Best Steel Toe Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance

Many men and women work in industries that can be dangerous. Construction, farming, and other manual labor tasks tend to be hard on the body. While most of these industries require safety equipment, it is often not thought of that your feet need protecting too. This is where steel toe boots come in.

Steel toe boots are exactly what they sound like – boots with steel in the toe part to protect the most delicate part of your foot. These boots are also often built with a protective midsole plate. This plate protects the underside of your foot so that if you step on something, it doesn’t puncture the shoe and therefore your foot, from underneath.

Featured Recommendations

Caterpillar Second Shift
  • Caterpillar Second Shift
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Speed Lacing
  • Oil Resistant Traction
  • Price: See Here
 
Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wolverine Multishox Insole
  • Oil and Abrasion Resistant
  • Price: See Here
 
Carhartt CMW6220 6
  • Carhartt CMW6220 6
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Chemical Resistant
  • Waterproof Membrane
  • Price: See Here

Steel toe caps are the only ones that bend if the pressure of the impact on them is too great, whereas other materials would shatter. This makes them the best protective boot on the market. However, people who work with electricity should shy away from the steel toe boot, as it conducts the thing they work with. Safety first, of course! There are other fields which are perfectly suited for this boot and below are ten of the best steel toe boots on the market reviewed.

Last Updated: January 24, 2018
By Izabela Jeremus:

This article contains information about the best steel toe boots in general. It discusses the ins and outs of the boots, as well as any additional features that are relevant. If you work in an industry that requires steel toes, or just plain like them, then this is the read for you. A criteria section and a FAQ section have been added for better understand of the steel toe boot.

10 Best Steel Toe Boots

 

 

1. Caterpillar Second Shift

CAT is a boot that is well suited for a “second shift.” They boast a Climasphere lining as well as ASTM approved steel toes. Slip resistant soles are also on the menu with this boot. CAT makes boots that are rough and durable, making them the perfect boot for overtime. These boots aren’t afraid to make a splash and are comfortable as well.
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Climasphere Lining
Climasphere lining helps to keep your feet cool by regulating the temperature inside of the boot. It also helps to control the moisture level in the boot, which prevents blisters.

Slip Resistant Soles
With slip resistant soles, you can be sure you’re not going to go falling off any ladders. You can breathe easy – and grip easier – with the CAT Second Shift.

Cost and Value
These boots are worth the price due to their long-lasting durability. They’re made with high quality material and their Climasphere feature adds to their uniqueness. They’re not even the most expensive boots on the list.
Pros

Long-lasting

Made with high quality material

Fit as expected

Cons

Heavy

2. Wolverine W02421 Raider

Since 1883, Wolverine has been making boots for the working man. This iconic brand has been working to make durable and comfortable shoes for over a century and has come up with some interesting methods of doing so. Using their own patented technologies, they’re a leader in innovation. This particular boot comes with ContorWelt and Multishox construction.
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Flexible, Athletic Feel
The Wolverine W02421 Raider is a comfortable shoe to stand in all day. It is meant for those who need to be on their feet all day and want the feel of a running shoe.

ContorWelt and Multishox Construction
This boot comes with the patented technologies of Wolverine. It bends and flexes with you for the most comfortable fit. In addition, it’s very supportive and feels energetic on your feet.

Cost and Value
Much like the CAT boot, these are not the most expensive boots on the list. Their ContorWelt and Multishox construction technologies make them unique. Wolverines are meant for those who want a good boot for a mid-range price.
Pros
  • Comfortable before break-in
  • Lighter than some other boots
  • Keep your feet warm
Cons
  • No traction
  • Poor cushioning

3. KEEN Utility Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a tough city of steel and so are these KEEN Utility work boots. They come ready for anything you throw at them – literally. These boots come with a long list of features, such as weatherproof and waterproof lining, slip resistant outer sole, and waterproof breathable membrane. The steel toes are ASTM rated. This is a boot to get the job done.
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Waterproof
With weatherproof and waterproof inside and outside lining, these KEEN Utility Pittsburgh boots come ready for the weather and for your feet. They keep your feet dry no matter what.

Slip Resistant
The outer sole is slip resistant so that you don’t go falling. You can be sure you’ll keep your grip anywhere you work with these boots. You don’t have to worry about sliding around.

Cost and Value
Keen Utility Pittsburgh are a bit pricier than the others on this list but for all of the extra features they offer, they ought to be. If you want more for your money, these are the boots to buy.
Pros
  • Lighter than some of the other boots
  • Stand up to a harsh beating
  • Waterproof and weatherproof
Cons
  • Hard soles

4. Dr. Martens Icon Industrial

4. Dr. Martens Icon Industrial
Dr. Martens Icon Industrial Strength work boots come from another well-recognized brand. Made of water resistant leather, these boots are sure to keep your feet dry. In addition to being water resistant, it’s heat resistant. It’s also a traditional PVC work boot with a cleated sole and has a wooden shank for mid-foot rigidity. It’s slip resistant too.
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Anatomically Place Protection
This boot places protection at the ankle to ensure additional impact resistance. This means that in addition to your toes being protected, so are your ankles. This is an important feature to have for anyone working in a field like farming where your ankles may be at risk.

Electrical Hazard Resistant
Unlike many of the other boots on this list, the Dr. Martens Icon Industrial Strength is electrical hazard resistant. This is important for anyone who may work around electricity.

Cost and Value
This is one of the mid-price boots on the list, though can be found for a less expensive price, which is surprising given all of the features.
Pros
  • Slip-ons, so no laces to bother with
  • Excellent traction
  • Easy break in period
Cons
  • May need to order a size larger

5. Thorogood 804-4200

5. Thorogood 804-4200
Unlike many of the boots on this list, Thorogood is still made in the good ol’ USA. These boots are made for comfort and arch support. With a removable dual density Ultimate Shock Absorption Insert, these boots are made to be comfortable on your feet all day. They’re stitched and not glued to the sole, making them easy to repair if they come apart.
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Durable Vibram
The outer sole is oil and slip resistant. This makes these boots perfect for working in water and oil conditions such as shipyards and auto mechanics yards. They’re also perfect for icy weather.

Fiberglass Shank
The fiberglass shank adds stability to this boot and in turn to you. You don’t need to worry about the boot when you’re climbing ladders or just walking around. It has you covered.

Cost and Value
On the higher end of the pricing spectrum, the Thorogood name is worth the price for its durability and the comfort it offers. The boots are also well-made.
Pros
  • Soft in-soles
  • Easy break-in period
  • Thick, yet soft leather
Cons
  • May be narrow
  • Sizes run large

6. Irish Setter 83608 6″

6. Irish Setter 83608 6″
The Irish Setter is a faithful and rugged boot. Coming from Red Wing, this boot has quality written all over it. While the steel toe protects your toes, the electrical hazard protective sole keeps you safe from electricity in the workplace. It’s also built with quality leather and a synthetic sole. This boot is great for indoor and outdoor activities.
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Electrical Hazard Protection
The electrical hazard protective sole keeps you safe from any accidental contact with electricity. It’s a second wave of protection build into this boot, which is great for factory workers and construction workers.

PU V-Grip
The PU V-Grip technology keeps your boot from sliding. You have a greater chance of keeping your grip on where you’re walking with this boot and not slipping in your environment, which is always a safety concern.

Cost and Value
This boot is a lower to mid-price boot. It’s a good deal for the money, as it doesn’t hold too many extra features. However, the mid-price is worth it for the electrical hazard extra.
Pros
  • Excellent grip
  • Stand up to a beating
  • Enough room for inserts
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • May need to buy size smaller

7. Carolina Steel Toe Loggers

7. Carolina Steel Toe Loggers
It may not be the best-known brand on the list, but the Carolina Loggers make it on here for several reasons. They’re tough boots meant for a tough day’s work. The Carolina boots are lightweight, waterproof, and supportive. They’re meant to take a beating and come back strong. Not to mention that these boots are electrical hazard rated.
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Supportive Steel Shank
The supportive steel shank keeps your foot comfortably supported throughout the day. It’s an extra feature that only none of the other boots have and this one has it.

One-Piece Outsole
The one-piece rubber outsole is meant for heavy-duty traction. It’s also flexible in nature and meant to keep you gripped to where you’re standing perfectly. Don’t worry where you’re headed with this grip – it’s nowhere.

Cost and Value
This is another low to mid-range boot. This is because its features don’t extend beyond the electrical hazard and the steel shank. However, that doesn’t make it lower quality.
Pros
  • Good arch support
  • Lighter than some other boots on the list
Cons
  • Not good for hot weather

8. Timberland PRO 6

8. Timberland PRO 6
Timberland is a well-known, iconic name in the boot business. They introduced a waterproof leather boot in 1973. The Pit Boss is comfortable, tough, and safe. It’s everything you want in a work boot and more. With the steel toe meeting ANSI standards, this boot is pure majesty. It also has a traction grip to keep you from sliding and electric hazard protection.
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Removable Sock Liner
For unmeasured comfort, the removable sock liner lets you decide how the boot fits best for you. It helps prevent blisters and keeps your feet comfortable. No more aching feet after a hard day’s work.

Roomier Toe Box
The Pit Boss has a roomier toe box than other boots in its class. This means that your toes don’t get cramped. It allows you more wiggle room than other boots.

Cost and Value
Another average costing boot on our list, the Pit Boss is a great boot for its price due to the comfort it boasts. It also features the electric hazard protection, which is always nice to have on the work boot.
Pros
  • Stand up to harsh conditions
  • Little to no break-in period
  • Good arch support
  • Good ankle support
Cons
  • May run narrow
  • May run small

9. Timberland PRO 26078 Titan 6″

9. Timberland PRO 26078 Titan 6″
Another Timberland boot rocks this list as a top ten. This one is the Titan, named for one of Greece’s popular myths. Timberland is always coming out with new and stylish products. The Titan comes in leather with a rubber sole. The midsole is polyurethane for comfort and a light weight. The outsole is oil and other slip resistant.
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PowerFit Comfort System
The PowerFit Comfort System boasts an ergonomically designed boot for maximum comfort. This design provides comfort and support at key zones to keep your foot completely comfortable. It’s like being wrapped in comfort.

Mesh Antimicrobial Lining
For those who worry about odor, this boot has the situation covered. The Mesh antimicrobial lining keeps it under control. It also keeps your feet comfortable. It’s a great addition to an already awesome boot.

Cost and Value
The Titan falls on the pricier side of the scale. However, this is because it has so many different features. It’s worth the money to add in odor control and a more comfortable fit, especially when those are the things you worry about the most.
Pros
  • Little to no break-in time
  • Great tread grip
  • Lighter than some other boots on the list
  • Good in wet conditions
Cons
  • May rub around ankles
  • May run small

10. Carhartt CMW6220 6

10. Carhartt CMW6220 6
Carhartt is another iconic brand of boots that made it onto this list with a great work boot. This one is particularly interesting because it’s chemical resistant, making it a great fit for anyone working in a factory or other setting where there are chemicals involved. It comes in leather with a synthetic sole. The interior membrane is waterproof and the exterior is water resistant.
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OrthoLite
OrthoLite insoles give you the comfort you need to stay on your feet all day. They also provide shock absorption. The OrthoLite comfort tongue provides you with extra cushion in the shaft part of the boots.

Polyurethane
Midsoles are made of polyurethane in these boots, which make them more comfortable and give you shock absorption. The rubber soles are also made of dual-density polyurethane.

Cost and Value
These boots range from fairly cheap to pretty expensive, so it’s difficult to tell what price you may get. However, for all the extra features, they may be worth paying the extra fee, especially if you work around chemicals and need that chemical resistant extra.
Pros
  • Great grip in icy and slippery conditions
  • Warm in cold conditions
Cons
  • May be a snug fit

All of the boots mentioned above are important due to the feature they all share – the steel toe. The steel toe protects the toes of the working man (or woman) and keeps him/her from breaking those delicate bones due to accidents in the workplace. The boots mentioned above also all have different attributes which make them useful in the workplace.

Some of them have features such as waterproofing or electric hazard resistance. This makes them great for work around other hazards in the workplace that are not necessarily falling objects, but may still exist, depending on where you work. Other boots have features that keep your feet cool or warm, which is great for working outside.

Other boots still boast of slip resistance, which is important in a work place that may have water or oil in it. Of course, some boots have extras that are just nice to have, such as odor control. However, what brings all of these boots together is their steel toes and the importance of having them. If you’re a working man or woman in a field where you need to protect your extremities, consider buying one of the top ten mentioned here.

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Steel Toe Boots

Steel Toe or Composite?

Steel toe boots are made with a steel toe cap inside of the part where your toes go.  Steel toe and composite toe boots differ. Steel toe boots are made with steel, while composite toe boots are made with hard plastics, such as thermoplastic polyurethane. They’re both meant to protect your toes and come made with the same safety requirements. Because it’s harder, some people feel the steel toe offers the best protection. Other materials may bend or break more easily. However, the preference is really the wearer’s.

Safety Standards

When buying steel toe boots, they will have come with protection methods. ASTM standards F 2412-05, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and ASTMF 2413-05, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection are all of the criteria that are used to determine if a steel toe boot is ready for sale.

Symbols

Some steel toe boots come with symbols on them to indicate what type of safety they provide:

A green triangle signifies a class 1 toe cap boot with a sole that is protective, whether it’s steel or another substance.

A yellow triangle also has a protective sole but is a class 2 boot.

A white square means protection from electrical things.

A yellow square is protection from static.

A Red square means the boot conducts electricity.

A fir tree means the boot has chain saw protection.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Q. What is a steel toe boot?

A. A steel toe boot has a steel cap built into the toe part. This is done for safety reasons. Steel toes are meant to meet ANSI/ASTM standards.

Q. Do steel toe boots provide protection?

A. Yes. The steel toe cap inside the boot provides protection to the toes of the wearer.

Q. Is it better to wear steel toe or composite toe boots?

A. The steel toe boot is heavier than the composite toe boot because it is made of steel. Some people feel this is more protective than the composite toe. They both subscribe to the ANSI/ASTM safety standards. Essentially, it is up to you to decide which one is more suited for your needs.

Q. How do I determine my boot size?

A. Generally, your boot side should be the same size as your shoe. However, because of the steel toe caps inside the boots, they may feel different on your feet. You have to think about whether you’ll be wearing heavy socks with the boot and if they can fit. Trying on boots first is a good way to figure out which size fits best.

Q. D or EE width; which one am I?

A. The D width is the same as a regular width. The EE width is the wide version. Pick whichever boot you normally get in a shoe size.