Best Steel Toe Boots Reviewed & Rated
Many men and women work in industries that can be dangerous. Construction, farming, and other manual labor tasks tend to be hard on the body. While most of these industries require safety equipment, it is often not thought of that your feet need protecting too. This is where steel toe boots come in. Steel toe boots are exactly what they sound like – boots with steel in the toe part to protect the most delicate part of your foot. These boots are also often built with a protective midsole plate. This plate protects the underside of your foot so that if you step on something, it doesn’t puncture the shoe and therefore your foot, from underneath.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
- Zero Discomfort After Hours of Wear
- Awesome Look
- High Quality Stitching
- Easy On and Easy Off
- No Break In Time
- Thorogood American Heritage
- Wolverine W02421 Raider
- Caterpillar Second Shift
- Dr. Martens Icon Industrial
- Dr. Marten's Winch
- KEEN Utility Detroit
- KEEN Utility Pittsburgh
- Caterpillar Diagnostic
- Skechers Workshire
- Carhartt CMF6366
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Steel Toe Boots
1. Thorogood American Heritage
- Zero Discomfort After Hours of Wear
- Awesome Look
- High Quality Stitching
- Easy On and Easy Off
- No Break In Time
- Problems with Heel Separation
- Toe is More Narrow Than Others
Stylish to the max, Thorogood American Heritage steel toe boots will work no matter the situation. Thorogood is trusted by millions of people because of the advanced technology, comfortable wear, and versatility offered in them. Some of the features we love about these are the shock absorbing footbed, the Pron insole, and the MaxWear Wedge. These features add to the comfort, durability, and overall awesomeness of this protective footwear.Read more
The MaxWear Wedge slip-resistant outsoles will ensure your feet stay planted underneath you. Working in muddy, wet, or snowy conditions can lead to embarrassing falls and possibly serious injuries. It is important to note these outsoles are also oil resistant. If you work or play in slippery conditions, the Thorogood American heritage steel toe boots will give you the stability you have been searching for.
With the ultimate comfort that the dual density shock absorbing liner on top of the Poron 4000 comfort cushion insole, we aren’t sure why you would want to remove them. If you find they are wearing they can be replaced. Before this point, you will see that the ability to keep shock and pressure off your feet will make your joints and muscles feel better and allow you to go that extra mile. The Poron 4000 insole is superior when it comes to comfort and flexibility. This footwear will feel like a dream on your feet, which is something we have all been looking for.
2. Wolverine W02421 Raider
- Comfortable Before Break-In
- Lighter Than Some Other Boots
- Keep Your Feet Warm
- No Traction
- Poor Cushioning
Since 1883, Wolverine has been making boots for the working man. This iconic brand has been working to make durable and comfortable shoes for over a century and has come up with some interesting methods of doing so. Using their own patented technologies, they’re a leader in innovation. This particular model comes with ContorWelt and Multishox construction.Read more
The Wolverine W02421 Raider is a comfortable shoe to stand in all day. It is meant for those who need to be on their feet all day and want the feel of a running shoe. This boot comes with the patented technologies of Wolverine. It bends and flexes with you for the most comfortable fit. In addition, it’s very supportive and feels energetic on your feet.
Much like the CAT boot, these are not the most expensive ones on the list. Their ContorWelt and Multishox construction technologies make them unique. Wolverines are meant for those who want a good boot for a mid-range price.
3. Caterpillar Second Shift
Made with High Quality Material
Fit As Expected
CAT is a boot that is well suited for a “second shift.” They boast a Climasphere lining as well as ASTM approved steel toes. Slip-resistant soles are also on the menu with this footwear. CAT makes boots that are rough and durable, making them perfect for overtime. They aren’t afraid to make a splash and are comfortable as well.Read more
Climasphere lining helps to keep your feet cool by regulating the temperature inside of the boot. It also helps to control the moisture level in the boot, which prevents blisters. With slip-resistant soles, you can be sure you’re not going to go falling off any ladders. You can breathe easy – and grip easier – with the CAT Second Shift.
This footwear is worth the price due to their long-lasting durability. They’re made with high-quality material, and their Climasphere feature adds to their uniqueness. They’re not even the most expensive footwear on the list.
4. Dr. Martens Icon Industrial
- Slip-Ons, So No Laces To Bother With
- Excellent Traction
- Easy Break In Period
- May Need To Order A Size Larger
Dr. Martens Icon Industrial Strength work boots come from another well-recognized brand. Made of water-resistant leather, they are sure to keep your feet dry. In addition to being water resistant, it’s heat resistant. It’s also a traditional PVC work foot apparel with a cleated sole and has a wooden shank for mid-foot rigidity. It’s slip resistant too.Read more
This footwear places protection at the ankle to ensure additional impact resistance. This means that in addition to your toes being protected, so are your ankles. This is an important feature to have for anyone working in a field like farming where your ankles may be at risk.
Unlike many of the others on this list, the Dr. Martens Icon Industrial Strength is electrical hazard resistant. This is important for anyone who may work around electricity. This is one of the mid-priced footwear on the list, though can be found for a less expensive price, which is surprising given all of the features.
5. Dr. Marten's Winch
Oil-Treated Leather Upper
Wide Range Of Sizes
Dr. Marten's is more commonly known as a fashion brand, though they do also offer designs best suited for workwear. The Winch boot works double duty in that it has a steel toe for durability and protection, while also sporting a rather stylish and modern design. The upper is made with oil-tanned leather and comes in two color options, while sizes range from a US 7-14, some of which also come in wide options.Read more
EVA is most commonly used for the midsole of a shoe, though in the case of the Winch it is used in the insole. This is the part of the shoe making direct contact with the bottom of your foot and is what provides most of the shoe's overall cushioning and comfort. EVA is a lightweight foam polymer that is able to respond efficiently to shock and return energy back to you, keeping your feet well-supported without pain or fatigue. This insole is also removable to accommodate for a custom orthotic if necessary.
While leather is one of the most durable shoe materials out there, it is lacking in the breathability department. If the air in your shoes has no way to escape, it'll heat up as a result of the energy you generate as you go about your day. This can make them uncomfortable and cause odor. That's why the interior of the Winch is made of mesh, as this helps to make up for the lack of breathability that comes with leather.
6. KEEN Utility Detroit
Wide Toe Box
Torsional Stability Shank
Sizing Can Vary
KEEN is well known for their versatile styles of hiking boots, and they’ve taken that same comfortable design to a work boot with the Utility Detroit. It encompasses all the comfort hiking features of KEEN’s renowned footwear and combined that with the steel toe safety, weather resistant Nubuck leather, and a larger toe box to support proper toe splay. Add in a slip-resistant outsole, and reflective webbing, and you have foot apparel ready for whatever day or night conditions you encounter on the worksite.Read more
With its wider toe box, the Utility Detroit helps promote toe splay whereas some other steel toe boot designs are restrictive due to the toe protection in the footwear. A Torsional Stability Shank lies within the midfoot for support and helps stabilize you throughout wear. Waterproof membrane, dry-lex lining, and waterproof Nubuck leather help keep it going throughout any sort of weather to get the job done.
A removable EVA footbed allows you to insert custom orthotics if needed so that you can tailor comfort to your needs. CleanSport NXT helps protect against odor buildup, and reflective webbings allow ample visibility in low light scenarios. The rugged lugs of the outsole are also oil and slip resistant, and won’t mark up any surfaces where you don’t want scuff marks appearing from work.
7. KEEN Utility Pittsburgh
- Lighter Than Some Of The Other Boots
- Stand Up To A Harsh Beating
- Waterproof & Weatherproof
- Hard Soles
Pittsburgh is a tough city of steel and so are these KEEN Utility work boots. They come ready for anything you throw at them – literally. These come with a long list of features, such as weatherproof and waterproof lining, slip resistant outer sole, and waterproof breathable membrane. The steel toes are ASTM rated. This is a boot to get the job done.Read more
With weatherproof and waterproof inside and outside lining, these KEEN Utility Pittsburgh footwear come ready for the weather and your feet. They keep your feet dry no matter what.
The outer sole is slip resistant so that you don’t go falling. You can be sure you’ll keep your grip anywhere you work with these shoes. You don’t have to worry about sliding around. Keen Utility Pittsburgh is a bit pricier than the others on this list but for all of the extra features they offer, they ought to be. If you want more for your money, these are the ones to buy.
8. Caterpillar Diagnostic
200 Grams of Insulation
Caterpillar made the Diagnostic Waterproof steel toe boot to handle tough extreme work conditions, backing up the boot with comfort for all-day work requirements, and all with a safety focus. As part of their Ergo-Collection, it’s been designed specifically to enhance the feel, flexibility, and comfort, by making more anatomical adjustments in the footbed. The Diagnostic is a 6-inch lace up closure protective footwear, all with a reinforced steel toe.Read more
If you’ve ever worn steel-toed boots from 10 years ago, you’ll remember the days when walking in them hurt, simply due to the lack of flexible or anatomically made material and construction. The Diagnostic helps to support the natural movement of the gait cycle and helps to hug your foot in an anatomically correct contour fashion. ERGO fit helps stability, comfort, flexibility, and reduce overall foot fatigue.
Waterproof design helps keep you dry even in the messiest of weather conditions on the worksite, and with 200 grams of thermal insulation, you’ll stay toasty as well. A removable EVA has perforations and gel technology to further keep you dry and cushioned for all-day wear. A rugged sole and slip resistant rubber provide traction and sure-footed steps.
9. Skechers Workshire
Work Relaxed Fit
Electrical Hazard Approved
Oil Slip Resistant
Not Enough Cushion
And here you thought Skechers just made cozy sneakers and sandals right? The Workshire within Skechers for Work line of footwear brings an ankle length boot with steel toe reinforcement to the market from this footwear giant. Full grain leather available in some color options will have you picking the perfect pair for your worksite needs. And with Skechers Relaxed Fit, it’s sure to be comfortable footwear for all-day wear on a budget.Read more
Pull-on tab at the heel help you get in and out of this full-grain leather boot easily, and with its padded tongue and collar with soft liner, you may find you spend more time in them than out! Relaxed Fit allows for more room, and less constriction, cutting down on rubbing, irritations, and uncomfortable foot fatigue during long periods of wear. A removable memory foam insole helps provide cushion, while the midsole provides ample shock absorbance.
The Workshire has been ASTM F2413-2011 I/75 C/75 approved, and EH safe tested ASTM F2413-05. With its steel toe protection and an electrical hazard safety approval, you’ll be able to wear this in construction sites without issue. Traction is found in the nitrile rubber lugs that comprise the outsole, which is also oil resistant.
10. Carhartt CMF6366
Full Grain Leather
Carhartt is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to high-quality gear. The CMF6366 boots feature a composite toe rather than steel, so we are cheating a little bit with this product. However, composites such as the ones used in these boots offer similar durability to a steel toe without the clunkiness and extra weight that can sometimes accompany them.Read more
While style isn't a major point focus when it comes to steel toe boots, it is something that should still be at least considered. After all, you're going to feel better about a pair of shoes if you enjoy how they look on your feet. Full-grain is one of the highest quality leather types available, while the oil-tanning process gives them a rich and deep color. Leather also boasts natural water resistance, allowing you to tackle rain and puddles with ease.
The ideal boot should balance comfort and durability. Comfort is what allows you to be on your feet for extended periods without the risk of pain or fatigue. The EVA midsole in these boots works to properly support your feet and absorb shock, while the lightweight Ortholite insole gives you exceptional cushioning without having a major impact on the overall weight of the shoe. Ortholite also has a low long-term compression rate, furthering the overall durability of the boots.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Many jobs across the globe require you to wear steel toe boots. Some common misconceptions are that wearing steel toe boots and having something fall on them will sheer your toes off. This is absolutely not true and has been proven over and over again. Other’s believe a regular pair of work boots will keep you just as safe, however, when put to the test no regular work boot stood up to what a steel toe boot can do.
While it may seem obvious, steel toe boots are protective footwear that has a steel cap in the toe of the shoe, it protects your toes from a variety of different circumstances. There are a wide variety of situations that you may find yourself in that a pair of steel toe boots could save your toes from the damage or worse. Some of the things the steel toe protects you from are:
Some steel toe boots also offer a steel plate on the bottom of the boot that offers protection from puncturing. Depending on your type of work, your employer may have a very specific variety that you need to purchase. Our guide has offered options that cover many different areas of steel toe boots that will keep your feet protected and feeling great.
A very convenient chart has been made to make it easy for all of us to understand what we are buying when buying a steel toe boot. It provides different colors and shapes to look for to make sure you are buying what you need to meet your employer’s conditions or that you are buying the best boot for your desired activity.
Steel Toe Boots need to be able to endure heavy pressure in harsh environments. As soon as the elements of a steel toe boot starts deteriorating, performance and safety become heavily affected. As you can imagine, durability and performance are parameters that go hand-in-hand.
The durability of all kinds of shoes is mostly related to the material they’re built with; as well as, the manufacturing quality. Steel Toe Boots are pretty much the same. Quality determines your performance and potential risk of injury.
Each element degrades individually, but it’s equally important to understand the boot degrades as a whole. This means every element should be in a similar state as the rest of them. If one element degrades much faster than the rest of the boot, it will lose its quality and the potential usage the rest of the elements may still have. For instance, if the upper build rips apart while the outsole rubber is in good shape, the shoe becomes unusable and a healthy outsole goes to the trash.
Generally, the piece that degrades the fastest is the sole. This is no surprise, as it’s the part of the shoe that handles the most tension. The more strenuous work you do, the more your sole will suffer.
One of the most important concepts of durability is proper usage and care. It’s also important to know when your shoe has reached its time. Steel Toe boots are, definitely, not the kind of footwear you want to push over its durability. We’re no longer talking about comfort or efficiency but rather safety. Worn-out boots can put you in many of the unfortunate situations we’ve mentioned here, such as losing balance while carrying a heavy load.
Cushioning can be found in four regions of the shoe: the upper, insole, midsole, and outsole regions of the shoe. While insoles are commonly associated with cushioning and comfort, midsoles are less well-known and outsoles are generally not associated with cushioning.
Insole – Insoles are the location where most cushioning is expected to be found. Insole cushioning can come as foam footbeds, heel pads, cushioned forefoot regions, and others. Generally, most shoes use foam insoles and insole pieces, but sometimes manufacturers use gel compounds and components.
Midsole – Midsole foams and gel cushions are the real secrets behind a comfortable, well-cushioned shoe. This is the area of the shoe that has the most effective cushioning components. To increase the longevity of the midsole foam and gel units, manufacturers wedge the midsole between the insole and outsole. The insole is exposed to your foot more and can wear down more quickly. The outsole, naturally, is on the outside and is the part that always hits the ground and wears down more quickly. As such, the midsole is where manufacturers put their best cushioning technologies.
Outsole – The outsole, as previously stated, is not commonly associated with cushioning. The outsole is the first line of defense between your foot and the outside world. It protects your foot from rocks, abrasive surfaces, thorns, and many other such threats to your feet, but it also protects your foot from shock! Rubber and synthetic materials are the most commonly used materials in the outsoles of the best-cushioned shoes. They easily absorb and disperse shock!
Padded Upper – Padding in the upper can absorb shock from bumps and scrapes, acting as a protective barrier between the top of your foot and the outside world. Padding in the upper can come as padded linings, padded tongues, and padded collars. Shoes without this small layer of protection between your foot and the firm outside of a leather shoe, for example, would be abrasive and could cut into your Achilles tendons or your feet!
Steel Toe boots offer safety that other boots just can't match. These boots include incredible features that make for comfortable wear and superior protection.
Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of a boot, or its overall value, depends mainly on cushioning, support, and protection, but also relies on their durability, convenience, ease of use, maintenance, and their actual price.
You want and need a shoe that won’t fall apart right away. A boot that wears down too quickly cannot protect your feet from injury and cannot properly absorb shock. Every region of the boot needs to be durable from the upper to the outsole. Fortunately, manufacturers have come up with ways to increase the longevity and durability of their shoes by creating high abrasion compounds and interlocking units in the outsole.
A time-consuming maintenance routine is inconvenient and can really devalue any product. We live fast, busy lives and we often barely have time for everyday activities, let alone have the time to treat and re-treat and clean, polish, and dry shoes every time you wear them somewhere. So, look for boots that are easier to maintain and clean. Boots that are easier to maintain and clean are also less expensive over time, as they don’t require a lot of materials to maintain them.
The actual price of a boot matters, too. The best-cushioned and most protective boots don’t have to cost a lot of money! Most of them can be found for a very reasonable price, so always shop around if it looks like the boot you have decided on is going to cost you an unreasonable amount. Someone, somewhere, will probably be selling it for less!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While many other safety toe footwear exist, steel toe protection is the gold standard for extreme conditions and heavy construction site wear. Composite toe safety footwear does utilize a lighter mix of materials giving metatarsal protection, but nothing quite compares to sturdy steel to help against construction grade materials falling on your feet!
Steel toed shoes can be heavier for wear, and less flexible, so be sure to take a few breaks off your feet throughout the day to cut down on fatigue.
Some manufacturers have now incorporated technology to create midsoles or boot forms that allow for more flexibility, while keeping ultimate protection at the toe. This helps to reduce the amount of foot fatigue felt when walking, making the boot less stiff.
When you're searching for your next pair, look for this kind of technology if you need your boots to help keep you mobile as well as protected!
Other Factors to Consider
Steel toe boots are a common choice for workwear because of their additional safety and durability. However, not all steel toe boots are alike. We've made it a point to feature a wide range of options on this list, from waterproof boots to those with protection from electrical discharge, which is important for people who work on power lines. We also included a variety of price options, so you can find something that fits into your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the difference between a composite toe and a steel toe boot?
The simple answer to this question is that a steel toe boot has a steel cap on the toe while a composite toe uses a non-metal material, such as a combination of plastic, Kevlar, and Carbon Fiber. While this is the very basic answer there are some other pieces that may be important in your decision on what to buy.
Both types of boots offer impact and compression resistance to help keep your toes safe. When you head into work, if you are required to pass through a metal detector, it can be quite a burden to remove your shoes. An awesome pair of composite toe boots can make the annoyance of the metal detector a thing of the past.
Keep in mind, some employers will not allow you to wear a composite toe. Looking into your company’s exact specifications of steel toe boots will save you time and money, ensuring you purchase the correct boot for the job. If you look over the policy and you are still unsure, talk with your boss or the hiring manager for clarification. No one wants to be out of a job because of the wrong shoes, or worse irrevocable damage to your feet.
q: What is the difference in standards between ANSI and ASTM?
This commonly asked question is actually pretty easy to explain. ANSI is an acronym that stands for American National Standards Institute and ASTM stands for American Standard Test Method.
There are different sections of the standards that must be met within different fields of industry. The test method is how the manufacturer of the boot must test them to ensure they meet the specifications set by ANSI. So, what does this really mean? It means that there are no differences in specifications between ANSI and ASTM. They work hand in hand, to make sure manufacturers are meeting requirements.
q: Is there a difference in the sizing of a steel toe boot as compared to other shoes?
All shoe manufacturers may have sizes that vary from other brands. Expecting that you will wear the exact same size in every shoe you buy is a bit unrealistic. Some brands fit narrow while others require you to take exact measurements. Others may suggest that you order a whole size up or down.
Deciding which size to order doesn’t have to be difficult. Most manufacturers provide fit guidelines, as well as how to measure for their shoe. If you still find that you are having trouble finding the right size for you, read over the customer reviews of the steel toe boots you have been looking at. Customer reviews are a true insight into how a shoe or boot fits. You may also want to look for a steel toe boot that offers a satisfaction or money back guarantee. This way if you find that they aren’t fitting just as you wish, you can send them back at no cost to yourself.
q: I hate how boots look with my clothes, do they make anything stylish that includes a high-quality steel toe?
The world of steel toe shoes has evolved dramatically over the years. It used to be that you could simply buy black boots with steel caps. Nowadays, you can buy pretty much any style of shoe you prefer and find them with a steel toe. This includes sneakers, clogs, and some that will look great with a suit or dressy clothes.
If you find your life is spent in a business professional dress code but also you have the need to visit job sites, a pair of boots may not be suitable. Know you can find many styles, with the same top quality safety standards, as you find in basic steel toe boots.