Table of Contents
What are your options if you want the best slip on work boots with protection of a steel toe and high comfortable levels? Working long hours can be exhausting, especially if you spend most of your day on your feet. A long, exhausting day becomes absolutely excruciating if your feet hurt.
Updated October 2022 by Tony Bleak
If you’re a logger, an ironworker, or a construction worker, you probably know the added discomfort of a poor-fitting steel toe boot. The extra weight and rigidity of the safety shield simply adds to your misery.
In a Hurry?
Our Top Pull on Boot Pick for Men:
Our Top Slip on Boot Pick for Women:
Carhartt Women’s Work Boot, read on to find out why.
|Muck Boots Chore Tall
Rubber Work Boot
Suitable for 40-95 F
Oil- & Abrasion resistant
|Ariat Hybrid Rancher
Western Cowboy Boot
|Oil- & Slip resistant
J-max Safety Boot
EH safety rating
Oil- & Slip resistant
TIGER SLIP ON
LEATHER WORK BOOT
Oil & salt resistant
|Irish Setter Pull on
Removable foot bed
SLIP ON BOOT
Electrical Hazard rated
Tracey Work Boot
ASTM I/75 C/75 rated
Conclude Work Shoe
|Removable EVA liner
Oil & abrasion resistant
We compared several steel-toe pull on boots from well-known brands like Thorogood, Carhartt, Sketcher, Danner, Ariat, DieHard, Redback and Carolina Footwear before settling on the TOP —Tiger Slip on Safety Leather Workboot, Irish Setter Marshall Pull-on, Steel Toe Waterproof Work Boot, and Timberland PRO Excave Wellington Steel Toe.
We included a 4th entry on the chart–a steel toe work shoe that rates very well for comfort–to highlight Merrell and similar companies, like Nike and Keen, that offer few or no actual work boots, but do provide sturdy safety shoes.
All 4 options are easy to quickly slip on and very comfortable, even on especially long days on the job. They are also easy to maintain and care for.
Runners Up for MENS Pull On Boots
Runners Up WOMENS Slip On Boots
THE BEST SLIP ON WORK BOOTS
- WINNER: Tiger Slip on Safety Leather Work boot
- Irish Setter Marshall Pull-on Work Boot
- Timberland PRO Excave Wellington Steel Toe
- Muck Boots Chore Tall Rubber Work Boot
- Ariat Hybrid Rancher Western Cowboy Boot
- Justin Original J-max Safety Boot
- WINNER: Carhartt Women’s Work Boot
- Caterpillar Women’s Industrial Boot
- ARIAT Women’s Tracey Work Boot
- BONUS: Caterpillar Conclude Steel Toe Work Shoe
Tiger Slip on Safety Leather Work boot
The Tiger Slip on is the shortest and the least expensive of the 3 boots. It features a leather upper and is water resistant, but not waterproof (why not do this yourself?). It is very lightweight, yet provides comfort and protection. If you really want a work shoe that’s made in the USA, you’ll be disappointed, though.
- Steel toe meets ASTM requirements
- Oil resistant
- Salt resistant
- Not waterproof
Irish Setter Marshall Pull-on Work Boot
The Irish Setter Marshall is 11” tall and styled like a cowboy boot. As the only 1 of our picks that is truly waterproof, the Marshall is also the most expensive.
Unlike the other top picks, the Irish Setter 83912 has a composite safety toe and is heat resistant. The Irish Setter brand is part of the Red Wing Boot family.
- Composite toe meets ASTM requirements
- Heat resistant
- Removable polyurethane footbed
- Most expensive
Timberland PRO Excave Wellington Steel Toe
The Timberland PRO Excave Wellington Steel Toe is a mid-tall boot with a leather slipper to hold the foot and a mesh shank for breathability. The rubber sole is non-marking and non slip.
- Steel toe meets ASTM requirements
- Oil resistant
- Water resistant
- No anti-fatigue sole
Caterpillar Conclude Steel Toe Work Shoe BONUS
The Caterpillar Conclude brings great design features, quality leather and a slip resistant sole. This work shoe resists oil and abrasions as well as water.
- Steel toe meets ASTM requirements
- Removable EVA liner for extra shock absorption
- Mesh lining for increased breathability
- Oil and abrasion resistant
- Certified to dissipate static
- Slip resistant
- Water resistant, but not waterproof
Are these work boots really comfortable?
As you would expect for products making our list of the 3 most comfortable steel toe shoes, these shoes get high marks overall for customer satisfaction, particularly in the area of comfort. Reviewers consistently noted that all of these were comfortable, even for a long day of standing. And the praise came from workers in lots of different fields.
Each of our top shoes received “best shoe ever” accolades from at least one reviewer who noted that he had purchased lots of other brands previously. So, there’s general agreement that all of these shoes are comfortable to wear.
How well do they fit?
75% of the people who purchased one of the work boots said that their boots fit as expected. Just over two-thirds of those who bought the Caterpillar work shoe said they received the fit they expected.
Among customers displeased with the fit there wasn’t a single problem that was widespread. Complaints ranged from too tight to too loose, and from too wide to too narrow.
The insoles of all 4 pairs are deemed to be of only moderate quality, with some cushioning but not a lot. Some people immediately replaced the original insoles with a higher-quality, thicker version in order to produce a more cushioned fit.
Does the price of these work shoes make them a good value for you?
In a word, yes. Two factors contribute to make these shoes a great value.
- These safety boots are not cheap, but provide superior comfort and good protection. Most customers found them to be very durable as well.
- Because they slip on and look like a loafer or a cowboy boot rather than a safety shoe, these shoes are easy for you to wear outside the work environment.
- Several people thought they looked great. Others thought they looked a bit clunky compared to a regular pull on or cowboy boot, but still presentable enough to wear in a casual setting outside work.
What other factors are appealing about these shoes?
- Purchasers like the overall durability of each of these shoes. The Tiger, Irish Setter, Timberland and Caterpillar models all had customers who wore them heavily for an extended period of time without noticing any significant wear.
- The slip-on feature is generally a plus for purchasers because it makes getting in and out of the shoe so much easier for you. Only a few people noted any issue with the shoe not fitting snugly at the heel.
- Customers praise these boots’ ability to resist water and oil. Even the boots that aren’t officially waterproof do a good job of shielding the foot from dampness.
Both mens and womens pull on steel toe work boots come in a variety of styles and provide an array of features like water resistance, heat resistance or slip resistance. Also in standard black for work requirements.
Tiger’s Slip on Safety Leather Work boot, Irish Setter Marshall Pull-on Work Boot, Timberland PRO Excave Wellington Work Shoe, and Caterpillar’s Conclude Steel Toe Work Shoe all slip on easily and are very comfortable.
For my money, the best slip on work boots are the Tiger’s Slip on Safety Leather Work boot. It offers your feet the best combination of lightweight steel toe protection, durability, casual styling and great comfort.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What are some features of the most comfortable slip on work boots?
A: Slip on work boots are tall enough to reach the calf or a little higher. They resemble a cowboy boot, only with a less tailored and sturdier look. The most comfortable slip on boots:
- Are constructed of quality leather or other breathable fabric.
- Protect the toe well, either with a very sturdy construction or with a safety toe of steel, composite or aluminum alloy.
- Provide good support for the ankle.
- Use a rubber sole to provide great traction and help protect you from electric shock.
- Include a high-quality cushioned arch support and heel cushion to prevent leg and foot fatigue.
- Features a durable outsole that is oil resistant and easy to clean.
Comfortable pull on work boots designed for winter wear also include an insulated lining and a heavier, deeply-lugged sole.
Q: What are the differences between slip on vs lace up work boots?
A: Lace up boots fit more snugly around the ankle since the boot front can be enlarged to let the foot in and then tightened snugly around it. Slip on boots must be large enough at the ankle to allow the whole foot to slide in. Wildland firefighters prefer lace up boots to ensure their boots are as molded to their feet as possible.
If you have a very wide foot or a very high arch, you may find that a slip on boot just isn’t a good option. The width of the ankle area required for you to slide your foot in may be so large that your ankle isn’t supported well. A lace up boot would give you a much better fit.
If you find one that fits well, you’ll discover that slip on boots are easier to get on and off than lace up boots are. However, lace up boots offer you many more style options than pull on boots do, since most manufacturers offer more choices of lace up boots.
Many provide a number of options for the shape of the boot’s toe—moc toe, square toe, rounded toe, etc. You will have fewer options in a slip-on boot.
Q: What are the best slip on steel toe work boots?
A: The answer to that question depends to a great deal on what your working conditions are. However, here are three of the best-rated steel toe work boots for all kinds of work situations. All of them utilize a breathable leather and rubber on at least part of the sole.
- Timberland PRO 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe features a full leather upper, a slip-resistant rubber sole and unique Comfort Suspension technology that reduces your foot fatigue and increases comfort.
- Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot also features a Nubuck leather upper and a slip-resistant rubber sole. CAT’s special Climasphere insole reduces foot moisture and odor.
- Wolverine Floorhand 6 Inch Waterproof Steel Toe Work Shoe provides protection from damp environments with a full-grain waterproof leather upper, a rubber outsole and a synthetic sole. The cushioned footbed makes it easier to be on your feet for long periods of time.
Key Evaluation Criteria for Work Boots
Steel toe work shoes and shoes made of composite or alloy materials all must meet requirements set forth by the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials.) Companies that use steel as their protective material rather than composite materials or alloys acknowledge one major disadvantage of steel—it’s heavy! A steel toe shoe weighs significantly more than a similar shoe using composite construction.
A pair of Merrell’s Steel Toe Windoc Moc toe work shoes weighs 2 lbs, 12 oz. A pair of Merrell Fullbench Superlite Alloy Toe work shoes weighs 1 lb. 15 oz.: a difference of 6.5 ounces for each shoe. Multiply the difference by the thousands of steps you walk on a typical day!
The weight factor is even more critical in a heavy-duty work shoe that contains a met guard. —That extra layer of protection extends beyond the toe guard covering the metatarsal bones of your foot. The met guard makes the shoe or boot much more hazard resistant, but the extra weight can cause fatigue if you are a construction worker or a member of a welding crew working crunch hours completing a project.
Companies that continue to use steel in their safety shoes note steel’s superior durability for the long-term, especially in cases where the boot gets lots of stress. Some composite materials are initially as strong as steel, but their quality tends to deteriorate faster.
Another advantage of using steel is that it is generally less expensive than composite or alloy products.
Rubber is one of the best materials to use in the sole of a work boot. It is lightweight and mold-able, so it can be contoured, shaped and grooved for a good look and rugged tread. It’s also very durable and comfortable. Our feet tend to feel lighter and less weary when walking on rubber’s natural cushion.
Rubber also has great gripping ability, even in damp or oily situations, so it’s a wonderful slip resistant option if you are working in a greasy manufacturing plant, on the deck of an oil rig, or on the docks of a busy wharf.
Electricians, farmers and anyone else working with electricity could owe their safety to rubber’s ability to stop the flow of an electric current; unless it has something else—like an arm, leg, or piece of clothing—to flow through, electric current stops flowing when it meets rubber. (Note, please, that wearing a pair of rubber-soled men’s or women’s boots isn’t a substitute for other protective gear or safe working practices, but it does offer you a layer of protection.)
A shoe’s collar is the upper edge of the back and sides of the shoe; it’s the part of the shoe that touches the sides and back of your ankle if you are sock-less or wearing low-rise socks. Like a heavily-starched shirt collar that’s a bit snug, a poorly designed shoe collar can rub, chafe, and even cause painful blisters.
Conversely, collars that are well-designed make the shoe more comfortable; they also increase the shoe’s support to the foot because they cradle and hug the ankle.
It’s significant that all 3 of the most comfortable steel toe boots–as well as the work shoe–have leather uppers, especially when there are so many cheap synthetic or mesh alternatives. Several traits of leather tend to result in a very comfortable shoe.
First, leather is breathable. Unlike synthetics that trap air inside the shoe, leather lets air pass through it. This also allows dampness to dissipate and makes leather shoes much less apt to smell foul, since the air passing through the leather lets the stink escape.
Leather is also flexible, durable and water resistant. Over time it gently conforms to the contours of your foot, giving you a snug, comfortable fit that actually improves with time. Leather’s natural water resistance can be increased by polishing it with a natural wax or by treating it with a waterproofing solution.
If you work in landscaping, you’ll need versatile and resilient work shoes. And if you are often up and down ladders and work in roofing, you’ll want to make sure your traction is second to non. The same goes for working plumbing jobs where you might be standing in water and walking n slippery surfaces all day.
If you are looking for a flat wedge sole, they are usually more grippy on smooth wet surfaces. Wedge sole boots can be in the zero drop shoe category, but not usually as minimalistic as die hard fans would wish them to be.
Lastly, if you work on concrete floors for extended hours, extra cushioning and anti shock qualities will spare your body pain developing over time.