Clothing > Footwear

15 Best Work Boots for Men to Tackle Any Job

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated November 29, 2023

15 Best Work Boots for Men to Tackle Any Job
Courtesy of KEEN

Work boots aren’t just for tradies anymore.

It’s safe to say that all guys could use a pair of work boots—for those home renovations or DIY jobs, for the work days you’ve got to help a buddy fix up his house, and the list goes on.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • Safety matters most. When on a job site, you’ll be exposed to a lot of hazards—from flying nails to exposed screw tips to spinning saws to live electrical wires. Features like EH-rating, a safety toe (steel or composite), and puncture-resistant material will go a long way toward keeping your feet healthy.
  • Comfort strikes a close second. You’re going to be on your feet all day, and those days can feel long if you’re moving fast and hauling a lot of supplies (which was inevitably my job). Proper arch support, ankle support, and cushioning for your feet will go a long way toward making every day less fatiguing.
  • Always consider waterproofing. Chances are, you’re going to have to keep working even if it starts raining, and you’ll end up working in muddy conditions or around spilled liquids. Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry and far more comfortable over a long, wet working day.

Like a great pair of work pants, work boots provide the protection you need for a hard day’s labor while also providing all-day comfort.

Take it from someone who’s served on his fair share of work crews: a good pair is absolutely game-changing.

I’ve also written an article detailing the best steel toe boots for guys in hazardous work settings.

Best Overall Work Boot

Thorogood 1957 Series Briar Pitstop Safety Shoe

Why did I choose it?

Think of their higher price tag as a smart investment in your future on the job. Not only are these boots incredibly rugged and incorporate all the necessary safety features to make them suitable for any work site, but they’re handsome and comfortable right out of the box. A pair of boots you’ll be proud to wear all day, every day for years to come.


Best Heavy-duty Work Boot
Keen Cincinnati 6" Waterproof Composite Toe Boot

Best Cowboy Work Boots
Ariat Groundbreaker Wide Square Toe Steel Toe Work Boot

Best Inexpensive Work Boot
Timberland PRO Men's Pit Boss 6 Inch Soft Toe Work Boot

Best Tall Pull-on Work Boot
Timberland PRO Helix HD Pull On Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

Best Work Boots for Wet Environments
Muck Boot Company CHORE MID BOOT

Best Hiker-style Work Boot
Keen Pittsburgh 6" Waterproof Steel Toe Boot


Best Overall Work Boot

Thorogood 1957 Series Briar Pitstop Safety Shoe


$275
 

With Thorogood, you can expect quality and reliability at a slightly higher price. But well worth it, I promise you.

The Briar Pitstop is a work boot that combines form and function to striking effect: not only are they sturdy, waterproof, supportive, and have all the necessary safety features, but the high shaft, moc toe, and wedge sole will give you a stylish look.

The full grain leather also has a really rich, eye-catching pattern that will only grow more beautiful as you use it. Sure, they’re work boots, but who says you can’t look handsome on the job?





Best Heavy-duty Work Boot

Keen Cincinnati 6" Waterproof Composite Toe Boot


$195
 

Keen is one of my go-to brands for workwear, and after 2+ years of wearing the Cincinnatis on the job, a top contender for my favorite footwear, too.

Though built for heavy-duty use, these boots are surprisingly lightweight—great for when I need to move fast, scale ladders, or haul supplies across the work site.

They’re waterproof, feature a lightweight composite safety toe, have both an electrical hazard rating and oil- and slip-resistance, and are even resistant to barnyard chemicals so I can use them in rural environments. But what really clinches it for me is the Luftcell midsole, which is infused with microscopic air bubbles to provide amazing support and enough cushioning to keep foot fatigue at bay.





Best Cowboy Work Boots

Ariat Groundbreaker Wide Square Toe Steel Toe Work Boot


$165
 

The Ariat Groundbreakers are my top pick for cowboy work boots. I appreciate the elegant stitching on the vamp, the convenient pull-on design, and the classic cowboy styling, but honestly, I love them because of how comfortable they are.

Ariat’s All Day Cushioning insole does an amazing job of both reducing impact and softening up the footbed to prevent foot fatigue.

Thanks to the 4LR technology incorporated into the boot, they’re more stable and still offer good heel, arch, and ankle support despite their lack of laces.

Add to that a wide square toe that accommodates my wider-than-average feet, and they’re the cowboy work boots I’ll always reach for when farming & ranching.





Best Inexpensive Work Boot

Timberland PRO Men's Pit Boss 6 Inch Soft Toe Work Boot


$100
 

Most people think “style” when they picture Timberland boots, but these Pit Boss boots are great for rough-and-rugged work use. They’re soft-toe so they’re not suited for all job sites, better instead for DIY home renovations and working in your garage.

Thanks to their thick padding around the top collar, they’ll grip your ankles tightly for a snug fit that never feels too tight. Treat them right, and the nubuck leather will look gorgeous for years to come.





Best Tall Pull-on Work Boot

Timberland PRO Helix HD Pull On Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot


$210
 

If I’m heading out into muddy, rainy, or slushy environments, I’ll typically reach for these Timberland boots.

The Pro Helix boots are crafted in the pull-on style, but with a higher (ten-inch) shaft that offers more protection against both on-the-job hazards and falling rain.

The boots are fully waterproof with a breathable membrane that does wonders to keep my feet cool and dry even if the days are muggy and hot.

The addition of a carbon toe and EH rating makes them suitable for any job site. Features like ExoSpine technology, an integrated fiberglass shank, and anti-fatigue polyurethane footbed make them very stable, supportive, and comfortable for long hours spent on your feet.





Best Work Boots for Wet Environments

Muck Boot Company CHORE MID BOOT


$120
 

If it has been raining for days or it’s early spring and the job site is full of snowmelt run-off, the Chore Mid Boot by the Muck Boot Company is an absolute winner.

The Wellington-style boots offer total waterproofing, from the rubber upper and shaft to the neoprene inner lining to the rubber outsole. The boots can be easily hosed off or dunked in a bucket at the end of a muddy work day to get them clean in seconds, and the pull-tab on the back makes it easy to slide them on and off.

Because they’re a pull-on boot, they don’t offer quite as much ankle support as I’d like, but they more than make up for it with the heel and arch support and thickly cushioned footbed.





Best Hiker-style Work Boot

Keen Pittsburgh 6" Waterproof Steel Toe Boot


$150
 

Keen built the Pittsburghs for work—hence the heavy-duty steel toe, solid waterproofing, and oil- and slip-resistance—but to me, they feel like they could be a pair of hiking boots.

The full-length interlocking torsional plate does an amazing job of keeping my feet stable and steady on uneven terrain, whether that’s a debris-strewn demo site or a sloping rooftop.

The 90-degree heel offers good support, too, and almost cradles my heels so my feet don’t slide or shift inside my boots.

Thanks to the speed hooks, it’s easy to lace up the boots in a hurry but still get a nice snug fit for a hard day’s work. Though not the lightest of the boots on this list, they’re definitely one of the most comfortable and versatile.






Blundstone #587 Chelsea Boot


$220
 

Let’s be honest: it’s hard to find a Chelsea-style boot more comfortable than Blunds. Every pair of Blundstones I’ve tested has amazing cushioning (thanks to the Poron XRD cushioning), great arch support, excellent traction, and stylish good looks.

What makes the 587s worth adding onto my list, though, is their choice of leather. While other Blunds have a smooth, glossy leather, the 587s use a rougher-looking leather that shows less wear and tear.

I’ll be the first to admit they’re not the best for all tradies—they don’t have a safety toe or EH rating—but for any casual day worker or home DIYer, they’re the most comfortable work boots you’ll ever wear.






Red Wing Traction Tred Light


$250
 

Red Wing makes some of the toughest, most reliable boots I’ve ever worn off the job site, so when I found they also made work boots, I had to give them a try.

The Traction Tred Lites are a five-inch Chukka-style boot with a safety toe, resistance to slips, oil, gas, and chemicals, and a chunky Vibram wedge outsole with aggressive tread and great support and cushioning.

The suede leather looks stylish but can stand up to a beating on the job. Thanks to their slip-on design (including convenient front and rear pull tabs), they’re easy to slide on in the morning and kick off at night.

I can wear them all day long and end my work shift with far less foot fatigue than heavier, less padded boots. They’re built for heavy-duty use, but only medium-duty weight.






Wolverine Hellcat Ultraspring 6" Carbonmax Work Boot


$70
 

Wolverine is one of the best budget-friendly brands I’ve tested. None of their work boots break the bank—all solidly in the $75 to $150 range—but still deliver performance and protection on par with higher-priced boots.

The Hellcats are my favorite of their offerings by a wide margin. I love the all-weather protection, the light weight, grippy deep-lug outsole, full-cushioned footbed, and waterproofing combined with the breathable membrane.

But what really makes it a boot worth wearing is the Ultraspring outsole. The high-rebound ETPU doesn’t just reduce impact; it actually gives you extra spring in your step by maximizing energy transfer as you walk and climb. I’ve yet to find a boot that feels as “high-energy” as these bad boys.






Carhartt Men's Traditional Welt 6" Steel Toe Work Boot


$120
 

Carhartt is a household name among tradies in Canada and the U.S., and for good reason. Their workwear and footwear are insanely tough, built specifically for on-the-job use, flexible, and comfortable.

These steel toed boots more than live up to the brand’s high standards, featuring a steel safety toe, EH rating, and both a comfort insole and thick padding to reduce foot fatigue. Their Goodyear welt construction ensures they can stand up to heavy-duty daily use whether you’re swinging a hammer or wielding a chainsaw.

Best of all, the FastDry Technology incorporated into the lining wicks away sweat and does wonders to prevent swampy, stinky feet.






Brunt Marin Comp Toe


$149
 

I fell in love with the Brunt Marins because they look and feel exactly like my favorite Red Wing Classic Mocs, but with all the work-specific features that make them suitable for on-the-job use.

The chunky wedge outsole is grippy and, together with the triple-layered premium insole, offer amazing padding for long days spent on my feet. The composite toe is lighter than a steel toe but still offers good protection against impacts, punctures, and falling objects.

Though they’re fully waterproof (triple-layer waterproofing, in fact!), they’re breathable enough I can wear them even in the blistering peak of summer without overheating.

Really, just an all-around handsome and practical pair of work boots I’ll wear into the ground—then buy another pair.






CAT Second Shift Waterproof Work Boot


$125
 

CAT makes most of the heavy-duty machinery operating on the job sites I work, so it makes sense they’d also make heavy-duty work gear and footwear, too.

The Second Shift work boots deliver everything I’d expect from the brand: industrial-grade materials, superior traction, solid construction, excellent resilience to the environment, protection against all the on-site hazards, and tech-forward comfort. Add to that a very reasonable price tag, and they’re a pair of work boots I’ll recommend to anyone who asks.






Bogs Sauvie Chelsea II


$100
 

These aren’t the sort of work boots I’d usually buy—when I go Chelsea style, Blunds are my top pick—but after testing them, I believe they’re worth recommending.

Though a bit on the chunkier and clunkier side, they’re unbeatable for working in wet and muddy environments.

Their waterproofing is best-in-class, they offer good comfort and cushioning, and their highly aggressive traction will keep you from slipping in mud or slush. If the forecast calls for a long day of rain, I’ll slide into my BOGS every time.






SUREWAY Heavy Duty Steel Toe Work Boots


$90
 

Looking for something a bit more heavy-duty? Give these steel-toed boots by SUREWAY a try. Crafted from thick, premium full grain leather and a tough rubber sole, they’re rugged enough to withstand hardcore use on the job whether you’re cutting lumber, framing, drywalling, or roofing.

The boots are a bit on the heavier side, sure, but they feel thick, solid, and tough, not to mention offer plenty of protection from the usual on-site hazards. Plus, at under $100, they’re wonderfully affordable.




11 Types of Work Boots

Before we dive into my list, I want to take a moment to talk about all the various boot types that exist. There are a lot—more than most people realize.

Each type of work boot serves a specific purpose or is designed to accommodate a certain preference. Understanding the various types can help you find the boot that suits your job, working conditions, comfort, and style choices best.

Standard: The standard work boot has a high shaft (six to ten inches), composite or steel safety toe (OSHA-required), often an electrical hazard rating for the rubber outsole (also OSHA-required), and a thick, supportive midsole with good padding on the footbed.
Pull On: Designed with no laces, these are quick and easy to slide in and out of. Typically, they’ll have less ankle support than your standard work boot, though. It’s a trade-off: less support, more convenience.
Soft Toe: Soft toe work boots don’t have either a composite or steel safety toe, so may not be suitable on all job sites. However, for a basic DIY renovation, they’re lighter and much more comfortable to wear.
Cowboy: If you’re working on a farm, ranching, riding, or working in a rural environment, cowboy work boots are the go-to. They’re typically supportive, comfortable, and built to be resistant to barnyard acids and chemicals. Not to mention they’re nice and stylish, too.
Moc Toe: Moc Toe work boots will have all the safety features of the standard boot, but with a moccasin toe and usually a thick wedge sole. They’re a stylish choice that also offer good support and cushioning for heavier guys (like me).
Logger: Logger boots are designed for logging, which typically involves working around whirring saws, falling trees, and uneven terrain. They typically have a higher shaft (eight to twelve inches), a waterproof and puncture-resistant construction, high ankle support, a raised heel, a steel shank in the outsole, and very aggressive lugs.
Chelsea: Chelsea work boots are just work boots crafted in the Chelsea style, with the pull tabs and elastic sidewalls that make them easy to pull on and off. A wonderful blend of form and function.
Chukka: Chukka work boots are cut lower (just a little taller than shoes) but still incorporate the standard safety features. They’re more of a “style” choice than anything, but they can keep your feet looking snazzy while on the job.
Wellington: Wellingtons (or “wellies”) are full-height (ten to twelve-inch) boots that feature full waterproofing, chunky soles, excellent traction, and ample cushioning. They’re typically pull-on boots intended to use in rainy and wet environments.
Low Top: Also sometimes called a “work shoe”, these have all the safety, comfort, and performance features of a work boot, but without the full boot shaft. They wear and look more like a heavy-duty shoe than a boot and are great if you’re working a highly active job.
Rubber Boots: For wet and muddy conditions, nothing beats the protection of a full rubber boot. Different heights area available depending on the chore at hand.

With so many boots to choose from, it can be hard to know which is the best.

But you’re in luck: I’ve done the work for you.

During my younger years working construction, I got a bit obsessed with finding the perfect work boots. I talked to everyone on my crew, tested every pair I could get my feet into, and combed through hundreds of reviews.

Based on my research, I’ve put together a list of the best work boots to use for any work site, any trade, and any personal preference.

Looking for casual boots? Like the kind you can wear for a night out? Check out our guide to the best men’s boots




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