Buying a new pair of work boots isn’t as expensive as buying a home, but it can be nearly as time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you have foot issues that make a good fit difficult. The problem compounds if you need work boots that incorporate several safety or comfort features like a metatarsal guard, a breathable liner, or a composite toe. The best place to buy work boots should be convenient and have a no quibble return policy.
You don’t want to spend your money on work boots that hurt your feet or fall apart quickly. We don’t want you to do that either. We offer advice backed up by examples to help you locate a pair of work boots you’re likely to love.
Updated December 2020 by Tony Bleak
Where to buy work boots
In this article we’ll cover the list of 5 best places to buy work boots. We will share what makes each store unique, and what its approach to selling is. We then discuss the pros and cons of each one, including the breadth and depth of their product lines and their pricing strategies.
We also point out potential pitfalls to avoid when you’re buying your next pair of work boots. Two big things to carefully compare are shipping costs and restrictive return policies.
The 5 Best Places to Buy Work Boots
All of the top 5 retailers are excellent places to buy your next pair of work boots, but Amazon’s a clear first choice. There are lots of reasons why Amazon is hard to beat. One of the biggest is that Amazon has become the go-to source for just about anything.
They are top-of-mind and easy to reach. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Amazon is also ubiquitous, spreading into many countries besides the United States, and available at the click of an icon or a web address.
- Amazon carries lots of brands, including brands like RedWing, Diehard and Georgia Boots that aren’t available everywhere. Amazon doesn’t carry every brand of work boots, but they sell very many of them
- There’s a wide selection in many of those brands. If you’re an ironworker looking for a lightweight, black, waterproof leather work boot with a wedge sole, you’ll have several choices to consider on Amazon. Few other retailers offer as many choices.
- A wide selection of boots is available in men’s and women’s sizes. .
- Free and fast shipping to Prime members has become the gold standard of shipping. Reasonable shipping rates apply to customers who don’t pay for the benefits of Prime.
- Their website is well- organized and easy to use.
- It’s hard to beat Amazon on price. It’s not impossible, but it isn’t easy.
- Their size makes it hard for Amazon to respond well to every customer. Read critical customer reviews and you’ll note that some products would rate significantly higher if not for a poor experience–receiving damaged or used shoes, getting the wrong boots–customers had with Amazon.
- Their 30-day return policy is quite inflexible, even if the boots were never worn.
- On cheap brands, Walmart may be less expensive. On premium brands, clearance or flash pricing may net a lower price at the 4 other favorites.
2. Boot Barn
Boot Barn is a great choice if you are looking for a square-toe cowboy boot with a non-slip rubber sole, or a regular work boot with western styling. Boot Barn focuses on iconic western brands like Wrangler, Ariat, Justin, and Montana Silversmith, exotic brands like Cody James, and traditional boot brands like Carhartt. Boot Barn’s a better choice than Amazon if you have foot problems and absolutely can’t buy boots without trying them on first. Boot Barn has more than 200 stores in 33 states.
- Boot Barn is the go-to site or store for cowboy boots.
- Boot Barn had brick-and-mortar stores where you can try on boots and talk to salespeople.
- Their customers get better customer service overall.
- There’s free shipping with orders over $75.
- Generally more expensive
- Not as many options
3. Work Boots Superstore
Because Work Boots Superstore focuses specifically on work boots, they have a wide and deep selection of footwear for loggers, construction workers, welding foremen, linemen, and virtually any type of factory worker.
- There are lots of brands including Timberland, Keen, Danner, Merrell, Skechers, Thorogood and Under Armour
- Work Boots Superstone offers a broader selection of styles even than what’s offered by Amazon in certain brands. Justin Boots is one example. If you know you want a pair of Justin boots, you may do better at Work Boots Superstore.
- An array of heavy-duty styles with safety toes and met guards, slip-resistant soles and puncture-resistant leather are available.
- $4.99 “No-rush” shipping for purchases over $99.
- Some brands–like Red Wing– aren’t available at Work Boots Superstore.
- There’s Monday-Friday shipping only. No shipping on weekends or holidays.
- The product line isn’t as broad, certainly, as Amazon’s
- Price runs a bit higher, unless you can purchase your boots on sale.
If you’re looking for a pair of pull-on western boots with a puncture-resistant sole or insulated, lace-up work boots that will keep your feet warm in the dead of winter, Shepler’s is the place to shop. Known as a supplier of slip-on western boots, Sheplers also stocks lots of traditional work boots from Irish Setter and Carolina. They also feature lesser-known exotic brands like Eric James and Dan Post.
- Sheplers has an extensive line of western boots including Ariat and Justin.
- They also stock several lines of boots made from exotic leather like snake skin and ostrich.
- Shepler’s offers lots coupons and clearance sales that make bargain purchases possible.
- Free ground shipping on orders over $75.
- Regular-priced items are generally more expensive.
- There are limited choices in certain styles.
If you’re looking for a high-end work boot to wear for the next 20 years, you probably don’t think of Walmart as the first place to look. However, they do stock a variety of men’s work shoes. Some are, admittedly, not the best quality. Others from Skechers, Wolverine, and Georgia Boots get good ratings. In 2011, Walmart bought the Herman Survivor brand. That brand is now one of Walmart’s main shoe lines, and contains boots with a number of special features.
- Walmart competes with Amazon on price for brands they both carry.
- Some styles are available in-store.
- The full line of Herman Survivor boots available.
- Walmart is good for shoppers on a budget who also need to try on a pair of boots before they purchase.
- They offer a generous return policy
- Free value shipping on orders greater than $50.
- There are limited choices of quality boots.
- There’s limited in-store availability on some boots.
- The perception is that Walmart has low-quality goods.
The Winner: Ultimate Best Place to Buy Work Boots Online
All 5 of these stores carry an assortment of men’s work boots.
However, Amazon is the clear winner. Here’s why.
For most men and women looking for work boots, Amazon has it all–low price, speedy delivery that’s free for Prime members, and lots of choices, even if you need a moc toe boot with a composite safety toe and a slip-resistant outsole. They probably even have that kind of boot available from more than one manufacturer, and you may be able to choose from several color options.
But before you ignore all the other online retailers, consider the advantage of buying your boots from a brick and mortar store that gives you the option of asking the sales staff what they know about how satisfied customers are with boots that you are considering.
Weigh the benefits of trying a pair of boots on and walking around in them before you dole out $100 or more on a pair of leather pull-on boots from Timberland or Wolverine. Consider, too, the advantage of buying from a company that offers sale prices as well as coupons to loyal customers. In my view, Amazon is the best, but the others certainly have merit.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Are there specific shops that specialize in steel toes? What’s the best place to buy steel toe boots?
There are a few stores that sell only safety-toe boots, including boots with composite, alloy and steel in the toe. Steel-Toe-Shoes.com is a large firm that sells a whole range of safety-toe boots.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is associated more with sports shoes from Nike, Reebok or Adidas than they are for work boots. However, Dick’s sells several lines of steel-toe shoes. Overstock.com does, too. So does Target. Any or all of these options are a good place to look for a pair of steel-toe work boots.
Amazon is certainly a good place to look for a new pair of steel-toe work boots. The 4 other favorite stores also sell a variety of work boots with steel toes.
Q: Where’s the best place to find cheap work boots online?
A: If you want a really cheap work boot, then two really good places to start looking are Target and Walmart. They carry several brands of basic work boots for $50 or less. Safety toes, genuine leather uppers or non-slip soles will raise the price some, but you’ll still have a sturdy boot for reasonable cost. The trade-off will be in quality and comfort.
You may need to replace your boots in a few months or purchase special insoles to make your boots more comfortable, especially if you have flat feet that cause you pain in your foot and knee.
Another approach is to scour the websites of the 5 best places to buy work boots and look for the best deal on the type of boot you need. You’ll need to look frequently and be prepared to act fast. Great deals on work boots sell out fast, especially in the most popular sizes. One downside to this approach is that it’s time consuming.
It can be discouraging if you keep missing out on really cheap prices. If you’re up to the thrill of the hunt, this approach can nab you a pair of quality, comfortable boots for a fraction of the regular price. If the thought of going through that process makes you queasy, you may have to pay a bit more for your work boots.
Q: What are the best places to buy work boots?
A: There are so many places that sell work boots. You have almost limitless options. What’s best for you is the one that offers you the product, service and price combination that works for you.
You can choose between an exclusively-online retailer, a brick-and mortar-store that does not sell products online, or a company that sells online and through conventional stores. Amazon is a premier example of online-only selling. Small individually-owned stores that serve a particular community fall into the second category. Walmart epitomizes the retailer who sells online and through its network of stores. The middle category–the retailer that eschews online selling–is a vanishing breed. Most retailers sell online.
Within these categories of sellers, there are stores that sell a host of items, including shoes. The mainline discount and department stores like Target, Penney’s, Kohl’s, K-mart are all in this category. Walmart is perhaps the best current example. Amazon and ebay (at least for new products) exemplify the new wave of “discount store” retailers that provide a full array of products, but without the cost of store buildings and a sales staff.
Stores that focus on boots–largely or exclusively–are a 2nd type of store. Boot Barn, Work Boot’s Superstore and Sheplers fall into this category. Because they focus on fewer types of products, they can offer more brands and more styles within the brands they sell.
Q: What’s the best place to buy work boots online?
A: The 5 best places to buy work boots all operate online. A couple of them also have actual store buildings. Virtually any chain store will offer online ordering and shipping to your home or work place. The exception to this standard is the mom-and-pop specialty store with a very knowledgeable sales staff and extra amenities like repair services or extended return policy.
We believe Amazon is the very best place to buy work boots online, for the reasons we mentioned earlier. However, all of my favorites could be the best for you at a particular moment in time, given your price constraints and how quickly you need them. You might find, While browsing the web you might find another seller that has exactly what you need.