When we think about heavy duty shoes, the shoes that generally comes to mind are steel toe boots. These shoes have reinforced toes to shield the feet from hazardous flying and falling objects. With many brands available in the market now, it could be a bit difficult to choose the best steel toe boots that will fit your needs.
If you have no idea how to choose the right steel toe boots for you, then you’re lucky because we’ll be giving you buyer’s guidelines. To make your selection easy, we’ll review some popular brands for both men and women. All brands are reviewed according to the criteria of durability, safety, fit, and comfort.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Choose The Right Fit
One of the most common error in buying steel toe boots is choosing an ill-fitting one, which may be too short for your actual foot size. Though steel toes offer protection, they could be hard on your toes.
Just imagine having that steel material rubbing your toes all day long. What you should do is look for a pair of boots that is a 1/2-1 size bigger so you don’t hurt your toes with the steel.
Another reason why you end up buying a wrong fit of boots is choosing a wider width. If you must choose a wider shoe make sure that the length has to be longer, too. The length will give your toes more mobility. The key is to allow your toes to move without constraint inside the shoe.
Aim For Comfort
Comfort is quite subjective. Everyone has his/her own opinion about comfort, but generally, the most comfortable steel toe boots should be lightweight and flexible. However, steel toe boots tend to be heavy because they’re usually made from heavy duty steel to shield your feet from falling objects.
You can see how steel toe caps differ from other types of materials, like aluminum and composite in this video here.
To protect your feet from the discomfort of the steel cap, look for a soft interior fabric and softened insoles. The sole should be flexible enough to avoid restricting your feet movement. If you like to stay comfortable even in the rain, look for a water-resistant feature.
Look For Safety Features
On top of protection against crushing objects, the steel toe boots will be much desired if they also offer some great safety features, like shock absorbing technology and shafts for ankle support. A shock absorbing technology can reduce the impact that can wear away your knee joints as your foot hits the ground.
The shafts should stay firm even when you bend forward to support your ankles very well. To be safe from slippery floors, look for rubber outsoles and a non-skid traction label. With recent technology, some models of steel toe boots even go as far as offering electric hazard protection.
Invest On Durability
If you like your steel toe boots to last long as possible, invest on a 100% leather. Not only does it offer a good water resistant feature but it is also a breathable material that keeps your feet free from fungus. A durable rubber sole can also go a long way in terms of comfort and flexibility.
If you look for a durable boot construction opt for a Goodyear welt construction rather than a cement construction. Goodyear welt construction uses welt, which is a resilient strip of rubber, plastic, or leather, to hold all materials of the boot together. On the other hand, cement construction uses a special boot cement to bond the sole part to the upper part of the boot.
Our Top 3 Choices For Men
The Timberland PRO is made of leather and a synthetic sole. Starting from the arch, the shaft measures about 5.5 inches. The sole is resistant from oil and slippery floors, adding more traction against oily and wet floors.
With its Agion antimicrobial cover, your feet can stay protected from bacterial growth. Designed with a polyurethane midsole, it promises to absorb moisture and shock. This lace-up leather boot has a 1.5-inch heel to make your feet slightly elevated from the ground.
- Very durable with its Goodyear welt construction
- Steel toe construction conforms American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards
- Designed with a padded top collar for comfort
- Good sole traction-grip
- Not waterproof
- The plastic piece sewn inside is sharp and uncomfortable
- May cause bruises on your ankles if not fitted well
The Caterpillar Men’s Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot has a shaft that fully covers your ankles. It features an antiqued lacing hardware and removable foam insert. Built with a rubber sole, this boot can prevent you from slipping on any wet surfaces.
This welt constructed boot offers 200 grams of insulation for additional warmth. The padded collars provide comfort and support while the nylon mesh lining absorbs moisture well. The best feature that I like is its waterproof leather material that keeps your feet dry even in rainy weathers.
- Waterproof leather material
- Comfortable and warm
- Great sole traction ability
- Nice ankle support and fit
- Breathable lining keeps the moisture away
- Shoelace hooks seem to fall apart easily
- Size runs small
- Sole can separate from the leather over time
The Wolverine Men’s Steel Toe Raider Boot is designed with multishock absorbing compression pads in the outsole. The mesh lining keeps the moisture at bay while the rubber sole keeps you from slipping on wet floors. You can also remove the cushioned footbed for easy cleanup.
Built with a gel footbed, you can take every step with comfort. Along with a lightweight midsole, you can also feel more comfortable with its flex arch support.
- Lightweight and flexible contour welt construction
- Shock-proof and slip-resistant
- Comfortable get footbed and flex arch
- Accommodates orthotics
- Nice design
- Poor craftsmanship due to inconsistent stitching and imbalance placement of steel toes
- Soles are very hard and uncomfortable
- Boot laces may rip easily
- Not waterproof
Our Top 3 Choices For Women
The SafetyGirl Steel Toe Work Boots has a cute light pink design which is reinforced by its 100% waterproof membrane. The boots are made of nubuck leather, which is a top-grain cowhide.
These waterproof boots feature a rubber outsole that can prevent you from slipping on wet surfaces. Aside from its durable material, the laces are durable tor resist the wear and tear of daily use. So, if you look for a good-looking pair of steel toe boots, try these work boots from SafetyGirl.
- Very affordable
- Attractive color and design
- Waterproof and quite sturdy
- Rubber soles have great traction
- Not ANSI certified
- Insoles fall out easily
- Poor craftsmanship
- No cushions in the insole
The Caterpillar Echo WP ST Work Boot is made of rubber sole for anti-slip ability. The upper part of the boot is made of nubuck leather which is resistant to wear and water. It’s also certified to offer protection against any electric hazard.
In comparison to the other two boots reviewed in this category, the Caterpillar is the most lightweight for daily use. The inserts are removable so you can change them with orthotics if you want.
- Waterproof and wear-resistant
- Lightweight, durable, and rugged
- Great ankle support
- Steel toe conforms and even surpass American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards
- Not insulated for winter use
- The waterproof quality may fade over time
- A bit pricey
The Timberland PRO Women’s 72399 has a shaft that measures around 5 inches starting from the arch. Built with a synthetic sole, this boot is slip resistant. If tying laces is a difficult task for you, then the speed-lacing design will be a great benefit.
To keep your feet dry, a mesh comfort lining is designed. The polyurethane midsole and high-rebound insert offer sturdy cushioning. What I live is the full-grain leather that provides durability and flexibility to the boot.
- Comes in real sizes
- Slip resistant and comfortable
- Durable and amazing traction
- Not waterproof
- Lace can be too stiff to hurt the ankles
- The hard stitches can be uncomfortable
Based on the reviews made, the winner for the best steel toe boots for men is the Caterpillar Men’s Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot because it meets most of the desirable qualities mentioned, like durable welt construction, waterproof design, and comfortable. It is also built with the most desirable features, like slip-resistant soles, shaft support, and breathable lining.
In the women category, the winner is the Caterpillar Women’s Echo WP ST Work Boot which also features a great waterproof design. It is also the lightest among the boot choices, adding more comfort for daily use.
If you any questions or experiences to share, please post them in the comments section below. You can also share this post in the social media to help spread the knowledge of steel toe boots.
Your content here...