Work boots are necessary to give you the proper safety while you are sweating it out. But choosing the right pair of work boots can often be a tough task. We, at TCF, have not only the compiled the top 10 list of the best work boots men can buy right now, but also have prepared the ultimate guide which you can refer to while making your choice. So let’s dive into it!
Best Boots for Men Working in Industry or Construction
Timberland Pro Pitboss 6” Steel Toe Boot – This is a premium work boot that offers solid safety and great fit while working. Pitboss is popular for being much more durable when compared to other top ranking boots.
Caterpillar 2nd Shift 6” Steel Toe Boot – A solid work boot that comes at a budget, offers good ankle and arch support.
Thorogood Composite Safety Toe Work Boot – If you need a work boot with a composite toe,then this is a good option to go with. Top notch material choices and complete protection from electricity, single this shoe out for the most hardworking men.
Best Waterproof Boots for Men
Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boot – This abrasion resistant waterproof boot has been a crowd favourite for a long time. If waterproofing is your only concern you can get this one.
Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof Steel Toe Boot – If you want good waterproofing but can’t do away with steel toe protection, then you can go for this shoe.
Best Work Boots for Comfort
- Thorogood 814-4200 American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Boot – It is by far the most comfortable work boot you can buy and it doesn’t do a bad as far safety is concerned. This combination of comfort and high safety features comes at price.
- Timberland Pro 26036 Direct Attach 6” Soft Toe Boot – If you are looking for a slightly affordable comfort work boot, you can go for this one. The Direct Attach Construction should give you the right amount of comfort.
Best Weatherproof Work Boots for Men
- Chippewa 29416 8” Work Boot – This shoe should provide all round foot protection. However it is not for everyone, and is only recommended for those who want the best protection from weather while outside.
- Kingshow Warm Waterproof Winter Leather Snow Boot – If you need an affordable option while working in winters, this work boot would be recommended. Most customers were happy with its performance.
Timberland Pro Pitboss 6” Steel Toe Boot
Timberland Pro Pitboss is our #1 recommendation for this year and for all the right reasons. This shoe has been given the “Professional Grade Safety & Comfort” Tag from Altrec Outdoors.
This boot has been referred as the “Shield for your feet” and it holds up to that reputation. The steel toe protects you from the heaviest of debris. The toe area offers ample of room for movement, and unlike most steeltoe shoes they don’t tend to cram up your toes. The rugged sole provides good traction owing to slip resistant outsole. Talking about the outsole, the anti-puncture arch lining prevent any sharp objects or nails to pierce through the shoe. Overall, the safety standards set by the Pitboss are pretty high.
This shoe uses the most durable construction, the Goodyear Welt. This means that despite daily usage, your shoe should last for a long time.
The upper is made from premium material and clearly no compromises have been made concerning the durability of the Pitboss 6″. You can expect to wear these shoes every day for years and still get the same level of comfort and performance from the shoe.
The padded collar and the cushioning ensures that you get the necessary comfort. The shaft is 5.5” from the arch, and this height should provide ample support to your ankles.
Your entire foot will be well-supported thanks to the PRO 24/7 Comfort Suspension System. The footbed comes with an Agion Antimicrobial cover and this ensures that your feet don’t smell after a long day’s work.
This shoe can take a while to break-in. When you wear these shoes for the first time, they might be a little uncomfortable, but that lasts for around 2-3 days.
Other than the early day’s hiccups this shoe should provide great safety, premium comfort and solid durability.
Caterpillar 2nd Shift 6” Steel Toe Boot
A bit more affordable steel toe boot than the Pitboss, the Caterpillar 2nd Shift has been termed as the all-rounder by “Work Boot Critic”.
The steel toe boot gives you the right amount safety for your toe. The sole should provide moderate level of traction while working in wet conditions. If you are working outside in cold conditions you should protected well by the Climasphere internal sock. With this shoe you are guarded from heavy objects, decent stability can be expected in wet conditions and protection in cold weather is also available.
We have mixed feelings about the durability of this shoe. The Goodyear welt construction offers solid durability at the start but with time, it decreases substantially. The nuback upper which is essentially full-grain leather on the other hand provides protection from debris and holds up well.
If breathability of your boots concerns you, then you should be satisfied with the upper. it provides good ventilation, and this adds to the comfort of the shoe. Decent level of cushioning is present throughout the shoe.
As mentioned earlier some customers have had some issue with durability of the shoe. The stitching tends to get ripped off, and in worst cases, the sole gets separated from the upper. However with added care this can be prevented, but in tough working conditions this might not be possible.
Overall, this shoe works should work well as an all-rounder. But if your job requires you to work in conditions with a lot of debris, or stones, then you might experience durability issues. This work boot is recommended for those who are in the early years of their job, and looking for something affordable with decent all-round performance.
Thorogood Composite Toe 804-4445 Gen Flex Shoe
If you are looking for a composite toe work boot, this beast from Thorogood 804-4445 Gen Flex is one of the best one’s out there. Here’s our complete run down on it’s safety and durability features.
The composite toe passes all the guidelines laid by the ANSI and should provide adequate safety for your toe. It is also rated to handle 18000 volts of electricity.
So if your job requires you to work near wires, you would be safe from electrical hazards. The upper provides the expected level of security and the composite toe provides adequate protection against heavy objects. However the shoe fails to offer good traction if you’re prone to work in slippery conditions.
The 804-4445 Gen Flex is pretty durable. The upper is made from good quality leather and copes well in rugged terrains. The rubber outsole has been one of the toughest that we’ve come across. The Goodyear Welt construction ensures that this shoe is built to last.
The Gen Flex excels in the area of comfort and fit. The patented Gen flex technology should provide support to your arch and also give you the flexibility you will need while climbing stairs. The double EVA cushion in the midsole offers added support. Overall, buyers have found it to be comfortable during long working hours.
It doesn’t too a good job in cold weather conditions. So if you are working outside in winters you might consider the other shoes. Also since this shoe is not waterproof, if exposed to wet conditions the glue of the shoe might get effected.
Overall with durability and great comfort, this shoe is recommended for those who are working near electrified areas and also looking for nice comfort while working.
Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boot
If you’re looking for a pair of water proof boots then Timberland White Ledge is a great option to go with.
The Timberland White Ledge does a great job at waterproofing. The sealed seams of the upper keeps water at bay. The outsole provide good traction in slippery conditions. This shoe however doesn’t have any safety toe cap, so it is not recommended for construction sites. Overall, if you’re prone to working in wet conditions, these shoes will provide the required protection.
Since there is no seam on the upper you won’t experience any issues of the thread breaking apart. The sole was also well connected to the upper. Since it uses low quality leather, it won’t hold up in debris or such kind of terrain. According to Outdoor Gear Lab, it performs exceedingly well in moist conditions.
The dual density footbed provides good comfort and it is also perforated and this makes the shoe quite breathable. There is good level of padding in the shoe and especially near the collar. Since this shoe doesn’t use any toe cap, your toes won’t have to bear any added weight.
Overall, if your work doesn’t make it mandatory to wear protective toe cap boots, and waterproof boots is what concerns you the most, you can surely go for this option. Also the style quotient of this shoe is high, as it comes in many colours.
Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof Steel Toe Boot
Caterpillar Diagnostic offers the best of both worlds, the comfort that comes from waterproofing with the protection that comes with a steel toe. If you work in wet conditions around heavy machinery, this is the go-to pair of work boots for you.
When it comes to waterproofing this shoe does an amazing job and it will definitely keep your feet dry when working in moist conditions. Apart from that, the non-slip outsole provides suitable traction in wet and slippery conditions. It has a steel toe, which protects your feet from any harmful debris or heavy objects.
Overall, with excellent protection from water, slip free traction and satisfactory toe protection the Caterpillar Diagnostic does a good job at providing you the right amount of safety. However the quality of traction reduces with time, and that is discussed later in the review.
This shoe uses cement construction which is the toughest construction you can find in a work boot, and this ensures that the sole remains connected to the upper even after continuous use for years.
The upper which is made from good quality leathers showed no signs of scratches from debris even after long term usage.
This shoe has impressed many with its flexibility. So if you have a lot of climbing to do while you are working, you won’t experience any difficulty. The 6” shaft provides for all day comfort and the ankle support was satisfactory for a work boot. Finally the EVA footbed is removable and provides decent support to your arch. We think that shoes could offer a little more breathability as minimal meshes are present on the upper and the footbed isn’t perforated, so there’s still room for improvement on those fronts.
The biggest concern about this shoe is the durability of the outsole. Few customers reported that thee sole doesn’t provide the same level of traction after few months. The rubber used for the sole isn’t of the best quality and the performance might reduce after some time.
Other than that the super waterproof capabilities, great comfort make this an ideal choice for people looking for a waterproof steel toe boot.
Thorogood 814-4200 American Heritage Moc Toe Boot
Rated by Primer Magazine, as the most comfortable work boot, this America-made boot has received positive reviews from customers throughout.
The 6.25” shaft provides solid support to your ankles. Longer shafts can cause discomfort, and we feel the shaft height with this particular shoe hit the perfect spot. The cushioning and the support has impressed many experts, as you don’t expect this much of padding in a work boot and this has been the reason for joy for most customers.The shoe come in three fits, narrow, standard and wide and this makes it suitable for every kind of feet. Finally the midsole and the fiberglass shank, which is widely recognized as a highly supportive midsole, does the same with this boot.
This shoe uses a Goodyear Welt construction and a manmade sole, so no comprises were made as far durability is concerned. Most customer reviews clearly show that this shoe stand the test of time. The premium leather apart from giving this shoe a great appearance, hold up well in different work conditions. However some experts have felt, the water can reduce the longevity of this shoe. If you work around liquid or water puddles then don’t expect the shoe to provide the same level of durability.
It provides decent grip in slippery conditions and the leather upper would work fine with moderate amount of debris, but excess debris, according to Primer Magazine, can cause problems. It is not waterproof and also won’t do great job shielding your feet from the cold weather, so working outside during winters wearing these might not be a pleasant experience.
If you are buying this from a comfort point of view you won’t have to deal with any noticeable issues. But we feel that this should could have some protection from water, and lack of waterproofing is the are where we feel this shoe lacks at.
But, if you want your work boots to be comfortable, and that is your major concern you will be more than satisfied with the Thorogood 814-4200. This American made work boot is quite good looking too.
Timberland Pro 26036 Direct Attach Soft Toe Boot
If you are looking for a mid-ranged work boot with superior comfort, and moderate security, then the Pro 2306 can be a good choice. Read our review to find out how it does in areas of safety and durability.
The shoe uses direct attach construction which is known to provide best comfort in work boots. Apart from that the shock resistant diffusion plate and plastic midsole offers optimum level of comfort in all terrains. This shoe belongs to the Timberland’s Pro line, so it comes with the 24/7 comfort suspension system which has received rave reviews from experts. Finally the odour is taken care of with the Anti-microbial treatment.
People at Work Boot Critic, feel that the durability of this shoe depends on the working condition. In a construction site, this shoe will wither out quickly, and you might have to look for replacements after an year. But if you work in farms or other areas where you don’t have to deal with the a lot of debris, then these shoes will stand the test of time.
This work boot does an impressive job as far as safety is concerned. Firstly, it provides safety from electrical hazards. Secondly its seam less design makes this a decent waterproof shoe. The Thermolite Insulation also protects you from the cold weather. Timerland with its rubber lug outsoles, has provided good traction in wet conditions in the past, and it continues to do with this shoe.
The shoe lacks the durability which you expect from a Timberland shoe. Also the appearance of this shoe is quite bland and doesn’t appear to be in line with some of the modern work boots.
If you are not working in a hard-core construction site, or an industry where you have to deal with heavy equipment, this shoe won’t disappoint you. It is recommended for anyone looking for high grade comfort and moderate safety features.
Chippewa 29416 8” Insulated Work boot
The shoe will keep your feet warm even in the coldest of weather conditions. With near perfect reviews on Amazon, this shoe has also been loved by many customers. Here is our review of the Chippewa 29416.
First up the 8” shaft would protect your ankle and leg from the cold weather and the shaft height ensures that the chilly winds don’t penetrate your legs and feet. Apart from being weatherproof, this shoe is also waterproof. The leather is oiled and the shoe also has Ruby Dri Lex 2000 lining and both of these prevent water to reach your feet. Finally,even though this shoe is not designed keeping a construction worker in mind, the premium materials used in the upper, ensures that you small to moderate amount of debris cannot hamper your in any way.
Apart from using the Goodyear Welt construction this shoe uses a Non-tarnish able hardware; both these features account for top notch durability. Apart from that since, they are American made, you get that added trust. This work boot should last many winters without any degradation in performance.
The long shaft might cause some discomfort while climbing stairs. Other than that, since this shoe is designed to protect you from the harsh weather, you get padding and cushioning all around the shoe. The arch support is satisfactory but the weight of the shoe might cause some fatigue, if you wear these for long hours.
They are no noticeable downsides to this shoe other than the price. Since this uses premium material and provides exceptional performance in all aspects, it is fairly expensive. The price means that this shoe is not for everyone.
However if you are willing to pay for the complete weather proof construction, and don’t want to comprise on the fit and the durability, then this shoe can prove to be a great choice.
Kingshow Warm Waterproof Winter Leather Snow Boot
An affordable option for a winter work boot, while not one of the most comfortable options out there, it definitely keeps your feet warm and snug when working in frigid conditions.
Most customers were happy the protection it provides from the weather. Cushioned insole and padded collar prevent the cold winds from reaching your feet and keep them warm. While, the manufacturers claim this shoe to be 100% waterproof, we recommend you to avoid exposing to excess amount of water. Moderate levels though shouldn’t cause any problems. Finally the lug rubber outsole provides decent slip resistance.
The shoe uses a mix of low grade leather and synthetic material. It is not the most durable of the work boots, but under normal circumstances it holds up well. The sole performs well considering the price, and works well even on rugged terrains.
The amount of cushioning that is required to keep it weatherproof, also adds up to the comfort of the shoe. If you don’t do any heavy activity then you won’t experience any fatigue while wearing these. Added arch support might be required by some customers. The insole is also quite breathable as it is perforated.
Customers have had a mixed response regarding the size of the shoe. While some customers find the shoe too large, the others find it too narrow. If you have wide feet you are better off with other options. Also the debris handling capabilities of this shoe are not that great.
These shoes are recommended for those who are planning to buy entry level work boots for winters. Good fit and trendy design are the other plus points of this shoe.
KEEN Utility Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot
A solid work boot which works as an all-rounder and provides satisfactory performance in all aspects of a work boot. Here is our review of the KEEN Utility Pitsburgh.
Firstly the shoe offers safety from all kind the debris and the steel toe would protect your from heavy weights. Then with features like Dry-lex footwear lining this shoe does a good job at waterproofing. Finally, the traction the pair offers is pretty average on rugged terrains, however it does a satisfactory job while working in slippery conditions.
The TPU torsion plates make the upper quite durable. If you walk with these on debris, these shoes will provide satisfactory durability, however if you are walking wearing these on sharp objects, they will start to wear down.This shoe is suited for most working environments and if it is not exposed to something sharp regularly, they will last a long time.
The insole is quite breathable and the EVA and PU midsole gives the right amount of support. Few experts believe that flexibility of this shoe could have been better. The waterproof lining also makes the shoe a bit hot and reduces the breathability.
Walking in these has not been a pleasant experience for many customers. The shoe is a bit tight and feels heavy while walking.. A quick fix is that you could go for a half a size larger than what you generally wear. Also, it provides almost average performance in all aspects and doesn’t excel at any single feature. We thus feel, because of this reason the cost of this shoe is expensive.
Ultimate Guide to Buying a Work Boot
Before you buy a work boot you need to consider two main aspects.
First up, the place where you work. Your work place would define the key security feature your work boot needs to have.
The second area are the general features which a work boot should have. Both these aspects will help you in making a better choice for your work boot.
How to choose the right work boot?
It is very important choose a work boot that is fit for your job. Depending on your job there is one security features which your boot must have. We at TCF refer to it as the “focus area”. If you work in construction area then your boot should have special protection for your toe.
This is done through a steel toe or a composite toe. Similarly if you work where lot of liquid (or oil) is spilled on the floor, you need a boot with better traction.
Here are the top categories and then main “focus area” you should look for in your work boot. We have made recommendations according to these categories only.
- Construction (Or Industry) – If you work at a construction site or industry you must have received certain guidelines from the ANSI or OSHO about the safety equipment you need to wear while working. For work boots you need to have protective toe caps. These toe caps are of two types, the steel toe and the composite toe. Both of them adhere to the guidelines set by government bodies. Although steel toe boots offer more protection, but they are heavy and conduct electricity. So for this reason you might prefer the lightweight composite toe work boots. We have made recommendations for both.
- Waterproof – If you work in an area with a lot of liquid or water, you need waterproof work boots. These boots don’t allow harmful liquid to get inside and the upper is also safe from such liquids. More importantly the traction should be good enough that you don’t slip while working. These kinds of work boots also offer good protection from the harsh weather.
- Comfort – If you have long working hours you are better off with shoes that pay special attention to the comfort of the wearer. These shoes should provide support to your arches and ankles. Some manufacturers also provide premium safety features in their work boots along with top notch comfort.
- Weatherproof (Insulation) – If you are working in a cold environment you need protection from the harsh weather. Such boots offer insulation from the weather.
Your feet will feel warm and you can work easily. Such work boots should also have good traction on snow or slippery conditions.
Most manufacturers make all-round work boots which have more than one safety feature. We have made recommendations of work boots that perform the best in the particular focus area. They also do a good job in other aspects, but if you are looking for a shoe that performs the best in your desired “focus area” then you can take advantage of our recommendations.
Now once you have chosen which category you fit into, there are top features which you need to look into while buying a work boot.
Work Boots Features
Security – Safety & security is the key feature of a work boot. This depends on the “focus area” of your job. If you are dealing with heavy materials you should have steel toe boots. But if you are working near wires, you need a work boot that doesn’t conduct electricity and a composite toe work boot would work for this kind of job. Some work boots also have a “Puncture Plate” which should protect your feet from nails and sharp objects while working. Traction on the Outsole grip is the final criteria while considering security of the work boot.
Durability – You want your work boots to be durable and that is the next feature you should consider while buying. Durability is in direct relation with the boot construction. The Cement construction which uses an adhesive to bond the outsole and the leather upper is the strongest. But a Goodyear Welt construction is the most durable. The sole of the work boot should also be durable as it comes in direct contact with the ground.
Fit – Finally the fit of the shoe should be comfortable. The midsole should provide good comfort and support. Since most of you will be wearing your work boots for long hours it is crucial that support is provided throughout the foot. A direct attach construction is known to provide the best comfort among work boots.
So this is everything you need to know before buying a work boot. We hope this information will help you take a better buying decision.