10 Best Work Boots Reviewed

In a working environment, the importance of work boots cannot be over-emphasized. In fact, the perfect work boot is not just that which offers safety and protects your feet. Good work boots should protect you against exposed nails, electrical charges, temperature, but also provide the comfort to get through long hours on the job.

Best-Work-Boots-construction-worker-outfit-hard-hat-gear

Protection and comfort go hand-in-hand. Labor workers can be on the clock for hours, typically eight to twelve hours a day, and without the proper shoes and adequate comfort, that’s almost impossible. With those long hours ahead of you, finding the time to weigh out all the important metrics to find the perfect boot for the long hours is difficult. To make it easier for the hard worker in you, we’ve done the hours of research to find the best!

Last Updated: August 9, 2017
by Daniel Gonzalez :

The best work boots contains an update that reflects the top rated according to 2017. This includes boots such as the Timberland Pro Direct and others from brands such as Keen and Caterpillar. Also included is an overview of the criteria we used to evaluate each work boot, and the most frequently asked questions in the category of work boots.

Featured Recommendations

Timberland Pro Direct Attach Soft Toe
  • Timberland Pro Direct Attach Soft Toe
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lace-Up Boot
  • Price: See Here
Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • Wolverine W02421 Raider
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Full-Grain Leather Boot
  • Price: See Here
Skechers Verdict
  • Skechers Verdict
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lace-Up Front
  • Price: See Here

With all the many factors to consider, choosing a perfect pair of work boots was complicated, but we got it done. Should you consider the price or brand, steel toe or soft toe?  Shank or no shank? Maximum protection, or just enough to remain lightweight? We have all the information you need below. To us, quality is more important than anything. Should you look at the size, protection, comfort or break in period? Well, in this article, we use a combination of all these factors to come up with the best work boots according to wear-testers and thousands of compared user feedback.

 

10 Best Work Boots

 

1. Timberland Pro Direct Attach Soft Toe

The famous Timberland Pro Direct Attach Soft Toe is one of the best work boots that fully adapts to onsite survival. It boasts of a combination of waterproof leather and seam-sealed construction. The Thermolite insulation ensures the boots keep one’s feet dry and warm all the time. It has a non-marking outsole made of rubber lug, which ensures maximum traction while at work
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Waterproof leather
A critical feature of this shoe is its construction made of seam-sealed direct-inject. It contains premium waterproof leather that makes it usable in any working environment.

Comfort
Here, comfort is assured. The premium full-grained leather means minimal break and very comfortable work boots. They are light with an interior lined with Thinsulate insulation which keeps the feet warm.

Cost and Value
The cost of these boots is the average price for a perfect work boot. It looks cool, all round and the value is worth the price. It combines a waterproof leather and a seam-sealed construction, both of which are a major factor for good work boots
Pros
  • Great all-rounder work boots
  • They are waterproof
  • Insulated with Thermolite which is warm
  • They are light and very comfortable
Cons
  • Not good for the toughest environments

2. Wolverine W02421 Raider

These boots are of a top notch class. They last very long, thanks to the high-quality material employed by the manufacturer. The leather is well crafted, the interior is comfortable and soft and offers incredible support to the feet. These boots are designed to work correctly in dirty and messy conditions. Even after work, the boots are a great fit for casual wear.
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Comfort
The boots are ultra-comfortable and a great fit. The interior is well cushioned and very soft on the feet. The boots are flexible due to the contour welt construction.

Durability
The durability here is outstanding. Apparently, Wolverines are well known because of the strength they offer; they are well crafted and sturdy leather boots of good quality.

Cost and value
The cost of these boots is perfectly in line with its ability to withstand the toughest environments while at the same time upholding utmost comfort. The leather is well crafted, the interior is comfortable and soft and offers incredible support to the feet.
Pros
  • Traction resistant to slip, oil and abrasion.
  • Can easily slip in or out, even with lace up studs
  • The break-in period is short.
  • Highly breathable
Cons
  • The tough leather needs some conditioning.

3. Timberland PRO Pitboss Soft Toe

While coming up with these boots, the Timberland Pro series had both comfort and safety in mind. They are a perfect fit for jobs that require additional protection e.g. building and mining. With additional safety features, these boots can work well in hard labor environments and still last longer. The Goodyear welt provides a long lasting chemical bond which connects the Nubian leather boots to the outsole.
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Comfort
These boots feature a suspension system which ensures maximum comfort and reduced foot fatigue. It features a removable sock liner as well as a padded collar; all meant to guard the feet against blistering.

Durability
Goodyear welt construction has provided a sustainable chemical bond which connects the Nubian leather boot to the outsole. Durable comfort by the polyurethane midsole and a Pro rubber outsole.

Cost and value
The price of this boot is a big save on other similar products as these boots have the best of comfort as well as a slip, oil and abrasion-resistant outsole. The Goodyear welt construction is a real assurance of comfort and durability, both of which have been made available at a cheap cost.
Pros
  • Heat resistant rubber
  • Electrical hazards protection
  • Ample traction
  • A nylon shock resistant plate.
Cons
  • Additional insoles required for more comfort.

4. Caterpillar Second Shift Soft Toe

These boots have been created mainly for working in varied environments and for long hours. It features a breathable upper which makes it perfect for extreme comfort and dry feet all day. Maximum protection is assured with the oiled full grain nubuck upper. The leather upper and a strong outsole work perfectly together to protect your feet.
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Protection
The full oiled leather and the nubuck upper provide maximum protection especially to the ankle and the upper part of the feet.

Durability
These boots are meant primarily for those people who work in different terrains for long. The Goodyear welt construction makes it perfect for long working hours while retaining its comfort way long

Cost and Value
The price of these boots correctly represents the value it offers, including protection, comfort, and durability. The breathable leather upper and the high outsole provide maximum protection to the feet. It is perfect for any work environment, whether construction, hunting or simply hiking.
Pros
  • A nylon mesh lining for perspiration and wicking moisture.
  • Removable contoured polyurethane insoles
  • Hook lacing system is 2-speed
  • Perfect cushioning by the insoles.
Cons
  • Neither waterproof nor water resistant
  • No insulation or safety to the toe.

5. Timberland Pro Pitboss Steel Toe

This Pit Boss is all steel toe boots should look. It is very tough and perfectly blends comfort and safety. These boots are made of premium leather and meet all the requirements of ANSI safety standards. The outsoles offer the best traction since they are resistant to slip, oil and to abrasion. The upper contains rugged nubuck leather for durability and comfort.
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Protection
Apart from the steel toe, the outsole is resistant to slip, oil and abrasion. It also offers maximum protection from electrical hazards. It is spacious and features a Nylon shank with an anti-puncture plate for maximum protection.

Durability
They adapt to harsh work conditions, and durability is assured. Don’t even worry about having to replace them. The upper features a rugged, sturdy leather, and the outsole contains an abrasion-resistant rubber.

Cost and Value
A pair of these boots goes for a very fair bargain given the fact that this boot will give you maximum protection and comfort. It meets all the ANSI requirements, and the outsole offers the best traction.
Pros
  • Loads of safety features
  • Highly durable.
  • Very comfortable and does not cause blistering
  • Abrasion-resistant outsole.
Cons
  • A longer break in period.

6. Skechers Verdict

This boot gives a high-level blend of quality and comfort expected of such a brand as Skechers. It's tongue and collar are padded, the insole is well-cushioned while the outsole lugged and heavy-duty. It is also one of the cheapest work shoes available in the market. Apart from the comfort and protection, these boots look nice.
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Safety
With these boots, safety is nothing to worry you. The padded tongue and collar, the cushioned insole and the heavy-duty lugged outsole give the feet maximum protection from getting hurt or blisters.

Durability.
With this pair, there is no need to worry about your sole wearing down. These boots last long under any working environment. They hardly crack or tear.

Cost and value
At a very low cost, you get a perfect blend of comfort, safety, protection, and durability. It is among the cheapest of such quality boots available. The boots look very nice and are perfect for climbing and working.
Pros
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • The Insole is cushioned and features a heavy-duty lugged outsole
  • Made of totally fine leather.
  • It is waterproof
Cons
  • The soles can collect snow and dirt

7. Irish Setter 83605

These Irish Setter boots are made of good quality leather with a rubber sole that is known mainly because of its traction. It also offers great protection, especially while working in the electrical sector. These boots, apart from being worn in working environments, can also be worn on several other occasions. They are of lace up design. The material is full grain leather that is waterproof.
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Comfort
These boots require a very minimum break-in period, which makes them very comfortable as they take the shape of the feet. The removable footbed and the EVA midsole both provides sufficient cushioning for total comfort.

Material
They contain red russet sturdy leather upper and a mock toe that features triple stitching. The outsole has a thick rubber for ample traction and grip.

Cost and Value
With a star rating of 4.5, it means that it offers great value for your cash. Durability and comfort are assured by the sturdy russet leather upper. The boot provides ample traction thus one gets protection against slipping while at work.

Pros
  • Look smart and perfect for work and other activities as well.
  • Full-grain waterproof leather
  • A strong rubber sole that doesn’t melt easily, unless heated at temperatures above 475F.
  • Long-term comfort and support.
  • It's fit is true to the size.
Cons
  • Soles are said to crack after using for a long time.

8. Keen Utility Pittsburgh Steel Toe

First, they don’t look like boots at all. At first site, they look more of hiking shoes. However, they tick every right box regarding boots’ safety, protection, comfort, and durability. Each boot features an asymmetrical safety toe and soles that are soles resistant to both oil, abrasion, and slips. They are waterproof and have protection against electrical hazards.
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Comfort
These boots feel exactly as a well-padded hiking shoe. The waterproof breathable lining keeps the feet warm and dry always. They can be worn all day long.

Waterproof
These boots boast of a waterproof Nubuck leather lining which makes it waterproof. A waterproof breathable membrane keeps water from soaking into the boots.

Cost and Value
These boots cost less than their worth. With a positive user rating of 4.5 out of 5, users are sure to enjoy the comfort, safety, and maximum protection fro the Nubuck leather lining and the
Pros
  • They are waterproof and stain resistant
  • Eva footbed and midsoles for maximum comfort.
  • Are highly durable
  • Asymmetrical steel toes, a gripping rubber outsole, and rubber toe guard.
  • They take after hiking boots with a unique design
  • A contoured heel lock
Cons
  • They feel fairly hot during hot days.

9. Thorogood 814-4200 Moc Toe

Thorogood 814-4200 Moc Toe is a popular brand that is known mainly because of its quality and comfort. Being the firm’s best-selling work boots, it features a tobacco-coloured leather with a contrasting stitching meant for individuals in tough working environments. The steel toe provides extra protection to the workers at all times. Comfort is assured by the shock absorbing insert which is removable.
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Comfort
The interior has a shock absorbing insert which can be removed and replaced. A comfort cushion has also been incorporated into these boots to prevent the toe from blistering or getting hurt.

Protection
The rubber midsole, the Goodyear Storm Welt Construction, the cotton drill lining and the perfectly engineered composite shank ensure perfect protection to the feet.

Cost and value
These boots are worth the cost. The 6.25-inch boot is one you cannot regret buying. Its quality and endurance are great for longevity and style. The shock absorbing insert gives perfect comfort while the steel toe provides extra protection under any working environment
Pros
  • Electric shock resistance to 18,000 volts makes it excellent for working around electricity.
  • The soles last a long time and hold up much weight.
  • The leather is subtle and incredibly soft to ensure a short break in period.
  • Minimal marks on the floor.
  • Are lightweight
Cons
  • Some pain is experienced in the toe.

10. Timberland Flume

These boots are made in such a way that they are perfect for both hiking and working. It is covered with a strong leather fabric with a seam-sealed waterproof construction. The lacing is a D-ring with a logo patch on its tongue. Its collars are padded, and the tongue is fully gusseted to keep out debris. These boots look and feel nice.
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Comfort
These boots are very comfortable to wear. They have padded collars, and a support cushion has also been incorporated into these boots to prevent the toe from blistering or getting hurt.

Durability
The shoes have a sturdy and durable outsole. The leather fabrics are water resistant thus keeping the interior clean and dry, which makes them last longer.

Cost and value
Given the seam-sealed waterproof construction and well-padded collars, Timberland Flume remains the cheapest working boot. It is light with a long-lasting sole; thus it can work well in harsh conditions. The value is worth the cost.
Pros
  • No need for a break because they fit you right out the box.
  • They are light and very comfortable
  • They are waterproof
  • They look good
  • Resistant to electrical hazards thus good for any work environment.
Cons
  • The traction is not very nice
  • The tread wears after a short time.

How to Choose the Best Boots for Work

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From this list covering the most bought and highly rated working/construction boots, there are a few factors that one can consider when looking to buy a work boot. The factors include safety to the toes, sole and heel resistance, additional support, electrical surge protection, the construction type, waterproof and insulation ability, weight, durability, break in period and the brand name. When all these factors are well considered, you will not miss one of the best work boots reviewed above.

 

Criteria  Used to Evaluate the Best Work Boots

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Durability & Toughness

Best-Work-Boots-Protection

A good pair of work boots must be able to last as long as it can (and anywhere if that can be possible). The average lifespan of a pair of boots used every day can be from 8 months to a year. If you had to spend over $100 for a pair of boots, the assumption is that they can last longer. However; there are times (and only a few of them, fortunately) that you’ll get a boot or a pair that’s improperly manufactured. Improper sewing here, lack of glue there, quality control wasn’t doing the job at that time. This is not so much “buyer beware” as it is “you should keep your receipt.” You can get a pair of work boots that fit well be tough. Just be prepared when something goes wrong.

Weight

Best-Work-Boots-steel shank

There’s been an effort to replace the steel within the work boots with a composite material (the mixture of plastic, kevlar aramid fiber, fiberglass, and carbon fiber). While the material is lighter, it’s supposed to give your feet the same protection as steel. There are probably reasons for this. Steel is not something you want to wear when you’re working around electricity. And especially near water.

With that being said; there’s also the weight in the rubber soles, as well as the material to make the shoe, to consider. For those of us without cars, it’s a chore to lug these work boots in your backpack for about an hour to and from home.

Protection Against the Elements

Best-Work-Boots-working outside

It’s a no-brainer that work boots are required when working outside during severe weather conditions. Keeping your feet, along with the rest of your body, warm and dry is highly important. Else, the extreme cold will physically impair you. So wearing steel in your boots is out of the question. Having the required amount of insulation in your boots is important. Making sure the outsoles are not flat; that they have enough of a grip to walk through the snow with enough stability, is highly important. The same can be said when traveling through the desert in the extreme heat.

Damage Reduction

Best-Work-Boots-pair of boots

People who work in the industries dealing with projects such as concrete, flooring and roofing choose work boots that can minimize any damage done to the projects they work on. Idealistically, it’s best to walk around and avoid the work that had just been done. But sometimes, what needs to be done is unavoidable. Outsoles with flat surfaces (ie., wedges) are the best choice. Especially on work boots that are easy to clean. They must also fit tightly and comfortably; with laces tied properly. (It’s worse to die from an accident than it is to die from embarrassment, after slipping from a loose-fitting boot.)

Flexibility & Breathability

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It’s important to wear work boots that fit comfortably around your feet. It’s also important to make sure that said work boots don’t fit too tightly; so tight that it ends up giving the feel and angles unnecessary bruises and scars. The feet must be able to bend freely within the boots and flexibility must be insured. And then, if required, one must make sure that air can flow within the boots so the feet won’t sweat and cause odor within them. This calls for holes around the boots and special cushions designed to suck up the sweat caused by overheating.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why “Steel Toe Boots”

A: Most jobs require you to lift things. And unfortunately, you’ll end up dropping them by accident. It’s important to be able to protect your toes. Because they will hurt if heavy objects get dropped on them.

Q: Is Leather Good With Boots?

A: A good-sized pair of boots made of leather will fit you comfortably. But they’re not very good with cold weather.

Q: So then what makes for good cold-weather work boots?

A: Insulation that’s rated between 100 and 1000 “thinsulate gram rating.” The common rating is 200, which means your feet will remain dry and warm during the high activity of work.

Q: Which Work Boots Are Made In The USA?

A: Justin, Thorogood, Chippewa, Bates, Danner, Wolverine, Reebok, Rockport, Keen, Avenger, Florsheim, Sheplers, Red Wing, and Hampton. Although a few of them maybe lying; having parts come from Asia and putting them together in the US. They’re also more expensive than the ones you usually buy at the store.

Q: What stores sell work boots?

A: While any big box store can sell workboots; the better choice would be to go to a local specialist. Or you can buy online straight from the work boots manufacturer. (Mileage may vary depending on the manufacturer and the service.)

Q: What brand of work boots are best?

A: Current numbers are pointing to Wolverine. But there’s also Ariat and Skechers.

Q: What are metatarsal work boots?

A: Metatarsal work/safety boots are boots that protect the middle of the feet; long bones in your feet that are between the toe bones and the ossa tarsi (the rest of the feet).

Q: What are wedge work boots?

A: Wedge boots are boots specially designed for flooring professionals. These type of work boots help to minimize the impact on the variety of unfriendly and unforgiving surfaces like concrete. They have flat heel soles mainly made of rubber.

Q: What are composite work boots?

A: Composites work boots replace the steel (used in protecting your toes) with “composite” material. This material is a mixture of plastic, kevlar aramid fiber, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. In jobs where you’re required to pass through metal detectors or jobs that require you to work around electricity and metal detectors; composite work boots are the alternative to steel-toe work boots.

Q: What work boots are the most comfortable?

A: The vote seems to be for composite-toe work boots since it’s replacing steel-toes. You should also see if they have well-sewn-in welt construction, shock-absorbing and slip-resistant outsoles, (composite) metatarsal guards, ankle-supporting shafts, and waterproof yet breathable material. They must also be lightweight and flexible. Votes are currently going for Thorogood, Timberland, and Caterpillar.

 

Are you dealing with foot odor? If so, check out or guide and get rid of it for good!

Do your shoes need a cleaning? Take a look at our complete guide on how to go about doing so.

Is hard work causing blisters to form? You can prevent them!

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