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The Best Work Boots for Every Type of Job

For messy, tough or simply straining shifts, trust that these boots will have your back.

Gear Patrol

Most boots are built to last. But work boots go above and beyond: They're strong, long-lasting and just warm enough to stay on your feet for most of the colder months. (Waterproof work boots are a plus if you plan to, well, get wet.)It's no surprise the style was more or less perfected half a century ago. Editions since expand on certain features to cater to certain customers or emphasize comfortability — since work often requires a lot of standing.

The no-frills lace-up style protects the lower legs and feet and usually features a durable lug sole. A steel toe is ideal, but it's rare you find an affordable boot with one. Protective toes are another thing entirely: They prevent stubbing when you kick a crate or topple a tree log.

What to Consider


Find a boot with a high rise: 6 inches or taller. These are the best bet against all floor-level debris, whether it's dangerous or not.


Leather boots are best because the material is more durable than rubber, mesh, nylon or cotton canvas.

Protective Elements

Steel toes are the end all be all of protective footwear features, but a reinforced toebox will do if you can't spend the extra dough. As for on the bottom, always get a lug sole. The thicker the better, in my opinion. They should have slip-resistant tread, too — like that on Red Wing's Moc Toe boot.


Goodyear-welted boots can be resoled if you wear through them, making your work boots last longer.


An expensive boot is almost always worth it as long as the feature warrants the price — not just the aesthetics. They'll last longer, look better as they age and prevent the annual re-up we all dread.

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