The Best Steel Toe Shoes

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Comfortable and providing protection from dropped tools, bad weather, and grime, work boots are an essential piece of equipment for any worker. Steel toe caps can be found in the toe box of these shoes and boots, protecting the wearer's toes from falling objects.

Steel-toed footwear is an investment, so make sure you get the right pair of shoes or boots by keeping a few things in mind. Where you work and what you do determines which pair is best. The cold weather can make your feet numb, so insulated shoes could be a necessity if you work outside. Shoes made of mesh can help keep your feet cool in a busy commercial kitchen. Boots come in a wide variety of materials and styles, with some even boasting specialized features like waterproofing for certain occupations.

Use this information to pick the right pair of steel-toed shoes for the job.

The Best Steel Toe Shoes

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Before you go out and buy the first pair of steel toe shoes that catch your eye, it's important to think about the following.


When looking for the best steel toe shoes, comfort is paramount. Standing on your feet all day in a pair of uncomfortable boots is a nightmare. Look for a pair that fits you well, has a comfortable sole, and requires little to no breaking in.

Steel-toe sneakers are a more practical alternative to work boots if your company doesn't have a strict policy against them. They're a bit bigger and bulkier than your average pair of sneakers, but otherwise they're a dead ringer for the style.

Steel-toed shoes and work boots for women should be specifically made for women to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.



The uppers of shoes and boots made from leather last the longest, while those made from nylon mesh allow for more breathability. Full-grain leather is used to make the best steel toe shoes and boots. The material is tough and long-lasting, and it will shape to your foot with use. Due to its ability to soak up liquids, leather can develop a musty odor over time.

Conversely, mesh allows air to circulate, preventing foot sweating and odor. On the other hand, nylon mesh isn't as sturdy or long-lasting as leather.

The combination of leather and nylon in some boots or shoes makes for long-lasting, lightweight, and airy footwear.


Steel-toe footwear typically has nonslip rubber soles.

Steel Toe

Composite toe shoes have a cap made of Kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic, or fiberglass, whereas steel toe boots have a metal toe cap. Composite toe shoes are a relatively new innovation that maintains the same level of protection as traditional steel toe shoes while being lighter in weight.

Steel toe caps are preferred by many shoe and boot manufacturers. Many brand devotees have come to expect the traditional durability of leather in these shoes' soles.


Steel-toed shoes or insulated boots are good investments if your job requires you to be outside in the winter. Feet can stay warmer with as little as 200 grams of insulation. Shoes and boots with breathable material, as opposed to insulation, may be preferable in hot environments such as kitchens, refineries, and boiler rooms.


Waterproofing is a common feature of high-quality steel-toe footwear, making it possible to hose down machines or walk through puddles without getting your work socks wet. Waterproof footwear, however, has the obvious drawback of taking forever to dry. When working in wet conditions, even if you wear waterproof shoes, you may find that your feet are uncomfortable until you dry them out.


You need long-lasting work boots, so durability is a must. The most long-lasting shoes and boots are typically manufactured by popular workwear brands due to their higher-quality materials and construction methods.

Choose a resolable boot brand to get more wear out of your footwear investment. If you invest several hundred dollars in a pair of high-quality shoes, it's well worth your time to have the soles replaced when they wear out.

Top Picks from Us

After reading this, you should feel more confident in your ability to select a quality pair of steel toe shoes or boots. Below, we've done some of the legwork for you by compiling a list of the top steel toe shoes across a variety of categories.

The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: KEEN Utility Men's Flint Low Steel Toe Work Shoe

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Try Keen's Utility Flint Work Shoe if you need a steel toe shoe that can handle a variety of tasks. The nubuck leather and nylon mesh uppers of these low-tops sit atop a rugged rubber outsole in a hiking boot design. Keen's steel toe caps are designed for the left and right feet separately, while those of competitors are universal. While it is not waterproof, this shoe's perforations will keep your feet cool in stuffy offices. Keen Flints come in both men's and women's sizes, so don't let the fact that this particular style is geared toward men discourage you.


  • Completely made of nubuck leather
  • Rubber outsole that won't skid
  • Steel toes designed for human feet
  • Breathable


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Skechers for Work 77055 Cankton Steel Toe Sneaker

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Spending too much on toe protectors is unnecessary. Skechers' Cankton Steel-Toe Work Sneakers, model 77055, are a budget-friendly option for safety on the job. Though it has a gym-ready aesthetic, this sneaker is appropriate for the office. The Cankton combines a steel toe for safety with a cushioned insole and a durable outsole to create the ideal sneaker The suede and mesh upper keeps feet cool and dry while the steel toe cap and electrical hazard protection keep you safe on the job. Your feet will appreciate the memory foam bottom. The Cankton has a roomy design that accommodates thick winter socks.


  • Affordable cost
  • Safeguards Against Electrical Dangers
  • Upper constructed of suede and mesh
  • Foam with a short term memory


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6 Moc Toe

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The Thorogood Men's American Heritage Moc Toe Boot is a workwear mainstay. The upper is made from oil-tanned, full-grain leather, and the sole is a MAXWear slip-resistant wedge, making it suitable for use when working on ladders, stepping across joists or beams, or ascending and descending stairs. These boots' uppers are built to outlast the soles, but Thorogood uses Goodyear welts (a seam connecting the sole to the upper) in their construction, so the soles can be easily replaced by a cobbler.


  • Natural, full-grain leather that has been oil-tanned
  • MAXWear's non-slip outsole
  • Comfortable, shock-absorbing footbed that's removable
  • Construction using Goodyear's Storm Welt Rubber


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Skechers Men's Greetah Construction Shoe

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It can be frustrating to work in damp conditions, and it's bad for your feet to have to endure a lifetime of wet shoes. Skechers' Greetah Construction Shoe has a waterproof build to ensure your feet stay dry on the job. The low-top shoe has a memory-foam footbed, a rubber outsole, and an electrical hazard protection composite toe. Due to the use of a composite toe, these boots are lighter than steel toe options, and the nylon mesh uppers ensure comfort and breathability. They come in two colors, so you can pick one that best matches the standards of your workplace.


  • Guarding against electrical dangers
  • A insole made of memory foam
  • Toecap made of a composite material
  • Nylon netting that allows airflow


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Timberland PRO Men's Disruptor Safety-Toe Work Shoe

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Neither do you have to wear an unsightly pair of safety shoes or break in a pair of stiff leather boots. The Timberland PRO Disruptor Safety-Toe Work Shoe is a classic athletic sneaker with a protective steel toe cap for the workplace. The uppers of Timberlands are made from canvas, and they feature anti-fatigue technology to ensure your feet stay comfortable all day. The soles of these shoes can withstand high temperatures and oils without leaking or melting. However, this pair of boots only weighs a little over 3 pounds, whereas a pair of leather high-top steel-toe boots can weigh up to 5 pounds, putting the clod in clodhopper.


  • Upper-body canvas
  • Technology that prevents fatigue
  • Outsoles that can withstand high temperatures and are impervious to oil
  • Safeguards Against Electrical Dangers


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Keen Utility Atlanta Cool II

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It's not easy to find a pair of shoes that can shield your feet from the sun without sacrificing your comfort. The Utility Atlanta Cool II from Keen, thankfully, does the trick. Comfort is ensured by the breathable leather and mesh upper and the asymmetrical left and right steel toes. Additionally, it has a moisture-wicking lining to keep your feet dry. An ultralight, compression-resistant, and energy-returning Regen midsole helps the Atlanta Cool II keep you going for miles and miles.


  • Synthetic and natural leather and mesh upper
  • Steel toes that are angled for convenience
  • Inner fabric that evaporates sweat
  • Anti-slip and oil-proof


The Best Steel Toe Shoes Option: Carhartt Men's 10 Waterproof Insulated PAC Boot

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To keep your feet warm and dry, Carhartt designed their Waterproof Insulated Toe Boot with LiteFire technology. Your toes will stay toasty even in subzero temperatures thanks to the 1,000 LiteFire insulation in these boots. These composite toe boots will keep your feet warmer than steel toe boots would. Leather is used for the uppers, and there is a high-traction rubber outsole and electrical hazard protection. The boots' extra support and defense comes from the armored heel guards.


  • Toecap made of a composite material
  • Insulation that is both watertight and airtight, made of aluminum
  • Guarding against electrical dangers
  • Superior gripping rubber outsole


  • It's not completely watertight.

What We Think

KEEN Utility's Men's Flint Low Steel Toe Work Shoes are our top pick for the best steel toe shoes due to their high quality materials, non-slip soles, insulation, durability, breathability, and foot-specific steel toe caps.

Finding the Finest Steel-Toed Boots

Steel-toed shoes are a necessity in the workplace; they prevent injury and ensure your comfort. Your work environment and the demands of your position will determine which types of steel toe shoes are ideal for you. Comfort, construction material, soles, steel toe versus composite toe, insulation, durability, and waterproofing were the primary criteria we used to select the top steel toe shoes on the market. When it's time to head to the office, your feet will be safe in one of our recommended pairs of steel toe shoes.


This section is for you if you still need help deciding which steel toe shoes or boots would be best for you, or if you just have some general questions.

Q What are the benefits of composite toe boots versus steel toe boots?

A steel toe cap is what gives steel toe boots their name. Composite materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic, and fiberglass are used to make protective toe caps for these boots.

Q In what ways do ANSI and ASTM standards diverge from one another?  

In 2005, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards were superseded by those of the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). A certified safety shoe must conform to ASTM standards.

Q When asked how long steel-toed boots should last,  

Shoes and boots typically wear out after a year. The soles eventually wear out, making the shoes unsafe for use in most industrial settings. High-quality leather shoes can last for years if you invest in a pair that is resolable.

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