Vegan Steel Toe Work Boots: Top 3 Choices

As a construction foreman, you’ve seen too many people who injured their toes when they tripped over a concrete block sitting where it shouldn’t have been or accidentally dropped a hammer on one of their feet. You’re committed to wearing only vegan footwear, but you need a work shoe that offers lots of protection, including an ASTM-certified safety toe. What are the best vegan steel toe work boots options for you?

Updated April 2020 by Maya

vegan work boots

In a Hurry? The Top Pick:

cool shoe animal friendly

Timberland PRO Powertrain Industrial Shoe, Read on to find out why it’s the #1 pick.


Comparison table

MaterialWaterproofSafety ToeFeatures
Timberland PRO
Powertrain Shoe
Ripstop NylonResistantAlloy
Mid-rise shoe
EH safety rating
Antimicrobial lining
Abrasion resistant
View
DRKA Work Boots
Safety Shoes
MicrofiberResistantSteelLow-rise shoe
Oil & slip resistant outsole
View
Carhartt Lightweight
FastDry Technology
Synthetic upper
and sole
ResistantSteel
Ankle-high hiker
EH safety rating
Chemical & Abrasion
resistant outsole
View

Vegan Work Boots Features

Are made from quality synthetic materials

No animal hides are required to produce these work boots. Each of them incorporates nylon, microfiber or other synthetic materials rather than real leather in the upper. The synthetic rubber soles provide both traction and cushioning. These look and wear like leather work boots, but they utilize modern materials that don’t require animal skins, and, therefore are morally acceptable to vegans and vegetarians. 

It’s important to note that several iconic brands known for their leather men’s and women’s work boots don’t–at this point–make a work boot that contains no leather AND has a safety toe. This is the case with Thorogood, Skechers, Red Wing, Ariat and Danner, as well as Wolverine. They don’t have any work boots that fit the “vegan steel toe work boots” category.

Vegan steel toe work boots protect your toes from workplace dangers and feature soles that increase your safety. 

The top 3 picks are lace-up shoes that construction workers, carpenters and factory workers can wear comfortably. Although none has a traditional wedge sole, they all feature a modified wedge sole in which much of the shoe’s sole connects with the work surface. They all feature non-slip soles. Two are EH safety rated. The 3rd one dissipates static to prevent possible combustion dangers.  

The Timberland Pro boot uses a composite ALLOY safety toe which resists heat. The DRKA and Carhartt shoes use an actual STEEL toe. In work situations where heat is not a concern, a steel toe is often the best choice. It lasts longer and is usually stronger.

Although none of them are fully waterproof, all of these boots are water resistant. They resist abrasions too, and pass the test for durability and comfort. No customers mentioned annoying noises or squeaking.

These 3 work boots cover the gamut of features required for most of the really difficult work environments. 

Unless you’re a logger who needs a metatarsal guard, a puncture resistant sole and a 90-degree heel that’s 2 inches tall, you should find all the features you need in at least one of these vegan boots. 

Using varying shaft heights, construction materials, and shock-absorption systems, Timberland, DRKA, and Carhartt have designed shoes that go from factory floor to construction site equally well. They provide a wide array of benefits that workers in various jobs need to be able to work safely and comfortably.  

The 3 best vegan safety shoes for work

Timberland PRO Sport Industrial Shoe

The Timberland Construction Shoe is a sturdy work shoe with an alloy safety toe and a slip-resistant sole. The EH safety rating means that you are also protected from electrical shock. This shoe also features a mesh lining that provides odor control and an outsole designed to reduce fatigue. The price is higher for this shoe than for the others.

PROS

  • Antimicrobial lining to reduce odor
  • Mid-rise shoe to support ankle
  • Alloy toe that resists heat

CONS

  • Most expensive of the 3 top picks
  • This boot is water resistant
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

DRKA Men’s Steel Toe Water Resistant Safety Shoe

This Steel Toe Anti Static Work Sneaker by DRKA provides an ASTM-rated safety toe and the extra protection of an anti-static sole that’s safe to wear in a work setting where sparks from static could be hazardous. The sole is also slip-resistant and oil-resistant.

PROS

  • The least expensive, but not cheap
  • Oil-resistant and slip-resistant sole for extra protection 

CONS

  • Not waterproof, only water resistant
  • Low-rise shoe that comes only to the base of the ankle. It allows great freedom=om of movement, but does not protect the ankle
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Carhartt Lightweight FastDry Vegan Steel Toe Work Boots

From Carhartt’s line of work shoes, the lightweight high-top 6-inch, steel toe shoe (CMH4251) protects your toes with a safety toe of steel. The EH-rated sole shields you from electric shock and the non-slip, chemical-resistant soles provide good traction on the job or on the trail. 

PROS

  • FastDry technology moves moisture away from your feet and reduces odor
  • EH-rated for safety
  • High-top shoe covers the ankle for extra protection

CONS

  • Not fully waterproof, only water resistant
  • Metal safety toe conducts heat, so it isn’t safe in hot environments
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Conclusion

All 3 of these vegan steel toe work boots are a good choice for a vegan. They use non-leather materials and still provide the safety and protection that harsh work locations require.

The quality, durability and reputation of the Timberland PRO Powertrain Alloy Toe Construction Shoe make it my top choice. I also appreciate the shock-absorbing sole, and the removable cushioned insole that fights the growth of bacteria 

The two other shoes are not simply distant 2nd and 3rd options. The DRKA shoe is a terrific value for the money, and gets decent reviews. The Carhartt hiker is a lightweight, quick-drying shoe with many of the same features available in the Timberland shoe, and at a slightly lower price. Try the boot that fits your work situation best and see if you agree with my choices. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Should I purchase vegan work boots or vegan work shoes?

That depends on what your work situation requires. The 3 top picks for vegan work boots are actually work shoes. The reason for that is mostly pragmatic. The majority of actual work boots either

  • 1) have at least a leather upper, or
  • 2) are rubber boots used mostly in agricultural settings. 

Muck Boots, Tingley, Honeywell and Servus all provide some excellent rubber work boots. For all sorts of farmers or ranchers as well as fish and game wardens or others who deal with wet work environments.

They make an excellent option for vegan footwear.

Another source for vegan work shoes is the companies known for athletic footwear rather than work shoes. Merrell, Nike and Keen all now make footwear that includes no leather, but is durable enough for welding crews and factory workers.

They may not provide the advanced features like met guards and puncture-resistant soles needed by ironworkers or loggers, but for almost anyone else, these shoes are durable.

I am a vegan serving in the United States Army. What do you recommend as a good pair of vegan combat boots?

First, thank you for serving. 

Vegan combat boots offer more choices than most other vegan boot or shoe categories, as long as you aren’t required to have a safety toe in your combat boots. These companies offer at least a few options when it comes to vegan combat boots.

Dr. Martens-– Their Vegan 1460 Smooth Black Combat Boot is a short (6.5 inch tall) combat boot that’s 100% synthetic, including the sole. The sole is slip-resistant and abrasion-resistant, as well. With Goodyear welt construction, the Vegan 1460 can be resoled if needed. Dr. Martens makes a taller combat boot that’s also vegan.

Vegetarian Shoes— Like Dr. Martens, the combat boot by Vegetarian Shoes is also black. One difference between the 2 is that the 1460 is a glossy boot. The boot by Vegetarian Shoes is not. This is a taller boot, too, that features a grippy thermoplastic rubber sole, 10 sets of eyelets, and a padded footbed that is removable. 

For women, the Forever Link Round Toe Military Lace up Knit Ankle Cuff, Low Heel Combat Boot is an excellent option. This is also a black boot with 10 sets of laces. It’s made entirely of synthetic materials and gets good reviews for fit and comfort

Are Timberland vegan boots good options?

Yes, Timberland is one of the few “leather work boot companies” that makes a line of quality vegan boots.  The Timberland PRO brand is their super-durable line for men and women who work in hard environments. Within the PRO line is the Powertrain grouping of vegan boots. The Men’s Powertrain Alloy Toe Construction Shoe is one of the top picks and is featured in the chart above. 

The vegan Powertrain shoe also comes in an alloy toe or a soft toe option. Ripstop nylon is the fabric used on the upper. It’s durable yet comfortable. It dries quickly and is lightweight. Timberland combines the nylon upper with a grippy synthetic sole that also provides shock absorption. 

The Powertrain line is available in a couple of color options and gets good reviews. If you’re looking for a vegan work shoe that’s really rugged, the Powertrain line is an excellent option to consider. 

What are the best vegan Vegan hiking boots?

As a group, vegan hiking boots are one of the larger segments of vegan footwear. The traditional hiking boot manufacturers including Merrell, Columbia, Keen, Hi-Tec and Salomon all include some vegetarian shoes in their lines. Leaders in the athletic shoe market have also added vegan products. Nike, Adidas and Puma include vegetarian shoes. The number of products has increased recently as a result of increasing demand.

If you want a Vegan zero-drop hiking shoe, choose from among products by Vivobarefoot, Native Shoes, and Zero Shoes. Specialty vegan shoe companies like Xpeti, Vegetarian Shoes, and Altra offer several lines of hiking shoes as well.

The shoes that are best for you are the ones that fit your feet well. And mesh with your beliefs about conservation, animal cruelty, and ethical purchasing

What vegan cowboy boots are available?

Vegan cowboy boots are available in relatively few styles. Roper Boots makes a non-leather cowboy boot with a short heel and a square toe. Their Vintage Western Boot is one of the few traditional cowboy boots that isn’t leather. 

If you search the websites of Justin Boots, Durango and Ariat and type in “vegan” you get no results. Try again with the words “non leather,” and you get accessories that include socks or an inexpensive pair of kid’s boots composed of man-made materials. Most makers of traditional cowboy boots for men and women use leather for at least the upper of their footwear. 

This applies even to some less expensive products from Guide Gear and Old West Boots.  Even though they are marketing to price-conscious customers, the companies use leather uppers for their pull-on boots.  

Roper Boots is the exception to the rule. Their product line includes a number of leather shoes and boots in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes. But they also make several slip-on cowboy boots–as well as other types of shoes–in vegan-friendly styles.

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