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The Best Work Boots You Can Buy

From waterproof icons to handcrafted pairs from Northwestern artisans.


Strong, long-lasting and just warm enough to stay on your feet for most of the colder months: that’s all a work boot really needs to be. 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 else should a work boot have and do?

Shopping Tips

  • Find a boot with a high rise: 6 inches or taller.
  • Leather boots are best because the material is more durable.
  • 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.
  • Always get a lug sole. The thicker the better, in my opinion.
  • Slip-resistant tread — like that on Red Wing's Moc Toe boot — will help prevent falls.
  • Goodyear-welted boots can be resoled if you wear through them.
  • 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.

    The Best Work Boots for Men

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      Best Overall Work Boot
      Red Wing
      Iron Ranger Cap Toe Boot
      Best Upgrade Work Boot
      Service Boot 2030 - Chromexcel
      Best Affordable Work Boot
      Waterproof Boot
      1000 Mile Boot
      Red Wing Heritage
      6-inch Classic Moc Gore-Tex
      Groundbreaker 6" Work Boot
      Filson x White's
      Shop Boots
      Standard Steel Toe Jobmaster
      Archie-01 GRM
      White's Boots
      350 Cutter
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