Best Work Boots 2024 - Most Comfortable Boots for Men and Women

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

How in the world do you recommend the best work boots for men and women in the trades? Every trade has distinctive features and priorities, and everyone’s foot is different. Add in literally thousands of choices from plenty of quality brands with different designs and styles, and it’s overwhelming. Waterproof Slip Resistant Composite Toe Boots

This year, we see several models returning, including the perennial favorite Keen Cincinnati. Direct-to-consumer and handmade brands are emerging, and we’re beginning to see the trend of upcycling and recycling show up in work boot materials.

Even with all these great options, we’re still leaving out so many excellent boots to keep this from turning into an encyclopedia-length review. So, take a look at our favorites, but if you don’t find something that’s a perfect fit, check out some of the other boots these excellent brands have to offer!

Want even more workwear? Check out the best contruction clothing brands!

Want to see what’s popular? Check out the top sellers on Amazon!

It was going to take something special to knock the Cincinnati off the top of our list, and the Keen Camden finally did it. Expanding the brand’s heavy-duty line, these heeled boots sport a composite toe and waterproof construction. However, it’s the combination of an aggressive tread pattern and super-comfortable Luftcell midsole that makes it suitable for darn near any situation, and why it’s our pick as the best overall work boot for men.

The best work boots for women don’t need atypical features or quality than men’s boots, but they do need a fit that’s comfortable and secure for the physical differences in foot shape. Our top choice for women is the Keen Utility San Jose. This 6-inch wedge is available with or without an aluminum safety toe. The Luftcell midsole keeps each step comfortable while the overall weight of the boot is lower than you might expect.

If there’s a downside, it’s that this is a cement construction, medium-duty work boot. If you need a heavy-duty option, we recommend stepping up to the women’s Keen Utility Cincinnati.

Obviously, the best waterproof boot must be waterproofed and Wolverine’s I-90 DuraShocks line does it in style with their premium waterproof full-grain leather and waterproof membrane with a moisture-wicking liner. From there, the I-90 gets even better with a DuraShocks insole.

This model features a denser midsole than some of our other selections. While it’s not as cushy because of that, it does offer more stout protection and is able to resist oil, chemicals, and heat better.

The I-90 lineup is robust, and there are options to fit nearly every style preference, though not all have the Durashocks upgrade. Our favorite is the moc toe wedge, but there are also hiker, Romeo, and Wellington styles to choose from.

Check out the entire I-90 collection including other styles here.

Waterproof boots are great, but they have limits. Waterproof linings, sealed stitching, and other techniques can prevent water from penetrating the material. However, the tongue area on a traditional boot is one likely area where water can find its way in if you’re standing in water.

If you’re looking for the best way to keep water out of your work boots, consider a Wellington slip-on style to avoid a tongue. If you need the ultimate protection against water, go with a dedicated water boot, such as the Grundens’ Deck Boss.

We love the look of classic boots and Thorogood’s 1957 Series, and their safety toe models make the cut as our best steel toe work boots. Heeled or wedge soles are storm welted to the upper and a moc toe design sets the stage for this one. It’s a comfortable and durable waterproof steel toe boot with a great style to match. Plus, it’s made in the USA using global materials.

The King Toe collection is all about giving those toes of yours some extra wiggle room—44% more than Red Wing’s standard boots. Red Wing’s King Toe 3512 has it all: it’s EH-rated, puncture-resistant, has a non-metallic safety toe, and features a waterproof design. If you happen to be north of the border, it’s also CSA-approved. It can handle the heat, too, with an HRO sole that’s rated at 475°.

Even if this specific style isn’t for you, give the King Toe lineup a look. There are 22 different models covering both men and women, all sporting a non-metallic safety toe.

Ariat makes our list thanks to its Hybrid VentTEK series boots. Available in 2 designs for men, these are the best pull-on work boots we found and have a strong focus on agriculture, farm, and ranch environments.

The VentTEK technology really does keep your legs cool with much-needed breathability and airflow. We also love the fit of these western boots. They pull on more easily than a dress boot without the need for a shoehorn. Lastly, Ariat visually minimizes the outsole design. While most Western work boots utilize a thick sole that upsets the style, Ariat packs a durable, grippy tread into a more traditional look. You may also want to check out our best cowboy boots article if you’re into this style.

The Keen Utility San Jose is reasonably lightweight across the entire line, but it’s the Oxford Low version we’re focused on as the best lightweight work boots. Featuring a wedge sole and a fusion of casual and classy styling, the soft toe version is a great light-duty option for upper-level meetings or walking the floor while weighing just 20 ounces. If you need a safety toe, there’s an aluminum toe version that’s 21.8 ounces.

Price: $135 – $140 (up to $175 for the 6-inch)

Finding the most comfortable work boots starts with the correct fit. It has to fit right, or the other comfort features and design functions go out the window. Modern midsoles go a long way in offering a supportive cushion as well. From there, we’re looking for weight reduction to reduce fatigue over the course of the day. However, if you’re going to stick with the longer-lasting heavy-duty class, there’s a limit to how light they can be.

The most comfortable work boots we’ve put on our feet are the Keen Utility Cincinnati. Its combination of a wedge sole and air-infused polyurethane (KEEN Luftcell) midsole makes it incredibly comfortable over long days, even if you’re a big guy. I’m 210 pounds and this is my go-to boot for shows such as World of Concrete where we’re on asphalt and concrete for even longer days than normal.

New starting in 2023, men now have a dark brown color option.

If you’re looking for boots that can last 3, 5, or even 10 years or more, high-quality handmade boots are the way to go. They’re not cheap, but they hold up better than most off-the-shelf boots and are repairable.

We had an excellent experience with Nick’s Handmade Boots out of Spokane, Washington. While they’re not quite fully custom, there are so many choices that it feels like they are, and the construction is outstanding. Whether you’re looking for wedges, loggers, or something in between, Nick’s has you covered.

Keep in mind that boots like these take several weeks to properly break in. Once they do, you’re in for a whole different level of work boot experience.

Searching for the best work shoes can mean a lot of different things. Are you on a construction site? Warehouse? Hospital? For our purposes, we’re going to assume you at least need the option of a safety toe, and that you’re working on hard surfaces. For that, we turn to the Skechers Crankton.

It features a a sneaker style with a leather, synthetic and mesh upper with plenty of ventilation to breathe. Sporting a soft or steel toe, it’s EH-rated to cover your work needs, while maintaining comfort with a shock-absorbing midsole and memory foam insole. Plus, there are several color options available to match your work attire.

If your work boot budget is more like $150 instead of $500, take a look at what Brunt workwear has to offer. While the selection isn’t as wide as most of the other brands we recommend, the quality of the materials and construction for the price is what impresses us.

Brunt’s secret is cutting out the middleman. They’re a direct-to-consumer business, so you don’t have to pay the retailer markup that typically exists with other brands. While you’re shopping, be sure to check out the workwear. The Coady hoodie and Torra pants are particular favorites of ours.

Sometimes the insoles that come in our boots just don’t cut it for one reason or another. Often, it’s a preference, but your foot shape, arch, or other characteristics can create more painful chronic issues. If that’s what you struggle with, your best insole for work boots is going to be an orthotic from a podiatrist who works closely with you.

If it’s more of a preference thing, we recommend starting with Superfeet as the best insoles for work boots. They’re readily available over the counter and online, and they have an easy-to-see graphic to help you find the right balance of arch height and insole thickness. If you’re not sure which ones you need, give Superfeet’s insole finder a shot and let them help you find the right pair.

Price: $49.95 – $184.95 (most are less than $64.95)

We asked which brand was your favorite on our social media channels. Two brands were clearly ahead of the rest: Keen Utility and Red Wing. Right behind those two was Thorogood, and Danner got quite a bit of love as well.

Of course, tons of other brands were part of the conversation, including some we hadn’t heard of yet and several from Europe that aren’t available in the US. Take a look for yourself at the posts on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to drop your vote in the comments while you’re there!

Even with all the categories we already hit, there are more brands and boots we want to tell you about. Check out more of our recommendations below!

Ariat’s Workhog line is extensive and if a pull-on work boot is what you’re after, you’re sure to find something you like (there are even a few lace-up styles). The big deal is that they’re Western-style work boots, so you get the aggressive tread and stabilization you need for nearly any jobsite.

Some of the options you’ll find include:

Need some help narrowing it down? Our favorite is the WorkHog Wide Square Toe VentTek style.

Price: $194.95 – $294.95 (kid’s styles are $25.00 – $109.95)

Danner’s Quarry line is our top choice and we’re not alone as it’s Danner’s most popular and has been on the market for more than 10 years. They’re waterproof with breathable Gore-Tex and have an 8-inch height. The design has gone through some updates since its original launch, shifting to a more durable midsole while maintaining an excellent comfort level with no break-in time required.

The line includes a variety of options:

Plus, the Quarry is built in Portland, Oregon using parts and materials that are globally sourced.

Georgia Boot’s Wedge Work Wellington may not have a lot of bells and whistles at first glance, but it’s packed with features that make it a workhorse of a boot. SPR barnyard chemical-resistant leather makes this an agriculture-friendly option while Goodyear welt construction gives it a durable build and a wedge sole adds comfort to complement the insole when you’re working on hard surfaces. Plus, pull loops on both sides make pulling these 10-inch boots on easier.

Irish Setter is a good bet for folks who have a work boot budget under $200 and the Kittson is our top choice this year. It has a classic and attractive style with a heeled design that comes in soft or safety toe models. While there aren’t a ton of options like some of our other recommendations, Irish Setter does offer the Kittson in both men’s and women’s styles. Plus, the men now have a few Wellington pull-on options.

Kodiak isn’t as well-known as some brands in the work boot industry, but they know what it takes to work in chilly weather. The McKinney is a classically styled, good-looking design with several height/style designs to choose from. With most designs coming in under the $200 mark, they won’t break the bank, either. Here are more details on the options:

Tecovas is a relatively recent Western brand that started in 2015 and we’ve been impressed with the quality of both the boots and workwear we used. Many of their handmade boots feature the classic cowboy design with a smooth outsole, but they do have some treaded models that make for excellent jobsite work boots.

This year’s top model is The Doc. It has a great look with choices of a goat, bovine, or bison leather upper, a broad square toe, and classic dress boot styling. The smooth leather outsole attaches with a Goodyear welt and there’s a 1 1/2-inch straight heel on the back end.

We can’t have a best work boots article and ignore the 1000-Mile series. As Wolverine’s premium boot line, these are the best the brand makes and they’re among the best-looking boots we recommend. However, they don’t have any safety toe options, so they’re primarily for the members of your team that spend most of their time in the office or board room rather than on the jobsite. There are models with aggressive tread patterns that are perfectly content on jobsite visits, though.

Keep your eyes open—Wolverine offers limited special edition models from time to to time.

Never, ever buy a work boot that doesn’t have the proper fit. It’s a recipe for a lot of discomfort for your feet and potential injuries over the long term.

When you put your foot in, make sure your heel is as far back in the shoe as it can go. Once there, find a size that gives you a little extra room—about the width of your thumb. If you do that, you’ll have room for the foot swelling that everyone experiences over the course of a day. The amount of room can be tough to check on steel toe boots, so try a soft toe for sizing if you’re buying in the store.

Then there’s the width. Good-fitting boots should snug up against the sides of your feet, but they shouldn’t squeeze them. You’re looking for stability, not discomfort. The opposite is also true—you don’t want too much width. Too much room can let your feet slide side-to-side and leave you with unstable footing.

The other big piece of the fit puzzle is the heel. When you’re trying on boots, check to make sure your heel is locked in and stable. You don’t want it sliding around.

Safety toes create a barrier of protection around your toes in the event of something heavy crushing down on them or slamming into them from the front.

Check with your safety manager to determine if you need a safety toe for work and which styles are acceptable. If you need them, carbon fiber toes are the lightest option, followed by composite and aluminum. Steel is still king on many jobsites, though, so don’t be surprised if that’s your only option.

If your workplace doesn’t require safety toe boots, it’s up to you. When it’s our choice, we prefer either a soft toe or carbon fiber safety toe.

There are other safety features that your workplace may require as well. Check with your manager and see if you need:

What makes a boot comfortable changes with your foot shape. In general, your foot should feel secure without putting any undue pressure on parts of your feet. You can always loosen the laces over the course of the day (which is why we LOVE BOA systems), but you can’t do anything about the rest of the boot.

The midsole does a lot for the overall comfort of a boot. One of the reasons you see some contractors wear sneakers on jobsites is that the EVA foam in them is so cushiony that it’s much more comfortable than boots. At least until recently.

New midsoles are air-infused and less dense, giving them more cushion than most. Like sneakers, the midsole breaks down faster than more dense designs, so you may find you don’t get quite as much life out of the most comfortable work boots.

The last major discussion point is the insole. Most brands put some type of polyurethane insole in their boots to help with cushioning. Keep in mind that they’re replaceable. If you want more cushioning, arch support, or just a different feel, you can always pick up another insole and swap them out.

Boots usually come in one of two sole styles: heeled or wedge.

Heeled boots are the most traditional style and there are more of these available from virtually every brand. They tend to have an aggressive tread that offers fantastic traction on bare ground. They’re appropriate for just about every jobsite but typically aren’t as comfortable as wedges on hard surfaces.

Wedges tend to be more comfortable because they spread your weight out over a larger surface, reducing fatigue in your feet and legs. The trade-off is that they typically have very shallow tread that isn’t as appropriate for work on bare ground jobsites. They do their best work on asphalt, concrete, steel, and other hard surfaces.

Recently, we’ve started seeing hybrid boots that combine a wedge design with a medium-aggressive tread that fits the best of both worlds. As a big guy, it’s the style I prefer for all-around work.

Materials are important but it’s how they’re put together that tells you a lot about how long the boot will last. There are three main types of construction with a fourth we see from time to time.

Cement construction is when the upper, midsole, and outsole are glued together. It’s the weakest connection type but tends to be lighter and more flexible with a lower price tag than other construction types.

Strobel construction pops up occasionally and is more common with athletic shoes. With this form, the upper is sewn to fabric to create a sock-like look. From there, the midsole and outsole are glued on.

Direct injection is a process of injecting molten material (often polyurethane work boots) for the sole and then immediately pressing the upper onto it so they bond. This keeps the boot lightweight, flexible, and is generally stronger than cement without driving the cost as high as welting.

Goodyear welting has been around for a looooooong time and is still considered the strongest possible way to put a shoe together, the upper, midsole, and outsole are sewn together using thick, strong thread. These boots tend to be heavier and take longer to break in, but are much more durable.

Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the tools or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d actually use it ourselves, and we don’t really care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.

We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.

Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.

Pro Tool Reviews consults with innovators in the technology and design of tools to gain a broader grasp of where these products fit and how they work.

We work with more than two dozen professional contractors around the United States who review products for us on real job sites. We consult with them extensively on testing methods, categories, and practical applications.

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The end result is information you can trust because of the editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience we collectively utilize each and every time we pick up and test a tool.

Kenny holds a B.S. in Biology and a minor in chemistry. While that might not sound like a direct line into the power tool industry, his analytical and scientific mindset help him design repeatable testing methods for Pro Tool Reviews’ head-to-head testing and offer highly objective comparisons in his reviews.

Kenny’s life around power tools started early. His grandfather was an airplane mechanic in WW2 and took up woodworking as a hobby after retiring from the power industry. Building everything from bookshelves to lazy Susans, he became extremely accomplished while his young grandson observed, fascinated at the way raw wood could turn into something both beautiful and functional. In fact, Kenny still uses several pieces that his grandfather made more than 30 years ago.

At home, Kenny’s dad made the family budget stretch further by doing many DIY repairs around the house. From his dad, he was able to learn irrigation, landscaping, car maintenance, basic electrical, and more. He even rewired their bass boat for fun one weekend as a young teenager.

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