Top 10 Best (Steel Toe) Welding Boots & Shoes to Buy in 2019

Did you know that 25 percent of disability applications are the result of foot injuries? High-quality protective shoes should be comfortable and keep your feet safe while you are working.

Cheap and flimsy boots typically don’t do a great job of guarding your feet while welding, and they may lack essential features such as a steel toe top, waterproofing, and fire resistance (FR).

Finding the perfect pair that fits your budget can be a challenge, however. There are many products available to choose from, each with different characteristics, benefits, and prices. To help you make an informed decision, we did extensive research, read tons of reviews, and compiled a list of the best welding boots from reputable brands.

We also included a complete list of things you should consider while shopping for welding boots.

Welding Boots Buyers Guide 2019

Why You Need Proper Welding Shoes

You need protective footwear for several reasons, with the first being protection from physical harm.

While welding, you are at risk of cuts, lacerations, electric shock, contamination, sprains, fractures, burns, and getting your feet crushed. The list goes on. By wearing protective gear, you reduce your risk of personal injury significantly.

Welding safety shoes allow you to work longer hours without experiencing discomfort and pain. In the case of an emergency, they will also give you an extra kick and offer protection while you take precautionary action to ensure your safety.

Additionally, it is not against the law to look good while you are working. High-end protective boots will complement your attire, and you will be able to pay visits to the DIY store or materials depot without feeling self-conscious about your appearance.

An accident can happen in the fraction of a second. Don’t risk severe injury with sub-standard footgear.

A man welding while squatting

OSHA Welding Footwear Requirements

According to regulation 1910.136 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA,) each employer has to ensure that employees use protective footwear when working in areas where there is a risk of foot injuries.

This section refers to work sites where there is a risk of personal injury as the result of falling objects, potentially sharp objects on the floor, or where there are electrical hazards.

This section sets out several consensus standards that foot protection have to meet. These standards include the Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection (ASTM F-2412-2005,) Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear (ASTM F-2413-2005,) and American National Standard for Personal Protection (ANSI Z41-1991.)

As an employer who has to issue welding boots to employees, these standards are significant to ensure that you are in accordance with OSHA regulations.

Timberland PRO Men’s 53530 8” Met Guard Steel-Toe Boot

Specifications

  • Color: Black
  • Material: Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately High-Top” from arch
  • Met Guard;Waterproof
  • MENS
Product image of Timberland PRO Men’s 53530 8”

The waterproof steel-toe boot from Timberland was developed to meet ASTM safety standards and contains a wide range of safety features to offer your feet the best possible protection. The Timberland has a leather and rubber sole construction that is resistant to abrasion, slipping, and oil.

The footwear is lightweight and flexible for optimal efficiency, and it is comfortable so you can work longer hours without fatigue.

Users of these boots live the antimicrobial lining and membrane with a metatarsal shield that is contoured around the toes as well as a polyurethane footbed with a closed-cell design for added comfort.

One issue with this product is the relatively high price. However, this welding footwear has a long lifespan, and are unlikely to require frequent replacement.

Pros

  • Durable leather and rubber construction
  • Metatarsal guard
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Polyurethane footbed for added comfort

Cons

  • Steep price tag

Dr. Martens Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe Met Guard Boot

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Synthetic sole
  • Boot opening measures approximately 14″ around
  • Water resistant full-grain with a leather ballistic mesh padded collar
  • Removable Smartmask insole
  • Slip resistant to oil, fat, petrol and alkali with a standard wood shank
Product image of Dr. Martens Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe

The Ironbridge footwear from Dr. Martens is geared towards keeping your feet safe with several protective features. This boot features a full-grain leather upper that is resistant to oil and water, a slip-resistant synthetic sole, and a metatarsal guard that follows the natural shape of your foot for comfort and optimal protection.

For accident protection, the Ironbridge has a safety toe cap that protects your toes from a minimum of 200j of impact and 15kn compression force. You also get these with Electrical Hazard (ED) insulation.

In addition to its foot guarding features, users are also pleased with the Ironbridge’s comfort. The Smartmask PU-cushioned insole is removable and allows for uninhibited blood circulation to prevent discomfort and fatigue.

Some welders have a problem with the tight toe box, but buying one size up may solve this problem.

Pros

  • Solid protection
  • Comfortable insole
  • Electric insulation
  • Metatarsal guard

Cons

  • Toe box may be too tight

Iron Age Men’s Ground Breaker IA5016 Work Boot

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 6.5″ from arch
  • Heel measures approximately 1.5″
  • Platform measures approximately 1″
  • ASTM F2413 Safety Standard Compliant
  • External Metatarsal Guard Protection
  • Electrical Hazard Protection
  • Kevlar Stitching
  • Goodyear Welt Contruction
Product image of Iron Age Men's Ground Breaker IA5016

The IA5016 stands out in two respects, namely protection and durability. The shoe’s foot-guarding features include a 100 percent leather upper, steel toe guard, a slip-resistant synthetic sole, a metatarsal guard, and electrical hazard insulation. As a result of these features, the boot is compliant with ASTM-F-2413 standards.

For added durability, the IA5016 features a Goodyear welt construction and Kevlar stitching. Users rave about how much hammering these boots can withstand without sustaining damage.

The shaft length from the arch is 6.5 inches, which adds sufficient ankle support. When it comes to comfort, however, the is IA5016 is a bit of a let-down. However, the shoe is roomy enough to add gel pads for more cushion.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Developed for injury prevention
  • Meets OSHA standards
  • Fitted with a metatarsal guard

Cons

  • Comfort could be improved

ROCKROOSTER Men’s Work Boots Waterproof, Steel Toe, Antistatic

Specifications

  • Steel Toecap: Conform to American Standard ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75
  • PORON Materials: With Microban technology
  • CoolMAX: Temperature Control, Moisture Wicking, Quick Dry
  • Static Control, Antistatic: Release Static Electric into the Ground While Driving or Wearing Sweaters.
  • Full Grain Tumbled Leather & Comfortable Support Insoles: Waterproof Membrane System, Slip-Resistant. Anatomically Contoured Footbed
product image of ROCKROOSTER Men's Work Boots

The Rockrooster’s design emphasizes water resistance and, as a result, it is a popular option for welders who work in shipyards and industrial settings like pipeline construction. This boot features a steel toecap, full-grain tumbled leather, and soles with rubber components that are slip resistant.

With this footgear, you can work in wet conditions without worrying about odor development, electrocution, or your feet getting wet. The boot features PORON materials with micro ban technology, temperature control, and a waterproof membrane system with a quick-dry feature. The static control feature releases static electric into the ground to keep you safe.

The comfortable insoles with anatomically contoured footbed offer complete support so you can work for long hours in total comfort. Users comment that this footwear is comfortable, but you may have to buy one size up as they run a bit small.

Pros

  • Water resistant
  • Full-grain tumbled leather
  • PORON materials with micro-ban technology
  • Contoured footbed

Cons

  • Sizing runs a little small

Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Steel-toe
  • Hex-shape grommets with speed lacing at shaft
  • Oil-resistant traction outsole
  • Steel shank for added support and stability
  • Removable PU Sock Liner provides all-day comfort
product image of Caterpillar Men's Second Shift

The Second Shift from Caterpillar is one of the more versatile entrants on this list with its Goodyear welt construction that consists of 100 percent full-grain leather, a slip-resistant traction sole, and steel toe guard.

This welding boot is fitted with nylon mesh lining for added breathability and comfort, and it has a Climasphere insole for odor control. Because of its conventional appearance, this is an everyday shoe that you can wear when you enter your shop to start working.

Those who have been wearing these shoes are generally satisfied with the protection and durability that they have to offer. One issue is that the quality of the laces doesn’t match that of the shoe, but you can easily replace them.

Pros

  • Versatile footwear
  • Sufficient protection with metal toe guard
  • Slip-resistant traction sole

Cons

  • The quality of the laces could be improved
  • Comfort isn’t the best

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6” Moc Toe – Safety Boot

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Made in the USA
  • Polyurethane MAXwear Wedge sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 6.5″ from arch
  • Toe Protection: Steel Toe
  • Tobacco Oil-Tanned, full-grain leather
  • Removable Ultimate Shock Absorption footbed on Poron comfort cushion insole
  • Fiberglass shank
  • MAXWear Wedge slip resistant outsole
Product image of Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6" Moc Toe

The Thorogood safety shoe offers a ton of value in terms of comfort, durability, protection, and visual appeal. The protective features you get include a metal toe cover and a removable shock absorbing footbed.

The sole is slip resistant, and the heels are capable of withstanding up to 18,000 volts for as long as one minute with zero current flow to your feet.

These welding safety shoes were made in the United States, feature 100 percent full-grain leather, and have polyurethane MAXwear wedge soles to ensure longevity. For added comfort and ankle protection, the shaft measures 6.5 inches from the arch, and they have PORON comfort cushion insoles.

As far as waterproofing and temperature insulation are concerned, however, these boots may not be the best option.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Durable with high-end craftsmanship
  • Made in America
  • 100 percent full-grain leather

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Not suitable for cold conditions

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 8” Moc Toe – Safety Toe

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Made in US
  • Synthetic sole
  • Tobacco Oil-Tanned
  • Removable Ultimate Shock Absorption footbed on Poron comfort cushion insole
  • Fiberglass shank
  • MAXWear Wedge slip resistant outsole
  • Goodyear storm welt construction
product image of Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 8” Moc Toe

The Thorogood Men’s American Heritage shoe is incredibly versatile and suitable for a wide range of construction applications as well as everyday wear. The shoe is made from 100 percent full-grade leather, and it is made in the United States.

The footbed effectively absorbs shocks to your feet, and you have the option to remove it if you want. It is also fitted with a fiberglass shank instead of a steel one to support the boots structure. As a result, it is equally rigid but doesn’t conduct heat as steal shanks do.

Users like the sturdiness of the American Heritage, which is mainly due to the Goodyear storm welt construction. The PORON comfort cushion insole also adds support and gives the shoe a luxurious feel.

Pros

  • Made in the U.S.
  • 100 percent full-grade leather
  • Goodyear storm welt construction

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Will not keep your feet warm

Timberland PRO Men’s Powerwelt Wellington Boot

Specifications

  • Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately Mid-Calf” from arch
  • Premium full grain and Everguard leather
  • Goodyear Welt Cast Bond construction
  • Aggressive tread design with slip resistant properties
  • 10 X more abrasion resistant that regular leather
  • 30 Day comfort guarantee
A product image of Timberland PRO Men’s Powerwelt Wellington Boot

The Timberland Wellington pull-on has several features that make it a favorite among welders and other construction workers. The boot is made from premium, full-grain leather that is coated with Timberland PRO Ever-Guard for added water and heat resistance.

The shoe features Cambrelle lining for breathability, an ergonomic design, and climate control technology to maintain your feet’s temperature and prevent moisture build-up. To allow for extended wear, the Timberland Wellington features a roomy front, a polyurethane foam bed with resilient cushioning, and a single-density outer sole that is slip resistant.

Reviewers are generally pleased with the lightweight and sturdy Goodyear welt construction. The soles tend to pick up mud relatively quickly, but you can easily hose them down without any problems.

Pros

  • Durable leather construction
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Efficient moisture control
  • Resistant to water and heat

Cons

  • Susceptible to mud accumulation
  • Quite expensive

Caterpillar Men’s Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Boot

Specifications

  • Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Boot opening measures approximately 14″ around
  • Slightly distressed steel-toe boot in full-grain leather construction
  • Dual pull handles with contrast logo patch
  • Slip-resistant outsole
A product image of Caterpillar Men’s Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Boot

The Revolver pull-on from Caterpillar gives a step away from the noise in terms of durability with its full-grain leather upper, Goodyear welt construction, and T3 rubber outsoles for optimal grip and slip resistance.

This boot meets all OSHA standards and comes with several safety features that include a metal cap, and insulation to prevent electric shocks. The nylon mesh lining also provides complete breathability to prevent overheating and moisture build-up.

As is often the case with this type of footwear, though, they tend to be on the smaller size, and you may have to buy one size up.

Pros

  • Sturdy design and construction
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Meets OSHA standards
  • Polyurethane footbed for added support
  • Metal cap to protect your toes

Cons

  • Sizing is on the smaller end
  • The 14-inch top opening may be too small for those with large calves

Dr. Martens Men’s Icon Industrial Strength Steel Toe Boot

Specifications

  • 100% Leather
  • Synthetic sole
  • Boot opening measures approximately 15″ around
  • Durable, slip resistant PVC outsole
  • ANSI-rated protective steel toe
  • ANSI/OSHA approved
A product image of Dr. Martens Men’s Icon Industrial Strength Steel Toe Boot

Dr. Martens Icon boots are suitable for wear by both men and women and have a wide range of features that make them a viable option for protection when welding. These steel toe boots feature water-resistant leather upper as well as full quarter and vamp lining.

The air cushioned sole is resistant to fat, oil, acid, and fuel. Because of the electrical hazard insulation and metal cap that protects the front, this welding safety shoe is compliant with ANSI and OSHA standards.

People who wear these boots every day are pleased with their ability to conform to the foot’s natural shape. One problem that some people have, though, is that the toe area is somewhat cramped.

Pros

  • 100 percent leather construction
  • Water- and heat resistant
  • No-slip outer sole
  • Complete toe protection

Cons

  • Toe area may be too small for some people

Heat and Burn Resistance

The emission of heat and splatter during a welding project can damage your shoes and cause personal injury. When shopping for welding boots, you have to consider heat and burn resistant features as you would a fire proof welding Jacket.

Most boots can withstand heat and burns, but, for welding applications, consider options with unique neoprene, heat resistant soles, and premium leathers that are treated with heat resistant materials.

Materials that protects your skin from heat transfer, for example, a non-woven in-sock that is laminated to Kevlar will prevent the heat from radiating through to the inside of your shoe.

Another feature that contributes significantly to heat resistance is a double density PU or outer rubber sole. For welding projects, try to find a boot with a heat resistance of up to around 300 degrees Celsius or higher.

Some heat resistant footwear is generally heavier, but it is worth the added weight to prevent damage injury or damage to your shoes.

Material Footwear Construction

Material construction is another crucial consideration that can affect the long-term value you derive from your boot. The first rule with welding footwear is to avoid boots that have prominent tongues, eyelets, or crooks and crannies where the molten metal can become stuck.

Stitching is an integral component of a work shoe’s design. Kevlar thread is not only incredibly durable but also resistant to heat.

When shopping for welding footwear, you will inevitably come across the term welt construction. Welt is a leather component that is placed between the boot’s upper and the sole and attached securely with double stitching. Goodyear’s welt construction is widely used with high-end boots to enhance longevity and ruggedness.

Footwear with the sole directly attached to the upper is typically lighter, more comfortable, and more affordable. However, these boots also tend to be less durable. By opting for a product with weld construction, you may save money over the long run.

working with leather

Lace or no Lace Options

The choice between lace and pull-on boots is not a straightforward one, and there are several benefits and drawbacks to each. The first thing to take into account is safety. Laces that are exposed carry a burn risk and, if they become untied, you can trip and fall over them.

However, laces are less of a risk if you have them securely fastened and tucked away or your boots have metatarsal guards that cover them. A metatarsal guard is attached to the upper and covers the laced section. However, many welders prefer laces as they provide a more comfortable custom fit.

A no-lace boot or “pull-on” has several advantages of its own. It has no laces that can trap pieces of molten metal. This type of footwear is also easy and quick to put on and take off, and will also typically cover your ankles and a part of your calves.

Waterproofing

Depending on the nature of your work, there may be water present on the ground or in specific work areas. For example, if you are doing welding work during a pipeline restoration or if it recently rained on your job site, you may encounter water.

Stepping in a puddle of water and feeling the water drain into your shoe getting your sock wet may be enough to ruin your entire day. It can also be dangerous, especially if there are electrical extension cords that can potentially be in contact with the water.

If your boot offers water resistance, however, you will be able to work in wet conditions without even knowing it.

Most boots are made of leather which, in itself, already offers a degree of water resistance. Some manufacturers coat the leather with an oil that is hydrophilic and prevents water from soaking in. If your leather shoe has no coat, you can apply this water-resistant coat yourself.

wet yellow boots next to a puddle of water

Steel Toe Top

A metal toe cover is not a prerequisite for welding applications. However, if a heavy object like a metal workpiece, fuel tank, or engine block falls on your foot, it can result in severe fractures and you can potentially lose one of your toes or maybe even your foot.

In employment settings, a steel toe cap is required by OSHA to ensure that employees’ feet are sufficiently protected.

The cap should cover the entire toe section of the shoe, and if there is a risk of electrical conductance, opt for a composite toe cap instead of a metal one. Composite caps tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear.

It may be tempting to select welding footwear without the cap to save on costs. However, you will not always be able to prevent an accident and, when one happens, you will not be able to turn back time.

Sole Construction Durability

Sole construction quality is paramount in ensuring your safety while you work. The thickness of a sole is particularly significant as thinner soles are more susceptible to punctures and general wear and tear than thicker ones.

Thicker soles also provide you with enhanced shock absorption and cushioning, keeping you comfortable throughout your workday.

In addition to thickness, slip resistance is also essential, primarily if you typically work on sites where there are oil spills or soapy substances on the floor. A sole should also be able to withstand chemical substances like acid and the heat from molten steel.

Slip or fall accidents can result in permanent injuries or even fatalities, especially when working on elevated platforms. A high-quality sole will help you keep traction so you can stay on your feet. The best material for a non-slip sole is rubber as it can absorb shocks and it offers better resistance to heat.

a worker standing on a ladder- only boots shown

Boot Comfort and Support

Many welders don’t consider comfort when they shop for a protective boot. What typically happens in these cases is that they will wear the boot for a week and then they take it off and start wearing regular shoes, leaving them susceptible to injury.

Several factors determine the comfort of welding footwear. The first is boot breathability, which refers to the in- and outflux of air. If your shoes are breathable, it will prevent the accumulation of sweat and heat while maintaining the temperature of your feet.

The cushion that your inner soles provide also contributes to comfort, as it allows for blood circulation, and it contours to the shape of your feet so there are no pressure points that can hurt you.

The lighter the weight of your steel toe boots, the better. If your boots are overly heavy, it can drain your energy levels and result in fatigue.

Best Under $250

If you have some cash to spare and need a high-end welding boot, we recommend the Thorogood Men’s American Heritage Moc Toe MAXwear wedge safety toe boot.

product image of Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 8” Moc Toe

This product features everything you need in welding footgear: it is made of 100 percent full-grain leather for added durability and resistance to heat, and it has a polyurethane wedge sole with a removable PORON cushion insole with ultimate shock absorption to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your workday.

For added protection and safety, the boot features a steel toe to protect your feet against the impact of heavy or pointed objects.

One of the best features for weld

ers is the electric shock-resistant soles and heals that can withstand the application of 18,000 volts for up to one minute without the current reaching your body.

The sole provides the wearer with sufficient traction on wet areas, which can be a lifesaver in certain circumstances. Since the shoe is made in the United States, you can rest assured that it manufactured following high standards. As a result, the shoe is reliable, comfortable, and it has a long lifespan, even if you wear it every day in harsh circumstances.

Best Under $150

For the welder with budgetary constraints who don’t want to compromise on quality and safety, the Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Steel Toe Guard Boot from Dr. Martens that we reviewed above may be the most viable option.

Product image of Dr. Martens Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Steel-ToeThis boot is the welder’s dream with its durable construction, water– and heat-resistance, 100 percent leather upper, synthetic non-slip sole, and metatarsal guard that protects the laces and upper from molten steel and splatter.

Another prominent feature is the metal toe cap that can withstand up to 200j of impact and 15kn of compression. The result is sufficient toe protection against almost any heavy object that falls on your foot.

There is something to be said about the Ironbridge’s sole as well. The Dr. Martens SPT outsole is a heat-sealed PVC sole that is aggressively cleated and slip resistant.

The sole also features a sturdy wooden shank for added durability and to provide a degree of structural integrity. The sole can withstand punctures, chemicals, heat, and water.

The Ironbridge is lightweight with both boots only weighing less than three pounds. Another comfort feature of this footwear is the cushioned insole that conforms to the shape of your foot and allows for free blood circulation.

Rolling cases are the better option for heavy gear that you have to hall over long and smooth distances. Climbing several flights of stairs or carrying your equipment over rough terrain may be a challenge with rollers, however. In cases like these, you may be better off with a backpack or a backpack with wheels.

Rolling cases are the better option for heavy gear that you have to hall over long and smooth distances. Climbing several flights of stairs or carrying your equipment over rough terrain may be a challenge with rollers, however. In cases like these, you may be better off with a backpack or a backpack with wheels.

Rolling cases are the better option for heavy gear that you have to hall over long and smooth distances. Climbing several flights of stairs or carrying your equipment over rough terrain may be a challenge with rollers, however. In cases like these, you may be better off with a backpack or a backpack with wheels.

Buy a Quality Steel Toe Pair with Superior Safety and Comfort

When choosing the best welding footwear, you need a product that provides you with optimal comfort and safety. Most contemporary work shoes offer a wide range of high-value features to ensure that your feet are always out of harm’s way.

The most significant feature to provide you with sufficient protection and durability is the footwear’s material and construction. Resistance to electrical current, heat, and punctures is paramount in personal protection equipment, so when selecting welding footgear, try not to compromise these features for the sake of price.

The steel toe cap is one of the most vital features to include. You never know when a heavy metal workpiece will fall on your foot.

We recommend the Thorogood Men’s American Heritage Moc Toe MAXwear wedge safety toe as the optimal boot for welders. While this product may not have all the features for industrial applications, it is more than suitable for metal construction. The American Heritage is comfortable, resistant to burns, and durable.

This footwear also features a durable metal toe cap to ensure the most vulnerable part of your feet is protected at all times.


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