Choosing The Most Comfortable Work Boots
When you spend half your day standing on your feet or are a busybody at work, you need a comfortable pair of shoes. Certain professions require specialty footwear and consumers that spend their time on construction sites will want something a bit more rugged than a pair of Nikes.
Work boots are ideal for extreme situations but can turn some people away due to their weight and style. Well, new materials and techniques have changed the game, and now the most comfortable work boots can feel just as good as your favorite loafers.
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Things to consider when looking for comfortable work boots
Where do you work?
It’s a simple enough question and dictates the style of boot you need. Before you can think about the lining or other features, you have to consider where you will wear the boot and what types of materials you deal with (or walk across) on a daily basis.
Concrete is a given and something you’re likely to encounter whether you’re pouring a slab or standing on one while framing a house. Boots with non-slip soles are ideal for concrete or any other slick surfaces.
If you’re working in loose gravel or dirt, you will want a boot with plenty of tread on the bottom. Regardless of what’s underfoot, always look for boots that have a level of water-resistance.
Cold weather boots are certainly an option as well and something we went in-depth in in our guide to the best winter work boots.
Once you know the conditions you work in on a daily basis, consider any physical ailments you may have no matter how minor.
Do you have flat feet? There are boot’s built to deal with that issue, and you don’t need to fear steel-toe boots if you have wide feet. There is a boot our there for you, we promise.
Plantar fasciitis is another common condition you can get around with great boots and the same can be said for odor and sweat. Choose boots with a removable footbed or mesh liners if you have sweaty feet or materials built to keep moisture at bay. To make this choice easy for you, we have a whole guide dedicated to finding the best work boots for plantar fasciitis.
Insoles and Outsoles
The insole is the part inside of a shoe or boot that can really change the game. It usually consists of a piece of foam covered in cloth, but some manufacturers put extra support in their inserts or use materials with unique properties.
You can also remove said insole in some cases, and replace it with something better suited to your needs. This is important if you have a preexisting condition like fallen arches.
The outsole is the opposite of the insole and is on the outside of your boot. It comes in contact with the ground and is usually made of rubber with plenty of tread. It’s where many boots get their shock absorbing capabilities as well.
Outsoles vary, but some things stay the same across the board. A quality work boot will have a slip-resistant outsole that can easily deal with water or even oily substances. You should also keep an eye out for Goodyear Welting, something we’ll cover in our next section.
Quality of Construction
The most comfortable work boots don’t have to be made from leather, but it is the most popular option for a reason.
Leather is durable, easy to waterproof and can last longer than other materials as long as you keep it maintained. It’s also used in Goodyear Welting, where it’s sewn around the bottom edge of a boot.
Boots with this feature not only provide support; they allow a cobbler to replace the sole which extends the life of the boot. Just remember, the thicker or tougher the boot, the longer it will take you to break it in.
Comfort and cushioning go hand-in-hand, and you can find work boots with plenty of cushion where it counts. While this will make your feet more comfortable, you have to consider the overall fit.
That said, extra cushioning could spell trouble if you’re partial to wearing boot socks or work in cold weather where thicker socks are required. If that’s the case, consider going down up a half size to give your feet some extra room.
The last area you should seriously consider is directly tied to your profession. Electrical workers need boots that can pass certain requirements, while people that work around molten material will want soles that can withstand high temperatures.
There are far too many certifications to cover, and they every region or country has its own set of requirements as well. If you’re already on the job, you know what you need but if you’re just starting out be sure to ask about any standards work boots should meet when it comes to safety.
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Top Choice: Timberland PRO Titan Waterproof Safety-Toe Work Boot
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If you’ve checked out our other lists for the best pull-on, winter or waterproof boots, you may have noticed a trend by now. Timberland shows up frequently, and they’ve taken the top spot again with the PRO Titan this time around.
Build Quality and Features
This is a boot that will look just as good with a pair of khakis as it will with a pair of work jeans. They have some class with dark leather from the sole to the collar and regular grommets on the bottom half of the shoe. Those speed hooks don’t come into play until the top and stay hidden under a pants leg.
The Timberland PRO Titan gets its name from the type of protection it offers. In this case, it’s a safety toe made from Titan alloy which provides some extra protection while you’re on the job.
Whether you’re walking on a rainy day or work around oil or other slick substances, the grip is strong with these boots. That’s due in part to the design of the outsole but also because they are oil and slip-resistant.
Breaking in boots can be a real pain, but we’re pleased to say it’s an issue you won’t have to worry about with the Titan’s.
They are easier to break in than a traditional work boot and sports something called PowerFit, a comfort system that provides an ergonomic solution aimed at key parts of your feet.
Another reason these boots qualify as the most comfortable boots is their overall weight.
The company went with a polyurethane midsole which has plenty of cushioning but keeps the weight down. When you factor in that exotic alloy toe, it’s a very light boot.
In fact, the company is so confident you’ll love their boots they offer a 30-day comfort guarantee. If your feet aren’t thanking you for buying the boots by the end of the month, they will give you a refund with no questions asked.
Who are these boots suited for?
This one is perfect if you want something that doesn’t look like a traditional work boot. They will keep your feet dry on the dampest of days and aren’t nearly as bulky as their steel-toe brothers.
We also like the fact the PRO Titan’s are ASTM-rated against compression and impacts while still being safe to use for electrical work. Whether you’re twisting wrenches in a garage or working outdoors in the winter, these boots will perform as advertised.
Timberlands are one of the most popular boots in the world, and their product line includes everything from high-end boots built for fashion-forward folks and hybrid work boots like the Titan.
At 6-inches, they are of average height, and while they don’t provide as much protection as a heavy-duty boot, they are going to keep your feet fresh. They only come in one color with Dark Mocha and sized from a 7 to a 15 in a variety of widths.
Carharrt CMF6366 Composite Toe Boot
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Composite Toe work boots area great choice when comfort is key, and weight is a concern. The Carhartt CMF6366 may not have a fancy name, but it’s a boot we think you’ll appreciate if you need protection from the elements and want a comfortable boot.
The CMF6366 is made from full-grain leather with a 6” shaft and double padded collar. They are rugged with cement construction and a thick outsole with abrasion-resistant heel bumpers. You can see the quality workmanship in every detail of this boot from the stitching to the grommets.
Carharrt makes a good looking boot, and they also know how to fill them full of features.
Oil, water, and chemicals are no match for the outsole of this boot, and it carries the ASTM 2413-11 EH tag as well. They don’t have an abundance of insulation, but more than enough to keep you toasty on chilly days.
When it comes to water, the company went with Storm Defender. This is a waterproof membrane which allows your feet to breathe, but also keeps water out. Keeping dry is only half the battle however as you also need to be comfortable.
A dual-density footbed topped with OrthoLite will help in that regard, and their “rugged flex” system adds extra layers of polyurethane beneath the insole as well. The thick tongue and collar are nice touches as well.
Who are these boots for?
Anyone, as you can work a concrete pour, dig ditches or handle overhead electrical work with the Carhartt CMF6366 work boots.
These affordable boots will be able to handle heavy mileage and are comfortable enough to keep your legs feeling fresh during long day indoors or outdoors in the elements.The Carhartt CMF6366 work boots are sized from an 8D all the way up to a 15W.
Irish Setter Ely 83608 Steel-Toe Work Boot
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Is it a heavy hiking boot or a comfortable work boot? The Irish Setter Ely could actually be both, as it can tackle any terrain but doesn’t resemble a traditional steel-toe boot.
The big draw of this boot aside from the style is the fact it has a steel-toe. Not a composite toe or one made of sturdy, but exotic materials, this one is made from real steel. That means it can withstand more than other boots on our list but is just as comfortable.
While not fancy, these boots are sturdy with a 6” shaft from the arch and a 14” opening. They are great if you have wider feet, and have a lower platform than most work boots at only 1-inch.
A synthetic sole will protect your feet from the ground while the PU V-Grip outsole keeps your feet underneath you in nasty weather or sunny days. Electrical workers will be thrilled with the is boot and it sports the ATSM F2413-11 M/I/75/C/75 rating as well.
If you like the style of our top choice but are not a fan of “comp” toe work boots, the Irish Setter Ely is your best bet.
The steel-toe offers up more protection against bags of concrete and other heavy objects that can shatter your toes, and the price is quite nice as well. The only downside would be the fact they will be a little tougher to break in than similar options so you may need to stomp around in these for a while.
Most comfortable Work Boots for Winter: Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot
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CAT took the top spot with the Revolver as the best pull-on work boot, and now they’re back with something different. This one doesn’t have pull loops, but it is just as tough and not nearly as tall.
Do you work in areas where it frequently dips below freezing or stays cold more often than not?
The Caterpillar Diagnostic boots can’t take your temperature, but they can keep you from getting sick by keeping your feet warm. They have 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, which is just enough to keep you toasty without baking you out of your boots in the summertime.
Insulation aside, these boots have a steel-toe and are contoured to match the motion of your feet naturally. They also have a high-cut padded shaft measuring 6-inches which provides support while a steel shank gives you plenty of stability.
On the inside of the boot, you’ll find a removable insole made from perforated EVA. It’s no ordinary foam however as its’ been infused with gel. If it’s not to your liking, there’s plenty of room for an insole of your choice or a custom orthotic.
The Diagnostic boot strikes all the right chords when it comes to stability and durability. It’s also fully waterproof, not water-resistant.
While tough to break in, these boots will be extremely comfortable once your feet settle in thanks to the ERGO comfort system. CAT’s Diagnostic boot is available in the standard sizes, but only one color dubbed Dark Beige.
Skechers USA Men’s Mariner Utility Boot
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Looking for something different and don’t need a steel-toe or extreme protection? Not everyone needs a 4-pound boot, and if you’re in the market for something unique, Sketchers Mariner Utility Boot may be an option for you.
While we hesitate to call this a work boot, it is taller than a tennis shoe and twice as tough.
It’s constructed from thick leather with a height resting right around the ankle. The style is simple without much flair side from the padded collar and thick metal grommets for the laces. The insole is nothing to write home about, but comfortable unless you have a condition which requires a special insole.
It may not be tall, but you will get some extra height from this shoe due to the thick rubber outsole and a series of large lugs on the bottom. Rest assured, walking through mud and gravel will be a breeze with the Mariner Utility Boot.
We like this boot as its comfortable and a nice option for those that want something lower, but rugged enough to handle light-duty tasks on site. They are also affordable and come in widths you won’t find elsewhere.
Consumers that require “certified” footwear will want to steer clear of the Mariner Boot as it’s not rated against any job site hazards that we are aware of. They are not waterproof although you can easily treat the boots to be water-resistant.
It can be tempted to go for a favorite brand or overthink things when you’re looking for a comfortable work boot. The first thing to always consider is your feet along with any certifications that may be required. The latter will narrow the field significantly most of the time.
If stuck at a crossroads between two styles, consider the weather and your budget, and you’ll pick the perfect boot in no time!