Best American Made Work Boots | 5 Finest Safety, Logger & Wedge Styles

It’s about time for you to replace your work boots. You won’t replace them with the same brand you’re wearing since the company recently moved all its production facilities offshore. You’ve always bought only American-made boots and intend to continue that practice. What U.S. companies manufacture a great work boot still actually made on American soil, and what are the best American made work boots?

Updated Feb 2020 by Tony Bleak

best american made work boots

In a Hurry? Here’s our Pick

Thorogood American Heritage Boot, Read on to find out why.


Comparison table

Waterproof Safety Toe Features
Danner Quarry
Work Boot
Yes Soft
EH safety rated
Triple stitched
Vibram Sole
Oil-, Slip resistant
View
Chippewa Rugged
Lace Up Boot
Resistant Soft Slip resistant
Vibram Sole
View
Carolina
Logger Boots
Yes Soft
EH safety rated
Steel shank
View
Thorogood American
Heritage Boot
Yes Composite Made in the USA
Fiberglass shank
Wedge Style
slip resistant
Goodyear welt construction
View
Red Wing Heritage
Boot
No Soft Triple stitched
Norwegian welt construction
View

Key Features 

The best American-made work boots are made of leather. 

Leather

Yes, there are other materials that can be, and quite often are, used to craft a quality upper for a work boot, but the best boots made in the USA are made from leather. Part of the reason lies in the fact that all the companies making them have been crafting footwear for several decades. A few have been in business for more than a century.  When these companies began, the material available for making boots was leather–both for uppers and for soles. Leather from horses, cows and pigs was readily available. So, the craftsmen learned the art of turning animal hide into a sturdy, comfortable foot covering.

Leather continues to be THE material of choice for American boot manufacturers because of its inherent qualities. Leather is durable. It’s breathable and allows foot moisture to escape rather than be trapped and get putrid. It’s comfortable because it molds to your foot.  If it’s crafted with care, it’s both stylish and rugged. And, If you take care of leather, it lasts a long time. 

Job Diversity

The best American-made boots incorporate a range of features to meet the diverse needs of US workers. 

Our 5 best boots incorporate features that cover the broad range of work settings that American workers in all sorts of jobs, locations, and climates may need. Logger boots like the Carolina Logger we recommend provide a rugged outsole that lets you cross uneven, slippery terrain in safety, even in winter weather. These boots look tough because they are tough, with triple-stitched seams and sturdy lacing systems. 

If you’re a farmer or a cowboy you may need a boot that you can get on and off quickly. At the same time, you need to protect your feet from heavy, dangerous equipment or heavy, sometimes unpredictable, livestock. Boots like Thorogood’s American Heritage Wellington meet your requirements. 

Those examples hardly scratch the surface of the array of work situations American workers face on a daily basis. For that reason, makers of work shoes add an array of features like safety toes, met guards and puncture resistant soles. They incorporate those features into boots of various heights, styles, and colors.  

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The 5 best American made work boots

Danner Quarry USA Black Work Boot 8-Inch

Danner’s Quarry Work Boot looks like it’s ready to handle any tough job. The black upper is triple stitched to protect the waterproof, yet breathable, liner. The rugged, lugged Vibram sole is slip-resistant and oil resistant. It’s worth noting that the Quarry boot is a soft-toe boot.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Slip resistant 
  • Removable insole

CONS

  • No safety toe
  • Expensive
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Chippewa Rugged Handcrafted Boot

In its 6” Rugged Lace-up Boot, Chippewa features a lightweight boot with a slip-resistant Vibram sole and D-ring lacing hardware. The cushioned insole is removable. The result is a stylish boot, durable enough for situations that do not require a waterproof boot or a safety toe. 

PROS

  • Slip resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Removable insole

CONS

  • Not waterproof 
  • No safety toe
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Carolina Boots: 8 Inch Logger Boot CA8821

Carolina’s 8” Waterproof Logger’s Boot is tough enough to get you across rugged terrain and keep your feet dry in the process. The rubber outsole provides great traction and the steel shank gives plenty of support. The CA8821 isn’t insulated, something to factor in if you work in a cold climate.

PROS

  • Waterproof 
  • Steel shank
  • Slip resistant

CONS

  • No safety toe
  • No insole
  • Not insulated
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Thorogood American Heritage, MAXWear Wedge Boot

Thorogood’s American Heritage Wellington provides protection and comfort in a slip-on boot. This water-resistant safety-toe boot features a removable shock absorbing insole, a fiberglass shank, and a grippy MaxWear sole.

PROS

  • Shock-absorbing insole 
  • Slip resistant sole
  • EH rated

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Not waterproof
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc 6” Boot

Red Wing’s 6” Moc Toe Boot is a classic short boot with triple-stitched seams for durability and synthetic traction tread for sure-footed working and walking. Leather insole provides breathability. This is a great boot if you don’t need a safety toe.

PROS

  • Slip resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof

CONS

  • No safety toe 
  •  Not EH rated
  • Expensive
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Customer Impression

A significant number of these customers purchase these work boots because they are American made. 

Read the feedback they leave and you see that they say as much. They mention several reasons, including the fact that they like the heritage of American manufacturing and want it to continue. Some say they want to support companies that provide their employees a living wage and/or are unionized. Still others are frank in their distrust of foreign manufacturing, especially Chinese firms. 

Most of the negative feedback centers on defects that purchasers feel are obvious issues.

Without exception, these 5 boots get very good reviews. They fit well and are very comfortable even for workers who stand on concrete for long hours or work with harsh chemicals. They are durable and good-looking, even stylish.

When customers leave negative feedback, it’s almost always because of an obvious flaw. Lax quality control is–very specifically–blamed in several instances where customers could see that the boots didn’t look right when they come out of the box. Customers mention soles that were different thicknesses or lacing eyelets that were loose.

The other problem that irritates customers is when they receive a product that they believe really isn’t new. In this case, they see the culprit more as the middleman than the manufacturer. Both of these issues are particularly frustrating since,as a whole, American-made work boots are not cheap. Customers feel particularly disappointed if their expectations are not met. 

Conclusion

Choosing the “best of the best” is difficult, especially since these boots have a number of different features to meet varying work situations. If you need a tall safety boot with a wedge sole, then the Thorogood American Heritage MAXWear Wedge Safety Toe Boot is the obvious choice. The Chippewa is a great second choice if you are working on a tighter budget but still an excellent choice as one of the best American made work boots.

I am a logger & need a comfortable American made logger boot. What do you suggest? 

There really aren’t tons of choices available to you if you want a logger’s boot that’s made in the USA. I’ve listed 3 good possibilities below.  They are all at least 9” tall, and feature a 100% leather upper, a lugged sole and a well-defined heel. They get good customer feedback and at least 75% “fit as expected” scores.

Carolina CA928 USA UNION MADE LINEMAN LOGGER Soft Toe Non-Insulated Boot–This is a 16” tall black boot with a deeply lugged Vibram sole. The Lineman Logger has separate “left and right” steel shanks for extra arch support and less pressure-point pain. The vamps are lined and the insoles are cushioned.  

Chippewa Men’s 9″ Waterproof Insulated Steel-Toe EH Logger Boot--This Chippewa boot features Goodyear welt construction, a waterproof bootie, a Dri Lex lining, and 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation. The orthotic insole is removable. This boot is EH rated for safety.

Thorogood Men’s Logger Series – 9″ Waterproof, Safety Toe Boot–The Thorogood American made logger boots have a Vibram outsole, a removable footbed that also absorbs shock, and a waterproof membrane. The shank is made of steel.

What are the most popular American made work boot brands? 

An increasing number of US-based shoe manufacturers design their shoes in the States, but manufacture them overseas. These companies include Irish Setter, Ariat, Skechers, Carhartt, Diehard and Timberland. The following companies manufacture at least some of their products in America.

Chippewa Boots

Chippewa Boots manufactures recreational and work boots for men as well as a smaller line of men’s casual shoes and women’s shoes and boots. Founded in 1901, under the name Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company, the company is based in Chippewa Falls, WI.

Wolverine Worldwide

Founded in 1880. The diverse manufacturing and engineering company is known as Wolverine Worldwide. The Wolverine name stems from the company’s use of Wolverine horsehide in their handmade shoes. Today’s Wolverine line includes work and casual shoes for men and women. Wolverine Worldwide has a licensing agreement with Caterpillar for the CAT line of casual, work and athletic footwear, and also owns the Merrell brand.

Thorogood Shoes

Thorogood Shoes are manufactured in Wisconsin by the Weinbrenner Shoe Co. In business since 1892, Weinbrenner’s has provided boots for soldiers in World War I and World War II, and for decades of Boy Scouts. Weinbrenner focuses on Job-fitted footwear. In addition to “regular” boots for men, women and children, the Thorogood line includes safety boots, military boots, fire boots and overshoes.

Justin Boots

Justin Boot’s tagline, “Handcrafted Since 1879,” says a lot about the company. Known for their lines of classic cowboy boots that feature both pointy-toe and square-toe boots. Western and roper lines for both men and women are popular.

Georgia Boot

Manufactured by the Georgia Shoe Manufacturing Company based in Atlanta. Its American-made lines are manufactured in Puerto Rico. Georgia Boots produces lines for farmers, ranchers, and loggers, as well as general lines of work boots for construction and ironworkers.

Red Wing

The Red Wing Shoe Company was founded in 1905. Most of its lines of boots are manufactured in Minnesota, Missouri or Kentucky. Red Wing is best known for heavy-duty work boots. They now also manufacture athletic-style work boots that rival the look of a Keen or Nike work shoe.

Additionally, they provide specialized shoes with metatarsal guards for the mining and logging industries. One of the most well known American made work boot brands.

Danner

Manufactured since 1932. Their handcrafted lines include specialty boots for hunters, law enforcement officers and the military, as well as several lines of work boots with a variety of features.

Carolina Boots

The Carolina Shoe Company relocated its production facilities to Pennsylvania in 2006, after years of being located in North Carolina. The company produces quality work boots with a full line of features for men and women.

What Materials do American Safety Boots use?

3 basic types of materials are used in safety-toe boots.

Steel–The first material used in safety boots. Steel is rugged and holds up well. It’s generally the least expensive of the three options. The downside of using steel in the toe of a boot is that it is heavy. A steel toe adds weight to your boot. Multiply that additional weight by the thousands of steps you make walk in a day, and you see how a steel toe can increase the stress on your feet, legs and back.

Composite–Composite materials are lighter–up to 30% lighter than steel. Not made of metal, they don’t heat up or cool down like steel does. However, they may break down quicker than a steel toe, so they may not be rated to protect against as much weight. 

Alloy–Alloy materials combine lightweight materials like aluminum and titanium to produce very strong allos that are also lightweight. Alloys are sometimes stronger than steel and more lightweight than composites. The downside is that they are more expensive, especially with American safety boots.

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