Some of the best boots for work in construction often fly under the radar and can easily be missed. When you are bombarded by expensive advertising it can be quite easy to pick what others think are the best, just to get the sale.
I’m going to dissect the “truly best” offerings for you here.
How can you trust me?
First and foremost, I’m a worker (have been for over 40 years) and have spent many many years running an offline lawn care / gardening business and have personally had to get good solid boots because often with new customers you just never know what you are walking into.
The need for waterproofing has also been a huge “must have” as well. Often I would pop waterproof wellies on during Winter, and boots for the rest of the year with the cheaper boots, but when I switched to better boots I soon enjoyed their better features and wore them more.
Construction workers do need work boots that can handle a range of environments such as:
- Uneven surfaces
- Dangerous environments such as sharp objects or heavy machinery.
So in a nutshell you need a boot that pretty much takes on the role of Superman.
Let’s think – nails for a start. So a steel or toughened midsole is a must. Same goes for any other sharp object lying on the ground.
As well as needing to be waterproof or water-resistant, they also need to be comfortable, and be able to wick away moisture (because sweaty feet need to be well cared for).
If you don’t believe me then try to imagine what it is like when you start to get sores, blisters and so on that make it uncomfortable.
Our main choice of safety boots for construction workers is the following Dewalt Titanium work boots:
- Also available in the ever popular Honey colour at the same great price!
- These Dewalt construction boots will protect your feet from sharp objects underneath
- They will protect your toes
- They have waterproof uppers
- They are also breathable
- One of the most popular safety boots we feature on 10 Warriors!
- Go and check ’em out here on Amazon Uk
If you are one of the thousands of construction workers in the Uk, you will appreciate our British weather and how “great” it is most of the year. Nice and Sunny for a few months then wet cold and miserable seemingly forever (maybe that’s just my pessimism!).
Different types of comfortable safety boots
A little bit of school work here (sorry!).
Your toes are some of the most important bits to protect. Yes the whole foot needs protection but toes are especially important.
According to Arthritis.org almost a quarter of the bones on the whole body are found in your foot.
Toes are very small and yet have many bones, ligaments and joints to give excellent mobility. If you lose one or all of your toes it affects you forever more with stability, balance and so on.
Protection of toes is critical to maintaining a good quality of life.
So safety boots come with toe protection and have done for many decades.
There are 3 different types of toe protection offerings nowadays.
- Steel toe cap boots – a long term tough toe protective covering
- Composite toe cap boots – comparatively newer compared to steel toe boots, but much lighter, and surprisingly just as tough as steel toe boots!
- Aluminium / Titanium toe cap boots – a light weight space saving protective toe covering made from an alloy of the two metals. Great for wider feet, although not essential in any way as many regular boots offer wide fittings.
Protection of the foot for workers started to come into existence over a hundred years ago. Back before “health and safety” it was comparatively easier to replace a worker than to introduce wide ranking safety measures.
Eventually safety acts started to be made, at the same time that compensation acts started to come into force. Namely companies were forced to consider protecting their workers.
Lace up or zip up?
For many, the traditional lace up style of boot is just fine. Most of the time you will be in the same boots for the whole day so lacing up works for the majority of people.
If you are in a role where you often need to take off your boots, such as entering a clean area, or a customers house, the ability to quickly unzip and take off the boots is a welcome relief from the tireless on and off activity.
We produced a guide to the the best zip up safety boots here if you are interested in exploring further (opens in a new window).
What height boots do you need?
I’m sure you already know your needs, but in case you aren’t entirely sure here are some pointers that will help.
- Shoe size safety shoes – Offer good foot protection but no ankle protection – good for office workers who sometimes need to enter a construction area. Good for breathability and comfort.
- Ankle size safety boots – the size that most people choose 95% of the time – offers foot and ankle protection. The best ratio of safety features and comfort.
- Calf size safety boots – for some environments that would call for it – such as deep mud or water or concrete, or where hot steel sparks may spray. Offers the best level of protection but can minimise comfort sometimes.
What level of protection do you need?
For most construction workers, protection from sharp objects underfoot, and protection of the toes from heavy objects or bangs is covered by the majority of safety boots on the market (so that’s goood to know!)
Some construction workers may need electrical protection. They may also need oil resistance, heat resistance, slip resistance, additional penetrative resistance. Bear these things in mind. A lot of boots cover a good bulk of these basic needs anyway, but always worth just checking.
What width of boot do you need?
Again, most of you will know this already as to whether or not your feet are wide. There are some manufacturers who offer extra wide fittings. If you are going to be bobbing around the construction site for hours on end, comfort is a strong thing to bear in mind.
Deciding what width to choose:
Specialized shoe manufacturers who cater for the wider foot tend to have their own sizing “system” which makes things very confusing.
You need to work out in your head if your shoes typically pinch a bit or a lot, if your toes are always feeling confined in the toe area (and needing deeper toe areas) and so on.
The options for work boots is quite small as well, but in a nutshell, for UK sizing guides, if the boot offers a wider fit it will often have an “E” letter at the end of it.
A bit wider would often be an “EE” (2E) and I have seen some sizes go “EEE” (3E) or “EEEE” (4E).
Sadly, if you always have the more extreme foot size issues you will probably have to have boots created specifically for your feet as most mass market manufacturers wil not cater for the smaller section of foot sizes. You can find a few mass market E or EE size boots in most cases.
Working in hot weather and want great socks?
I have written about some of the best socks for working in hot weather here (this link opens in a new tab)
Below are our most favoured work boots that fit the bill for works in the construction industry
Remember how these selections are hand picked to be the best? Well I’m not going to mince my words.
These work boots are truly superb. They offer all the safety features you need.
- Unisex safety boots available in a lot of standard sizes (sadly no wider fit sizes but they are fairly wide anyway)
- Protective toe
- Protective mid sole
- Removable inner sole (allows you to put your own in for extra comfort or for orthotic needs)
- Warming lining perfect for colder times
- Has a waterproof membrane built in
- Made from full grain leather that is waxy.
- Check them out here on Amazon Uk
What you need to know about the Dickies medway S3 safety boots:
- These construction boots allow a good level of waterproofing simply from the full grain waxy leather material (always advised to purchase additional waterproof spray (here on Amazon UK) for topping up. It’s very inexpensive at a few pounds and just adds that extra layer of protection.
- It’s got the usual safety stuff you need to know from toe protection, penetration protection and scuff guards at the rear. The S3 rating confirms there is mid sole protection in addition to toe protection.
- They are comfortable and good for most people right from the first wear, although as with any new footwear expect some initial bedding in.
If you want to order these boots, Amazon UK have them right here.
2: DeWALT Mens Titanium Safety Boots Available in Honey or Tan colours
- These are some of our most popular safety boots, and with good reason.
- They fit the bill in terms of looks – and looks are important
- They have protective toes from a steel insert, and protective midsole from a steel insert
- They have a full grain leather upper so waterproofing is good
What you need to know about the Dewalt Men’s Titanium boots:
- These are some of the MOST popular boots going.
- Everything about them is “good” -padded tongues, padded collar, waterproof membrane, steel toes, steel midsoles
- Compare these, which some buyers say “last for over a year”, as compared to their cheap boots that last 3 months (I’ve personally been in the exact same boat when it comes to work boots!)
- Price wise, very much comparable to many, not overpriced.
These really are the “best safety boots for construction work” out of the bunch – and I cannot hesitate these enough. You can take a look and buy them by clicking here , on the Amazon Uk website.
- Essentially these are the same as the Titanium work boots but these are the TPU (metal-free) version that is JUST AS STRONG AND SAFE.
- Lighter weight safety boots
- Available only in this Brown colour (for now)
- Nubuck leather (more hard wearing, like a Suede version)
- Rubber sole.
What you need to know about the Hammer boots from Dewalt:
- If steel inserts don’t work well for you, then the PTU version will make life a welcome relief.
- These are lighter in weight than steel insert versions.
- They offer the exact same level of foot safety. The PTU material withstands the same level of penetrative and impact resistance, yet it is lighter than steel.
These can be found on the Amazon Uk website right here.
- S3 rated safety boots (penetrative resistance underfoot!)
- Easy on, easy off boots without laces, and with pull loops (perfect for when walking through clean areas, customer houses etc.)
- Steel toe caps, steel midsoles
- Goodyear welt constructed, shock-absorbent and slip-resistant Nitrile rubber sole
- Enjoys a waterproof lining
- (You can also click here for some of the most comfortable slip-on work boots)
What you need to know about these Rigger boots:
Rigger boots give good protection to the whole foot, ankle and up to calf area.
These S3 rated ones give you peace of mind thanks to the steel toe caps protecting from crushes (up to 200 joules), heavy objects falling on the and so on.
The steel midsole is a steel insert that you will be ever thankful for. Stand on a nail just once and you will know what it means to have this!
These boots consistently score VERY high on the ratings.
For total protection in the harshest of weather conditions, enjoy these rigger boots in all weathers. Grab them here at a surprisingly decent enough price on Amazon Uk.
- Rock fall are a British brand you may not have heard much about, but I’m glad I came across them.
- These are designed to exceed the S3 rating given to a boot that has “toe and midsole” protection
- They feature the usual toe and midsole protection (100% non-metallic)
- Features their own durability materials including FORCE10® Components, an Activ-Tex® Waterproof Membrane, IMPACT SHIELD™ and R-TEN™ Thread.
- It features pull on loops for convenience.
What you need to know about the Rockfall RF70 Rigger boots:
- They will keep your feet as safe as any of the boots on this page. They do boast of specialist materials which enjoy a waterproof lining that has been tested under flexing to ensure it works under “day long prolonged exposure to wet conditions”.
- They are a British brand based in the Midlands
- They are designed to be highly slip resistant
If you’d like to look at these affordable British safety Rigger boots go check them out here on the Amazon Uk website.
- Low cost price point when compared to many safety boots!
- Fully safety conscious wellingtons that can stand head strong among all the safety boots around
- Easy on and easy off thanks to the boot release tab on the heel – push your foot on it to take the wellies off
- Steel midsole protection
- 200 joul impact steel toe protection in the toe area (meets required safety standards same as any other boots)
- Wide fitting to allow for extra socks, wider feet etc.
- JCB brand – a time served constructors brand
What you need to know about the JCB safety wellingtons:
There’s no thermal lining inside, but there is a padded insock which will help reduce the cold a bit.
These builders wellies are easy to clean compared to normal boots – wellies generally have slippery surfaces so it’ll make life much easier when trying to wash off cement, plaster, mud and so on
You might want an extra pair of socks when using them. Namely for extra warmth, or to be there as extra padding, as the slightly wider size may not mean “perfect sizing” to everyone.
You can pick up these low cost JCB safety wellies here on the Amazon Uk website.
- A traditional style hard working boot suitable for some construction workers who don’t access machinery (such as site offices).
- There is no steel toes nor steel midsoles, and essentially no “additional” foot or toe protection whatsoever. These are instead just really comfortable patrol boots for patrolling sites, and not getting too close to machinery.
- They will withstand most daily activities but we do not recommend these for working up close and comfortable with machines and so on.
- Slip and oil resistant soles, and are fairly water resistant for most situations
- The boots are also very very comfortable! This is their main selling point
Things you need to know about these boots:
While we are considering construction boots, almost all boots need to have toe and midsole protection, however not everyone in the construction industry needs this.
Office workers who need a good comfy boot to trudge across muddy areas and to access office areas need the waterproofing aspect and comfortable footwear.
These boot REALLY fit this part of the industry.
You can check out these boots by clicking here (takes you to Amazon UK)
8: Black Hammer Mens Safety Boots Work Waterproof Shoes Leather Steel Toe Cap Working Ankle Lightweight Footwear S3 SRC 1007
- Steel toe and steel midsole foot protection comes with these work boots to the recognised S3 safety rating
- Lightweight and according to their claims, they are “designed to makes sure your feet are not aching after a long hard day”
- Non slip, anti static and safety protected – what’s not to like about these boots?
Things you need to know about the Black Hammer safety boots:
- You can wear these all day long. The light weight takes the pressure off your feet.
- They are very good for working in water (we also have a list of boots suitable for water work here – opens in a new window)
- Not ideal for the wider foot sadly, although you could try one size bigger and see if this makes up for it – bearing in mind that many boots are a touch bigger.
- They come with a six month sole warranty
- Soe of the sizes come with a free return policy for if you change your mind or they are the wrong size
Check out the Black hammer safety boots here (Amazon Uk).
- Superb safety boots offering a lot of really good features
- protective to and protective midsole areas
- A thermal warming layer is built in to keep your feet nice and warm
- There is a waterproof membrane built into the boot to help keep your feet dry all day long
- Made with premium nubuck leather for durability and comfort
Things you ned to know about the Amblers Safety work boots:
- These boots are priced similarly to many other boots.
- With any leather boots, we recommend you choose a leather waterproof spray (for that extra level of protection). There is an inexpensive Nikwax one here on Amazon for just a few pounds.
- Good to look at, long lasting and hard wearing.
Check them out here on Amazon.
- Antistatic and energy absorbing heels.
- Slip resistant to 2 different types of lubricants (NALS and Glycerol)
- Water resistant upper
- Faux fur thermal lining to keep feet snuggly warm
- Feature steel toe cap protection and steel midsole protection from sharp objects underfoot
- Easy on – easy off design with the pull loops at the top
Things you need to know about the Grafters Thermal safety construction boots:
- We really like these rigger boots as they do have “everything” you would want (in most situations).
- They are super warm
- They protect the toes and midsole
- They are water resistant with the leather material (although we always suggest you use a suitable leather waterproofing spray alongside your new boots
Like these boots? Go check them out here on Amazon.
Questions and answers
What are the best work boots for sore feet?
- Within this list, The best offerings for tired and aching sore feet would be the Black hammer work boots (link). they are light in weight and claimed to ensure your feet do not ache after a long hard day
Foot care for construction workers – how and why?
- Feet take a pounding day in day out. They are in contact with the ground and have your entire body weight pressing down. Feet get wet and sweaty and they also get sore and achy.
- To care properly it is important that you allow your feet to breathe properly. So remove all footwear and socks whenever you are at home and relaxing.
- Wash and dry your feet every day thoroughly. Pay close attention to all areas including between the toes.
- Cut your toe nails nice and short weekly.
- Finally it makes good practice to apply a good quality foot cream every single day before bed. The one cream we cannot live without is O’keefe’s foot cream (and their hand cream also). It’s so inexpensive and repairs cracks and sores in just a couple of days – one of those products that actually works very well.
What are the best work boots for sweaty feet?
- From our list, and others on this website, the features needed are moisture wicking, and breathability. If you can manage short height boots (shoe size) then this further helps, but if you need ankle or above height boots then it is important to have these 2 features. The ones we recommend for sweaty feet are the DeWalt Titanium (which are actually some of the best boots for work in construction anyway!)
The following places really helped me to provide the most accurate information I could when making this guide.
Arthritis.org – explains all about the anatomy of the feet
HSME Magazine – on the history of the safety boot
Electrical trade magazine – a short guide to safety ratings on boots
ASICS – a handy foot width guide for the UK market
Safety ratings for work boots – a solid safety ratings guide