10 Best Breathable
Summer Work Boots

Keeping cool during the summer months can be a challenge when you work in construction, but one of the most effective ways to beat heat exhaustion is to put away your winter work boots and swap them for a pair of durable hot weather work boots.

Switching to lighter work boots during the summer months can help you stay cooler, prevent blisters, reduce foot fatigue, and help to prevent conditions like athletes foot.
Read on for more information on the best breathable work boots to keep your feet cool and safe this summer.

Boot

Design

Comfort &
Protection Rating

Price

Timberland Boot brown

TOP PICK

Timberland PRO Boondock 6" Non-Insulated

BEST OVERALL

$$

Boot Utility Keen

Keen Utility MT Vernon 6"

$$

Caterpillar Boot covex

Caterpillar Men's Convex Mid Steel Toe

$

Skechers for Work Men's Blais Hiking Shoe

$

Keen utility boot

KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh

$$

brown boot with white sole

Red Wing Men's Heritage

$$$

Light brown boot

Bates Men’s TerraX3 Coyote

$$

black and yellow shoe

Dickies  Solo Steel-Toe

$

Dark black grey

Wolverine Men's W05745

$

Ariat

Ariat Men's Terrain

$

Work boots for summer time

Why do you need hot weather work boots?

Work boots might not be the most obvious article of clothing to change during the summer, but as there are more sweat glands in your feet than anywhere else in your body, swapping your regular boots for a pair of breathable steel toe work boots could help you to stay cool and prevent foot problems.

Men working in hot weather with metal

What’s special about summer footwear?

Breathable steel toe work boots meet all of the same industry safety standards as regular boots. However, regular work boots are designed to insulate your feet against the cold, while their cooler cousins have been designed to promote airflow to cool your feet, while remaining water tight.

Because of the complexity of creating a strong durable, water tight boot which is also highly ventilated, many warm weather boots resemble hiking boots or have much shorter ankle protection.

Athletes foot and other issues associated with hot feet

Let’s face it, no one would have sweaty feet by choice. They feel uncomfortable, smell terrible, increase your risk of blisters, and can damage the inside of your shoes. However, they can also have medical implications. Most commonly, athletes foot.

Athletes foot is a bacterial infection commonly associated with sweaty feet and can be caused by naturally occurring bacteria multiplying out of control in the warm, moist environment caused by sweaty work boots.

Athletes foot and doctor

Doctor dermatologist examines the foot on the presence of athletes foot

If left untreated this condition can spread to other people and areas of your own body, such as your hands. In severe cases, the damaged skin can contract a further severe bacterial infection called cellulitis which should be of particular concern to anyone with diabetes.

Choosing the right summer work boot

Choosing the right work boot to keep your feet comfortable and safe can be a complicated business at the best of times, but when you’re looking for work boots for summer time or the best work boots for sweaty feet, there are some additional requirements that you should consider:

Ventilation is important

Is the boot designed with ventilation in mind? Is it made from breathable material? Is it insulated? You will want a boot designed with a different type of material to circulate air around your feet to keep them cool.

Toe cap - What's it made of

Steel toe caps tend to conduct heat during the summer, meaning that a steel toe cap boot may be warmer than a composite toe cap boot.

types of safety toes

Which is best when it comes to hot weather? 

Removable insoles

If you feet do sweat on a particularly hot day, you may find that your shoes are still slightly damp the following day, making them a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. To prevent this, buy boots with a removable insole that you can swap, allowing the damp insoles to dry thoroughly.

The right outsoles

Picking the right outsoles is an essential part of choosing any work boot, and will also depend upon what you need them for. Do you boots need to be oil and slip resistant? Does your job require boots with electrical hazard protection? How much walking do you do at work? Are you willing to pay more for boots with advanced shock absorbing features? 

These considerations are still important when it comes to summer work boots, though we also recommend you consider weight. Thick, bulky soles are a welcome source of distance between your feet and the ice cold ground in the winter. But in summer, when the heat is suffocating and the sun is beating down on you, every extra pound you can shed it a welcome one.

Comfort and fit

While comfort and fit is important in any work boot, it is doubly so in summer weight ones as you will want to wear lighter socks. Ideally you want a boot that is supple enough straight out of the box to require very little breaking in. If you buy your summer boots early, remember to break them in using a lightweight sock to prevent over stretching.


10 of the best summer work boots available

Timberland PRO Men's Boondock 6" Waterproof Non-Insulated

Boot boondock Timberland brown

Timberland’s PRO boondock boots are one of the more comfortable work boots in our list with a composite toe cap and a rubber toe protector. They have removable insoles and no insolation, ensuring that the boots remain as cool as possible. Big composite toes and a sturdy Goodyear welt construction also makes them an extremely robust boot.

While fairly resilient it is worth noting that these boots aren’t officially puncture resistant. The soles also have a reputation for wearing quickly and are more water resistant than water tight.

Pros

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    Removable Insoles
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    No insolation
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    Composite toe (won’t set off metal detectors)
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    Extremely sturdy
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    Extra rubber toe protector

Cons

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    Not puncture resistant
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    Sole wears out quickly
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    Not watertight once broken in

Keen Utility Men's MT Vernon 6" Waterproof

Keen utility work boot

The Keen MT Vernon’s are a medium to heavy duty boot with a focus on comfort. They have a unique membrane designed to remove moisture without allowing water in and an asymmetrical steel toe designed to give a more comfortable fit.

Although the MT Vernon’s tend to be very comfortable, break in quickly, and stand up well to a challenging work environment, they also tend to show significant wear after only 9 months, so they do need to be properly maintained in order to prolong their life.

Pros

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    US built
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    Light for a steel toe boot
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    Shaped steel toe makes them very comfortable
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    Available in wide fits
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    Watertight

Cons

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    Show significant wear relatively quickly
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    Width runs small


Caterpillar Men's Convex Mid Steel Toe

Caterpillar Convex

The Caterpillar Convex boots look and feel more like an athletic boot then a work boot. They tend to wear in quickly and remain comfortable in hot weather thanks to mesh panels which allow air to circulate.

Although these boots look like a sport boot, they are steel toed so will feel quite heavy to anyone not used to them. They are also one of the less rugged boots on our list and shouldn’t be considered for heavy industrial work.

Pros

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    Fashionable
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    Comfortable
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    Good air circulation
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    Good slip resistance

Cons

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    Only suitable for lighter work
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    Non-removable insoles
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    Water resistant rather than water tight

Skechers for Work Men's Blais Hiking Shoe

Sketchers

Skechers Blais is a hiking shoe rather than a work boot, but it does meet industry standards making, making it a good alternative if you want something a little lighter. This is not a heavy duty work shoe, but it is more than up to the challenge of lighter-duty work.

While the shoe itself looks like a normal hiking shoe, it has a steel toe which does make it very heavy. This can also cause some rubbing if you have wider feet.

Pros

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    Memory foam removable insole
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    Very comfortable straight out of the box
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    Watertight
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    Fashionable
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    Good air circulation
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    Very Low Cost

Cons

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    Glued seams can come loose over time
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    Steel toe makes the shoe unusually heavy
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    Padding around the steel toe is a little thin

KEEN Utility Men's Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot

Keen men's Pittsburgh

KEEN Pittsburghs are a medium-duty work boot which look and wear like a hiking boot. The boot is designed with a special membrane which draws moisture away from your feet while remaining waterproof. They are also designed for comfort, with lots of arch support and an asymmetrically shaped steel toe cap.

While practical and comfortable, the KEEN Pittsburghs aren’t the hardiest of boots and do show significant wear after around 6 months of hard use. However, proper care may prolong their life.

Pros

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    Comfortable fit
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    Shaped steel toe
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    Designed to allow moisture to escape
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    Fashionable​​​​

Cons

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    Wear out quickly
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    Are water resistant rather than water proof

Red Wing Men's Heritage Moc Hot Weather and Summer Work Boots

brown boot on white background

These Red Wing hot weather boots are probably the most stylish on our list. Their dark tan leather uppers contrasts beautifully with bright white rubber outsoles, leaving work boots that look so good you could just as easily wear them to a bar as a construction site.

This versatility does little to compromise their performance too. They’re manufactured with a solid Goodyear welt construction and uppers made from durable full-grain leather. Their smooth leather lining technology also helps to wick away sweat, ensuring your feet stay dry while working  in hot or humid conditions.

The leather footbed will also mould to the exact shape of your foot, markedly increasing the comfort and support that you experience throughout the life of these boots.

Red Wing may not have made the most rugged boots around, but the Heritage Mocs certainly get the job done. And they do so in style and comfort.

Pros

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    The most stylish summer work boots we’ve seen
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    Leather footbed which moulds to your feet
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    Leather lining technology to wick away moisture

Cons

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    Not the most robust work boot around
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    Not fully waterproof

Bates Men’s TerraX3 Coyote Hot Weather Boot

light brown boot ankle high

Now if you want the perfect match of comfort and durability, this could be the pair for you. Yes, there are sturdier wooks boots. There are lighter, more breathable ones too. But the TerraX3s from Bates are a superb all-rounder.

The uppers are made from abrasion resistant, flesh-out cattle hide leather, supplemented with cordura. The vibram sole is constructed from trident rubber. The style is also AR670-1 Compliant - built, we are told, specifically to meet military specifications.

So it’s no wonder that these boots are perfect for warm weather work; they’re built to sustain long marches through the desert, should their intrepid wearer need to. Comfort is enhanced by their moisture wicking Dri-Lex Lining - in our opinion, better than any mesh lining we have come across - and polyurethane cushioned midsoles. Their insoles are cushioned too and, more importantly, are also removable.

The only real downside is that they have high walls. This is great for ankle support, though it will limit breathability. If keeping your feet cool is your number one priority, these boots probably aren’t the ones for you. (On the other hand, if ankle support is something you crave, these could be perfect. As always, it’s all about priorities.)

Their appearance might also not be to everyone’s taste, but we think the “Desert Storm” look is quite striking. Overall, Bates have produced a great pair of boots which are both unique and functional.

Pros

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    A great all-rounder
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    Durable and lightweight
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  • Built to meet military specifications

Cons

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    High ankle walls limit breathability
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    Not fully waterproof

Dickies Men's Solo Steel-Toe Work Shoe

black and brown shoe

Okay, so they look a little bit like the kind of shoes your teacher would wear on a Geography field trip. But if your aim is to get the best breathable work boots then look no further.

The Solos by Dickies are wonderfully lightweight and possibly the comfiest pair of boots on this list. Their moisture wicking mesh lining, coupled with a collar which cuts off below the ankle, mean these boots offer your feet the most ventilation out of any pair reviewed on this list.

The rubber soles absorb shocks effectively and, to increase your comfort even more, both their collar and their tongue are padded. Oh, and Dickies have thrown in EVA foam insoles and midsoles too!

In spite of their steel toes, they’re also quite lightweight. If you needed them to double up as a pair of walking boots from time to time, you could certainly get away with it (though we would recommend getting a more specialised pair if moderate treks are a regular part of your job).

Finally, the Solos are also exceptional value for money at around $60.
There are better looking pairs of boots. There are more robust pairs of boots. But if you’re looking for something light, functional, versatile and cheap, you won’t go far wrong with these.

Pros

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    The best breathable work boots we have reviewed
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    Extremely lightweight
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    Great value for money
  • Solid steel toes

Cons

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    Not the best looking pair of boots
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    Not waterproof
  • Not ideal for heavy duty work

Wolverine Men's W05745 Wilderness Gunmetal-M

black and grey wolverine

If you like the sound of the Dickies but want something with more ankle support, the Wilderness Gunmetal-Ms could be the boots for you. This pair from Wolverine is also noteworthy for its high levels of ventilation and relatively low weight. In fact, it’s very unlucky to be beaten to the prize of “most breathable work boot” by the Dickies.

Weight is kept down by using nylon, instead of a conventional steel shank. Wolverine have also opted for a 50-50, leather-nylon mix ahead of a full leather upper, again keeping the boots light while also making them more affordable.

A removable cushion insole and mesh lining will help to keep your feet dry. These boots are also waterproof.

As you might guess from the name, the Wilderness Gunmetal-Ms are not actually work boots, but are made for hiking. Be warned that they don’t come with the features like safety toes and protection from electrical hazards that we expect from purpose-built work boots.

However, if you simply want a comfortable pair of boots which will provide you a moderate amount of protection, and that you know you can wear all day, these are a solid option.

Pros

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    Great ventilation
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    Relatively lightweight
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    Also suitable for hiking

Cons

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    No safety toes
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    Not fully waterproof

Ariat Men's Terrain H2O Hiking Boot

Ariat

Okay, so one more hiking boot. Why? Because the Ariat H20 Hiking Boots offer superb value for money. If you’re looking wistfully at the Wolverines, you should also consider what Ariat has to offer.

These boots come with so many perks for their modest price tag that we could not possibly leave them off this list. An oiled leather upper makes them fully waterproof. A gel-cushioned footbed, complete with heel stabilizer, gives their rubber soles supreme shock absorbing capabilities.

A padded collar and moisture wicking lining keep your feet comfortable, no matter what the conditions or how strenuous your activities. Even their upper lining is made from full-grain leather. (Oh, and they come with a self-cleaning outsole.)

To top it off, the grain leather finish looks great, whether you decide to buy these boots in copper or distressed brown. Again, not a boot for the most arduous of work environments. But for light-duty jobs when the sun is beating down, the Ariats leave little to be desired.

Pros

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    Fully waterproof
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    Self-cleaning outsoles
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    Attractive grain leather finish.
  • Gel-cushioned footbed and heal stabiliser

Cons

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    No safety toes
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    Not suitable for heavy-duty work

And the winner is...

Choosing the best summer work boot for your needs often requires you to balance the boots resilience to wear and the elements, with its ability to keep your feet cool and dry. However, Timberland’s PRO Boondock work boots stand out as the best breathable work boots on this list because they tick both of these boxes.

The boots are sturdy and relatively hard wearing, have removable insoles that can be swapped to keep the inside of your boot dry and fresh, have no insulation so they will remain relatively cool, and have a composite toe which is unlikely to conduct as much heat. As such, they are the perfect compromise between summer comfort and practicality.

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