Tough Toes: 15 Best Work Boots

Feb 27, 2019

Category: Gear

Rugged blue-collar workers who spend the entire day working out in the field are in a constant battle with fatigue and battling the elements. Standing on your feet all day long can be quite taxing, so investing in a comfortable and sturdy pair of work boots is an absolute necessity. Whether you’re working on a construction site, a farm, in a garage, or another environment with hazardous conditions, you need to protect your soles.

Without the right pair of work boots, you’ll suffer from cramps, blisters, and bruises, jeopardizing your health and diluting your work efficiency. Finding a pair of work boots with adequate traction, comfort, and protection can be an overwhelming task. It’s not enough to walk off the injuries, as it’s better to prevent them or minimize muscle pain them with high-quality footwear to wrap around your feet, but your options are almost endless. We’ve looked far and wide to reel in the best working boots on the market today, cutting down your arduous search efforts considerably.


Quality Construction

Before you jump to the list, we feel it’s beneficial for you to know what makes an excellent pair of work boots. Ultimately, you want an all-star pair with adequate foot support so you can lower the potential for injuries, cut down on physical stress, and bump up your productivity in the field. Let’s take a look at what exactly makes a quality pair of work boots for your feet.

Sturdiness: An excellent pair of work boots should be well-constructed to last a solid amount of time. Nobody wants to drop a ton of money on footwear that will start breaking down in a month. Leather or synthetic welt, which involves stitching a strip of material to the upper and lower sole, creates a rugged construction to last years.

Fit: The fit of any pair of footwear is detrimental to how they’ll serve you. Even if you grab a pair of boots made by a credible brand, they still may not suit you well. There are many factors to consider in the construction, including the break-in period, the weight of the boots, upper materials, the lining, and more. We advise you to go into a physical store to try on work boots and spend some time walking around in them before making a commitment.

Materials: If you’re going to get a pair of work boots, you can’t beat leather construction. Yes, there are boots out there made from exceptional synthetic and mesh, but leather is typically best. In addition, the shank material and shape is also significant, as they determine the stability and posture of the footwear. Test out boots with steel, fiberglass, and plastic shanks to see which one feels ideal for your feet.

Soles: Usually, the outsoles of work boots are constructed from flexible synthetic rubber to cut weight so you can be as light as you can on your toes without sacrificing durability. If you’re on your feet the whole day, but don’t move around much, getting boots with plenty of cushioning is ideal. If you’re in constant motion on the job, stick to insoles with a sufficient amount of cushioning, but nothing excessive.

Safe Toes: Toe safety is crucial for anyone working outdoors or around dangerous equipment. When picking out a pair of work boots, you want to make sure they are equipped with adequate toe protection. There are the steel toes, which are the heaviest option, a lighter aluminum option with solid strength, and composite toes usually made from plastic, carbon fiber, or Kevlar, which is the lightest option available.

Tough Footwear

Shield Your Soles

Take your time in choosing the right work boots for your feet and remember to try them on before you make a commitment. We have gathered the cream of the crop in work boots, but we still encourage you to do further research once you settle on a few finalists.

Carolina Tank Lo Steel Toe

Everything you need to shield your feet on the field is right here in the Carolina Tank Lo Steel Toe boots. The waterproof boots have uppers made from Borris tan leather, steel safety toe caps, and they’re capable of withstanding electrical hazards of up to 18,000 volts to keep your soles safe. For comfort, the work boots have EVA midsoles, non-metallic shanks, and removable footbeds so you can swap them out when needed. To keep you on your toes, the outsoles are oil and slip resistant and the boots have a cement construction for years of durable service.

Purchase: $95

Irish Setter Ashby

The Ashby work boots are made from beautiful USA-raised steerhide leather, which is handcrafted by S.B. Foot Tanning Company exclusively for Irish Setter. These stylish pair of American-made work boots have heat-resistant outsoles, which can withstand melting at a minimum of 475° F, non-woven nylon lining, removable polyurethane footbeds, heel-molded counters, and rubber-EVA traction tred outsoles. They’re ready for any job, as they are resistant to oil, gas, abrasion, and even chemicals. The waterproof Ashby boots have a Goodyear welt construction for comfort and long-lasting quality. If you’re looking for work footwear with some style, the Ashby boots should be at the top of your list.

Purchase: $130

Timberland Pro Ascender

Armed with alloy safety toe caps and a waterproof membrane, Timberland’s Pro Ascender boots will help you power through the day no matter what project you’re working on. The lightweight asymmetrical toe caps mix comfort with durability while the waterproof leather and membrane work to protect you against blood-borne pathogens. In addition, the boots will give you underfoot protection against any live electrical circuits or conductors. They also have contoured open-cell breathable polyurethane footbeds and ‘Timberland Pro’ polyurethane outsoles that are slip-, oil-, and abrasion-resistant so you can be confident with every step you take. Topping it off with a Goodyear welt construction, these work boots are in it for the long haul.

Purchase: $130

Carhartt Rugged Flex Toe Work Boot

Built to be agile while protecting you on the construction site, Carhartt’s Rugged Flex work boots are built with flexible rubber outsoles for traction on everything from ladder rungs to cement floors. They have composite reinforcements on the toes and heels for excellent impact resistance and a ‘Storm Defender’ breathable waterproof membrane to keep your soles dry because the show must go on even when it’s raining. These boots also have EVA midsoles with polyurethane insoles to absorb shock and provide comfort. Proven to be the complete package, Carhartt’s boots will also protect you against accidental contact with electrical currents up to 18,000 volts.

Purchase: $135

Wolverine Raider

Built for flexibility to keep you agile outdoors, the Wolverine Raider work boots provide you with classic style and robust construction. They have a moisture-managing mesh lining, rubber lug outsoles for reliable traction, and full-grain premium leather uppers. The boots have a contour welt construction, mending the uppers directly to the outsoles with flex zones at pivotal points to enhance your performance. The oil, slip, and abrasion-resistant boots are also built with polyurethane midsoles for tremendous comfort to give your feet a slice of heaven on a hellish construction site. When every weekday is long, the Raider boots will help you reach happy hour safely.

Purchase: $135

Dr. Martens Earlstoke Steel Toe

You know you have a well-constructed pair of work boots when they’re built from industrial-grade oiled full-grain leather. Engineered with static dissipation attributes, Dr. Martens’ Earlstoke boots will provide you with 24/7 protection. The moisture-wicking footwear has padded collars, steel toe caps, anti-microbial lining, ‘Softwair’ footbeds, and an air-cushioned hybrid rubber and PVC soles for slip-resistant grip. These abrasion-resistant boots feature a welt construction, allowing them to go the distance so you don’t have to worry about getting another pair for a while.

Purchase: $150

Chippewa Ellison Steel Toe

Ready for heavy-duty jobs, Chippewa’s 6-inch Ellison boots will protect your soles thanks to Goodyear leather welt construction. The American-made boots are offered in chocolate apache leather with antique brass, non-tarnishable hooks and eyelets for superb strength. The steel safety toes meet the impact and compression standards so your toes won’t get crushed on the job. The boots also feature 5 Iron Texon insoles for a relaxed fit, fiberglass shanks for stability, and Vibram outsoles for the best traction around. The stylish boots will also protect you from electrical or magnetic charges.

Purchase: $190

Keen Utility St. Paul

Featuring asymmetrical, non-metallic carbon-fiber toes, the Keen Utility St. Paul quality boots are lightweight and comfortable. The breathable, waterproof boots will keep your feet dry and the interlocking torsional plate along with full-length TPU construction will support your feet the entire day. They have oil and slip-resident non-marking rubber outsoles and a ‘KonnectFit’ heel-capture system for a snug, locked-in fit, keeping you upright and stable. And the moisture-wicking work boots also have ‘Cleansport NXT’ technology for natural odor protection because nobody needs to smell the result of a grueling day’s work.

Purchase: $190

Cat Adhesion Ice+

If you’re working on wet surfaces most of the week, the Cat Adhesion Ice+ boots will keep you upright and on your feet. According to Cat, these winter boots use the most advanced cold weather gripping system in the world, as they have three times more grip when on slippery ice than standard boots. They are equipped with Vibram Arctic Grip Thermocromatic Lug technology, which senses when temperatures drop to 32°F/0°C and turns blue to signal they’re working. They are also fully waterproof and insulated with 200g ‘Thinsulate’ thermal technology to keep your toes warm. Blending biomechanics and durability, the boots also feature ERGO technology for long-lasting comfort throughout the entire work day. Topping these boots off are ‘EASE” dual-density footbeds for extra shock absorption.

Purchase: $200

Danner Stronghold

Although these might be the most stylish pair on this list, Danner’s Stronghold Boots are quite functional. These handmade boots are meant to be worn under unforgiving conditions with their full-grain leather uppers, 100% waterproof barrier, and electrical hazard protection with non-conductive electrical shock-resistant heels and soles. They also have non-metallic toes, which don’t transmit cold or heat, Vibram Midsoles for durable comfort, as well as slip and oil-resistant Vibram ‘Stronghold Outsoles’ that provide you with reliable traction on both wet and dry surfaces. They also come with ‘Ortholite’ footbeds for amazing comfort.

Purchase: $200

Georgia Boot Rumbler

With hybrid steel and composite toe caps, allowing the footwear to withstand a solid amount of static pressure, you’ll always feel safe with the Rumbler boots on your feet. For further safety, the construction footwear was built nail-free, insulating you from the ground to hinder electric hazards in dry conditions. The full-grain leather boots are oil, heat, abrasion, chemical, and slip-resistant, so you can dig into your job with fewer worries and focus on project perfection. The 8-inch-high work boots also feature ‘Ergo-Fit’ safety toes, matching the contours of your feet for ideal comfort and high-quality mesh lining.

Purchase: $200

Thorogood American Heritage Black Safety Toe

No one will catch you slipping when you’re sporting Thorogood’s American Heritage boots. Made with black, oil-tanned leather to shield your feet with style, these boots will work as hard as you do on your best day. They boast the ‘MAXWear Wedge’ shallow-tread outsoles to help you plant your feet on the ground with confidence, decreasing the potential for accidents and injuries. For incredible comfort, they have removable ‘Poron’ footbeds, providing you with shock absorption and fiberglass shanks to provide resiliency on hard ground. With a Goodyear storm welt construction, you’ll get plenty of mileage from these black boots.

Purchase: $210

Justin Work Transcontinental

With a golden brown leather exterior and Gore-Tex membranes, the Justin Work Transcontinental boots will wick away perspiration and protect your feet from outside moisture. They’re packing a ‘Double Comfort System,’ using innovative orthotic inserts that work well with the ‘Texon’ and ‘Poron’ insoles for unrivaled comfort. To keep you upright throughout the day, the job site footwear also has polyurethane slip-resistant outsoles. And to keep you from getting shocked on the job, the boots meet the electrical hazard safety standards. Made right here in the USA, these boots will help you get the job done.

Purchase: $240

Red Wing Classic Moc 1907

Red Wing began by making moc-toe boots in the ‘50s for sportsmen, but farm and factory workers realized their boots were perfect for the 24/7 comfort they needed. Inspired by Red Wing’s original work boots, the Moc 1907 features Orgo Legacy leather and crescent-shaped stitching just like the construction of moccasins by the Algonquin Native Americans. These classic work boots have a Goodyear welt construction for long-lasting quality protection, chestnut leather laces, and tractor trend outsoles. The boots are water, sweat, and stain resistant, making for the ideal outdoor worker’s footwear.

Purchase: $280

Chippewa Arador Bay Apache Steel Toe

To withstand harsh work environments, the 9-inch Arador Bay Apache boots are made to take a beating and protect your feet from the elements. They boast a breathable ‘Chip-A-Tex’ waterproof membrane system, ‘Ruby Dri Lex 2000’ lining, and triple-ribbed steel shanks. The boots also feature a combination of ‘4 Iron Rubber’ and ‘ 6 Iron Robus’ midsoles, ‘Vibram Tacoma Yellow Plug Logger’ outsoles, and ‘Texon 460’ waterproof insoles to keep your feet dry and planted on the ground. Providing you with work boots that have the complete package, you can’t go wrong picking up the ardor Bay Apache.

Purchase: $300

How To Take Care Of Leather Boots In Winter

Now that you’ve identified a pair of boots designed to take a beating, learn how to make sure they last a lifetime. Our helpful guide on how to take care of leather boots in the winter is a great resource to make the most of your footwear investment.

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