Which work boot or shoe is right for me? This is the question shoppers frequently ask. The answer lies in what your specific job entails, and what safety features you need on the work shoe or work boot you ultimately purchase.

Your specific work environment is the most important thing you need to look at. Many companies have policies that certain types of employees most wear footwear that has certain types of safety features. Your first great resource is to ask your supervisor and/or co-workers what to get. The weakness of this approach is that you are likely to get one specific style in one brand. This may or may not be the best for you, but by researching these items you certainly can find out what specific features to look for in a work shoe or work boot.

Many specialty sites create several categories of boots for specific occupations such as:

  • Fire Boots
  • Lineman Boots
  • Logger Boots
  • Mining Boots
  • Oil Rigger Boots

Please note that while the boots above are appropriate for the occupation, your company may have more stringent safety requirements than all the boots shown on the page. i.e. a requirement for a Metatarsal Guard.

Below is a list of the type of features that each work boot and work shoe may have. Please keep in mind that in many, if not most cases you will need a combination of features for your specific work environment. i.e. a requirement for Electrical Hazard Protection and a Composite Toe Cap.

Electrical Hazard Safety Footwear – These work shoes and boots are made for people who work in high voltage areas where they are working with highly charged equipment or may come into contact with a live circuit. The footwear has insulating properties that can stop electrical current from becoming grounded for a short period of time. This footwear should never be worn in areas where static discharge may cause problems.

Heat Resistant Boots – The main thing too look at here is what are the temperature conditions that you are likely to face.

Insulated Boots – Like heat resistant, the temperature in the work environment is your most important characteristic. You may want to look at the weight of the boot and the materials used.

Metatarsal Boots – A metatarsal guard protects the instep from objects that may fall on the instep area of foot. You should also make sure the guard meets or exceeds ASTM Standard F2413-05 standard for Metatarsal footwear.

Puncture Resistant Boots – This feature helps to retard penetration of certain objects through the bottom of the boot. You should also make sure the guard meets or exceeds ASTM Standard F2413-05 standard for Puncture Resistant footwear.

Slip Resisting Footwear – If you work in an environment where the floors may be slippery you probably want to get a shoe or boot with a slip resistant sole.

Static Dissipating Footwear – These work shoes and boots are made for people who work on sensitive electronic equipment such as circuit boards. The soles on this type of footwear help dissipate static electricity while walking and can greatly reduce any build up of a static charge. These boots and shoes should never be worn in a “high voltage area.”

Safety Toe Footwear – These work boots and shoes should meet or exceed ASTM F2413-05 standards for toe protection. The most common type of toe cap is a Steel Toe. Composite toe caps are more expensive than steel, but are much lighter weight and do not conduct heat, cold or electricity.

These considerations are what you need to look at when searching for the right protective footwear for you.