Insulated Work Boot Guide

Snowy construction site

As the weather gets colder you may notice your boots are not keeping your feet quite as warm as they could and should. If this is the case, chances are you are probably not wearing an insulated work boot. These are a pivotal purchase in the winter months for anyone that works outside in the elements.

No one wants to work while being distracted by cold feet, this can lead to poor work or even a safety issue. Below we’ll go over how an insulated work boot keeps your feet warm, what some of the hazards associated with them, and finally how to care for them and your feet!

How do Insulated boots keep my feet warm?

Insulated boots keep your feet warm in the winter by trapping your precious body heat inside the boot. This is done by utilizing many different kinds of insulating materials. Each boot manufacturer has its own proprietary blend of insulation so it’s important to read reviews and find one that you think is going to work for you and your body.

When you are choosing these insulated boots, it is important to keep in mind the amount of activity and kind of activities you will be performing in them.  If you are wiring up an electrical panel you will need more insulation than the guy who is hanging panels or climbing on the steel. It is also important to consider your body, we all run at different temperatures, so if you are someone who runs hot you probably do not want a more heavily insulated boot.

The downside of an insulated boot.

After doing some research you’ll find that there are plenty of boots that will keep your feet nice and toasty. This is both a good and bad thing. On the good side, we have warm feet and are not distracted by the cold. On the other hand, all of this heat can cause sweat to form inside the boot.

All of that sweat build-up can cause a nasty case of athletes foot and a whole host of other problems. This is why hygiene and proper attire are paramount when wearing insulated work boots. If you are looking for an in-depth guide on preventing sweat in boots check out our guide on How to Keep Your Feet From Sweating in Work Boots.

Socks

Sock Choice

Proper sock choice is important. If you’re going to be working in an overly heated environment or performing physical labor you will want to choose a more absorbent sock like a Merino Wool sock or a Polyester Sock. There are many socks to choose from, pick something that is known for absorbing or wicking sweat and keeping it off of your feet!

Booy Dryers

Boot dryers are also incredibly important for the hygiene of your insulated work boot. After you finish working a hard day, it is easy to kick your boots off at the door, grab a cold one, and plop down on that sofa. While you’re lounging away your evening, millions of bacteria are forming and growing in your boots, can you guess what they love to eat? Your sweat!

Pop your boots down on a boot dryer as soon as you get home to ensure that they stay clean and can help keep your feet healthy. This goes for your socks too, make sure you are wearing dry socks, these should be taken off at the end of every day as soon as possible and thrown into the wash. The longer you keep these on your feet, the higher your risk of contracting an infection!

If you make sure to wear fresh socks and dry your boots out, your chances of having an issue with your feet drop significantly.

The End

In summary, do your research, find a boot that is going to insulate you the right amount, wear proper socks, and dry your boots. If you do all of these things, you can ensure that your feet will stay warm and healthy all winter long.

Industrial Work Boots

Industrial work boots guide

When you work in a factory or a shop you’re going to need a boot that’s different from the one you wear in the field. Industrial work boots are very similar to general construction boots but have this focus, they are made for the harsh conditions of a shop or factory.

If you work in an area that has plenty of grinding, welding, sawing, sanding, or work somewhere that large objects are being moved, industrial work boots are for you. These are the boots that are going to keep your feet safe eight hours a day seven days a week three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

Slip Resistant Soles

A large focus and feature of these boots are their slip-resistant soles. Trips and slips are the number one cause of injury on the job accounting for over 19% of all injuries, according to the 2016 OSHA Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (Annual) News Release. Industrial work boots featuring a slip-resistant sole will keep you upright and on your feet.

They do this by having specially designed sole patterns made of slip-resistant material. The material itself tends to be a softer rubber allowing the boot to grip the floor more effectively. The sole pattern itself will allow for liquids to escape from under the boots, allowing the sole to grab the floor better than a traditional boot sole.

Safety Toes

When working around heavy equipment and material it is essential to protect your feet from drops and impacts. Nothing is going to ruin your day faster than a 60oz hammer falling off of your table and right onto your toes.

To prevent this industrial boots tend to feature a safety toe that is either made of steel or a composite material. Both of these materials Should meet the ANSI Z41.1- 1991 standard if you are considering the boot for an industrial situation. Safety toes, steel or composite, will keep your toes safe though some people find them too be heavy or uncomfortable. If you are one of these people that are having issues with your safety or steel toe boots, check out our post here on How to Stop Steel Toe Boots From Hurting Your Feet.

There are boots that go a step further than a safety toe and protect the whole bridge or top of your foot, these are called Metatarsal Boots.  If you are looking for a set of these check out our Top 5 Metatarsal Work Boots picks.

Ankle and Shin Protection

You will find most industrial boots go up past your ankle a minimum of six inches. You can, of course, find exceptions to this and some manufacturers go so far as to make a shoe for this setting, though I would not recommend them for the reasons below. There really are several reasons why shop boots need to be this size or larger.

The first reason is you need to protect your ankles and lower legs. When walking around a shop it is incredibly easy to bang your ankle by walking into material that is down low, below your peripheral vision. Maybe you get distracted or maybe you’re just not looking at the ground and BAM, your bloody and bruised. Six Inch and taller boots prevent this or at the very least, lessen the injury.

Another reason may not be so obvious if you haven’t experienced it first hand. When you’re welding sparks get shot all over, it’s a fact of life and it’s not fun to deal with. We protect our hands with gloves, our faces with a hood, and our feet with leather boots. One of the worst feelings is when one of these sparks or slag, a tiny ball of molten metal, slides into your shoe and finds itself on top your foot. Taller industrial boots prevent this by sealing above your ankle.

welder
Protect your feet

 

Examples of Industrial Work Boots

Most boot manufacturers offer several options when it comes to footwear designed for the shop. A few of the top brands that offer a specialized industrial boot are Redwing, Danner, CAT, Georgia, Dr. Martens, and Wolverine.

Below are several industrial boot options, all from different manufacturers. I have picked these boots based on personal use, features and recommendations from other manufacturing workers and would feel comfortable wearing any of these around a shop. If you have any comments or issues with my selection please feel free to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6″ Boot

Red Wing Heritage Men's Classic Moc 6" Boot
Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6″ Boot

 

This is the boot I personally wear every day and I can’t recommend it enough. Red Wing really is a step ahead of the competition when it comes to leather. These boots are some of the most comfortable and durable I have found. The reason they are so durable is that famous Goodyear welt we hear so much about, add to that triple stitching and you have a great pair of boots that are going to last you years. These particular boots do feature the iconic Red Wing Traction Tred sole and outsole.

After all of this praise, I do need to tell you the downsides. The break-in period is rough, it’s about two weeks. During this time the boots are going to feel tight and rigid, once you push through though you will have the most comfortable pair of boots on the market shaped to your feet. There are ways to speed up this break-in period, and I’ll go into those in another post.

This particular model that I linked does not feature a safety toe, to get that you will need to head to a Red Wing Store or purchase from the website directly. You can find them here.

Danner Men’s Quarry USA 8-Inch Alloy Toe Work Boot

Industrial work boot from - Danner
Industrial work boot from –
Danner

With this boot, Danner really stepped up their game. If you’re looking for a safety feature rich boot look no further. The Quarry USA has an alloy toe, a fiberglass shank, and is rated for Electrical hazards. What more could you ask for? This really is the boot to look at if you work around a lot of machinery and a lot of power cords.

Comfort? Well, they have that in spades, utilizing a Vibram sole to keep your feet feeling good, and GORE-TEX to keep them dry. Did I mention that these are 100% waterproof?

Downsides. They may not be as durable as some other boots, there have been multiple reports of the leather tearing earlier than expected. This may come down to lack of maintenance on the owner.

One thing to note, these boots run a little small so you may consider purchasing ½ a size up.

Georgia Boot Men’s Georgia 8″ Lace-to-toe Steel Toe Work Boot Work Shoe

Industrial work boots from Georgia
Industrial work boots from Georgia

Here is the first work boot I ever purchased and I never once regretted it. It is considerably cheaper than the other options on this list and has many of the same safety features.

The Georgia boot has a steel toe and is, in fact, Oil and Slip Resistant, which I can personally attest too. The leather on this boot will hold up incredibly well under even the harshest conditions. There is no denying they are a good looking boot.

The not so great part. Break in is ROUGH, 2 – 3 weeks of hard days. The sole itself will wear down a little faster than other boots I’ve found. Comfort was not the main factor when designing these boots and I would highly recommend purchasing a new insole with these.

Wolverine Men’s Buccaneer SteelToe Waterproof Work Boot

wolverine industrial work boots
Wolverine Men’s Buccaneer 8-Inch MultiShox Contour Welt WP EH ST Boot

 

The Wolverine Buccaneer is a fantastic industrial work boot that is going to check many of your boxes.

It has the standard steel toe like many others. Where it truly separates itself from the competition is its slip resistant sole. This sole has had an incredible amount of engineering put into it, these really are some of the grippiest boots you can find. The grip isn’t the only thing that this sole was engineered for, comfort was a high priority for the designers of this boot and with its Multi Shock Absorbing Compression Pads you are going to be able to go all day and still feel great.

Downsides. There really aren’t any, some people report them not fitting there feet correctly or that the break-in period is a little long. With both of these things either go try them on or get over it. Wolverine makes a wonderful product and these should be near the top if not at the top of your list.