Best Men's Work Boots

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

Men’s work boots offer both protection and comfort for guys today. Our shopping guide helps you buy the right pair for you.

BEST MEN’S
WORK BOOTS 2018

BOTTOM LINE

With more than 3,000 reviews posted on Amazon alone and an average star rating of more than four stars, it’s not surprising that these are our top choice. The PRO has a steel toe and padded collars for safety and comfort.

PROS

Nylon plates inside these boots absorb shocks and push those shocks away from your feet. The PRO also has a lighter design with each boot weighing just over 1.5 pounds.

CONS

A few men found that the boots had a tight fit or felt stiff until they broke in their pairs. Some men also wished that the boots came in wider sizes.

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to a rugged design and a great sole, the Raider from Wolverine will help you stay safe and comfortable at work. The real leather is resistant to damage, while the soles grip to the slickest of surfaces.

PROS

With a specially designed tread on the sole, these boots do a great job of sticking to any wet surface. The sole, as well as the upper, is resistant to scratches and other common types of damage.

CONS

The hooks used on these boots might be too weak to keep your laces tied. Some men also complained about the overall quality of the boots and said they started falling apart quickly.

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for any type of job, this work boot from Carhartt has a rubber sole that keeps your feet dry and leather that moves in time with your body. The manufacturer added several layers of padding for extra comfort too.

PROS

The rugged flex technology designed by Carhartt ensures that the boots move as you move and that the leather stretches to give you more comfort. You’ll also like the rubber sole that absorbs shocks and blocks water.

CONS

A few reviewers complained that these boots weren’t as comfortable as they expected. We also heard that a few customers thought the boots had some quality issues.

BOTTOM LINE

Red Wing designed the Heritage Classic for men who want to put their stylish feet forward. Though the boots offer lots of protection on the job, they also have a great design for wearing around town.

PROS

These more stylish boots are suitable for wearing at work and on date nights. Made from leather, each boot has a traction sole with a slight platform and a larger opening for more convenient wear.

CONS

Some men found that the boots were better for those narrow soles than those with wider feet. A few customers also received the wrong color too.

BOTTOM LINE

With two colors to choose from and a classic design, these Dickies work boots will fit any man. The boots also have a slip-resistant sole that will keep you from falling and sliding as you walk.

PROS

A quilted collar inside and a soft insole ensure that these boots fit your feet comfortably in any situation. The rubber sole grips to most surfaces, including slick surfaces, to help you maintain your balance.

CONS

A few men wished that Dickies used metal hooks instead of flaps on this boot. Some guys also complained that the boots wore out within a year.

Shopping Guide for the Best Men's Work Boots

No matter how much time you spend on your feet every day, you need the best men’s work boots on your feet. These boots not only offer the support that you need, but they also keep you safe on the job site. Whether you work in construction or spend days working in the homes of clients, you should look at the best men’s work boots of 2018. Our list of the top boots for the year includes those from names you know such as Timberland and Dickie’s. You’ll also find that the top men’s work boots of the year are suitable for all types of guys and have approval from OSHA.

When you accept a new job in certain industries, employers expect you to bring the necessary tools and supplies to the site. This can include wrenches and any other tools that you might need as well as protective gear such as boots. Many pairs feature a steel toe that can resist impacts and keep heavy objects from crushing your feet. We’ll talk about some alternatives to steel toe boots in the following section and give you more information about work boots for men, including average prices and the top features.

Shopping Guide for the Best Men_s Work Boots

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Selection Criteria

We looked at more than 40 different pairs of work boots to find the best models for our readers. To create this list and the shopping guide that follows, we used both Amazon and the highest ranked pages on the web. Not only did we look at guides and OSHA standards, but we also looked at brand new products that just landed in 2018 and models from past years. That helped us see what manufacturers did to improve the designs that offered and to see what the top features of each pair included.

Once we narrowed down our list to the top 20 pairs of work boots, we used Amazon and the reviews that customers there posted. We wanted to see what they thought about fit and comfort as well as how long the pairs they bought lasted and how often they wore their boots. That research helped us find 10 boots worthy of our list. We then looked at average star ratings and reviews to pick the five best options. None of the boots on our list have a rating of fewer than four stars. Many have an even higher rating. You’ll want to read our product descriptions and check out our chart before reading the rest of our shopping guide to find the best men’s work boots for you.

Selection Criteria

Features We Looked at in Work Boots

Sole design
Exterior/upper materials
Price
Durability 
Customer reviews

The Timberland PRO gets our choice as the best work boot for men available today. With a range of sizes and colors available, this is one of the only boots that allows you to pick the right option for you based on your budget and size. Made from leather like many of the boots on our list, the PRO has a lacing system that uses both eyelets and hooks that ensure your boots always stay laced. It also has a rubber sole with a platform design that gives you more height and helps you feel secure and solid as you walk.

Best of the Best Timberland PRO Steel Toe Work Boots
Timberland PRO Steel Toe Work Boots

As one of the lightest boots on the market, the PRO weighs only 1.58 pounds. That allows you to walk as fast as you need and even break into a run without feeling pulled down. A midsole made from polyurethane adds more padding to the design to help you feel more comfortable during a long shift. You’ll also find a nylon plate inside each boot that diffuses any shocks and keeps your feet and legs from absorbing those vibrations. Also called the Pit Boss, this boot features uppers made from real leather and padded collars that add to that comfortable feel.

What is a Work Boot?

If you found our shopping guide when hunting for a good pair of work boots, you might think that you already know all the features of this type of boot. No matter how much experience you have in the construction industry or a related industry though, you may not know what a work boot really is. Some manufacturers will take any boot that has a leather exterior and a good tread and call it a work boot. If you decide to buy a pair that we didn’t include on our list, you must exercise caution. You may find yourself buying a pair that can’t keep up with the physical demands of your job or one that doesn’t offer the support and traction that you need.

Work boots are available for both men and women because of the growing number of women now working in physically demanding fields. Boots designed for men can come in both full and half sizes, though full sizes are more common. Most have a platform sole with a detailed tread pattern on the bottom. When you walk, this tread grips to the surface that you walk on or over. Work boots will also have intricate lacing systems that keep the laces from coming loose in the middle of the day.

Engineer Boots

First introduced in the 20th century, engineer boots are shoes designed for those who spent a lot of time on their feet. Engineer boots today often feature a leather exterior and have hooks and eyelets that let you lace the boot all the way up to your knee.

What is a Work Boot

The Raider from Dickies is a great option for men who want a boot with a classic design and a comfortable fit. Available in two colors, this boot has an extended arch that gives you more support. You can choose a classic work boot in a wheat color or pick a darker black leather version that will hide any of the dirt that you pick up on a daily basis. It also features a quilted collar on the inside that acts as padding to cushion your feet.

Best for the Money Dickies Raider Steel Toe Work Shoes
Dickies Raider Steel Toe Work Shoes

The Raider has a synthetic sole with an outer layer of rubber. This sole has a slip-resistant design that keeps you from slipping and sliding as you work. The tread pattern on the bottom grips tightly to any type of ground or floor that you encounter to ensure that you have the grip and the balance that you need. Unlike other manufacturers that use hooks, Dickies uses metal flaps on the top of these boots. As you lace them up, you can use those flaps to keep the laces from coming untied. The Raider features insoles made from memory foam too. Those insoles both absorb shocks and cushion your feet during the longest of shifts.

Benefits of New Work Boots

  • Traction: No matter where you work or what you do on the job, you should seriously consider wearing work boots because of the traction provided. You should look at the tread pattern to ensure that the boot will work on the surfaces you encounter every day.
  • Shock absorption: Every time you take a step, you put pressure on the sole of your feet. When you walk across harder surfaces such as concrete or cement, the shock of your feet hitting that surface can extend up through your legs and cause some pain and discomfort. Work boots do a good job of absorbing those shocks.
  • Toe protection: We’ll talk more about the types of toes that these boots later, but you should know that this feature protects your toes from injuries. The top boots have a toe that won’t break when you drop something on it.
  • Lasting comfort: Work boots do not simply feel comfortable when you put on a pair or when you wear those boots during the day. You’ll also experience a comfort that lasts long after you finish a shift. The best pairs will reduce fatigue in your legs and keep your feet from cramping. This will help you feel more comfortable as you relax at home.

Who Needs Work Boots?

Best Standard Work Boot Wolverine Men_s Raider Boots

If you ever spent any time working in construction, the chances are good that you wore and used Wolverine products before. The Raider from Wolverine is one of the top work boots for any man who wants to feel comfortable and secure. We think the best feature of this boot is its sole. That sole features a combination of tread patterns that give you more traction than almost any other boot. Even if you walk across a wet tiled floor, the tread will grip to that surface and keep you safe. You can also use these boots when working outside in the rain or the snow.

Wolverine used a combination of hooks and eyelets that let you lace this boot quickly and make it fit as loosely or as tightly as you need. The Raider comes with a specially designed insole that absorbs shocks when walking across different surfaces and keeps those shocks from impacting your feet and legs. It also has a platform heel that gives you a little extra height, which can come in handy in certain situations. We like that Wolverine offers the Raider in a small number of half sizes too because most manufacturers only use full sizes.

Anatomy of a Work Boot – Parts You Should Know

When you first look at a work boot, you probably notice the upper and little else. The upper refers to the outer area of the shoe and will usually feature leather. There are many different parts found in a work boot though. We’ll go over these parts now, but you can also look at the graphic following this section to see where each part is on the boot.

  • Shaft: The shaft is the portion of the boot that actually wraps around your calf and lower leg. Some manufacturers refer to this as a quarter.
  • Arch: In the same way that arch refers to the bottom middle portion of your foot, the arch on a shoe refers to this same area. It’s the part of the bottom that your own arch sits on.
  • Tongue: The tongue is the part of the boot that covers the front of your leg and extends down to your toes. You can usually adjust the tongue and lift it away from the bottom when putting it on.
  • Collar: Work boots feature a collar, which is the part that wraps around the top of your leg and fits on top of the shaft. Most manufacturers use a soft material in the collar and add some padding to it.
  • Sole: The sole of a work boot actually consists of different parts. There is the outsole, which is the outer portion of the sole, and the midsole that sits between the outer and inner layers.
Anatomy of a Work Boot – Parts You Should Know

Our top choice for the best composite toe boot is the model from Carhartt, which has a solid reputation in the industry. This boot features an upper made entirely from 100% leather and multiple layers of padding inside. Though it doesn’t come in as many colors or designs as other boots do, the manufacturer still gives you two different choices. Both versions use a deep and dark shade of brown leather that won’t show dirt or damage, as well as lighter colors, can. In addition to eyelets that work with the laces, Carhartt also allows you to tighten the boots even more as you thread the laces through metal snaps at the top.

The top feature about this boot that many men like is its rugged flex technology. Carhartt designed this technology specifically for men who spend a lot of time on their feet and those who constantly bend and flex. The technology allows the leather to bend and flex with each movement that you make. Though we like the leather used on the outside of the boot, we like the padding inside just as much. Not only does Carhartt give you a padded tongue, but it also added multiple layers of padding inside to help you feel comfortable.

What is Inside a Work Boot?

Knowing the parts found inside a work boot is important because you want to know what each part does and how it protects or adds to your comfort. The interior parts of a boot usually include all of the following.

  • Insole: One of the most important parts found inside a work boot is the insole. This is the part of the boot that cushions your foot and adds to your overall comfort. Some companies now make insoles that you can remove for washing and airing out.
  • Lining: Many work boots made today have a lining that attaches to the leather shaft and exterior. This liner might use fleece that helps you stay warmer. Many use ordinary cotton though because it has a soft texture and can help you regulate your temperature.
  • Toe cap: The toe cap of the boot refers to the cap placed inside that surrounds your toes. Located inside the toe box, it can use metal or aluminum. Some companies now use a composite material that offers nearly as much protection as metal does.
  • Heel padding: Some work boots now come with extra padding around the heel too. The heel is the part of the boot that supports your own heel. That extra padding can help the boot fit better and more comfortably.
What is Inside a Work Boot

Many men trust the name Red Wing because the company has a long history of making boots and shoes for men that last a long time. Its Heritage Classic Moc is no exception to this rule. The Heritage Classic has all the features you need in a work boot but also has a more stylish design. You’ll feel just as confident and comfortable when wearing a pair around town as you do on the job. Made in the United States from real leather, the Heritage has a classic design with laces that you can tighten and contrasting topstitching on the leather. Each boot has a six-inch wide opening that helps you more easily slip your feet inside too.

When you first look at this boot, you might notice that the heel and back area is slightly taller than the area beneath your toes. Red Wing designed this boot to come with a platform heel that gives you more stability as you walk. It has a longer shaft that offers more support for your arches too. We like that this boot comes in different designs too. You can choose from different colors of leather, including lighter and darker shades of black and brown.

Best for Stylish Men Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc Boots

Types of Toe Caps

One of the most important features of a work boot today is the toe cap inside the toe box. While the toe box itself will use leather or the same material used on the outside of the boot, the cap will usually use some type of metal. A handful of manufacturers today offer caps made from composite materials too. With the right design, this cap will feel like just another part of the boot. It shouldn’t run uncomfortably against your toes or any other part of your foot. If you can feel that cap, you may want to pick a different pair of boots. You should look at the different materials and each one’s pros and cons.

Types of Toe Caps - Steel
Types of Toe Caps - Aluminum
Types of Toe Caps - Composite

Steel
Steel is the most common material used in toe caps, which is why many men actually shop for steel toe boots. The cap itself is thin but durable and will absorb the shock of anything that might fall on your feet. Even if you are quite cautious at work, you never know what someone you work with might do. If any object falls towards you, the toe cap will keep you safe. Steel is one of the heaviest materials though and will add weight to your boots. You may find that the boots feel uncomfortable after a regular shift because of that weight. Steel toe boots can retain the temperature of the surrounding area and make you feel cooler or hotter. These boots are more durable than other types too.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Good shock absorption
  • Available in different prices

Cons:

  • Can retain ambient temperatures
  • Adds more weight to your feet
  • Can feel uncomfortable

Aluminum
Some companies now use aluminum instead of steel because aluminum is both lighter and less expensive. You can get a good pair of boots with an aluminum toe for less money, but you shouldn’t expect that pair to last as long as a steel toe pair would. Aluminum reduces the fatigue that you experience but can result in a minor electric shock sensation when you touch metal. Many men also find that the metal picks up the temperature from their surroundings but that the heat or cold feeling dissipates quickly.

Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Weighs less
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Feels warm or cool quickly

Cons:

  • Not as durable as steel
  • Can lead to electrical shocks
  • Still retains the temperature of the room or area

Composite
Composite materials refer to the material that manufacturers mix from other materials. Most use a blend of ceramics that can be just as strong as steel when heated to a high temperature. This mixture may include a polymer blend or some adhesives that add strength to the blend. Composite toes do a good job of absorbing shocks and keeping your feet safe. This material doesn’t change temperatures the way that metals can and weigh less too.

Pros:

  • Protect your feet from shocks and falls
  • No change of electrical shock
  • Does not retain or change the temperature of your feet
  • Reduces fatigue because the material weighs less

Cons:

  • Not quite as strong as metal
  • May cost more than aluminum or steel boots do
  • Do not always offer as much protection as metal toe caps do

Construction Options

Construction Options

Manufacturers use different methods of constructing work boots and attaching the sole to the top of the boot. You must make sure that the company used a good method because this stops the sole from coming off the boot. This can occur because you got the boots wet or because you wore the boots more often. Wear and tear can cause the sole to rip right off the bottom of the boot. A good way to make sure that a pair can keep up with your job demands is with a look at the construction method that the manufacturer used.

Rubber Welt
Though not as common as some of the other methods listed below, a rubber welt is a process that some manufacturers use. They essentially use leather and rubber to attach the tread to the bottom. The tread itself comes from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which uses the same rubber for boots that it does for its tires. It creates the treads and sends them to individual companies. Those companies will then attach the tread to the boot with a specific type of stitching and with some leather pieces. Some guys prefer this type of boot because they can pay others to replace the tread later.

Mold
Most of the work boots on our list have molded treads. Manufacturers that use this process use rubber that they heat to a high temperature, which melts the material. Once the rubber becomes a liquid, the manufacturer pours it into molds shaped like the treads they want to use. The mold will slowly cool and create soles the manufacturers will then attach to their boots with an adhesive or a similar compound. Molded treads can last for a long time and usually will not pull away from the boot. The design of this type of boot means that once it does begin breaking down, you’ll need to replace the whole boot instead of just repairing the tread and sole.

Adhesives
The cheapest work boots available today use adhesives rather than one of these other construction methods. This allows manufacturers to have employees stitch and sew the upper portion of the boot as they make the soles in a separate facility. They can then apply an adhesive compound to the top of the sole and glue it to the upper portion of the boot. While this helps them produce more boots faster, it results in a boot that can separate into pieces when exposed to water or high temperatures. Though you can repair these boots, you may find that they don’t last as long as the other types do.

When to Replace Work Boots

Depending on what you do on the job and how much you put your boots through, you might get more wear out of a pair than your coworkers do. You should really compare the following signs that you should replace your old boots with a new pair.

When to Replace Work Boots
  • Broken hooks and eyelets: Though you can replace broken laces, you cannot replace or repair broken hooks and eyelets. These are the parts of the boot that keep the laces free from tangles and tightly tied.
  • Loose sole: When the sole loosens and begins peeling away from the upper, you should either repair or replace the boot. This can impede your balance and cause you to trip over your own feet. A loose sole can also allow debris to enter your boot and rub against your feet.
  • No more comfort: Comfort is key when it comes to work boots. When your boots no longer offer the comfort that you need, throw them out. This can occur because the insole starts coming loose or because the lining inside wears down.
  • Unraveling stitching: You should replace any boots that have unraveling stitching too. Manufacturers use stitching on the tops and sides of these boots. This can be a sign that the boot will fall apart on the job site.

Tips for Finding the Right Size

  • Use the manufacturer’s sizing chart: When you follow the links on this page to any of the top work boots on Amazon, you should see a sizing chart listed. Most companies will list American and European sizes to show you what size boot you need.
  • Measure your feet: If you come across a chart that lists sizes in terms of inches, you can use a measuring tape to find out the size that you need. As you measure your feet, make sure that you measure from the back of your heel to the top of your longest toe.
  • Choose a larger size: Work boots often run a little smaller than you might expect. If you wear a 10, it’s often helpful to buy a size 11. Moving up a size is especially important if you wear a half size or if you have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. You can always stuff a larger boot, but you’ll need to return one that is too small.
  • Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer for help choosing the right size work boot for you. Most companies have a toll-free number that you can call. Some even offer online support.
Tips for Finding the Right Size

Cowboy Work Boots

A fun way to protect your feet on the job is with a pair of cowboy work boots. These boots combine the benefits of a cowboy design with a work boot. These models often have narrow toe boxes though that will require you buy a slightly larger size than you think you need.

What to Look for When Trying on Work Boots

When you get a new pair of work boots, you should instantly take them out of the box and do a full inspection. Manufacturers generally do not give you much time to exchange that pair if you see any problems. Once you slip on those boots, you’ll want to check out a few things, including:

  • Fit: Now is the time to wiggle your toes and slide your foot around inside the boot to see how it fits. You’ll want to make sure that you can’t feel the toe cap and that you can move your foot freely. If the boot is too tight or too loose, you may want to exchange it for a different size.
  • Traction: You should take a short walk around your house and then head outside to see if the boots have enough traction. Try walking on tile and hardwood floors before walking across grass and concrete outside.
  • Quality: Before the warranty expires on your boots, you should check the overall quality. Take a few minutes to examine the stitching on the outside and what the tread pattern looks like as well as the tongue and the eyelets or hooks on the front. Make sure that you approve of the quality of the boot.

Pro Tip

Many companies offer a warranty that lets you return your boots for a full refund within one year or less. You might find a warranty that covers those boots for longer.

What to Look for When Trying on Work Boots

Features to Consider in New Boots

Toe
The information that we gave you about toe caps goes a long way towards helping you decide which material is best for you. We generally recommend boots with a steel cap because the metal is so durable and offers so much protection. Composite toes are just as popular as steel and have a number of fans. Some men like that those toes keep the weight of their boots down and make it easier for them to walk in those boots. You should also consider the design of the toe cap and whether you can feel it when your feet are inside the boots.

Metatarsal Coverage
While there are multiple bones in the human foot, one of the more breakable bones is the metatarsal. This is the area that sits on the top of your foot. When you drop a heavy tool, the cap on your boot will protect your toes from damage. You risk that tool landing on the top of your foot though and either breaking or bruising this bone. Boots that feature a metatarsal guard offer more in the way of protection. This guard usually sits on top of or behind the tongue and covers the entire top of your foot.

Safety Features
A toe cap is far from the only safety feature you need in a work boot. You should also consider features such as a puncture-resistant sole that is also resistant to electrical currents. Boots that have a rubber sole are often resistant to electrical currents. If you’re on a job site and accidentally step on a live wire, the rubber will help you stay grounded and keep the electricity from moving through your body. Boots with a puncture-resistant sole are heavier and thicker than other boots. The soles will keep punctures from ripping through the boot and stop objects from stabbing your feet.

Sole Design
You should look at the soles on work boots to see if the material is resistant to punctures and other damage. It’s also important that you look at the tread pattern. If the boot has a tread pattern that stops before the edges of the sole, it may not offer the traction that you need on the job. The top boots have a tread pattern that extends almost all the way to the edges of the sole and those that have multiple patterns. Those patterns work together to grip and adhere to any ground, floor or surface.

Boot Design
Many shoppers will want to consider the design of the boot too. Even if you want boots that you can wear when working on construction sites, you might want a pair with a stylish design that you can wear off the job too. Red Wing makes a number of stylish work boots that you can wear with tee shirts and button downs. Some of these designs are even suitable for wearing when you have a date night with someone special or when you need to meet with clients in their homes. You might prefer a pair with a more traditional look too.

Warranty
The most important things to look at as you compare warranties is what it covers and how long it lasts. A good warranty on a pair of work boots will cover that boot in regards to manufacturer errors and on the job damage. You may find that some companies will only cover errors in the manufacturing process though. If the boot starts falling apart within a week, the company may require that you pay out of your own pockets for a repair or a replacement. It’s often helpful to look for boots that come with a lifetime warranty or one that lasts for more than a year.

Quality
As soon as your new boots arrive, take them out of the box and examine them carefully for any defects. You can do something similar when shopping online and before you make a purchase too. Manufacturers will often offer multiple photos of the same boot, which lets you check out the stitching on the outside and the tread on the sole. If you see anything that looks slightly off, you can take those boots off your list of potential buys.

Lacing
The laces that come with the boots are not nearly as important as the way that you lace the boots. If you find that the laces aren’t very strong or that one lace breaks quickly, you can easily take them out of the boots and put in a new pair. All boots use eyelets over the tongue, but some have latches or hooks closer to the top of the boot. You might prefer latches that close over the laces and keep them from loosening. Some shoppers prefer hooks because they can quickly get the boots off at the end of the day.

Customer Reviews
We highly encourage shoppers to take a look at the customer reviews when they find work boots that they like. The chart at the top of this page includes the pros and cons that we gathered from those reviews. We also used those reviews when creating detailed descriptions of each pair. When you look at those reviews for yourself, you can find out more about why shoppers didn’t like certain pairs and why they loved others. Those reviews help you more easily find a great pair of work boots.

Comfort
Our list of the top work boots for 2018 only includes pairs that reviewers noted were comfortable. While we could spend hundreds of words talking about all the other features of boots and what you need in a new pair, we want you to put comfort above everything else. You must pick a pair of boots that will feel comfortable while you’re at work and when you head home or away from the job site. Some shoppers may want to look at specialty sizes. If your feet are wider or narrow, you can search for boots that have the perfect amount of space inside.

Duty Boots

Duty boots are boots designed for military personnel, which is why some manufacturers call them military boots. They typically have hooks and eyelets all the way up to the collar, which stops around the knee or the upper calf. You can often find duty boots with safety features that will function as work boots.

Features to Consider in New Boots

Tips for Breaking in New Work Boots

Even if you buy the right size work boot, you might find that it fits too tightly around your toes or that it feels too stiff. You can try a few tips to break in those boots before wearing them at work.

  • Use a stick: You can use any type of stick that is firm and won’t break. Insert one end of the stick into the boot before applying pressure on the end that you hold in your hands. As you force the stick up, you can stretch out the inside of the boot.
  • Wear socks: One of the easiest ways to break in your boots is with the sock method. Instead of wearing just one pair of socks, you’ll put on multiple pairs before forcing your feet inside the boots. You can then wear the boots around your house and let your feet and the socks stretch them out.
  • Apply pressure: As you hold the sole of the boot in one hand, grab the tongue and force it down towards the toe. If you apply the right amount of pressure, it will stretch out the sole and work the lining of the boot to make it fit more comfortably.
Tips for Breaking in New Work Boots

How to Clean Work Boots

  • Cloth and leather cleaner: The only two things you need to clean your boots is a cloth and a bottle of leather cleaner. You can use a cloth or a soft brush to wipe off any dust or debris that you see at the end of the day. Leather cleaner is easy to apply and will work on stains that you cannot remove with a brush.
  • Use baking soda: Baking soda is a simple material you probably already have in your home that will absorb odors. You can apply a layer or baking soda to the inside of your boots and let them sit overnight. Give the boots a soft shake to remove any leftover baking soda before wearing them again.
  • Apply conditioner: Leather conditioner is a product available from most shoe stores that can soften tough or hard leather. Though some men use it when they buy a new pair of boots, you can use conditioner on both new and old boots. You can apply a small dab of the conditioner to the leather and rub it into place with a soft cloth. Go over the boot a few minutes later with a dry cloth to remove any excess oil.
  • Clean the tread: You should also clean the tread on your boots at least once a week. Some guys do this every week. Any type of brush is suitable for wiping off the soles. You may want to use a straw or a paintbrush to remove mud and debris trapped in the tread pattern.
How to Clean Work Boots

Expert Tip

If you buy work boots with a suede finish, do not apply any type of polish or oil, even those designed for use on leather. Suede will actually absorb those liquids, which will change its look.

Tips for Removing Stains

No matter how careful you are with your boots, you can pick up stains when running around town or as you work. You can use some simple tips to remove those stains.

  • Water: Even if you use a waterproof liquid, your boots can still develop water spots from the liquids you encounter every day. To remove those stains, simply spray the boot with cold water from a spray bottle. After the boots dry for a few hours, you shouldn’t notice those old water spots.
  • Distilled white vinegar and water: When you work outside in the snow, you might notice stains forming because of the salt used to melt ice. You can use equal parts of water and distilled white vinegar to remove those stains. Once you make this mixture, dip a cloth into the liquid and press it against the spots and stains.
  • Rubbing alcohol: The same rubbing alcohol that you might use to remove buildup on your computer screen will work well on boot stains. You can dip a cotton ball or swab or a soft cloth into the liquid and dab it against the stain before letting the boot air dry. It may take several applications before you see any changes to that stain.
Tips for Removing Stains

Tips for Maintaining Work Boots

  • Waterproof your boots: You can pick up a waterproof liquid from any boot or shoe store. When you follow the directions carefully and apply the liquid, it will keep your boots safe from any type of moisture.
  • Opt for a shoe tree: When you get home after a long day at work, you should put your boots on a shoe tree or a similar device. These products help the boots maintain their shape. Water and any other things that you encounter on the job can actually stretch out the boots and damage the leather.
  • Do a thorough inspection: We recommend doing a thorough inspection of your boots at least once a week. You’ll want to examine the upper and all areas of the exterior before turning the boots over and checking the tread. Look for screws or other debris stuck into the sole and for any wear spots on the upper. You may want to run your hands along the inside of the boot to look for damage and debris too.
  • Use a leather conditioner: No matter how old your boots are, you should always use conditioner if they feature a leather upper. This simple liquid will keep the leather moist and pliable. It also prevents the leather from drying out and cracking.

What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots?

What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots - Dickies Raider Steel Toe Work Shoe
Dickies Raider Steel Toe Work Shoe
$52.75 - $89.99
What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots - Wolverine Men_s Raider Boots
Wolverine Men's Raider Boots
$88.42 - $241.29
What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots - Timberland PRO Steel Toe Work Boots
Timberland PRO Steel Toe Work Boots
$89.95 - $130.77
What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots - Carhartt Composite Toe Boots
Carhartt Composite Toe Boots
$113.99 - $144.18
What is the Average Price for a Pair of Work Boots - Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc Boots
Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc Boots
$230.00 -$399.99

Experts often recommend that you buy a cheap set of tools when you take on your first job. You can replace each tool as it breaks, which lets you know which tools you use most often and which ones are more of an investment than others. You cannot do the same thing with work boots though. When you buy a cheap pair with plans to spend more later, you risk doing some serious damage to your feet. You may even find yourself sliding at work and breaking a bone, which will leave you unable to work for weeks or more.

Work boots often retail for $100 to $300. We recommend spending at least $75 to $100 on a pair when you first start out. You’ll get the support that you need and a pair that will last for at least three months. If you spend $100 to $150, you might get a pair that can last for six months to a year. Construction workers and other pros will often spend $150 or more on a single pair of boots because they know that they can get more wear out of them. You should keep in mind that you can often deduct the money you spend on work gear when you file your taxes too.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Many men want to know how long a pair of work boots will last before they buy. The answer is that it really depends on how much you spend on a pair and how much you use those boots. If you work 40+ hours a week and spend most of the day on your feet, you’ll get less use out of a pair than someone who only wears them a few times a week. A good pair should last six to 12 months.

A: The lining inside your boot can give out long before the sole or the upper does. This lining can wear down because you wear thicker socks or because you have larger feet. You should stretch out the interior and break in the boots properly before wearing them to work. We also recommend using a removable liner inside the boot. This will absorb odors and extend the life of the original liner.

A: Work boots should meet the standards established by the American National Standards Institute. The ANSI standards are the same ones that OSHA uses when recommending boots for professionals.

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