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Best Work Boots

Updated May 2022
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Best of the Best
Timberland PRO Women's Titan Waterproof Boot
Timberland PRO
Women's Titan Waterproof Boot
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Ideal for Outdoor Work
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Lightweight yet protective, these Timberland PRO boots are suitable for working on wet, soggy ground.


All-leather, steel-toe boot that meets ANSI safety standards. Despite their rugged design, the boots are comfortable, breathable, and flexible. Antimicrobial lining keeps odors and bacteria at bay. Ergonomic design supports all-day wear.


Toe sustains scuffs rather easily. Boots run a bit narrow according to some wearers.

Best Bang for the Buck
Caterpillar Men's Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot
Men's Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot
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Simple Yet Solid
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While affordable, these work boots also have several protective and supportive features.


Classic, quality work boot featuring all-leather construction and a thick rubber sole. Boots have a waterproof membrane, making them suitable for working in wet conditions. Outsole is slip-resistant and is well-received for its stabilizing traction details.


Some reports that the boots sustain wear and damage sooner than expected.

Wolverine Men's Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot
Men's Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot
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Rugged Build
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If you need a pair of tough work boots that can hold up under tough conditions, these are ideal.


The lighter-weight, carbon max toe-cap provides additional protection from abrasion while the waterproof leather keeps your feet dry in all conditions. The boots have a removable OrthoLite-cushioned footbed to deliver comfort all day long.


These boots do not breathe very well, so they may feel a little warm or develop an odor.

Skechers Men's Burgin-Tarlac Industrial Boot
Men's Burgin-Tarlac Industrial Boot
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Most Stylish
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Not only do these durable work boots protect your feet, but they add some style to your outfit as well.


Popular work boots are manufactured using 100% leather with steel-toe protection. The memory foam provides sufficient comfort to wear throughout the entire workday. Additionally, they are designed to protect your feet from electrical hazards.


Initially, these boots are a bit stiff and may take some extra time to break in.

Carhartt Work Flex 6" Lace-Up Boot
Work Flex 6" Lace-Up Boot
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Most Comfortable
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A solid, lightweight, supportive and comfortable work boot at a low price, but it may not be the best for all conditions.


Keeps your toes safe from impact with composite materials. A reasonable price and high comfort level. Designed to be oil-, chemical-, and slip-resistant. Helps protect against contact with electricity up to 18,000 volts under dry conditions.


Not completely waterproof, which might make them less suitable for extremely wet or snowy work environments.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best work boots

Work boots do more than just give you comfort on the job. A good pair of boots can protect your feet in multiple ways from the weather, dangerous hazards, and general muck and grime. Beyond getting the size right, to find the right pair of boots, there are a few things you need to consider.

The right pair of work boots depends on the specific job since each environment requires different types of protection. The materials and construction of the boot will vary. Job-specific features, like toe protection or waterproofing, are also common.

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We evaluated more than 100 pairs of work boots to help you find the perfect pair.

How to decide on a work boot

Your work boot choice depends heavily on what you plan to do while wearing them.

  • Welders need boots that protect them from hot metal shrapnel.
  • Carpenters need boots that safeguard them from puncture wounds.
  • Concrete workers benefit from waterproof boots with deep tread.

In some work situations, the question of what to wear on your feet has already been answered by a supervisor who tells you exactly what to buy. In other situations, the employer provides a set of guidelines, but it's up to you to find footwear that adheres to them. For example, laborers and skilled craftspeople in the U.S. must wear boots that are approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The first question you should ask yourself is a broad one: “What exactly are my needs?”More specifically, what type of toe protection does your job require? Does your work environment dictate a specific tread pattern? Would you benefit from a metatarsal guard? Would you prefer boots with a cement adhesive or high-tech injection technology?

Read on to discover the answers to these questions.

Types of toe protection

Some work boots include a steel plate inside the toe box. Others feature a toe cap made of aluminum or composite materials. It's up to you to decide which type of toe protection suits you best.


Hearty and dependable, steel-toed boots shield the toes from falling debris, hot construction materials, and dropped tools. This type of footwear has graced the market for decades.

We spoke with former freight line worker Mark Rice, who told us that steel-toed boots were a must-have during his days on the railroad. Steel toes are great for anyone who works with heavy equipment or has cause to use their foot as a blunt-force tool, Mark said.

But steel is heavy, and over the course of an eight- or ten-hour shift, its weight can bring on foot and leg fatigue. What's more, steel-toed boots can conduct electricity, making them unsafe to wear around machinery with a strong electrical and/or magnetic field. Steel-toed boots are also notorious for retaining heat or cold — an uncomfortable proposition, to be sure.

Nevertheless, steel-toed work boots are exceptionally durable. Workers who don't mind wearing a heavy boot of metal should be satisfied with this variety of footwear.


Aluminum wields several advantages over traditional steel, including its lighter weight and increased flexibility. Because aluminum toe caps are so much lighter than their steel counterparts, they create less foot and leg fatigue for the wearer. 

Retention of heat/cold is still an issue, but heat dissipates faster through aluminum than it does steel. And while it's true that aluminum also conducts electricity, it doesn't do so to the same extent that steel does. You may experience annoying static electricity when wearing aluminum-toed boots around certain types of machinery, but the side effects aren't nearly  as severe as they could be if you were wearing steel-toed boots.

Some workers question the strength and durability of aluminum vs. good, old-fashioned steel. Suffice it to say that aluminum toe plates meet industry safety standards and offer essentially the same level of protection as steel.

Composite materials

Special polymers and ceramic materials can be combined to mimic the strength of a steel-toed boot. We'll refer to these components as "composite materials."

Composite materials pose no problems with heat/cold retention. They're not overly heavy, they protect the toes from falling debris and other hazards just like steel does, but they're far more comfortable to wear.

This awesome technology is relatively new, and it may be difficult to find on store shelves.

Boot construction

The quality of the connection between a boot's lower and upper — the body and sole — impacts its durability. Manufacturers use three basic methods to attach rubber soles to leather uppers, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.


Cement construction is a popular and relatively inexpensive method used by numerous manufacturers. The leather upper and rubber sole are simply glued together with an industrial-strength adhesive.

These boots may cost less than others, but adhesives tend to degrade over time, especially when exposed to the hazards of a construction site or factory floor. Some boots with cement construction can be repaired or re-soled, but many require complete replacement once the adhesive bond fails.


Some manufacturers join sole to upper via injection technology. The leather upper is held in a special mold while a heated rubber compound (the sole in liquid form) is poured, or injected, into the bottom of the mold. As it cools and dries, the rubber compound fuses to the upper, creating a strong bond that requires no adhesive or stitching.

This method reduces the chances of the boot splitting apart over time and provides superior weather-resistance. Once broken, however, a molded work boot is nearly impossible repair or re-sole.

Goodyear welt

Besides manufacturing rubber tires for automobiles, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company produces treaded soles for work boots. Attaching these soles requires a complicated stitching process and an additional leather strip, known as a “welt.”

Manufacturers of high-end boots embrace Goodyear welt construction for its exceptional strength and water-resistance. While they tend to cost a lot more than the competition, these boots can easily be repaired or re-soled. As such, they usually last a lot longer.

Other features to consider

Metatarsal guard

In addition to a toe box, some workers benefit from a metatarsal guard. This component fits over the boot's tongue and extends to the toe box, thus protecting the upper foot from sudden impact and hot materials.


The laces you choose can enhance your safety on the job. For example, rescue workers may want to replace standard cotton laces with a set made of synthetic, waterproof material. Factory employees who work in high heat should consider Kevlar-based laces that resist heat and fire. And those who work on difficult terrain may want to try laces with a rough texture, as they tend to stay securely tied.

Tread style

Tread style affects your stability and comfort on the job. Let the type of work you do guide your decision. For example, if you work at a soft-ground construction site, you'll want a tread that enhances your earth grip. If you work in wet or oily conditions, you might consider a slip-resistant tread that provides extra traction.

Maintenance tips

  • Scrape dirt and debris from your boot tread as soon as possible. Mud-filled tread provides no traction, and ground-in dirt can lead to abrasions and blistering.
  • Inspect your boots for damage daily. Due to the heavy protection work boots provide, you might not even realize that you've stepped on a nail or screw until after the fact.
  • Use mink oil or another leather conditioning product to keep the uppers supple and water-resistant.
  • When not in use, air out your boots on a shoe stand.
Consider adding a quality insole to your boots for extra comfort. Well-made insoles support your feet and distribute your weight evenly, making a long day’s work much more bearable.


Q: Do standard shoe sizes apply to work boots?

A: Not always. We suggest you move up at least ½ of a size.

Q: Will boots that pinch or feel tight in the toe cap “break in” over time?

A: Leather is a flexible material, but steel, aluminum, and composite materials won't necessarily flex for you over time. Better to get the right fit the first time than to trust that the boot will adapt to your foot.

Q: Will a boot that's a little loose be good enough?

A: Again, we recommend a precise fit. A boot that feels too loose is just as bad for you as a boot that feels too tight.

Q: How can I find out if the boots I'm interested in are approved by OSHA?

A: OSHA adheres to standards prescribed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for safety-toe boots. This can be a bit confusing because in the past, OSHA endorsed the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.

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