Best Work Boots for Carpenters | 5 Woodworking Dream Shoes

If  you’re a carpenter needing a new work boot, your “best” work boot depends, partly, upon what type of carpentry you do–framing, finish work, trim work, etc–and what type of buildings are work on. Regardless, though, you need a comfortable boot that will protect your feet. The 5 best work boots for carpenters are summarized in the chart below.

Updated April 2020 by Maya

best work boots for carpenters

In a Hurry? The Top Pick

Redback Steel Toe Boot gets my vote as the best of the best, read on to see why.


Comparison table

WaterproofSafety ToeFeatures
Timberland White Ledge
Mid Ankle Boot
YesSoft
Over 11,500 reviews!
Rubber outsole
Anti-fatigue Footbed
EVA foam midsole
View
Red Wing Iron Ranger
Work Boot
YesCompositeCork outsole
Non-marking sole
Roomy toe box
Made in USA
View
RedbacK Bobcat
Work Boot
ResistantSteel
Synthetic outsole
Anatomic arch support
Anti fatigue air-cushion
Pull-on boot
View
Thorogood American
Heritage MAXwear
ResistantSteelVibram outsole
Cushioned Poron insole
Shock absorbing footbed
Slip-resistant
MAXwear wedge sole
Fiberglass shank
View
ARIAT Recon
Lace Up Boot
ResistantSoftPolyurethane outsole
Mesh lining
Round toe box
View

Key Features for Carpenter Safety Boots

Protection

Carpenters need boots that protect their feet

Carpentry is dangerous work. Injuries occur each year from accidents involving power saws, pressurized nail guns, and electric drills.  Carpenters regularly work on buildings with more than one story.

Workers face dangers from falling tools that are accidentally dropped from considerable heights. Even a lightweight hammer dropped from a 3rd-story rafter would cause serious damage if it dropped on your foot and you weren’t wearing a safety boot.

The danger multiplies if the dropped tool weighs significantly more. Carpenters wear hard hats to protect their heads. They need sturdy boots to protect their feet. 

Traction

Carpenters need boots that provide great traction. 

Roofing and framing carpenters face slippery conditions due to being exposed to the weather. Cold damp concrete can be as slick as glass. So can icy scaffolding.

But even finish carpenters working inside a nearly-complete building need good traction to prevent them from slipping. Surfaces in an unheated building can get slippery even if they are not exposed to the elements. 

Regardless of what stage of the project you’re working on, you’ll want work boots that will firmly grip the surface beneath you. 

Waterproof

The best boots for framing carpenters: A waterproof feature is critical to framing carpenters and others who work on the structure before it is dried-in.   

If you’re a framing carpenter or someone else who works on a structure in the early stages, you aren’t protected from the weather. You need work boots you can depend on to keep your feet dry.

If you are working in northern climates during the fall and winter, you’ll need insulated boots to keep your feet warm, too. 

Comfort

A comfortable work boot is as important as the right tools are. 

Carpenters are on their feet much of the time. When they aren’t walking or standing, they may be kneeling or on all fours. That’s the nature of carpentry work. If you’re a carpenter, your work boots will be stressed, scuffed, and stretched. They may be dragged across concrete or covered in drywall dust.

Through all of that, the best work boots will keep your feet comfortable by cushioning your feet and absorbing shock, by molding to and moving with your feet as you do what needs to be done.  

The 5 Best Work Boots For Carpenters

Timberland White Ledge Ankle Boot

The Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot is the only 1 of the 5 picks that you should be able to purchase for under $100. It’s waterproof, made of leather and has a slip-resistant rubber sole.

The anti-fatigue footbed is removable, and the EVA foam midsole cushions your feet for extra comfort. The White Ledge is manufactured in China.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Removable footbed 
  • Least expensive

CONS

  • No safety toe 
  • Made in China
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger 6″ Boot

The Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger 6″ Boot is a very stylish, classic unlined lace-up waterproof boot that is still breathable. It features a composite safety toe and a non-marking sole.

The shank is steel for support. The cork footbed is not removable and is designed to actually mold to your foot as you break the boot in. The Iron Ranger is the most expensive of the 5 best boots. 

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Steel shank 
  • Cork footbed molds to your foot

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Smooth sole
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

RedbacK Bobcat USBOK Elastic Sided Steel Toe Boot

The only slip-on in my list, the RedbacK Men’s Safety Bobcat Elastic Sided Steel Toe Work Boot is lightweight and easy to get on and off, thanks to the elastic inserts along the top of the boot.

The anatomic, air-cushioned sole supports the arch and reduces fatigue. These boots are made in Australia.

PROS

  • Lightweight pull-on
  • Anatomic, cushioned sole
  • Steel toe

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Made in Australia
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Thorogood Heritage Wedge Safety Boot

With an average price over $200, the Thorogood Heritage Moc Toe, MAXwear Safety Boot is one of the most expensive of the 5 best carpenter boots.

However, the American Heritage is made in the USA and is a very comfortable boot with a safety toe to protect your feet and a wedge sole to provide good traction. The cushioned insole increases your comfort, and the Poron footbed is removable. This is also available in black.

PROS

  • Cushioned insole
  • Removable shock-absorbing footbed
  • Slip-resistant wedge sole

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Expensive
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

ARIAT Men’s Recon Lace-Up Boot Moc Toe

In the Men’s Recon Lace-up Boot Moc Toe, ARIAT breaks away from its traditional cowboy boot look. The Recon is a classic lace-up boot with a wedge sole and a padded collar.

Its patented 4LR footbed is not removable, but is designed to cushion and mold to your foot. The mesh lining increases comfort and reduces moisture. These are made in China, if that matters to you.

PROS

  • 4LR footbed 
  • Mesh lining
  • Non-slip polyurethane sole

CONS

  • No safety toe
  • Made in China 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Customer Impression

All five boots get very good reviews, but . . .

At least 85% of all the reviewers on Amazon give these boots at least 3 stars. The Ariat boot is a new model and has few ratings, but all of them are at least a 4 star rating.

A few customers who purchased any of the boots (except the Ariat) felt certain that they received boots that were 1) used, 2) old inventory that had sat in the warehouse, or 3) factory 2nds sold as regulars.   

In a nutshell, here is what customers say about each boot.

Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Ankle Boot

Priced right around $100, the Timberland is viewed as a good value by the customers who like the boots. Nearly 25% of the reviewers mention that the White Ledge boot is comfortable. Reviewers also mentioned wearing the boot comfortably in their occupation as a carpenter, a contractor or a construction worker.

The biggest complaint was from customers who had purchased Timberland boots before, and felt like quality is slipping with one complaining about a noise when walking. Most attribute that to the fact the the boot is now made in China.

Red Wing Men’s Iron Ranger 6″ Boot

The Redwing Iron Ranger gets great reviews for comfort. It’s lightweight and durable, too. Many purchasers especially like how the boot looks. Consensus is that the boot runs about ½ size large. Part of that has to do with the construction of the Iron Ranger. Made without an insole, the boot has a cork footbed designed to conform to the wearer’s foot. Some purchasers almost immediately purchased an insole. 

RedbacK Men’s Safety Bobcat USBOK Dark Brown Elastic Sided Steel Toe Leather Work Boot

–The Redback Bobcat is viewed as a good value and very easy to get on and off. The Australian sizing can be tricky, though, for getting a good fit. Purchasers mentioned preferring this brand over several others, including Wolverine, Carhartt, and Carolina. A higher-than-usual percentage of purchasers indicated that this boot is their favorite (or best) boot ever.

Thorogood Heritage MAXwear Safety Boot

–The Thorogood American Heritage boot is comfortable and durable, over all. The Thorogood boot gets several complaints about quality control issues like eyelets that weren’t lined up, boots that were different widths, and soles that separated after just a few weeks or months. 

ARIAT Men’s Recon Lace-Up Boot Moc Toe

–The Ariat’s a “baby’ as far as ratings go. However, the few reviews are really good. People say the boot fits like a glove, is better quality than previously-owned RedWings, and is very comfortable. 

Conclusion

These boots have the features that carpenters need in a work boot, and they are comfortable and durable. The Redback Bobcat gets my vote for one of the best work boots for carpenters. They have a moderate price and great reviews. The Timberland White Ledge is a good value for people on a limited budget.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are some of the best carpenters boots under 100?

What do you recommend if I am on a tight budget right now and can’t spend more than $100 on a work boot?

Given your price range, you’ll need to exclude a couple of features; boots that good reviews and are priced under $100 don’t have metatarsal guards or puncture resistant soles. Only a few quality boots in that price range have a safety toe. 

One good option priced under $100 is the Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot from the chart above.  It has some great features. The 3 listed below are good quality boots in your price range:

WOLVERINE Loader 6″ Soft Toe Wedge Boot

–With a wedge sole for traction, a breathable leather upper for durability, and a removable cushioned PU insole for comfort, this boot is a good value.

DieHard SureTrack 6″ Soft Toe Work Boot

–The SureTrack soft toe boot has a leather upper, a rubber, wedge sole, a steel shank and a padded collar. The boot is heat and flame resistant. The insole is made of breathable anti-wicking textile that absorbs moisture. It also reduces foot fatigue and odor. 

Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

–This steel toe boot by Caterpillar has been around a while and is proven to be a good, sturdy work boot. The steel toe provides protection, and the lugged synthetic sole grips the surface beneath you. The collar is padded for comfort and outsole resists oil. 

The Sugar Cane Company History of Carpenter Boots

Sugar Cane’s line of Lone Wolf boots is hand-crafted. It is a family business. Each boot is carefully and skillfully made by these artisans who produce rugged footwear with unsurpassed quality. Made in Japan, these boots are fashioned one pair at a time.

The carpenter line of Lone Wolf boots is reminiscent of boots worn by carpenters in 1930’s America. Full-grain leather from the hide of steers is tanned for at least 12 weeks before it is used to make the uppers of a pair of Lone Wolf carpenter boots.

The leather is hand-sewn after it has been tanned and dyed.

Uppers are hand-sewn using a Goodyear welt.

Uppers are never vulcanized to the soles 

Lone Wolf boots have leather outer soles that are stitched and nailed to “Cat’s Paw” rubber soles. “Cat’s Paw” rubber heels are glued and nailed to them, just like carpenter boots of decades ago.

Lone Wolf carpenter boots feature some vintage–and very distinctive–detailing. The boots fasten via a lace-to-toe system of nickel-plated hooks and eyelets and custom-made shoe laces similar to laces of decades ago. Each boot has a removable false tongue and is sewn using two different colors of thread.

Lone Wolf carpenter boots have firm protective toe boxes, owing to the extra-strong steer hide used in the uppers. They are not made as a safety boot with a steel toe or a met guard.

They provide great arch support via a heavy-duty steel shank.The boots’ leather insoles allow foot moisture to dissipate and feet to breathe and be comfortable.

Lone Wolf boots are expensive and must be ordered months in advance, but they are premium-quality boots your feet would appreciate. 

Carpenter boots vs. carpenter shoes, what’s the difference?

The most obvious difference between any work shoes and work boots is the height of the footwear. Shoes come to the ankle or slightly higher. 

Boots could cover virtually all of the shin and rise all the way to the base of the knee and one noticeable similarity is that both carpenter boots and carpenter shoes are available in women’s sizes. 

You’ll notice some other differences, as well.

  • Many of the most popular carpenter shoes are produced by sporting goods or athletic companies like Coleman, Keen, Nike, Merrel and Skechers. The bulk of popular and high- rated carpenter boots are made by companies known to manufacture boots. In addition to the companies that make the 5 favorite boots, other boot companies include Danner, Carolina, Irish Setter and Carhartt.
  • Carpenter shoes incorporate more synthetic materials.  Mesh is a popular component in the uppers. Synthetic soles are common and the vast majority of work boots for carpenters still use leather for the uppers. 
  • Carpenter boots have a wider range of features. Work boots are available with heavy-duty features like met guards and puncture-resistant soles. Some of these are fashioned after rugged features found in logger boots or boots for welding professionals or ironworkers. 
  • They aren’t cheap, but carpenter shoes are, as a group, less expensive than the boots.

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