I learned the hard way why it is so important to have the best work boots possible. In my experience, one of the worst feelings is to be in uncomfortable boots while on a work assignment. One I found myself enduring the mid-November winter day welding in the most horrible work boots I ever had. I made the mistake of randomly picking a pair at my local Wal-Mart with a focus on finding the cheapest price. The result was cold feet and some excruciating corns.
Now, I’m not saying you need to get the most expensive boots. There are many great and affordable models. But you should always do some research before buying. Why? Since job sites have different conditions, you’ll want to match these environments with a boot’s features. If you are wondering what are the best work boots, this comprehensive guide is designed to help you in that endeavor.
My top 10: Best Rated Work Boots
|Model||Safety Features||Construction Type||Price|
|Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6″ Steel-Toe Boot||Electrical hazard protection, ant slip, oil and abrasion resistant, steel toe, antimicrobial||Goodyear® Welt,synthetic sole||$97.20|
|Timberland PRO Men's Pitboss 6" Soft-Toe Boot||Electrical hazard protection, abrasion, slip and oil resistant, antimicrobial||Goodyear® Welt,synthetic sole||$91.95|
|Thorogood Men's 814-4200 American Heritage 6" Moc Toe Boot||Slip and oil resistant||Goodyear® Welt,synthetic sole||$175.00|
|Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot||Waterproof, titan toe, abrasion, slip and oil resistant, electrical hazard protetcion||Goodyear® Welt,synthetic sole||$154.95|
|Red Wing Heritage Moc 6" Boot||Traction treed rubber outsole, waterproof upper leather||Goodyear® Welt,synthetic sole||$252.22|
|Wolverine Men's W02421 Raider Boot||Slip, oil and abrasion resistant,||Countour Welt® and Multishox® construction,synthetic sole||$109.99|
|Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6" Safety Toe Boot||Steel toe, electrical hazard protection, slip, heat and abrasion resistant||Goodyear® Welt,,synthetic sole|| $179.99 |
|KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot||Oil and slip resistant, waterproof upper, steel toes||Flexible cement construction, ,synthetic sole||Check on Amazon|
|Timberland PRO Men's 52562 Endurance 6" PR Work Boot||Heat resistant, steel toe, electrical hazard protection||Flexible cement construction, synthetic sole||$149.95|
|Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v 101 Work Boot||Water and flame resistant leather, microbial protection, abrasion and puncture resistant||Direct attach, synthetic sole||$214.36|
Things To Look For When Buying Work Boots:
Before you deciding what are the best work boots, identify what will be your primary use for them? Consider the work conditions, weather, and the type of work you will be doing. Below you will find the list of some of the most common and vital features for various activities.
Slip & Puncture Resistant Sole and Heel
These features decrease risks of injuries from sharp objects and slippery surfaces. Do you work in areas where nails, glass, metal shavings, or other items can cut or puncture your feet? Then finding the best quality work boots that resists sole punctures is critical to your safety. In some industrial settings, puncture resistant boots is a company policy. Surfaces that are frequently wet, oily, or saturated with hazardous liquids should be handled with slip resistant soles.
Depending on the character of your work, this might be one of the most important features. Protective toes will prevent injuries caused by dropping heavy objects on your foot. The toe box is typically made of aluminum, steel or composite. When looking for best rated work boots, make sure that the toe box has enough room to avoid pain after few hours of hard work
Aluminum: These boots are the most comfortable and light from all types, but they also tend to be on the pricier end. Because aluminum is thinner than steel, they will also give you more room than the steel toe boots. If you need to pass through security gates, they will set off the alarm, so it can become an inconvenience if you pass through them often.
Steel toes: The heavy duty steel will keep you safe from falling heavy objects, however, keep in mind that they might not be suitable for cold weather because they will conduct cold. They can also be quite heavy, and for some people the toe box might be quite tight, causing discomfort. Most of the times, they are cheaper than the other types.
Composite toes: They offer moderate protection. The toe box is made of composite materials. This is a combination of plastic, Kevlar aramid fiber and carbon fiber. This combination of materials will not conduct heat and will not set off the metal detectors.
To find out more about the different types of toes in work boots, we recommend the video below, in addition to our best work boots reviews:
Electric hazard protection:
Safety should always be your priority. When working on the site, it’s often a requirement to use boots that have electrical hazard designation. It means that they’ve been tested by the American Society of Testing and Materials for their protection against electrocution.
These boots impede the flow of electricity through the boot and into the ground. All the components of the footwear are made of materials that don’t induce the electricity. These boots will protect you up to 600 volts in a dry environment.
Don’t confuse EH-rated boots with dielectric shoes. These are tested to high voltages and provide protection even in wet environment (unlike the EH-rated boots).
Always keep in mind that wearing this kind of shoes can never be the main precaution against electrocution. Even the best work boots for men working in environment with electrical hazard cannot replace respecting health and safety rules.
Understanding the type of environment you will be using your boots in will determine the type of extra support you will need. Some work tasks like logging, railroad, and outdoor work require added levels of ankle and calf support. Additionally, the make-up of your own foot may call for more arch support to prevent soreness. The boot height and internal construction will play a large factor in the type of support that it will provide.
This aspect should not be overlooked as it will directly impact the comfort and weight of the boot. Most of the best quality work boots will have one of the following construction types:
Cement construction: The soles in these types of boots are cemented together. This footwear offers an excellent level of comfort as they are flexible and lightweight. The disadvantage though is the fact that they can de-laminate after some time. Keep also in mind that this kind of boots cannot be re-soled.
Goodyear Welt construction: It’s a time consuming method of production but still considered one of the best work boots for men. This types of footwear are extremely durable. They can also be easily repaired and resoled. The inner and upper soles are attached with a welt or a strip of leather, and the sole is then stitched through the welt.
Direct-attach method is another common technique. It uses a mold attached to the upper part of the work boot that’s injected with molten rubber to form the sole. Direct-attach boots are comfortable, lightweight, durable and shock absorbing. For jobs that require fast movement and sure-footed traction, such boots offer excellent stability.
Break in period:
Even the best rated work boots can take some time to become comfortable; however, you can speed up this process by following few tips:
· Loosen up tight shoes by using a stick. Simply place it in a shoe, pointing at the area that doesn't feel comfortable. Now, bend the shoe over the stick, by doing that the leather should stretch
· Another way of stretching tight boots is by using cold water. Pour some water into the plastic bag, close it tight and place it in a shoe. Make sure that you placed the bag in the problematic area. Leave the boots in a freezer overnight. When the water turns into ice, it will increase in volume and thus stretch your boot.
· Coat the area that doesn't feel right in a thick layer of oil or leather conditioner and leave overnight. Then wipe off the excess and wear the boots for the next 30 minutes or an hour. Conditioning the leather with oil will make it softer and more susceptible to stretching.
Waterproofing and Insulation:
You definitely want your shoes to be waterproof if you work in wet conditions. There is nothing worse than working for several hours when your feet are wet. Insulation is also important if you live in a cold climate, however, take into account if the summer is warm in your place, you will need another summer pair of shoes most likely.
Caring For Your Work Boots
Of course, you want your work boots to serve you well for the years to come. Follow the tips below to in order to ensure it:
· Clean your boots regularly (also the soles)
· For leather boots use oil or leather conditioner
· Brush your suede boots and use the waterproofer
· If your footwear gets wet, make sure to remove the excess water with a dry towel. Don’t dry them on the heather. Simply dry them in the sunlight.
· Store your boots in a cool, dry place
I recommend to watch the video below for more tips about caring for work boots:
Before You Go Shopping:
If you do not particularly enjoy shoe shopping, take note of the following tips that can speed up the process and make your buying decision much easier.
· Crucial step: do your research and know your needs, make sure to study the best work boots reviews. If you are reading this, you are on a good way.
· Your feet swell during the day, and it’s completely normal. They are bigger by the end of the day. This is the perfect time to go shopping. This way you will ensure your boots fit you well.
· Take socks with you. It should be the type of sock you will normally wear with your work boots.
· Consider your comfort. The price is important, but from my own experience, I can tell that the comfort is even more. Think about extra features that might come in handy for you: additional padding, anti-microbial insoles, steel toes vs. lighter toes etc.
· Keep in mind that work boots are quite tough, this means that they are rarely fit perfectly during the first try. Most likely you will have to break them in.
Best Work Boots: Closer Look
1. Timberland PRO Men’s Pitboss 6” Steel-Toe Boot
The boot is known to be reliable and for its built quality. The extra space provided for the boot is an added advantage as it gives the toes to be comfortable and that extra space to breathe. Keeping safety and comfort in mind, the boot meets the ANSI standards and does not weigh high on the price scale either. The polyurethane material used to manufacture the midsole absorbs the shock and moisture giving the wearer a comfortable feeling. This also protects your feet from the action of the harmful bacteria that can build up in the moisture. The outsoles are manufactured by Timberland using their formula to produce oil and slip abrasion sole.
The steel toe is constructed ruggedly and can withstand the action of knife, axe or hammer on it. The tonal stitching and padded collars are ideal for work boots and improve the comfort exponentially and make it one of the best-rated work boots.
· Meets or exceeds ANSI standards
· Long lasting, durable and comfortable due to its sturdy construction
· Can handle extremely harsh conditions with ease
· One of the cheapest and best work boots available in Amazon
· The water resistance properties does not add up as it is required for a work boot
· The layer of cushioning over the sole is thin and does not provide enough comfort when the surface is hard
· The comfort can be reduced by the toe bar
· The thread lining near the back of the boot can cause discomfort and blister
2. Timberland Pro Men’s Pitboss 6” Soft-Toe Boot
Timberland produces some of the best work boots for men and has been known to get some of the best work boot reviews over the years. They are one of the leading producers of work boots that meet the required safety standards without compromising on the style of the boot. When we take a look at it, Timberland Pro Men’s Pitboss 6” Soft-Toe Boot is no different. It meets the ANSI standards, and finely designed boots give you comfort and protection all day long. The boot weighs less at 710 grams when compared to the rest of the boots available from the same category. The boot is protected from electrical hazards which make it ideal to be used in conditions that have electrical circuits involved.
The top hooks made of cast metal and the padded collars improves durability and comfort respectively. The Timberland Pro Rubber Sole can stand the test and last longer than any of its competitors.
· A good layer of cushioning that give you great comfort
· Made in the United States offering you great quality
· Meets or exceeds ANSI standards when it comes to safety and durability
· Can handle any kind of harsh environment
· Designed to meet safety standards and good looks
· It does not have the steel toe which might be an issue while working with tools like hammers, axe or sharp knives
· Bacteria can be produced, or the leather's durability can be reduced due to the boot not being waterproof
3. Thorogood Men's 814-4200 American Heritage 6" Moc Toe Boot
Thorogood produces some of the best quality work boots that are available on Amazon. It meets the quality standards required for work boots and is aptly certified with the ISO 9001 certification. The boot is designed to last long and has been rated to be among the best men's work boots. The boots are manufactured in the United States and are the symbol of fine craftsmanship. The Goodyear welt construction adds to the durability of the boot, and the dual density shock absorption improves the comfort experienced by the wearer.
This is one of the best work boots when it comes to the combination of comfort, style and safety. The design of Thorogood boot is a classic example of how to blend all the important qualities of a boot into one, and it is worth the price.
· The boot provides enough space at the front of the boot for your feet to be comfortable and breathe
· The style of the boot is not compromised by the addition of rugged metal eyelet and the clamshell lacing
· The outsole is made of materials that give the boot oil and slip resistant properties
· Excellent cushioning is provided to enhance comfort by the wedge sole and moccasin toe
· The boot can be a tight fit and narrow in some cases, so the size has to be chosen carefully
· The upper toe stitching protrudes a bit making it uncomfortable for the toes
· The boot can lose its form because it becomes stretchy over time
4. Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot
What are the best work boots? If that question has ever risen to your mind, the Timberland Titan series is one of the categories you should look at. Rated to boast some of the best work boots available for purchase, Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot stands out due to the addition of titan alloy toe protection feature and the lightweight polyurethane midsole. The boot meets or exceeds the standards set by ASTM and offers the PowerFit comfort system that makes the boot extremely comfortable to wear.
The boot comes with a thirty-day return deal when purchased from Amazon which gives you the freedom to try it out and return if you feel it does not meet your expectations.
· The boot is made oil and slip resistant by the use of Timberland Pro Rubber outsole
· When put in comparison with the boots that falls in the same category, it is lightweight making it extremely easy to carry around
· The odor and bacteria are removed effectively by the antimicrobial mesh
· The boot is known for its design and use of high-quality materials that enhances its comfort and durability
· The ankle can be prone to blisters due to the excessive fold
· The lining thread can be expected to wear off easily compared to the rest of the parts
· In some cases, the size does not match the width of the boot as it can be a bit narrow
· The sole is comparatively not of the quality expected from any of Timberland's boots
5. Red Wing Heritage Moc 6" Boot
If you are looking for a boot that qualifies both as comfortable and stylish, the Red Wing Heritage is the best work boots you can get your hands on. The Norwegian style welt construction enhances the durability of the boot. It is waterproof and protects from harsh conditions due to the top quality treaded outsoles. The leather is used for the production of the boot, giving it the ideal features for a good looking boot.
It is one of the best work boots for men when taken into account the durability and looks. The boot is perfect for maintaining as it does not require much cleaning up.
· The boot is build to last the longest, and as per user experience it has extended and better break in periods
· The boot is available in different sizes and colors, giving you some great choices
· The grip of the boot is improved by the traction tread outsole made of rubber
· The rugged boot does not give up on the good looks as it is one of the classic looking boots available
· The cushioning of the insoles are not up to the mark and can make it a bit uncomfortable for the wearer
· The quality of the boot changes with color as different type of leathers are used to manufacture different colors
· Compared to the other boots available under the same category, it is heavy and cannot be ideal for hiking or long walks
· Even though it offers great features, the boot is high priced
6. Wolverine Men's W02421 Raider Boot
The boot is designed in such a way to give the wearer with the utmost comfort. If there is a category for "what are the best work boots, that are also the most comfortable" - the Wolverine boot will occupy one of the top spots. The cushioned collar and the rubber sole that comes with the compression pad provide enough comfort for free movement. The abrasion, oil and slip-resistant properties serve best when faced with conditions that are damp and hazardous. The boot offers a flexing functionality that improves the durability of the boot by a lot.
Only the best quality materials are used for the production of the boot making it one of the best-rated work boots available on Amazon with a 4.5 rating out of 5.
· These are one of the high-performance boot suitable for daily use due to its great flexibility
· The comfort and durability provided by the boot makes it good for athletic uses
· The sole of the boot is made with material that makes it slip, abrasion and oil resistant
· The shocks are absorbed by the compression pads specially designed to provide extreme comfort
· The sole that comes with the boot is not of great quality can break easily
· It does not give much importance to the design as style does not seem to be a concern
· The narrow boot can be too narrow for the feet, and the wide can be too wide when it comes to the different sizes available
· The lacing and eyelets are not of great quality
7. Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6" Safety Toe Boot
Thorogood is among the brands that produce the best quality work boots. It is known for being modern in its design without compromising on the quality of the good old fashioned work boots. Thorogood is produced by the Weinbrenner Shoe Company and has been their the best work boots the company has been producing for over a decade. The boot is manufactured in the United States, and its exterior is made using cowhide leather improving its durability. The boot takes into consideration both the comfort and safety factors and is known for its Goodyear welt construction which provides the ability for the boot to work in any work environment.
The black walnut oil tanned shade is the color in which the boot is available. If you are in search for a boot that stands out in comfort and safety, this might be a good choice for you to check out.
· The sole of the boot is made using shock resistant material that is extremely comfortable
· The oil tanned leather front of the boot is abrasion, oil, and slip-resistant
· Goodyear welt construction is used for the designing of the sole to give it better durability
· The polyurethane sole gives the wearer enough comfort to be able to use the boot on a daily basis
· The boot does not come with much variety and only comes in one color
· It is not waterproof making it not ideal for conditions involving dampness
· When it is compared to its competitors, the boot is a bit over priced
8. Keen Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot
The Keen work boot is slip resistant, waterproof and has steel toes. It provides the boot with ample protection and comfort. Keen are known for the production of some of the best men's work boots and holds a high stature when it comes to the best work boots reviews. Known for their stylish and vibrant designs, the boot does not hold seat due to the use of the breathable membrane for its production. The heels provide the boot with a firm grip due to its 90-degree design. The stability and flexibility of the boot are enhanced by Key Tech TPU interlocking torsion plates. Additional safety is provided by the reflective webbing.
The thick outer sole provides electric insulation as well as better grip, making it ideal for work that involves electric circuits. The use of premium quality materials enhances the durability of the boots.
· The toes are made to last, it is tough and is not symmetric on both sides
· The material used for the manufacture of the boot is waterproof making it the ideal boot to work under damp conditions
· The outer soles are pretty thick in comparison to its competitors which improves the durability
· Full-length spin plate is used for the purpose of interlocking
· The boot is made of nubuck upper leather
· EVA are attached to the sole which is thick and is also detachable
· The boot does not provide much variety and is available only in a single color
· It requires a few weeks of break-in time
9. Timberland PRO Men's 52562 Endurance 6" PR Work Boot
Timberland is known for the production of some of the best work boots. By the use of the Timberland Pro technology, they have been producing some of the finest work boots available to you. The Endurance series especially is made for the people who are looking for boots that have great durability and provides great comfort. Timberland PRO 52562 Endurance Boot is produced with Timberland PRO Boondock insulated feature that gives it the puncture resistant, slip and abrasion, oil resistant and electrical hazard protection. Comfort and durability are increased due to the rugged full grain leather. The boot is odor resistant due to the antimicrobial lining mesh. The design and construction give it much more flexibility to make it ideal for any working condition.
· The rubber soles improves the flexibility of the boot, helping it to last longer than its competitors
· The rubber toe is abrasion resistant which increases the protection and reduces the process of wear and tear
· The Anti-Fatigue control system used to produce the boot make it suitable for everyday use as it absorbs shock
· The boot comes with electrical hazard protection and is slip and oil resistant
· The boot is on the heavier side when it is compared with its counterparts which make it difficult to carry around on a daily basis
· The padding on the upper ankle might come off easily if it is not handled carefully while sliding the foot in
· The heels might wear out faster in comparison to the other boots available in the same category
10. Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v 101 Work Boot
The Rocky boot brand is known to be the producers of one of the finest work boots in the world. Their main aim is to produce work boots that are comfortable to wear, is durable and provides enough protection to safely work in any unfavorable work condition. The fiberglass shank and lycra tongue are ideal for improving the reliability of the material at the same time making it great to look at. The boot is made using suede leather, and the wicking Dri-lex lining give protection against microbes - helping to remove bad odor and let the feet breathe.
The standout feature of the boot is the flame resistant coating which makes it ideal for work conditions that involve high temperature or fire.
· Vibram sole gives the boot a stylish look and also makes it comfortable to wear on a daily basis
· The S2V Sieve technology helps in the circulation of water out and air into the boot with ease
· The roll stop ankle gives stability and reduces injuries while using the boot
· The boot is flame resistant due to the coating of PTFE
· The boot has stitching issue close to the tongue, so make sure to inspect the product well during purchase
· The seams are placed poorly, and the interior design does not match up to the expectations
· The fit might be tight for your regular size when it is compared to the other boots
· The sole might crack earlier and might not last as long as we want it to
Once you go through the information provided above, it can be clearly seen that Timberland work boots are the ones featured the most in the list. It gives us an idea about the quality and the effort put into the manufacturing of Timberland boots. So clearly, one of the four Timberland boots featured in the list is the winner in the category of best work boots for men.
Personally, for me, Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot is the top choice. The reason being that the boot offers almost everything we are looking for in the category of best work boots. It is durable, lightweight, water, oil and slip resistant, meets the standard safety features, and has enough cushioning to make it comfortable. It is the best work boot for those who are looking for a blend of durability, safety and comfort.
The boot provides protection against electric hazards; it has resistant heels and soles, extra cushion gives better support and has protective toes. The boot has fewer breaks in period and is manufactured by the use of only top quality materials making it extremely durable compared to the rest. For the price range, it is the best work boot available from the ten boots listed above and would not provide you the opportunity regret the decision to purchase it.