Whether you’ve worn out your last pair and they’re no longer available, or just got a new job that mandates that they be CSA-rated, you want work boots that protect you from the hazards on present on the job site. This could be objects falling from heights, sharp debris on the ground, electric shock or simply long days on your feet of heavy wear and tear.
If you’re on your feet all day while on site, you want boots that not only meet the necessary safety requirements, but provide the cushioning and support needed to keep your feet comfortable during long shifts and are durable enough to last you for years. The boots we’ve reviewed below include our recommended light duty, heavy duty and everyday duty picks.
Best work boots of 2020
- Best overall – Timberland PRO Pit Boss
- Best for comfort and heavy duty work – Caterpillar Hauler 6″ Composite Toe Boot
- Best work boot for light duty – KEEN Utility Mens Flint Boot
- Best boot for everyday work – Skechers Men’s Verdict Boot
- Best waterproof work boot – Tiger Men’s CSA Steel Toe
Hours of Research
Best work boots comparison
|Best for||Overall||Comfort and heavy duty||Light duty||Everyday work||Waterproof|
|Size||7 to 15||7 to 13||7.5 to 13||6.5 to 14||7 to 13|
|Colors||Brown, black and wheat||Black||Brown||Brown, wheat and black||Brown and wheat|
|Best aspect||Steel toe caps||Nylex sock liner to absorb moisture||Casual, almost shoe-like design||Easy lacing system||CSA rated|
Best overall – Timberland PRO Pit Boss
- Best aspect: Steel toe caps
- Sizes: 7-15
- Material: 100% leather
- Colours: Brown, black and wheat
- Standard: CAN/CSA-Z195-14 Grade 1, ASTM F2412-11 (US) and ASTM F2413-11 (US)
- Toe: Steel
- Cast metal top hooks increase durability
- Antimicrobial fabric lining for odor control
- Protection from electrical hazards
- Not waterproof
- Some reviewers say they’re heavy
These Timberland boots are engineered to protect your feet at a dangerous work site. The steel toe cap prevents the ultimate shield if any hazardous object drops onto your foot. They meet the ATSM (formerly ANSI) safety standards for protective footwear, providing you with peace of mind at work.
If you’re looking for footwear that’s resistant to slips and oil spillages, these are a great option. The rubber outsoles limit your chances of accidents, thanks to the tread pattern for traction.
You’ll also be protected from electrical dangers, thanks to the Electrical Hazard Protection. This provides underfoot security towards electrically energised conductors or live circuits. The shoes are also long-lasting, making them perfect for construction workers, due to the rugged nubuck leather uppers.
With a removable footbed fitted with an open-cell polyurethane material to offer antimicrobial treatment, these work boots offer odor control. This is a great feature if you wear boots for long periods each time. The shoes feature top collars for a padded protective layer, which offers comfort and support. This enables you to tighten the laces without adding any pressure to your ankles.
The midsoles are padded to support the arch and cushion each step. The Polyurethane layer on the midsole also contributes to a cushioning effect, helping to reduce foot fatigue if you walk around all day, every day.
When we scoured customer feedback, many were impressed with the durability. They’re also resistant to wear and tear and don’t easily break or become worn on the work site. One reviewer in Canada said he wears them 10 hours a day on the job site and just bought his 4th pair.
Best for comfort & heavy duty work – Caterpillar Hauler 6″ Composite Toe Boot
- Best aspect: Nylex sock liner to absorb moisture
- Sizes: 7-13
- Material: Leather
- Colours: Black
- Standard: CSA Z195-14 Grade 1
- Toe: Non-metallic composite
- Waterproof leather upper
- Slip-resistant outsole
- 200 gms of insulation
- Toe can be narrow for some
These work boots are CSA Z195-14 Grade 1 rated with a non-metallic composite toe protector that absorbs impacts or compression when at a work site. They also offer an Electric Hazard Protection up to 600 volts in dry conditions — this is great if you work with live wires. The waterproof full-grain leather lining and thick rubber outsole make this footwear less resistant to punctures.
Accidents can happen in the workplace, which is why these boots are equipped with a molded PU midsole to absorb any shocks should you stand on a sharp object or heavy materials drop on your foot. Similar to the Timberland boots above, this footwear offers a rubber outsole to reduce the chances of slips and low-traction surfaces or spillages.
To keep your feet dry when it’s raining, the boots feature a waterproof leather upper that’s sealed tight. But in hot conditions, you’ll appreciate the mesh lining for the ultimate breathability and softness against your feet. Plus, the Nylex sock liner wicks away any moisture from the foot to keep your shoes dry and comfortable.
The PU foam footbed molds to your feet and provides the ultimate cushioned effect — so your boots don’t put pressure on your feet. The shank — the supportive structure between the outsole and midsole — is made of nylon, which keeps your feet stable and body properly aligned as you walk. This also helps to reduce pressure from your feet.
Made with leather and featuring a rubber sole, these work boots are designed for rough terrain. They’re puncture-resistant, making them ideal for construction sites. Plus, the waterproof upper makes them suitable for wear when it’s raining.
Best work boot for light duty – KEEN Flint Mid Steel Toe
- Best aspect: Casual, almost shoe-like design
- Sizes: 7.5-13
- Material: Leather
- Colours: Brown
- Standard: ASTM F2412-11
- Toe: Steel, aluminum, and composite
- Padded tongue and collar
- Breathable mesh panels
- Fabric exterior for a casual appeal
- Not CSA approved
- No removable liner
These boots are equipped with a water-resistant nubuck leather upper, enabling water to slide off the exterior. They’re also oil and slip-resistant, thanks to the rubber outsole. Designed with a steel, aluminium, and composite toe, this footwear protects you from injuries. But, the shoes are coated in a fabric to keep them looking casual for occasions outside of work.
The shoes weigh two pounds, making them one of the lightest options on our list, which again, is ideal for wear outside of the 9-5. The dual-density midsole provides cushioning for comfort, as well as an extra layer for support and protection.
These work boots offer an asymmetrical design that provides ample room for your toes to spread out. You can conveniently spread your toes and wiggle them for comfort — making them great if you plan to wear them every day. Plus, the ergonomic footbed provides ample support for your foot’s natural shape.
The tongue is long and padded, helping to cushion your ankles against the shoe’s fabric. This feature also provides the opportunity to showcase KEEN’s ‘K’ logo, for the ultimate style you can wear off the work site, also. Finally, the mesh panels throughout the boots make them breathable, helping air inside of the shoe to escape and preventing odors from forming.
Designed with a rubber sole and leather material, these work boots don’t feature any plastic elements, which could impact their durability. The breathable mesh panels allows air to escape, avoiding any damaged patches caused by sweat. The shoe laces are high-quality and won’t fray after a few uses.
Best for everyday work – Skechers Men’s Verdict Boot
- Best aspect: Easy lacing system
- Sizes: 6.5-14
- Material: Leather
- Colours: Brown, wheat and black
- Standard: None
- Toe: Steel
- Insulated sole
- Available in wide fit
- Some customers reported sizing is off
- Some reported the shoes aren’t breathable
Skechers designed this boot with ¾-inch absorbing midsole to absorb any impact as you walk around rough terrain. The waterproof leather upper helps them to remain durable and long-lasting — even when it’s raining.
With a rugged rubber lug traction outsole, the shoes remain stable on the ground and prevent you from slipping when coming into contact with oil spillages. These shoes don’t feature a steel toe, though they’re designed for light-moderate activities on a work site. Designed from leather and utilizing a rubber sole, the footwear is designed to last a long time.
These boots eliminate any chafing around the ankle, thanks to the padding. However, if worn without socks, this padding can rub against your skin and cause irritation. These shoes sit around the ankles, providing a casual style. The speed-lacing hardware on the shaft enables you to quickly and effectively tie your laces when you’re in a rush.
Inside the shoe, the sole is fitted with a smooth fabric lining that offers a soft feel against your feet, allowing you to wear these all day long. The 1 ¼-inch boot heel allows you to feel more stable and adds another layer of protection.
Another boot designed with a rubber outsole and leather exterior. When we reviewed customer feedback, many were impressed by how long these boots lasted — particularly when exposed to a construction site every day. However, they can become prone to holes quicker than others on this list.
Best waterproof – Tiger Men’s CSA Steel Toe Boot
- Best aspect: Waterproof membrane
- Sizes: 7-13
- Material: Leather
- Colours: Brown and wheat
- Standard: CSA Z195-14 Grade 1
- Toe: Steel
- Available in a range of colours
- Heel for support
- Long-lasting and rugged
- Not insulated for winter
Designed with a rubber outsole, you can confidently climb ladders and walk on uneven terrain without losing your grip. The composite toe offers a high level of protection against injuries. These CSA-approved boots absorb shocks, so your feet won’t hurt when wearing them for long periods at a time. The sturdy midsole offers an anti-puncture protection to prevent injuries on construction sites.
The boots also contain a waterproof membrane that prevents them becoming ruined in the rain. This feature also keeps your feet dry from the rain while allowing your feet to breathe so they don’t become too hot or sweaty. They’re also salt and oil-resistant — perfect for work sites.
The boots are also insulated to keep your toes toasty when temperatures drop. To further remain comfortable, the work boots are available in a wide fit. They’re designed with a full-grain leather upper to prevent the laces digging into your skin.
The full-grain leather upper makes these work boots long-lasting, plus, the waterproof membrane provides a protective layer within the shoe, making them last further. One particular customer mentioned that they wore these boots every day for eight months without any quality issues.
What to consider when looking for work boots
As you’ll be wearing the work boots outside in all weather conditions, it’s important that they’re waterproof to keep your feet dry during the rain. Top-quality boots will be treated with oil or wax for in order to call themselves waterproof. However, consider that you’ll need to re-apply oil occasionally if they are worn regularly.
Alternatively, boots made with a synthetic material such as Gore-Tex — a membrane fabric that doesn’t allow water droplets to pass through will have long-lasting water resistance.
Your feet may get cold if you’re working outside in the winter for extended periods of time. In these cases, we recommended insulated boots with a layer of polyester to retain heat. Check what temperature the boots are suitable for, as this will give you a rough idea of the time of year they’re designed for.
You can also look for measurements of insulation, which is listed in grams. Higher figures mean the insulation is heavier, thus, making the boot thicker and warmer.
The main factor that affects durability is the material. Opt for leather as synthetic materials aren’t long-lasting and break easily. Watch out for boots that are advertised as lightweight without any mention of materials, as they’ll likely use synthetic properties.
You should also consider other features such as the quality of the laces. Are they protected with a plastic coating at the end to prevent fraying? We also recommend a rubber outsole along with a steel toe cap as these makes them less likely to become misshapen from extended wear.
It’s essential that work boots worn on industrial and heavy commercial sites have a steel toe cap, which is referred to as a safety toe. In more recent years, these toe caps can be made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic — depending on your budget and the amount of protection you’re looking for. If you require the ultimate protection against injury, steel is your best option, though you should consider that this material can get cold quickly.
Safety standards to look for
- Canadian Safety Association
- American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
Canadian safety symbols to look for
|Sole puncture protection with a Grade 1 protective toecap||Heavy industrial work environments where sharp objects are present|
|Sole puncture protection with a Grade 2 protective toecap||Light industrial work environments|
|Grade 1 protective toe without sole puncture protection||Industrial work environments not requiring puncture protection.|
|Grade 2 protective toecap with no puncture-resistant sole.||Light industrial work environments not requiring puncture protection.|
|Resistance to electric shock of 18,000 Volts and a leakage current not exceeding 1mA for 60 seconds.||Where accidental contact with live electrical conductors can occur.|
|Capable of dissipating an electrostatic charge in a controlled manner.||Where a static discharge can be a hazard for workers or equipment.|
|Sole puncture protection with a Grade 2 protective toecap and super-static dissipative||Where a static discharge can be a serious hazard for workers or equipment.|
|Electrically conductive footwear||Where low-power electrical changes can create a hazard for workers or equipment|
|Metatarsal protection||Where heavy objects can hurt the metatarsal region of the foot|
|Protection when using chainsaws||Forestry workers and others who work with or around hand-held chainsaws|
Another essential safety feature is slip-resistance. Look for outsoles with tread patterns that draw away liquid and mud to prevent grabbing onto them. They should have a high-quality tread that means you don’t slip over at the first sign of oil or moisture. This keeps your shoes cleaner and prevents you from entering a home with muddy boots.
Are work boots right for you?
If you’re on your feet for long periods of time, you’ll need boots that provide good ankle, heel and arch support. This helps prevent foot fatigue and discomfort, and may even help alleviate back pain. Look for a shank for stability and support, and a molded, soft midsole layer for cushioning.
Protection from sharp or falling objects
On a work site, accidents can happen as there are tough, sharp materials lying around and present. In these environments, you’ll require protection on more than just your head and body — but your feet as well. Steel toe boots can absorb some of the impact of an object falling on your feet. Plus, strong outsole plates and thick materials protect your feet should you stand on a nail.
Protection from electric shock
If there’s a chance you’re at risk of an electric shock at your workplace, non-conductive footwear is essential. Opt for materials including leather and rubber which are shock resistant.. These materials can be life-saving and protect you from having an electrical shock.
What to read next
Over to you
We’re interested to know – what kind of work site do you need work boots for? What standards, if any, are they required to meet? Let us know in the comments!