After getting into the plumbing trade, I quickly realized that skimping on boots adds up financially and physically. Not only did I run through about 4 pairs in a year, but I felt like someone took a 2×4 to my back and knees. Constantly being exposed to falling objects, various work hazards, mother nature, and the grueling hours spent on your feet (or under a rotting sink) can really take its toll. After much procrastination, I decided to figure out the whole internet research thing and find some answers. That’s when I hammered out the time to choose the best work boots for men and keep me away from the desk job. But, it can be a real pain to find out what boots are really high grade. To save you fellas time, I drafted this blueprint so you spend less time searching and more time making money. (Just keep in mind how the boots’ features apply to your job, and you will make the right decision.)
BEST WORK BOOTS FOR MEN CHART
|Pictures & Amazon Shopping Link||Brand/Name||Features|
|Timberland PRO Men's Pitboss 6" Steel-Toe Boot||-Leather
-Open-cell polyurethane footbed with Agion antimicrobial cover
Polyurethane midsole to wick moisture and absorb shock
-Slip-abrasion and oil resistant Timberland Pro outsole
|Thorogood Men's American Heritage Six-Inch Plain-Toe Boot||*Made in USA*
-Fiberglass support shank
-Dual-density removable footbed
-Non-marking, slip-resistant outsole
|Thorogood Men's 6" Moc-Toe Wedge-Heel Non-Safety Boot||*Made in USA*
-Contrast-stitched leather boot featuring moc toe and wedge heel
-Eyelet and hook lacing
|Caterpillar Men's Second Shift 6" Plain Soft Toe Work Boot||-Leather
-Lace-up work boot featuring Climasphere sockliner and padded collar
-Single stitched Goodyear welt. Round toe
|Timberland PRO Direct Attach 6" Steel Safety Toe Waterproof Insulated Boot||-Leather
-Synthetic sole-Steel-toe work boot featuring waterproof insulated upper with lace-up vamp
|Wolverine Men's W02421 Raider Boot||-Leather
-Full-grain leather boot with speed lacing featuring debossed logos on tongue and side
|KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot||-Leather and Fabric
-Supportive work boot featuring waterproof upper with locking metal hook and lacing eyelets
-Contoured heel lock
-Removable metatomical EVA footbed
-Dry-Lex footwear lining
-Oil and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole
|Thorogood Men's 814-4200 American Heritage 6" Moc Toe Boot||*Made in USA*
-Cushioning wedge sole
-Slip- and oil-resistant outsole
-Rugged metal eyelet and clamshell lacing
|Timberland PRO Men's 26078 Titan 6" Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot||-Leather work boot featuring lace-up vamp with speed-lace hardware at top and protective toe with TiTAN alloy safety design
-Polyurethane midsole for lightweight, durable cushioning
-Moisture-channeling mesh lining with anti-microbial treatment
-Oil- and slip-resistant PRO Rubber outsole
|Chippewa Men's 9" Waterproof Insulated Steel-Toe EH Logger Boot||*Made in USA*
-Waterproof work boot featuring Goodyear leather welt construction, Chip-A-Tex waterproof bootie, and Ruby Dri Lex 2000 lining
-ATSM Electrical Hazard
Core Foundations of the Best Work Boots
Figuring out all the features of the best work boots kind of reminds me of my first time buying tools. While different brands offer various innovations and quality, there are still some core features that always apply. I take a “keep it simple stupid” strategy when it comes to these things, because too much information can often be, well, too much information. So…
While boot construction is essential to durability, it is also key to having a lightweight and flexible boot. And there are three main types, all with certain trade offs.
|Boot Construction||Durability||Comfort||Cost||Can be resoled|
Welt: The old school method of manufacturing a boot, well known for the stitching technique where a welt strip (typically leather, linen or synthetic) is sewn to the inner and upper sole.
Direct Attach: Uses a mold attached to the Upper (area of the boot above the sole) which is then injected with a molten rubber to form the sole.
Cementing: Bonds the outsole to the boot by using an adhesive.
Areas of Support & Comfort
Insole (AKA Footbed): Being the area that our foot rests on, it is essential to comfort. Too often companies neglect to add value here. How many times have you replaced the factory insole?
Outsole (AKA Sole): Like treads on a tire, the outsole ensures our traction. There are slip, oil, and abrasion resistant boots available, among the most notable. Outsole specs will often highlight which resistant options are provided.
Midsole: Located between the insole and the outsole, it absorbs the shock and protects against sharp objects penetrating from the bottom of the boot. While some boots don’t even have a midsole, most good work boots do and they come in handy. Look for indicators like shock absorbent and steel midsole.
Safety Toe Types
For those of you new to your trade out there, take heed to my warning. Protect your toes! The proper safety toe type will not only fend off painful situations, but they will prevent your toes from getting crushed by a ton of bricks.
So what are the options:
Steel Toe: The originator of the safety toe world, they meet the ASTM standards for impact and compression. Basically meaning your toes won’t get flattened out like a pancake from a heavy blow. Now, even though your toes won’t touch the steel, they do conduct temperature. So, if you are in a cold climate you will want to beef up with some thermal socks.
Composite Toe: Typically made of carbon fiber, plastic or Kevlar, they meet the ASTM standards. Due to the materials used, the toe does not conduct temperature and the boots are lighter than your steel toe option. But they tend to be bulkier. Needless to say, if you are dealing with electrical currents, this is a great option to stay metal free.
Aluminum Toe: Also meeting the ASTM standards, they provide a great lightweight option. Still bulky, but if you are hauling materials up and down stairs all day it will keep you fresh.
Soft Toe: While not safety toe boots, you will see this option when looking for work boots. Geared to those on their feet all day, but not exposed to falling objects, these are a great option for, let’s say the mailman.
Slip, Oil, and Abrasion-Resistant Boots: What makes them great features?
While most work boots provide a decent level of traction, there are still upgrades available. Since a majority of work related injuries are due to slipping and falling, and not necessarily from great heights, we should all consider these features.
Slip Resistant: This will “help prevent” you from slipping on surfaces that are wet, icy, oily, greasy, etc. But this doesn’t mean slip proof, because in really harsh environments you can still wipe out onto your backside. Or maybe you are just a bit clumsy…
Oil Resistant: When I first saw this, I thought that it meant that you wouldn’t slip on an oily or greasy surface. But that’s not the case. It simply prevents oil from absorbing into the material of the boot, which can leave permanent stains or soak in and cover your feet.
Abrasion Resistant: A great feature to have to get more longevity out of your boots. Protecting against wear and tear on the sole, abrasion-resistant boots will reduce tearing, ripping or shredding.
Top 3 Best Work Boots for Men: And the Badassedness Award Goes To…
What happens when you take the best leather and the most durable construction? You get this boot which kicks tail and takes the Badassedness award. Not to mention, you won’t dent your wallet too hard, because they are priced quite nice. Yes sir, the Goodyear Welt Construction and Full-Grain Leather on these boots provide the foundation that allows for these boots to take a beating, day in and day out. If you just take a quick look at the Amazon reviews, you will find that they are full of customers buying their 2nd or 3rd pair of these. That’s because they have stood the test of time longer than other competitive boots, and they are seriously comfortable.
Yes, as you might expect, you are going to need to give these boots a little break in time. After all, the durable foundation just mentioned usually requires that. But hey, there are plenty of people that claim that these boots are 100% comfortable straight out the box. To provide superior comfort out on the job, this boot features a nylon mesh lining to wick away moisture and a Climasphere sock liner ensures that you stay comfortable and dry, no matter the situation. Top it off with a padded collar, and your feet will be nice and cozy.
Last but not least, the safety features. Because this boot is held in such high regard among the boot wearers, CAT has provided a few options for this boot. This particular boot does not feature a safety toe; however, the exact same boot is available with a steel toe. Now, regardless of which one you buy, this model of boot will come equipped with a slip-resistant rubber outsole so you don’t wipe out on slick terrain. To sum it up, you have durability, comfort, and OPTIONS. Now you can tackle the biggest options.
The rich leather on this boot, plus the moc toe design is truly vintage. And what better way to pay homage to a vintage style than to make them right here in the USA. Thorogood boots have a long history of putting out some killer American Made Boots, and these are no exception. Rounding out the durability is the Goodyear Welt Construction, and the Vibram outsole. Virbam? Oh, they’re just the world leader in rubber outsoles…That’s about it.
To take the brunt of the pavement pounding, these freedom fighters absorb shock with the removable dual-density insoles while the fiberglass shank provides exceptional support. And there you have it, a durable, comfortable, made in USA work boot!
Can you see that soft full-grain leather on the boot? Look at it. That is just screaming comfort. But really, the signature to the boot is Wolverine’s Durashock direct attach comfort outsole. Mix that in with the shock absorbing compression pads, and you have a recipe for serious comfort. Because of this type of support and cushion, you will not only feel great while you’re in them, but for the hours after. Top it all off with a padded collar, and you will be kicking up your feet and relaxing after that long day of work.
I hope this list helped with your decision, because I know picking out the right pair of boots can sometimes be like matching the right tie with a suit…Wait a second…86 that. More like choosing the best beer with your shot of whiskey. And if you are wrapping that tie around your neck, DONATE IT!
Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.