In this guide, you will discover the best ASTM-approved work boots for men.
- Most Comfortable: Wolverine Legend Durashocks Carbonmax
- Arch Support: Timberland Pro Pit Boss Steel Toe
- Tactical & Combat: Timberland Pro Valor Duty
- Premium Boots: Irish Setter 83604
- Logger Boot: Carolina Elm Waterproof
- Rigger Boots: Dr Martins Work 2295 Rigger
- Chelsea Boots: Dr Martens Fellside
- Ankle Boots: Keen Utility Flint Low
- Under $100: Caterpiller Threshold Steel Toe
- Budget Tactical: Magnum Response III Side-Zip
Use the links above to jump ahead and learn more about the boots that interest you the most.
Quick Buyer’s Guide
In a hurry and just want the best work boots that suit your needs? Use the quick buy guide below to head straight to the retailers. Alternatively, scroll down to read about each pair.
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We’re generally very fond of Wolverine and their work shoes are impressive to say the least. They’re particularly comfortable and offer all the key features you’d want from work boots.
Comfort is ensured thank to H-Plate suspension that returns energy as well as shock-absorbing compression sidewalls. Furthermore, they’re waterproof full-grain leather and feature a nanotechnology CarbonMax safety toe for a lighter and more ergonomic fit.
We really love the two-tone brown boots but they’re also available in a darker brown as well as tactical matte black.
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Timberland are renowned for providing solid footwear for work. The Pit Boss is no exception as well as being a stylish Nubuck leather 6″ boot.
As well as meeting the ASTM standards mentioned above, there’s a very comfortable open-cell polyurethane footbed with antimicrobial treatment. Thanks to their Pro 24/7 Comfort Suspension technology, you can expect all-day comfort thanks to a nylon shock diffusion plate and a Goodyear welt.
Whilst we’re fond of the tan Nubuck leather, you can also opt for either the black or brown options instead. Each are very stylish with that iconic Timberland appeal.
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The most exceptional tactical boots that we’ve encountered, Timberland have surpassed themselves. Made with premium materials, expect the most protective and stylish high-quality boots.
With the hazards faced by the military and emergency services, expect these boots to meet the majority of ASTM standards. Furthermore, these boots feature waterproof full-grain leather and ballistic nylon uppers, which are pathogen resistant. Meanwhile a composite safety toe provides protection whilst the moulded EVA midsole offers lightweight cushioned comfort.
Being tactical boots, it’s no surprise that these boots are only available in black. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll need them in another colour!
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A utility brand owned by Red Wing, Irish Setter features some stunning and practical boots. We love the worn saddle full-grain leather and were impressed by the lightweight aluminium toe cap too.
Besides adhering to the ASTM standards above, you can expect a steel shank for increased support as well as the aforementioned aluminium toe cap. Furthermore, a PU footbed offers all-day cushioned comfort. Similarly, there’s a Irish Setter’s unique ENDURANCE Arrowhead outsole for added traction.
Although only available in a deep Oxblood brown, we’re still in love with the worn saddle style that it creates. Even if there we other options, we’d doubt that we’d prefer them over this.
If you work in the lumber trade, you’ll need boots that can handle nature’s obstacles but can provide the necessary protection the hazards ahead of you. We were unfamiliar with Carolina until we came across the Elm boots. They’re fantastic and very stylish as well as comfortable.
With compression and impact ASTM standards, these are ideal for outdoor use. The steel toe is an added bonus as well as a triple-rib steel shank. The boots are also waterproof with a SCUBALINER system yet breathes thanks to Taibrelle lining.
Only available in Carolina’s so-called “Crazy Horse” leather, we love the style and colour. With a vintage effect, they’ll age well against the elements and look great even after years of punishment.
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Dr Martens have a well-established reputation for making work boots that are so stylish that they’re deeply ingrained into our popular culture. Today they’ve expanded into more specialised working shoes as well as their iconic ranges. Rigger boots were first used on oil rigs in the UK’s North Sea. They’re also fantastic safety boots for working on sites.
As well as meeting all the necessary ASTM standards, these boots are like durable heavy-duty Wellingtons. Convenient to just pull on, they’re water-resistant, and non-slip as they were designed for oil rigs. Furthermore, the air-cushioned outsole and Smarmask insole ensure premium comfort.
Dr Martens realise that their shoes are fashion icons as well as utility boots. Therefore, several options are available, which all feature Dr Marten’s famous yellow stitching and soles. You can opt for either black, dark brown or even a weathered-looking vintage tan.
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Whether you’re working in a factory, workshop or even on a site, you might want the convenience of smaller, slip-on boots. As stylish as Dr Marten’s regular line-up, these working Chelsea boots offer robust and heavy-duty performance.
Featuring all the best ASTM standards as well as static dissipation, you can also enjoy the Softwear memory foam footbed for a truly comfortable fit. The welt construction is heat sealed like all Dr Martens boots and the soles offer slip-resistance with a Grip-Trax lug.
Available in either black or brown, we love these Chelsea boots from Dr Martens. They look just as good as their regular Chelseas yet offer superior protection for heavy-duty work.
If you prefer a little less ankle protection in order to benefit from added flexibility, there are boot options available. Keen is known for its utility boots and we’re very fond of their Flints for lightweight and comfortable footwear that still offer the necessary protection.
Featuring a steel toe as well as the ASTM standards listed above, you can also enjoy the contoured heel lock for increased stability. There’s even a removable dual-density EVA footbed for long-lasting cushioning and support.
There are only two colour schemes available, which are those that Keen is best known for. You can choose between their attractive shitake brown and rust red or Gargoyle grey and shark fin.
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Being on a tighter budget doesn’t prevent you from getting hold of some decent work boots. Caterpillar has often offered excellent value for money. These classic work boots won’t let you down.
With the usual ASTM standards met, you also benefit from a steel toe. The durable rubber outsole is oil resistant and the cushioned footbed is made with ERGO comfort technology for a reactive boot.
Two colour schemes are available. One is brown, which features some black accents and the other is jet black save from the yellow Caterpillar logo. Whilst we prefer the brown, both are excellent.
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Whatever the reason, you may be looking for more affordable tactical boots. Perhaps you’re a reservist or a cadet, for instance. Magnum is a well-known favourite brand for law enforcement that offers affordable footwear.
Matching the minimum ASTM standards, there’s also a safety toe. Furthermore, be sure to get the side zip even if they’re slightly more expensive as they’re ideal if your feet do get injured. You also have a fibreglass shank for extra stability and support as well as a carbon rubber outsole.
Of course, being tactical boots, these are only available in black. Then again, would you need them in another colour?
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What Are ASTM Standards?
As work boots are subject to a lot of stress and their wearers face many hazards, steps have been put into place for ensuring that utility footwear meets certain standards.
Therefore, the American Society For Testing & Materials (ASTM) has outlined a series of rigorous and strict tests for this very reason. This is helpful when purchasing utility footwear as it prevents false promises from manufacturers.
You’ll also benefit from the piece of mind that your boots will protect you from certain hazards. Finally, in order to bear the ASTM markings, the certification must be performed by independent third-party laboratories.
How Do I Know My Boots Meet These Standards?
When buying shoes, these are normally mentioned somewhere on the retailer’s site or on the box. We’ve ensured to list all ASTM standards met by each shoe featured on this page.
However, if you already own a pair and want to check whether they meet the standards, it has to be marked somewhere on the footwear.
Check the following areas to see whether they have been stamped or stitched in:
- Quarter Lining
If you can’t find mention of this, there’s a chance that the shoes don’t meet the correct standards. Furthermore, if your profession encounters some hazards, it may be best to make the investment and avoid future injury.
What The ASTM Standards Mean
There a number of codes that usually follow the ASTM initials, which can be confusing and hard to decipher. A typical pair of work boots will usually be presented like this:
- ASTM F2413-11 M I/75 C/75 EH
As you will have noticed above, we’ve listed out each of the boots featured on this page with their standards. Let’s take a quick look at what each of these mean.
Test Methods & Performance Requirements
The first codes that you’ll typically see are a letter followed by four digits, a dash then two more digits. These are the most basic safety tests and minimum performance requirements of a boot.
If the footwear undergoes any changes, the ASTM label becomes invalid and will need renewing through more tests. Additionally, the dash followed by two digits indicates the year of the standard, which may be 2005, 2011 or 2017.
F2412: Test Methods For Foot Protection
This specifies that the footwear underwent particular test methods for measuring their protective resistance against specific hazards. Each test contains certain requirements and they evaluate the following:
- Impact Resistance (I): Measuring impact resistance for the toe area.
- Compression Resistance (C): Measuring compression resistance for the toe area.
- Metatarsal Protection (MT): Reduced chance of injury at the top of the foot.
- Conductive Properties (CD): The ability to conduct static electricity, which prevents build-up and igniting volatile chemicals.
- Electrical Hazard (EH): Insulation to prevent shock when stepping on live wires.
- Static Dissipative Properties (SD): Preventing static buildup whilst offering electrical insulation to the wearer.
- Puncture Resistance (PR): The ability to prevent punctures from sharp objects.
Note that the boot will not necessarily meet all of these requires but needs only to meet some to confirm to the ASTM methods.
F2413: Specification For Performance Requirements For Protective Footwear
ASTM F2413 evaluates the footwear by referencing the F2412 tests methods described above. It analyses the fit, function and performance of the boots so that they can be recognised as protective footwear.
Like the F4212, the footwear may not meet all of the requirements listed but will have to mention those it does as well as their relevant scores.
Furthermore, F2413 specifications also include other performance requirements. These include:
- Chain saw cut resistance: to protect the area between the toe and lower leg when operating a chainsaw.
- Dialectric Insulation: Additional insulation if contact is made with live wires or circuits.
F2892: Standard Specification For Performance Requirements For Soft Toe Protective Footwear
Since there are some professions that don’t require safety toes, ASTM created a separate specification for testing soft toes. This particular specification covers the minimum requirements for footwear performance for soft shoes.
As such, it makes sure that boots provide protection against a variety of workplace hazards that don’t put the toe area at risk. You may see these in the entries above for shoes that are available in both soft and safety toe options.
F2892 tests will evaluate the same requirements as F4212 and F4213 save for impact and compression resistance as these affect the toes.
An older standard dating back to 1967 and revised in 1999, ANSI Z41 has since been replaced by both the F2412 and F2413 standards. Whilst you may come across older boots with the ANSI Z41 safety requirements, it’s becoming rarer as it has been withdrawn.
Nowadays, most boots will feature the newer standards unless they’ve been on the shelves since 2005! However, manufacturers are not prohibited from labelling a product with an outdated standard. Nevertheless, it’s in their interest to update this as it’ll make them more technically relevant today.
Specification Tests & Scoring
Gender (M or F)
Firstly, it’s mentioned whether the shoe is designed for men or women in mind with either an M or F. This is because certain criteria are tested differently depending on the designated gender of the boot’s wearer.
Impact Resistance (I)
This particular test is performed by dropping both a 50 (22.7 kg) and 75-pound (34 kg) weight from a height of 1.5 feet (457.2 mm). Depending on the weight, which the safety toe can withstand, the boot will be certified I/50 or I/75 respectively.
Compression Resistance (C)
Instead of testing the resistance against a sudden impact, here the boots are evaluated for how the withstand pressure. Boots that withstand compressive loads of 1,750 pounds (764 kg) are rated C/50 whilst C/75 is certified to those that can resist 2,500 pounds (1134 kg).
Metatarsal Protection (MT)
Fewer work boots offer certified metatarsal protective footwear. In order to do so, they must meet both the impact and compression 75 rating requirements. Here, another 50-pound (22.7 kg) weight is dropped from a height of 1.5 feet (457.2 mm) onto the top of the shoe.
If it withstands the resulting force, it will meet the MT/75 standard. Furthermore, the clearance required under the metatarsal guard is gender specific here with 1 inch (25.4 mm) for men and 0.937 inches (23.8 mm) for women.
Conductive Properties (CD)
Electrical Hazard (EH)
EH is another certification added to the ASTM rating without a score. Without penetrating it, the sole is tested to see if it can withstand 18,000 volts at 60 Hz for 60 seconds with no current flow in excess of 1.0 mA.
Static Dissipative Properties (SD)
SD achieves a similar end to CD but through different means. Rather than ensuring that the body remains discharged to prevent sparks, SD prevents the buildup of charge in the first place. Here to footwear is tested to see whether its resistance is greater than 1,000,000 ohms and does not excellent 1000,000,000 ohms.
Puncture Resistance (PR)
Here, the shoe is simply tested to withstand a nail penetration force of 270 pounds (123 kg).
International Safety Standards
Of course, the USA doesn’t host the only safety standards and these are only applied to shoes retailed in America. Meanwhile, Canada and Europe have their own standard requirements too:
EN ISO 20345:2011
Approved by the European Committee for Standardisation in 2004 and revised in 2011, ISO 20345:2011 outlines basic and optional requirements for safety footwear.
Like the ASTM standards, they’re revised more-or-less every 5 years and ensure rigorous standards for protective footwear. Furthermore, they include special risks for coverage of complementary job-related standards.
For instance, there are sections of firefighter footwear, electrical insulation, molten metal splashes as well as motorcycle riding.
Canada follows the CSA model, which actually isn’t too different from the ASTM. Like the F2412, the CSA-Z195-09 is structured by:
- Toe Impact Resistance
- Sole Plate Performance
- Metatarsal Protection
- Electric-shock Protection
- Sole Flex Durability
- Chainsaw Protection
Like the ASTM standard, not all requirements have to be met and they’re broken down between mandatory (shall), recommended (should) and optional (can) footwear characteristics.
Having now read about the best men’s work boots, perhaps you’d like to peruse some of our other related shoes guides:
- Best Boots For Men
- Best Men’s Hiking Boots
- Most Comfortable Men’s Shoes
- Best Work Shoes For Men
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"I found my work boots here. With long hours and dangerous work, they're perfect for my needs."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★