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Work boots are essential for workplace safety. The U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to mandate that their employees wear protective footwear if their job poses a danger to their feet, as it does, for instance, in carpentry and construction. These boots often feature steel-toe designs to prevent injuries from falling objects and other hazards, as well as grippy lug soles to keep you sure-footed on a range of surfaces.
Other work boot styles include aluminum toe and composite toe options, which feature toe caps made of plastic, carbon fiber or other strong synthetic materials. Aluminum styles are lighter weight than steel toe options but tend to be more expensive and aren’t built to provide as much impact resistance. Composite-toe boots are also lightweight, but metal-free, making them ideal for workers that are required to frequently pass through metal detectors such as airport workers or security personnel. These boots tend to be bulkier than aluminum and steel toe styles, though.
All that said, if your job doesn’t require a safety toe, you can opt for a classic soft toe boot, which will generally be lighter and more comfortable to wear. While soft toe boots won’t safeguard toes against falling objects, many incorporate soles with slip-resistance and electrical hazard protection. So if you’re an electrician or work in a food manufacturing plant, a soft toe may be a better choice.
For proper slip-resistance, Occupational Health & Safety Magazine (OHA) recommends choosing styles with small slits or snipes in the outsole that are approximately two millimeters apart from one another. This amount of space between the grooves enables liquid to move properly to the sole’s border. Otherwise, liquid can get trapped underneath the sole and cause a hydroplaning effect.
And if you work with live wires, you’ll likely need a boot that’s EH-rated, meaning they provide protection against potential electrical hazards while also keeping you stable on slippery surfaces.
When it comes to cushioning and breathability, options vary, allowing you to choose the level of support that suits your needs. Many styles also come with moisture-wicking linings to help prevent sweat buildup and keep odors at bay.
Considering all this, we compiled a selection of work boots for men from trusted brands like Carhartt, Keen, Timberland and more. As an added bonus, these pairs are stylish enough to be worn outside the workplace, too.
Soft Toe Boots:
Carhartt Waterproof Wedge Soft Toe Work Boot
Carhartt’s Waterproof Wedge Soft Toe Work Boot features a slight wedge underfoot, which not only offers a stylish look but can help boost traction since the sole makes more contact with the ground than traditional heeled styles. The silhouette also includes the brand’s beloved shock-absorbing foam insole and FastDry lining that wicks away sweat and fights odors. To top it all off, the boot has a Goodyear welt construction, breathable, waterproof membrane and meets ASTM F2892-18 electrical hazard standards.
Ever Boots Tank Soft Toe Boot
Retailing for just $60, Ever Boots Tank Soft Toe offers a variety of great features: a genuine leather upper with hooks for easy on and off access plus a steel shank to alleviate pressure on the soles of feet. A Goodyear welt construction gives these boots extra durability and protection, while the oil-resistant rubber outsoles with reinforced stitching make these a solid choice for many job settings.
Skechers Verdict Boot
If a steel-toe design isn’t crucial on your job site but waterproof protection is, Skechers’ Verdict Boots are a great pick. A padded collar and tongue, shock-absorbing midsole and smooth fabric lining promote all-day comfort. What’s more, a steel shank offers additional support and rugged lug soles boost traction. These are also offered in extra wide widths to accommodate even the widest feet.
Aluminum Toe Boots:
Timberland Pro Powertrain Alloy Toe ESD Mid Work Boots
In addition to being rugged and breathable, Timberland Pro’s Powertrain Alloy Toe ESD Mid boasts a cement construction for increased flexibility and reduced break-in time. The style is also built on a conductive polyurethane midsole for static-dissipative performance and equipped with a fiberglass shank for structural support. What’s more, anti-fatigue technology in the outsoles should help to keep you moving.
Keen Utility San Jose Aluminum Toe WP Boot
Available in two width options, Keen Utility’s 6″ San Jose Aluminum Toe WP features a waterproof leather upper, oil-and-slip-resistant outsoles and aluminum toes that meet or exceed ASTM F2412-17 and F2413-17 M I/75 C/75 EH safety standards. They also offer odor control, moisture-wicking properties and a removable PU footbed for added comfort. Meanwhile, a TPU shank enhances midfoot support.
Irish Setter 6″ Aluminum Toe Wedge Boot
A Goodyear welt construction means that Irish Setter 6″ Aluminum Toe Wedge Boot should provide great flexibility and long-lasting wear. These are also crafted with durable full-grain leather, lend supportive cushioning underfoot and meet ASTM F2413-11, M I/75 C/75, EH. The EVA Traction Tred is meant to keep you steady on various kinds of terrain.
Composite Toe Boots:
Thorogood 6″ Crosstrex Side Zip Waterproof Comp Toe
Looking for the flexibility of a sneaker with the ruggedness and grip that a work boot lends? The Thorogood 6″ Crosstrex Side Zip Waterproof Comp Toe should fit the bill. Featuring a mesh and leather combination upper with a waterproof membrane and cement construction, these boots are made to let feet breathe, keep them dry and provide optimal flex. They’re built on a supportive, shock-absorbing Shock Zone PU footbed that’s removable and Crosstrex 360 outsoles with multi-directional lugs for stability and traction on a variety of surfaces. A composite shank should also help keep the wearer stable.
Avenger A7223 Composite Toe Work Boots
These Avenger A7223 Work Boots are designed with a puncture-resistant Lenzi midsole plate that minimizes potential puncture wounds caused by sharp objects penetrating the outsole. They also have a plush collar, waterproof membrane, pillow cushion insoles and dual-density, slip-and oil-resistant outsoles.
Ariat Turbo Chelsea Waterproof Carbon Toe Work Boot
Ariat’s Turbo Chelsea Waterproof Carbon Toe Work Boot is completely waterproof and equipped with a lightweight carbon composite safety toe that is ASTM F2413-11 M I/75 C/75 EH rated. Comfort features include breathable mesh linings and high-rebound foam cushioned insoles with ATS technology for all-day support.
Reebok Work Rapid Response RB CT Boot
The tallest style on our list, these Reebok Work Rapid Response RB 8″ CT Boots offer more coverage than most. Highlights of this pair include tough suede leather and ballistic nylon upper, breathable nylon mesh lining and a removable cushioned footbed with a cushioned heel to minimize shock. It also offers an extra-wide toe box for a roomier fit and comes in multiple width options.
Baffin Monster Boot
Featuring a waterproof upper and breathable waterproof membrane, Baffin’s Monster 6″ Boot will keep the elements out. The composite toe boot also features anti-fatigue technology to absorb shock and returns energy, plus slip- oil- and acid-resistant outsoles with deep lugs for multidirectional traction. Another plus? Lateral roll bars and a heel cup enhance stability.
Steel Toe Work Boots:
Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot
Perfect for those whose feet tend to get hot on the job, these Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe features a mesh lining and breathable Climasphere insole to help prevent sweaty socks. The steel-toe style also boasts a durable Goodyear welt construction and is roomy enough to accommodate orthotics. Slip-resistant rubber outsoles should keep you sure-footed on a range of surfaces, while a steel shank adds support and stability.
Rockrooster Steel Toe Work Boot
Coming in extra-wide width sizes only, these Rockrooster Steel Toe Work Boots featuring a Chelsea-inspired design have a steel toe, anatomically contoured footbed and slip- and oil-resistant outsoles. It also includes CoolMax technology to wick moisture away from the body and is designed to dissipate static into the ground to reduce the chance of shock.
Wolverine Floorhand Steel Toe Work Boot
Offered in extra-wide width sizes, Wolverine’s Floorhand Steel Toe Work Boot has a waterproof, full-grain leather upper and moisture-wicking mesh lining to keep feet bone dry. The rubber outsoles on this pair are built to provide extra traction, while a removable cushioned footbed should keep feet comfortable for hours on the job. A durable nylon shank adds extra strength, too.
Danner Bull Run Moc Toe 6″ ST Work Boot
Another moc-toe style, Danner’s Bull Run Moc Toe 6″ ST Work Boot has a full-grain leather upper and lightweight leather lining that will mold to your foot for a custom fit. They’re set on a non-marking, oil-and-slip resistant Danner Wedge outsole that offers cushioned support and traction and won’t track debris. Designed to provide a wider platform, the brand’s stitchdown construction delivers enhanced stability underfoot.