The Best Steel Toe Boots for Staying Safe No Matter the Situation

2023-01-06 17:03:33 By : Ms. Kelly Guo

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Whether you're a motorcyclist or a machine operator, these boots will protect your precious feet. Cap Toe Work Boots

The Best Steel Toe Boots for Staying Safe No Matter the Situation

Protective toes are the end all be all of protective footwear features. Regular, run-of-the-mill boots just won't do the job. But, contrary to popular belief, steel isn't always best. There are steel, aluminum and composite options, each with its own benefits (which you'll below). Nonetheless, your safety is of utmost importance, and if your workplace requires impact and compression-resistant work boots, you'd be smart to find yourself a solid pair (or pick from their provided stock). Here's why (and what to know first).

A protective toe ensures your feet stay, well, protected — whether from the rough edges of a stirrup or the possibility of vertical impact. They wrap around the toe of a boot, forming a C shape with the ends touching the outsole and the upper.

Steel, aluminum and composite toes can all be ASTM-certified. The American Society for Testing and Materials ensures the durability of all protective toes, so be sure yours have earned this mark.

Steel toes offer the best protection, but they're also the heaviest, and a few extra ounces make all the difference when you spend extended shifts on your feet.

Aluminum is lighter, but not as strong. As such, aluminum toes are thicker than steel toes. They still meet the ASTM's safety thresholds, but in a different way than steel.

Made from carbon fiber, the patented material Kevlar or simply plastic, composite toes are generally the thickest of the three. They make a boot look more bulbous but are often the lightest, and they help workers stay metal-free if the workplace requires it — i.e. you pass through metal detectors to the site and so on and so forth.

Think about it: when you're wearing a weighted backpack, that weight is more evenly distributed through your shoulders and back, which are supported by your core and legs. When you wear heavy shoes, you lift these weights with each step, meaning if you have a five-minute walk to your office or station, you'll have lifted these weights 600 times (if you're an average walker and take 120 steps a minute).

Generally speaking, the lighter the better, but there are core components of a good leather boot that put a minimum on how much the boot will weigh: raw leather material is heavy; so too are the elements of a Goodyear welt. You'll need to approach each listed weight with this context but do so seriously, because total weight is an important consideration.

If you're in the market for a boot with a protective toe, you clearly emphasize durability. As such, you should know which construction method proves most durable. There are plenty to choose from, too — from cement construction to Goodyear welted to stitchdown.

Learn more about the most durable styles in our guide to boot construction.

Boots with protective toes are often narrower, either in the forefoot or at the toe. You'll find aluminum toes are more spacious than steel ones, and composite are kind of a crapshoot — they could be tight; they could be pleasantly roomy.

As mentioned before, certain toe styles influence a boot's design more than others. Aluminum-toed boots, for example, will have a bulkier toe. Steel-toed boots are more compact. Generally, too, steel-toe boots look like work boots. If you want an incognito steel toe boot, you have to do some digging, but we found a few — and they're listed below.

According to the CDC (with guidance from the ASTM), safety boots (which steel boots are) can be certified in various other safety categories. They earn letters for the ones they pass. All protective-toed boots pass C and I, compression and impact resistance.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Danner's Bull Run boot is no newbie. It's been around the block — officially, it's been around since 1932. The wedge outsole, the moc toe, the Taslan laces, the Made in USA marker on the outside of the upper — it's all there. This boot is built to last, even in its original form.

But the steel toe version, which only costs $10 more ($250 vs $260), offers even better protection, plus the same comfort and only a slight difference in weight and appearance. That being said, the steel toe version is tighter, meaning it suits slimmer feet than it does wide ones.

Whatever the job requires, Wesco’s Jobmaster gets it done with full-grain leather uppers and a chunky Vibram lug sole which boosts it to 10 inches tall. With effectively indestructible build quality, full-leather insoles and midsoles, and brass eyelets that get better with age, it's worth considering the price jump from our first pick, the Danner Bull Run.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

When Timberland introduced its now-iconic work boots in 1973, it was a revolution. The cement construction made it among the first boots to be truly waterproof and the design has remained much the same since. The nubuck uppers are constructed with quadruple needle stitching and outfitted with PrimaLoft insulation padded ankle collars and tough rubber lug soles.

The PRO version comes with a sizable steel toe, an even thicker collar, an oil-resistant outsole and a removable antimicrobial insole.

Toe: ASTM-F2413-11 composite toe

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Available in two widths, White's Longliner boots come with an ASTM-certified composite toe that gives the silhouette an exaggerated, almost teardrop-shaped toe. The upper it completes is 10 inches tall and completely waterproof.

A leather midsole and shank help these boots shape to your feet with wear, and fast, too, if you're someone wearing these for extended periods of time — i.e. at work. These have a high arch, though, so be warned flat-feeters. As such, you should order a full size down from your usual sneaker size, the brand says.

Construction: Proprietary waterproof PRO construction

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Few work boots slip on, probably because they're simply less safe. But Ariat's Groundbreaker Chelsea stays on pretty well, and it's as protective as the others on this list: It has a steel toe, is certified in C, I, EH safety regulations, and is completely waterproof.

Plus, this is a pair of boots you could easily work into your existing wardrobe without making it known you're wearing safety boots (but who cares if you are?). That just means you can go from work (or a workshop) straight to the bar.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

The Cutter's Choice edition of Nicks' famous BuilderPro boot comes together using leather the brand already has in stock, cutting your wait time down by weeks, if not months. You don't have to sacrifice quality, though, just choice, but you're by no means limited when you order from Nicks.

You get a stellar, 10-inch-tall, Vibram-soled roughout leather boot with solid brass hardware and an ASTM-certified steel toe. Altogether, these boots are a little heavy, and stiff at first wear — but you'll get used to it. Plenty have, especially when you consider the fact that this is one of the brand's best-sellers.

Construction: Goodyear welt (and heat-fused)

Made from full-grain, albeit coated, leather, this special version of Dr. Martens' 1460 boot features a steel toe fashioned inside a regular 'ol black boot. You still get the yellow stitching and the rubber, heat-fused outsole. But be warned, resolers: the heat-fused outsole prevents these from being resoled... easily, at least.

But with these, you get a pedestrian look with true protective elements — just no additional safety certifications.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Motorcyclists need steel-toe boots, too, not just workers. There's plenty to bust a toe on when strapped around one of those machines, whether it's a rough foot pedal or a combative kickstart.

These have a high, engineer-like shape with an ankle strap for even more support. (They unzip down the side so they're easy to put on and take off, but not accidentally.) The sole is rubber so you have better grip, and the whole thing is Goodyear welted, which means you can get them resoled down the road.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Keen's San Jose Boots are the same height as Timberland's classic wheat work boots, but they are way lighter. Keen opted for aluminum instead of steel, creating tough toes that weigh 35 percent less.

But less weight doesn't mean these are any less protective: They come with Keen's KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, are both safe from Electrical Hazard (EH) and Electric Shock Resistant (ESR) and feature a siped outsole that drains faster, giving you better control on wet surfaces.

Safety Standards: C, I, EH

Wolverine is known for its work boots, and the Floorhand is a lightweight, yet super-functional option. It's cemented together with a pronounced steel toe and several safety certifications.

The Best Steel Toe Boots for Staying Safe No Matter the Situation

200j Composite Toe Cap It's altogether a little shorter, but 6 inches isn't nothing. It's certainly taller than a sneaker, and safer, too. It also comes with a waterproof membrane to keep the elements out, and your feet comfortable, even if you're on them all day.