Let’s face it: You don’t want to wear your tennis shoes or dress shoes to a construction site. Wearing the right shoes for the job you are doing is essential, especially if you work hard. That’s why you’re looking for the best work boots for the money.
Good work boots are tough and rugged, and they protect your feet. But, they’re also comfortable, supportive, and have excellent traction.
There’s a reason you want the best work boots — they matter. What you wear on your feet can make all the difference in a long, hard day.
Why You Need the Best Work Boots?
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Bear with us here, because of course, we know why we need work boots. For the obvious reasons: They’re durable and comfortable.
Most work boots also come with protective features. There are heat-resistant options, too, for working in extreme climates. Then there are insulated boots to keep your feet warm in overly cold conditions.
If your work involves standing or walking for extended hours, you want to grab work boots with terrific padding in the insole, midsole, collar, and heel.
Several work boots also feature anti-slip soles for stability purposes. And some help to protect you against contact with electricity. A decent number of them incorporate breathable, waterproof materials, which is a bonus.
Almost all work boots styles can feature protective material in the toe area to guard against compression and falling objects. Generally, these are either steel or composite material.
They also have heel support so you can forget about painful feet after a long day of work.Versatility is another plus that work boots boast. No, they’re not just for heavy-duty tasks. But some of the best work boots are a good fit for professionals looking to visit outdoor sites. And avid hikers can count on this type of footwear for added protection during activity.
Whether you’re an electrician, plumber, or mechanic, there’s a pair designed for your specific job. It’s all about helping you perform your best throughout the day.
No, Work Boots Aren’t Just Any Boots
When buying the best work boots for your needs, you don’t just want to settle for what works for another person. It’s all about what you need. Here are some things to consider before pulling out your wallet.
Here’s a quick video with what you need to know about choosing the right footwear for you.
Especially if your work takes place in a harsh environment, your work boots should be made to last. Not just that, but durable footwear saves you time and money in the long run. Even if you have to pay a little more to start with.
It’s easy to tell if boots are going to last: Take a look at user reviews and warranty info before hitting that buy button. Some leading brands, including Caterpillar and Timberland, make more durable shoes too.
Regardless, without proper care and maintenance, your footwear is less likely to stand the test of time. Ensure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your boots and look after them.
How often you wear them and where is also going to influence your boots’ life. Daily wear makes them break down faster. And, the more adverse the conditions you wear them in, the less time you can expect them to last.
Sole and heel
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How tough is the sole? Is it one you can count on? If you work on greasy and slippery surfaces, you need shoes with anti-slip and oil-resistant soles.
If you work around construction, you want a puncture-resistant sole. You don’t want any nails or sharp objects penetrating your boots.
Work that involves handling chemicals requires an acid-resistant sole. Yes, some manufacturers make these soles, too.
And don’t neglect heel support, especially if you climb ladders during work. Painful heels can be horrendous when you want to unwind after a long day of work.
The smallest, biggest thing
From falling objects to compression, your toes are vulnerable if you’re doing heavy-duty jobs. Many work boots feature safety toes.
Steel toes are the most common. They do tend to be heavy and conduct both heat and cold to your toes from extreme climates, but they’re steel, and that’s the nature of the beast. They stand up to what you need protection from and they last.
The next option is the composite toes. These are also the go-to option if you’re looking for protection in all work environments. These are poor conductors and are likely to dissipate static electricity, making them a good fit for electricians.
Composite toes come in a range of materials, too, from Kevlar to glass fiber and carbon fiber, and boast excellent durability.
Aluminum toes are another option that can keep your toes safe from work-related injuries. They are not as heavy as steel, but they’re about half as strong as steel and composite toes. Aluminum toes also conduct heat and might pass on extreme temperatures to your feet.
Waterproofing and insulation
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Water resistance and insulation are extremely important to consider when choosing your boots. Do you work in the elements? Is water a likely foe, or heat, or snow and ice? Do you work indoors, or out?
The answers to these questions will tell you how important these two factors are. You don’t want to wear heavily insulated boots in a hot, dry climate. You also don’t want to wear non-waterproof boots to a rainy construction site.
Sure, you can stand or sit in heavier shoes all day and not notice them. However, if you’re going to be moving a lot, you should be wearing lighter models. Work boots with nylon mesh material and composite toes instead of steel should come in handy here.
Not all brands are the same. Some make mediocre products, some manufacture high-quality items, and some design mixed products.
When it comes to work boots, for instance, the Timberland and Caterpillar brands stand out as solid, reliable boot designers. Which probably explains why their products are costly — at least comparably.
That’s not to say, however, that you can’t find quality boots with other brands, especially when you know where to look.
How We Determined the Best of the Best Work Boots
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You need to make an informed buying decision. That’s why we paid attention to detail in all of the steps of our review process.
We got started by reading professional and real user reviews and opinions, then we hit YouTube to watch boot testing videos. We didn’t stop there but went further to assess different brands and key product features.
And, because we thought real user reviews would be a useful rubric, we combed through Amazon and other big-box sites.
That is how we determined the best of the best work boots to highlight.
The Best Work Boots for an Enhanced Working Experience
Without further ado, what you’ve been waiting for: The best work boots that are sure to boost your productivity. The entries appear in no particular order.
Caterpillar Second Shift
- Climasphere cushioned breathable insole keeps your feet comfortable throughout the work day
- Goodyear Welt Construction provides maximum durability and allows for flexibility
- Quality oiled full grain leather or nubuck deliver long-term durability and protection
You probably already know why Caterpillar topped our list — it’s one of the most reputable companies out there. Their Second Shift boots aren’t just your typical work shoes. Thanks to the rugged construction, they fit almost all of the tough tasks out there.
Stay stable with the slip-resistant outsole, and enjoy the durability of Goodyear welt construction technology.
Enjoy free air circulation with a breathable footbed, mesh lining, and leather upper. And yes, the Second Shift are going to protect you against open circuits. That’s a bonus.
Irish Setter 83605
- 6" lace-up work boot with USA-made full grain leather married to a rubber-EVA outsole that's heat-resistant for...
- Electrical Hazard - meets ASTM F2413-11 Safety Standards,Outsole:Rubber-EVA Traction Tred. Care - To ensure your rubber...
- Heat-Resistant outsole - resistant to melting at a minimum of 475 Fahrenheit
Another pair of the best work boots that made our list, the Irish Setter 83605 help safeguard your feet against electrically energized parts.
These boots are also heat-resistant, so you can work under extreme temperatures hassle-free. And with a padded collar and midsole, they couldn’t be more comfortable.
The rear pull loop makes these boots easy to put on and take off. They offer excellent stability with the grippier outsole. The Irish Setter 83605 come with durable eyelets on the lace-up closure system.
Buyers appreciate the leather upper, which is sturdier, and they like that the outsole keeps the heat at bay. These boots run small, however, and you might want to go a size up.
Thorogood American Heritage
- REMOVABLE ULTIMATE SHOCK ABSORPTION FOOTBED uses dual-density polyurethane concentrated under heel and ball strike zones...
- GOODYEAR STORM WELT CONSTRUCTION provides superior wear resistance and moisture seal between upper and midsole making...
- FIBERGLASS SHANK CONSTRUCTION gives these mens work boots the flex and strength needed to maintain their shape under...
Made to last, these boots from Thorogood are a good fit if you’re looking for comfort during activity. Thanks to the ventilated upper, your feet get to breathe freely.
The outsoles are designed to withstand electric shock, and the cushioned insoles help absorb physical shock with each stride you make. The anti-slip platform is a bonus.Among the things that purchasers appreciate are the comfortable midsole and the slip-resistant outsole. On the downside, the American Heritage boots run large. You want to go for a size or half down.
Timberland PRO Pit Boss
- Rugged nubuck leather
- Padded top collar for comfort
- Electrical hazard protection
No, there’s no way Timberland would have missed this list. Their Pit Boss boots are pretty tough. The steel toe design, which is a staple in protective footwear, shields your toes like a scale. It’s also roomier, so you can wiggle your toes whenever you want to.
And with a removable sock liner, which is treated for odor control, these boots absorb shock as you walk.
Work on slippery or wet surfaces worry-free thanks to the outsole with terrific traction, and stay safe from open circuits with the electronic hazard protection.
According to most users, the Pit Boss couldn’t be more comfortable with the anti-slip outsole and shock diffusion plate. And because it features an anti-abrasive platform, users find that it’s durable enough.
KEEN Utility Flint
- Left and Right Asymmetrical Steel Toes
- Nubuck Waterproof Leather Upper
- Torsional Stability Shank (TSS) for Midfoot Support
Keen Utility made our list with their Flint Low shoes. Though not technically a boot, these outdoor do-it-all shoes are durable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a contractor traveling from job to job or a carpenter, the Flint Low is sure to fit the bill.
They’re comfortable and protective, which is a handy combo for almost all of your outdoor activities.
Users are in love with these high performance outdoor boots. They especially appreciate the leather upper for its outstanding resistance to water, and they hail other handy features, including the rubber outsole and asymmetrical steel toes.Even so, some purchasers find that the sole may come unglued.
- Work boot featuring waterproof leather upper, padded tongue and collar, and lugged rubber outsole
- Cushioned insole
- Speed-lacing hardware on shaft
When it comes to the best work boots for comfort, the Sketchers Verdict are sure to be a winner.
They aren’t just rough and tough. The cushioned collar and insole are the reason you’re going to be comfortable all day long. And the grippy outsole should help reduce unnecessary falls. The leather upper with a lace-up closure and waterproof leather is a plus.
Users can’t stop praising the Sketchers Verdict for comfort: From the shock absorbent midsole to the cushioned insole and padded collar and tongue.
There are two sides to every coin, and these boots are no exception. The size runs small; go for a size or half up for a relaxed fit.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot features a seam-sealed construction, combined...
- DURABLE HIKING BOOT: This women's boot is inspired by classic mountaineering style. A durable mid cut waterproof hiker...
- ALL TERRAIN TRACTION: Our signature Omni-GRIP non-marking traction rubber outsole provides high grip across a wide...
Yes, they’re hiking boots, but the Newton Ridge Plus could easily pass for the best work boots you’re looking for.
They come with terrific features. Work worry-free in rainy conditions with the leather waterproof exterior, and enjoy unmatched stability with the advanced traction outsole.When it comes to comfort, the lightweight midsole has got you covered with superior padding for shock absorption. As if it is not enough, the Verdict comes in a wide range of colors so you can have your pick.
Users are all smiles with regards to the waterproof suede upper, and they recommend these boots for the generous color selection.
Regardless, you should know the size runs large, so keep that in mind.
Timberland PRO Direct Attach
- WORK TOUGH: Our famous 6" men's work boots, adapted for on-site survival. Featuring waterproof leather, seam-sealed...
- A SOURCE OF PRIDE: We know you take pride in your work, so our soft-toed shoes and boots and steel-toe boots and shoes...
- QUALITY WORKWEAR: Timberland PRO assesses the unmet needs of those who work in the most demanding environments and then...
Timberland did it, again, with their Direct Attach boots. Keep your feet warm with the built-in insulation, and enjoy a secure fit with the traditional lace-up closure that features sturdy eyelets.
Keep odor at bay with the treated mesh lining and footbed, which are also breathable for unrestricted airflow. The cushioned collar boosts comfort, and the lightweight midsole ensures flexibility.
Enjoy secondary protection against live circuits and electrically energized parts, and keep your stability intact with the oil-resistant outsole. The shock diffusion plate is a plus.
The Direct Attach boots are a favorite among many buyers, who appreciate the Thermolite technology the boots feature. According to many purchasers, the breathable mesh lining, steel toes, and waterproof nature of the footwear are an asset.
- Composite Safety Toe. Identifies protection against impact and compression hazards with a composite (non-metallic)...
- Electrical Hazard (Safety Toe). Identifies secondary protection against incidental contact with electrical circuits of...
- Storm Defender Waterproof Breathable Protection. These shoes are designed to be completely waterproof and to keep your...
Another one of our best work boots, the Carhartt CMF6371 come with cement construction for improved flexibility and durability.
Get your toes protected with the lightweight composite toe, and enjoy the convenience of the breathable, waterproof membrane. The lace-up closure makes for a snug fit, and the cushioned collar and tongue take comfort to the next level.And with the convenience of the EVA midsole, Rugged Flex outsole, and OrthoLite insole, the Carhartt boots couldn’t be better.
Users appreciate the lightweight framework, waterproof upper, and the cushioned collar and tongue.
According to some buyers, though, while the composite toes add to the lightweight construction of the boots, it’s not as sturdy as the steel toes. A few more buyers find that the cement construction wears out with continued heavy usage.
Irish Setter 83608
- 6-inch lace-up work boot with steel toe and removable polyurethane footbed
- Meets ASTM F2413-11, M/I/75/C/75, Electrical Hazard Safety Standards
- PU V-Grip outsole for slip resistance
Irish Setter does it again with another pair of the best work boots you can’t wait to grab. Whether you’re a modern craftsman or avid hunter, these boots are sure to protect your feet.
The protective sole is made to reduce hazards due to electrically energized parts. They also come with the Red Wing’s safety toe feature, which meets standards for compression and impact.
Users like that the Irish Setter 83608 come with a removable padded insole and that the incorporated steel toe feature protects against electrical hazards. Another plus is the outsole that resists wear and tear and boasts sufficient traction.
Some users are concerned that these boots are not waterproof. Also, that the direct attach assembly they feature isn’t that durable, at least when compared to the Goodyear welt construction.
It’s Time You Pulled Out That Wallet… Just Saying
Sure, they might not be the most glamorous of your boots, but the best work boots are a necessary addition to your closet, and you deserve the best.
Whether you are a hiker that prefers work boots to hiking boots or an electrician needing protection from shock, we hope you found your boots. You only get one set of feet issued, so you need to take care of them.
What are some of your best work boots? Let us know in the comments.
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I began my writing career writing for various content firms, but it was under the tutelage of the editors here at SavantMag.com that I grew as a writer and editor. I love the content we write here and bringing solid reviews to consumers is rewarding beyond what I can even describe.