles & Heels
- Ortholite Footbed
- Small Fitting
7. Caterpillar 2nd Shift
The 2nd Shift provides the essential protection your feet require: steel toes, high traction soles, padded ankles, and water and oil resistance.
Comfort and Style
The leather uppers are thick yet flexible. Users report a quick break-in period (a couple wears) along with optimal temperature control. Throw these stylish boots on with your jeans or bibs, and you’re ready to hit the town!
Cost and Value
The 2nd shift is likely the best budget buy on our top ten list. Far less expensive than alternatives on the market, but may not last as long. Perfect for those of you looking for a low-cost option and who aren't needing years out of their boots.
- Steel toe for protection
- Thick, flexible leather
- Excellent sole grip
- Not waterproof
- Expect to replace within a year
8. KEEN Utility Pittsburgh
Steel toes, stability plate, waterproof uppers, oil and slip resistant outsoles, reflective webbing, positive lacing locks and a stability plate combine to make this one of the most protective boots on the market.
KEEN has you covered with comfort in this model. Asymmetrical steel toes for less rigid walking, additional midsole support, and a flexible lightweight construction mean fewer aches and pains for you...day in and day out!
Cost and Value
Pricier than the Pit Boss with similar features, but if you’re looking for a lighter weight model with some additional safety features, the Pittsburgh is worth the investment.
- Asymmetrical steel toes
- Removable footbed
- Reflective webbing for safety
- Surprisingly Lightweight
- Thin laces prone to breakage
- May be “squeaky”
9. Red Wing Classic Moc
High-quality leather, stitched soles, welt construction, a leather insole, waterproof uppers - Red Wing didn’t skimp on quality from top to bottom of this boot, down to the cork midsole.
These boots have the classic Red Wing design that we all have come to know and love. Available in a multitude of colors and shades, you are sure to find the right fit.
Cost and Value
Red Wing reputation comes with a price - as in a pricey boot. This model is a far more expensive option than others on our top ten list or in the market in general. You’ll pay more for this model than the Thorogood.
- High quality leather
- Stitched, not glued, sole
- Stylish design
- Welt construction
- Insoles not as soft
- Soles can wear quickly
10. Carhartt CMF6366
The composite toe is much more lightweight and comfortable than the traditional steel toe. This allows you to be on your feet longer without struggling and can be a pleasant alternative for women.
This boot combines top safety features with options for comfort as well. The flexible sole and comfortable insole coupled with the leather construction and composite toe creates the ultimate balance of safety and comfort!
Cost and Value
A less expensive model than similar competing products on the market, but still great value for a boot made of leather and with a composite toe.
- Composite toe is lightweight
- Leather uppers
- Rugged Flex technology
- Rubber soles
- Slip, oil, and chemical resistant
- Uncomfortable insoles
- Not for multiple impacts
Each of the boots in this review has been carefully selected to cover the potential risks and requirements of all types of uses – from farming and agriculture to heavy machinery construction. We’ve taken the guesswork out of your shopping. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully, we’ve helped you choose a pair suitable for your needs. Your feet are worth it!
Criteria Used To Evaluate The Best Safety Boots
Chemical hazards and toxic substances put workers at risk to all sorts of health hazards, like; irritation, and carcinogenicity, not to mention the physical hazards, like, flammability, corrosion, and explosiveness. The materials which are used in the construction of a safety boot must be adequate and appropriate depending on the type of chemicals you are working with. A material which does not properly protect against a chemical you are working with will not protect you and can endanger your wellbeing.
Certain materials are more resistant to some chemicals than others, for example, rubber holds up well against ammonia, alcohols, wet concrete, fertilizers, and animal droppings, whereas rubber does not protect well against oils. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) are materials which hold up much better against oils and animal fats.
Working around electricity requires specific footwear to reduce the risk of electricity-related injuries like electrocution. There are generally three classifications for safety boots adequate to protect an electrician;
- Non-Conductive: This type of safety boot gives the second line of protection against contact with live electric circuits to reduce the risk of shock.
- Anti-Static: These type of safety boots are used by those working in places sensitive to static electricity. These safety boots disperse the buildup of static electricity from the body while also giving resistance to live circuits.
- Conductive: Conductive footwear protects against the accumulation of static electricity and is made with materials that give no electrical resistance.
Fire/Heat: Exposure to extreme heat puts you at risk for serious injury if you are not equipped with the proper protective equipment and when it comes to heat resistant safety boots there are certain features and materials to look for.
For example, some of the most heat-resistant materials are neoprene, nitrate, aluminized Kevlar, and leathers treated with heat resistant materials. Other features to look for are; metatarsal guards which protect the delicate metatarsal bones at the instep of the foot and puncture resistant midsoles which will guard your foot against sharp hazards in the workplace.
Snow/Cold: Working in extremely cold conditions puts you at an elevated risk for things like frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia which is why wearing protective safety boots is so important. When deciding which boots to purchase for working in cold conditions there are several features to consider, things like;
- A waterproof sealed-seam upper
- Multi-layer lining system
- Moisture-wicking material
- Insulated against cold: 30 minutes at -20℃
Materials are also an important factor as some are much more resistant to the cold than others. Materials like; thermal-tested rubber is an excellent consideration for safety.
Safety boots should protect your toes from a 200-joule impact, a joule is the unit of energy and is purposefully specific. They must also protect your toes from a resting weight of over 1000kg. The most common method of toe protection is which steel toe cap boots, although non-metallic protection can be just a tough but lighter than steel.
How a safety boot is constructed is an important part of its performance. The way that your boot is made, particularly how the sole is attached, will have a large impact on how well the shoe holds up. These are the different ways in which a sole can be attached to the upper, this is an important factor to consider when purchasing any safety boot.
Direct-Attach (Cementing): This process involves attaching the upper to the sole using a molten rubber. Cementing uses a resilient and flexible adhesive to bond the outsole to the rest of the shoe
- Less Costly
- Usually More Comfortable
Welting: Involves the using a strip of leather, plastic, or rubber being stitched to the upper part of the boot, as well, as to the sole. This gives an extremely well-made product but usually costs more than a shoe which was cemented. There are two different types of welting, Goodyear, and Blake.
Goodyear welting is the original method and uses two-level stitching making for the most well-made and long-lasting boots.
- Extremely Durable
- Offers strong support and water-resistance from double stitching
Blake welting: Same as Goodyear welting only the outsole is attached by a single stitch only.
- Made To Last
- Fewer Layers Make For More Movability
It is important to remember your safety boots must be comfortable as you will be wearing them for long periods of time. Make sure that boots fit well and do not cramp your toes. Be sure to try shoes on later in the day because your feet swell throughout the course of the day, therefore shoes which were comfortable in the morning may be too tight in the afternoon.
Safety boots come in different heights and can range from roughly 5-inches to 12-inches. Different heights will provide more or less comfort for your ankle depending on the level of support provided.
- 10-inch to 12-inch safety boots sit at mid-shin level
- 8-inch and 9-inch boots sit above the ankle and provide better ankle support
- 5-inch safety boots sit right about ankle level allowing for the best flexibility for your ankle, but also offer the least support.
The most common height for safety boots is between eight to nine inches.
If you work outdoors performing heavy lifting, or in a hospital, or restaurant, you are going to require slip-resistant safety boots. A boot with a slip-resistant sole will help keep you safe by preventing accidental slips and falls.
There are different types of slip-resistant soles available for safety boots which can make it difficult deciding which one is the best option for you. The following list breaks down the different slip-resistant safety boots to help you choose the one most suited to your need;
- Polyurethane: Polyurethane is extremely slip-resistant
- Neoprene: Neoprene is slip-resistant and resistant to high temperatures
- Nitrile:: Less slip-resistant than Neoprene, but also a good choice for heat-resistance
- Rubber: Rubber offers a good grip, even in extremely cold conditions. It is also waterproof and breathable
- PVC: PVC offers moderate slip-resistance but is generally a more low-cost option
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I care for my leather safety boots?
A: Clean them after every wear by wipe them down with a damp cloth and allow them to air dry thoroughly. Leather boots can also be polished with a matching boot cream polish.
Q: Are there different types of laces for safety boots?
A: There are several types of lacing systems, that help your safety boots to fit properly and comfortably. The most common types of safety boot lacing systems include; traditional eyelets (a punch hole in the upper leather), D-ring eyelet for fast lacing and metal hooks for faster lacing.
Q: How to tell if a boot is certified as puncture resistant?
A: In order for a boot to be certified as Puncture Resistant (PR) it must either have a stainless steel plate or a non-metallic puncture resistant plate placed in between the insole and the sole of the boot.
Q: Are there any materials besides steel which is used in safety toes?
A: Yes, there are composites, which are plastic toe caps that are lighter than steel and do not get as cold as steel toes, these are ideal for places that have metal detectors. Then there is aluminum toe that’s slightly lighter than steel, all three safety toes are rated with the same requirements.
Q: What is the steel shank in boots for?
A: A shank is a vital part of a shoe’s functionality, it lessens the amount of stress and strain on your feet and calves which will save you all sort of physical problems down the road.
Q: Why do I need waterproof safety boots?
A: Having dry feet is essential if you want to stay comfortable for the duration of your workday. It is also important that your feet be dry in order to protect you from certain injuries like hypothermia and trench foot.
Q: What is Thinsulate and do I really need it?
A: Thinsulate is the material often used in the manufacturing of sleeping bags, it is extremely effective at keeping your feet warm and protected from extreme elements. It is definitely a consideration if you are purchasing safety boots for use in extremely cold temperatures.
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- Footwear FAQs – Work Boots, Safety Toe Boots & more, Information Page, Feb 01, 2018 ,
- Electrical hazards and footwear, Response Article, Oct 01, 2017 ,
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