Hard-working guys that spend the day on their feet need strong support from their footwear. When you think of work boots as part of your tools rather than part of your wardrobe, these are the ones you need to know about.
But how do you know which ones are right for you?
There are two significant considerations any guy should take into account when choosing a work boot:
- Safety features
- Comfort levels
For example, men working on construction sites usually need steel-toed boots. Those working in nuclear power plants generally can’t get through security with this safety feature (and should check out the Carhartt’s with the composite toe on this list). Whatever job site you’re one, tailor the safety standards for your boots accordingly. We’ve included the types of work each boot best fits to help you narrow your options.
When it comes to comfort, consider your feet first. Some of the best work boots are better suited to flatter or wider feet; some are built to support high arches. If you’ve got specific needs, or typically wear insoles for added comfort and support, factor those into your final decision before looking at the price.
Other elements to consider:
- Break-in time. Many men find many work boots comfortable out of the box. But there are notable exceptions. Typically, however, the longer a boot takes to fit your feet perfectly, the longer they’ll last. But, don’t take these as your only option to an out of town worksite; you’ll be sorry.
- Sizing. Before ordering, always check sizing. Work boots are often sized differently than your favorite pair of sneakers. Amazon provides an excellent review feature allowing you to see how accurate most men found their footwear; use it to avoid disappointment.
- Pricing. No one wants to pay more than needed, but it shouldn’t be your first concern if your work takes you off to construction or other hazardous worksites daily. If you’re wearing your work boots daily, it’s better to think of them as an investment and pay for the protection and comfort you need. It’s also worth ordering a second pair if you find one that really works for you.
We’ve covered every element when reviewing hundreds of the best work boots for men and distilled all the information you need to select the very best boot for you.
1 | Red Wing Heritage Men’s Iron Ranger 6″ Vibram Boot
Ask just about anyone who owns these work boots, and they’ll tell you they’re worth every penny. And, you’ll pay a pretty penny for these super stylish boots. Depending on the size and color combination you order, you should expect to pay between $250 and $340.
Speaking of sizing, you want to pay close attention to this element when ordering. Most guys find a slightly smaller size provides the right fit. We can’t stress sizing enough; pay attention to the reviews.
And, plan for a break-in period. For some, it’s a matter of a few hours. Others find it takes a few weeks. Because the pinch occurs around the ankle, you may want to work with thick wool socks to start wearing them in. Some users recommend shoe stretchers.
Once they’re worn in, however, you should expect these to last for a remarkably long time, no matter what you put them through. Go ahead, put these Red Wings to the test.
Guys working in demanding industries, from construction and tiling to landscaping have fallen in love with these work boots. They’re also popular among motorcycle fans which should give you an idea of the safety these provide. Indeed, these were designed for mining work as the reinforced cap toe demonstrates.
There are never questions on the quality of these boots. The Goodyear welt construction and Nitrile cork outsole are excellent. Moreover, there’s a soft leather lining that manages to wick moisture away, keeping your feet fresh.
Lacing does present some questions. You may find that the laces are too short for the speed-hook top closures, and it may be worth picking up an extra set of laces. It’ll sting a little to do it as you’d think the price would cover it.
But, remember, these may be the best purchase you make this year. Most buyers certainly think so.
2 | Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Moc Toe
If you’re after an American-made work boot that can stand up to a range of conditions, both indoors and out, you’ve just found them.
With shock-resistant soles, these are an excellent choice for electricians. In dry conditions, these work boots can handle 18,000 volts at 60 Hz for one minute without the wearer suffering. Men are ready to vouch for comfort, whether working on concrete floors or outdoor construction projects.
If you work in wet conditions, you’ll be grateful for the slip-resistant soles, but you must treat them before exposing them to wet weather. Oil and waterproofing are the keys to keeping these working for you for years to come.
The big question, of course, is how long you need to work to wear them in. The answer might surprise you. Most guys find them comfortable straight out of the box. By comfortable, we mean that you’ll compare them to wearing sneakers, even with its steel toe.
A few, unlucky guys haven’ found these nearly as comfortable as the majority. Generally, these can be chalked up to quality control issues, especially around the toe area.
You’ll know almost immediately if that’s happened to you if you don’t feel like you’ve put your feet in a tiny part of heaven when trying them on. That’s a reminder to try these on as soon as they arrive. If you’re a savvy shopper, you’ll probably do that anyhow given the outlay of $200 to $250 for these work boots.
Though some guys love the styling, it’s the comfort the shock-absorbing footbed, 100% leather upper and the composite shank for support that most fall for. That, of course, and the safety these provide across industries and long working hours.
3 | Irish Setter Men’s 6″ 83605 Work Boot
Almost no one finds the need to wear-in these work boots. They’re unprecedentedly comfortable from day one. And, you’d think that means you’re compromising on the quality you get, but that’s just not the case.
Sure, you won’t get a decade’s worth of wear from these. But the $125 to $175 you’ll pay for a pair will go a long, long way. That’s due, in part, to the wonderfully soft, full-grain leather uppers.
But these aren’t just comfortable, they’re also safe for wear in hazardous workplaces. Take the heat-resistant outsoles; they’ll resist melting up to 475°F. The same soles also offer electrical resistance. And, a little safety goes a long way when you’re on your feet all day every day.
But they’re not insulated. You’ll need to step up your game when working outdoors in winter. Other than that, these boots are especially suitable for construction work of all types. If you’re adding an insole (as you probably will if you’re using them for construction work), you’ll find these are incredible and offer all the support you need.
They’re also wildly stylish, even going from work to social without a hitch. Put all that together with the accurate sizing you’ll find when ordering. You can understand why so many men believe these offer serious value for money, even if they’re only available in a single shade of brown.
4 | Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot
For a budget pair, these are a stylish bet. With a cost between $75 and $115, it’s tough to find another pair that works as well and still offers this level of value-for-money.
These shoes are best for those who move around a lot while working. If you’re an electrician, forester or even working in warehouses or delivery, these work boots could change your life. After all, they’re likely to be less expensive than what you’ve got on your feet right now.
And, you don’t need to compromise on safety either. The rubber sole is both slip-resistant and oil-resistant. If you’re working with electricity (or nearby while it’s installed), you’ll feel good about the protection against open circuits up to 600 volts (in dry conditions) especially reassuring.
If you’re standing on a factory floor all day, these aren’t for you. They’re also not recommended for guys that have high arches and are much better for folks with flatter feet. It’s the stitching near the tongue that’s rough on men with higher arches.
However, the steel toe does offer plenty of room for your toes to move about. That, combined with the moisture-wicking Climasphere sock liner, allow guys to avoid overstressing their feet – even when working long hours. 100% leather and the padded ankle add to the comfort this boot provides.
You should know up front that these aren’t the easiest to wear in; you can expect them to take some time. Combined with the accurate sizing most men experience, you should try these on as soon as you get them. If you experience anything that’ll make it challenging to wear them in, you may want to move along.
But unless you’re standing on concrete all day, every day, we’ll bet that you’ll be uber happy with these work boots.
5 | Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot
There’s a lot to love about these work boots; it’s difficult to know where to begin praising them. So, we’ll start by getting a few of the negatives out of the way.
First, the laces are ridiculously long. It’s an uncommon complaint and certainly one that’s easy to fix, especially given the price tag, which can run between $100 and $200, mostly sitting on the lower end.
Second, these work boots are very comfortable, though some users feel a pinch around their ankle before wearing them in. That’s also easy to deal with if you have wool socks – and it’s a small price to pay for an impressive pair of boots.
These aren’t waterproof, but they do offer some water resistance. Moreover, these Carhartts will keep your feet warm, making them an excellent pair for colder weather. The soles have excellent traction and are also oil, spill and chemical resistant, which makes them even more valuable.
Plus, they’re ASTM 2413-11 EH compliant, allowing electricians to feel safe while they’re on their feet.
Men with wider feet will be happy to slip their feet into these shoes, almost regardless of the work they do. Yes, these boots translate well across a variety of work sites; mechanics, plumbers, roofers and general builders all appreciate these shoes.
Another benefit lies in the strong composite toe. It’ll give you the protection you need, but still allows for passage through metal detectors – a benefit not many can brag about.
Goodyear welt construction, the padded tongue, a lightweight EVA midsole and the OrthoLite insole all work together to make these as comfortable as they are stylish. That’s why men who may not need such incredible protection (or long laces) still choose these work boots time and time again.
6 | Timberland PRO Men’s 6″ Pit Boss Steel Toe
If you need a work boot that’ll support your ankles all day long, check out these Timberland PRO boots. There are a few guys that believe these are a little too tight around the ankles, most feel it gives them the protection they need.
These boots are robust all-rounders that can handle some extremes, though they’re best for general construction and factory work. And, as they hold up well over long periods, they’re suitable for anyone running around between the two.
Painters, concrete workers, utility technicians and even chemical workers all find joy in these Timberlands. That boils down to the soles which feature slip-resistant, oil-resistant and abrasion-resistant outsoles. Yes, they meet ANSI safety standards, as do the steel toes.
Most people feel they’re right when they’re taken out of the box. At most, it takes about a week to break these in. As you’d imagine, it’s the ankle area that needs the most work.
However, if you need strong arch support, these might not be the right boot for you. These Timberland work boots are better for guys with broader or flatter feet. But there’s good news for those guys; the open-cell polyurethane soles resist odors, abrasion, oil and moisture.
Looking for another reason to give these boots a try? How about the price tag? You’ll pay between $85 and $100 for these boots, and you’ll often find them around $90. At that price, you can pick up one pair for work and one for weekends. Given their styling, why wouldn’t you?
7 | EVER BOOTS Tank Men’s Soft Toe Work Boots
If budget is your biggest concern, these are the work boots for you. Indeed, we’d avoid calling them budget boots, preferring the term value-for-money, even though you’re likely to pay a mere $60 per pair.
These offer a decent amount of arch support – at a range of arch heights – which is unusual, especially at this price point. In addition, most users find these EVER BOOTS lightweight. That makes them suited for delivery work, indoor shop floor work and some light outdoor work.
Though they’re exceptionally sturdy, they probably don’t offer the protection men need for heavy-duty work. Still, they’re a reliable backup pair if you’re on a budget.
Guys, especially those with wider feet, find these comfortable right out of the box. The sole offers a fair amount of cushion, though many welcome the addition of insoles. If that’s your plan, make sure you pay a little more attention to sizing. If not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of sizing.
Waiting for the downside?
These will never last as long as pricier work boots, nor will they offer the same protection. But the short shoelaces found here seems to be the biggest complaint from men who don’t need more from their work boots.
8 | Wolverine Men’s Raider 6″ Work Boot
Looking for a work boot that will last for years – and that you’ll want to replace with the exact same model? You’ve got to see these. These durable Wolverine boots have a following you wouldn’t believe.
Some men keep these working for them for almost a decade. The key, of course, lies in caring for them. Other guys worry Wolverine will stop making them and have a few pairs tucked away in a closet.
That says a lot, and it’s a testament to their durability.
Though they’re not great for outdoor work, these boots keep men on their feet indoors for long hours. If you do any indoor construction, factory or warehouse work, these might be just what you’re looking for.
Most men find two immediate benefits to these Wolverine boots. First, they’re comfortable straight out of the box, with very little break-in time required. Second, sizing is undeniably accurate, especially when compared to other work boots. That cuts time spent in researching and returns.
Moreover, you can snag these boots around $130 to $150. The low price could be tied to the lack of safety certifications. But if it’s more a matter of comfort for you, you’ll find the MultiShox® removable, cushioned footbed combined with the ankle padding to keep you going all day long.
9 | Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6″ Boot
These are serious quality boots that you can expect to last a lifetime. They’re that sturdy. And, they can even be re-soled if needed. It’s an option many users go for because they can’t imagine parting with these boots.
That said, breaking-in these shoes can take some time. A few users manage to get them right within a matter of days. Others say it takes much longer and requires extreme measures to make these fit the contours of their feet exactly.
On top of that, you’ll absolutely need to pay attention to the sizing on these boots That’s relatively standard for Red Wings, and people still rave about them. That means you should take the time to get it right.
Also, you should know these aren’t the cheapest. Indeed, you’ll pay anywhere from $225 to $350 for a pair. But they’re probably the most stylish work boots out there.
And, they can take a serious beating. Though they’re not waterproof, farmers and construction workers alike are finding these work boots help them get the job done – and comfortably at that.
Perhaps it’s the sincere traction you’ll find in the soles. Or maybe it’s the overall quality construction which makes these Red Wings super durable. And, in addition to being USA-made, these babies are a legacy boot that you’ll want to try once.
10 | KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh 6″ Steel Toe Waterproof Work Boot
Great for long days, these waterproof boots will keep your feet warm and dry… for a while. There are some complaints that these boots don’t last as long as they should. That’s especially true as they’re priced around the $180 mark.
But the shorter shelf life could also be tied to the long, heavy work men subject them to. The soles are oil-resistant and slip-resistant with steel toes, but with a construction that allows for plenty of bending, climbing and lifting. That makes them great for long workdays in outdoor and some industrial settings.
Because they’re so comfortable and so versatile, though guys are wearing them for every type of work. But there’s no way you’ll get away with wearing these boots to date night unless your date includes hiking.
As far as the steal toes go, these are super comfortable. And that’s true just about as soon as you put them on your feet. That’s right there are almost no complaints about the wear-in time of these shoes.
Overall, the durability and stability of these boots are fantastic, especially for guys that need strong arch support. That makes these KEEN boots one of the few that aren’t great for guys with flat feet.
Feel there are a pair you can’t live without, that we may have overlooked? Feel free to send the details to us and we will look into them and see if they are worthy of being included.
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