9 Best Men’s Work Boots That Offer Protection & Comfort

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Men who work labor-intensive jobs know the true value of a good pair of work boots – from construction sites to farmyards, the protection and comfort is vital.

The only problem is there are now so many work boots to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin.

Which is exactly why we’ve put together this review, to help you find exactly the right boots to help you get through the workday in comfort.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Our pick for the overall best work boots – Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot – are extremely durable, ultra-comfortable and have a totally classic look to them.

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boot

Like our no.2 choice boots – Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boot – which are incredible for shock resistance and also provide extreme comfort.

Beyond the reviews, we’ll also give you 6 tips for staying comfortable in your boots throughout the day, and look at the differences between work boots and other kinds of footwear.

First, let’s look at 9 key factors you need to consider when buying work boots.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageCaterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot 
  • Outsole is slip-resistant
  • Insole provides ultra-comfort
  • Raw steel toe design
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bb2-table__imageThorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boot
  • Very comfortable
  • Steel toe and non-steel toe options
  • Resists electric shock
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bb2-table__imagePortwest FW10 Steelite Black Leather Work Boot
  • Affordable
  • Durable and secure
  • Design that protects your feet
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bb2-table__imageWolverine Overpass 6” Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot
  • Comfortable like a sneaker
  • Protective toe cap, yet lightweight
  • Helps against foot fatigue during long periods
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bb2-table__imageRed Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6” Boot 
  • Lightweight material
  • Superior craftmanship and production
  • Slip-resistant outsole with efficient traction
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bb2-table__imageKeen Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot 
  • Plenty of space in the toe box
  • Maintains coolness and dryness inside
  • Slip-resistant traction
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bb2-table__imageEver Boots “Tank” Men’s Soft Toe Oil Full Grain Leather Work Boots
  • Made from leather than resists oil
  • Lightweight and easy mobility
  • Effective traction on slippery and uneven surfaces
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bb2-table__imageCarhartt Men’s CMF6366 Composite Toe Boots
  • Great all-day comfort provided by Flex technology
  • Outsole designed for shock absorption
  • Made of soft and pliable oil-tanned leather
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bb2-table__imageTimberland Pro Titan 6” Work Boot
  • Water-resistant
  • Rubber outsole alleviates slippages
  • Superior construction, superior comfort
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Before you buy: 9 Things to consider when purchasing work boots

Men who work in physically demanding jobs get used to discomfort and strain; they’re both parts of a typical workday. That’s why it’s a plus – even a necessity – to have footwear that’s comfortable and eases the physical stress of the occupation.

That’s also why it’s imperative to find a pair of work boots that not only hold up under the rigors of a demanding day but also protect your feet and keep them comfortable.

That sounds like a tall order, but doing your research and following certain criteria makes it possible to find work boots meant for you.

1. What are the basic requirements for your work boots?

Not all jobs that demand work boots are the same, so carefully consider what you need your footwear to provide during the workday.

  • Do they have to meet certain Personal Protective Equipment standards?
  • Do your work activities make it imperative to have steel toe caps?
  • How important is it that your boots be slip-proof? Are you around a lot of liquid spills?
  • Do your boots need to serve the dual purpose of keeping your feet warm during colder weather and cool during warmer months?
  • Do you often climb ladders for your job?
  • Will they have to be a certain color to meet company dress code standards?

2. Never wear boots that don’t fit properly

Finding the right fit is a must when searching for comfortable work boots that won’t cause foot strain during your workday.

Boots that are too short or narrow will pinch your feet and make them uncomfortable. A boot that’s too loose and too large will rub and cause blisters and other “hot spots” on your feet. The following tips can help you find the right fit:

  • Wear the same sock you wear on the job when you try on different sizes and brands of boots. You’ll get a truer fit that way.
  • Try on your work boots later in the day; feet naturally swell during the day, and footwear that fits well in the morning may not feel the same in the early
  • It’s important to test for the proper length of every work boot that you try on. One method for testing length involves sliding your foot forward until it touches the front of the shoe. Bend your knee forward; you should have an index finger’s width of room between the heel of your foot and the back of the shoe.
  • Lace up your boots to see what kind of fit they provide. They shouldn’t make your foot feel uncomfortably tight while keeping it from sliding forward to the front of the boot.
  • Your boots should bend at the ball of your foot and not at your arch. Boots that bend excessively at the arch won’t offer adequate support.

3. Arch support

Speaking of arch support, finding a comfortable pair of work boots means searching for those that offer a firm foundation for your foot’s arch. You place a lot of impact on your feet during a day, and your feet will suffer if your boots don’t provide the proper support.

The right level of arch support relieves pressure on the ligament connecting your heel to your toes. It also spreads the impact of each step over the entire surface of your foot without placing undue stress on any particular area of it.

4. Weight

Work boots, by nature, tend to be heavier than other workwear, because of the demands of physically rigorous work. Some very high-quality workboots are also quite heavy; whether you mind the excess weight is a matter of personal preference.

However, you can find plenty of lighter weight boots that will provide the support and protection you need.

5. Safety toes

Steel-toed boots are a necessity for many job sites, because they offer superior protection from potential work hazards. They add weight to your boots, however, which is why some men choose boots in which the protective toe area conists of lighter composite materials.

6. Material

Leather is far and away the most common material used to construct work boots. Leather is strong yet pliable, and the highest-quality leathers are also lightweight and breathable.

Full-grain leather is a material you should strongly consider when shopping for work boots; it’s not sanded or buffed, which helps make it stronger and durable.

7. Insoles

Depending on the brand and type, a work boot may have insoles built into their design, or you may have to buy insoles separately.

Insoles can add extra comfort and durability, especially those strong enough to protect your foot from the shock of every step yet light enough that they don’t add extra strain.

8. Weather and water-resistant

Many boots come in waterproof leathers – an important factor to consider if you work in an environment where water and other liquids are prevalent.

In general, your boots should be appropriate for every change of the season. They shouldn’t be so hot that your feet sweat in the summer or so cold that you feel frostbite coming on in the winter (OK, maybe not that extreme, but you get the picture).

9. Construction

The construction of a work boot also contributes to its overall comfort, because it helps determine its flexibility, weight, and overall performance.

Many of the best work boots feature “welt” construction in which the soles are stitched together and combined with a steel-toe cap (or toe cap made of other material).

Next, let’s check out our reviews of the best work boots for men.

The 9 best work boots for men

1. Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Many people recognize Caterpillar as a major player in heavy equipment manufacturing and also for its reputation for being all about hard work, integrity, and strength. They also manufacture footwear, including work boots, which may surprise some.

Rest assured, however, they construct their footwear with the same principles as their heavy equipment.

Caterpillar’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot is the best of the lot and among the very best work boots on the market today.

We also think they’re the best steel toe work boots, and they have ASTM approval for helping to protect workers against potential workplace hazards. ASTM International, by the way, is one of the world’s largest international standards-developing organizations.

The Second Shift has a lot going for it, including the overall protection provided by its steel toes. It features a rugged full-grain upper, durable welt construction, and slip-resistant rubber outsoles that also help to protect workers from on-the-job hazards.

Sturdiness is everything when it comes to this work boot, and there’s nothing to suggest otherwise. It may take a few days or more to fully break them in, but after that we think you’ll find them to be more comfortable than many other popular work boots.

You can also buy them with or without the steel toe; again, how comfortable a boot feels to you is paramount, but Second Shift’s steel toes offer protection and don’t detract from the boot’s overall comfort.

There’s also a well-contoured insole – as well as a Goodyear welt sole. The inner lining is soft, especially along the top of the foot. They’re also nicely insulated and suitable for normal climate conditions – both indoors and out.

The Second Shift comes with a removable polyurethane sock liner that contributes to the boot’s all-day comfort. Meanwhile, a nylon mesh lining is moisture-wicking and breathable.

The rubber outsole is oil-resistant and offers plenty of traction and stability. The boot also comes with a ladder-safe heel arch that helps keep you upright, instead of taking a free-fall to the ground.

While Caterpillar introduced its Second Shift over a decade ago, it has a timeless design that doesn’t show its age.


  • Rugged steel toe design
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Insole offers extra comfort


  • Heavier than some other work boots

Bottom Line

Who wouldn’t want a work boot that offers everything you need from comfort to durability and protection? The Second Shift offers all of that with a timeless design that ages well and makes it among the most comfortable steel toe boots today.

2. Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boot

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boot

Men who spend long days standing on their feet need a work boot that isn’t a house of pain.

Fortunately, comfortable work boots abound – especially if you know what you’re looking for – and the Thorogood Men’s American Heritage certainly qualifies as comfortable.

Made from tobacco oil-tanned leather, the American Heritage allows your feet to breathe and also features Poron 4000 Cushioning for superior cushioning without sacrificing function and safety.

There’s also a composite shank for support on your underfoot. We think they’re among the best work boots for sore feet.

The American Heritage Moc includes a steel-toe design that offers ample protection, while its rugged leather uppers are built to last – no matter how strenuous the work environment. It also comes in a non-steel toe version, as well.

Here’s something else we like about the American Heritage Moc: its construction features electric shock resistant soles and heels, which obviously is important when working in certain jobs that require a lot of “juice” to run effectively.


  • Electric shock resistant
  • Superior comfort
  • Come in steel toe and non-steel toe versions


  • Sizing may run big

Bottom Line

The Thorogood American Heritage Moc has a durable, built-to-last construction, a classic design that never goes out of style, and important safety features that keep a man safe on the job.

3. Portwest FW10 Steelite Black Leather Work Boot Portwest FW10 Steelite Black Leather Work Boot

Every pair of boots on this list is great in its own way, but few provide as clear value as Portwest’s FW10 Steelite Black Leather Work Boots. At such a relatively low price, you’re getting a genuinely top-quality shoe.

Among their many positive design features are:

  • 600-joule Protective steel toecaps
  • A puncture resistant midsole
  • Fuel, oil, slip and heat resistant outsoles
  • Anti-static material with an energy absorbing region
  • Removable EVA cushion footbed

Combined, they create intensely durable boots that are safe, secure and ultimately incredibly comfortable, too.

For anyone working long hours, these will be a perfect pair: the lightweight PU cushioned midsole ensures your feet stay totally relaxed and healthy.

Of course, there are issues: many feel that the boots take too long to wear in, which can be an issue if you need a new pair to wear at work immediately.

But the reality is, at this price, these boots are far better quality than they have any right to be and will keep men on a budget satisfied for a long time.


  • Great quality for the price
  • Highly protective design
  • Very durable


  • Take quite a while to wear in

Bottom Line

The best value work boots you’ll find: great for long days on the feet and super secure and sturdy.

4. Wolverine Overpass 6” Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

Wolverine Overpass 6” Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

Wolverine wants its boots to be tough enough to withstand the most rugged environments day after day. They also want them to be comfortable.

The Michigan-based company earns high marks in both categories with its Overpass Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot. It fits the Wolverine credo for toughness and they’re comfortable right from the box.

They also have several other features that help them stand out from the rest, including a composite toe cap that’s lighter and thinner than traditional steel toe caps but doesn’t sacrifice protection.

Comfort comes from, in part, Wolverine’s contoured and motion max technologies that help it bend and flex at essential points. The result is a boot that feels good on your feet and allows for maximum performance no matter what your job entails.

And, at around 1.8 pounds a pair, they’re lighter than many similar work boots.

Wolverine provides general padding in the boot’s uppers, while the overall fit is snug but not too snug.

The midsole offers plenty of shock absorption and comes with a removable Ortholite insole that keeps your feet from feeling fatigued if you spend long hours on them.

You can buy the Overpass with or without insulation, which affects breathability, and the leather/textile upper is waterproof.

Finally, the boot’s rubber outsole keeps you safe from slips, oil, water, and other hazards that may crop up at your worksite.


  • They feature sneaker-like comfort.
  • Lightweight composite toe cap offers all the protection you need.
  • They keep your feet from feeling fatigued during long shifts.


  • Not as breathable as some other work boots.

Bottom Line

The Overpass represents another achievement in Wolverine’s long line of work boots. It’s a comfortable, protective boot that can withstand the toughest work environments and tasks.

5. Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6” Boot

Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6” Boot

Red Wing made their first foray into boots during World War One – soldiers needed a tough pair of boots, after all – and have worked hard to perfect their craft ever since. Many customers swear by the Red Wing brand, and with good reason.

The Heritage Men’s Moc 6” boot is, as its name suggests, a classic boot – and one that checks all the boxes regarding what a good work boot must have.

You’ll pay a bit more for the Red Wing Classic Moc, as they’re among the more expensive work boots, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

What makes the Men’s Moc so good? There are plenty of reasons:

  • The boot features leather construction throughout, including its upper and insole. It’s tough, durable leather that’s meant to hold up to the rigors of physical labor.
  • The Heritage Men’s Classic Moc has Norwegian welt construction that adds strength and stability.
  • A thick, treaded outsole enhances it rugged look and feel. The sole is nicely contoured and offers plenty of support from heel to toe. They’re well-suited for working on concrete floors and other hard surfaces and are slip-resistant, thanks to Red Wing’s patented Traction Tred cushion crepe wedge.
  • Triple-stitched seams contribute to the boot’s durability.
  • The insole is stain and perspiration resistant and makes the Heritage Men’s Moc rate highly among the best work boots for sweaty feet.
  • The boots feature nickel eyelets, which are another nice feature.
  • As rugged and durable as these boots are, they’re surprisingly lightweight. You’ll like how your feet feel in them during a long day on the job.


  • Excellent craftsmanship and construction
  • Durable, slip-resistant outsole with excellent traction
  • Lightweight


  • Takes some time to break them in

Bottom Line

While you’ll pay a little extra for a pair of Red Wing footwear, you’ll get a quality boot in return. From comfort to craftsmanship, Red Wing has you (and your feet) covered with its Heritage Men’s Moc boot.

6. KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot

KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot

The Keen company manufactures boots that reflect the grittiness of tough cities. Like Pittsburgh, Keen’s boots are tough and durable, as well as designed to hold up to every work environment.

Their KEEN Utility Men’s Steel Toe Work Boot fits the image perfectly and provides wearers with ruggedness and comfort – a combination that’s hard to beat. They’re boots that have a lot going for them in many aspects.

Among the many cool features of the KEEN utility, boot is how they keep your foot dry.

That’s because they feature a Dry-Lex waterproof membrane that keeps moisture out while also offering the kind of breathability that keeps your feet comfortable and dry during the work day.

It’s a feature that we think makes the KEEN boots the best waterproof work boots and the best work boots for sweaty feet.

The folks at Keen say their boots offer the comfort of a hiking boot along with the necessary grit to hold up to the toughest of tasks.

They have toe protection specifically made to fit your left and right feet. It’s a larger toe box, which lets your toes breathe and spread out naturally while avoiding the pinching you get from tighter toe boxes.

Made from 100% nubuck leather – the outer layer of calfskin sanded from the outside of the skin – the KEEN Utility boot offers plenty of arch support, as well as a contoured heel lock.

It also features a rubber sole and a removable EVA footbed for additional comfort. The outsole is oil- and slip-resistant and provides plenty of traction.


  • Keeps feet cool and dry
  • Roomy toe box
  • Slip-resistant traction


  • Some users aren’t comfortable with the heels of these boots

Bottom Line

The KEEN utility boot can withstand the demands of rough and tumble workplaces while keeping your feet comfortable the entire day. All in all, it’s a good all-around work boot.

7. EVER Boots “Tank” Men’s Soft Toe Oil Full Grain Leather Work Boots

EVER Boots “Tank” Men’s Soft Toe Oil Full Grain Leather Work Boots

Not all work boots come with steel toe caps, which begs the question “Why wouldn’t they?” Considering that work boots imply wearing them while performing jobs that are strenuous and physically-demanding, it’s a valid question.

But not every job that requires a work boot has hazards such as falling objects that all but require steel toes. Workers in those occupations often prefer soft toes, because they’re lightweight and often more comfortable and flexible that steel-toed boots.

This brings us to the Ever Boots’ “Tank.” It’s a quality, soft-toe work boot that’s durable enough for tough, physical work but comfortable enough that your feet won’t feel fatigued during a long day.

And what’s not to like? The Tank has a long list of superb features. The arch has a steel shank support that alleviates pressure, including when you’re climbing ladders or stairs.

Ever’s signature tread pattern, meanwhile, provides dependable traction even on uneven or slippery surfaces.

The Tank consists of a full-grain nubuck leather upper that provides a comfortable fit that’s hard to beat. It also comes with an insulated mesh lining that keeps your feet comfortable in all weather conditions.

Another thing you’ll like about the Ever Boots Tank is how comfortable they feel out of the box. There’s not a long breaking-in period as with many other work boots. They’re also easy to put on or take off, thanks to “speed hooks” located at the back of each boot.

The soft toe cap provides plenty of room for your toes to move and naturally spread without pinching. The boot is also oil-resistant.

The Tank also comes with a cushioned, comfortable insole that helps reduce foot fatigue.


  • Lightweight and easy on your feet
  • Provides excellent traction on slippery and uneven surfaces
  • Oil-resistant leather


  • Durability is a concern for some wearers

Bottom Line

If you prefer soft-toe work boots, then you should take a serious look at Ever’s Tank boot. It’s lightweight and comfortable yet still rugged enough to endure the toughest of tasks.

8. Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 Composite Toe Boots

Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 Composite Toe Boots

Within the gap between steel-toe and soft-toe boots you’ll find composite toe boots, including Carhartt’s excellent CMF6366 boot.

The toe construction of composite boots consists of non-metallic materials, such as Kevlar, carbon, rubber, fiberglass, plastic, etc.

Composite toe boots are sturdy – almost as sturdy as steel-toe boots – and they’re excellent for anyone who works at job sites with electrical hazards.

Rest assured, Carhartt’s composite CMF3666 boot is rugged. Carhartt, after all, is known for its tough, up-to-the-task clothing and footwear and is the preferred brand of many workers.

The CMF6366 features Carhartt’s unique Rugged Flex technology that enables the boot’s material to move and stretch naturally throughout the day.

Made from 100% leather, the CMF366 is built to last and also comfortable enough that you can wear them for a stroll through the woods or around the block, if you so choose.

Additional comfort comes from a padded tongue and color, as well as from an EVA midsole and OrthoLite insole. Both are lightweight and provide multiple layers of cushioning to keep your feet from becoming fatigued during the workday.

We also like the CMF6366’s rubber outsole. It provides shock-absorbing traction in any environment and on any surface or terrain, as well as plenty of support. It’s also oil- and slip-resistant. They’re also grooved in a way that makes them safe for climbing ladders.

The full-grain leather components of this boot are water-resistant and chemical-resistant. The leather is oil-tanned, which has several advantages, including:

  • The oil content – which comes from natural oils such as fish oil – makes the leather soft and pliable. The leather stretches better and molds to the shape of the wearer’s foot.
  • Oil-tanning helps make the leather more water-resistant and less prone to the degrading effects of water.
  • Oil-tanned leather also resists scuffs better than leather tanned by other methods. Even if you get a scuff on oil-tanned leather footwear, you can usually wipe it away with the swipe of a moist finger.
  • Finally, oil-tanned leather tends to need less maintenance than other types of leather.

While looks aren’t a primary concern with work boots – they’re going to take a beating in most cases – there’s nothing wrong with a stylish design, and the Carhartt CMF6366 looks good. It also pairs very well with Carhartt pants, jackets, overalls, etc.


  • Flex technology provides excellent all-day comfort
  • Shock-absorbing outsole
  • Oil-tanned leather helps make the boot soft and pliable


  • Sizing may run large

Bottom Line

Carhartt makes quality workwear, and their CMF6366 work boot is no exception. From its soft, pliable leather to its excellent traction, it’s a favorite boot for many people who work in a hard-knock environment.

9. Timberland PRO Titan 6” Work Boot

Timberland PRO Titan 6” Work Boot

Being a contractor often means working diverse jobs in a variety of work environments, including construction sites and other places where the job is strenuous and the hours often long.

That also means it’s imperative to wear a boot that’s up to the task – any task – and the Timberland PRO Titan boot is just that: it provides ample protection and the kind of comfort you need when you spend a lot of time on your feet while engaged in heavy-duty tasks.

The PRO Titan is durable but lightweight enough that many wearers say it makes them suitable for a 10- to 12-hour shift without experiencing foot fatigue or pain.

They also come with an alloy safety toe, also lightweight, that exceeds industry standards for overall protection (as well as electrical hazard standards).

There are many other reasons to like this boot, including ample heel and arch support that make them ideal for men who suffer from plantar fasciitis or who have flat feet.

There’s also a padded collar around the ankle area that offers additional cushioning. You’ll love the extra flexibility provided by these boots, and they don’t need a lot of break-in time.

The PRO Titan consists of premium leather while featuring a rubber outsole and a polyurethane midsole.

It’s also waterproof and comes with a moisture-wicking air mesh lining for excellent breathability. Your feet will stay dry and won’t become too hot during a long day on the job.

Another plus: Timberland treats the mesh moisture-channeling spacer with an anti-microbial application that helps eliminate foot odor.

One thing you can count on with Timberland products – including their long line of hiking, casual, and work boots – is superior comfort. They utilize ergonomically-designed elements that offer freedom of movement and critical support where needed.

You can wear them on the job or at home.


  • Excellent construction provides superior comfort
  • Water-resistant
  • Slip-proof rubber outsole


  • Toe leather may wear off quickly

Bottom Line

The PRO Titan ranks among the best work boots for contractors for a lot of reasons, including overall comfort and protection. The breathable mesh-lining helps keep your feet dry and odor-free.

How we chose the best men’s work boots

Work boots, above all else, must stand up to the rigors of physically-demanding jobs and workplaces.

They’re not for looks – although many feature cool designs – but for the practicality of keeping feet protected at job sites with more hazards than most other workplaces.

Ruggedness and protective features aside, we also considered other factors when deciding what work boots to include on our list.

Those factors include overall comfort, support and traction, the quality of the insoles – as well as the level of breathability offered by the insoles – and durability.

We also considered price while keeping in mind our goal of recommending products in a variety of price ranges.

6 Tips to keep your feet comfortable on the job all day

Whether your job entails standing for most of the day or is filled with physical labor, the comfort of your feet is of ultimate importance. A long shift in which you experience frequent foot fatigue or pain is an endurance test few people enjoy.

But there’s no need to suffer. There are things you can do that help keep your feet comfortable throughout the day, including, of course, choosing the right footwear.

1. The fit is everything

Wearing footwear that’s appropriate to your work duties is essential for overall comfort, but comfort comes not only from the right pair of footwear but also from how well your boots or shoes fit.

Boots that are too narrow will pinch your feet, and you’ll likely feel the “rub” throughout the day. Boots that are too short will cramp your toes.

Wearing boots or shoes that are too big will cause friction by your feet moving around loosely within them. You also won’t maximize the shoe’s arch, heel, and ankle support.

It’s particularly important to make sure the fit is spot-on with steel-toed boots. If not, the steel toe can make your life, and feet, miserable. Make sure that you have enough room from the sides, tops, and front of your toes.

2. Allow for the proper break-in time

Whether they’re work boots, casual shoes, hiking boots, or dressy Oxfords, you’ll probably need some time to break them in.

Many boots and shoes, including the boots we reviewed above, don’t need a lot of break-in time, but, if you can, start by wearing your new footwear for a few hours a day to let your feet become accustomed to them.

3. Wear the right socks

Wear socks that are appropriate for your footwear and occupation. You shouldn’t wear thin dress boots with workboots; in fact, there are socks specifically made for work boot wear.

Your socks should provide some cushioning, as well as a snug but comfortable fit in which your foot doesn’t slide around and develop blisters and the like, but socks that are too heavy can cause your feet to overheat and sweat.

4. Insoles

Many boots and shoes come with insoles designed to provide superior comfort. If not, or if you don’t find those insoles comfortable (and some are removable), invest in a good pair of insoles that fit your foot size and shape.

The older you get, the more sensitive your feet can become, which is why anyone over the age of 45 should consider wearing insoles.

5. Stretch when possible

Foot experts recommend alternating periods of standing and sitting on the job, but you know how it goes. There isn’t a lot of time to sit around when you’re working a physical job like construction.

Besides, most bosses aren’t cool with workers who spend more time on their backsides than working.

That said, however, you should be able to sneak in a couple of stretches when your feet and leg muscles become stiff and painful.

Simple calf raises every hour or so will help – or even a runner’s stretch in which you place your hand on a wall, extend one leg behind your body, and push your heel to the floor as far as you can.

6. Take care of your feet away from the workplace

Keeping your feet comfortable for work also means taking care of them when you’re at home.

There are several things you can do to “baby” your feet, including icing your feet (20 minutes in a bucket of water and ice will reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by prolonged standing).

You can also massage your feet to loosen muscles and joints; take off your shoes and socks, let them breathe for a couple of minutes, and then massage them vigorously with your hands.

Elevating your feet after a long day at work is another way to decrease the day’s natural swelling. You can rest them on a stack of pillows or elevate them by placing them against a wall.

What’s the difference? Work boots vs. all the rest

Boots come in an array of styles and designs, and it’s safe to say that there’s a boot made for every man.

Work boots are, by and large, meant for men who work in non-office occupations often characterized by physical labor (like construction). You wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, wear work boots to more formal settings.

But let’s break it down a bit by looking at work boots and some other popular men’s boot styles.

Work boots

One of the most important distinctions between work boots and other types of boots is their weight.

Work boots are heavier than all the rest, especially if they include steel toes or protective toes made from another type of material (such as a composite material).

Steel-toed boots are often a requirement at many work sites, which isn’t a surprise when you consider that 25% of all disabling work injuries are foot injuries.

From falling objects to sharp objects on the floor (like nails or screws), your feet are at risk in many job environments.

Unlike hiking boots, for one, work boots aren’t necessarily designed for walking long distances. That’s not to say that they’re uncomfortable to walk around in, but they won’t best suit your needs if you were taking a long hike on a mountain trail.

Chelsea boots

The Chelsea is a laceless style boot that’s very popular because, for one, you can wear it in casual and dressier occasions.

One of the distinguishing features of a Chelsea boot is an elastic band around the ankle that extends to the tip of the boot opening. It also features a clean, minimalist design that, as mentioned, offers plenty of versatility regarding wardrobe choices.

Chukka boots

The Chukka boot is often referred to as a “desert” boot, which is understandable, given the close resemblance of the two boot styles.

Chukka boots originated in World War II when British soldiers sought a more comfortable boot style for fighting in the desert terrain of North Africa, but it’s something of a riddle when comparing Chukka boots with desert boots.

It is because all desert boots are, technically, Chukka boots, but not all Chukka boots are desert boots.


It comes down to this: what makes desert boots distinctive is their crepe rubber soles that are spongier than hard rubber and make them more comfortable for soldiers fighting in the desert.

There are other subtle differences: the stitching on desert boots is always visible, desert boots have thicker laces (similar to those on athletic shoes), and desert boots are more casual than Chukkas.

The Chukka represents a “dress casual” shoe that’s ankle-high with open lacings and typically comes in suede or leather. They’re dressy enough to be worn with a suit but also look great with cuffed jeans.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are, as mentioned, of a lighter weight than work boots and designed to provide comfort even when walking many miles on rough or uneven terrain.

While they don’t include steel-toe protection, as in a work boot, many come with a toe cap made from lighter material, such as rubber.

Flexibility is another characteristic of hiking boots, which also offer good ankle support – a must when traveling on unpredictable terrain. Hiking boots also feature lug soles with grooves for increased stability and traction.

Shoppers should have few problems finding a hiking boot that fits their specific needs.

Those go from day hiking boots designed for short backpacking trips while carrying lighter loads to backpacking boots that offer additional ankle support and are designed to carry heavier loads for days on end.

Plain toe boots

The plain toe boot represents a classic design and is a style that’s excellent for everyday wear. The only time you wouldn’t wear them, perhaps, is for more formal occasions in which you’re wearing a suit.

Moc toe boot

Moc toe boots feature a crescent-shaped seam that runs across the top of the boot, a feature inspired by moccasins. They represent a more rugged design that’s best for casual wear and settings.

Dress boots

A good example of a dress boot is the brogue boot, which has a more refined aesthetic than, say, a plain-toe boot. The broguing consists of perforations along the boot that helps it resemble certain kinds of Oxford shoes.


There are plenty of good work boots on the market today, and we hope our reviews help you to make the buying choice that best suits your needs, job, and feet.

As always, we welcome your feedback. What brand of work boots do you own? Why do you like them better than others? Have you worn any of the boots on our list? We’d love to hear from you.


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About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

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