6 Best Roofing Boots and Shoes – Great Traction
Roofers don’t get enough credit for the hard, dangerous work they do on a regular basis. On top of being a career not meant for the faint of heart, you have to perform labor intensive work above the ground, exposed to the elements, and at awkward angles that test your balancing skills.
As such, finding the best roofing boots is a top priority from a safety and comfort standpoint. Not only do you need to make sure you’re secure and confident in your footing (because it’s a long way down), but you also need to be comfortable enough to endure long hours.
Your time-consuming search has come to an end. We’ve compiled all of the information you could possibly need to pick out your perfect footwear. Once we go over the important features that you should look for, we’re going to review the best roofer boots and roofing shoes.
Features to Look for Above All Else
Traction & Slip Resistance
This one is pretty much a no brainer. If you’re going to be facing dangerous climbs on the daily, you’re going to need shoes that can really grip especially for traction on metal roofs. Between the different elements you’ll be exposed to and the hazards created during the job, slipping is a real concern for roofers.
Having high-quality slip resistance is a must have. Without having to worry about slick surfaces and tumbling toward the edge, you can perform your work confidently. To take it a step further, oil resistance is always a plus that you can look out for as well.
Once you have the slip resistance under control, you’re also going to want to make sure the traction is able to grip the variety of roofing surfaces you’ll be encountering. Vibram soles are often the best choice to look for. They’re well-known for both their superior traction and durability.
Why is Traction on Metal Roofs Important
Metal is one of the slipperiest materials you can work on and this especially applies when the metal is wet.
Why does metal become so slippery when you add water? For starter metal roofs can have some sort of coating such as paint or some types of chemicals that helps water run off and stops water from gathering on the roof and freezing.
When you add water to these surface it makes the surface ver slippery and you are if you are going to be working on surfaces link this make sure you get boots or shoes that are going to give you the right grip. An example of footwear to look out for would be non slip shoes for metal roofing.
Support & Comfort
As a roofer, you’re going to constantly be challenged with awkward angles and less than ideal working conditions. Naturally, your feet are going to be taking the brunt of the discomfort and suffer from potential problems if your boots don’t offer enough support and comfort.
Arch support is another one of the top features that you should be looking for in your shoes. Constant climbs can really tire out the arches of your feet and cause fatigue to set in. Ample support will help to return energy and keep your feet going all shift long.
Comfort is something that anyone wants in their construction footwear, but it’s especially important for roofers. You’ll want to be looking out for comfort features that are designed to help keep the feet anatomically correct while you’re working. The last thing that you want to worry about when you’re installing a new roof under the sweltering sun is miserable feet.
Good Brands to Look Out For
Of course, what good is it going to do if you invest in a pair of work shoes that hit all of the above points, but lack in durability? Roofing is a rugged job that’s going to put some serious wear and tear on your boots.
(For a list of our top recommended durable boots click here)
Starting with the bottom (the most important), you want thick, durable soles that can withstand constant ladder climbs, scuffs against rough shingles, and the intense heat during summer months that can literally melt boots. Even if the rest of the shoe lacks durability, the soles are what’s going to make the biggest difference on the job.
Secondly, any pair built with rugged full grain leather is a plus. Leather is designed to handle brutal working conditions and offer your feet much needed support during steep climbs. Depending on the amount of time you’ll actually be spending on roofs, nylon mesh is a great material for breathability, though it lacks the durability of leather.
Work Boot Ventilation and Moisture Control
Being up on a roof directly under the sun with no protective shade can get pretty toasty. Not only will you feel it beating down on your body, but the roof and materials you’re working with will also get scorching hot.
If you’re prone to getting sweaty feet, ventilation is going to be a top tier feature for you. Nothing can ruin your day faster than soggy socks and moist feet (especially if the shift just started). Finding boots with breathable mesh lining and build in moisture control features can make a world of difference.
Even if your feet don’t easily sweat, the extreme heat from the tiles, metal, slate or shingle surfaces you’re working on can also transfer through the soles of your shoes. If the soles aren’t that thick, it’s easy for the high temperatures to feed into your footwear and start to cook your feet.
Reviews of the Best Roofing Boots
Timberland PRO Barstow Wedge Work Boot
For starters, these boots look like they’re built for roofing. Beautifully colored rugged full grain leather gives the body a striking appearance while offering excellent durability. Your attention will be immediately drawn to the thick white rubber soles which provide slip, oil, abrasion, heat resistance, and electrical hazard protection.
The exterior is completed with a long lasting Goodyear welt and triple stitching along the seams that experience the most wear and tear. Along the inside, your feet will be comforted and kept dry with mesh lining as well as multiple layers of comfort.
You get the much needed shock absorption and arch support with these Timberlands, allowing you to focus on the work at hand without fatigued feet. For the price and number of features they come packed with, they’re easily one of the best work boots for roofing.
- Little to no break in period
- Great support for those with plantar fasciitis
- Excellent moisture control
- Amazing value
- Prone to rubbing around the heel area
- Toe section lacks long term durability
- A little too roomy
Cougar Paw Perform Roofing Boot
These heavy duty work boots were built specifically for the hard working roofer. The thick outsoles do more than just grip any surface you come in contact with, they also provide you with multiple layers of comfort and protection features that do a great job absorbing extreme heat and giving support.
Another unique feature about these Cougar Paws is the specially designed removable traction pad that fits securely onto the bottoms of the soles. This ensures that you’re able to climb even the steepest roofs with ease and confidence.
Inside of the flexible leather exterior, your feet will be cradled by thick cushioning that offers as much support as it does comfort. Build in anti-fatigue technology combats even the longest work shifts so your feet are happy at the end of the day.
- Specially made for roof workers
- Great foot support with anti-fatigue
- Comfortable for 10+ hours
- High-grade slip resistance
- Good breathability
- Leather scuffs easily
- Tongue can cause some pressure
- Traction pads need replacing often
- Heavy build
Thorogood Men’s American Heritage Lace-To-Toe Roofing Boots
The Thorogood brand is well-known for their high-quality work boots that can handle just about any job, roofing included. Thick white Vibram soles offer exceptional grip that will keep you in place no matter the angle you’re climbing at.
(How to lace work boots the correct way Here)
Supple yet durable thick leather encases the exterior with reinforcing along the sides which usually take the heaviest beating. You’ll notice triple stitching along the seams and even rivets which can deflect damaging blows from making contact with the leather.
A full lace-to-toe design ensures that your feet will be firmly secured in the boots while the low cut increases breathability. Comfort features and a fiberglass shank have you covered along the inside and through the midsole to finish these top of the line boots off.
We chose this boot as the best choice. Want to see why? Watch this short video
- Full foot comfort and support
- Secure lacing design
- Durable construction
- Superior grip on all roofing surfaces
- Prone to running a little narrow
- Snug fit can cause blisters
- Sizing can be difficult
Reviews of the Best Roofing Shoes
Arc'teryx Men's Acrux FL GTX Approach Shoes
Yes, these are hiking shoes, but don’t let them fool you. For the contractor that only spends some time on the roof, hiking shoes offer a great, affordable alternative to their heavier boot cousins. If you’re prone to getting sweaty feet, you may also want to consider shoes over boots.
They offer an amazingly lightweight fit and come complete with a leather and nylon mesh construction. This offers the perfect combination of durability and breathability. Along the bottom, they’re built with Vibram soles bringing high-grade grip and flexibility that doesn’t restrict your natural movements.
The low profile design is completely waterproof and you can even wear them off the clock if you want thanks to their stylish design. They carry a fairly high price tag for a pair of shoes, but their versatility and roofing capability makes them well worth it.
(Reviews of top waterproof boots here)
- Lightweight design
- Excellent full foot ventilation
- Flexible yet supportive
- Fully waterproof
- The thin soles allow heat penetration
- Lacks long term durability
- No ankle protection
KEEN Men's Targhee II Hiking Shoe
They’re not going to be the most visually appealing shoes, but these KEEN’s come loaded with tons of high-quality features making them some of the best roofing shoes. They’re constructed with a combination of durable leather and breathable textile that can resist scuffing while on the job. This also makes them good roofing shoes for metal roofs.
The rubber lugged sole has aggressive treading for superior grip and are even built to be non-marking, perfect for keeping the roof in pristine condition. With full waterproof protection, they have a slightly higher build than the average shoe to provide extra support and protection.
Inside, it’s the metatomical footbed that gives your feet support where they need it the most, even at awkward angles. For a pair of KEEN’s, these shoes sport a very affordable price tag and are an attractive option for the ground and roof worker.
(Check out the cheapest quality footwear here)
- Durable sole with great traction
- Support on uneven surfaces
- Secure fit with heel lock strap
- Roomy reinforced toe area
- Mark resistance
- Stock laces can split and break
- Heavier build
- Shoes absorb bad odors easily
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
Merrell really mastered it with these hiking shoes that happen to be a great alternative option for the roofing worker looking for something other than boots. The fact that they come equipped with durable Vibram soles lined with deep, aggressive tread is a good start.
Rugged leather and a waterproof mesh upper are completed with a cushioned foam tongue that helps to keep debris out. Rubber toe caps and heel bumpers give these shoes greatly increased durability where they need it most.
Inside, a molded footbed with additional heel and arch support, along with a built in shank, makes these some of the most comfortable shoes you’ll want to have on your feet while you’re scaling roofs. If you’re in the market for shoes instead of boots, we highly recommend these.
- Keep your feet cool all day
- Comfort padding provides ankle support
- Durability in harsh environments
- No break in period
- Insoles prone to wearing out
- Outsole can scuff easily
- Not the most breathable
Understanding The Different Materials
The best roofing work boots are made from a variety of materials including:
Leather is a great material for work boots upper. Leather is tough and protects the foot from materials and substances like abrasive shingle dust, asphalt cement and even tar. Quality treated leather can also protect your foot from heat and is fairly flexible, allowing you to squat and stand on slanted roofs without discomfort.
Nylon mesh is another common material used for work boot uppers. Nylon mesh is flexible, meaning you can move freely at height and up and down ladders, it’s durable and it breathes nicely.
Shingles retain the sun’s heat and can make working on roofs uncomfortable in the summer. However, nylon mesh is not very protective, nor is it necessarily waterproof. The best roofing work boots feature a leather upper with small nylon mesh openings or a breathable nylon mesh that sits between the upper and inner section of the boot.
Rubber is often used for the soles of work boots, including boots recommended for roofing. Most roofers recommend a lugged rubber sole, which has a deep and heavy tread that offers great traction on slippery shingles.
Completely waterproof, lugged rubber soles are thick and non-marking, meaning you won’t scuff up light coloured shingles. You may have heard of Vibram soles. Vibram is the brand name of a particular type of rubber lugged sole that’s known for its superior traction and durability.
Do Roofers Need Safety Toe Caps?
Most work boot brands offer boots with safety toe caps. Toe caps are made from steel, alloy or other composite materials and protect your feet from cuts and crush injuries. But do roofers need work boots with safety toe caps?
As most toe caps are made from steel or alloy they are not compatible with roofing work, due to the risk of electrical hazards. Steel and alloy toe caps are also heavy and can make roofers more clumsy when working at height. Composite toe caps are a better option.
Made from plastic or carbon fiber, these toe caps are lightweight although still a little bulky. Generally, roofers do not recommend wearing boots with a full safety toe cap. Roofing work boots with a good quality leather upper or an added layer of rubber over the toe section of the shoe usually suffice for roofing tasks.
Here’s Our Chosen Winner...
After carefully working through the dozens of pairs of designs that roofers have to choose from, we were able to narrow it down to these six. Though it was a close contest, we’ve selected the Thorogood Men's American Heritage Lace-To-Toe Roofing Boots as the best roofing boots.
Starting with the durable, thick Vibram soles, they’re sure to keep you secure on any roof you tackle in your line of work. They’re built with thick full grain leather that comes with reinforced stitching, and the full foot comfort and support features are of the highest-quality.
While working on roofs, you can’t go wrong with these boots. Whatever your job has to throw at them, they will take it all head on with flying colors and send you home with happy feet.