We put our boots and our feet through much abuse, especially when working on concrete floors. The hardness of concrete can put the roughest boots through their paces and leave you aching if they are not up to the task.
What are the most comfortable work boots for concrete, and which are the most durable?
Picking the best work boots for concrete wear is different from picking general use boots. We have assembled a guide to picking the best work boots for concrete so that you will be the most comfortable guy in the lot.
Overall, we feel that the Oliver 65 series work boot is the best work boot for concrete. The Oliver 65 combines great protection, good value, and a super cushioned heel.
For the Toughest Work Environments
Oliver 65 Series 14" Steel Toe Leather Boots
The Oliver 65 series has an extremely dense and spongy sole which can resist the most strenuous abuse on concrete without complaint.
After the Oliver 65 series, the Irish Setter Work Boot is the runner up. The Irish Setter is cheap and comes equipped with a heel and sole which will protect your feet from marathons on concrete. It is also quite warm and looks good.
- 6" lace-up work boot with USA-made full grain leather married to a rubber-EVA outsole that's heat-resistant for protection in high heat environments
- Electrical Hazard - meets ASTM F2413-11 Safety Standards,Outsole:Rubber-EVA Traction Tred. Care - To ensure your rubber footwear stays in good condition wipe or spray with lukewarm water after use and allow to dry naturally. If soap is required for additional cleaning
- Heat-Resistant outsole - resistant to melting at a minimum of 475 Fahrenheit
- Lining (Vamp):Non-Woven Nylon , Care- To condition oil tanned leather footwear, we recommend the Original Mink Oil Paste or All Natural Boot Oil
For those who want a lightweight but functional boot, we suggest the Bates Delta-9 GTX. The GTX is thoughtfully designed to maximize agility while also providing a healthy buffer to protect your heel from the hardness of concrete.
For users who value aesthetics but still want to have a functional work boot that can handle concrete, check out the Belleville Men’s Waterproof Insulated Steel Toe Boots. These boots have a look that understates their protectiveness and comfortable sole.
- 8 inch military height
- Made in the USA
- ASTM F2412-05 and F2413-05 Steel Toe
- 200g THINSULATE insulation
- Gore tex waterproof fabric bootie
Concrete is hard to pick a boot for
Concrete can vary in hardness and porosity, but it is always a difficult surface to walk on. The hardness of the concrete means that every shock from your movement will be transferred directly to your heels, even with good footwear.
Unfortunately, wearing a good general work boot can leave you wanting more when worn on concrete. The good news is that if you pick a good work boot for concrete, you will also have a good general purpose work boot.
There are some tips for walking on concrete, but the single biggest thing you can do for yourself is to wear a pair of boots with an excellent sole. The more frequently you wear your work boots on concrete, the more frequently that you will have to replace its sole.
Picking a boot with a good sole will be the difference between repeated visits to the cobbler for expensive repairs and light annual tune-ups.
If you are going to be walking on concrete frequently for a long time, supplementing your boot’s sole with an additional insole will help your feet as well as the original sole. Just remember to buy your boots a size up if you intend to use them with an insole.
A dense and spongy sole will help to absorb a lot of the shocks from your steps, but it will not be enough to make a good boot on its own. Work boots for concrete must also be able to withstand much abuse, just like any other work boot.
Work boots are tough and work boots for concrete need to be even tougher. Most of the impact of your steps will land on the heel of your sole, but the entire boot experiences some of the shock. Aside from the shocks, the sides and top of your work boots will take a beating by being worn actively in a tough environment.
Your work boot is going to experience dust, grime, dirt, and moisture. Wearing your boots at a work site frequently involves your boot protecting you from the environment. If it is not well constructed, your boot will not protect you effectively and will quickly fall into tatters.
A final concern is a temperature. Concrete does not conduct heat well and thus gets extremely cold. The ideal work boot for concrete usage will be insulated enough to keep your feet warm on the cold days and cool on the hot days.
Picking the perfect boot for you
There are a few questions that only you can answer before picking your work boot for use on concrete. These questions are personal preferences, but not all boots may have the features you like.
Luckily, many of these features can change after purchasing the boot, for a price. You will probably be putting some money into your boot’s repair, cleaning, and maintenance anyway, so don’t be shy about buying a boot that needs an extra accessory to be exactly what you want.
First, what size is your foot? Not all work boots come in all sizes, and sizes for wide feet are especially difficult to find. The first thing to check when considering a boot is if it comes in your size at all.
Waterproofing and winterizing
Next, does your boot need to be waterproof or winter proof? Adding these requirements to your boot hunt will narrow your choices substantially, and they may not be necessary.
For construction site work, you can probably get by with water resistance rather than complete waterproofing. There are also a wide variety of oils and waxes which you can use to make your boots waterproof, so don’t worry if a boot you like isn’t waterproof.
What kind of laces do you prefer? Work boots come with a variety of different types of laces, and the lace of a boot has no impact on its functionality about walking on concrete.
Don’t let an undesirable lace dissuade you from picking a boot that you like otherwise. Laces are very easy to switch out, but it is less work if your boot comes with the laces you like.
Do the aesthetics of the boot matter? For most work boots, aesthetics are not a concern. By the same token, not all work boots look the same.
If you are interested in a certain style or color, you will probably have to compromise on more functional features. If you are interested in a boot that you do not like the color of, you may be able to dye it later on.
Reviews Of the Best Work Boots For Standing All Day On Concrete Floors
Now that we’ve looked at the challenges of making and finding a work boot for concrete, let’s take a look at some of the best products on the market which we’ve reviewed for you.
The Irish Setter Men’s 83605 may seem like a strange choice for a work boot for concrete. It is easy on the eyes, has a thick rubber sole, lacks a steel toe, and has insulation at the ankle to keep you warm on the coldest of days.
The Irish Setter shines because of its sole and its affordability, but finding it in your size may be a bit difficult.
It’s an import, so returning it or finding an experienced local cobbler may be impossible. Given that your boots will need repairs, this is a large drawback.
The rubber sole is heavily emphasized in the boot’s design, and for a good reason. The Irish Setter’s sole is extremely thick and will be excellent at absorbing even the heaviest of shocks from walking on concrete.
The inside of the sole will also be quite comfortable, and the roomy toe leaves space for thick socks or swollen feet.
The main drawback of the Irish Setter is its durability and therefore its protective ability. The lack of a steel toe may be a deal breaker for some people, and the leather is not very protective.
If you are working in an environment where there’s no escape from the concrete floors and not much danger of having something fall onto your boots, the Irish Setter might be the boot for you.
- Dense rubber sole
- Insulation at the ankle
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Lighter than other work boots
- Resistant to melting
- Top and sides are not protective
- No steel toe
- Stitching may fray during use
- Loose front may circumvent good insulation
- Returns and repairs may be difficult
The Oliver 65 Series Steel Toe Leather Mining Boots are good for far more than just mining. These boots combine a high top, an excellent sole with a separate heel, and a steel toe for stellar protection. They are also quite expensive, but excellent value for the right user.
The Oliver 65 series comes with waterproofing, heat proofing, and chemical resistance right out of the box—necessary features for working on a mining site or oil rig.
You will not have to buy any extra bells and whistles to have a great boot.
The real star of the Oliver 65 series is the heel, however. The Oliver 65 series has an extremely dense and spongy sole which can resist the most strenuous abuse on concrete without complaint.
The boot’s tread is especially resistant to slippage, and one of the best on the market.
The Oliver 65 series is also extremely protective and durable, sporting both a steel toe and a specialized treatment which grants it protection from some punctures. You will also be able to avoid the cold quite easily via its strong insulation. These boots will last you a very long time, but their price means that they are not the best choice for everyone.
- Excellent heel
- Chemical resistant
- Puncture resistant
- Steel toe
- Standard laces tend to fray
- Stitching may fray during use
- Sole near the steel toe tends to wear through
The Belleville 880ST Waterproof Insulated Steel Toe Boots are another work boot that won’t have any trouble with concrete. The 880ST has a simple black aesthetic, a great shock absorbing heel, and an extra protective built. This boot is going to keep your heel stress-free even when you walk on concrete all day long.
The 880ST is well insulated on the inside, waterproof, and built tough.
The excellent internal insulation adds to its shock absorbency but belies the lack of an ankle height insulation cuff. A lot of the heat that is inside the boot flies out of the top.
If you are not going to be using your work boots in cold environments, the lack of an insulation cuff is not a problem.
The 880ST is reasonably priced and has superior quality protection at its toe, top, and sides.
These boots are going to be right at home in a chaotic construction environment.
The aftermath of being in a construction environment might be a bit hard to clean up from on the 880ST, however. The 880ST has some seams and stitching that can easily gather dirt and dust beyond what you would expect from a work boot.
Cleaning the 880ST is more difficult and also requires cleaning more frequently. If you are not afraid of having to clean particles out of the seams or being a little chilly, the 880ST could be the boot for you.
- Good heel and sole
- Extremely protective
- Steel toe
- Durable make
- Hard to clean
- No insulation cuff at the ankle
- Tread may not have as much traction as other boots
The Bates Delta-9 GTX Work Boot is the work boot of the future. The GTX has a great sole, excellent tread, extra ankle protection, and an insulation cuff. The GTX is quite affordable, and light to wear.
The arch of the boot means that you are not going to be incurring any additional effort to move, and thus provides a lot more agility than a typical work boot.
The GTX’s sizing is one of its largest drawbacks. There are only a few sizes to pick from, and none of them are wide. The tan or beige color selection may also be off-putting.
The GTX is not the most durable boot out there, nor is it the most protective. Though the ankle protection is a nice plus, the boots lack a steel toe and don’t rate for safety.
The synthetic materials of the GTX’s sole might not age well, and will likely be harder to care for than other work boots.
- Ankle protection
- Insulation cuff
- Fatigue-resistant arch and sole
- High traction tread
- Streamlined aesthetic
- Synthetic material in sole may not age well
- Not protective for toes or top of foot
- Limited color selection
- Discolors easily from damage
- Aesthetic arch fins are points of weakness and less protection
The Red Wing Heritage Iron Rangers are a classic work boot and the choice of many. These are boots that you could buy for life if you were so inclined.
The timeless and attractive aesthetic of the Red Wings complements an extensive color selection and a comprehensive sizing selection.
The Red Wings are the most expensive work boots we will review.
The Red Wings are a great example of an all-around work boot. They are tough, reliable, not too heavy, and comfortable.
The tread of the boot does not offer the best traction, but we give the Red Wings high marks for comfort. The Red Wings have the unique advantage of being work boots which you can clean up and wear gracefully and casually.
The Red Wings have a separate heel and an acceptable sole. For boots that will only see use on concrete surfaces, the Red Wings may be a bit rough on your feet.
The insulation of the Red Wings is also potentially an issue, with little internal insulation and no insulating cuff.
Because of these issues, the Red Wings are probably going to require you to purchase additional items. At a minimum, you will need an insole to use them while walking on concrete.
- High quality make
- Comes in your size
- Not waterproof
- Poor protection
- Needs an insole for use on concrete
So, which boot should I pick?
Overall, the best work boot for concrete is the Oliver 65 series boot. The Oliver 65 series combines superior physical and chemical protection with a stellar sole and heel, all for a good price. If you are looking to buy one pair of work boots for every purpose, the Oliver 65 series is a good boot to check out.
If you are looking for a less protective boot, the Irish Setter is a great choice. It is less expensive than the Oliver 65 series, but still, has the warmth and shock-absorbent sole which you will need for working on concrete surfaces all day. The Irish Setter has the advantage of looking good, too.
Every boot that we have reviewed is a good choice for working on concrete, but the decision should be based on what your needs are.
You are the one who will have to walk in the boots, and you are the one who best understands the work sites and environments that you will be using your boots in.
If the superior protectiveness of the top two boots seems like overkill for you, you will be well served by any of the other boots, too.
No matter what boot you pick, be sure to take good care of it. A happy work boot leads to happy feet, which means a happy you.