Choosing The Best Work Boots for Concrete
Concrete is a tough substance and perfect when you need to build structures that can withstand the test of time. It can also be unforgiving on your feet, whether you’re wading through it or walking across it.
A good pair of tennis shoes will suffice if you are simply walking around, but if you are actually going to work on concrete all day, you’ll need the best work boots for concrete. Choosing the right pair can be a tall order.
Picking out the perfect set of boots doesn’t have to be as hard as the material they’re made to deal with. Our guide will walk you through important areas of interest, and we’ve included some amazing options that range from budget-friendly to boots built for pros.
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Considerations before buying work boots for concrete
Do you have any issues with your feet that require special attention?
Many people wear insoles in their shoes, and work boots are no exception. What works in your Nikes will work in your Timberlands, but you’ll want to consider the thickness of the insert.
Whether you are working with or walking on concrete makes a huge difference as well. You’ll want rubber boots if you’re pouring concrete or will be in direct contact with the wet stuff for extended periods of time.
While this isn’t a guide for those types of boots, some leather boots will be fine in a few inches of wet concrete. You can hose them off, but it is an abrasive substance and laces or canvas parts will take a beating.
If you are going to spend all day walking around a warehouse or traversing jobs sites, you will want a boot with good shock absorption.
This can keep you from getting heel bruises or experiencing other maladies that would otherwise end your day or week quickly. The more cushion, the better the feet will feel at the end of the day.
A removable footbed is another thing to look for and quite common in work boots. It means you can pull out the footbed when it needs to be washed or even replace it in some cases. Many have odor-fighting properties built-in as well.
Support and Comfort
Obviously, you want your feet to feel fresh while you’re on the job so comfort is important and should be at the top of your list.
You may get lucky, but more often than not boots need to be broken in. We won’t rehash those details again, but you can read more about the proper way to break in leather or steel-toe work boots in our guide to breaking in boots.
Inserts and other types of padding play a part as well, but support and stability are also keys to comfort. Steel-toe boots are “stable,” but still need some flex, or they won’t be comfortable. The same can be said for the top of the boot as padded collars stiffen things up, but could not be for everyone.
Leather or canvas are two of the most popular choices to consider.
Leather needs no introduction and is an ideal material for work boots. It holds up better than other materials, is easy to waterproof, and can provide some insulation. There is a reason leather has been used on work boots for decades.
Canvas isn’t as tough as leather but does provide more ventilation, and it’s not uncommon to find boots that utilize both materials as well.
This is the part of the boot that comes in contact with the ground. It’s also what helps you gain traction, and can keep you from slipping on wet concrete.
Concrete floors can be extremely slippery when the right substance gets spilled – warehouses and job sites are full of those types of materials. If grip is key, look for boots with a good amount of tread or ones that are billed as slip-resistant.
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Top Choice: Wolverine Men’s Raider Boot W02421
Wolverine has been putting work boots on the feet of consumers for decades, and they are still a fine choice today if you work long hours on concrete.
These boots are made of leather with a shaft measuring 5.5” and a thick rubber outsole. They can take some abuse on the job with a sturdy 0.75” platform, but there is plenty of flex where it counts.
Wolverine also put a removable full-cushion Multishox insole into the boot. While it’s comfy, the fact it is removable is a bonus as you can replace it with your own insole or a custom orthotic. While there is plenty of leather, your feet can breathe thanks to CK mesh lining.
The Wolverine Raider W02421 has a 1.25” heel, which provides a measure of support and protection against the ground. That’s not where the real value lies, however.
Most of the shock absorbing properties in this boot come from individual compression pads which absorb shock and return energy. This puts a bit more spring in your step and can keep your feet from aching after a long day at work. Needless to say, they are ideal for concrete.
Support and Slip Resistance
We mentioned how concrete surfaces could be hazardous under certain conditions. That would include oil spills and water, but the W02421’s will have no problem with those substances.
These work boots can get a solid grip and almost any type of surface and sport an abrasion-resistant Multishox lugged rubber outsole. You won’t slip, and the outsole can handle rocks and other jagged hazards without getting sliced to pieces.
There’s a reason Wolverine has been in business since the late 1800s; they make quality footwear.
Any boot regardless of the quality needs to be taken care of, but we’re pleased to say that you won’t have to work hard to keep these boots looking great. They also come with a 30-day comfort guarantee straight from the company.
These boots bring a lot to the table, and it’s hard to argue against the prowess when it comes to concrete. They are slip and oil-resistant, have plenty of tread, and are also one of the better-looking boots on our list.
They don’t have any additional protection, so there’s no steel-toe, but the quality construction more than makes up for that. They are only available in one color but come in a variety of sizes from a 7 to a size 14.
The best of the rest
Irish Setter 6” Work Boot
If our top option isn’t for you and you’re looking for a boot that meets certain requirements, the Irish Setter 6” Work Boots are well worth a look. They will get the job done on site, and look good enough to be worn casually as well.
From the dark brown leather to the comfortable padded collar, this is a slick looking set of work boots that perform as advertised. At 6-inches, there is plenty of leather on this boot, and the rubber sole speaks for itself.
While the having a light colored sole isn’t ideal, it has EVA traction tread on the bottom so slippage won’t be an issue. This is key whether you’re inspecting new slabs on construction sites are walking across warehouse floors for hours on end.
These boots also meets ASTM F2413-11 standards as well which makes them ideal for electricians. As an additional perk, the boots are waterproof with a heat-resistant outsole capable of withstanding temperatures up to 475-degrees.
Heat, water, and other elements won’t be a problem for these boots, and the thick outsole certainly makes them a contender for the best work boots for concrete as well.
These boots are comfortable, and we like the classic design and rugged outsole along with the reasonable price tag. The Irish Setter 6” Work Boots are available in Men’s sizes 7 through 14 in D and EE widths.
Timberland PRO Titan Soft-Toe Lace-Up
Now we’re going to take a look at something different. Timberland is a brand that tends to pop up on plenty of “top boots” lists, and while this one isn’t a boot, it’s one to consider nonetheless.
The Timberland PRO Titan 47015 is actually a soft-toe shoe with the rugged exterior of a work boot. It’s still made from leather, but with a shorter shaft that sits at the ankle. The midsole has an EVA heel insert which adds some extra cushioning while the outsole can take on anything put in its path.
We don’t have the exact measurements, but this one does have a solid heel which provides a bit of height along with dampening the impact as you walk. Other features to note include an adaptive comfort footbed that helps regulate the temperature inside the shoe and a diffusion shank.
If you need a work boot that provides ankle support or want a little more protection, these aren’t the ones for you as they are geared for a certain crowd.
On the other hand, they are your best option if you spend your days walking across concrete, not working around it. They are lighter than boots, definitely won’t wear you down, and can still take a beating. All the standard sizes are available up to a size 15.
Thorogood American Heritage Moc Toe Boot
Finding a quality work boot made in the U.S. can be a tall order these days. Well, Thorogood is one of the few companies still making boots in the states, and their American Heritage boot is a fine option for folks working on concrete.
Concrete floors aside, this is a work boot first and foremost although one that’s built to be comfortable. It has a 6” shaft with a cushioned wedge sole and a single-density polyurethane MAXwear Wedge outsole.
You won’t slip around in these boots, and the heel is thick and provides plenty of protection from concrete. The dual-density Poron 4000 insole helps as well and can be removed or replaced as needed.
Concerned about quality? Don’t be as these bad boys are Goodyear Storm welted for additional strength. They will hold up well for years to come if you treat them properly, just don’t expect them to perform as well as other boots in certain conditions.
While we love these boots, there are a few things that kept them from being placed higher on our list. The Thorogood American Heritage Moc Toe Boot is on the high-end of the pricing scale, and the fact they aren’t waterproof is definitely a downer.
If you can get around the price and water isn’t a concern, you will want to give these boots a long, hard look. They are available in Tobacco and Black Walnut although the sizing options are limited with the latter.
Budget Choice: Propet Men’s Wash and Wear Pro Walking Shoe
Compared to our other options, this one is in the budget-class and not something you’ll want to wear while doing manual labor on a construction site. Propet’s shoes can’t protect your feet from external damage, but they can make them comfortable.
This is technically a “walking shoe” which rules it out for anyone that hammers nails or does construction for a living. They are better suited for jobs where lots of walking is required, which means security guards, inspectors, and people that work in warehouses.
The shoe is made from leather and roomy enough to support custom orthotics as well. There is plenty of tread on the bottom to keep you from slipping, and the shoes are easy to pull on considering they are in the slip-on class, so they have a stretch collar underlay and pull loops.
Work boots for concrete come in many forms and rest assured, there is a style and fit for everyone. Walking on concrete is just as tough on your feet as working on it, so keep your needs in mind along with your budget and you’ll find the right boot in no time.