An article on work boots for concrete might seem highly specialized, yet the surface is everywhere. Concrete floors are found in factories, warehouses, storage depots, big box stores, building suppliers, and jobsites; the list is almost endless. Concrete is unyielding, and standing on it all day can result in sore feet plus knee and back pain. In addition, pouring and working with concrete on the job or DIY projects demands a durable work boot.
Fortunately, footwear manufacturers are well aware of the problems and have developed a number of ways to combat them. In this article, we’re looking at their various approaches to comfort, protection, and durability. We also have recommendations for what we think are the best work boots for concrete currently available.
- BEST OVERALL: Irish Setter Ashby Men’s Leather Safety Toe Boot
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ever Boots Tank Work Boot
- BEST WOMEN’S: Timberland Women’s Titan 6-Inch Alloy Toe Work Boot
- BEST STEEL-TOE: Keen Men’s Pittsburgh 6-Inch Waterproof Work Boot
- BEST SOFT-TOE: Wolverine Moc Toe 6-Inch Work Boot
- BEST WATERPROOF: Thorogood 1957 8-Inch Waterproof Safety Toe Work Boot
- BEST PULL-ON: Ariat Men’s Groundbreaker Work Boot
- BEST FOR COLD WEATHER: Carhartt Yukon Pac Insulated 10-Inch Boot
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Merrell Men’s Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot
How We Chose the Best Work Boots for Concrete
During my career, I have worked on concrete floors both inside and out, so I know how uncomfortable the wrong choice of footwear can be. I’ve also laid concrete floors and driveways, so I understand how tough it can be on boots. We have tried to address both of these issues.
Comfort and durability are the two things that went to the top of our list. We researched how traditional materials like leather are treated to make them strong yet supple, and we looked at modern textile alternatives. We also investigated what goes on under the skin in terms of support and protection. The performance of outsoles was a key factor.
Price is always key, and some of these choices offer great value. That said, we were careful not to pick cheap boots just for the sake of it. Each pick in this list of the best work boots for concrete comes from brands with a hard-earned reputation for quality.
Our Top Picks
The following collated collection is a result of personal experience and many hours of research. Our choice of concrete work boots will suit a wide variety of shoppers, and they have been categorized to make the right pair easier to find.
With such a wide choice of excellent work boots for concrete available, picking an overall best isn’t easy. The Irish Setter Ashby work boot takes our top award for its combination of quality construction, multiple safety features, and competitive price.
The boot’s upper is full-grain leather from U.S.-raised steers and is renowned for its durability. The polyurethane (PU) insole comes from specialist manufacturer Texon and is removable, so it can be upgraded. The outsole is a blend of synthetic rubber and ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), providing high levels of cushioning, flexibility, and traction. It is heat-resistant with a minimum melting point of 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Irish Setter Ashby work boot meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety standards for its aluminum safety toe, Electrical Hazard (EH) protection, and slip resistance.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Rubber/EVA
- Sizes: 7.5 to 14 (regular), 8 to 13 (wide)
- Tough full-grain leather boot renowned for comfort; competitively priced
- Features aluminum safety toe, electrical hazard protection, plus slip- and heat-resistant soles
- PU insole is removable so it can be upgraded if required
- At 3 pounds 8 ounces, these are one of the heavier work boots
Get the Irish Setter work boots for concrete at Amazon.
The Ever Boots Tank work boot follows a classic style that has seen little change for generations because it does its job so well. The boots are ideal for construction and other outdoor trades, but it’s not out of place in casual environments. They are made from oiled full-grain nubuck leather, so they’re ready to wear straight out of the box with no break-in period. A padded collar prevents them from rubbing against the lower leg.
The insole is nothing special, but it is removable, so custom orthotics can be used if preferred. There is a rigid steel shank inside the arch that helps prevent the boot twisting on uneven terrain, but it doesn’t limit flexibility in the toe area. The sole is treaded rubber, offering good grip on a variety of surfaces. Unfortunately, the Ever Boots Tank work boots do not come in wide fittings.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Rubber
- Sizes: 6 to 14 (regular)
- Budget-friendly oiled leather work boots with no break-in period
- Classic style with nubuck upper and padded collar for added comfort
- Steel shank for foot support; removable insoles to allow for custom orthotics
- Complaints are few, but occasional problems with soles suggest quality control can be inconsistent
Get the Ever Boots work boots for concrete at Amazon.
The construction of a woman’s foot is physically different from a man’s, so simply choosing a men’s boot in a smaller size is likely to cause discomfort. Timberland is one of the few manufacturers that takes this into account. Its Titan has all the features expected of a high-performance work boot and is specifically built with a women’s fit.
The upper is premium full-grain leather with a padded top collar. There’s a breathable, moisture-wicking liner to manage perspiration. No specifics are given for the insole, but feedback suggests a comfortable fit. A nylon shank is built in, providing torsional rigidity. It’s all supported on a rubber sole that is slip-, heat-, and abrasion-resistant, and also nonmarking. The Timberland women’s work boots have an alloy safety toe and offer EH protection. A men’s version of the Titan work boot is also available.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Rubber
- Sizes: Women’s 5.5 to 11 (regular and wide)
- A high-performance work boot designed and constructed specifically for a woman’s foot
- Durable full-grain leather upper with breathable, moisture-wicking liner for perspiration control
- Offers alloy safety toe, EH protection, and a nylon shank for support
- A few buyers thought they were not as comfortable as expected
Get the Timberland work boots for concrete at Amazon (in black) or Tractor Supply Co. (in dark mocha).
Steel-toe concrete work boots have long been one of the staples of construction and any trade that requires high levels of foot protection. The Keen Pittsburgh work boots take that basic idea and add new levels of comfort, durability, and safety.
As expected from a quality work boot, the upper is full-grain leather with a water-repellent treatment and extra support around the heel. There are reflective inserts for better visibility in low light. A Keen-Dry membrane lets the foot breathe but keeps water out, and the boot has a removable PU inner sole. A full-length thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) torsion plate improves stability.
Nonmarking rubber outsoles are oil- and slip-resistant. The rubber wraps around the toe to help absorb frontal impacts. Despite its rugged looks, the Keen Pittsburgh work boot weighs under 2 pounds. It is also EH rated.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Rubber
- Sizes: 7 to 15 (regular and wide)
- Steel-toe work boot for concrete that offers high levels of protection and comfort
- Water-repellent full-grain leather, plus Keen-Dry breathable and waterproof membrane
- Full-length torsion plate; EH rated with oil- and slip-resistant sole
- A few buyers have found manufacturing faults or experienced higher wear than expected
Get the Keen work boots for concrete at Amazon.
With just a quick glance at the Wolverine Moc Toe work boot, it might be mistaken for casual footwear. Yet despite attractive styling, featured stitching, and a choice of five colors, its design and build is well suited to those who work on concrete all day.
The uppers are premium full-grain leather with an interior membrane that is waterproof yet breathable. It also has a moisture-wicking lining, helping to reduce the perspiration that often contributes to blisters. Removable fully cushioned anti-fatigue midsoles are further supported by a lightweight nylon shank. This adds torsional rigidity without reducing natural flex. Crepe soles further spread foot load and are attached using Goodyear welt construction; they can be resoled if necessary to extend their working life.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Crepe (style of rubber)
- Sizes: 7 to 14 (regular), 7.5 to 13 (wide)
- Soft-toe footwear that looks stylish but has the characteristics required for concrete work boots
- High comfort is a feature with a padded footbed to reduce foot fatigue
- Lightweight nylon shank for torsional support and crepe soles to spread foot load
- Although not widespread, there have been problems with soles cracking or splitting
Get the Wolverine work boots for concrete at Amazon or Walmart (restricted choice).
Leather is naturally water-resistant but not fully waterproof unless treated or lined. The joint between sole and upper can also be a point where water gets in, particularly as the boots wear. The high-quality Thorogood 1957 waterproof work boot tackles this problem in several ways.
Toughness comes from full-grain Trail Crazyhorse leather, which is achieved through a unique tanning process using oils and waxes to improve weather protection. To make sure feet stay dry, there’s an X-Stream Waterproof liner that is also breathable. Finally, the high-traction MaxWear90 outsole uses Goodyear Storm Welt construction that overlaps components, so there’s no way for water to get in. It also means the Thorogood 1957 8-inch work boots can be resoled to extend their life.
Other features include a steel safety toe, an Ultimate Shock Absorption insole, and a composite shank for better foot support.
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Outsole: Material not specified; see description
- Sizes: 8 to 14 (regular and wide)
- Unique wax- and oil-treated leather plus waterproof membrane to ensure feet stay dry
- Ultimate Shock Absorption insole and composite shank improve comfort and support
- High-traction outsoles use Goodyear Storm Welt construction and can be resoled
- Comes with a high price tag, and although assembled in U.S., parts may be imported
Get the Thorogood work boots for concrete at Amazon.
Ariat is a well-known maker of quality footwear, and these Western-style pull-on work boots are a fine example of why the brand is so popular. Tall work boots like these can often be heavy and cumbersome, which rapidly leads to fatigue. Ariat reduces weight by using full-grain leather for the foot area—where the boot needs to be tough and abrasion-resistant—then combines it with Clarino, a lightweight artificial leather, for the shaft.
Inside is 4 Layer Rebound (4LR) technology to support the foot and cushion it for all-day comfort. The Duratread abrasion-resistant outsole is oil- and slip-resistant, making it ideal for both concrete and uneven terrain. There’s no safety toe in this model, but it is EH rated.
- Upper: Full-grain and artificial leather
- Outsole: Rubber compound
- Sizes: 7 to 14 (regular and wide)
- A Western-style pull-on boot from a brand with a reputation for tough working footwear
- A combination of full-grain and artificial leather helps keep weight of boot down
- 4LR technology provides excellent foot support, and the outsole features multisurface traction
- Although lighter than many rivals, it’s still a fairly heavy work boot
Get the Ariat work boots for concrete at Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.
Working on concrete during winter is never pleasant, and cold seeping through footwear can result in severe foot pain. The Carhartt insulated work boot is designed to keep feet warm and fully protected in harsh working conditions.
The first defense is oil-tanned and polyurethane-coated leather to keep the water out. Inside is Carhartt’s aluminum-based 1,000 LiteFire insulation that the company claims offers the same warmth as 1,000 grams (35 ounces) of traditional insulation without the weight or bulk. Resilient, cushioned EVA insoles and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) arch support add further comfort. There’s a composite safety toe that doesn’t attract the cold like metal does, a TPU heel guard, and a cement-constructed (bonded) rubber sole, plus the Carhartt Yukon is EH rated. Add a good pair of winter work gloves, and you’re ready for anything.
- Upper: Polyurethane-coated leather
- Outsole: Rubber
- Sizes: 8 to 15 (regular and wide)
- Aluminum-based 1,000 LightFire keeps feet warm without the weight and bulk of traditional materials
- Oil-tanned and polyurethane-coated leather plus Storm Defender lining keep feet dry
- Includes composite safety toe, TPU heel and side-impact protection, and is EH rated
- They are quite an expensive work boot, and their bulk can reduce mobility
Get the Carhartt work boots for concrete at Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.
Those looking for lightweight boots that offer decent protection without restricting movement will want to consider these Merrell Moab 3 hiking boots. This mid-height model offers a good compromise between taller boots that reduce mobility and low-top work boots that leave the ankle exposed.
The Moab range has long been recognized as one of the optimal hiking boots. It offers rugged durability and stability that few can match. The upper combines leather and textile for strength and breathability. The insole uses air cushioning and Merrell’s Kinetic Fit to match the foot’s contours and maximize comfort. The outsole comes from Vibram, acknowledged experts in all-surface traction. It extends to provide heel and toe protection. Despite all this advanced footwear technology, these work boots weigh just 16.3 ounces. A Merrell Moab 3 for women is also available.
- Upper: Leather and textile
- Outsole: EVA (a rubber compound)
- Sizes: 7 to 15 (regular), 7 to 14 (wide)
- An ultralight hiking boot suitable for working on concrete with a very competitive price
- Packed with high-tech features to ensure comfort and durability in all conditions
- Advanced Vibram TC5+ outsole provides superb traction and wraps heel and toe for added protection
- Other work boots offer higher protection levels, and a few buyers found these uncomfortable
Get the Merrell work boots for concrete at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing Work Boots for Concrete
There is a lot to think about when choosing work boots for concrete. There’s a big difference between the needs of someone who stands at a machine in a factory all day and someone who works in construction, whether for comfort or worksite safety. It’s important to think about how you will use the boots in order to pick the right pair. The following section will help focus on the key issues.
The importance of a good fit can’t be underestimated. Women should look for work boots designed specifically for them because the female foot is structurally different from the male’s. Having wide feet can be challenging, but many work boot makers take this into account. Retailers will often have information on how accurately sizes run; still, those who wear thick work socks may need to take that into account.
How the structure of the boot supports the foot is also important. Some people will be fine with a lightweight work boot, where others might benefit from reinforcement in the ankle. Moisture-wicking liners pull dampness away from the foot to help prevent chafing. The insole (also called the footbed) may have extra cushioning. Some are basic but can be removed and upgraded. In many work boots, shock-absorbing midsoles will include a nylon, composite, or steel shank that also helps prevent twisting.
The outsoles of the best work boots for concrete often serve several functions. They can have a major impact on comfort, durability, and traction. Flat or wedged crepe soles spread the foot load and are well suited to factory and warehouse use. However, they are less effective on uneven ground, where a low arch will usually be preferred.
A slip-resistant outsole can be useful where oil or fuel spills are a hazard. A rubber outsole (usually a combination of natural and synthetic rubbers) is very popular and is usually a hard-wearing material. They often have a more aggressive tread for grip on loose surfaces. EVA is an alternative that is softer, but not so durable. The two are sometimes combined in composite outsoles that try to offer the best of both worlds.
The most obvious safety feature found in work boots for concrete is a protective toe. Steel toes are the most common. Aluminum and composite versions also are available and tend to be lighter, though they can add to the cost. Any toe protection, regardless of material, should meet the international ASTM F2412 standard. Many cheap work boots do not, and it is best to avoid them.
Another popular safety feature is EH protection. Work boots that are EH rated are insulated against contact with live electric cables in dry conditions. Those marked SD can dissipate static electricity. Some have good heat resistance and won’t melt easily, which makes them a popular option for welders.
Leather remains the most popular material for work boot uppers. Full-grain leather is common and uses a full-thickness hide with just the hair removed. It’s tough and naturally resistant to abrasion. It can be treated to make it waterproof or to protect it from fuel, oil, and other chemicals. The only downside is that some can take a while to break in. They also benefit from regular application of a suitable leather treatment.
Synthetic leathers are becoming more widespread in footwear. They are often lighter and don’t need the same level of maintenance. Visually, they can be indistinguishable from real leather. However, synthetic materials are not usually as strong, might not be as warm, and don’t develop the same patina with age. A variety of other textiles may be incorporated, usually to improve breathability or reduce boot weight.
We’ve offered a wealth of information to help those looking for the best work boots for concrete and tried to provide as much detail as possible, addressing all the relevant issues. During our research, we found several questions that crop up fairly regularly, so we have answered those here.
Q. What material is best for work boots?
Leather has long been considered the best material for work boots because it is tough yet flexible once broken in. However, modern textiles are often lighter and may be less expensive. Often the two are combined, and there really is no single answer. The selection above offers high-quality solutions to suit all work situations.
Q. What boots are best for standing all day?
Generally speaking, the best boots for standing all day at a workbench have flat soles or low arches with good support. Proper fit is key to prevent rubbing feet and causing blisters. Breathability can also be an issue, as hot feet can get uncomfortable very quickly. A padded insole helps with all-day comfort.
Q. How long do work boots for concrete last on average?
How long work boots last will of course depend on how tough the environment is and the construction of the boot itself. Industry sources differ, giving anywhere from 6 months to 4 years. Looking after your boots by following the maker’s suggestions will extend their life.
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