As a welder, I’ll be the first to ascertain that I never considered a pair of welding boots as a must-have accessory.
Back in 2008, when I was still a freshman welder, I wore my regular trainers and went in for a job. That was the last time I underestimated the necessity of having a pair of welding boots.
To cut it short a flaming rod fell on my foot and set fire on my trainers. I was lucky only to suffer a sprain and lost what was a decent pair of trainers.
But, I learned my lesson. If you don’t wish to suffer a similar or worse fate (perhaps losing a foot), it’s essential that you invest in a pair of welding boot.
Over the decade, I have owned several pairs of welding boots; I would like to share with you some of the welding boots that have and continue serving me till today, that I think are worth looking at….
So what is the best welding boots? The best welding boots will keep your feet protected from anything that falls during an overhead welding gig. The shoes should have a metatarsal guard to protect your feet.
Some boots come with a steel toe cap that keeps your feet protected from any bumping or knocking and keep the laces protected too.
I pick Dr. Martens Men’s Teak Brown Industrial Boots as my number one choice for welding boots.
You wear them straight away without the need to break them, they’re comfortable and fit well.
I’m usually on my feet pacing about the workshop for almost 10 hours a day (during my shifts), and the shoes don’t feel heavy. I’ve had mine for close to two years now, and they feel like they could go another two.
But before you get sold on this pair, please check out my list on this and other pairs I have owned.
At the end of the article, you’ll come across a buyer’s guide that will relay more info on why you should invest in a pair of welders boots if you are or want to be a welder.
- 100% Leather
- Hex-shape grommets with speed lacing at shaft
- Oil-resistant traction outsole
- 100% Leather
- Removable Smartmask insole
- Slip resistant to oil, fat, petrol and alkali
Top Choice: Dr. Marten Men’s Teak Brown Industrial Boots
I spend lots of my time on the floor welding and visit construction sites to offer my welding expertise. In any weather, I have come to depend upon this pair of boots.
The exterior is made from quality leather; they have a synthetic sole and are laced.
The fact that they don’t have a heel makes them more comfortable and less bulky for wearing throughout the day.
I will not lie that they still look as they were new. I’ve had them for 18 months now, and they look a bit rugged but still functional. The guard still works perfectly for both welding and drilling jobs.
The laces are still intact. I have dozens of times had hot fireballs burn through the laces, and they remain intact.
The lace shield deserves a medal for “the best protector”. The solid buffer has an underside padding that cushions the impact should anything fall on your foot.
I have a colleague working as a CNC mill machinist, and he has a similar pair of Docs welding boots, and he walks on metal chips all day.
One and a half years later, he is still using his boots and says that the massive, solid build is the reason this is the only shoe that has gone over a year in his line of duty.
He hopes it will cross the next 6 months before he orders for a similar pair. He goes quite hard on his work gear including shoes, and these seem to urge him to bring on more abuse as they handle it with pride.
The only issue that crops up with this pair of welding boots is the build quality.
Some users complain that the boots are not built as they were before and wear out rather fast. I got mine here and like I said, they’re still going…
Iron Age Men’s Ground Breaker IA5016 Work Boot
Some of my friends argue that this boot’s looks are too good, but I think it’s a classic looking boot. Moreover, the shoe is excellently made and not as heavy as you would imagine.
The boot comes with a steel toe, external toe and metatarsal protection.
My shoe has a thick sole, it felt big, and I countered this problem by inserting an insole and memory foam on the sides. It now fits well, and I’m comfortable pulling long shifts.
After I received my pair of boots I saw that they seemed bigger (I’m a size 11w), but the boot is an 11m, and it left some room even after wearing thick socks.
I schemed the internet and saw that other people say the shoe size they ordered was almost a size bigger.
No one complained of getting a smaller size. But the solution is easy, get newer and better insole and memory foam.
The shoe will keep your toes protected, but be prepared to take between 4-7 days to break them in.
Mine took 6 days to get used to, and 8 months down the line I can’t complain, they feel comfortable and light on my feet. Moreover, whenever I walk on an oil spillage, I never stumble or fall.
The Iron Age boot is made from pure leather and comes with Kevlar stitching. You can check it out here to get the actual fitting size.
Alternative Choice: Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot
Name another reliable workboot for any heavy-duty job; I’ll wait…
The classic CAT boot is a far too familiar shoe on many project site across the globe.
I have this same boot made from durable welt, comes with a rugged grain upper body and the rubber outsole is slip resistant (I have stepped on many oil puddles and never once fell) construction.
When I have to work on offsite projects, this is the number one go-to boot.
I abuse mine (literary) by using them for all manner of construction site projects, some sites are muddy, others have metal pieces strewn all over.
Other than welding jobs, my boots can handle projects where I use oxyacetylene, demo saws and shifting up and down bricks when need be.
I’ve been using this boot for 5 months now, and I can say the service is still as it was when they were new.
The only foreign thing I added was a pair of insoles to increase the padding. CAT boots are distinguished industrial boots because:
- They are not only comfortable but easy to break them in
- The heavy-duty stitching makes them sturdy for a hard life
- They come with a steel toe
- Water resistant
- Have a soft removable insole
- The thick leather body is robust and lasts for ages
The only downside I can foresee with this boot is its scarcity. People know how durable this welding boot is and buy several pairs at once. You can check it here to see whether you’ll be in luck to find a couple or three in stock!
Timberland PRO Men’s 40000 Met Guard 6′ Steel Toe Boot
Right off the bat, the one huge advantage of having this shoe is the sole. I’ve had it for a little over three years, and the soles have help up.
They’re solid, and after every wash, they still look brand new!
The synthetic sole is appropriately glued to the leather bodywork, the outer toe protector is adequately fixed to the steel toe and will give you service for eons.
The Timberland welding boot is ideal for you if you like a stiff sole. My boots fit me well; also I take very little time tying up the laces.
The battle-ready boot feels light on feet and will not wear you down even if you pull a 12hr shift at the shop.
The high ankle boot offers lots of support, another plus for it is the continuous steel met guard that binds with the steel toe protector.
Your forefoot is well protected, and if something heavy falls on your foot, you will not lose any toes!
Some welder friends of mine say that the only issue they have with their boots is how fast they go through the laces.
It seems like they’re too shy for hot fireballs. If you love your toes and wish to keep them intact, you can check out this boot here.
Timberland PRO Men’s 53530 8″ Metguard Steel-Toe Boot
The sturdy, flexible, lightweight, comfortable and breathable Timberland Pro Men’s boot is a worthy investment. It’s waterproof, slip-and-oil resistant, and hinged for comfort.
I love this boot because it’s made for the professional who gets down and dirty at the job.
The boot is made from Ever-Guard leather which they say is close to ten times stronger than regular leather.
I have however tested it and found that the leather is heat resistant which in my line of work is a good thing.
Another plus for this pair of boots is how the metatarsal guard has been fitted, I not only bend but squat in comfort as I carry-on with my welding.
Their water-resistant nature protects your feet from getting soaked and keep them dry when you hit puddles or get into some ankle high water.
I love this boot because its a hightop and that means more warmth during winter months when I’m working in -6 and below weather.
A buddy of mine who often unloads 300-600 pounds of road cases off trucks uses the same boot to keep his front feet protected.
His only issue with the boot is how it slightly restricts his movement when he squats. He says the lower shin touches the metatarsal guard.
However, he doesn’t get hurt or pricked. If you are a lover of a high top quality industrial boot, you can check this one out here.
Wolverine Cabor EPX Waterproof Composite Toe Wellington
I don’t know why Wolverine never wore this pair of boots in his movies. I mean, they’re indestructible, and after all, they share a name with the superhero.
Wolverine slip-on wellington work boot is designed with comfort for the individual who works long and on her feet all day long.
The hazards protection boot keeps your feet dry, it’s slip-resistant and keeps foot fatigue at bay.
The Wellington, Wolverine welding insole is EPX ribbed, cushioned and flexes with your foot to ensure that the energy dispensed is returned. You will always feel comfortable.
For those jobs that you get in the rain or thawing ice days, I always wear these, they keep me warm, and I don’t slip on the ice thanks to their traction. However, I’m careful with where I step and walk.
5 years I’ve had this boot. Albeit I don’t use it often, the composite still keeps the weight down every time I wear them, and I end up feeling like I’m wearing a sturdy pair of sneakers that protect my feet from all the haphazardness in the workshop.
If you don’t want to come home at the end of the day with aching feet, then this is the boot for you. I got mine here.
ARIAT Workhog Waterproof Work Boot
For the days when the snow decides to go knee high, I always clad my Workhog boots. They’re built to keep off the wet and snow from getting to my feet.
The lightweight pair of boots comes with a good cushion padded insole that eliminates foot fatigue meaning that you will be on your feet for 12hrs plus with no discomfort.
This Ariat boot is designed for the workman who shuffles from wet, muddy or oily surfaces because they’re slip-resistant, waterproof and most of all comfortable.
There’s nothing wrong you can say about this Ariat pair of welding boots; it keeps my feet protected from all the hot fireballs. It’s tough enough to keep my toes intact should something heavy fall on my feet.
The tight leather will outlast humanity, to be honest. The only downside about this pair of boots is that you have to use hot water to clean them.
To keep them stretchy, wear them immediately after they dry off for an hour or so, leave them overnight to dry after applying several Camp Dry Coats. By morning you will be ready for another go in them! I got mine here.
As you can tell, I love my work boots. Each one has a special place in my heart for all the service they have given and continue rendering.
However, before you make up your mind on getting a pair from one of the manufacturers above, kindly read the guide below for more insight…
These nuggets will help you decide which is the best welding boots for you.
Why are welding boots important?
These boots are covered and stop heat from getting to your feet. The boots keep sparks and spatter at bay and away from burning your feet.
Due to their build nature, these boots also protect your feet from electrical charges that might have been ignited by the free-flying welding sparks.
When should I replace my welding boots?
The unfortunate bit about steel toe boots us that it can get inward damage that isn’t showing on the outside.
Due to their structural integrity and composite materials used to make them, these boots outlast many. However, when something heavy lands on the boot or it gets punctured, it would be best to replace.
When the metatarsal guard starts showing, or if the heel plat rubs bare and especially when the steel toe starts shining through, you best retire the boot.
Some other tell-tale signs for acquiring a fresh pair of boots must be the sole tread if it’s rubbed smooth or worn down, put the pair of boots out of service.
Laces or no laces?
Laceup up boots offer better ankle support; however, you will change the laces frequently.
Some boots come with shielding devices; you should check them out. Slip on boots are an alternative; they don’t come with laces and equally do a fantastic job.
Steel toe caps or no steel toe caps?
If you are a welder, whether an amateur or professional, you should ALWAYS wear steel to sap welding boots.
You can substitute them for composite-toe boots which do the same job of keeping your feet intact and protected.
Any industrial job (large scale or home-based) requires that you wear protective gear, that includes a pair of sturdy, protective welding boots!
The best welding boots features
Welding boots are not just made with heavy leather and a slip-resistant sole.
They have a plethora of features to keep your feet and shin well protected. Here are a few, but necessary features:
Shock resistance: welding involves dealing with electrical equipment.
The hot flames may fall on conductive materials and metals that could shock you if you’re not wearing protective gear.
Welding boots are made of rubber, or synthetic soles keep your feet protected.
Metatarsal Guard: this guard design is vital for welders working in projects with heavy object prone to falling. It offers protection against flying materials, hot embers, and sparks.
Heat Resistant: Welding gigs leave you exposed to extremely high temperatures. Fortunately, wearing leather industrial (welding) boots keeps the heat away.
Your feet are protected from the hot temperatures such as molten metal, fire balls, and electric shock.
Safety toes: welding boots are designed with three types of safety toe protectors, composite, steel and aluminum.
Composite toe shoes are designed from carbon fibers, Kevlar or plastic. The thick protector is lighter and protects your feet from harm.
Steel toe caps are the standard protection unit. They’re also the most substantial and conduct temperature the best. New age steel toe caps feel more comfortable and fit well.
Aluminum toe caps are preferred more thanks to their comfort. They are mostly installed in light welding boots, and they do the job rather well.
My Two Cents
As a welder with over ten years of experience, I believe the list above sums up what are the best welding boots you should consider.
I particularly love Dr. Martens, Men’s Teak Brown Industrial Boots for their sturdiness, comfort and long life.
The boots will take care of your feet whether at the shop or on sites when its cold, muddy or in a hot climate. The insole from Dr. Martens is gold. That’s my take…what’s yours?