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Which steel toe work boots are best?

Hazardous work sites can mean serious foot injuries, so when it comes to work boots, you can’t skimp on safety. Designed to offer full protection and durability in any work environment, steel toe work boots are the best choice when it comes to on-the-job protection. If you’re in the market for a high-quality pair of steel toe work boots, check out Carhartt Men’s Traditional Welt 6-Inch Steel Toe Work Boots.

What to know before you buy steel toe work boots


Most boots are designed to comply with the regulations set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ensuring the utmost protection for harsh work environments. According to these standards, a safe pair of work boots must be impact- and compression-resistant, slip-resistant and have a durable steel toe box. While choosing a pair of boots that comply with these standards is important, be sure to also consider your own needs at your job. 

For example, If you work in an electrical environment, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a pair of boots that feature electrical hazard protection. If you find yourself working on construction sites often, then it may be wise to choose a pair of boots that have a puncture-proof sole. No matter your workplace environment, be sure to choose a pair of steel toe work boots that are OSHA-compliant and offer the best protection for your job. 


Since your boots are going to be exposed to vigorous outdoor work and harsh temperatures, it’s important to choose a pair that are built to last. While most work boots feature a durable leather upper and tough rubber outsole, there are some boot options that utilize a goodyear welt construction pattern for added durability. This pattern uses an extra layer of reinforced stitching to connect the outsole to the upper portion of the shoe. This added layer helps to create a more comfortable fit and increases the overall durability of the boots. While boots that feature a goodyear welt construction tend to be a bit more expensive, the added durability makes them well worth the money. 


While work boots are designed to keep you safe, a high-quality pair of boots should also be comfortable enough to be worn for hours at a time. Most work boots feature a supportive midsole which helps to ease foot fatigue and prevent long-term injury. While few work boots feature a cushioned insole, adding one to your new boots is a great way to secure some added comfort.  

What to look for in quality steel toe work boots

Lacing system

For workplace safety, be sure to choose a pair of work boots that feature a lock-in lacing system. This system offers a snug fit and allows the laces to be locked into place, preventing tripping hazards. If you’d rather have a lace-free pair of work boots, choose a pair that feature dual pull handles. These options feature a high ankle cut and easy-to-pull-on design, providing ankle support and fall protection. 

How much you can expect to spend on steel toe work boots

You can expect to spend anywhere from $50-$250 on a pair of steel toe work boots. The more expensive boot options tend to offer the best durability and on-the-job safety. 

Steel toe work boots FAQ

How should steel toe work boots fit?

A. To ensure safety, your steel toe work boots should fit snugly while also allowing for your toes to move comfortably inside the toe without rubbing or feeling squeezed. When trying on your boots, be sure that the steel toe portion of the boot provides full coverage over the entirety of the toe area. 

What’s the OSHA standard for steel toe work boots?

A. According to the OSHA website, steel toe footwear must comply with the ASTM 2413-05 standard. Your steel toe boots should have a leather upper, oil-resistant and non-skid soles as well as an impact and compression resistance rating of 75. 

What are the best steel toe work boots to buy?

Top steel toe work boots

Carhartt Men's Traditional Welt 6-Inch Steel Toe Work Boots

Carhartt Men’s Traditional Welt 6-Inch Steel Toe Work Boots

What you need to know: From a reputable brand, these durable work boots are great for any type of outdoor work. 

What you’ll love: The upper part of these boots is constructed using oil- and water-resistant leather along with a fast dry interior lining, providing breathability and moisture resistance. With a welt rubber outsole, these boots are flexible enough to keep up with quick movements, while also being durable enough to withstand harsh environments. The locking lacing system, cushioned collar and insole helps to keep you secure and comfortable. These boots offer electrical hazard protection and comply with ASTM 2413-11 and ASTM F2892-11. 

What you should consider: Some consumers found that the built-in insole was not supportive. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods 

Top steel toe work boots for the money

Cat Footwear Men's Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Cat Footwear Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

What you need to know: These affordable boots offer excellent protection without breaking the bank. 

What you’ll love: These ankle-cut boots feature an oil- and water-resistant leather upper along with an oil-resistant outsole, providing workplace safety. The durable rubber sole is built to last, and the reinforced stitching improves durability in harsh environments. The steel toe fully encapsulates the toe box, while the lock lacing system eliminates any potential trip hazards. These boots are available in four different color options.

What you should consider: Some consumers noted issues with the sizing of these boots; it’s recommended that buyers order a half size up when purchasing. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Caterpillar Men's Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Work Boots

Caterpillar Men’s Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Work Boots

What you need to know: These high-cut work boots are perfect for anyone in search of extra ankle support and protection. 

What you’ll love: The high ankle cut and dual pull handles offer a snug fit and protection in nearly any workplace environment.  With an oil- and water-resistant leather upper and a supportive midsole, these boots are built to last and to keep you comfortable. The slip-resistant outsole and puncture-proof rubber outsole offers increased traction and protection. These boots comply with ASTM F2413-18 and ASTM F2413-18, providing protection against impact, compression or electrical hazards. 

What you should consider: Some consumers noted that these boots run a bit big — order a half size down. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Breanna Culler writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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