The 10 Best Safety Toe Boots of 2020

Top 10 Work Boots Safety Toe

If your looking for the best safety toe work boots, look no further.  This buying guide is designed to take the 1,000s of options available & give you the our favorite options for 2020 based on a value, feedback and features.  All of these boots are PB Tested and Blue-Collar Approved.  Plus, almost all of them have comfort guarantees, so we put our money where our mouth is!

Choosing the Best Work Boot

Choosing the Best Work Boot

Choosing the right steel toe boot is more about understanding your environment and foot anatomy than anything else.  A lot of people choose what looks good without understanding what makes them ‘feel’ good.  We get customers constantly  wanting the newest boots, but our job is to help them understand what boot(s) work for their specific task and, more importantly, the shape of their foot and structure of their arch.

Kris Johnson, CEO Purpose-Built
TOP 10 PICKS FOR 2020

#1 - TIMBERLAND PRO BOONDOCK (COMP TOE)

If your searching for the most durable boot on the market – at a reasonable price – the TimPro Boondock is it!  This boot is our #1 choice based on value and features.  From uncompromising comfort to unparalleled quality, these boots will get the job done in every environment.  Not to mention, they’re backed by Timberland Pro’s 30 day comfort guarantee.

TIMBERLAND TimPro Boondock

PROS:

  • Naturally Wide fit - no need for EE or Extra Wide!
  • Deemed the 'most durable boot' on the market by us!
  • Out-of-the-box Comfort and Guarantee
  • Premium Waterproofing that works!

CONS:

  • Slightly heavier construction
  • Lugs are too bulky for indoor environments

#2 - THOROGOOD USA - AMERICAN HERITAGE (STEEL TOE)

Thorogood has proven to be the best overall value for a USA Made boot – specifically the Moc Toe American Heritage.  They managed to combine amazing detail and aesthetics with a solid boot for everyday use.  Whether your a carpenter, welder, or iron-worker, these boots will work with you.  We take these hands down over RedWing Irish Setters due to the quality of leather, overall construction, and comfort out-of-the-box.

THOROGOOD American Heritage – 6 Trail Crazyhorse

PROS:

  • MADE in USA!
  • Full Grain Premium Leather
  • Custom feel after short break-in period!
  • Premium Insole with shock protection

CONS:

  • Short break-in period
  • Outsoles don't last on rocky surfaces or hot terrain

#3 - TIMBERLAND PRO GRIDWORKS (ALLOY TOE)

We call these boots the ‘pillows’ simply due to their overall comfort.  Something about TimPro’s anti-fatigue insole and its integration with their out-sole makes the Gridworks a great feel overall.  Mix that with their stylish looks and fully waterproof upper and you have an awesome all-season boot.  To make them even more durable, TimPro added a small rubber outsole on top of the polyurethane midsole to increase the life of the boot.  This addition seems small, but getting another 3-4 months out of a boot is a lot!

Also available in a 6″ soft toe and 8″ soft toe!

PROS:

  • Unparalleled Comfort out of the box!
  • Full Grain Dark Red Leather
  • Added rubber outsole for increased durability
  • Premium Anti-Fatigue Insole built in ($30 Value)

CONS:

  • Somewhat stiff outsole could deter some
  • Exposed Moc-Toe could deteriorate without tuff-toe application

#4 - KEEN UTILITY DOVER (CARBON TOE)

From the trail to the job-site, the KEEN Utility Dover offers amazing comfort, a-symmetrical safety toes, and the ability to maneuver in and out of anything.  Not to mention, they are Built in the USA.  You won’t find another American Built at this price with all of the features.

We hear customer reviews every day about their ‘shoe like feel’ meaning they act like a boot when they need to, but feel and maneuver more like a tennis shoe or hiking boot.  Plus, if you have a naturally wide foot, you can easily slip into these without the need for wide.

PROS:

  • One of the best boots for the Price & Features!
  • American Built
  • Extremely flexible outsole makes bending down easier
  • Asymmetrical steel toes that you don't feel

CONS:

  • Width of toe box is sometimes hard to get used to

#5 - WOLVERINE I-90 EPX WORK BOOT (COMP TOE)

When the Wolverine I-90 initially came out touting it was named after the longest freeway in the world due to its durability and comfort, we were doubtful.  Then, we brought it in the shop and tested it with some of our toughest customers.  Safe to say, it held up to the test and is now one of our favorite boots for those with a more narrow foot.  From the world famous DuraShock out-sole technology to a medium rubber lug, it feels more like a shoe than a work boot – yet its performance level is up their with the TimPro Boondock.

PROS:

  • Top 2 for Value based on Price and Features!
  • 30 Day Comfort Guarantee
  • DuraShock outsoles truly do help with Fatigue
  • Great overall aesthetic

CONS:

  • Naturally narrow fit, so not for 'big foot'

#6 - TIMBERLAND PRO BOSSHOG (COMP TOE)

As you can imagine, a boot called ‘BossHog‘ has to live up to its name pretty quickly.  As the newer version of TimPro’s successor, the Endurance, these boots have definitely lived up to their boss-driven name.  In our opinion, they are the most comfortable puncture resistant boot on the market.  Frankly, we sell them to tons of customers who don’t even need puncture resistant outsoles.  We love their stature, tech package, and overall performance on any terrain.  Whether you shoveling sharp debris or building cabinets, they keep you comfortable and fight fatigue.

PROS:

  • Great overall value for the features - Waterproof, Premium Insole, etc.
  • 30 Day Comfort Guarantee
  • Lightweight, yet includes puncture resistant technology
  • Built in Toe Cap for extra Durabilty

CONS:

  • Out-sole has somewhat limited flexibility due to aluminum puncture resistant plate

#7 - TIMBERLAND PRO DRIVETRAIN MID (COMP TOE)

For those in light industrial or focused on indoor work, there is NO better boot than the TimPro Drivetrain Mid and its collection featuring the Drivetrain Low & Drivetrain Leather.  These boots (more like shoes) are like the Nike Free Trainers of the blue collar world.  Nothing even scratches the surface to the overall comfort these provide.  Our favorite features include the SUPER breathable mesh upper, anti-fatigue technology that works, and the overall look of the boots.  You can literally get off the job and hit the gym if you want to…

PROS:

  • Hands down, most comfortable safety toe boot/shoe on the market
  • Lightweight & Breathable
  • Built in Premium insole with Anti-Fatigue Technology
  • Great price-point

CONS:

  • If your in wet environments, this won't work for you
  • Durability in rocky terrain isn't great

#8 - WOLVERINE WORK WEDGE (STEEL TOE)

If you’re on a budget and want a great looking moc-toe for your money, look no further.  The Wolverine Work Boot has been a staple in the industry for years and it’s not going anywhere.  Lightweight, comfortable, and easy on the pocket-book.

If you’re looking to test a moc-toe and don’t want to fork out the extra coin for Thorogoods or Danner Bull Runs, grab yourself a pair – you won’t be disappointed.  The taller, polyurethane outsole makes these boot ultra comfy out of the box and the naturally soft leather gives a zero break-in feel.

PROS:

  • Outstanding Value
  • Great overall feel & design
  • Easily upgraded with Swapping Insoles

CONS:

  • Outsole is super soft which gives great comfort, but also wears a bit faster

#9 - WOLVERINE FLOORHAND (STEEL TOE)

This one is easy.  There inst a better steel toe & waterproof boot on the market for this price-point.  It simply cannot be beat.  Also available in soft toe.

PROS:

  • Outstanding Value
  • Best entry level waterproof and steel toe boot!
  • Easily upgraded with Swapping Insoles

CONS:

  • You can't talk smack on this boot. Its great & has no competition.

#10 - CARHARTT WATERPROOF WORK BOOT (STEEL TOE)

Our last, but not least for 2020 is the Carhartt Waterproof Work Boot.  Carhartt, although new to the boot game, designed an awesome looking boot that competes with the USA Made Moc Toe options from Carolina, Thorogood, and Danner without breaking your bank and frankly, delivering all-around solid performance.  There’s no fancy technology – just great looks and great comfort.  With a waterproof membrane, this boot makes for an awesome option for anyone looking to look good and feel good.

PROS:

  • Outstanding Value
  • Great overall design
  • Great option against premium priced USA Made Moc Toes

CONS:

  • Leather upper takes about a week to break-in
WANT TO DIVE DEEPER?
Understand what makes up a SAFETY TOE

Toe Protection
The steel toe cap (safety toe) has largely been the standard in toe protection since it was developed in the 1940s. However, with advancements in technology, multiple options have become available primary to reduce the overall weight of the work boot or how it handles temperature & the environment.

Steel Toe Work Boots

Engineered with heavy-duty tempered steel that’s then coated with epoxy to resist corrosion, these work boots for men and women meet ASTM impact and compression safety standards. Designed with an asymmetrical shape for a roomier fit, these toe boxes are designed to protect you from falling objects and other potential job-site injuries. These boots are designed with heavy protection and ultimate safety in mind.

Why they’re great: Steel-toe boots are super sturdy. They feature our thinnest toe caps and still offer maximum protection from potentially dangerous machinery, equipment and falling objects.

Alloy Toe Work Boots

Alloy safety toe boots keep your feet protected with lightweight, military-grade aluminum and roomy right and left toe boxes, all while meeting ASTM impact and compression safety standards.

Why they’re great: These boots are strong and lighter in weight than steel toe boots.

Composite Toe Work Boots

Composite toe work boots feature lightweight, non-metallic, non-magnetic toe caps, which meet ASTM impact and compression safety standards and are slower to conduct cold.

Why they’re great: Composite toe boots are light in weight, and won’t set off metal detectors. They’re also great for wearing in extreme high or low temperatures, because they don’t conduct heat or cold as quickly as metal toe boxes do.

ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials, sets standard specifications for a vast number of products. As it relates to work boots, ASTM F2413 sets performance criteria for footwear designed to protect wearers from a variety of hazards. There are nine specific categories of hazards, represented by a one- or two-letter abbreviation. If specific safety features are required for your job or job-site, your company will give you a ASTM rating to use to ensure you purchase the right boots!

Here are the general categories for generating the overall ASTM rating:

  • C: Compression, or what it takes to crush the safety toe:
    • class 75 (2,500 pounds) for men and women,
    • and class 50 (1,000 pounds) for men and women.
  • I: Impact to the toe area (class 50 or 75, as described above).
  • CD: Conductive, or static electrical discharge hazards, to prevent ignition of volatile materials.
  • EH: Electrical shock, resistance to protect heels and toes from connecting to ground.
  • SD: Static dissipative properties, to reduce the accumulation of excess static electricity.
  • PR: Puncture resistance, to protect soles from puncture.
  • Mt: Metatarsal impact, to protect the top of foot from impact.
  • CS: Chain saw, to provide cut resistance.
  • DI: Dielectric insulation, to provide insulation in the event of accidental contact with circuits or conductors.

Water Resistance
Back in the day, leather work boots were simply treated with oil or wax to add some waterproofing.  This process requires constant maintenance, so the technology naturally improved over time.  All Leather boots are still treated this way today, but premium waterproof boots are made with modern, synthetic membranes like Gore-Tex that provide a fully waterproof layer between to upper and your feet.

If you stand in water daily, you need waterproof boots with a membrane.  Don’t confuse water resistant with waterproof.

Insulation
Insulated boots typically have a layer of polyester or other polymers between the liner and leather for heat retention. The amount of insulation is usually listed by weight, in grams. The higher the number, usually the thicker and warmer the insulation.  If you’re working in cold environments or early mornings in the Bay, you’ll want to consider a boot with breathable insulation like 3M’s Thinsulate.  If you only run into a cold morning every now-and-then, avoid the insulation and buy some thicker socks!  We have great options from Wigwam, Carhartt, and Fox River.

Electrical Safety
Some work boots provide protection from electrocution by preventing electrical current from completing a circuit to ground. Boots with this feature have been tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Slip Resistance
Boots that boast slip-resistance have out-soles made of soft materials that can maintain grip on wet or oily surfaces, as well as tread patterns with siping designed to draw fluids away from under the shoe. If you are working on metal, wet and/or uneven surfaces, this is an absolute must-have.  Review the boots slips coefficient or give us a call to help you choose the right boot.

Oil Resistance
This feature has to do with the construction of the boot’s upper. Leather is oil-resistant, but typical synthetic threads or materials used in constructing the upper may break down in the presence of petroleum-based liquids like oil, diesel fuel, and kerosene. Oil-resistant boots use synthetics unaffected by petroleum products.

To Sum It Up - Here's our favorites!
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