In today’s world, there are so many options when it comes to work boots. They have all competed to become masters of creating high quality, comfortable, work boots.
That’s why we, as consumers, often use a brand as our main reason for buying a work boot. We want to relate to what our work boot says about us so we choose the brand that aligns with our values.
The purpose of this article is to present the top boot manufacturers and what they are all about so you can find the one that you want to wear five days a week.
The following brands are presented in alphabetical order.
Ariat is a manufacturer of high-quality designer cowboy boots for men and women. They aim to provide footwear to riders and athletes but a significant amount of their customers are wearing their boots casually.
Bates boots are US-made boots originating from Webster, Massachusetts in 1885 and were the first company to produce trend-setting broque and Clyde style shoes. Bates is famous for making over 1 million shoes for the US government during WWII and even President Dwight D. Eisenhower wore their shoes.
Today, Bates makes mostly work boots for military personnel as well as police officers. In 2015 they began making boots for motorsports like motocross and snowmobiling.
Carhartt is one of the largest clothing and footwear manufacturers for professionals and athletes and was founded in 1889. Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, They have recently started branching out into casual wear and have clothing and shoes for every occasion. Their products are known for their durability and rugged style.
When I think of a work boot, I think of Carolina. The style of Carolina boots are the quintessential workboot with the brown leather and raised heal. That’s not to say they don’t have a wide array of boots including snow boots and hiking boots. The loggers and forest fire-fighters that I know prefer Carolina boots. It’s just as much about comfort and functionality as it is about status.
Caterpillar makes heavy machinery, but wait. They make work boots and clothing too! With a bulky and tough-looking style, Caterpillar boots are becoming a common favorite among construction workers and miners. It makes sense that they would want their boots to be made by the same folks who made the rig they’re driving. Some of the women’s boots are quite stylish and bring a nice touch to a rugged workplace.
Dickies has always been known for their work attire. A lot of the mechanics I know sport Dickies pants because they are stain-resistant, durable, and comfortable. They also breathe well which is nice when it gets hot outside. Over the years Dickies has expanded their offering to include work boots and are one of the brands that offer work boots on the affordable side. The men’s section has a lot of options while the women’s section is still being built.
Dr. Martens makes work boots with a lot of class. Whether you are pounding nails on a roof or fighting bad guys in the Matrix, Dr. Martens has a boot for you. With one of the widest arrays of styles I’ve ever seen, I would put Dr. Martens near the top of the list when it comes to variety and looks. They are also known for being ergonomic and comfortable.
My favorite hunting boots of all time were Irish Setters. The toe flap just looked so cool and the sole was one of the toughest and grippiest soles I’ve ever experienced. They were warm and waterproof, not to mention they looked super cool. I always felt like I was wearing a million bucks on my feet, and at ~$300 they were definitely on the valuable side. After years of regular use, they ended up being my motorcycle boots for a few years until I got proper riding gear which was a testament to how tough and durable they really were.
Justin makes a lot of different types of boots but they are most well-known for their cowboy boots. They boast one of the largest collections of cowboy boots I’ve ever seen. Owned by Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway, Justin Boots has grown to become one of the main brands for equestrian boots. It’s very fitting that Justin was founded in Texas, the home of the cowboy.
Keen is one of the most well-known hiking boot manufacturers in the United States with a full line of dedicated work boots. They have some heavy-duty boots that feature puncture-resistant materials and carbon-fiber toe caps to keep the toes safe from getting squished.
Red Wing Shoe Company is one of the original boot manufacturers in the United States. Founded in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota by Charles H. Beckman, Red Wing was one of the main boot manufacturers for US Soldiers during WWI and WWII. They are known for heavy-duty leather boots that are designed for a rugged workplace and protect the wearers’ feet from toe damage and electric charges. Red Wing manufactures shoes in China under alternative brands such as Irish Setter, Vasque, and Worx.
Finally a brand just for the girls. Safety Girl boots are built tough with style in mind. By combining great looks, bright colors, and durable construction, Safetygirl boots has made a name for themselves in the women’s work gear market. Based out of New Stanton, Pennsylvania, Safetygirl is owned by OnlineStores and staffs 75 people making it one of the smaller, more homegrown, boot manufacturers in the United States.
Skechers is one of the most common names when it comes to shoes. You’ve probably seen a lot of their commercials on TV. They are known for being economical as well as comfortable, both important consideration for folks when it comes to buying shoes for work. With styles for everyone, Skechers is a great choice for employers who want to provide a pro deal for their employees. They have a lot of options that include features such as steel toe, electrical hazard protection, and water resistance. For those on a budget, Skechers even offers no-interest financing through a service called Afterpay so you can get the boots you need even when money is tight.
My father has been a carpenter for over 40 years and he has gone through at least 10 pairs of Thorogood American Heritage Moc Toe boots. He only replaces them because they get so haggard looking from the glue, paint, and grease build-up from work. He keeps them because they are still comfortable and in good enough shape to wear around his property. He always orders two at a time so he has fresh ones to wear when he’s bidding new jobs. He says he has tried many different boots over the years but the Thorogood is by far the most comfortable and that’s what he’s sticking with. That’s why Thorogood has won the most comfortable boot award from bestworkboots.org.
Timberland Pro boots became famous when a lot of famous rappers started sporting them in public. These boots share roots with hip hop growing out of the blue-collar workers that wore them back in the ’90s. Their style is that of the classic light brown work boot and is not only worn on the job site but by people in casual settings.
Besides being named after one of the most ferocious animals in the entire animal kingdom, Wolverine Boots are for those with “fight to conquer whatever comes’. Their new wedge boot is one of the coolest looking boots I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair to try out for myself.