Concrete is at the foundation of much of modern construction work. It’s in bridges, sidewalks, ball stadiums, schools and hospitals. One reason we like concrete is that it’s really hard—hard enough to withstand extremes in weather and pressure. Ironically, the very qualities that make concrete a terrific building material also make it very difficult for workers who spend more than a few hours a day standing or walking on it. But insoles help you tremendously, so lets look at the best insoles for work boots on concrete.
Updated Feb 2020 by Tony Bleak
In a hurry? Our top pick:
Carhartt insole, Read on to find out why.
If you work on concrete and you’re looking for the best inner soles for your work boots, you’ll find 3 excellent products in the Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole, the Carhartt Insite Technology Footbed CMI9000 Insole and Dr. Scholl’s Work Massaging Gel Insole.
Concrete doesn’t flex like wood, so walking on concrete makes the joints and muscles of the foot work harder. Your problems increase if your job requires you to stand relatively still; standing makes circulation more difficult and increases the likelihood of swelling and discomfort.
Of all the possible inserts—and there are hundreds—these 3 help people enjoy comfortable walking on concrete all day.
Our Top 3 Picks:
|Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue
|Carhartt Insite Technology
Footbed CMI9000 Insole
|Yes||Yes||Foam & suede
|Dr. Scholl’s Work
Massaging Gel Insole
|Yes||Yes||Rubber & gel
All of these inserts:
- receive glowing feedback from the majority of their customers
- are designed to counteract the difficulties inherent with daily walking on concrete
- are affordable
An insole really is necessary if your work routinely requires you to walk or stand on concrete.
Because concrete is hard and inflexible, it stresses your legs and feet and causes short-term issues like redness, swelling and pain. These issues increase if you’re in a profession like ironworker welding where you stand still much of the time. Walking naturally helps the blood to circulate. When you’re standing still, your blood wants to pool in your foot, making it difficult to circulate fresh blood to your toes. If this happens, your feet start feeling fatigued.
If foot and leg fatigue is allowed to continue for the long-term, it can create some very painful problems like varicose veins, poor circulation and joint pain. Working on concrete for the long term may contribute to back problems, poor posture or even chronic diseases like arthritis. Surprisingly, some research indicates that only 2 hours of daily standing or walking on concrete may be enough to trigger major problems.
Quality insoles are made so they can be cut to fit your exact boot.
The fact that two of these insoles are manufactured by a boot company doesn’t mean that they fit only their brand of boot. Even if your work boot is made by Carolina, DieHard, Wolverine, Nike or Sketcher, you can still use these insoles. That’s because insoles are manufactured for a range of sizes and then cut to fit.
Whether you purchase a Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue Insole, a Carhartt Insite Footbed, or Dr. Scholl’s Work Massaging Gel Insole, you will almost certainly need to trim the insole to fit your work boots. Using the original insole as a pattern, lay it on the new insole and trace around it. Then, trim the new insole to match the original. This allows you to get a good fit regardless of whether your work boot has a square toe, a moc toe or the traditional pointy toe of a cowboy boot. You contour the insole to fit your boot and then simply slip it into your boot.
Here are a couple of things to note to ensure a good fit. Choose the correct size of insole. Some insoles come in only one size. Others cover several size ranges. If your preferred insole comes in more than one size, make sure you purchase carefully. Also, cut precisely when you trim the new insole to fit, taking care to note the exact shape of the original. Scissors seem to work better than a utility knife for this task.
Choose an insole likely to match your foot
Some insoles are designed to fit a high arch. Chances are good that your flat feet won’t find these comfortable at all. Some provide a cooling feature for feet that naturally sweat. Some are designed with an anti-fatigue feature that increases comfort all day. A few insoles are designed to treat specific problems like plantar fasciitis or fallen arches. Factor the idiosyncrasies of your feet into your purchase decision.
Choose an insole likely to fit well into your work boot
Insoles vary significantly in thickness, width and soft cushion. If your work boot is a roomy safety boot with a steel toe or composite toe, you may find that a thick, heavy duty insert still leaves plenty of room for your foot. However, if your work boot is a lightweight slip on that hugs your foot, you may need a thinner, moldable, memory foam insert that cushions but still leaves your foot adequate room. Consider your work boot and how your foot fits in it before you decide.
The 3 best insoles for work boots on concrete
Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole
The Timberland PRO Anti fatigue Insole is designed as an upgrade to their standard work boot insole. Like the other two featured insoles, it can be cut to fit. It is the most expensive of our 3 favorites, but not by much. It gets very high ratings for comfort, due in part to the anti fatigue feature.
- Six men’s insole sizes range from sizes from 5-15 and encourage a good fit
- Ortholite synthetic sole for extra comfort.
- Special anti fatigue cone foam absorbs shock and energizes your feet as you walk
- Available in 6 sizes, but only 1 width
Carhartt Insite Technology Footbed CMI 9000 Insole
The Carhartt Insite Technology Footbed CMI 9000 Insole was designed by engineers using the results of 120,000 3D foot scans. The insole’s suede cover makes it non slip and increases grip by 30%. It also decreases fatigue. Customers really like the fit of this insole; almost 90% said it fit as they expected it would.
- Eight men’s insole sizes range from sizes from 8M-15M and encourage a good fit.
- Two layers of foam provide extra compression and rebound to reduce fatigue.
- Available in 8 sizes, but only medium width
Dr. Scholl’s Work Massaging Gel Advanced Insole
The Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insole is designed specifically for people who walk or stand on hard surfaces like concrete. It has excellent arch support for people with high arches. It is considerably less expensive than the other 2 featured insoles, nearly cheap for the benefits it provides
- Massaging gel and extra cushioning provide all-day shock-absorption and comfort.
- Very affordable
- One size only
How well do these insoles for work boots permit comfortable daily walking on concrete?
It’s not surprising that all three of these insoles rate high in overall customer satisfaction. Read the reviews for each product and you frequently see words like “amazing,” most comfortable” and “love these!” Several purchasers declared each of the insoles to be their absolute favorites, after they had tried several other inserts without success.
A few insole owners were able to drastically reduce or even eliminate foot pain after they chose one of these insoles. One such customer who bought the Timberland PRO spent hours on his feet in an Amazon fulfilment center, and noted that his foot pain gradually disappeared completely.
Particularly interesting is the fact that, although none of these insoles is marketed as a product for people who regularly work on concrete, all of them receive praise from people in industries like manufacturing and iron working, where working long hours on concrete is the norm. In their feedback, some purchasers are quick to point out that they work 12-hour shifts—on concrete—and are still able to enjoy comfortable walking every day.
How well do these insoles fit?
A large majority of people using these insoles REALLY like how they fit. Overall, approximately 8 in 10 purchasers got the fit they expected to get when they purchased any of the 3 insoles. Reviewers who weren’t thrilled with these products frequently noted that the insole was so much thicker than the original that the boots weren’t as comfortable. Some compensated for this by buying ½ size larger boot the next time. Some felt that the insole itself either was slippery or made the boot smell bad.
How great is the price difference among these insoles?
The Dr. Scholl’s Massaging gel insole sells for an average price $12, the Carhartt costs about $27, and the Timberland is approximately $30 per pair. So, the actual price range is nominal. However, when you consider the relative difference in the prices, the Dr. Scholl’s insole is a great value, as long as it is comfortable for you.
The Dr. Scholl’s insole costs only 45% of the Carhartt insole and 40% of the Timberland PRO insert. You could replace the Dr. Scholl’s insole twice as often and spend less overall. Several reviewers noted that the massaging gel insole worked well and was a particularly good value, especially since Dr. Scholl’s insole comes with a money-back guarantee.
Are the Carhartt and Timberland insoles truly compatible with other boots?
Indeed, they are. Several reviewers noted the brand of boot they wear. The list included Danner, Keen, Irish Setter, Cabela, Red Wing and others. These insoles should fit well into your work shoes—regardless of their brand—as long as you trim the inserts carefully.
So what’s the very best of the best, when it comes to the mens and womens best insoles for work boots on concrete? Which product should you choose if you need to be walking all day everyday on concrete?
My preference is the Carhartt insole. I like the suede cover to prevent sliding and the huge percentage of customers who get the fit they expected. The Dr. Scholl’s insole earns kudos, though, as being the best overall value.
Features often found in the most comfortable work boots for concrete
Everyone’s foot has its own quirks and preferences. So, the boot you think is absolutely the most comfortable, your co-worker may find only moderately comfortable. However, read through several lists of “Most comfortable work boots for concrete” and you’ll note similarities among the shoes on the list. Here are 3 features that appear repeatedly.
- Genuine leather upper. Leather is comfortable, breathable, durable, naturally water-resistant, and less prone to smell bad after months of wear than synthetics are. A few boots with synthetic or mesh uppers rate high for comfort, but most of the best boots for working on concrete all day are leather.
- Rubber sole. This is a very popular material for the soles of work shoes because it naturally cushions your foot, is moldable, durable, slip resistant and resistant to electric shock. Rubber can be formed into a wedge sole or grooved to provide extra traction.
- Cushioned insole. Several boot brands have their own patented system to cushion your foot. The materials and construction methods vary among the brands. However, whether it’s Wolverine’s Multishox insole, Timberland’s polyurethane midsole or Thorogood’s Poron cushion insole, they are all designed to cushion your foot and keep it comfortable.
Are boots for working on concrete all day available for all sorts of work conditions?
Yes, boots for working on concrete all day are available for a variety of special work situations. Carolina makes a waterproof work boot for the logger who must keep his feet dry when he’s out harvesting trees, but also needs a boot comfortable enough to wear all day on the concrete floors of a sawmill.
Ariat’s Workhog line features cowboy styling in comfortable boots that have a safety toe and are waterproof. A bonus is that Workhog boots are available in men’s and women’s sizes. Several companies market a comfortable insulated work boot for those who work on concrete during the winter. If you need to protect the metatarsal bones, Wolverine markets a puncture resistant work boot with a met guard.
What other factors should you consider before purchasing boots for walking on concrete?
- How heavy are these boots? Lots of walking means lots of times to lift the boot on your foot. Even a few extra ounces per boot adds up to many extra pounds of weight to lift if you are logging thousands of steps each day. Steel toe is heavier vs composite toe safety shoes.
- Can the insole be removed? A removable insole can usually be washed, which is helpful, especially if your feet sweat when you walk. Also, a removable insole can be replaced if it’s worn out, or if you would like to upgrade it.
- Is the boot’s heel elevated? Having an inch or so of heel on your work boot provides extra cushion for your heel. An elevated heel also helps to insure that the heel of your foot touches the floor first, which is good for your posture and your balance.
- Is the work shoe a pull on or a lace up. If you’re required to change your boots frequently during your work day, you may be happier with comfortable pull on instead of the more traditional lace up boots for walking on concrete.