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Carhartt Men’s 6” Waterproof Wedge Boot
The feature set of this tough but supple Carhartt work boot is like a wish list for more comfortable working on concrete.
Ever Boots Tank Work Boot
Ever Boots Tank Boot is a very affordable solution for those who want comfort, but who also need to tackle difficult terrain.
Best for Women
Timberland PRO Women’s Titan Work Boot
Thanks to the Timberland PRO Titan, women no longer have to put up with badly-fitting work boots designed for men.
It pays to have a good pair of work boots for concrete. Hard concrete floors are everywhere. Offices, malls, factories, warehouses, hospitals, airports.… Putting tile over a concrete base might improve the appearance, but does nothing to ease your feet. General soreness and blisters are just the start of the discomfort. Knees and back can also suffer. Painful shin splints are a possibility.
If you work in that kind of environment, good footwear is a must. Sneakers and sports shoes are one solution, but they aren’t everyone’s favorite, and are not practical in many work environments.
So we’ve been looking at more hard-wearing options, and those with built-in safety features. Our round-up of the best work boots for concrete looks at the pros and cons of different materials and construction methods, and offers suggestions that will suit a variety of occupations.
Best Overall: Carhartt Men’s 6” Waterproof Wedge BootBest Budget: Ever Boots Tank Work BootBest for Women: Timberland PRO Women’s Titan Work BootBest Steel Toe: Thorogood American Heritage 6” Steel Toe Work BootsBest Waterproof: KEEN Utility Men’s San Jose 6” Waterproof Work Boot
How We Picked The Boots
Like many people, I know first hand how tiring and uncomfortable it can be to spend a long day on a concrete floor. I know what I would look for in a work boot in that situation. To support my own experience, the Field & Stream team researched current materials technology, and the latest products from leading manufacturers. We also spent time looking into the physical problems associated with working on concrete, and recommendations for treatment.
While materials and construction will always be key issues when choosing the best boots for concrete, two other factors also impacted my picks: choice and value.
Choice: The range of different work boots for concrete is extensive, so rather than compare a whole bunch of boots with steel toes, for example, what I tried to do was pick models that showcase the benefits of all types. In doing so, I hope to have provided choices for the widest variety of people.
Value: While I understand the importance of price, buying cheap work boots for concrete can often be false economy. If they don’t offer the comfort required, and don’t last more than a couple months because of poor construction, they are not good value. Both personally and professionally I always choose boots from brands that have a long standing reputation for quality. I’m not ignoring the cost when choosing the best work boots for concrete, but I am balancing it against overall performance.
The Best Work Boots for Concrete: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Carhartt Men’s 6” Waterproof Wedge Boot
Why It Made the Cut: Carhartt has a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality work boots. This model combines durable construction with all-day comfort, and is smart enough for casual wear.
Material: Full-grain, oil-tanned leatherSizes: 7 to 15 (including wides)Safety Toe: No
Cushioned, shock-absorbing solesElectrical hazard protectionCompetitive pricing
No safety toeA few complaints of unpleasant odor when new
Carhartt is one of the world’s leading work boot brands. It is a company that has been making quality footwear for over 130 years. The Carhartt 6” wedge boot takes our overall best work boots for concrete award by combining durability, comfort, and style.
The upper is oil-tanned leather, which makes them supple so there’s no break-in period, and adds water resistance. There’s also Carhartt’s own Storm Defender membrane on the inside to make these boots completely waterproof. A moisture-wicking liner draws away sweat that might cause discomfort. A cushioned polyurethane insole provides comfort, and absorbs impact shocks.
The outsole is made of dual-density composite rubber, spreading the foot load while providing secure grip. The boot is stitched together using the renowned Goodyear welt method that interlocks the various layers for maximum durability. It also means Carhartt work boots can be resoled in cases of excess wear. Although there is no safety toe, the boot is ASTM-rated for secondary electrical protection of up to 18,000 volts in dry conditions.
There are tougher, more protective models than the Carhartt 6” wedge boot, but none are more comfortable for standing on concrete all day. They also look great, and are available in 5 different colors.
Best Budget: Ever Boots Tank Work Boot
Why It Made the Cut: The Ever Boots Tank boot enjoys enormous popularity thanks to its combination of jobsite toughness with flexibility, support, and comfort. It is also great value for money.
Material: Full-Grain Nubuck LeatherSizes: 6 to 14Safety Toe: No
Goodyear welt constructionNo breaking inExcellent value
Basic insolesNo wides
Ever Boots is a relatively young company that has quickly developed a reputation for tough, affordable work boots. The Tank boot was actually their first design, intended as an all-purpose model that offers jobsite durability without the common problems of stiffness, and lack of comfort.
The upper is tough, full-grain leather that has been buffed to create a suede-like appearance known as nubuck. They are oil-tanned to make them pliable, and to shed water and mud, although they are not fully waterproof. A padded collar gives a snug fit around the leg to keep out dirt.
Cost-saving is evident on the interior, which is lined but not moisture-wicking. The insole is adequate, though Ever Boots themselves say that it can be removed to ‘allow the use of custom insoles for maximum comfort. Upgrades are probably worthwhile for those who work on concrete all day.
The sole is wide and has deep lugs for increased traction. The arch provides good support. The Ever Boots Tank boot is another that uses the Goodyear welt method to ensure durability. According to Ever Boots they generally run about a 1/2 size larger than Timberland, Wolverine, or Caterpillar boots.
Best for Women: Timberland PRO Women’s Titan Work Boot
Why It Made the Cut: The Timberland PRO Titan work boot is designed for the female foot so women no longer have to compromise with a poorly-fitting man’s boot in a small size.
Material: Full-grain leatherSizes: 5.5 to 11 (including wides)Safety Toe: Alloy
Women’s fit provides maximum comfortWork site toughnessElectrical hazard protection
Collar can be a bit stiffColors limited to black or brown
Unfortunately many work boot makers overlook the fact that the female foot has a different structure to the male. As a result, women frequently have to put up with a small men’s size that doesn’t fit properly, and so can rub uncomfortably. The Timberland PRO Titan is one of the few work boots designed specifically for women, while making no compromises in terms of toughness and protection.
The upper is abrasion-resistant, full-grain leather. A padded collar closes securely to keep out grit and debris. The hard-wearing nature of the material means there can be some initial stiffness, though it should break in quickly. An ASTM-rated alloy safety toe is incorporated, which also offers secondary electrical protection.
Inside there is an antimicrobial, moisture-wicking liner that helps control sweat and odor, keeping the feet fresh. A cushioned midsole, and breathable footbed increase interior comfort. The sole has a nylon diffusion shank that spreads load, and resists twisting. The outer is composite rubber, and is slip, oil, and abrasion-resistant, and also non-marking. This can be a bonus for those who lay tile or who work on polished floors.
Best Steel Toe: Thorogood American Heritage 6” Steel Toe Work Boots
Why It Made the Cut: The Thorogood American Heritage work boot is an exceptional piece of footwear in terms of construction quality, durability, comfort, and the protection it offers to the wearer.
Material: Full-grain, oil-tanned leatherSizes: 7 to 14 (including wides)Safety Toe: Steel
Outstanding comfort and safetySupportive fiberglass shankGreat looking boots
ExpensiveNot a heavy-duty work boot
Thorogood’s has an outstanding reputation for quality, and over 120 years of experience and craft goes into their U.S.-made work boots. The upper of the American Heritage is made from oil-tanned, full-grain leather, offering abrasion-resistant toughness while being supple and easy-to-wear. The moc toe style looks smart, and does a great job of concealing the ASTM-rated steel safety toe.
The open cell design of the Poron insole provides excellent cushioning, shock absorption, and breathability. It quickly regains its shape after impact rather than remaining compressed. A dual-density footbed adds even more comfort.
The MAXWear polyurethane sole has further ASTM-rated features, for both secondary electrical protection, and slip-resistance. A fiberglass shank allows the boot to flex but provides strength and improved foot support.
The Thorogood American Heritage work boot is not designed for heavy digging or construction site work. For warehouse operatives, factory workers, or anyone whose occupation involves the potential for heavy impacts it provides safety, comfort and style.
Best Waterproof: KEEN Utility Men’s San Jose 6” Waterproof Work Boot
Why It Made the Cut: The KEEN Utility San Jose work boot incorporates a waterproof membrane to keep feet dry, and an aluminum alloy safety toe that provides ASTM-rated protection.
Material: Full-grain leatherSizes: 7 to 15 (including wides)Safety Toe: Alloy
Terrific foot supportHigh safety standards100% waterproof
Premium pricingLight- or medium-duty only
KEEN Utility is another highly-regarded work boot brand, and the San Jose will appeal to people who spend long periods standing or walking on concrete, whether indoors or out.
As expected from a quality boot, the upper is full-grain leather. It is hard-wearing, but soft enough not to need breaking in. Inside there is a KEEN.Dry waterproof and breathable membrane that combines with a moisture-wicking mesh to keep feet dry while minimizing the problems that cause sweat and blisters.
Comfort and safety are particular features. The polyurethane midsole is air-infused and offers advanced cushioning. There’s also a removable polyurethane footbed. A nylon shank provides foot support and resists twisting. The aluminum safety toe weighs 35 percent less than steel equivalents, and is ASTM-rated for impact and secondary electrical protection. The composite rubber sole is slip- and oil-resistant providing traction to ASTM standards, and is also non-marking.
If there is a drawback with the KEEN Utility San Jose work boot, it is that in common with other wedge-soled models it is not designed for heavy-duty occupations. A heeled boot would be more appropriate in those situations.
Things to Consider Before Buying Boots For Concrete
Before we go on, let’s just clarify who this article is for. What we are looking at are the best work boots for standing on concrete, or walking on concrete, rather than concrete resistant work boots, or boots designed for those who pour concrete for a living. So with that in mind, let’s look at the key features.
It’s easy to say that comfort is a key element of boots for concrete, but how is that achieved? A good fit is the first step. This isn’t just about foot size, but how the boot closes, and supports the heel and ankle. If the boot moves around, it’s going to chaff and cause blisters. A moisture-wicking lining that draws sweat away from the foot is a bonus. Being waterproof rather than just water-resistant could be a desirable feature. With leather boots this usually means an inner membrane will be fitted. GoreTex is probably the best known but others can be equally efficient.
On the inside of the boot, check the footbed and insole, both of which may be padded or cushioned. If the insoles are basic but can be removed, it may be a good idea to upgrade them. People with diagnosed foot conditions can swap in custom orthotics.
Wedge soles are popular because they spread weight across the whole foot. However, they aren’t good on uneven surfaces, or for climbing ladders. In this case, a low heel similar to that found on hiking or hunting boots is a good alternative. These may also offer arch support.
Soft shoes like sneakers can offer good comfort for standing on concrete, but it depends on the work environment. For construction, industrial, engineering, etc., they don’t have the structural strength to last long.
Leather is the overwhelming favorite for uppers, popular for its overall toughness and abrasion resistance. Sections may be nylon or other synthetics to reduce weight, or thermal polyurethane (TPU) for additional support.
Soles are usually composite rubber, which is hard wearing, though polyurethane can be equally tough and is also used.
Soft-toe boots for concrete are common, but those with safety toes are also widely available. These can be steel, alloy (often aluminum), or composite (non-metallic). Steel is the cheapest but also heaviest, then alloy, then composite. The key feature is that they comply with the independent American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard, which should be clear from the description. Some safety toes also offer a degree of protection against electrical hazards.
Concrete and tile floors can sometimes be slick, so slip- and oil-resistant soles can offer sure footing. Those who work on relatively smooth surfaces won’t need to worry too much about lugs (tread) but construction workers, for example, may want to look for a sole with an open lug pattern that improves traction, and doesn’t clog easily.
Q: How do you keep your feet from hurting when standing on concrete?
Good work boots are just one ingredient to keep your feet from hurting when standing on concrete. Insoles can be upgraded. Padded socks can also help. Here are some other tips:
– Don’t stand completely still for long periods. Even small movements help.
– Rest your feet periodically by sitting if possible. If not, do a little stretching. A number of foot and leg exercises that need very little space can be found online.
– Remember to give your feet some care when you finish work. Ice packs can help, as can massaging your feet to work out stiffness. Foot spas don’t need to be expensive.
Q: What are concrete boots made of?
What concrete boots are made of varies. Leather is very popular, and offers good durability, but synthetic fabrics can also be strong, don’t need breaking in, and are often lighter. Soles are generally composite rubber or polyurethane. We talk about the pros and cons of different boot materials above.
Q: How much do work boots for concrete cost?
The cost of work boots for concrete can vary considerably. It’s unlikely you’ll find good work boots for under $60, while the best quality models can be $250.
Q: What size concrete boots do I need?
The size of concrete boot you need will depend on who makes the boot. Some are considered “true size,” while others may suggest going up or down a half or even a full size. Retailers usually give guidance, and it’s also worth checking customer feedback. When buying online, try the boots as soon as you get them so you can return them if the size is incorrect.
Q: Are wedge sole boots good for concrete?
Yes, generally-speaking wedge sole boots are good for concrete. They provide more even contact with the ground than a heeled boot, and thus spread the foot load evenly. However, the sole is just one element that needs to be considered in good boots for concrete, as discussed above.
Final Thoughts on the Best Work Boots for Concrete
Our two best boots for concrete are quite different, but offer solutions for a wide range of people. The Carhartt Men’s 6” Waterproof Wedge Boot is a superb general-purpose boot that is hard-wearing yet comfortable, whether you are exposed to concrete indoors or out. The Ever Boots Tank Work Boot is more than just a cheap alternative. It is well-made, and ideal for those who work in more rugged environments than just standing on smooth, hard concrete all day.
The post The Best Work Boots for Concrete of 2023 appeared first on Field & Stream.
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