Choosing The Best Waterproof Work Boots
Work boots come in a variety of styles, and there is a boot for every occasion whether you are working in a coal mine or spend your days walking a beat.
Depending on the environment, you may require additional protection for your feet. That can come in many forms, but this time around we are going to focus on rain and snow. The best waterproof work boots can still keep your feet safe from harm, but will also keep them dry.
[table id=26 responsive=scroll /]
Considerations before buying waterproof work boots
If you are in the market for a waterproof work boot, you will frequently come across one term. That would be “water resistant” and when you see that tag, run the other direction.
When a boot is water resistant, it is not fully waterproof despite what the manufacturer may claim. There’s a huge difference between walking in a rainstorm and standing in several inches of water for hours on end.
As long as a boot is “waterproof” your feet will stay dry although there are other areas to consider outside of marketing terms.
Do you want boots made from leather or will rubber do?
The latter is considerably cheaper unless you’re buying high-end duck boots which utilize both materials in their construction. They “usually” don’t come with a steel-toe, but you can find steel-toed boots covered in rubber around the lower half.
On the flip side, leather boots are comfortable and can withstand water just as well but need additional care. They allow for more protective features, and it’s not uncommon to find a work boot with various levels of resistance built in against other elements as well.
Quality of Construction
We’re not going to discuss rubber too much but will say that it’s a champ against water and can keep and other substances at bay as well. That’s because leather is the main material of choice in our picks for the best waterproof work boot when it comes to quality of construction.
While the type of leather can vary, you want to stay away from nubuck or suede. They can be treated, but are not great options if you’re working semi-submerged more often than not. Grain leather is the only way to go if you want an all-purpose boot.
The sole is the other area to consider when it comes to construction.
Work boots with Goodyear Welting are more durable and solid where it counts. They also allow the sole to be replaced with ease which further extends the life of your boot. As long as you keep the upper in good shape, boots can last well over a decade.
While many of the top work boots have waterproof membranes built into the sides, some also have liners. Both of these areas can help your feet breath and are something to consider if you have sweaty feet.
Will you work in cold, damp weather?
If so, you may want to consider a boot with some additional insulation. We won’t dig through all the options, but wool, fur, and synthetics are all common. Having warm feet is a plus, just remember that additional heat if you plan on wearing them in warm weather as well.
Height and Weight
Our last two areas of interest are height and weight. While manufacturers try hard to keep the weight down, it’s not always when you wear a size 14 steel-toe boot with puncture protection.
If you’re going to be stationary, the weight may not be a major concern. For people that spend their days walking around a job site, it’s a different story. Heavy boots can tire your legs out quickly, especially if you are not used to wearing work boots.
Most work boots are in the 6” range as that offers plenty of ankle protection. You can buy with higher shafts and longer laces if you want to tuck in or need protection against splashes.
[table id=26 responsive=scroll /]
Top Choice: Timberland PRO Men’s Direct Attach 6” Soft-Toe Boot
Our first choice may come as a surprise as Timberland is known as much for their style as they are for substance. These boots are from their PRO lineup, and while soft-toe, they are comfortable and completely waterproof.
These leather boots have a 6” upper with a padded collar for additional comfort. The company seam-sealed these boots to ensure your feet will never get wet, but that’s far from the only flagship feature.
Have sweaty feet? That won’t be a problem with the mesh lining which has been treated to combat odors and keep your feet feeling fresh. The boots have the PRO 24/7 suspension system as well which fights fatigue with a shock diffusion plate that disperses pressure.
In regards to the safety features, this boot meets the ASTM F2412-11 ASTM F2413-11 and ASTM F2892-11 standards for protection against electrical hazards. That and the non-marking lug outsole make these ideal for contractors or electricians that need a lighter work boot.
At only 2 pounds per boot for a size 9, the Timberland PRO soft-toe boot won’t weigh you down throughout the day and is a winner in our eyes. They will also keep your feet dry and warm thanks to a hefty dose of Thermolite insulation.
The downside is the fact they do not have the same type of protection you’ll find on heavy-duty waterproof boots and depending on the finish you may have trouble keeping them clean.
This boot comes in sizes from a 6 to a 15 and in 5 different finishes. Our favorite is the Wheat Nubuck, but you can also choose from Black, Wheat, and Brown to go along with a Brown Oiled Full-grain leather boot.
Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot
Our second choice is also from Timberland but completely different than our top choice. This one is more casual, but don’t let the looks fool you.
The Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boot is not a “traditional” work boot by any means; let’s just get that out of the way. It doesn’t carry any certification nor does it have a steel-toe. It is arguably the most comfortable boot on our list, and rest assured, you won’t have to worry about your feet getting wet.
This hiking boot lets your ankles breath with a 4.75” shaft and has an oiled-leather upper with a lace-up vamp. There is a handy pull loop on the back to help you slip these on, and the padded collar up top gives you a little cushion around the ankle.
While they don’t have a Goodyear Welt, these boots are seam-sealed to keep water and mud out whether you are slogging around a construction site or taking on a hill in the mountains.
The Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boot is not going to be for everyone, especially if you need extra protection from nails or tools crushing your toes. They aren’t the warmest boot either as they are sans insulation.
If you need a lightweight solution and protection isn’t an issue, this one is well worth a look. We like the multidirectional traction lugs which provide outstanding grip on rugged terrain and the dual-density EVA footbed which will keep your feet fresh regardless of the conditions outside.
This boot is available in a variety of sizes and colors including Tan, Original Wheat, Gaucho, Brown, Black, Wheat, and Dark Brown.
Irish Setter Work Men’s Mesabi Steel Toe Boot
Our first steel-toe boot comes from Irish Setter and is built to withstand anything nature throws its way. It sits a little higher on the leg than most but performs better than the rest in several key areas.
Irish Setter is known for making top-tier boots, and the Mesabi is no exception. It’s a tall, heavy boot with a shaft height of 8.5” from the arch. The platform is listed at 0.75,” and you’ll get a bit of a boost from the solid 3” heel.
A steel-toe will keep your little piggies safe and sound while 600 grams of insulation will keep your feet dry. It is a very stout boot that can take some abuse, and the soles can withstand heat as they have been treated to combat high temperatures.
Another huge advantage to these boots is the fact they have a Goodyear Welt and a shank made from Lineman steel. Safety specs for this particular boot include ASTM F2413-11, M/I/75/C/75, EH.
From the full grain upper and Ultradry waterproofing to the fact its rated against electric hazards, it is hard to find a weak point with the Mesabi. It’s far from light thanks to that thick outsole and high shaft but is the type of boot that will outlast every piece of footwear in your closet.
The only drawback with this one is the height and price. While you may catch it on sale, you can’t change the 8.5” shaft height which will turn some away from this boot.
Chippewa Waterproof Insulated Steel Toe EH Logger Boot
If you love tall boots and need one that protects more than just your toes, you may have found your next pair of work boots. The Chippewa steel-toe logger boot is rugged and ideal for construction workers than need a full measure of protection outdoors.
This is another leather boot with a waterproof exterior, and it will keep your feet just as toasty thanks to 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation. While you can’t remove it when the weather gets warm, you can pull out the orthotic insole if you need more wiggle room or prefer another style.
When it comes to protection, you’ll get the standard steel-toe, and it’s rated against electrical accidents with the ATSM standard. It has a synthetic sole with Goodyear Welt construction for increased durability.
Remember what we said about replacing the soles?
You can do that with the Chippewa Logger Boot which extends their lifespan and helps you get around the one glaring negative with this boot.
With a 9” upper, insulation and a steel-toe, this boot is perfect for consumers that love high boots and want something warm for colder climates. They will not wear out easily as long as you know how to properly clean your work boots.
The only true negative with the Loggers would be the price as you can pick up a few pair of boots for the price one pair of these. If budget isn’t an issue, we highly advise you to check these waterproof work boots out.
They are also heavy, but that won’t be an issue if you’re already in the market for a boot with a 9” upper. The Chippewa Loggers are available three different colors with Bay Apache, Black Oiled and Brown Chip in regular and wide sizes.
Budget Choice: Servus 18821-12 Comfort Technology Boot
Not everyone needs or wants an expensive boot, and sometimes less is more. Thanks to today’s tech, rubber boots have come a long way, and some like the Servus 18821-12 come with a steel-toe.
Instead of leather, these boots are made from thick, durable PVC. They are injection molded and 100% waterproof although they can also resist other substances as well. That includes some chemicals and other nasty liquids often found on job sites.
These boots meet the ASTM F2413-11 M I/75/C/75 standards and are reinforced despite being made from PVC. They have a contoured heel cup and a removable insole, but the real highlight is in the toe.
The steel-toe is what makes these boots unique and protects your toes from damage. We also like the rugged outsold which provides plenty of traction in wet or muddy environments. Slip-resistance is high with this boot, and it will also sit high on your leg at a full 14-inches.
Obviously, these boots are not what you will want if you run a jackhammer on a construction site or run heavy equipment or a living. Despite having a steel toe, the rest of the boot offers no protection around the ankle or back of the heel.
If you do work somewhere where water, oils, and even some acids can come your way, stay away from leather and consider the Servus 18821-12 work boots. They may not have a fancy moniker, but they won’t let you down.
Now that you’ve seen our choices for the best waterproof work boots and know what to look for, you can make an informed decision going forward.
Along with the areas we’ve discussed, you need to consider any safety standards on a job site where you currently work or where you may be employed in the future. A pricey pair of boots will end up collecting dust in the closet if they don’t meet standards on the job.