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The Best Pull-On Work Boots for Tackling Tall Tasks

Even if you're up for the job, you won't get it done unless your boots are built for it, too.

best pull on work boots
Courtesy Red Wing, Blundstone, Xtratuf

Even if you're up for the job, you won't get it done unless your boots are too. That means you must upgrade from your favorite sneakers, flimsy suede chukkas or crocodile leather cowboy boots. Instead, you'll need a boot built for the task at hand — and often, that means tall, tread-boasting work boots.

What to Consider


Lace-up boots are easier to adjust when the fit's slightly off, but because none of these boots come with laces or straps, you need to be 100 percent sure you are buying the right size. Check the brand's recommendation, and test them in store, if you can. Pull-on boots can slip off, should they get stuck in mud, drying cement or a door, meaning you'll lose your footing, which is never good, especially in a dangerous workplace.


Although your chosen material depends on your job, it's always smart to choose a boot that'll break in elegantly (and slowly) over time. Sure, that might make the first few weeks a little hellish on your heels, but it'll be worth it when your boots last more than a single season. Being waterproof helps, too, but it isn't necessary unless your job qualifies as messy.


Tall boots offer protection around your ankles, up your calves and across the front of your leg, where your shin bone runs. That's a painful spot to bump, let alone expose to dangerous chemicals, dirt or other potential hazards. In our opinion, if you can go tall, go tall, but there are shorter options on this list, too. They're typically more comfortable.


It's important you stay on your feet, no matter the job — unless you're bound to a rolling stool or creeper (the scooter-like contraption mechanics use to get under your car). Look for slip- and oil-resistant outsoles.

Terms to Know

Steel Toe

A steel toe is the surest way to guarantee yours won't get crushed under a moving machine or raw materials gone rogue. Sure, there are other options out there — a cap toe or aluminum — but steel is the strongest choice.

Electric Shock Resistant (ESR), Heat Resistant (HR), Acid Resistant (AR), Electrical Hazard (EH)

These are all ratings that determine whether a boot will prevent electric shock if you step on an exposed wire, sustain high temperatures, protect against acid erosion and so on and so forth.


A membrane, in this industry, is a protective layer that separates the wearer within the boot from the elements. Membranes are often breathable, too, so they keep you dry while letting sweat evaporate.


A leather boot can be waterproofed using an oil coating. Most oiled boots need minimal care and maintenance, too — just a cleaning and conditioning every few months (or sooner if you really put them through it).

Blundstone BL989 Work Chelsea Boot

Courtesy Blundstone

Blundstone BL989 Work Chelsea Boots

  • Height: 5 inches
  • Protective Toe: Yes (Steel)

    Blundstone makes a number of everyday boots. The brand is best known for the comfortability and durability of its designs, and the BL989, Blundstone's official work style, is no exception. The BL989 does retain the usual Chelsea shape, but it's been upgraded with a new heat and acid-resistant outsole with better traction control and an anti-electric shock treatment, a broad fitting impact-resistant steel toe cap and a molded TPU bump cap (what separates the leather upper from the outsole).

    Our tester found they were comfortable on, especially since they share the same lug sole and padded insert as the brand's aptly titled Lug Boot, a new hybrid between its lifestyle and work lines. It's heavier than the Lug Boot, though, because it has a steel toe, a safety feature many must have in their respective workplaces.

    Red Wing Heritage Classic Chelsea

    Courtesy Red Wing
    Best Upgrade Pull-On Work Boots

    Red Wing Heritage Classic Chelsea


    • Height: 6 inches
    • Protective Toe: No

      Although these Chelseas are technically part of Redwing’s Heritage line, our tester found them to be his favorite far and above any other boot he tested. That’s due to a few key reasons: First and foremost, they’re insanely comfortable right out of the box. The Traction Tred outsole provided the best grip of the bunch, even in slick and rainy conditions, and the fully cushioned footbed made it so he even forgot a few times he was wearing work boots in the first place.

      The 6-inch height of the full-grain, oiled upper is easy to wear and doesn’t get in the way like some taller options, but can be a nuisance when working in sandy or loose soil — you’re going to end up with dirt in your boots, even if you have a longer work pant on. The minimal styling of these boots also allows for them to transition seamlessly between working in the yard and going out to dinner… just be sure to remember to wipe them down, first.

      red wing
      Hayley Helms

      Cat Revolver Work Boot

      Courtesy Caterpillar
      Best Affordable Pull-On Work Boot

      Cat Revolver Work Boot

      • Height: 10 inches
      • Protective Toe: Yes (Steel)

        Cat's Revolver Work Boot clocks in at just over $100, which makes it the most affordable boot on this list by a decent margin. And they're Goodyear welted, which means they can be resoled when you wear through them. But don't expect to anytime soon, reviewers say. Some have held on to their boots for the better part of a decade, working as welders, truck drivers and so on and so forth.

        Some say that the boots are tough to break in, though, citing blisters at the ankle bone and on the outsides of the toes, where the steel toe wraps around. The toe can become quite narrow if you do go with the steel toe, they say, but you can opt out if you want — and save $5.

        Ariat RigTek Wide Square Toe WP Composite Toe Work Boot

        Courtesy Ariat
        Most Comfortable Pull-On Work Boots

        Ariat RigTek Wide Square Toe WP Composite Toe Work Boot

        • Height: 11 inches
        • Protective Toe: Yes (Composite)

          The most Western-influenced boot we tried of the bunch, Ariat’s RigTek boot won’t pull double-duty as a discrete dress boot, and that singular focus is actually what our tester loved most about it. These are built to work, and nothing else.

          One of the more comfortable boots right out of the box, the stitched detailing and square toe give it a distinct cowboy vibe, and Ariat made sure this boot would be easy to wear even after long days working outside. The composite toe, waterproof full-grain leather, breathable mesh lining and removable insole work in concert to increase all-day comfort, and the outsole is grippy and maintains traction in dry dirt or wet soil. Our tester found that the ground connection was not as strong in this boot, and recommended it for ground work only — no climbing ladders or scaffolding in these.

          work boots
          Hayley Helms

          Tecovas The Stockton Roper Work Boot

          Courtesy Tecovas

          Tecovas The Stockton Roper Work Boot

          • Height: 10 inches
          • Protective Toe: No

            With a sort of tactical, combat-style sole, Tecovas The Stockton Roper Work Boot is as comfortable as it is functional, the brand (and reviewers say), despite looking like a more traditional cowboy boot. That's thanks to the Bison hide uppers, which wear and fade like fine leather (because they are fine leather). They're just equipped with a sole meant for more serious work, whether that's on a wet concrete floor or out in the mud.

            Many reviewers say they're super hard to get on and off, though, thanks to the tall, tight shaft. So much so that some suggest sizing up or even getting a different width.

            Keen Cincinnati Wellington

            Courtesy Keen

            Keen Cincinnati Wellington Boot


            • Height: 9 inches
            • Protective Toe: Yes (Carbon Fiber)

              Built like a tall rain boot — hence the name, Wellington, a traditional British tall boot — Keen's Cincinnati Wellington works on or off the job site. It has a comfortable, sneaker-like sole that's both slip- and oil-resistant and rated against Electrical Hazards. The uppers are Barnyard resistant, which means they can withstand oleic acid, urea, sodium chloride and ammonium hydroxide, chemicals often used in farm work.

              Reviewers say they're not necessarily the safest for dangerous work, though, because of the super-soft soles, which could be penetrated by nails or other sharp objects.

              Red Wing SuperSole Soft Toe Pull-On Boot

              Courtesy Red Wing

              Red Wing SuperSole Soft Toe Pull-On Boots

              red wing shoes redwingshoes.com
              • Height: 11 inches
              • Protective Toe: No

                [Editor's Note]: This boot is currently sold out at Red Wing but is available in limited quantities via Walmart.

                After weeks of testing, our tester’s feedback on this boot didn’t budge: although it’s the most aesthetically pleasing and good-looking boot of the bunch he tested, they’re also the least comfortable. He found that you have two choices with the SuperSole: you can get a boot stretcher to increase comfort and better refine fit, or you can suffer for weeks breaking them in.

                He chose the latter and found that while Redwing’s work boot is built with quality materials like a leather upper and single-density, direct-molded urethane sole (which the brand says increases durability, traction and chemical resistance) the fit results in pinched toes, pinched ankles and traction that feels slippery compared to the Ariat RigTek or even one of Redwing’s competing styles. Although reviews on Red Wing’s site are mostly positive, there were a few other reviewers that had the same issue with narrowness. Overall, our tester’s conclusion on the SuperSole was this: he’d wear them out to dinner, and he'd only do light work in them.

                red wing
                Hayley Helms

                Xtratuf 15" Legacy Boot

                Courtesy Xtratuf

                Xtratuf 15-in Steel Toe Legacy Boot

                • Height: 15 inches
                • Protective Toe: Yes (Steel)

                  If you're working somewhere where you might need to wade through standing water, walk through wet building materials or cross an uncleared path, a boot with some height is probably a smart idea. Xtratuf's 15-inch work boots, which were made for Alaskan fish and oil workers, feature a steel toe, a watertight bottom and neoprene booties within to keep your feet warm.

                  The rubber shells are triple dipped, ensuring they're puncture and leakproof. They're comfortable, too, because they come with built-in insoles with substantial arch support, reviewers say. Sure, they're not as comfortable as sneakers, but they're better than the aforementioned Red Wings.

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