Best Work Boots for Ironworkers | Are Thorogood Wedges Unbeatable?

Ironworking is one of the most physically demanding jobs. The activities carried out by an ironworker include many dangers. Some of the common hazards include falling and muscle strains. Being an ironworker welder is hard work. Getting a pair of protective boots is one of the best ways to protect yourself as an ironworker. Choosing the right boot out of the hundreds that are available in the market is hard. Fortunately, with a bit of investigation and research and testing I have found the best work boots for ironworkers.

Updated Feb 2020 by Tony Bleak

5 Best Work Boots for Ironworkers

In a Hurry? Here’s the Top Pick:

Thorogood American Heritage Read on to find out why.

ironworker safety shoes

Comparison Chart

Waterproof
Safety ToeFeatures
Thorogood American HeritageYesChoice of
Composite
or Steel
Made in the USA
Fiberglass shank
Goodyear welt construction
View
Timberlands PRO BoondockYesCompositeShock absorbing midsole
Heavy duty features
Highly Durable
View
Caterpillar Second ShiftResistantSteel100% Leather
Oil-resistant outsole
Over 3900 reviews!
View
Wolverine Loader work bootYesSteel100% Leather
Goodyear Welt construction
Wedge Sole
View
Everboots Tank work bootYesSoftGoodyear Welt Construction
Steel Shank
Runs 1/2 size big
View

Key Features in Ironworker Boots

To get a boot that protects you from all the hazards and injuries associated with ironworking and welding, you need to be familiar with the most important features. Here is a rundown of what to look out for:

Resistant To Electric Shock

Iron is a good conductor of electricity. Iron working involves the use of electrical equipment and it, therefore, goes without saying that this is one of the vital features to look out for in the best ironworker boot.

Comfort

This is a key feature to look out for in all types of boots. This job is already difficult and dangerous, you do not want to complicate things further by wearing uncomfortable shoes. Among the ‘comfort’ features to look out for is a properly cushioned footbed.

Raised Covers

Your ironworking boots should be a bit taller with a cover that comfortably protects your calf and skin. Taller boots allow you to tuck in your pants whenever it is necessary. 

Slip Resistant

The sole of the ideal ironworking boot should be slip-resistant. With this, you get rid of the fear of risking a slip or fall while on your job. Slipping and falling are potentially one of the most dangerous hazards in iron-working jobs, or any jobs in dangerous environments, that could cause serious injuries.

Durability

It is better to buy an expensive boot that will serve you for a longer period than invest in a low-quality one that needs multiple replacements just because it is initially cheap.  It actually ends up being more expensive if you end up purchasing multiple “cheap” pairs vs a single good pair.

Certification

Because of the nature of the work, your choice of iron working shoes should be approved or certified by the ASTM (American Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection); the authorised safety regulatory authority in the country.

Waterproof

Your ironworker boot should be completely waterproof. If water or other particles like dust find their way into your boot, it will make your feet feel uncomfortable. Additionally, a combination of the two, with the warmth of your foot, creates a perfect breeding space for bacteria. Suffering from bacterial or fungal infection is the last thing you want. Get waterproof boots if nothing else.

The 5 Best Work Boots for Ironworkers

Thorogood and Timberland are some of the top quality brands in the market. With the above-mentioned guidelines, here is a list of the top 5 work boots for ironworkers.  

Thorogood American Heritage Safety Toe Boot

American Heritage is one of the quality boots by Thorogood. It’s 100% pure leather and the rounded steel toe assures an added protection. This boot has a removable and washable footbed which boosts the comfort of the boot’s insole. Has a non slip wedge rubber sole which will greatly augment your stability while at work. 

One major disadvantage of this boot is that the finishing of the stitching is not smooth. The insoles also tend to wear off pretty quickly. 

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Waterproof
  • It’s durable

Cons

  • It’s pricey
  • Insoles wear out
  • Poor stitching finish
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Timberland PRO 8″ Boondock Comp-Toe Waterproof Work Boot

The Titan safety toe on this boot will protect your toes from any falling metals. The boot comes with a firmly fitted synthetic sole and it is made from leather. The walls are made of 100% waterproof leather and the collar is padded for extra comfort.

Pros

  • Firm and stable heel cup
  • Shock-absorbing midsole to manage fatigue
  • Feels warm and very comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Composite toe

Cons

  • They are expensive
  • Lace eyelets rip off fast
  • A little heavy
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot

The high-quality rubber sole makes the shoe slip-resistant. The steel toe provides added protection. The boot comes with a nylon mesh for added comfort and convenient breathability. This makes the shoe comfortable and free from undesired odours. 

The main unattractive feature about these boots is that they have a snug toe. This might feel too tight or cause blisters especially if your toe area is above average wide. 

Pros

  • Great fitting and comfortable
  • It’s water-resistant
  • The boot is breathable but warm
  • Pure leather, therefore very durable
  • Prices are budget friendly

Cons

  • Low-quality lacing
  • Has a snug fit toe box
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Wolverine Men’s Loader 8″ Steel Toe Wedge Work Boot

Wolverine is a popular brand for mens and womens boots and this particular boot from the company does not disappoint. The wedge design outsole is 100% resistant to both oil and water. The rubber is also shock resistant providing you with additional protection from electrical dangers. 

Pros

  • Available in different shades; black, brown.
  • Has a variety of fittings, i.e. small, medium and large sizes
  • Made from 100% pure leather thus durable
  • a comfortable and removable footbed
  • Budget-friendly
  • Fitted with a protective steel toe
  • The wedged outsole helps drop dirt easily

Cons

  • The footbed wears off faster than expected
  • Slightly heavier than the average work boot 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

EVER BOOTS Soft Toe Leather Insulated “Tank” Work Boots

This is the boot to go for if you are in search of an ironworker protective gear but are on a tight budget. This boot is made of leather and with a rubber sole. It has a removable insole and comes with a stable and slip-resistant rubber outsole.

Pros

  • The boots are affordable
  • Have a comfortable fitting
  • Removable cushioned insole
  • Comfortably fitting toe box
  • Good safety shoes ideal for both men and women
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • They are a bit stiff and need break in 
  • They tend to scuff
  • Wear out easily
  • Low-quality lacing affecting the firmness of the boot
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Customer Impression

We all have different tastes and preferences. Different customers have had different opinions of the boots reviewed above. Below is a look at some of the consumer impressions.

The Thorogood American Heritage

was generally accepted as an appropriate boot for an ironworker. The fitting is as expected giving it an over 80% approval on Amazon. The fact that these boots were easy to clean and waterproof was also appealing to many users. 

Some users found the Thorogood Heritage more durable than some other expensive brands. Nevertheless, some customers who have made several purchases at different times complained that the quality is not consistent and that some boots had poor finishes.

The Timberland PRO 8″ Boondock

got an approval rating of over 84%. Though this boot is expensive, many said it was worth the value. It has a firm and stable fitting and it’s quite comfortable to walk and work in. 

The leather boots are also durable and ideal for heavy-duty tasks. While some customers feel that the boot broke down too soon, many of the verified purchasers mentioned of three-five years’ service with some still counting. 

Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift

Over 80% of Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot purchasers say it fits as expected. There are a few complaints on the durability with several complaints specific to the wear and tear of the outsole. 

Some users also complained about the slip resistance of the shoe with many saying the slip protection is not reliable. Given its low price, many recommend the shoe saying it endures stress. 

The Wolverine Men’s Loader

This boot met the expectation of approximately 60% of the customers. That the boot has a large fitting making it feel uncomfortable was one of the main complaints. There is also a notable number of complaints on the durability of the shoe.

Customers who liked the boot commended the wedge design saying it felt comfortable. The outsole is also as firm and stable. Ironworkers loved the steel toe because it offers additional protection in their line on duty. Many consumers also said that this boot was also appealing to the eye.

EVER BOOTS Soft Toe

Lastly, the EVER BOOTS Soft Toe size fitting received approval of 83%. Many users praised the comfort that this boot offers saying it is more valuable considering the price it sells at. 

These boots are firm and stable and easy to clean and maintain. The excellent slip-resistant rubber soles is a feature that many buyers got attached to.  

Conclusion

The best pair of ironworker boots will go a long way in protecting you. You will also have the courage to work confidently knowing that you are not risking common injuries like hitting your toes or being crushed by some of the heavy tools that are used in ironworking. 

A boot with a good sole will also ensure that you have the right traction. This will help you work without the fear of falling on wet and slippery surfaces. The waterproof feature will have you work without worry even during rainy days. 

The boots reviewed above are good picks for people in search of a good boot that will come in handy in your ironworking career. 

The Thorogood American Men’s Heritage is the top pick as the best work boots for ironworkers. The boot is made in America, is made of  high quality leather thus guaranteeing you durability. The tough leather provides sufficient protection to your feet whenever you are at work. I also love the fact that this boot adheres to ASTM electrical hazard protection which is very important for ironworkers. 

Your safety comes first, and any of the above boots will get the job done. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Which are the best ironworker boots?

Many popular boot brands offer protection to Iron workers. Depending on your budget, you can shop for boots from trusted brands such as Thorogood, Wolverine, Irish Settler, Ariat Red Wing and Caterpillar.

The boots lace up should be firm all the way to the collar. The boot should have a structure that offers you all-round protection for ankle, foot support, metatarsal and toe protection. Similar to logger lineman boots specifications. The outsole should be able to withstand the tough environments like construction sites that are the norm for iron works.

Pull on boots are not ideal as they are a slightly more loose fit. Ironworkers need boots that are like second skin–a supportive well, padded second skin– that is not loose in the slightest as a cowboy slip on design might be.

The best ironworker boots are lightweight, waterproof with an EH rating.  As an Ironworker you are exposed to many electrical hazards, exposing your feet to water contact could cause a lot of danger like electrical shocks.

Avoid fungal and bacterial infections with a boot that is both insulated for winter and also has a breathable design with mesh lining design to keep your feet from sweating.

Why do ironworkers wear wedge boots?

Wedge soles are made from one piece of rubber that comes from the heel of the boot to the toe. Unlike heel sole boots, a wedge boot normally has the whole outsole resting on the ground. Many leading brands have a variety of their boots with a wedge sole. 

There are several reasons why ironworkers go for these type of heels. These are:

  • Wedge soles do not cause strain to parts of your feet. This is because the sole has your weight evenly distributed across the entire foot. Once worn, a wedge sole boot will feel more comfortable as the entire foot feels cushioned on the same level. 
  • Because of their design, wedge boots do not accumulate too much dirt on the sole. This eases the movements of an ironworker as he goes about his duties. Wedge soles are slip and oil resistant. 
  • Another reason why ironworkers wear wedge boots is that many of these boots can incorporate a variety of protective features. For instance, the boot could have a steel toe and shank. These boots also have electrical hazard protection. 

Why do ironworkers wear wedge boots? Ironworkers use these boots for easier, more secure and stable movements while working on the high beams. 

What boots do ironworkers wear?

Ironworkers wear boots that will protect from multiple hazards and dangers that unfold each and every day. This is dangerous work and you need to be well equipped and ready to face such an environment. 

For an ironworker, the ideal boots protect from electrical hazards. The boots need to be anti slip, wedge heels, waterproof, fitted with a safety toe or at least puncture resistant lace up. Since ironworkers face long hours, the boot need to be comfortable with good cushioning and support around the ankle. The taller the boots the better to help tuck in the pant legs. 

What boots do ironworkers wear? Many ironworkers wear boots from trusted brands like Thorogood and Wolverine, among others. There’s a high preference for boots made from pure leather and those that come in tobacco or black colours.

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