When you’ve got a job that needs doing, you’re going to need reliable work boots. But with all the options out there, it can be tough to decide which ones to buy. Boots aren’t cheap, and you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a pair that can’t handle your workload. That’s why we’ve created this in-depth guide that’s designed to help you find the best work boots for your needs.
Depending on your job, different features of the boots might be more or less important to you, but luckily the things that make boots good are generally the same. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top ten work boots we could find.
We’ve also explained key features to watch for when shopping for your new footwear, so you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make the best decision. And to help out a little more, we’ve added a list of 5 companies you can trust to supply you with high-quality boots that will definitely be able to keep up with you!
10 Best Work Boots Reviews With Buying Guide:
Timberland PRO Men’s Direct Attach Six-Inch Soft-Toe Boot
The number one thing that sets these boots apart is that they’re incredibly comfortable work boots. Timberland has engineered them with their really great 24/7 Comfort Suspension System, which provides all the arch support you need. This system also cushions every step you take, which means you can walk (or stand, jog back and forth, climb, do jumping jacks or anything else the job requires) all day and not have tired feet. They also feature a padded collar, which eliminates chafing and another discomfort.
These boots are made of full grain, treated leather and come in five different colors. Their seams are sealed, making them completely waterproof even if you have to be in the rain, mud, or snow all day. Because of the way the leather and seams are treated, their water-resistance should last the entire lifetime of the boots. And they’re insulated, so they’ll keep you warm too!
If you’re an electrician or have to work in places that can pose shock hazards, these might be a good choice of boots for you. Their rubber soles alone protect against electrical shocks, and these boots specifically were designed to minimize the danger to people who could be exposed to dangerous electrical currents.
Conveniently, the Timberland PRO Series boots tend to fit exactly as expected for the vast majority of people who buy them. As an added bonus, they have an anti-microbial lining to help control odors, which we’re sure will probably be your housemates’ favorite feature. Note: these are NOT steel-toed boots! While they do have a lot of safety and comfort features, they don’t include that level of toe protection. However, Timberland does offer protective inserts that you can buy separately and add to your PROs that are just as effective as built-in steel toes.
Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Men’s Tactical Side-Zip Boots
One of our favorite features of these boots is that they just look good! Smith & Wesson offers two color options and two size options, so you can choose the ones that match your style and comfort preferences. And the fact that they have zip-up construction is also a win in our book. We approve of boots that are easy to get on and off. Especially after you’ve worked a long shift!
Another plus of these boots is the price: between $80 and $86 depending on the height and color options you choose. They were designed for people on a budget. But even though they’re less expensive, Smith & Wesson hasn’t sacrificed quality at all. Made of nylon and leather with a rubber outsole, these boots are designed to last through long days or nights on the job. We think it’s pretty safe to say that the Breach 2.0 boots are one of the best quality-for-their-price options out there.
Looks and price aside, these boots were also built for comfort. They feature rigid construction, including a steel shank, for maximum support. Their EVA midsole provides comfort for the bottom of your foot too and does a great job of cushioning pressure points. You won’t lack arch support with these! Smith & Wesson also cares about keeping you clean, which is why they’ve engineered their boots with a gusseted tongue. No matter what job you’re doing, they’ll do a good job of keeping dirt out.
These boots tend to be great options for law enforcement, firefighters, and security personnel because of their great traction. Whether it’s pavement, dirt, tile, ladders, wood, concrete, metal, or anything else you may find yourself walking or running on during your shift, the Breach 2.0 boots won’t let you fall. NOTE: they are water-resistant but not entirely waterproof. They also do not feature steel-toe protection.
Caterpillar Men’s Supersede Chukka Boot
We really like the lightweight, hiking-boot look and feel that these boots have. Caterpillar has succeeded in creating a comfy work boot that’s durable, versatile, and doesn’t add the weight to your feet that most heavy-duty footwear would. You could move around all day in these and still be comfortable! In addition to adding hardly any weight to your feet, they’re extremely breathable, which reduces odor. We’re not kidding when we say that you could end your shift, go on a fun hike or walk with the family, and not have to change your shoes in between.
Caterpillar offers four colors to choose from, all of which are constructed of leather for lasting durability. Their logo appears on the tongue and outside of the boots in large letters. These boots feature a rubber sole for added toughness and traction no matter what terrain you’re working on. The insole is made of comfortable, supportive foam that adds cushioning to your steps. It’s also removable to make cleaning your Chukkas much easier! The midsole features, even more, cushioning for additional comfort, especially if your arches tend to struggle sometimes.
These boots are not waterproof, nor do they contain steel-toe protection. They are really great for construction jobs during the warm seasons since they’re so lightweight and good at releasing heat. However, they aren’t insulated at all, so you may need a different pair for working outside during the winter months. If you have a job that requires a lot of activity in a warm climate, these are likely the boots for you!
Carhartt Men’s 11″ Wellington Waterproof Soft Toe Pull-On Leather Work Boot CMP1100
Carhartt has earned a reputation for making tough workwear that can stand up to just about any demand, and these boots are no exception. They’ve been designed with farmers, ranchers, construction workers, and other jobs that are extremely hard on footwear in mind. Because of that, the quality of their construction is unparalleled. And we’re also big fans of their rugged good looks!
These Wellingtons are built of rich, oiled and tanned leather that will last a long time. In addition, Carhartt has added corduroy that’s resistant to abrasions and will keep the boots looking good even if they take a beating. They also feature a leather heel to help with ankle support, which is great if you have weak ankles or are walking on uneven ground a lot.
Carhartt has also built a lot of safety features into these boots. No, they’re not steel-toe, but they do protect against electrical shocks. And as an added bonus, the soles are polyurethane and resistant to both oil and chemicals. Plus, they’re completely waterproof, and their Storm Defender membrane is guaranteed to last as long as the boots do. These Wellingtons are also heavily insulated, so if you’re working in winter whether they’ll protect your feet and keep them toasty warm day and night. However, that very insulation means they might not be the best boots for hot climates and seasons.
Like all of Carhartt’s products, these boots are designed to be both functional and easy to wear. And they clearly haven’t sacrificed any comfort! The boots come with cushioned polyurethane inserts that are removable for easy cleaning. The inserts are specifically designed to provide the support you need to stay on your feet all day if you need to. These boots are designed for outdoor wear in mind, but they also work great for indoor jobs as well. Carhartt’s versatile Wellingtons honestly could handle just about any job.
Carhartt Men’s Durable Comfort 6″ Brown Waterproof Soft toe CME6055 Industrial Boot
One thing that Carhartt did very well with these boots has they absolutely nailed the sizing. Customers report that they fit as expected nearly every time. Perhaps the reason for this is that they were designed using 120,000 3D foot scans? Whatever the reason, these boots are top of the line in both fit and comfort! They have incredible arch support, and the tetrapod design of their footbed virtually eliminates pressure points. The footbed is overlaid with Carhartt’s Ax Suede Top Cover Material, which reduces the likelihood of your foot sliding around inside the boot. All these features are aimed at reducing your fatigue no matter what you do or where you are.
These are arguably the most versatile boots that we could find. Not only are they waterproof, chemical resistant, and oil resistant, they also heat resistant, slip resistant, abrasion resistant, and offer protection from electric shocks. They really could handle any environment you put them in. However, they only have a 6” shaft. If you’re working in water deeper than that you’re going to want taller boots.
As far as work boots go, these are pretty good looking ones, but they are only offered in one color. More importantly, they feature a rubber toe bumper instead of leather. This bumper makes it more resistant to wear and tear, which means the boots will not only last but look nicer for longer. It can be hard to find boots with this ability, but these ones have it. They are also designed to have incredibly good traction no matter where they’re used. Carhartt prides itself on safety, and these boots are no exception.
Carhartt Men’s Durable Comfort 6″ Black Waterproof Comptoe CME6351 Industrial Boot
These boots feature many of the same features as their Brown Soft toe cousins we talked about above. They also were built using over 100,000 3D foot scans, giving them amazing fit and comfort. Not only that, they also include the Ax Suede Top Comfort Material to reduce slide and fatigue. And they’re built to include all the comfort technology that Carhartt has come up with so far (including their tetrapod foam footbed that eliminates pressure points!)
Much like the Brown Softtoes, these Comptoes is also slip, chemical, and oil resistant, and provide protection against electric shocks. They also feature the Storm Defender waterproof membrane that’s guaranteed to keep your feet dry. And of course, they’re incredibly durable and are designed to keep all of these features for as long as the boot lasts. They are 6” tall, so would work great and protect you well as long as you aren’t in water that will rise above that level.
Unlike their Soft toe cousins, these boots have a composite safety toe built into them. They’re designed to protect your feet from heavy items. Because of that, they would be right at home at a construction site, warehouse, or another workplace where your foot needs to be kept safe from heavy hazards. In keeping with their comfort policy, the composite toe is wide enough to allow your foot some wiggle room and breathability. As the name suggests, these boots are only sold in black leather.
Danner Men’s Crafter 6 Inch Non-Metallic Toe Work Boot
These boots are made of highly durable oiled nubuck leather, which makes them look dang tough. And they are! These are some of the most resilient boots on the market. Danner has mapped out all the stress points a boot has during its toughest days. Then they’ve triple stitched those points on all their Crafters so they’re roughly as solid as a block of concrete. If extreme durability is what you’re looking for, then these are the boots for you.
Luckily, even though they’re about as stout as a block of concrete, these boots are about as comfortable as you can find. They’re built with polyurethane inserts that are designed to hug your foot and support your arches for maximum comfort. You’ll feel the difference when you clock out because the footbed will be just as cushy and supportive as ever. Your feet will be much less tired because the Danner Comfort System really does work as hard as you do.
As far as aesthetics go, the rugged style of these boots are sure to stand out. They’re only offered in brown nubuck leather because it’s that very material that gives the boots such high quality. The Danner logo is printed on the outside of both boots as well as ‘Danner Comfort System’ on the outside of both soles. As a plus, the lacings are very secure and won’t slip and untie while you’re busy working.
Yet another perk of the Crafters is that they’re waterproof. And unlike some boots where that feature will wear off pretty quickly, these are engineered to stay that way. These boots feature a nonmetal safety toe that’s much more comfortable than the traditional steel toe. And again, to stick to solid comfort, the toe includes plenty of room so that your toes won’t feel squashed. If you’re in need of a comfy but tough generic work boot that will take a fair amount of abuse, these are a really good choice.
Carhartt Men’s 6″ Lug Bottom Moc Steel Toe CMW6297 Industrial Boot
As Carhartt puts it, these boots were designed for anyone, anywhere, on any job. And for the most part, they really can do it all. They’re intended to be your everyday boot, the ones that you can comfortably wear day in and day out. These could just as easily be worn on a construction site as they could out in the forest hauling a load of wood. And if you wanted to do a little deer hunting afterward, these boots would be more than capable of handling a hike. Plus, their lace-up design makes them easy to get in and out of.
Made of treated brown leather, these boots offer a lot of durabilities! They’ve been created to be oil resistant, abrasion resistant, chemical resistant, and heat resistant. Like the other Carhartt products we’ve talked about, these Industrial Boots also have Storm Defender technology which makes them completely waterproof. Again, they’re not extremely tall so if you need more protection for your legs, consider buying boots with a higher shaft.
Unlike a lot of generic, cheaper boots, these Industrials have been engineered to be breathable, making them great for warmer or humid climates. Carhartt’s FastDry technology is incredibly effective at keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Made of oil-tanned leather, their deep brown color is also very appealing and is designed to last.
If you need to keep your feet safe, these boots have got your back. Their steel toe is designed to take a hit so that your feet don’t have to. Even if it’s a heavy item, you’ll still be able to walk, not limp, away. The toe box is designed with your comfort in mind and is a cut above generic steel-toed boots in space to move. These Industrial boots also feature electric shock protection.
Dr. Comfort Boss Men’s Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Boot Leather Lace-up
These boots are unique because, as the name suggests, they’re designed to be therapeutic. They are specifically made with diabetics in mind and feature a lace-up design that makes getting in and out of them easy. Made of treated leather, these boots are all about both comfort and style and come in two colors: black and chestnut.
The extra depth provided in the footpad contributes to overall comfort and elimination of pressure points. These Boss boots come with Dr. Comfort inserts that add another layer of padding and cushioning and are supposed to eliminate the need for any aftermarket spending. And according to many happy customers, the inserts the boots come with are quite comfortable! If you have to spend time standing or walking and struggle with foot problems, these boots would be a good fit for you.
Not only are the Boss boots very good looking, they’re also abrasion resistant and oil resistant. The leather is designed to be durable and long-lasting for light to medium use. NOTE: Dr. Comfort makes it very clear that these boots are NOT intended for use on construction sites and similar places where greater-than-average foot protection is needed. They are also not waterproof. Overall, we think that these boots are a great option for those who need good therapeutic footwear to move around in, but won’t be involved in dangerous jobs that require lots of protection.
KEEN Utility Men’s Detroit Mid Steel Toe Work Boot
We’re big fans of KEEN because they’ve succeeded in creating footwear that’s protective, comfortable, versatile, and stylin’! They really create all around great products, and that quality has translated itself into these Detroit Boots. This product is made of genuine, treated leather and is available in two colors. The stitching and laces are done in an accent color to bring a little bit of tasteful decoration to the boots. That said, these KEENs aren’t attention-seeking and manage to be pretty low-profile even with their added splash of color.
The Detroit was inspired by hiking boots, which means they’re incredibly lightweight and are designed to let your foot breathe. They also manage to be protective in both warm and cold weather. Their lining wicks moisture away on hot days and in humid climates, and their insulation will keep your feet warm and dry during the winter. These boots are completely waterproof, and like a lot of the other boots we’ve covered, the waterproofing on them will last until you have to buy new ones.
Yet another bonus of these boots is that they are just like wearing regular shoes. They feature an incredibly comfortable, padded EVA insole that’s removable if you need to wash them. And again, since they’re modeled after hiking boots, they’re designed to move with you and conform to your individual feet. Not only that, they give you the support you need whether it’s a long shift, a short project, or an impromptu fishing trip. Indoor or outdoor, these shoes are designed to take anything thrown their way.
Aside from being waterproof, these boots are also oil and slip resistant. Their soles are made of rubber, providing some protection from electrical hazards and great traction on just about any surface. They also feature steel toes with a unique and comfortable design. KEEN has created them to match specifically to the left and right foot for maximum mobility. Because of this design, there’s lots of space for your toes to move around. Pinching and crushing are truly a thing of the past. These really will be the most comfortable and lightweight work boots you’ll ever wear.
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Work Boot Buying Guide: Ten Key Features Explained
We’ve already covered ten of our favorite boots, but you may be wondering what makes them so great. There are so many features to choose from that it can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created our Work Boot Buying Guide that explains ten important features you’ll want to know as you’re entering the world of work boots. Knowing these basic features can help you successfully buy the top work boots for your foot. Don’t settle for less!
Many workplaces require these on the job, and it’s up to you to know whether you need them or not. But if you do, there are some things to look out for when shopping for safety toed boots.
First, comfort is extremely important. If your steel toes are pinching your feet, it’s just annoying for the first couple days. But after a while, you can develop ingrown toenails, painful calluses, abrasions, and even toe deformation. Nobody wants to deal with that, so make sure you have plenty of room in the safety toe box (while wearing work socks!) before you buy. Lots of boot companies offer a Wide option in their sizing. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of it.
Second on our list is the material the toe box is made of. Traditionally, this is steel, which offers the highest protection. (And no, they won’t chop your toes off if your foot gets hit extremely hard. That really is just a myth.) But, steel conducts heat and cold. This makes them uncomfortable to wear outdoors where temperatures fluctuate. So footwear companies have started to manufacture a more lightweight option: the composite toe.
These are usually made out of very strong materials such as Kevlar, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. While not quite as strong as steel, they’re tough enough to hold their own on all but the most dangerous of job sites. In modern day work, the composite is generally preferred over steel for comfort reasons.
Electrical Hazard Protection
Some work sites require that your boots have EH protection. This simply means that a boot is rated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to not conduct electricity. These thick-soled shoes block the flow of electricity into the ground, interrupting dangerous currents. They can protect their wearer from up to 600 volts of electricity! NOTE: these boots are only recommended for dry use. They’re not intended to be the first line of defense against electric shocks, so please continue to take every precaution to avoid electrocution.
Many boots are made of thick, full-grain leather that’s been treated to seal out water. Certain companies have waterproofing processes unique to them (like Carhartt’s Storm Defender Technology) but the important thing is to know that the waterproofing will last. A great way to determine this is to look at a few customer reviews and see what actual buyers of the boot have to say. NOTE: don’t confuse waterproof with water resistant. Water resistant is only short term, and eventually, your feet will end up wet. If you need all day dryness, go with waterproof every time.
Resistance to oil, chemicals, abrasions, and heat
Many boot manufacturers include some or all of these features in their footwear. Remember that not every boot is created equal, so looking over a few customer reviews to make sure the boots really do what they say they will is important! Boots that are resistant to oil and chemicals are usually chemically treated themselves. But don’t worry! None of the chemicals they treat your footwear with are harmful to your feet. And if you’re working with dangerous chemicals or are in an oil related field, it’s a really good idea to keep those things out of your shoes.
Abrasion-resistant shoes are designed to take a beating. Usually made of layers of incredibly tough rubber or leather, they can stay functional and even decent-looking for a long time in rough environments. Heat resistant shoes usually contain heat-resistant materials within them and protect your feet from the heat of, say, a welding torch for example.
Safety is king in the workplace. Because of that, most boot companies have a general rule to manufacture rubber soles that will give you lots of traction. The slip-resistant feature means that these boots will give you maximum grip on a variety of surfaces, wet or dry. Look for this before you buy, because it’s very important!
Most boots are made of high-quality leather of the thickest width out there (full-grain). Most soles are made of rubber, but different companies have worked hard to produce their own unique blends that provide features specific to them. Be sure to check those out before buying, because you may find something you really love. Some boots have other materials included in them, like corduroy. It all depends on what you need and like. Generally, if the features are what you need and the customer reviews are good, you’re pretty safe buying them. The same holds true if you’re trying them in the store. Walk around in them for a bit, and if you have no comfort problems there, odds are you’re golden.
Understanding the Sole
The sole is made up of three parts. First, there’s the outsole, which is usually made up of thick, durable rubber and provides protection and traction. Next, there’s the midsole. Located in the middle of the shoe, the midsole contains layers of cushioning to make sure your foot has a soft place to land. Last is the insole, which is usually heavily padded and is what comes in contact with your foot itself. You’ll want to try on a few boots to know what works best for your foot.
Generally, you’ll have two options to choose from Goodyear Welt construction and Cement construction. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. With Goodyear Welt, a piece of leather (called a ‘welt’, which is where this type of construction gets its name) is stitched to both the upper and lower sole. Then, the welt is stitched all the way through the upper sole. This makes the attachment both durable and flexible enough that it won’t crack from repeated bends and turns. This type of construction also makes it so sole replacements are possible.
Cement construction is much more simple and is exactly what it sounds like. Basically, the upper and lower soles are cemented directly together with industrial strength glue. Like Goodyear Welt, Cement is lightweight and flexible and likely to last a long time. However, there is more of a chance the boot could split at the sole or start coming apart at the edges. With cement construction, there’s no possibility of a sole repair or replacement. Your only option would be to buy new boots.
These are foot-shaped strips of comfortable padding, usually made of gels, polyurethane, or other material. Most of these are removable in case you need to clean them or replace them with a more comfortable insert. Lots of boots include inserts, like Dr. Comfort’s Therapeutics featured above. If the included inserts aren’t your favorite, you can shop around. Plenty of companies make them, and you may need to try out a couple to find your favorite.
Our favorite companies are the ones that go the extra mile where comfort is concerned. One of the most popular comfort options out there is the EVA midsole or insole. They’re almost always guaranteed to be very nice on your foot, but they’re less durable. Another thing to look for are shoes that reduce inside-the-boot slip. It seems like such a little thing, but having your foot slide around inside your boot creates quite a bit of fatigue and soreness at the end of the day. Most importantly, make sure your boot has good arch and general foot support. If you prefer ankle support, be sure to look for that too.
A quick note on price: you don’t want to get run-of-the-mill cheap boots. We promise that won’t end well! Many boots may appear to be on the pricey side. But we’ve included some affordable work boots on our list for those who are on a tighter budget. Many of our trusted brands, listed below, also offer less expensive options as well.
Top 5 Brands You Can Trust
We’ve compiled a list of 5 companies we absolutely love! Almost without fail, their boots are high-quality, comfortable, and will go the distance. At Top Work Boots, we’re confident when we say that you’re safe buying from any of these, and would recommend checking out every one of them.
It’s no secret that we love Carhartt. These guys know how to work! Because of that, they have firsthand knowledge in making boots that also know how to work. They’re constantly field-testing their footwear before releasing it into the market, which means they don’t put anything on the shelves until they’ve proved its worth. They also have great customer service and offer loyalty programs (including a military discount!) While they’re not cheap, their products will serve you well for a long time.
At its roots, Timberland is an outdoor wear company, so most of their work shoes are designed with the great outdoors in mind. They’re also more concerned about aesthetics than any other work boot brands, so if the style is your thing, these guys have got you covered. Timberland boots are guaranteed to be well built. Since they’re designed for hard outdoor labor, a lot of them are also waterproof. And if something does go wrong with your boots, you’re guaranteed to have a good experience with their outstanding customer service.
KEEN’s motto is to ‘live monumental,’ and they’ve certainly succeeded in applying that saying to their footwear! Like Timberland (and maybe even more so), they’re a company that revolves around the outdoors. Because they’re extremely value-based, they stick to those values whether they’re making shoes or handling returns. They also believe in giving back to their communities, charity work, and responsible resource use. Boots from them are unique and lightweight, but also incredibly functional. And they specialize in comfort! KEEN means quality, and you’ll never have to worry about them valuing you as their customer. They’ll take care of you every time.
If you’re looking for boots as solid as rocks, Danner’s your company. It takes a lot to completely destroy a pair of their boots because their construction is solid beyond belief. Since Danner first opened as a logging boot manufacturer, their products had to be stout! And they’ve continued that tradition to this day- in fact, they developed the boots the Army and Marines used in Iraq! Lucky for us, they now make durable work boots of all shapes, sizes, and functions for both men and women. And they’re comfy too!
When you think of the CAT logo, the first thing that comes to mind is probably bright yellow heavy equipment. But surprise! They also make really comfortable and functional work boots. Since the construction industry is their home, Caterpillar has the advantage of knowing exactly what their workers need. Safety, practicality, and comfort are all high priorities for them, not to mention innovation. They also care very much about their customers and will ensure you’re satisfied with your purchase.
We’ve covered a lot in this article, from our Top 10 picks for work boots, to features to look for, to our 5 favorite companies. Since reading our guide, you’re more prepared than ever to find boots that fit you and your needs. As you’re shopping, remember that both safety and comfort are important. Never settle for less when it comes to protecting your feet!
We understand the importance of dependable footwear. It doesn’t matter if you’re a warehouse foreman, a construction worker, or a farmer who needs to vaccinate your cattle – you’ll need the best work boots out there. Check out some of our links for our endorsed boots and brands, or feel free to browse around our website for even more information and options.