Best work boots

Footwear

While well-made work boots primarily focus on safety, most high-quality work boots are so comfortable that people wear them away from work, too.

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which work boots are best?

Work boots provide support, comfort and protection when you are working in potentially hazardous environments. You may be on a job site, cutting firewood, digging in the garden or hauling a truckload of debris to the landfill. And sometimes you need extra protection against rain, mud, snow or electrical and chemical hazards.

Work boots are available for everyone and work well on the job or as more casual wear. If you want a work boot made specifically for a narrower foot, try the Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot. These full-grain leather boots are comfortable, flexible and breathable. 

What to know before you buy a pair of work boots

Boot construction

Work boots come in five pieces which are the upper, the outsole, the insole, the shank and the heel.

The upper is the front part of the boot where your toes go. Some work boots have leather uppers, while others focus on leather alternatives. Look for uppers lined with softer materials for comfort and insulation against cold and extreme heat.

The outsole is the rest of the boot, stretching from the upper to the heel. Outsoles are typically leather or synthetics, depending upon the conditions they’re designed for. 

The insole is the strip of material inside the work boot, which offers extra comfort and protection. Don’t confuse the insole with the lining, which is the material closest to your foot. Linings help wick away perspiration, while insoles provide support underneath the foot.

The shank is the spine of a work boot. They may be steel, synthetics or composites.

The heel is at the rear of the boot, which provides stability. Heels come in different heights, shapes and materials, which are very durable.

What to look for in a quality work boot

The right work boot depends on the kind of work you do. Designers create work boots specifically for certain tasks and environments.  

For example, carpenters need work boots that protect them against punctures from nails and screws. Electricians, however, need boots that are safe to wear around live wires.

Mechanics and those who work outdoors need boots that resist water, oil and fuel and are safe on slippery surfaces. If you expect to lift heavy things at your job or work with livestock, find boots that protect your feet and especially your toes. Regardless of your trade, everyone should find a pair of work boots that are comfortable enough to wear all day without fatigue.

Toe

Steel toe work boots provide the best protection against damage from heavy objects. However, it can be hard to wear steel toe boots for a long period because steel is by far the heaviest material found in boot toes. 

Soft toe work boots are the most lightweight and most comfortable. They provide the least protection against crushing and are a good choice for people who don’t work with heavy objects.

Composite toe work boots are the halfway point between soft toe and steel toe boots. They are made of plastic, carbon fiber or kevlar. They are safer than soft toe boots and lighter than steel toe boots but don’t provide as much protection for your toes.

Compliance

If your workplace operates under strict safety standards, look for boots that meet all the OSHA requirements for electrical hazards, chemicals, oils and flame.

How much you can expect to spend on work boots

Work boots vary in cost based on material, features and brand. Most basic, light-duty boots cost less than $100. If you need heavy-duty work boots with higher levels of protection, expect to spend between $100-$200. Work boots with maximum protection and comfort will be $200 or more.

Work boots FAQ

Should I buy the same size as the shoes I wear?

A. Most people wear heavy socks with work boots, which makes their feet larger. However, don’t overcompensate and buy something too big. A boot that is too loose around your foot is almost as bad as one that is too tight.

What is OSHA?

A. OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Look for labels that say the boots meet OSHA’s workplace standards.

What’s the best work boot to buy?

Top work boots

Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot

Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot

What you need to know: These all-weather, steel-toe boots are made to comfortably fit narrower feet. 

What you’ll love: These full-grain leather boots are comfortable, flexible and breathable. The antimicrobial lining and the breathable membrane fight bacteria and odors. The TITAN safety toe meets all American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards and provides secondary underfoot protection against live electrical circuits.

What you should consider: Some users say these work boots run narrower than expected, so you may want to buy a size wider than usual.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top work boots for the money

Caterpillar Men’s Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot 

Caterpillar Men’s Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot 

What you need to know: This classic leather boot has a thick rubber sole for cushioned comfort.

What you’ll love: The outsole is slip-resistant and constructed with traction stabilizers that exceed American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for grip on low-traction surfaces for sure footing in all conditions. The flexible midsole is light and shock-absorbing. These work boots protect against open electrical circuits up to 600 volts.

What you should consider: Some users reported premature wear and tear. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Carhartt Men’s 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot CMF6366

Carhartt Men’s 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot CMF6366

What you need to know: This construction boot is solid, supportive, lightweight and comfortable.

What you’ll love: The leather upper protects while the rubber sole cushions your foot. The insole has layers of polyurethane to offer additional support. This boot is resistant to oils and chemicals, and the lining wicks away sweat to reduce sweating and odors. The strong, non-metallic composite toes protect you from falling objects and other impacts. The safety toe also protects against incidental contact with electrical hazards up to 18,000 volts. 

What you should consider: These boots are not completely waterproof, which makes them not suitable for extremely wet conditions.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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