Close up of person’s legs and feet wearing brown work boots. A hose is spraying water on the workboots but the water slides off.


There’s nothing as frustrating as getting halfway through your day and your dogs are already barking. Choosing the comfortable work boots not only keeps your feet happy, it also helps you be more productive, too! Check out these tips for choosing the right work boot for your job.

Look for Waterproof Protection

Waterproof materials can make or break a work boot. When you’re looking for a good waterproof work boot, look for waterproof materials like treated leather and nylon or polyurethane and rubber. Check that they’ve been labeled as “waterproof,” not just “water repellent,” so you get full protection from the elements.

Choose Insulation for Your Conditions

If you’ll be facing cold, wet conditions, you definitely want well-insulated work boots. Think about the temperatures you’ll be in and if it's a RefrigiWear® work boot, check the Comfort Rating, but don’t stop there! You also need to think about your activity level.

If you’re sitting most of the day, driving machinery or ice fishing, you’ll probably need more insulation because you aren’t generating body heat. But if you’re on your feet, you’ll build up heat in your shoes as you move. Too much insulation will cause you to sweat and make you uncomfortable.

It’s also good to check whether the boot lining is breathable to allow sweat to evaporate.

Choose Slip-Resistant Outersoles

Slip resistance is key in cold temperatures when the ground can easily get slick. Don’t just look at slip resistance, however; see if the material is made for cold temperatures. Often slip resistance ratings are only for normal temperatures, and the material of the sole will become hardened and eventually crack once the temperature drops. If you are hiking through snow or on ice, or working on frozen soil or concrete, you need to be sure the outersole will stand up to the cold and keep you from slipping.

The outersole is also what protects you from other hazards, like electric shock. Make sure the boot is rated for shock protection if you have a risk of encountering live electricity on the jobsite.

Get the Right Fit

Choosing the right size work boot isn't as simple as checking your sneaker size. Your work boots should be snug, but not too tight. Some leather boots will stretch a little over time, but a composite or steel-toed boot won’t. If it feels even a little tight, don’t be afraid to move to a wide size or a half size up.

You should also look for ankle support that improves stability and helps reduce fatigue. A higher boot and padded ankle collars provide more support.

Finally, when choosing a boot for work or a high impact activity, make sure that the toe is adequately protected. This usually means reinforced steel or composite. When available, composite is a better choice as it reduces cold transfer and is lighter than steel.

Find Extra Features

Protective footwear is more comfortable and easier to wear every day when you've got a few extra creature comforts, such as:

  • Kick Plates: Kicking shoes off from the back can break the heel unless a kick plate is built in specifically for the boots to be kicked off.
  • Padded Linings: Padded linings increase the comfort level of any boot. See if your boot comes with one built in or if you can easily add one yourself.
  • Moisture Wicking Insole: An insole that wicks moisture will keep you dry and comfortable by pulling moisture away from your feet as you sweat.

You want to put your best foot forward on the job, and with these tips, you’ll have comfortable work boots that support you day-in and day-out!