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.

Last Updated: July 19, 2018
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By NicoleH:

We've updated our top ten list of steel toe boots to include a few new options to consider. Many boots here have been quality tested for safety standards and electrical hazard protection, as well as have thermal insulation. All pack a solid steel toe to keep you protected on site! Check out the criteria section to see tips on how to select your next new pair!

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
  • Price: See Here
Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Multishox Insole
  • Oil Resistant
  • Price: See Here
Skechers Workshire
  • Skechers Workshire
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Relaxed Fit
  • ASTM tested
  • 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.

 

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. Timberland PRO 6

4. 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

5. Caterpillar Diagnostic

5. Caterpillar Diagnostic
Caterpillar made the Diagnostic Waterproof steel toe boot to handle tough extreme work conditions, backing up the boot with comfort for all day work requirements, and all with a safety focus. As part of their Ergo-Collection of boots, it’s been designed specifically to enhance the feel, flexibility and comfort, by making more anatomical adjustments in the footbed. The Diagnostic boot is a 6 inch lace up closure boot, all with reinforced steel toe.
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ERGO comfort
If you’ve ever worn steel toed boots from 10 years ago, you’ll remember the days when walking actually hurt after time in the boot, simply due to the lack of flexible or anatomically made material and construction. The Diagnostic helps to support the natural movement of the gait cycle, and helps to hug your foot in an anatomically correct contour fashion. ERGO fit helps stability, comfort, flexibility, and reduce overall foot fatigue.

Tech Specs
Waterproof design helps keep you dry even in the messiest of weather conditions on the worksite, and with 200 grams of thermal insulation, you’ll stay toasty as well. A removable EVA has perforations and gel technology to further keep you dry and cushioned for all day wear. Rugged sole and slip resistant rubber provide traction and sure footed steps.

Cost and Value
By no means on the expensive side of steel toed boots, the Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof packs a punch for waterproof and cold, while giving the most updated performance in comfort and boot design. Well worth the investment for those who find themselves at the worksite for extended hours, and require a sturdy steel toe protective boot.
Pros

ERGO comfort

Waterproof

Removable EVA

200 Grams of Insulation

Cons

Price

Sole Durability

6. Dr. Martens Icon Industrial

6. 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

7. KEEN Utility Detroit

7. KEEN Utility Detroit
KEEN is well known for their versatile styles of hiking boots, and they’ve taken that same comfortable design to a work boot with the Utility Detroit. It encompasses all the comfort hiking features of KEEN’s renowned boots, and combined that with the steel toe safety, weather resistant Nubuck leather, and a larger toe box to support proper toe splay. Add in a slip resistant outsole, and reflective webbing, and you have a boot ready for whatever day or night conditions you encounter on the worksite.
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Comfortable Safety
With its wider toe box, the Utility Detroit helps promote toe splay whereas some other steel toe boot designs are restrictive due to the toe protection in the boot. A Torsional Stability Shank lies within the midfoot for support, and helps stabilize you throughout wear. Waterproof membrane, dry-lex lining, and waterproof Nubuck leather help keep this boot going throughout any sort of weather to get the job done.

Other Features
A removable EVA footbed allows you to insert custom orthotics if needed, so you can tailor comfort to your needs. CleanSport NXT helps protect against odor buildup, and reflective webbings allow ample visibility in low light scenarios. The rugged lugs of the outsole are also oil and slip resistant, and won’t mark up any surfaces where you don’t want scuff marks appearing from work.

Cost and Value
Available in several different widths, pricing may vary a little based on this selection. Averagely priced for a solid boot, but well worth the investment when considering all the safety features and KEEN name brand, it’s a great option to consider. If you’re a fan of KEEN boots for hiking, this could be an option for you at the worksite as well!
Pros

Nubuck Leather

Waterproof

Wide Toe Box

Torsional Stability Shank

Reflective Webbing

Cons

Price

Durability

Sizing Can Vary

8. Thorogood American Heritage

8. Thorogood American Heritage
Stylish to the max, Thorogood American Heritage steel toe boots will work no matter the situation. Thorogood is trusted by millions of people because of the advanced technology, comfortable wear, and versatility offered in these steel toe boots. Some of the features we love about these boots are the shock absorbing footbed, the Poron insole, and the MaxWear Wedge. These features add to the comfort, durability, and overall awesomeness of these steel-toed boots.
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MaxWear Wedge
The MaxWear Wedge slip-resistant outsoles will ensure your feet stay planted underneath you. Working in muddy, wet, or snowy conditions can lead to embarrassing falls and possible serious injuries. It is important to note these outsoles are also oil resistant. If you work or play in slippery conditions, the Thorogood American heritage steel toe boots will give you the stability you have been searching for.

Removable Footbed and Insole
With the ultimate comfort that the dual density shock absorbing liner on top of the Poron 4000 comfort cushion insole, we aren’t sure why you would want to remove them. If you find they are wearing they can be replaced. Before this point, you will see that the ability to keep shock and pressure off your feet will make your joints and muscles feel better and allow you to go that extra mile. The Poron 4000 insole is superior when it comes to comfort and flexibility. These steel toe boots feel like a dream on your feet, which is something we have all been looking for.

Cost and Value
The ultimate comfort and style of these versatile steel-toed boots do give it a price tag that is towards the top of our guide. If you are looking for steel toe boots that transition easily from work to regular life and keep you comfortable through it all, these may be the boots for you. You may need to make some adjustments in your budget, however, we feel you will be more than satisfied with your purchase for years to come.
Pros
  • Zero Discomfort After Hours of Wear
  • Awesome Look
  • High Quality Stitching
  • Easy On and Easy Off
  • No Break In Time
Cons
  • Problems with Heel Separation
  • Toe is More Narrow Than Others

9. Original MuckBoots Steel

9. Original MuckBoots Steel
Keep your feet dry and comfortable all day with The Original MuckBoots Steel Toe Boot. These boots are made to stand up to your toughest jobs. Ideal for farming, construction, and the everyday tinkerer, these steel toe boots contour to your feet for ultimate comfort and are weatherproof keeping your feet dry, warm, and healthy. The steel toe will protect you from impact and rubber outsoles and overlays make them a cinch to clean.
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Gathered Collar
The gathered collar on these steel-toed boots hug your calf, which helps keep them in place and keep unwanted substances out. Keeping your feet warm and dry is key to keeping the ability to work hard every day on feet that aren’t killing you. The fit of the collar to your calf will not only keep water out but also mud and other debris that may try to work its way in. This gathered collar also helps to keep heat in, ensuring your feet stay warm and in turn, you stay warm.

5MM CR Flex-Foam Build
The build of these superior steel-toed boots are 100% waterproof. As mentioned before keeping your feet dry is crucial to healthy happy feet. Moisture in your boots can lead to nasty blister which can cause infection. Another major issue is fungal or bacterial growth, which leads to itching, burning and general discomfort. The Original MuckBoots Steel Toe Boot’s 5MM CR Flex-Foam Build is sure to keep you dry. In addition to this amazing feature, the build of these steel toe boots gives them superior shock absorbing capabilities.

Cost and Value
We trust The Original MuckBoots to provide superior boots due to their wonderful track record of providing high-quality products. Their steel toe boots are not only durable and comfortable, they are also affordable. A mid-range price tag and knowledge that these steel toe boots are going to hold up to the toughest challenges is why they have gained their place in our guide.
Pros
  • Loved By The Toughest Critics
  • Exceed Expectations in Extreme Conditions
  • Keep Feet Warm in the Coldest situations
  • Last Through Tough Use for Years
  • Flexes Naturally While Walking
Cons
  • Waterproofing Wears Quickly

10. Skechers Workshire

10. Skechers Workshire
And here you thought Skechers just made cozy sneakers and sandals right? The Workshire within Skechers for Work line of footwear brings an ankle length boot with steel toe reinforcement to the market from this footwear giant. Full grain leather available in a number of color options will have you picking the perfect pair for your worksite needs. And with Skechers Relaxed Fit, it’s sure to be a comfortable boot for all day wear on a budget.
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Work Relaxed Fit
Pull on tab at the heel help you get in and out of this full grain leather boot easily, and with its padded tongue and collar with soft boot liner, you may find you spend more time in them than out! Relaxed Fit allows for more room, and less constriction, cutting down on rubbing, irritations and uncomfortable foot fatigue during long periods of wear. A removeable memory foam insole helps provide cushion, while the midsole provides ample shock absorbance.

Safety Specs
The Workshire has been ASTM F2413-2011 I/75 C/75 approved, and EH safe tested ASTM F2413-05. With its steel toe protection, and an electrical hazard safety approval, you’ll be able to wear this in construction sites without issue. Traction is found in the nitrile rubber lugs that comprise the outsole, which are also oil resistant.

Cost and Value
One of the more budget friendly options on our list, it’s a great work boot for construction sites, but may not hold up in drenching downpours or messy worksites. Ideal for those on construction site offices or inside the work structure active zones, it’s got all the safety you’d require to get the job done. A good consideration for those on a tight budget!
Pros

Work Relaxed Fit

ASTM tested

Electrical Hazard Approved

Oil Slip Resistant

Cons

Durability

Not Enough Cushion

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 is 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 workplace 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

Criteria Best Steel Toe Boots

Protection

Many jobs across the globe require you to wear steel toe boots. Some common misconceptions are that wearing steel toe boots and having something fall on them will sheer your toes off. This is absolutely not true and has been proven over and over again. Other’s believe a regular pair of work boots will keep you just as safe, however, when put to the test no regular work boot stood up to what a steel toe boot can do.

While it may seem obvious, steel toe boots are protective footwear that has a steel cap in the toe of the shoe, it protects your toes from a variety of different circumstances. There are a wide variety of situations that you may find yourself in that a pair of steel toe boots could save your toes from the damage or worse. Some of the things the steel toe protects you from are:

  • Crushing Due to Heavy Falling Items
  • Protection from an Object Rolling Over the Toe
  • Punctures
  • Fractures
  • Blades, Such as Chainsaws
  • Hot Metal Flakes That May Burn Through Other Shoes
  • Electrical Protection
  • Anti-Static
  • Heat Resistance
  • Compression Resistance

Some steel toe boots also offer a steel plate on the bottom of the boot that offers protection from puncturing. Depending on your type of work, your employer may have a very specific variety that you need to purchase. Our guide has offered options that cover many different areas of steel toe boots that will keep your feet protected and feeling great.

A very convenient chart has been made to make it easy for all of us to understand what we are buying when buying a steel toe boot. It provides different colors and shapes to look for to make sure you are buying what you need to meet your employer’s conditions or that you are buying the best boot for your desired activity.

Steel Toe Symbols Best Steel Toe Boots

It is important to note that steel toe boots can also be a great addition to your shoe collection if you are an avid outdoorsman or you work with heavy machinery as one of your hobbies. A crushed foot from chopping down a tree will certainly keep you away from your most beloved activities for quite some time.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is the difference between a composite toe and a steel toe boot?

A: The simple answer to this question is that a steel toe boot has a steel cap on the toe while a composite toe uses a non-metal material, such as a combination of plastic, Kevlar, and Carbon Fiber. While this is the very basic answer there are some other pieces that may be important in your decision on what to buy.

Both types of boots offer impact and compression resistance to help keep your toes safe. When you head into work, if you are required to pass through a metal detector, it can be quite a burden to remove your shoes. An awesome pair of composite toe boots can make the annoyance of the metal detector a thing of the past.

Keep in mind, some employers will not allow you to wear a composite toe. Looking into your company’s exact specifications of steel toe boots will save you time and money, ensuring you purchase the correct boot for the job. If you look over the policy and you are still unsure, talk with your boss or the hiring manager for clarification. No one wants to be out of a job because of the wrong shoes, or worse irrevocable damage to your feet.

Q: What is the difference in standards between ANSI and ASTM?

A: This commonly asked question is actually pretty easy to explain. ANSI is an acronym that stands for American National Standards Institute and ASTM stands for American Standard Test Method.

There are different sections of the standards that must be met within different fields of industry. The test method is how the manufacturer of the boot must test them to ensure they meet the specifications set by ANSI. So, what does this really mean? It means that there are no differences in specifications between ANSI and ASTM. They work hand in hand, to make sure manufacturers are meeting requirements.

Q: Is there a difference in the sizing of a steel toe boot as compared to other shoes?

A: All shoe manufacturers may have sizes that vary from other brands. Expecting that you will wear the exact same size in every shoe you buy is a bit unrealistic. Some brands fit narrow while others require you to take exact measurements. Others may suggest that you order a whole size up or down.

Deciding which size to order doesn’t have to be difficult. Most manufacturers provide fit guidelines, as well as how to measure for their shoe. If you still find that you are having trouble finding the right size for you, read over the customer reviews of the steel toe boots you have been looking at. Customer reviews are a true insight into how a shoe or boot fits. You may also want to look for a steel toe boot that offers a satisfaction or money back guarantee. This way if you find that they aren’t fitting just as you wish, you can send them back at no cost to yourself.

Q: I hate how boots look with my clothes, do they make anything stylish that includes a high-quality steel toe?

A: The world of steel toe shoes has evolved dramatically over the years. It used to be that you could simply buy black boots with steel caps. Nowadays, you can buy pretty much any style of shoe you prefer and find them with a steel toe. This includes sneakers, clogs, and some that will look great with a suit or dressy clothes.

If you find your life is spent in a business professional dress code but also you have the need to visit job sites, a pair of boots may not be suitable. Know you can find many styles, with the same top quality safety standards, as you find in basic steel toe boots.


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