Best Safety Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
If you work in a physically demanding job, you shouldn’t have to worry about your safety. But to remain safe on the job, you have to take precautions and that might mean wearing safety or steel-toed shoes or boots. As you can probably guess, the purpose of safety footwear is to guard your toes– the most vulnerable part of your foot–against heavy falling objects, compression, or anything on the ground that might cut through the footwear. If you're looking to keep your toes safe while you're at work or out enjoying your favorite hobby, look no further than safety shoes. The steel-toe version of your favorite shoes will keep you from injuring yourself, and continue to do a great job.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
Excellent Grip & Traction
- Skechers Synergy Ekron
- Thorogood Crosstex Safety Toe
- Timberland Powertrain
- Caterpillar Second Shift
- Keen Utility Atlanta Cool ESD
- Keen Utility Flint Low
- Timberland Pro 53534
- Timberland Pro Titan
- Reebok Work
- Timberland Pro Pitboss
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Safety Shoes
1. Skechers Synergy Ekron
Excellent Grip & Traction
Toe Cap May Rub
Skechers shoes are trusted by millions across the globe because of the comfort, durability, and style of their footwear. The Synergy Ekron is built with the working class in mind. They offer a lightweight composite toe and electrical resistance. When looking for comfort, look towards Skechers. The use of a memory foam footbed will keep your feet feeling great, even after long hours.Read more
Offering the same protection as a steel toe, the use of a composite blend gives this footwear a lighter weight. In addition, it is very durable and non-metallic. Meaning you won't have to worry about going through security at the airport if you happen to be wearing your work shoes. The lightness plays a role in keeping your muscles and joints feeling good.
Keeping your toes protected is important, keeping the rest of your body protected is just as important. Falling on slippery or wet surfaces can lead to an unknown number of injuries including sprains and breaks. The sole will keep you planted firmly on your feet helping you avoid serious injury.
Cost and Value
Due to the fact that the brand Skechers is so giant, it is surprising how affordable this footwear is. Oftentimes we see price hikes because of popularity, this isn't the case here. Most budgets will be able to afford this superior protective footwear.
2. Thorogood Crosstex Safety Toe
Helps Maintain Dry Feet
Anti-Slip Rubber Sole
Made of leather for hardiness, mesh for keeping out debris and facilitating coolness, and a rubber sole for helping you stay upright even on the slippery ground, this footwear can be your best friend in diverse environments, especially warm ones. They're every bit as sensible as they look. Together with the standard steel toe and midsole plate, they're highly reliable in any work situation.Read more
This footwear thinks of more than just protecting your foot from getting crushed--it also knows that you work best when you're distracted by a warm and moist foot. That's why it has mesh. You're welcome.
Protects in Multiple Ways
It's not just the steel toe box that comes in handy. Thanks to the rubber sole, it's less likely that you will slip and hurt yourself. You can also remove the footbed to glue your own insert in its place, which is great if you have orthopedic needs or concerns, so clearly, the foot apparel protects your foot's health as well.
Cost and Value
Though it can still certainly make a dent in your wallet, the price isn't bad for such great footwear--perhaps even slightly on the low end.
3. Timberland Powertrain
No Break-In Period
Great for Casual Environments
Timberland is a powerhouse in this category and that is easily seen with how many spots in our guide they are feeling. The Powertrain option gives you an abrasion resistant upper, an alloy protective toe, and the ability to dissipate static. In addition to all of this, you won't have to worry about lasting foul odors or discomfort in your safety shoes. They are built to work and please.Read more
The structure and design of this option is one that keeps your feet, legs, and back feeling great all day. The outsole is made of Polyurethane which is great at absorbing shock. In addition, the design of the outsole is flexible and will move naturally with your feet which adds to the overall comfort level.
The mesh lining in these shoes is treated to help stop odor and bacteria build up. It will help move moisture away from your feet. In addition, it dries quickly so your feet will stay cool and comfortable. We all know how bad work shoes can smell and often they are still damp the next day from sweat. You won't have to worry about either of these things if you choose these.
Cost and Value
The unique look and great design of this foot apparel fall to the middle of our pricing. Most budgets will be able to fit them in. You will get an extremely comfortable and forgiving pair of protective footwear that will do well in any casual environment.
4. Caterpillar Second Shift
Keep Feet Cool
Heavy duty and practically oozing seriousness, this safety boot could follow you into the depths of the earth and return unscathed. On the outside, it's all leathery toughness, but on the inside, it's just generous plush and a fancy lining specially designed to cool off your feet in warm areas. You don't get much hardier than this, that's for sure.Read more
Balance of Strong and Soft
The leather guarantees that the boot will not easily fall apart, but the plush around the collar and lining on the insole assure you that designers were thinking of your comfort as well.
Plenty of Traction
It's expected that this will be your boot of choice when you have to walk on oil or other slick terrains, which is why it's been equipped with rubber slip-resistant soles that feature excellent traction.
Cost and Value
This boot comes at a fairly wide range of costs, but at its lowest, it's almost a steal. At its most expensive, it's not ideal, but it's still great for what this boot can do.
5. Keen Utility Atlanta Cool ESD
Resistant To Slips
Resistant To Electrical Shocks
Dense & Molded Insole
Lightweight, ventilated, dense and molded insole, padded collar, top-notch traction rubber on the bottom--this foot apparel can get you through the work day and still leave you feeling fresh after you clock out. It's also capable of guarding you against electrical hazards and slips, in addition to the standard characteristic of a steel toe box.Read more
Leather and Mesh--A Winning Combination
The main construction is fashioned from leather--a demonstrably durable material--and mesh, which keeps them clean and airy.
Nice and Light
Due to all the bells and whistles that they need to keep you safe from harm, safety shoes protective foot apparel promise security and protection for you while remaining lightweight, so you feel less tired at the end of the day.
Cost and Value
This shoe is on the upper end of expensiveness, yes, but it can still be a great investment for anyone who wants a safety shoe with a bit of everything.
6. Keen Utility Flint Low
Slip-Resistant Rubber Sole
Fights Foul Foot Odor
It resists oil slips, bad foot odor, and water and moisture both without and within. On the other hand, it facilitates arch support, security, and comfort. This foot apparel has basically got everything figured it out. Wear it for your work or hobbies all day long, then take it off with the happy knowledge that your foot has never felt better.Read more
This footwear doesn't just think about how to keep you safe while on the job; it prepares for when you clock out, too. It's equipped with a CleanSport NXT to fight foot odor so that you get treated to a fresher smell at the end of the day than you would with most other shoes of its kind.
Tread Water With It
It takes other protective footwears' toughness against water a step further by putting a special emphasis on water resistance. If you have to work somewhere that might require submerging your foot a bit, this is a great choice for you.
Cost and Value
You might say that it's a bit expensive for a shoe, but this isn't just any shoe. The price is a bit high, but it gives you a lot for every buck.
7. Timberland Pro 53534
Uses PowerFit Comfort System
Keeps Feet Dry
Sizing Runs Small
Difficult to Put On
Here's a shoe for someone who works hard in the rough terrain but also likes maintaining a sense of classiness and style. If not for the steel toe box and ridged rubber sole, you might think that this was an office shoe. Not only does it give you a snazzy flair while keeping you safe, but it's designed to feel as good as it looks.Read more
This brand is known for its PowerFit comfort system, which tells you that their designers can methodically research how best to keep your foot satisfied and free of pain. This shoe is a product of that research.
Safety in Style
Since the footwear looks so much classier than the average safety apparel, you can use it in multiple occasions and situations, meaning you get a lot of use for your money.
Cost and Value
This kind of quality commands a high price. You'll need to be okay with shelling out a good amount of money for this shoe, but if it's up to your alley, you'll be glad you did it.
8. Timberland Pro Titan
Flexible In Freezing Temperatures
Padded Collar=Extra Warmth
Leather Exterior Guarantees Durability
Great For Wide Feet
So far, we've featured some shoes that do especially well in warm climates, but now it's time to tell you about a type that excels as a guard against the cold. The insole is molded to keep your foot nice, snug, and padded, but as if that were not enough, the very material of the footwear itself is created to move with you even when freezing temperatures might make other foot apparel too rigid.Read more
Perfect for the Cold
Because of the Vibram Fire & Ice compound that partially constitutes the shoe, it's fortified to remain bendable in freezing weather, which is essential in maintaining foot health and allowing you the freedom to move as you need.
Equal Parts Practical and Comfortable
This model doesn't just boast general arch support or a soft insole. It uses what's called a "PowerFit System," specifically designed to enhance comfort.
Cost and Value
It's a pretty expensive shoe, honestly, but forking out the money for it is certainly better than suffering the consequences of being unable to use your foot properly while you're working freezing weather.
9. Reebok Work
No Break-In Period
Awesome for Daily Wear
Little Arch Support
When we think of the Reebok name we don't usually think of protective foot apparel. In recent years many brands are branching out and trying to meet the needs of a wider variety of clientele. This foot apparel is breathable and flexible yet still offer great toe protection and protection from electrical hazards. In addition to all of this, they also offer you a slip-resistant outsole.Read more
Breaking footwear in can take a long time and lead to painful blisters and rubbed areas on your feet. The MemoryTech Footbed instantly starts conforming to your feet and its natural curves. This provides instant comfort to the person wearing them.
Due to the fact that Reebok builds running footwear, they understand how important flexibility is to overall comfort. Their Flex Groove outsole allows this choice to move with you and keep you at an optimal level of comfort. In addition, it will allow water to move easily and keep you on your feet.
Cost and Value
The unique casual style and great protective features of this shoe will cost you a bit more than others. You may need to adjust the budget to afford them but they will transition nicely between work and play. If you are looking for something that will look awesome at any casual event and keep your feet comfortable and protected, this may be your perfect option.
10. Timberland Pro Pitboss
Roomy Steel Toe Box
Sturdy Leather Exterior
Shoelaces Control The Fit
Not For Everyday Use
Ready to work? So is this shoe. It's every bit as sturdy and no-nonsense as it looks. In addition to the expected steel toe box and midsole plate, the footwear is made out of leather, known for its durability and resistance to damage. The padded collar not only provides even more protection, but it promises that you'll be comfortable as well. This foot apparel gets down to business.Read more
Firm Yet Comfy
The steel toe box is not only present, as expected, but it leaves a bit of extra wiggle room for your toes. Combine that with the padded collar and the option to lace up the boot as tightly or as loosely as you wish, and this footwear strikes the perfect balance between hardy and snug.
On top of fending off any possible injury from outside forces, this shoe is wonderfully shock-absorbent. Your foot will be nothing other than safe and healthy while inside it.
Cost and Value
As far as a boot like this goes, the price is rather average and fairly reasonable, especially since a single pair should last you a long time.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Different jobs require different safety features when it comes to your footwear. Some jobs, like logging, may require just a steel toe, other jobs like being a machinist may require a puncture-proof plate and a steel toe. Whatever your need may be there is certainly a shoe or boot out there to meet the requirement of your job. Before purchasing a new pair for work you will want to check what criteria is needed. You certainly don’t want to buy a pair to find out they are lacking something that is required.
Oftentimes, you will see a symbol rather than words for what the footwear is resistant to. This can be confusing but it is very important to understand. Again, purchasing something that isn’t approved for the task you are going to be doing is not only a waste of time it is a major waste of money. Let’s take a look at the different areas and symbols you will come into contact with.
The green triangle means that the footwear has a grade 1 toe cap and puncture resistant plate lining the bottom. This is ideal for construction environments, where the bottom of your shoe may come in contact with broken glass, nails, or other sharp debris.
The yellow triangle means it has a grade 2 toe cap and puncture resistant plate. These are better suited for a light industry as they offer less protection than models with a green triangle.
This symbol means they offer electrical protection. If you work in an environment where there are live wires or a chance of coming in contact with electricity this is certainly something you will need in your footwear.
These will offer static resistance. They reduce static charge in high-static areas. If static discharge is in the environment that you are this will surely be a standard for employment.
This type of foot apparel has a sole that is electrically conductive. You will need this if you work in a situation where you may be exposed to low electrical charges.
If you work with chainsaws than these are the boots you are going to need. They offer resistance to cutting equipment that is found in this type of work.
This shoe or boot will offer class one toe protection, however, it does not offer any sole protection. These will fit in a manufacturing situation where you don’t have to worry about the bottom of your footwear being punctured.
These offer a class two toe protector. They do not offer any sole protection so they will be better for a light duty protective toe need.
Regardless of your need for protection know there are many good options out there. Too much protection is better than not enough. Knowing what you are looking at when looking over the symbols will be very beneficial during your hunt for the best safety footwear.
People that have the requirement of safety footwear typically stand all day long. This can cause pain and discomfort if you are wearing ill-fitting or poorly built shoes. Standing all day can also lead to leg and back pain. Finding boots that offer features of comfort or customization ability can make wearing your foot apparel long day after long day much more bearable.
There are a few different things that should be considered when looking at the overall comfort of your footwear. Some of these you won’t have an option for. Due to the fact that some will need a protective plate lining the bottom of their shoe when it comes to the flexibility you won’t have a lot of it.
When it comes to the outsole different materials absorb and distribute impact differently. Rubber is most commonly used and does a fairly good job of dispersing shock. Rubber is also decently flexible. This allows your foot to move more naturally and will, in turn, have you feeling less pain. This is where those of you that need a protective plate on the sole will lose a lot in flexibility.
In the category of comfort, this is probably the most important aspect. There are a variety of materials for insoles. EVA foam and varieties of it are superior. They do a great job at conforming to the foot and absorbing shock. It is important to note, finding a shoe with a removable insole can be crucial to your comfort if you wear a custom orthotic or special insert. Another advantage of a removable insole is the longevity of use. Oftentimes due to the durable nature of this type of product, the inside will wear before the outside. The ability to simply replace the insole saves you time and money.
You most often see the upper of protective footwear to be leather. You may also find synthetic blends and different textile materials mixed in. A solid leather boot to be less flexible and less breathable yet also much more durable. Synthetic blends wear quicker but can offer better flexibility and added comfort. Those that use fabric in their models are offering better breathability and added flexibility. This, however, may reduce the overall protection and durability.
When considering comfort you also need to take flexibility into account. How footwear moves will greatly impact how you feel at the end of the day. Due to the more rigid nature of this type of foot apparel, finding one that offers adequate protection yet is also flexible, can feel impossible. For some situations, it is, others will find it quite easy because all they need is a moderate amount of toe protection. You may not have an option of a flexible sole but the upper material does play its part.
The last item we thought about when looking into comfort was the overall breathability. Hot sweaty feet can lead to a variety of problems. You will be constantly battling odor. In addition, you are susceptible to bacterial or fungal growth, rubbed, raw skin, and blisters. Wearing foot apparel that breaths will help you keep your feet dry. A breathable upper paired with a liner that wicks sweat is the perfect options. Finding protective footwear that is breathable is not so easy though due to the fact more often than not the majority of the shoe is made of leather. A mixture of tough leather and some textile will increase breathability and help to keep your feet cool. It is important to note, the socks you wear also play a huge role in how dry your feet stay during a long afternoon.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Most safety shoes have a reinforced toe for added protection to the toe area and forefoot. Steel toed shoes are the most resistant to force, but can sometimes be heavy for all day wear or stiff for walking. Composite toe safety shoes have a composite material that is lighter than steel, but not quite as resistant to force.
Depending on your particular level of safety or comfort needed, using a composite toe or steel toe can be an important choice to consider!
There are a number of ratings that have to pass specific credentials for footwear to be considered as safety footwear. Depending on the type of safety shoe, these can include impact protection, electrical or chemical resistance, heat resistance, slip resistance or other requirement.
Other Factors to Consider
Safety foot apparel seems to have a great track record for fulfilling their objective. Only one in four work-related injuries involve someone who was wearing safety shoes or boots. That’s why OSHA recommends and requires safety shoes or any other kind of footwear that can provide the same degree of protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What exactly is a safety shoe?
To be classified as protective footwear, it must meet certain requirements as outlined by OSHA. For example, it must be resistant to heat, cold, pressure/impact, puncture, and electricity. This usually constitutes a steel toe box or composite toe, a midsole plate, and strong materials, like leather and rubber.
q: Does it need to be specially certified to count as a safety shoe?
There are exceptions to most rules in life, but the quickest way to know whether a shoe is safe to use for hazardous work is if it passes inspection from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and/or the American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM). If a brand is serious about selling as many protective footwear as possible, they’ll get their products approved by one or both organizations and make sure that you know it. Most will include a note in the footwear’s official description.
q: What’s the most important aspect of a safety shoe?
The answer to this question really depends on your use of the footwear. Depending on your work requirement or situation, for one it may be a superior steel cap for others it may be electricity resistance. If you are in need of protective footwear for recreational endeavors, a good idea would be to check out what the industry standards are for what you want to do. This way if you are building a cabin and cutting down trees you know you want a boot or shoe made for logging or if you have taken up metal working you may need a plate to protect the bottom of your foot. Looking over a few articles should lead you in the right direction about what the most important aspect will be for your particular adventure.
q: Where can/should you wear a safety shoe?
Although they’re usually created with dangerous jobs in mind, this type of foot apparel can be useful in a variety of activities and environments in which you risk hurting your foot. Some businesses recommend protective foot apparel if they tend to have slippery floors, such as restaurants. They could come in handy in some types of outdoor (and especially dirty) sports, as well as more leisurely activities, like camping. If your hobby is carpentry, automotive repair, construction, etc., you may benefit from wearing such footwear despite not being required by law. Basically, if you’re ever doing anything that’s risky and involves working with a lot of heavy and/or sharp objects, you’ll probably want to wear something that will protect your foot.
q: What’s the best way to clean a safety shoe?
Because they have so many functions designed to enhance your safety, they can be a bit more high maintenance than others with regard to cleaning them, and the process may differ slightly depending on the materials from which they’re made. However, the general process for cleaning most safety footwear is more or less the same. You’ll first need to remove any excess dirt with a shoe brush, then oil them up a bit, and finally buff them. Throwing them into a washing machine is usually not recommended.