Best boots for work and hiking in 2021

Seems daft really doesn’t it.  You know, having two pairs of boots.  A bit of an overkill if you enjoy hiking as well as using the same boots for work.  It doesn’t even make financial sense to have two pairs!  So what are the best boots for work and hiking then?

Shall we take a peek into what’s out there?

(If you’re just after a list of the best overall safety boots then I have a write up for that here).


Are work boots and hiking boots the same?

Not quite.

Similar in that they are boots, but work boots need to be capable of being safe in various dangerous environments, so you will often see safety features in most work boots (things like reinforced toe protection from either steel or TPU (composite toe hiking boots), or sole protection to help keep the feet safe from sharp objects underfoot).

Hiking boots have slightly different features.  Sure you may find some hiking boots with safety features, but generally the things you will see moreso, are good grippy soles, comfort, waterproofing and so on.

The line between the two types of boots is not a crystal clear line, and there will certainly be some overlap at times.

The good news is that there are indeed a few good pairs out there that meet most of the needs of safety and also for hiking use.

So what sort of things spring to mind when picking safety hiking boots?

  1. They’ve got to be waterproof – definitely (see our guide to the best waterproof work boots)
  2. They need to do some for women and not just men – unisex will do!
  3. They have to have good grip – another definite (especially if scaling a few of the more adventurous peaks – Ben Nevis anyone?)
  4. Comfortable over long periods
  5. Reliable and well made
  6. Suitable for work (so probably needing steel or PTU (reinforced) toecaps, and probably needing steel underfoot – or whatever is needed of your work place boot / hiking boot combo!

What you will find is that most of these hybrid combination boots already have the above features, but there aren’t many specialized safety boots that also double up for hiking (for example electrical shockproof safety boots being used for hiking).


In a past life working for the local Council as a gardener my work boots had to have steel underneath

We never knew what we were “stepping into” in a number of overgrown gardens that had been neglected and used as dumping grounds by the local drug loving “clientele” who wouldn’t think twice about throwing dirty needles into the garden!!

Every job is different, so wherever you work, make sure that your boots have all the relevant safety features – and make this a priority over .

Are the Dickies boots the best boots for work and hiking?

Here are the Dickies Storm Super Safety Trainer Hiking Boots, and prices for these are super cheap!  (way under £15 at time of writing, prices are always subject to regular changes) – check ’em out here.  These would be great lightweight safety hiking boots, if they had ankle protection


  • Steel toe caps (to the typical 200 joules rating that is now applicable to ALL safety footwear)
  • Steel mid sole
  • Good grips
  • Breathable mesh upper.

The only negative is it doesn’t have any waterproofing built into the design, so you would be wise to purchase some waterproofing spray like this here on Amazon that contains two cans).

As a combination boot these could certainly be some of the best budget hiking / work boots.

Could the Grisport range be the best steel toe hiking boots?  (they’re pretty good and used by some famous worldwide brands!)

These next ones below are made by Grisport.  They already make hiking boots, and the prices are pretty good too on Amazon.  These are safety boots with a good grip and are waterproof.  So the net result is a boot that should meet both needs:

grisport contractor safety boots

Features the usual steel toe caps, steel mid sole puncture protection and heat resistant soles.

Grisport claim that their workboots are used by workers at Volvo and Coca Cola which should at least give some weight to their capabilities and offer up some reassurance of being fairly good boots overall.

Can hiking boots be used as work boots?

Yes, just so as long as they provide the appropriate level of protection that is required in your place of work.

In many industrial and heavy machinery work places toe protection is often required (and this can be done now via lighter PTU moulded toe protection sections that can withstand the same level of crush impact as steel toe caps (200 joules by the way – a standard set for Uk safety boots).

So you just need to check with your work place what level of footwear protection is needed.


Are Skechers boots any good?

I discovered these Skechers Workshire ST hiking boots

skechers relaxed fit hiking safety boots

They are described as men’s, but I don’t see why they cannot be unisex boots.

Black overall, and described as “relaxed fit”.

  • They have the trusted name behind them so the quality should be great.
  • They have steel toe caps
  • The downside is they are not entirely waterproof, so don’t forget to apply wax or waterproofing spray.

Are there any good women’s steel toe hiking boots?


There are some about but the range is a bit more limited

I’ve searched on Amazon to find boots that meet all the needs.

First up are these Pink coloured hiking trainers that have steel toe protection – and they are very low cost (usually under £20 here on Amazon!)

womens steel toe hiking boots

They do offer toe protection and have a nice fitting but cannot be classed as a “boot”, so this might limit them to certain work places and might not be entirely suitable to the outdoor hiking way of life!  The ankle protection is non existent sadly.

In the comments section on Amazon for these trainers, you will see numerous people saying how comfortable these are in their workplace even after 12 hour shifts, so to me this is a definite thumbs up if you think they will handle most of your needs.


Next up are these Women’s steel toe work boots that can also be used for hiking.

Pink coloured safety hiking boots for women

All there is to say about these are that again they are very inexpensive (see here).

They are made from a leather type of material so will already be fairly water resistant, however a waterproof spray can be used.


Using safety boots for hiking

At the end of the day nobod is going to be disappinted if you go hiking with your work boots on.  If you find that your bots are generally comfy for a full shift then they are going to be just as comfy whle out walking.

The only things you need to bear in mind are grip levels and waterproof ability.  If your current work boots are oil resistant and good grips then they shuld fair pretty well outdoors.  Some additional waterproof spray will help give that extra layer of protection from wet feet.

As an additional layer, I’ve personally used Sealskinz waterproof socks while out running and they were excellent so these should also be something to pop onto your list.

If you also want to double up your boots for factory or concrete work this list of concrete suitable work boots will help.



The SHP – safety and health practitioner website shares an incredibly lengthy and very detailed guide to choosing the right safety footwear.  It goes into all the legislations and rules, so if you need to know the facts definitively then this is an excellent resource.

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