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The 5 Best Work Boots (2022 Review)

If you’re looking for a new pair of work boots to provide you with comfort and support while you knock out your next DIY project, we’re here to help. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best work boots on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

work boots Courtesy Thorogood

Work boots need to be durable, comfortable, and weather-resistant to protect your feet for months to come. To make your purchasing decision easier, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best work boots on Amazon and created a buyer’s guide. Here are our top recommendations.

Top 5 Work Boots


Best For Outdoor Use: Timberland Ankle Boots

These boots feature compression-molded midsoles that cushion the shock your feet feel while you’re on the job. They have a waterproof construction and rust-resistant lace hardware, so they can be used as rain boots and hiking boots as well as work boots. Additionally, each boot weighs just over one pound to decrease fatigue while you’re walking.

Key Features

  • Leather and rubber construction
  • Ankle height
  • Size and color options

What Customers Are Saying

Customers were pleased with how well these boots fit their feet. They also said that they stood up to snowstorms, puddles, and more. However, some customers said that they wore down after continued use.


Most Customizable: Thorogood Work Boots

These thick-soled work boots are made of quality leather that extends the length of the shoes’ ankle-high design. Protecting the bottom is a slip- and oil-resistant outsole that’s built with long-lasting rubber. The boots also have a removable, shock-absorbing insole.

Key Features

  • Leather and rubber construction
  • Above-ankle height
  • Size and color options

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers said that these work boots were durable, comfortable, and made with high-quality leather. However, those who were unsatisfied with their purchase claimed that these boots were too skinny and difficult to break in.


Best Steel-Toe Boot: Caterpillar Steel-Toe Boots

These work boots don’t sacrifice comfort for protection, offering a breathable insole and durable leather construction. They can also protect against up to 14,000 volts of electricity in dry conditions, which is useful for electrical work.

Key Features

  • Leather, rubber, and steel construction
  • Above-ankle height
  • Size and color options

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who left positive reviews for these work boots liked that they held up well to harsh conditions and had a stylish design. However, dissatisfied customers thought that they were uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.


Most Comfortable: Irish Setter Work Boots

Along with their durable and comfortable design, these boots have an easy-to-clean surface that can be maintained with lukewarm water. Their rubber soles are also designed to reduce electrical hazards and withstand temperatures up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Key Features

  • Leather and rubber construction
  • Above-ankle height
  • Size options

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers thought that these boots were lightweight but sturdy and durable thanks to their leather construction. On the contrary, some customers claimed that the soles started to split after wearing them for a short period of time.


Best Multipurpose Boot: Carhartt Work Boots

The same membrane that protects your feet from water is also breathable, allowing for airflow to prevent sweating and smelling. The boots are made from high-grade, oil-tanned leather with a large opening that’s over 10 inches in size to make putting them on quick and easy.

Key Features

  • Leather and rubber construction
  • Above-ankle height
  • Size and color options

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for these work boots said that they had comfortable insoles and stood up well to water. Negative reviews said that they had insufficient traction. Others said that they had an unpleasant, chemical-like odor.


Buyer’s Guide

Get the most out of your next pair of work boots by first considering what material they’re made of, what kind of protection they provide, and more.

Protection

Most work boots are designed to protect users during a variety of projects. Two of the most common protections work boots offer are impact and shock resistance.

Impact resistance is provided through steel-toe work boots. These work boots have a reinforced toe that prevents injuries by reducing the impact and pressure felt from heavy debris that might fall while you’re working.

Shock resistance is particularly important for homeowners who work around electrical wiring. These boots are constructed with materials that reduce the conduction of electricity and the severity of an electrical shock.

Material

Most work boots are constructed using leather because of this material’s comfort, moisture absorption, and durability. However, not all leather boots have the same qualities. For example, some leather work boots have special stitching that creates a waterproof seal. Others have an oil-tanned design that gives off a weathered and stylish look.

Length

A boot’s length is measured from the bottom of the outsole to the top of the opening. Most boots are six inches in length to protect the entire foot. However, some boots have a shorter length to increase mobility and reduce the overall weight of the shoes.

Traction

Having non-slip grip isn’t just a convenience—it’s often necessary for your worksite per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards. Thick, textured rubber soles help you navigate uneven terrain with sure-footed confidence.

Longevity

You may wince seeing prices for quality work boots, but it’s worth shelling out for a good pair. Not only will they last longer than a comparatively cheaper pair, but they’ll also make each day spent on your worksite more comfortable and enjoyable. When you consider how often you’ll be wearing your boots and how much wear and tear you’ll be subjecting them to, it’s a no-brainer to spend a little more upfront to save a lot in the long run.

Style

Your worksite may not require stylish footwear, but plenty of leather work boots have an attractive look. If your job involves working indoors or interacting with customers, consider finding something that is protective but also looks nice and matches a variety of outfits.

Maintaining Your Work Boots

How long your boots last is dependent on how you care for them as well as how durable they are. Below are some tips to help you maintain your work boots.

  • Use mink oil or another leather conditioner to keep the upper part of your boots supple, flexible, and water-resistant.
  • Due to the demanding nature of many worksites, make sure to regularly inspect your boots before or after the workday. Your boots may be so insulated and protective that you stepped on a nail or screw without realizing it.
  • Clear your boots of debris as soon as possible. This includes scraping caked-on mud from the outsole. Mud-filled tread severely reduces traction, and ground-in dirt could result in abrasions and other premature wear.
  • To avoid bad odors, air out your boots when they’re not in use. We recommend using a dedicated shoe stand. If your boots start to develop a smell, purchase shoe fresheners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a pair of work boots last?

The lifespan of your work boots depends on a variety of factors, including your work environment and frequency of use. However, in general, a high-quality pair of boots should last for around a year.

How do I break in a new pair of work boots?

To break in your work boots, wear them around the house a few times to stretch the new material. You can also apply a leather conditioner to their surface for enhanced flexibility or install a support insole for more padding.

Should my toes touch the end of my work boots?

No. Properly fitting work boots will allow you to move your toes slightly.

Do work boots usually fit true-to-size?

Your normal shoe size may work for a work boot, but in general, we recommend moving up about half a size. This is especially the case if you’re working outside in cold temperatures and wearing thick wool socks.

Will cushioned running shoes feel more comfortable than work boots?

More than likely, yes. However, although there are some athletic shoes that offer additional gripping and waterproofing, they won’t be nearly as rigid, warm, or protective as true work boots.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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