The best work boots you can buy
Strong, durable and just stylish enough to stand up for most of the colder months – that’s all a work boot really needs to be. No wonder the design was more or less perfected half a century ago. The no-frills lace-up style protects the lower legs and feet and usually features a durable spiked sole. Shop some of our favorite silhouettes below.
Iron Ranger Cap Toe Boot
If you just want to know which work boots to buy, the Red Wing Iron Ranger is for you. The brand’s reputation is based on its Goodyear stitched ankle boots and its Iron Ranger is one of its most iconic. It features a protective toe cap, cork sole that adapts to the unique shape of the wearer’s foot, quick hooks, and Goodyear stitched construction. Pull-up leather (tanned by Red Wing) looks good from the start, even more so over time. You’ll have to go into it knowing that the break-in period is tough, but fans will tell you it’s well worth it.
Hunter Hiker – Commando 2040
Based on a vintage work boot model from the 1980s, this collaborative boot is like Timberland’s waterproof boot if it had entered bodybuilding. Crafted in Canada, the vegetable-tanned Horween chamois forms the uppers of the boots with oil-tanned leather at the ankle collars. It is attached to an over-the-top Goodyear Commando sole via a 360-degree welt construction and laced with rawhide laces.
When Timberland introduced its now iconic work boots in 1973, it was a revolution. The cement construction made this one of the first boots to be truly waterproof and the design has remained pretty much the same ever since. The nubuck uppers are made with quadruple stitching and fitted with insulated PrimaLoft padded ankle collars and durable rubber studded soles.
Another mainstay of the North West bootmaker scene, Nick’s Handmade Boots is quality and their Robert boot is as pretty as it is durable. It’s made with a stitched construction with a leather midsole, Vibram outsole and sculpted stacked leather heel, along with brass eyelets and leather laces.
Limited Edition Jobmaster
Whatever work is required, the Jobmaster from Wesco does it with a full grain leather upper and a sturdy Vibram lug sole that brings it to ten inches tall. With indestructible build quality, full leather insoles and midsoles, and brass eyelets that get better with age, it’s worth considering the price hike of our Just Get This pick.
The motorcycle boot
Taylor Sitch’s motorcycle boot can be marketed to hog handlers, but it’s also a great all-around work boot. Made in Leon, Mexico, it uses triple needle stitching and Goodyear storm stitched construction for durability. It’s made from weather-resistant and weather-resistant snuff suede for the upper and vegetable-tanned leather for the insole, midsole and welt, and comes with a durable Vibram treaded sole.
These work boots are the result of a collaboration between White’s and Filson, two well-known outfitters based in Washington. They look a bit like Timbs, but they’re totally an upgrade. (Sorry, Timberland.) Made in the USA, the co-branded Shop boots come with a steel upper, Vibram outsole and rough full grain leather upper.
Marshall leather boots
Handle even the messiest jobs with the eight-inch Marshall Boots from Belstaff, which are work shoes with a style sensibility. Contrasting stitching and quick hooks give it a subtle touch, while crumpled leather stays true to tradition.
The 350 Cutter was originally designed by White owner Otto White, who brought a chainsaw to a higher boot to make something loggers could wear on days off. The upper is waterproof and there is a mini Vibram outsole, and each pair is both resealable and rebuildable.
Incredibly durable, Unmarked’s Archie-01 boots were designed as a tribute to Mexican worker boots, which were crafted from thick cowhide leather with calfskin linings and a cork-filled footbed and midsole. There is also a wavy sole version for those looking for something … more daring.
1000 mile boot
This is Wolverine’s 1000 Mile boot. It’s named after the number of miles you can go on a pair, but you can probably add even more. This one is modeled after the original, which was first produced in 1914 and manufactured in Big Rapids, Michigan. Unlined, the upper of the boot is made of premium Horween leather and there is also a leather outsole with a Vibram heel.
Bull Run Moc Toe Work Boot
Constructed from a durable, oiled full-grain leather upper, ortholite sockliner, and oil-resistant, slip-resistant wedge outsole from Danner, the brand’s Bull Run Moc Toe work boot blend of classic design elements and modern capabilities. Namely, handcrafted stitched construction and an electrical hazard protective finish.
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