When you work in a tough environment, it is very important to get footwear that can withstand the test of time. No matter where your job site is, from the factory or restaurant floors to the farm, you will need a pair of durable, heavy-duty, and comfortable work boots. So, if you are finding a collection of trustworthy and premium-quality american work boots, here are the top 20 best work boot brands available on the market.
Table of Contents
- Top 20 Most Popular Work Boot Brands in 2021
- How to Choose the Right Work Boots
- Work Boots Brands to Avoid
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 20 Most Popular Work Boot Brands in 2021
Every day, people around the world don some work boots for their jobs. Whether it’s hiking up scaffolding or operating heavy machinery, boots provide protection and stability. But with so many options available, how do you know which one to buy?
Below are some of the most popular work boot brands:
- Harley Davidson
- Red Wing Shoes Co. Inc.
- CAT Footwear
- Ariat International, Inc.
- Magnum Boots, Ltd.
- Keen Utility Incorporated
- Duofold International Limited
- Rocky Brands, Inc./Rocky Shoes & Boots U.S., Inc./Rocky Mountain Boot Co., Ltd.
- Sperry Top-Sider, Inc.
- Columbia Sportswear Company
- Merrell Canada Limited
- Justin Boots Co., Ltd.
- Ariat International, Inc.
- Danner Tactical Combat Boot
In this post, we’ll highlight the most popular work boot brands – each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
If you are looking for reliable work boots, Carhartt might be one of the top brands you can trust. This brand was founded in 1889 in Michigan and has been famous for the robust construction and creative design. the Carhartt work boots are designed for labor with an enduring and heavy-duty build while still giving enough comfort.
Caterpillar is also one of the most popularly recognized shoe brands all over the world. This brand is proud of its made-to-last footwear. In other words, they provide wearers with strong and durable work boots. It features the symbolic yellow coloring, a waterproof construction, and arch support design that will not only protect your feet but also make them more comfortable to wear all day long.
If you love classic Australian styles, you will not want to miss out on the Blundstone. The Blundstone work boots were made in 1870 in Hobart by John Blundstone. They are known for their endurance and heavy-duty construction. Therefore, the design is suitable for those who work in intensive environments. Typically, the Classic Blunnies models don’t have front laces. They feature elastic sides instead. Hence, you can easily slip on and take off the shoes. They are also very comfortable to wear for hours. Besides, the style makes it ideal for job sites and other places such as pubs.
4. Timberland Pro
It might be sure that a lot of you have heard about the Timberland Pro. This brand was established in 1928 in Massachusetts with the iconic tan color. They are usually made of high-quality full-grain Helcor leather with thick and rigid tread and waterproof upper. Therefore, the Timberland Pro work boots are ideal for those who have to work outside or under extreme conditions like snowy days. These models are actually worth every penny because of their long-lasting and durable construction.
With 87 years of history, Danner is also a worth-noting work boot brand, which kept the feet of people who lived In The Depression safe and warm. Offering toughness and stability during WWII, this Danner work boot have proved to be one of the most endurant work boots in the industry. They are ideal for long-distance working, hiking, trekking, and working on construction sites because of their durability.
6. Dr Martens
Dr Martens have become an important part of the British punk scene and workstation since 1947 by Klaus Martens. They are rich in history and famous for their tough and durable design. In addition, this Dr Martens work boot provide enough comfort to let you walk all day without fatigue. Among various models, the 1460s style is the most common one because of the well-known yellow stitching and endurant high-top build.
7. Golden Fox
Another great work boot brand to consider is the Golden Fox, which was established in 1970 with excellent durability in mind. this Golden Fox work boot provide your feet with maximum protection while still helping you get through your day comfortably. What’s more, these models come in a stylish design so that you can wear them anywhere, not just at the workplace. The prominent feature of this model is the steel-toe cap and full-grain leather upper, which ensures a long-lasting lifespan from year to year.
8. Harley Davidson
Whether you are going on site or just riding a motorbike, if you are a lover of sturdy and reliable work boots, don’t forget to check the Harley Davidson. With a rich history of 116 years, these motorcycle boots are well-known for their motorcycles. However, their work boots are also famous for their premium quality. They are usually made of full-grain leather uppers and sturdy rubber soles. This design makes sure you feel squishy no matter where you walk.
If you need a tough pair of work boots that can stand up to the most severe conditions and military operations, Maelstrom will be a good option for you. These models are typically designed for those who work in law enforcement and other professional tactical fields. Delivering a premium-quality construction, these boots are ready to resist some of the toughest environments.
Wolverine is another renowned work boot brand that was established in 188 BY G. A Krause. One of the most famous models is the 1000 Mile Boot. It was particularly made to meet the harsh condition of construction workplaces while delivering enough comfort. Nowadays, they are handcrafted to meet current tough working environments while maintaining their design and quality. Typically, they feature leather uppers and Gore-Tex liner that will last for miles.
11. Ever Boots
Coming in a sleek and elegant design, Ever Boots is one of the most reliable brands of work boots available right now. This Ever Boots work boot has a strong philosophy of footwear that is responsible for its quality, endurance, and cost. Featuring prolonged full-grain leather uppers, robust sole construction, and fashionable design, they are ideal for workplaces and a night out with your friends.
Who would have thought that these fashionable Ariat work boots can offer so much durability? Ariat has been manufacturing Western-style footwear since the 1990s, and their style is ideal for riders or those who have to work outdoors regularly. This brand is popular with various people because of its endurance. You can wear it to your worksite or any other fancy places such as restaurants because of the timeless cowboy style.
If you have to work in an extremely harsh environment, Hi-Tec will be a good brand to consider. These work boots not only provide you with durability but also comfort no matter where you walk, from the farm to the mountain. In general, they are ideal for working outdoors because of the weather-resistant, windproof design. What’s more, they feature moisture-wicking materials, which can make your feet cooler and drier when on the shoes all day. Besides, for those who don’t know, these work boots are considered the most lightweight hiking boots, so they will not disappoint you.
14. Irish Setter
Harsh work will require extremely durable footwear to protect your feet. And Irish Setter is one of the greatest brands that offer excellent protection, comfort, and durability. They are typically suitable for working on farms or factory/restaurant floors. These work boots are famous for their steel-toe cap and solid tread design. Therefore, they are great to wear in any weather conditions. All in all, you can’t go wrong with these Irish Setter work boots whether you are working on construction sites, on the farm, or going outsides hunting or fishing, etc.
15. Justin Original
Justin Original was established in 1879 in Indiana. These work boots are famous for their durability that can perform well in any condition. The reason is that they are typically designed for cowboys of the 19th century. Hence, they provide you with a solid and durable outsole and squishy upper. You can wear them anywhere, from the warehouse to construction sites or mountain tops, with no worries about durability.
16. Under Armour
Founded in 1996, work boots from Under Armour are known for their endurance and comfort. Coming in a casual design, you can wear them for fishing, hiking, military, or anything in between. In addition, they can protect your ankles from possible ịnury. With the waterproof design and tough construction, these boots are a great option for tactical performances and harsh conditions.
First introduced in 1892, Thorogood delivers tough durability and craftsmanship. These Thorogood work boots are reinforced with Goodyear Welt construction and leather upper, creating an exceptionally durable design that will last many years. Even these days, they are made using the same means and craftsmanship. Therefore, you can be sure of their quality if you are looking for work boots with endurance and integrity.
For those who don’t know, Chippewa was established in 1901 as a small factory. However, they provide wearers with notable robust and durable boots, which are mainly used for daily work. What makes this chippewa work boot is the reliable design and premium-quality materials. Hence, you can expect them to resist the harshest working conditions. These are ideal for wearing in various places, such as construction sites, restaurant floors, in the forest, etc. You will absolutely feel the comfort even when wearing them all day.
19. Keen Utility
Founded in 2003, Keen Utility has dominated the world of footwear because of the fashionable design and durability. They quickly gain enduring love of people who usually work in tough environments. Another strong point of these Keen Utility work boots is the waterproof design, which allows you to wear them in damp conditions without worrying about wet feet.
The last brand on this list is Dexter. These work boots are popular thanks to their comfort and tough construction. Established in 1957, these models still provide you with tough construction and stylish design to this day. They are ideal for tough weather conditions or just a normal day walking around the warehouse.
How to Choose the Right Work Boots
After deciding which types of work boots you will choose, it’s time for you to discover some important things to keep in mind so that you will pick the best one.
When it comes to work boots, safety toe design might be the most crucial factor to look for. This is because you will face lots of dangerous situations on the worksites, such as getting pumped or tripped. Therefore, you will need a good pair of work boots that can protect your toes in such a harsh environment. Here are some of the most popular types of safety work shoes available on the market and some tips on how to choose the most suitable model for you.
Steel toes are considered one of the most traditional and common choices when people are looking for steel toe work boots that provide protective toe caps. The most strong point of steel toes might be durability. That means they can prevent falling objects and other sharp or tough things from hurting your toes. What’s more, they can even bend under pressure without damage.
However, you will need to remember one thing that steel toes tend to conduct heat or temperatures more than other types of safety toes. Hence, they might not be the most appropriate option for those working in extremely high-temperature conditions. As other safety toe alternatives, this kind is also a little bit stiff when you first wear it.
Composite toes are another great alternative for those who don’t like the heavy weight of steel toes. These models of composite toe work shoes are usually made from carbon fiber or Kevlar and plastic to make sure they meet the ASTM/ANSI safety requirements. Although these kinds are a bit thick on your feet, they are still slightly lighter than the steel toe option.
Because composite toes are neither metallic nor magnetic, they will not transmit cold or temperatures to your feet. As a result, these models will be a great choice for those who work in metal-free environments such as places with electrical hazards.
Another common type is alloy toes, which weigh only as half as steel toes. Hence, those looking for protective and lightweight work boots can consider this option. Even though they might be a little bit thicker than steel toes, they provide you with better mobility. Therefore, they are ideal for people who have to move a lot while still needing certain protection. Besides, you should be aware that this type of protective cap also bends like other kinds when under pressure. However, they will not damage or break in half.
If protective toe caps are necessary for those who work in harsh environments, there are times when you don’t need to wear these kinds of safety toes. Instead, you can opt for soft toes for ultimate comfort while keeping the overall functionality of the work boots.
In particular, if your working condition doesn’t pose any risk of getting crushed or stubbing, there is no need to wear safety-toed boots. Instead, you can wear non-protective toe boots because they are much lighter and more comfortable to wear in an extended period of time. More importantly, they don’t include any encumbering elements on your toes.
For instance, if you are shoveling sawdust or clearing a place of water spills like restaurant floors, you definitely don’t need any kind of protective or safety toes. Instead, a pair of anti-skid boots might be more suitable in such a situation.
The Right Sole and Heel
Besides the type of protective toes, your entire feet also need proper protection. Otherwise, you will feel fatigued after a long day wearing them. So, here are some of the best ways to make sure your feet are wholly protected.
Because hazards are available in almost all job sites, it is necessary to get a great pair of work boots that deliver puncture resistance. There is a high risk of getting injured when sharp objects such as nails, broken glass, etc., in the workplace, fall into your feet. Even if you just do some simple work in your backyard, there is still a chance of unexpected objects going through your work boots and injuring your toes.
Usually, you will need a type of work boots that incorporate steel, composite, or Kevlar toes caps and steel shanks to provide extra protection. If possible, make sure that your work boots have soles that stand up to 1100N of penetration pressure or force.
No matter the working conditions you work in, no one wants to end up slipping or falling just because of their poor-quality shoes. That’s why you need to pay attention to the outsole construction when choosing the best work boots.
In particular, the outsole should deliver a notable degree of grip or traction. In other words, they should be slip-resistant. Typically, when you work in wet or oily places such as restaurants, warehouses, garages, etc., you should get yourself a pair of non-slip boots.
You can test the level of traction by looking at the tread patterns on the outsole. Usually, the deeper the patterns are, the more traction the boots offer. Some models are even equipped with acid-resistant soles to keep wearers’ feet from dangerous chemical spills in case they work in such extreme environments.
If you want your boots to last longer, you should pay attention to the construction. Different techniques are applied to make the boots for construction, which ultimately decides how long your boots will last. Besides, it allows you to know the weight, flexibility, and performance that the boots give you.
Since the technology is increasingly developed, different brands use different methods to construct their work boots. Here are the two most common and reliable methods of boot construction available on the market.
The first type is cement construction, which is usually known as the direct attachment method. In particular, shoemakers will stick the upper part of the shoe to the sole with a specific type of cement.
The advantage of this model is lightweight construction while delivering optimum flexibility and comfort. Besides, since it usually molds or contours to the shape of your feet, it can absorb shock and impact to relieve fatigue. This, as a result, leads to a high level of comfort.
Having said that, cement construction has its own weak points. For example, it is prone to ultimate delamination. And when this happens, you will not detach the upper part and sole.
Goodyear Welt Construction
It is undoubted that Goodyear Welt Construction is well-known and preferred all around the world because of its durability. As the name suggests, the welt plays the main role in contributing to the endurance of the boots.
In particular, the welt can be made from various materials such as plastic, leather, rubber, etc., which will be then skilly stitched to the work boots’ upper part and the sole. This strong strip acts as a durable anchor, which will hold the complete parts of the boots. After that, shoemakers will be sealed by being either stitched or cemented to the outer sole.
As you can see, this method requires more complicated skills. Hence, it will offer more advantages than the previous one, which is a higher level of endurance. Actually, some people say that Goodyear Welt construction is unbreakable, or at least almost so. Nevertheless, you still might need to resole your work boots if you wear them for many years.
Many of you choose durable work boots because of their durability and protection. However, if you wear a tight-fit pair of boots for an extended period, it might cause a lot of foot problems, such as blisters, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, corns, etc. On the flip side, if you wear too large boots, it is very hard to move stably or flexibly in case you have to run or just walk on a slippery surface.
As you may all know, work boots are mainly made to withstand harsh conditions, unlike other standard types of shoes. You might feel a little bit stiff when first wearing your boots and tend to stretch after a short time wearing them.
Nevertheless, this is the point because many of you will make the mistake of purchasing a smaller size of work boots because you might misunderstand that they will eventually break in and widen over time. You have to keep in mind that your work boots will not stretch out if they are tight and have steel toes even when you wear them a lot. And the problem here might be due to your width. So, make sure you measure your feet size before buying and make sure your boots fit naturally.
A lot of you might neglect the weight when buying lightweight work boots. In fact, it plays quite an important role in deciding comfort. For example, if your work requires you to walk a lot or for a long distance, then the weight will be a determining factor that decides your foot comfort. Some people also walk from their home to the workplace on their work boots. Therefore, it is better for you to opt for lighter models rather than steel-toe options.
If you have to work outdoors or in a wet environment, it is necessary to get a pair of work boots that can prevent water from getting inside. Actually, you will even need waterproof work boots than a pair of safety toe boots if you spend most of your day in the yard or in damp places. It can be clearing puddles, going out fishing in a muddy area, mowing a lawn, etc.
That’s why you should consider the water-tight ability of your work boots. Wearing normal boots in such wet conditions can result in some foot problems such as itchiness, heel dryness, blisters, etc., which will cause pain and probably lots of time to treat.
The truth is that no one feels comfortable when working in extremely cold weather. In such circumstances, it is very necessary that your work boots are equipped with insulation (see also: insulated work boots) to withstand harsh conditions. According to some scientific studies, some of your body parts will not perform effectively if they are almost frozen. Thus, cold feet can result in enormous discomfort and even become a restrain to your work and health. So, make sure that your work boots give your feet enough insulation to work well in cold environments.
The opposite case applies to hot areas. This means that if you work in very hot places, heat will make your feet feel unbreathable more quickly than in casual conditions. As a result, you should go for models that offer as much air permeability as possible.
What’s more, higher heat makes your feet sweat more than normal., which then might cause some foot problems such as infections, bad smell, etc. So, make sure that your boots are breathable enough to let the air circulate well inside. This will help avoid trapped sweat, leading to a dry and fresh feeling.
Electric Shock Protection
Suppose you are an electrician or work in an environment that poses a high risk of electric shock. In that case, it is very vital to choose a pair of work boots that can meet the safety standard of preventing electrocution. In particular, you can go for models offering electric hazards to avoid live circuits.
Work boots made from non-conductive materials such as rubber outsole, composite toe heads will ensure your safety in such conditions. These types usually include non-metallic materials and are typically designed to make sure that no electric current can get through them.
No matter what types of work boots you are wearing, it is very crucial to stay comfortable because it will affect your performance and even foot health (see also: comfortable work boots for women). Since our feet are very sensitive, they will easily get fatigued, pain, and other issues when they are not in a comfortable condition.
You will not want to wear either too tight or too large ones because you will spend most of your day at the workplace in your comfort work boots. There is one thing you should remember that work boots are usually slightly stiff when you wear them for the first time. So, make sure you choose the right size, spend time breaking in. High-quality leather, such as full-grain leather, can also help you feel more comfortable.
Work Boots Brands to Avoid
Bates – Bates is one of the ‘old guard’ work boot companies. They have been around since 1899. In that time they have made many boots and have a large presence in the work boot industry. However, their quality has gone a long way below what people would expect from a company that has been around since 1899 which makes them fragile and prone to breaking down easier than other brands that are more popular in today’s market. That being said Bates is a company best suited for the ‘price is everything’ segment of the market. So, if you are interested in buying a pair of Bates boots then you should not expect anything else from them.
Timberland – When it comes to work boots Timberland has been at the forefront of modern American work boot design. However, like many other brands that have made that success in today’s market and have since fallen behind the times, Timberland has also suffered from this same issue. Timberland is less about quality and more about price.
However, they have made some amazing boots in the last couple of years. These boots are great for the price, especially when compared against other brands that have yet to match what Timberland has done in terms of manufacturing quality and craftsmanship. That being said, the only real problem with Timberland boots is that they still lack focus on quality as you would expect from a brand that has been in business since 1900.
Allen Edmonds – Allen Edmonds has been making many different types of shoes for a very long time and has become one of the most popular shoe companies in American history. Many different types of shoe styles have been made over the years by Allen Edmonds and this has given them a large network of sales and distribution to make their shoes readily available in the American market. However, they have also had some problems when it comes to making quality shoes. Many people complain that their Allen Edmonds shoes either do not fit or last for very little time. This is something that is usually due to the fact that Allen Edmonds uses cheaper materials in making their products which are second-rate quality compared to some other brands out there.
Dr. Martens – Dr. Martens is a German-based company that has since grown to become one of the largest companies in Germany and also one of the largest companies in work boots today. They are most famous for their 1460 model which is an iconic pair of boots. These boots have become a staple among punk rockers as well as other musicians because of how large they are in Europe and the UK at least. Dr. Martens got their start by making military-ready work shoes during WWII which were designed by Dr. Klaus Maertens while he was imprisoned in a prison camp because of his beliefs against Hitler and the Nazi regime.
This company has seen massive growth in the last couple of years and has become a very popular brand in Europe. That being said, Dr. Martens has also become well known for their new styles of boots that have yet to be seen on the market and will likely be a hit once they do come out in the American market. This is what you would call a ‘fashion brand’. So, if you are looking for Dr. Martens because they make a specific pair of boots that you like then it may not be wise to purchase them because they may go out of fashion quickly and will likely not hold up as well as another brand that is more focused on quality than style.
Marmot – Marmot has become an extremely popular brand when it comes to making some of the lightest weight, warmest, and most comfortable winter socks and other winter accessories. They have been around for a long time now and many of those they have made have been very popular in the market. However, their quality has fallen behind some other brands as well as prices. This is something that you should keep in mind. Marmot may be one of the best companies to purchase from when it comes to outdoor materials but when it comes to work boots you are better off buying from another company that has more focus on quality and value than on price.
Irish Setter – Irish Setter has been around for a long time now but is not as widely known as many other brands. They are most well known for making cashmere clothing although they have since branched out into work boots and other winter accessories such as socks and gloves. The reason why Irish Setter is not well known is that their products do not offer anything in terms of value or quality. While Irish Setter may be a good company to purchase work boots from they are not worth buying in comparison to some of the higher-priced brands that focus on quality over all else.
It is undoubted that work boots have helped a lot of workers survive in their tough working conditions. Although there are a lot of brands on the market, these 20 manufacturers have proven to be the best ones.
Whether you are looking for the best work boots that protect you from hazardous environments or keeping your feet fresh and comfortable, these brands will absolutely provide you with certain necessary features that meet your requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following part will give you answers to some of the most popularly asked questions about the best work boot brands. If there are any questions I didn’t mention or you want to know, feel free to leave a comment.
What is the best brand of work boots?
The best work boot brands will be a great combination of tough and heavy-duty construction while still giving comfort and a good design. You can easily find a wide range of work boot brands on the market, but some of the best ones include Carhartt and Caterpillar. Danner and Wolverine are also popular because of their durability.
What is a good pair of work boots?
One of the most important factors deciding the quality of good work boots is the ability to meet safety requirements in the workplace. Your work boots will be useless if they don’t give your feet enough protection. The second determining feature is durability. It means that your boots should last for a certain period of time. Comfort is also a vital thing because you will spend hours every day on your boots. If possible, don’t forget to check the design.
How long should a good pair of work boots last?
It significantly depends on how often you wear your work boots, what type of work boots you are wearing, and how the working environment in which you wear your boots is. On average, a pair of work boots can last about 12 months. You can extend your work boots’ lifespan by alternating 2 different pairs, replacing insoles, clean and maintain them appropriately.