The 5 Best Ironworker Work Boots: Reviewed

 

So you’re an ironworker looking for the best set of work boots but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, you’re in just the right place.

A job that involves carrying heavy items, long days on your feet, the risk of falling objects and working at great heights requires a reliable pair of boots. And we’ve put lots of them through the test.

And here, for your convenience, are the results. Our definitive list of the 5 best ironworker work boots.

Buying Guide: Ironworker Steel Toe Boots and More…

 

2 men working with crane

But before we move onto the reviews, let’s take a quick glance at some of the things to look out for in the ideal pair of boots for ironworking:

Adequate Protection

There are a number of safety features you should look to be included in your pair of ironworking boots – and depending on the exact nature of your job, you may require all of them:

Protective toes: Made from steel or a composite alloy.

Sturdy and resilient outsoles: This goes beyond soles that are thick and lugged. We advise looking for a pair that’s slip-, oil-, and possibly even abrasion-resistant depending on your precise needs.
Durability: All of the boots on this list are from reliable brands which use high-quality construction methods. Remember to take this into account if you’re looking at a pair not included here. Ironworker gear is also heavy and usually has the risk or causing injury to your feet.

Good Comfort Features

Once you know your safety is assured, your next concern will be maintaining as much comfort as possible while working long hours in arduous conditions. Here a good set of boots can make a big difference. The best boots will not only reduce the pain in your feet, but can help alleviate back and joint pain too.

In our opinion, the two essential items to enhance your comfort on the job are shock absorbing midsoles and cushioned footbeds. Midsoles are crucial to supporting your feet, and if you leave the burden of support to the outsole the results will not be great after any prolonged period of wear.

man grinding beam with sparks and safety glasses and boots

Similarly, cushioned footbeds will further pad each of your steps, alleviating the stress that a full day on your feet places on both your back and a wide range of muscles and joints located throughout your body. Of course you can also buy your own cushioned footbeds and insert them yourself, but it’s always a good sign that the manufacturer knows what they’re doing (and cares about doing it well) when they install them for you. There are already studies linking back pain to time spent on your feet. Your boots is not a place to scrimp.

The 5 Best Work Boots For Ironworkers

So taking all of that into account, you should now know exactly what you’re looking for in the ideal pair of ironworker boots, but you still need to know where to start looking. Well, you’re lucky. There’s no better place than our list of the 5 best work boots for ironworkers:

Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 8″ Moc Toe, MAXWear 90 Safety Toe Boot

What better place to begin than the American Heritage MAXWears from Thorogood? These beautiful boots are made with 100% full-grain leather uppers and are available in either of Thorogood’s custom Trail Crazyhorse or Tobacco Oil-Tanned finishes. Bright white synthetic soles accompany either colour to give these boots a really striking look. Yes, we’re more concerned with protecting our feet here, but it’s worth noting that the MAXWears are also a very stylish pair of boots.

And now down to the important stuff. Those synthetic white outsoles are also slip resistant and more than adept at absorbing shocks. The cushioning ability of these boots is further enhanced by a removable ‘Ultimate Shock Absorption’ footbed and a comfort cushion insole – and believe us, you will feel it when you try them on.

A fiberglass shank helps you to displace energy with each step, and a sturdy Goodyear welt construction gives these boots the feeling that they will last. Though they’re not advertised as being waterproof, we found them to be sufficient at keeping our feet dry during a light downpour. That said, if torrential rain is something you encounter regularly at work, you’ll probably want to opt for a pair that’s fully-waterproof.

The only real downside is the lack of a steel or composite toe, but we can forgive them this. Thorogood have made a comfortable, stylish and perfectly functional work boot. And we really like it.

Pros
An incredibly stylish pair of boots
Light and comfortable

Cons
Lack of protective toe

Timberland PRO Men’s 6″ Pit Boss Steel-Toe

You can never really go wrong with a pair of Timberlands. It’s an oft-recited mantra that the 6” Pit Bosses more than live up to. This is a robust, durable and kitted-out pair of work boots, crammed with technology to keep your feet safe and comfortable.

To start with, you’ve got those all-essential steel toes. Next come rubber outsoles that are oil-resistant, abrasion-resistant and anti-slip. (They also come with a deep tread in order to provide excellent traction).

Moving beyond these solid foundations we find Timberland’s trademarked PRO 24/7 Comfort Suspension technology; a unique system they claim supports the arch of your feet, helping to prevent foot fatigue and cushion each step.

The asymmetrical toe caps have been designed to sit ergonomically around your toes and prevent pinching, no matter how much you flex while wearing them – and after some rigorous testing, we can confirm that they work. Elsewhere, padded collars will hug your ankles, giving the Pit Bosses a very secure feel. And this sense of security is enhanced by nylon shock diffusion plates which offer increased support to the feet and enhance the torsional rigidity of the boots.

In all honesty, we struggled to come up with any real downside to the Timberlands. Our only real gripe is that they’re not fully-waterproof. But if that’s not essential for you, they have everything else. You certainly won’t find a boot that does more at this price.

Pros

  1. Lots of safety features
  2. High build-quality
  3. Very durable
  4. Excellent value for money

Cons

  1. Not the most comfortable pair of boots on this list
  2. Not fully-waterproof

Wolverine Men’s Overpass 6″ Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

Next up, the Overpass 6″ Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots from Wolverine. These come with uppers made from a leather and textile mix, giving the boots greater flexibility than a lot of their rivals while also making them more waterproof.

This flexibility is enhanced by Wolverine’s unique contour welt construction – designed to bend and flex with the feet at essential bending points. The composite toe is solid while keeping the weight of the boot down – and also happens to meet ASTM safety standards.

On the base of the boot, rubber soles are thick and heavily lugged. They’re also slip, oil, water, abrasion and chemical-resistant, so they should survive absolutely anything your workplace can throw at you. In fact, every single aspect of the Overpasses feels incredibly well made. We believe this is a pair of boots that will last for a very long time.

When it comes to comfort, they’re also no left wanting. The aforementioned thick sole does a more than adequate job of absorbing shocks. And to top this off, the boots come with a removable ortholite cushioned footbed, designed to keep the wearer’s feet comfortable all day – no matter how long the shift.

Again, like the Timberlands, we can’t think of a single thing we don’t like about the Wolverines. They’re slightly more expensive, but for that extra cost you also get waterproof uppers. Many people will consider that well worth the money.

Pros
Waterproof uppers
Very flexible
Great durability
Large number of protective features
Lightweight for such a hard-wearing pair of boots

Cons
None

Timberland PRO Men’s Powertrain Sport Alloy-Toe EH Industrial & Construction Shoe

Okay, it may seem unimaginative to include another pair of Timberlands on the list, but we really had little choice.

The Powertrain Sports are like absolutely nothing else we came across when testing boots for ironworkers and, when you see them, you can understand why.

At a glance, they look like the kind of shoes people go running in. But, believe it or not, they really will hold up on a work site. After all, they do come with an alloy-toe. It’s in the name.

In addition to the protective toes, the Powertrains also protect against electrical hazards and offer breathable mesh linings and anti-fatigue technology. They may be somewhat minimalistic, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re just a pair of trainers.

Of course, the downside of a very lightweight pair of boots (or in this case, shoes) with nylon uppers and a low-profile tread is that they offer very limited amounts of protection, even with alloy-toes.

But if you’re not working in an environment where falling objects is a serious concern, the Powertrains could be more than just a novelty. You won’t find a more comfortable pair of work boots on the market.

Pros
Ridiculously lightweight
The most comfortable pair of boots on this list by far
Electrical hazard protection
Protective alloy-toe

Cons
Nylon uppers offer no significant protection
Not suitable for heavy-duty work

Irish Setter Men’s 83624 6″ Steel Toe Work Boot

And finally, this simple yet beautifully functional offering from Irish Setter. This no-frills pair makes it onto the list for its evident build-quality and an abundance of essential features to ensure your feet are always protected.

100% Full-grain leather uppers hug your feet tightly, yet these boots fit comfortably when brand new and straight out of the box. Lugged synthetic outsoles offer ample shock absorption while also meeting ASTM standards for electrical hazard protection. A removable polyurethane footbed helps the wearer conserve energy and stave off foot pains, no matter how long the shift. And Irish Setter’s unique King Toe technology can provide up to 44% more toe room than in standard Irish Setter work boots.

But what we love most about this uncomplicated list is how brilliantly it’s been put together in one simple, yet highly effective, pair of work boots. Rugged and built to last; the Irish Setters are a fine final addition to our list of the best ironworker boots.

Pros
Electrical hazard protection
A very rugged pair of boots
Comfortable right out of the box

Cons
Functional but unexciting

The Verdict: The Best Ironworker Work Boots

Well this was a tricky one. But after much debate, we decided our winner is…

The Wolverine Men’s Overpass 6″ Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots.

The Timberland Pit Bosses ran them close but, by being waterproof, the Wolverines did just that little bit more. They Overpasses deliver that perfect mix of robustness and comfort. And for that reason, they take our title as the best ironworker boots.

FAQs

Why do ironworkers wear wedge boots?

There are a number of reasons to opt for wedge boots. When it comes to ironworking, the key considerations are that: 

They offer great support, making them ideal for people who work long hours. This makes wedge soles the preference for people in many heavy industries. The way they distribute weight across the soles helps to prevent the wearer developing back pain – particularly when they tend to carry heavy objects at work.

They prevent dirt and debris from collecting under the sole, giving the wearer a safer footing.
And most importantly: they’re the safest type of boots for people working on high platforms – something which ironworkers do a lot.

Why do ironworkers tuck-in their pants?

Again, this comes down to the tendency of ironworkers to spend a lot of time at great heights. If you’re working at height, you don’t want to risk tripping and falling. Which is why ironworkers tuck-in their pants.

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