Best Steel Toe Shoes

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best steel toe shoes are, then I recommend the Keen Utility Construction Shoe as the best pair for men and the Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot as the best pair for women.

If you work in a job that requires you to wear steel toe shoes, you already understand the importance of getting a high-quality pair that’ll last.

When I went shopping for my first pair, I wasn’t really sure what this style of footwear entailed. But I don’t want you to be in the same situation. My best steel toe work shoes feature the required specifications to keep your feet safe and comfortable all-day-long.

The best steel toe shoes are:

Advantages of Steel Toe Shoes

Safety is a top concern, of course. But there are more advantages to wearing steel toe shoes than I initially realized. Here are a few of those:

  • Protection: It’s the number one reason this footwear exists. You can avoid sprains, cuts, breaks or worse by wearing steel toe shoes. Some shoes offer protection against electrical shocks, as well, but this isn’t standard across the board.
  • Comfort: Being on our feet all day can take a toll. Steel toe shoes have supportive footbeds, slip-resistant soles and quality laces to ensure stability. This helps us avoid aching feet when it’s time to head home.
  • Versatility: Did you know that steel toe shoes are available in styles other than your traditional boot? Some of us still want to look stylish on the job, and you can do this with many types of footwear in this category.
  • Durability: Steel toe shoes are meant to last, so you shouldn’t feel bad about investing in a quality pair. I appreciate this because I’ve been through too many pairs of mediocre shoes in the past.

What to Look For

Everyone will be a bit different here, depending on your specific needs. There are some themes to keep in mind, though:

Broad Toe

This is one of the most essential specifications for me because I hate feeling squeezed in my footwear—it causes me a high level of discomfort.

Opt for steel toe shoes with plenty of breathing room around the toes for this reason. This also provides the space to wear thicker socks, which aids in the comfort factor.

Is your foot on the wider side all-around? Opt for a shoe that has a wide fit available to ensure you’ve got all the room you need. Do keep in mind that our feet swell during the day, regardless.

Insoles

Do you have custom-made orthotics or store-bought insoles that you prefer? Look for steel toe shoes with removable insoles, so you can feel your best.

If you can’t remove the insoles, you may be able to layer yours on top, but there’s not always enough room for that.

Traction

Working on slippery surfaces or in inclement weather conditions adds a potential danger to our workday. 

Opt for a pair of steel toe work shoes that have ample traction or grip to keep you steady on your feet. This way, you won’t have to worry about extra safety concerns and sliding around.

Other Features

Shaft height, breathability and waterproofing are other features I like to keep in mind when shopping for steel toe shoes.

Shaft height, in particular, is important if you have weak ankles or are getting up and down a lot on the job. It’s best to feel supported in this area, which is why high-shaft boots are so popular.

Breathability can come in a few different forms. Some brands offer mesh along the outside or lining on the inside to help wick away moisture. I appreciate a good anti-microbial treatment here, as well, to stop bad smells from taking over. 

If you come up against a lot of liquids on the job, waterproof steel toe work shoes might be your best choice. This will stop any moisture from penetrating your boot.

Best Steel Toe Shoes Reviews

Shoes in mud

The best steel toe shoes include options for both men and women, in styles ranging from boots to sneakers.

1. Keen Utility Men’s Construction Shoe

This boot from Keen is my favorite because it meets all of the needs when it comes to steel toe work shoes.

The shaft measures at around 5.5-inches tall, offering plenty of protection for the ankle, and there’s ample room—8 inches around—to slide your foot in, too.

There’s a roomy toe box with this steel toe design, so you shouldn’t be feeling squished on your feet. If you have wider feet than usual, there’s also the option to purchase the wide version, as opposed to the standard fit.

The lug-sole pattern offers plenty of traction to protect you from slipping, and they’re oil-resistant and non-marking.

Lastly, the waterproof membrane is breathable, which saves you from building up a smelly sweat during the day.

Current sizing is available from a 7 to a 15.

Pros

  • Asymmetrical, anatomically correct design.
  • Breathable, yet waterproof.
  • Probiotic-based technology to fight odors.
  • TPU stability shank.

Cons

  • Eyelets may be of poor quality.

2. Reebok Work Men’s Sublite Shoe

For the sporty folk out there, Reebok brings us a steel toe sneaker made from leather with micro-webbing up top for breathability. It feels like a running shoe but offers so much more.

The Sublite foam technology in these shoes provides supreme comfort without sacrificing safety. It makes this footwear lightweight and enables you to confidently feel the ground underneath. 

To top it off, the FootFuel removable footbed provides the chance to use your preferred insoles. Otherwise, the included insole is responsive and may offer enough comfort on its own.

The webbing along the sides molds to your foot, helping you feel locked-in and firmly in place as you work. There’s also a rubber outsole, which is resistant to slippage. 

Sizing runs from 7 to 13, with wide options available.

Pros

  • Electrical hazard protection.
  • Removable insole.
  • Foam technology.
  • Cool, sneaker style.

Cons

  • Minimal ankle support.

3. Timberland Pro Men’s Steel Toe

Timberland is an infamous brand in the world of work shoes, mainly due to the durability its footwear brings. 

These steel toe work shoes have a sufficient shaft height of 5.5 inches tall and a raised heel that measures around 1.5 inches tall. The rubber outsoles are resistant to oil, slippage and abrasions, meeting the correct safety standards for steel toe shoes.

I like the comfort suspension technology throughout the boot, including ample arch support. The company also claims that this brand-specific tech helps fight fatigue throughout the day. This combines well with a removable sock liner, which provides additional comfort and could replace the need for extra-thick socks.

The footbed is breathable and treated with an anti-microbial odor control to prevent and keep bad smells at bay. 

Standard and wide widths are available; however, the current sizing options are unknown.

Pros

  • Padded top collars for comfort.
  • Removable sock liner.
  • Supportive, high shaft.
  • Well-known brand in steel toe shoes.

Cons

  • May run on the narrow side.

4. Caterpillar Women’s Echo Work Boot

My favorite choice for women is not only stylish but functional.

These 100 percent leather and waterproof boots offer the highest shaft on the list, measuring 8 inches from the arch. If your job requires you to be very active, this additional protection can provide peace of mind.

The welted forefoot and cemented heel offer durability, with plenty of traction underneath to keep you steady and upright. Unsurprisingly, they’re resistant to oil, water and abrasions.

Caterpillar doesn’t cut us short on comfort, either. The company uses proprietary technology here, including a mesh lining for breathability. An included sock liner helps wick away any moisture buildup, too.

The PVC midsole and foam footbed help absorb any shock, which reduces fatigue.

Pros

  • Electrical hazard protection.
  • Shock absorption.
  • 100 percent waterproof and durable leather material.
  • Super-high shaft.

Cons

  • Daily use may lead to quick deterioration.


5. Skechers Women’s Steel Toe Boot

This sneaker-centric company branches out into the world of steel toe boots with this option for the ladies.

The comfort features appeal to me the most, including a memory foam footbed that’s infused with gel. This conforms to the shape of your foot for an ultimate fit. There’s also a shock-absorbing midsole for battling fatigue. If you work on a variety of terrains, this will be beneficial.

The shaft on these boots measures 5 inches with a raised heel, while lug traction along the bottom will protect you from the usual, such as slipping on liquids down below.

You can choose between the regular and wide widths, but do keep in mind that they both might run larger than expected. The size range is currently 5–11.

Pros

  • Memory foam and gel for comfort.
  • Roomy toe portion.
  • No break-in period necessary.
  • Wide widths are available.

Cons

  • Insole is on the thin side.

Stay Protected

Work Boots

A primary benefit of the best steel toe work shoes is that they offer protection when we need it most. I prefer a pair that has a roomy toe box, quality traction along the bottom and a high shaft to protect the ankle.

With this in mind, the Keen Utility Construction Shoe is my top choice for the guys. This footwear also has a breathable, waterproof membrane to keep sweat at bay and other liquids out. The boots feature an anatomically correct steel toe to stop the material from pressing down onto your feet.

For the ladies out there, the Caterpillar Women’s Echo Work Boot is my top choice. Not only are they visually attractive, but the 100 percent design and high shaft offer excellent protection. On top of this, the sole traction is excellent, offering a high-quality pair of steel toe shoes.

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