It's important to have the right work boots when working in industrial settings; safety, durability, and comfort are all important. Since good work boots are not cheap, we compiled a list of the top 13 brands of work boots that employees swear by, and also why they like 'em. 

Over 100 men and women provided input about their preferred brand(s) and their top choice by far, was Thorogood boots with Red Wing coming in as a close second. See the list below, with links to each brands' website for easy browsing if you're in the market for a new pair. 

Thorogood Boots

Thorogood says it’s a source for “everyday work boots, wellingtons, hiking boots, postal shoes, uniform boots, waterproof boots, and insulated boots.”  Many models of Thorogood boots and shoes are still made in the U.S.A.

Here's what workers say:

Thorogood. Best work boots I've ever had. Low break-in period, great leather and soles, after a year, most comfortable footwear I own...besides my brooks. Made in America, priced very competitively. Sadly, won't go back to Red Wings, removed all their industrial boots, 70% manufacturing and materials sourced overseas, and about 30-40% higher cost than Thorogood.

Thorogoods. Union made in the USA.

Thorogood. No break-in time.

Thorogood is the only way to go.

Thorogood lace up. Lasted a year and still going and super comfortable.

Thorogood lace up's all the way!! Will last forever and always comfortable on  your feet.

Thorogood. I'm an iron worker, I climb steel all day. Had mine for a year and a half and still going strong -- best boots and as comfortable as they get.

Thorogood lace up hands down!!

Thorogood wedge soles lace ups; best investment you'll ever make in your life. Trust me.

Thorogood lace-ups.

Thorogood. I recently bought my first pair. I'll never buy another boot again.

Depends on how hard you work in them, but Thorogood.

Danner, or Thorogood!!

Either Danners or Thorogoods.

Thorogoods are by far the best and have lasted the longest for me.

Overall Feedback:

Rugged, Comfortable, Long Lasting, More Expensive

Red Wing Work Boots 

Red Wing says their work boots deliver “ultimate durability for tough conditions.” Work boot types include: Safety Toe, Soft Toe, Waterproof, Insulated, Static Dissipative, electrical hazard, puncture resistant, slip resistant, oil resistant, chemical resistant and more.

Here’s what workers say:

Red Wings I been wearing them for 4 years I work on my feet 12 hrs a day and there pretty good.

Red Wing and Thorogood second. I've had 4 pair Red Wings, one pair I've had 5 years. But Thorogood just as comfortable, not sure if they'll out last but definitely half the price.

Red Wings all the way, baby!!

I've had my Red Wings for 5 years and they're finally breaking down. Only thing I've done to them is replace the insole with the Red Wings memory foam insole.

Red Wings. I had mine for about 5 years and just bought some more like 6 months ago. I could have went longer, just needed the change the insole and shoe strings.

Red Wings, they cost a little more but they are the best.

All I've owned for the past 8 years are Red Wings. I've never had trouble with them breaking in or ever had a pair that didn't last at least 2 years. I have a pair in the toolbox on my truck I have had for 5 years.

With any boot, it's how well you take care of them. I use saddle soaps and mink oil to condition my boots about once a month. You can also paint over the steel toe with a Kevlar coating from Red Wing that will keep the leather from wearing out. The paint mix is sold in boot shops for around $15 to $20. I've had boots wear out from the inside, but never had a pair wear out from the outside yet. Red Wing Irish Setters are the most comfortable breaking in but they are heavy. Filson boots have cork insoles and are by far the best boots for your feet and back, however, they will cost you around $300.

Red Wings with the wire laces.

Overall Feedback:

Rugged, Durable, Comfortable, Breaking In, Long Lasting, More Expensive.

Twisted X 

Twisted X bills itself as “the most comfortable handcrafted footwear” with a clear focus on “cowboy” style pull-on and lace up work boots and moccasin styles too.

Here’s what workers say:

I've been wearing steel toe Twisted X cowboy boots for the last year. Once I broke them in they were incredibly comfortable. Plus, the extra lazy feeling of being slip on is always nice.

My Twisted X boots lasted 10+ months (each pair) and I'm extremely hard on my, my Twisted X boots are the comfiest and easiest to break in.

Twisted X -- very comfortable and last.

I have pancake flat feet. Seems like the softer the sole, the worse it is for me. I wear Twisted X because I don't like my feet being forced to arch and the soles in Twisted X seem to work out for me.

Overall Feedback:

Comfortable, Easy to Break In, Durable.

Ariat Work Boots 

Cowboy style for the most part… Ariat says its products "deliver superior technology and performance."

Here’s what workers say:

I've had several different styles of Ariat, and haven't been disappointed yet.

Ariat Rebar with composite toe.

Ariat Workhog steel toe.

Cheap, but look good.

Pipefitter here. Love the road worker shirts for non RF situations. Cool as nothing and holding up very well. Boots are great.

I've had Justin's and Ariats, both are comfortable you just have to find a good size and a good insole. SnoSeal works great for waterproofing/dirt proofing them, I can hose mine off at the end of the day and not get the leather wet at all, and it lasts about 2 months before I have to reapply. And I usually buy 2 pair so I can rotate them out when one pair needs to get resealed I can let them sit for a day.

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to traditional stee ltoe work boots vs. new age composite toes I was quite skeptical. In the military we had always worn steel toes, there was no other option; though when I started my internship working at an aerospace engineering company I decided to try the composite toes. I picked out a pair of ariat boots from a local supplier and I was happily surprised with the results! The wider toe box gave my feet more "wiggle room" and the boots were lighter and more comfortable than some of the steel toe boots I'd tried on.

Overall Feedback:

Less Expensive, Good Looks, Comfortable

Danner Boots 

Since 1932 Danner has prided itself on crafting a superior product, made in the USA. As they say, “test it against the elements and you’ll appreciate the value of a product that is built to last.”

Here is what workers say:

Either Danners or Thorogoods.

I spent $300+ on a pair of high end Danner boots and they didn't loo any better than a $150 pair of Ariats did after a year. I will never spend that kind of money on Danner boots again. I wish Red Wing made a steel toe in their "Heritage" line (the line with the replaceable good year weld sole). Unfortunately, they keep them more of a "dress" line. I have tried the Red Wing steel toe once and they just wrecked my feet. I have a pair from the Red Wing heritage line that are great though -- non steel toe unfortunately. 

Overall Feedback:

High End, More Expensive, Better?

Georgia Boot 

Georgia offers a wide variety of work boots including: Steel Toe Boots, Waterproof, Insulated, Protective Toe, Non-Protective Toe, Electrical Hazard, Static Dissipative, Lace-to-Toe.

Here’ s what workers say:

Got a 3 year old pair of mud dogs from Georgia Boot; don't wear them every day, too heavy and hot, but warm and dry when needed.

Georgia boots. Light weight, long lasting

Overall Feedback:

Good Reputation, Light, Comfortable.

Chippewa Boots 

From Chippewa website: “Every pair of Chippewa Boots is built with uncompromising quality and standard, to be the finest made, most reliable and authentic…”

Here’s what workers say:

I'm a big fan of Chippewa. I have a soft toe pair about 10 years old -- still wear them. I also bought a pair of steel toes about 2 years ago. American made, high quality and super comfortable after break in (that part really sucks), plan on many more years out of this pair.

I like Chippewa Loggers

Overall Feedback:

Great Value, Comfortable, Tricky to Fit & Adjust, Made in USA (mostly).

Carolina Boots

Carolina’s stated mission is to provide working people with footwear that is “100% effective”. From Steel Toe, Composite Toe, Aluminum Toe, Carbon Composite Fiber Toe, Electrostatic Dissipative,, Electrical Hazard,, Metatarsal, Carolina designs and builds footwear to accommodate different job requirements using industry-specific designs and sophisticated construction techniques.

Here’s what workers say:

Carolina's also keep your posture correct so it's less strain on your back

Carolina makes an all composite toe and shaft very light, comfortable and water proof. 

Overall Feedback:

Light, Comfortable, Good Value

Justin Boots

“Justin Original Work-boots - Comfort & Safety since 1879”

Here’s what workers say:

Justin lace up's, I get 3 years. I keep them clean and polish when needed. Made in America!

Justin boots never fail to surprise me with great quality for a reasonable price. I go through work boots a lot because I work with corrosive fluids so I've had a chance to order several different models.

I suggest them to everyone, great serious work boot.

They are well manufactured and you definitely get quality for your money. My boots always last for years if you take proper care of them.

Overall Feedback:

High Quality, Reasonable Price, Good Value

Double-H Boots

For over 50 years, Double-H has been crafting innovative work western styles designed for today's new breed of cowboy -- the hardworking men and women on the millions of farms, fields, and ranches across America who demand durability, performance, comfort and style. 

Here’s what workers say: 

Double H and Irish Setters.

Great fit. Excellent quality. Very happy with the boot.

The soles on these boots hold up well in hostile environments. They offer good traction in wet and icy conditions, and when stomping around in gasoline and diesel fuel.

Overall Feedback:

High Quality, Reasonable Price, Hold Up Well

Wesco Boots

Wesco says its boots are preferred by "hard workers and anyone serious about durability, comfort and safety. They're built from top-quality, full-grain leather. 

Here’s what workers say:

Westco lineman's boots. They're expensive $250-$300 a pair, but you will never find a better boot. I used them when I was a lineman, now I use them as a welder. A pair lasts me about 3 years.

Heavy duty, high quality, expensive

You can't buy a better boot.  

Super heavy duty boots. They are indestructible and worth the price.

Overall Feedback:

Heavy Duty, High Quality, Expensive

Timberland PRO® Work Boots

Timberland makes boots, hiking boots, work boots, shoes, clothing, accessories and more. 

"Timberland PRO® boots are ready for the job site and long, hard days. Work boots for men are our specialty, and we design rugged, waterproof, insulated work boots that are always up for the job."

Here’s what workers say:

I bought Timberland PRO series. Haven’t looked back. Used to have back pain and sore feet.

I just got the Timberland PRO Pit Boss anti-fatigue so far they're working good.

Timberland pro with met guard - I have 3 pairs and love them

I have worn Timberland pros with met guard for years... they last at least 3 years wearing daily... plus your strings don't get burned and if you drop a block it has top of foot protection

Timberland pros all the way

I liked my Timberland's for awhile, but they weigh a lot and standing in front of my press for 12 hours a day sometimes my feet get to hurting pretty bad.

Timberland composite. Strong but light. I like that they don't weigh a ton.

Have a pair of Timberland Pros that I’m loving. Pricey but comfy.

Overall Feedback:

Awesome Boots. Well worth the price. Very durable even after 1 year. 

LaCrosse Boots

LaCrosse Footwear makes multi-season leather and rubber boots, hunting boots, waders, work boots, safety boots, safety apparel, uniform boots, fire boots and more. 

Lacrosse says it "makes the best rubber boots built for toughness, durability, and comfort."

Here’s what workers say:

Comfortable from day one, no break in. 

Good boots. Lacrosse boots have always been of good quality.

Overall Feedback:

Comfortable, Lighter, No Break In, Good Quality

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