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Best Work Boots for Men: 10 Sturdy, Comfortable Options

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Updated January 24, 2024

Shopping for men’s boots involves a lot of considerations that include style and functionality, fashion tends to come first. However, when it comes to work boots, function absolutely comes first. This type of footwear requires a sturdiness and a durable lifespan that goes above and beyond regular wear and tear. If you’ve been searching for the perfect pair, take a look through our selections for the best work boots for men and you’re sure to find some that you love, that will last you for years.

How to choose the best work boots for men

Though they may look like hiking boots, the construction, materials, and overall fit of work boots are often very different. When choosing a pair, consider the following before buying:

Materials

“Figure out which material will hold up for the work you will be doing,” advises Dimitry Loiseau, founder and chief editor of REGARD magazine. “You can find work boots in a range of materials used to construct uppers, insulations, linings, or insulation.” Also consider a steel toe (even if your workplace doesn’t specifically require them), which adds extra protection.

Thickness

“Select boots with adequate insulation if you’re needing an extra layer of warmth and plan to work outdoors,” says Loiseau. “If your work isn’t outdoors this might not be as important to you, unless you’re also looking to protect your foot from the work you’re doing, say in construction, where you may [also] need a metal toe to protect your toes.”

Soles

“Slip-resistant soles provide snow and ice traction during snowfall or ice conditions,” says Loiseau. “You want to find a sole that has a good grip based on the conditions you’ll be working in.”

Construction quality

“Be conscious of stitching quality and seam strength to ensure the long-term use and durability of construction-quality boots,” says Loiseau. “Sometimes this can be an initial splurge, but over time it's worth the investment because your boots will last you longer.”

Cleaning and storing options

“You want your boots to stay in good condition for use during off-season months, so they can last you and you’re not having to purchase new boots every season,” says Loiseau. “Taking care of your boots goes a long way.”

Fit

“Make sure to try on the boots before purchasing to make sure you’re getting a good fit and it's not too tight or loose in any areas,” finishes Loiseau. “This is really important if your feet have wide soles or require additional arch and ankle support.”

Our top picks for best work boots for men

Best affordable work boots for men: Columbia Men's Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boots

It can be off-putting to spend a lot of money on a pair of boots that are destined to get trashed, even if they’re doing their solemn duty and keeping your feet safe. For a more affordable option, Loiseau recommends Columbia’s Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boots, explaining that they “provide great insulation, traction, and overall quality at an amazingly cost effective price point.” The traction was so great, the Fairbanks model also made our list of the best winter boots for men.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: No
  • Material: Upper, Durable Cordura; midsole, Techlite; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $97.50

What we like:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Waterproof
  • Available in standard and wide sizes

What we don’t:

  • No toe protection

The bottom line:

A good value, sturdy work boot that’ll keep the worst of the weather out, too.

Best affordable work boots for men
Columbia Men s Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot-

Columbia Men s Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot-

Best lightweight work boots for men: Keen Utility Lansing Steel-Toe Work Boot

Not every pair of work boots needs to be heavy enough to make your feet drag. If you need to be a little lighter on your toes, Keen makes a lightweight work boot worth checking out. “It’s a work boot with mesh inserts, allowing for maximum breathability,” says Charles Fratto, style director for ILOE Studios. “It gives them a sense of being lighter than air as you wear them.” Shopping tip: Keen also made our list for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: 24.97 ounces
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Upper, waterproof leather; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $145

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Steel toe

What we don’t:

  • A minority of customer reviews raise concerns about longevity

The bottom line:

Lightweight, sturdy, waterproof boots for those needing a little more maneuverability.

Best lightweight work boots for men
KEEN Men's Lansing Mid Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boots, Size 10, Cascade Brown

KEEN Men's Lansing Mid Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boots, Size 10, Cascade Brown

Best steel toe work boots for men: Timberland Men's Pit Boss 6" Steel Toe Work Boot

If you’re working around a lot of heavy equipment or supplies, it’s vital to make sure your toes are protected from drops, wheels, and whatever other perils are headed your way. That’s why Loiseau suggests checking out these sturdy steel toe boots from Timberland. “These boots protect you and are durable,” he says. “They’re also extremely comfortable, so your feet won't get worn out.” Shopping tip: Timberland also made our list of the best shoes for standing all day.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: No
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Upper, Nubuck leather; midsole, polyurethane; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $145

What we like:

  • Available in three colors
  • Sizes come in medium or wide
  • Rugged

What we don’t:

  • Not waterproof

The bottom line:

An extremely sturdy, protective, yet comfortable pair of work boots from a classic brand.

Best steel toe work boots for men
Timberland Men's Pit Boss 6" Steel Toe Work Boot

Timberland Men's Pit Boss 6" Steel Toe Work Boot

Best winter work boots for men: Baffin Men's Impact Insulated Boots

For those up to their ears in work, but also up to their knees in snow, a hefty pair of warming, insulated work boots is required. “Baffin Impact Insulated Boots provide exceptional warmth in extreme cold conditions and are also extra comfortable,” says Loiseau. They’re also stylish enough to go with any of the best winter jackets and coats for men.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15
  • Weight: 3.71 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: No
  • Material: Shell, Arctic rubber; midsole, EVA; sole, Polar rubber
  • Price on publish: $250

What we like:

  • Snowshoe compatible
  • Insulated
  • Breathable

What we don’t:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

A high, warm, weatherproof boot for getting stuff done whatever the season throws at you.

Best winter work boots for men
Impact Snow Boot - Men's

Impact Snow Boot - Men's

Best waterproof work boots for men: Timberland Direct Attach Steel-Toe Work Boot

Wet feet are no fun at the best of times, but when you’re slogging your guts out outdoors, they’re a killer. Keep your dogs dry with these chunky offerings from Timberland. They come recommended by Fratto, who says that, “boasting some 400 grams of insulation, these boots are perfect for keeping out the cold and wet while providing support with quadruple-stitched durability.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Upper, Nubuck leather; midsole, polyurethane; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $165

What we like:

  • Waterproof
  • Steel toe
  • Available in medium and wide sizes

What we don’t:

  • Only one color option

The bottom line:

A high, sturdy, waterproof boot with a reinforced steel toe to keep you protected in all kinds of environments.

Best waterproof work boots for men
Timberland Direct Attach Steel-Toe Work Boot

Timberland Direct Attach Steel-Toe Work Boot

Best comfortable work boots for men: Duradero 6 Inch Moc Toe Boot

For something that’ll keep your feet comfortable and safe, Fratto suggests taking a look at the cushioned, supportive Moc Toe boot from Duradero. “Safety and comfort are at the forefront with these boots, especially with their boot servicing program, which really makes this a winner,” he says.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-14, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: No
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Full-grain leather
  • Price on publish: $200

What we like:

  • Comfortable
  • Free repairs–sole replacement, new insole and laces, reconditioned leather

What we don’t:

  • Not waterproof

The bottom line:

A comfy but intensely practical pair of boots that, thanks to Duradero’s boot servicing program, should last you twice as long as other pairs.

Best comfortable work boots for men
Duradero 6 Inch Moc Toe Boot

Duradero 6 Inch Moc Toe Boot

Best slip-on work boots for men: Carhartt Traditional Welt Waterproof 10” Wellington

Always a good option to check out for work boots, Carhartt is a brand that Loiseau praises for being trustworthy and dependable. (The brand has also made our lists for the best flannel shirts for men, best white t-shirts for men, and the best hoodies for men.) His pick of their slip-on work boots are these Traditional Welt Wellingtons. “These boots are easy to get on and ready to protect you against all weather,” he says. “They’re waterproof and are made from great quality fabrics.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 8-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: No
  • Material: Upper, oil-tanned leather with suede leather shaft; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $142.49

What we like:

  • Easy to pull on and off
  • Waterproof
  • Available in medium and wide sizes

What we don’t:

  • Only one color option

The bottom line:

A stylish, practical wellington boot designed to keep the water out.

Best slip-on work boots for men
Carhartt Traditional Welt Waterproof 10” Wellington

Carhartt Traditional Welt Waterproof 10” Wellington

Best Chelsea work boots for men: Kodiak McKinney Composite Toe Chelsea Safety Work Boot

When checking out the best Chelsea boots for men, take a moment to admire this waterproof, oil-proof, and slip-proof safety work boot from Kodiak. “They have the utilitarian benefits of a work boot with the classic styling of a Chelsea boot, which makes these a perfect option for a boot with style,” enthuses Fratto. Maybe you won’t be wearing them with dress pants, but they do look good!

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Upper, full-grain waterproof leather; midsole, OrthoLite comfort foam; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $179.99

What we like:

  • Convenient
  • Practical

What we don’t:

  • Runs a little large

The bottom line:

A great option for those who want to rock a Chelsea boot in a more demanding environment.

Best Chelsea work boots for men
Kodiak McKinney Composite Toe Chelsea Safety Work Boot

Kodiak McKinney Composite Toe Chelsea Safety Work Boot

Best work boots for plantar fasciitis: Keen Men's Milwaukee 6" (Steel Toe)

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis (an inflammation of the tissues in your foot), it’s vital to buy a work boot that will provide adequate support. “A boot with superior arch protection is a must for those with plantar fasciitis and these boots offer that and so much more,” says Fratto. Featuring an all-terrain sole, steel toe, and water-repellent outer shell, it’s a serious boot for serious jobs.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7-15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: 37.18 ounces
  • Waterproof: Water repellent
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Upper, leather; midsole, EVA and PU; sole, rubber
  • Price on publish: $175

What we like:

  • Built-in heel and arch support
  • Comfortable
  • Sturdy
  • Available in regular and wide sizes

What we don’t:

  • Only one color option

The bottom line:

A comfortable, supportive boot with a ton of features to make it extra durable.

Best work boots for plantar fasciitis
Keen Men's Milwaukee 6" (Steel Toe)

Keen Men's Milwaukee 6" (Steel Toe)

Best composite toe work boots for men: Ariat Stump Jumper 8" BOA Waterproof Composite Toe Work Boot

Those looking for serious toe protection without the extra weight of steel toe caps should consider looking at composite options. Ariat’s Stump Jumper boot features a composite toe made from non-metallic materials, which is not only more lightweight, but more comfortable seasonally, since it won’t heat up as much as steel in the summer, or carry the cold in the winter months. The boot itself also has a fun design, with multiple eye-catching details. Shopping tip: Ariat also made our list for the best cowboy boots for men.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 15, half sizes through 11.5
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Toe reinforcement: Yes
  • Material: Full grain leather outer, polyester lining
  • Price on publish: $269.95

What we like:

  • Available in medium and wide options
  • ASTM-rated toe protection
  • Electric shock resistance

What we don’t:

  • Only available in one color

The bottom line:

A seriously protective boot using modern, lightweight materials to keep you safe.

Best composite toe work boots for men
Ariat Stump Jumper 8" BOA Waterproof Composite Toe Work Boot

Ariat Stump Jumper 8" BOA Waterproof Composite Toe Work Boot

How we selected the best work boots for men

We made our selections through a rigorous combination of personal experience, listening to the advice of our two style experts, Dimitry Loiseau and Charles Fratto, and checking that everything on our list has overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, especially when it comes to longevity, comfort, and value for money.

Tips for cleaning and storage

“To remove any dirt and debris from your work boots, use warm soapy water and a soft cloth on the outside of the boot,” says Fratto. “Once all the dirt is removed, use a clean cloth to clean and remove any residual suds. If you have leather boots then it’s recommended that you use a leather conditioner, preferably one intended for boots. Once completely dry, store in an air-circulating area so as to avoid any excess humidity or moisture in the air.”

How to maintain waterproofing and insulation for winter boots

“Stick with manufacturer instructions when it comes to waterproofing boots,” advises Loiseau. “Using specific products could help prolong the waterproof fabric, as well as the insulation, which must remain free from mold and mildew build-up in order to remain in their best possible shape and remain comfortable.”

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between work boots and safety boots?

“Generally, the main difference between work boots and safety boots is that work boots tend to be made of sturdier materials, have a higher ankle support, and have some sort of toe protection, such as steel,” explains Fratto. “Safety boots are pretty similar, though they tend to be lighter and, while still offering toe protection, they are usually made with different materials other than steel.”

Who makes the best steel toe work boot?

Timberland is a classic and dependable choice,” says Loiseau. It’s also worth checking out options from Keen, Columbia, The North Face, Carhartt, Backcountry, Dicks Sporting Goods, and Muck Boot Company.

Should I size up or down for steel toe boots?

“You should look for the best fitting steel toe boots to ensure the highest standard of safety,” says Fratto. “The toe box should be comfortably snug while still allowing space to avoid feeling cramped. The length of the boot should align with your natural gait so your foot fits with the boot’s break line as you walk. And ideally you should have minimal (or no) lifting of your heel as you walk.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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