The right work boots can make an impact on your wealth and health.
Foot injuries are one of the most common causes of workplace disability claims. My dad would always tell us about the guy who got a crate of boat motors set down on his foot. It took off his pinky toe, and he spent a year in rehab, learning how to walk again.
When welding, you need a pair of boots that are flame-resistant and that can withstand the impact of heavy objects.
I’ve done some research, bought a few pairs of my own work boots, and compared notes with my friends in the industry to come up with the best welding boots review and recommendations for welders.
Getting the Right Fit When Buying Shoes Online: When you get the boots, try them on. Don’t wear them to work, wear them around the house. If the fit isn’t right and the shoes are in new condition, slip them back in the box and send them back. In many cases, there is a generous return policy for shoes that are in re-sellable condition.
Best Welding Boots Reviews
Timberland PRO Pit Boss
This is less of a welding-specific boot and is more of a general safety boot. If you want a welding-specific model, go down one to Timberland’s version with a met-guard.
What I like about this boot is its durability. With the Metguard boots, there are a lot of complaints of Metguards failing prematurely and reducing the lifespan of the boot. This one is designed for durability and comfort during long days in the fabrication plant.
Comfort is a big thing. With steel toe caps, there isn’t a lot of room to “break-in” the shoe to increase toe room. With the Pit Boss, you get a roomier toe box to make sure your toes have plenty of healthy wiggle room during long days.
With the Pit Boss, you get 100% ever-guard leather that is triple stitched. This leather helps increase the durability and provides reinforcement should a single stitch become singed.
The sole is also worth talking about. The Rubber sole has different layers of hardness and grip to make sure they meet ANSI’s safety standards against slipping. This rubber sole also provides electrical hazard protection for those days when things go terribly wrong.
The leather outsoles are also oil-resistant and abrasion-resistant to help create a boot that is designed to last.
These are some of the best work boots. If you are using them as welding boots, you’ll have no problems from spark and spatter, and you’ll appreciate how well these boots hold up after a year of hard use.
Ariat Catalyst VX Wide Square Toe
Growing up as a farm boy, Ariat has a lot of respect. This brand looks good, holds to the cowboy aesthetic, but is comfortable and durable.
With the Catalyst, you are purchasing a heavy-duty work boot. The reinforced toe and shin guard are designed to protect you from injury and keep you working at top speed all day long.
The 100% leather uppers provide excellent protection against hot sparks. You have an 11-inch shaft so these come higher up on the leg than most of the other boots, providing greater protection. This also tucks the top of the boot up underneath your pant legs, so you don’t have to worry about sparks trying to find their way in.
With most steel toe boots, the steel toe protection starts to wear away on the leather, and it isn’t long before the steel pokes through. With the reinforced toe covers, you don’t have to worry about that wear. So if you spend a day crawling on your hands and knees, these boots will look as good at the end of the day as when you started.
Plan on a two week break-in period, but then these boots are going to be comfortable for all-day wear. They also hold up to long days of walking.
The interior of these boots uses a mesh lining with Ariat’s X-STATIC sock liner that uses a breathable moisture-wicking lining to create all-day comfort on the hottest days.
Overall, this boot is one of the most durable on the market and should last you over years of heavy wear. It also provides the top-end protection that you are looking for.
While not marketed directly to welders, this is one of those models that has been well-tested across every industry.
Timberland PRO Men’s Metguard Best Steel Toe Boot
In a market that is boring, these welding boots shows one of the first sparks of innovation.
Made from 100% Ever-guard leather, it is designed for heavy use in the grease and dust-filled environments of manufacturing facilities.
The Timberland PRO 5350 is designed to be the best welding boots. A metatarsal guard lays across the laces to keep spatter and molten metal from burning the laces or finding its way through the cracks of the boot down to your feet.
The stitching borrows a play from welding gloves in using Kevlar stitching. Kevlar is a heat resistant material and less likely to burn in the presence of occasional spatter.
The cushioned insole helps with comfort when you are on your feet all day. The thick outer soles are made from rubber and use a slip-resistant pattern. This gives you solid traction across all types of material on the shop floor.
Where the Timberland PRO struggles are in jobs where a great deal of walking is required. If you are a mechanic or a welder who spends a lot of their day working at a few stations, these shoes are great. But if you are walking a lot, the shoe does not bend as well and tends to have a greater failure rate.
RockRooster Men’s Best Welding Boots
With slip-on work boots, the major concern is that it is too big of a gap around the top of the boot that can allow sparks to enter. With these RockRooster work boots, they hug your shin just close enough that it keeps sparks out.
The inside of the shoe has uses COOLMAX fabric that helps wick the sweat away to keep the foot dry on a hot summer day and to make it easier to keep the smells and bacteria down to a minimum.
This one uses a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) sole. This gives them the ability to mold it to the shape of your foot, and the anatomically shaped footbed is designed to reduce the wear on your feet. The anti-fatigue memory foam also helps to make the days go by faster with less stress on your feet. They absorb your weight well — even if you are a bigger guy.
The Nubuck leather makes this shoe water-resistant which makes it slightly more comfortable on those days when you have to walk through a puddle on your way to work. However, they aren’t resistant enough to make them a good choice for wearing on a rainy day of work.
This boot is the best work boot for wide feet. There is plenty of room in the toe box, and those of you with large shoe sizes will especially appreciate how comfortable they are.
Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Toe Best Welding Boot
Caterpillar’s logo is well-recognized for its heavy equipment manufacturing. This is a simple, heavy-duty boot that is designed to last.
The uppers are 100% leather Goodyear welt construction. This heavy leather makes a difference when you are looking for a boot that will last. This the boot that a lot of miners and demolition crews choose. Where a lot of these boots do not hold up well to walking, this one has all of the proper flexibility points worked into the leather so that it doesn’t crack prematurely.
Then the steel toe of the shoes is also heavily reinforced to make them abrasion-resistant. This helps these boots last as you kick doors open and shuffle through rubble with your feet.
Of course, the steel toe protection is appreciated for keeping your toes safe should you run into the corner of a piece of metal.
This tough leather upper is paired with a synthetic sole for greater comfort. the 3/4-inch thick sole helps to provide some foot relief when you are spending hours on your feet. It’s added flexibility further helps make these boots comfortable for walking. This is further enhanced by the 1.5-inch rubber outsole.
With this shoe, there isn’t a lot of welder-specific bells and whistles. So you might singe the laces and need to replace them more often. But the leather reflects the spatter well, and the ankle piece is oil-resistant and fits snugly around the calf to prevent sparks from getting into your boot.
These features, combined with the overall durability of this boot gives it high marks. If you want a boot to last for 3 to 4 years, this is the one to buy.
Dr. Martens Men’s Steel Toe Welding Boots
Another innovative, yet simple, idea is offered by Dr. Martens. This boot has no strings to singe. You can spill oil on them, spatter them with hours of welding sparks, and then slip them on the next day for more abuse.
The unique thing about these boots is how the leather is shaped. This helps the boot comfortable support your foot. The angle protector padding provides extra protection against the ankle being smashed.
The air-cushioned sole is still slip-resistant in environments with grease, oil, fats, and alkali solutions. It meets the ASTM safety standards with a rating of It has ASTM F2413-11. They are also more comfortable if you are spending all day standing on concrete. The insole uses a bacterial resistant design to help keep the smells down.
A pro tip is to also buy their protective oil and brush and to give these boots some love every night to help protect their finish and help them last as long as possible.
Dr. Martens Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe Met Guard Work Boots
These Dr. Martens make a strong competitor to the Timberland Pros reviewed above. These boots also offer a thick Metatarsal guard for protecting your toes and keeping those hot metal shavings and spatter from finding a way to your toes.
The synthetic soles offer excellent walking comfort and slip-resistant capabilities. The downside is that it may not hold up as well under heavy use. As is common with these metatarsal guard shoes, the guard tends to get worn off after several months of heavy walking.
If you are moving quite a bit on the job, you might take a look at a shoe without this feature.
The shoebox on these runs a little narrower, so, while the sizing is correct, they aren’t going to be the top choice for wide feet.
One of the neatest aspects is how well the leather wears. It gets a deeper color the more you work in them, making each boot unique to the industry they are used in.
Wolverine Men’s Floorhand Waterproof Work Boots
The nice thing about most of these boots is that the thick sole and solid rubber lowers keep your feet dry when you are walking through a puddle.
However, if you are working outside, you’ll want to upgrade to a waterproof boot. There are few things more demoralizing than spending all day in the rain with wet feet. These boots help protect you from that misery.
These are going to be a strong competitor to the Caterpillar boots. You have a thick, synthetic sole. The comfort of the synthetic sole is further enhanced by the cushioned footbed. This helps to make sure that your foot is comfortable all day.
The downside is that sometimes the sole — or where the leather uppers meet the sole — is the first place these boots fail (every boot has to die at some time, right?).
While most of these boots are going to increase your safety, these are rated to ASTM safety standards with a tag reading ASTM F2413-11.
These Wolverines are an excellent choice if you want to get that added waterproofing.
Rhino Metatarsal Welding Boots
The design of these Rhinos is very similar to some of the other models that we have already talked about.
These are a more entry-level boot. They might be a good choice for the welder who is getting their first job, or for the welding student who needs a few good months out of their boot.
The meta guard offers nice protection and the steel toe is there to help deflect objects.
It uses that older-style method of securing strings and the metal eyelets can chew up the shoestrings. The cushioning is also lighter than what you will see on earlier boot models.
The upside is that the boot is quite affordable, and they fill a needed role in the industry. It’s just tough when they are being held to the same standard as shoes that cost twice as much.
These are excellent entry-level welding boots.
Michelin Men’s Sledge Metatarsal Work Boots
These Michelin branded boots bring that metatarsal guard that a lot of our folks want to see in welding boots. This metatarsal guard seems to hold up better than most, giving you a longer lifetime with foot protection from falling objects.
The Full-grain leather uppers look great and are designed to hold up well in the fast-paced shop environment. You’ll appreciate how the seams are positioned with extra ankle protection. It gives you good flexibility for walking without stressing the leather too much. At 8 inches, this boot is a little taller, providing better ankle support and greater comfort since it is well above the ankle. The padded collar helps with all-day comfort.
the rubber sole helps provide electrical hazard protection for those dangerous moments when a live wire might into contact with the floor. This gives you an extra moment to get away from those situations without being shocked.
This steel toe boot has the ASTM F2413 protective toe classification, giving you peace of mind that your feet will be well-protected.
The phylon midsole is designed to help with shock absorption and help relieve fatigue. That said, if you are on your feet a lot, it makes sense to upgrade to an aftermarket insole.
As with most of the boots on our list, these aren’t waterproof. However, they are comfortable and they hold up well.
Not every work boot is going to make good welding boots.
You need a heat resistant leather outsole that is still supple and comfortable to wear all day.
If you have a lightweight pair of boots you are likely to be less tired at the end of the day. You have to balance this desire for lightweights with durability. Often the lightest boots are the most expensive since they have to use more advanced types of materials.
The soles should also be comfortable for walking and standing on concrete. If you’ve ever tried to work a full day on concrete in tennis shoes, you will appreciate how having a thicker rubber sole can make a difference in your comfort on those long shifts.
Whatever shoe you buy, wear them around the house, or put them on and walk the mall on a couple of different days. You’ll need to give them time to break in before you will know if they fit you well. If you are clever about it, you can do most of your walking indoors and keep the shoes in pristine condition through the break-in period to ensure you can return them should they not be comfortable enough (check with your seller for details).