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5 of the Best Work Boots for Men: Steel Toe Reviews by Type

Updated on July 7, 2014
A good pair of men's work boots will last a long time!
A good pair of men's work boots will last a long time! | Source

Finding the Right Steel Toed Work Boot for your Needs

You probably already know that in most manual labour professions, safety gear is essential. Whether you're new to the work wear realm, or just switching professions, you should make sure you're properly equipped. Finding the best men's steel toed work boot for your line of employment is an essential thing.

Here's the bad news: that wall of boots at your local work wear store is going to confuse the heck out of you! There are so many different types and styles.

In my first job driving a truck, I was advised by my boss to pick up some men's steel toed work boots, so I did. Unfortunately for me, I ended up picking up a pair without any ankle support, which was something I sorely needed in that job.

This article is written to help you avoid such mistakes. We'll be identifying five of the top men's work boots with steel toes, which will hopefully narrow down your options and make your selection easier.

Each of the work shoes and boots that I'll be outlining will be of a specific type. Each type is suitable for different professions. More on that as we go!


Steel Toe Men's Work Boots: The Categories

Before I jump into the reviews proper, I want to outline the categories I'll be analyzing.

The Lightweight Men's Work Boot:

This type of shoe is best suited for the man on the move. They consist of a great blend of comfort and utility, keeping your feet safe with rugged protection, while still allowing you to walk unimpeded. They have a bet less overall protection than the beefier options.

If you suspect that your job will involve a lot of walking, I'd highly recommend looking into getting a men's lightweight steel toed boot.

The Metatarsal Boot:

'Metatarsal' refers to the upper region of your foot, and it's a vulnerable place in terms of injury. Your typical men's steel toe shoe or boot will only cover the front portion of your foot, leaving your upper region exposed.

A metatarsal work boot goes beyond the steel toes, providing the best protection you're likely to find. These boots are fantastic for welders (protection from sparks) and construction workers who worry about drop damage.

The Cold Weather Men's Work Boot:

This one is pretty self explanatory. If you're labouring in winter conditions, consider paying a little extra to keep your extremities warm. You'll be surprised at the difference it'll make in your state of being!

8" and 10" Boots:

8 and 10 inch refers to the height of the boot itself, and many guys prefer to have a taller build for the extra ankle support that comes with it. An 8" lace-up will come most of the way up your ankle, while a 10 inch is even higher. Both are fantastic if you're concerned about twisted ankles or comfort.

The Flint: A lightweight men's work boot with steel toes and comfort

If you want a boot that you can wear to work as well as around the back yard, this shoe by Keen Utility is a fantastic option. It's a prototypical lightweight steel toed boot for men, and I'd seriously recommend it.

You'll probably notice that this boot is in the fashionable hiking style, and it's built to withstand a varied terrain. It has a good amount of grip, with a good amount of arch and tons of traction. For that reason, it's a good option for landscapers or those in outdoor construction. Great for yardwork, too!

Let's talk safety. The Flint has your standard steel reinforced toes. It has an EVA midsole which provides excellent flexibility while walking. The sole is rubber, and it's designed to be slip resistant in wet weather, even in oil.

The upper portion of the shoe is nubuck leather. The shoe is fairly water resistant, and it will do well in light rain, but it's not a full on waterproof boot.

In terms of comfort, the Flint is a men's steel toe work boot that doesn't disappoint! It features a heel lock, to keep your foot front sliding around inside the shoe (a major cause of blisters). It wicks away moisture nicely, and it has a nice rise to it, not too high up your ankle, but not too low either. And it is a good looking piece of footwear!

For construction, yard work or landscaping, the Keen Utility Flint is a top quality lightweight men's work boot with excellent customer reviews. Give it a look!

The Excave with Metatarsal Guard: A men's work shoe with amazing protection

A foot injury can be a devastating thing. It can put you out of work for months on end, and a bad break can haunt you for the rest of your career. By choosing a top quality metatarsal men's work boot, such as the Timberland Excave, you can have a little peace of mind.

There is a lot to like about the Excave! It manages to combine good looks and comfort with dense protection. You'll probably notice that this shoe features an external metatarsal guard. (Some shoes have it on the inside). While that does make the boot a bit more bulky, it means that it's a lot more comfortable. It also features a steel shank, in case you're worried about punctures as you walk.

If you're an electrician, you'll appreciate that the Excave has electrical resistance.

As for comfort, you'll be surprised by this shoe. It has a good amount of flexibility due to its leather and synthetic construction, and there's a surprising amount of give in the midsole. There's an anti-microbial feature in the insole, reducing foot odour.

There are only two cons, as I see it: first, all metatarsal men's work boots will be heavier than those without that added protection, and the Excave is no different. Secondly, the boot isn't waterproof, though it is resistant. Just don't go trekking through any puddles!

The Excave is among the best work boots for men, especially in the metatarsal protection category. Check it out!

Carolina Boots: An insulated, cold weather work boot for guys

If you happen to work in a colder climate, spend a lot of time working outdoors in the winter, or if you're in natural resources in some capacity, you're going to love these things.

These work boots, by Carolina Boots, are insulated against the cold and waterproof to protect against the wet. And they're comfortable, and good looking too!

This is a full-leather boot, so it's durable as all get out, and it will last a long time. The leather is thick and abrasion resistant, though I'd definitely treat it with a leather spray from time to time to keep it in tip top shape.

In terms of safety, this boot features a steel toe and shank, so you're safe from dropped objects and punctures. It is also rated against electricity, so it's a fine choice for an outdoor electrician.

The outsole is a solid piece of rubber, and it's thick! It has great traction to keep you planted in slippery winter conditions.

The whole boot is also waterproof, which is a huge boon for winter work. These men's boots will keep your feet nice and dry in rain or snow.

The interior has a total of 600 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and because they rise fairly high up your ankle, they help to preserve a lot of warmth that would otherwise be lost through your feet and the pants-ankle connection.

Most importantly, these are cold weather work boots that will last. They're rugged, attractive and reasonably priced, so I'd encourage any outdoor workers to give them a look.

G48 Power: An 8" men's durable work boot, waterproof

Timberland has some of the best men's durable work boots on the market today, and they've been doing their thing for a long time, so it makes sense. The G48 is a fine example of an 8" work boot that's got a lot of nice features.

I really like work boots in the 8 inch category. They just seem to fit at the right point in your ankle, giving you support while not being too bulky or oppressive. The G48 is a truly strong example of how to make a boot that will last.

The protection on this boot is almost unparalleled. It has a large steel toe and a steel shank. Combine that with a dual density poly outsole, and you won't fear nails any longer. The upper is constructed from leather and a durable coating that resists abrasion and helps make the boot waterproof.

Comfort is pretty good as well. The polyurethane inner coating will gradually form to your feet, and after the break-in period you'll forget you're wearing them.

Weight wise, they come in at 32oz, which is heavy but not oppressive. They look fantastic, and most importantly they will last. It's a men's 8 inch work boot worth your time to investigate further.

Gravel Pit: A 'best case scenario' guy's 10" work boot

The Gravel Pit, by Timberland, is a good shoe to end on, because it combines most of the features we have discussed above into a 'super shoe'. It's a 10 inch boot for men, which provides awesome ankle support, stability, warmth and comfort.

Like many of Timberland's offerings, this shoe is primarily constructed from durable leather. It has a full waterproof coating over the top to keep your toes dry in all weather conditions.

It is one of the safest work boots for a few reasons. It features a standard steel toe and shank, but it also has an internal metatarsal guard to keep your upper foot safe from drops and injury.

The flexible rubber outsole is thick and pretty flexible, as well as resistant to slips (including oil resistance).

It also happens to be pretty darn good in cold climates, with 200 grams of Thinsulate to guard against chill.

Weight wise, it comes in at a hefty 34oz, which makes a lot of sense considering it has a metatarsal guard integrated. It's a fantastic, all-purpose 10 inch work boot, and it's well suited to a variety of labour conditions.


How Do I Make My Choice?

Believe it or not, these are just a handful of the sub-categories that exist in the men's work boot realm. There are a lot of other specialized styles out there.

To make a good purchase, you have to analyze the type of movement you'll be required to do, and the climate and conditions of your worksite.

Ask A Friend: Not sure where to begin with that? Interview one of your coworkers. Ask them what they've found the conditions to be like, and they'll probably give you some good tips on the kind of specific protection you're going to need.

Ask Your Boss: Your employer will be in a good position to tell you what to expect. In fact, many employers have pretty strict safety requirements (since they're liable), and that will help narrow down your options.

Ask Your Feet: OK, I'm being a little silly here, but seriously, consider what works for your feet. Do you tend to get too hot in all shoes? Do you require lots of support? Take these things into consideration before you lock something down.

I hope this article helps you! Thanks for stopping by.

Poll Time!

Of the choices above, which do you prefer?

See results

Questions or Suggestions? I'd love to hear them!

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    • Work Wear Guy profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Canada

      Interesting. Employer provided boots are certainly not the standard in North America, though certain standards of boot such as steel toe and/or shank or electrical resistance, for example, are common. Thanks for the input.

    • Arioch profile image

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      3 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Sadly in the UK a lot of employers provide safety boots and their main goal is cheap!

      Great hub though.

    • wisdomsource profile image

      Richard Arthur 

      4 years ago from Vancouver Island, west coast Canada

      Good info. Havin' the right boot for the right job is important. I like the Carolina with 600g of thinsulate, I've worn them drivin truck in Fort Mac in northern Alberta and they beat the cold!


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