Best American-Made Work Boots: Men’s Safety Footwear Made In The USA
Best American-Made Work Boots: Men’s Safety Footwear Made In The USACharles-Philippe2019-03-18T05:53:23-04:00
Authentic work boots made in the USA used to be the norm. However, as brands evolve with the economy, it’s becoming a rarity as boots are often made overseas. Nevertheless, American craftsmanship is far from extinct.
In fact, there are a few heritage American brands that continue to craft their boots in the USA. We’re passionate about true American craftsmanship at Bespoke Unit so we always keep an eye on brands and their releases.
One thing that we noticed was that the American-made work boots tended to get quite pricey as they gained more safety features. However, we were surprised by Thorogood, a Wisconsin heritage brand that’s been making boots since 1832.
Unlike the majority of boots on this list, the Thorogood American Heritage features a steel toe cap with impact and compression resistance. Furthermore, you have a storm welt for extra water resistance as well as a 90° heel and non-marking outsoles.
These are only available in “Crazy Horse” brown but features contrast stitching as well as Moc-Toe detailing.
Aside from the Thorogood boots above, these are the only remaining boots featured here with a steel toe cap. Founded in 1901, Chippewa is another heritage brand that still produces work boots in the USA today in Chippewa Falls.
These ASTM-approved work boots are equipped with a 5 Iron TEXON insole that offers flexibility. This is enhanced thanks to the Vibram Stockbridge outsole for added traction.
These apache leather is only available in a chocolate brown with a Nubuck-style finish. However, the design is perfect and corresponds well to the colour.
Founded by Charles Danner in 1932, most of the brand’s boots are still made from their Portland factory in Oregon. Furthermore, they will supply a number of government agencies with protective footwear. Although soft toe boots, we’re smitten by these beauties.
How To Wear
As these are soft toe boots, they’re equipped with electrical hazard resistance as well as other safety features that you can learn about in the link above. Their PU footbed will ensure all-day comfort while a stitchdown construction provides durability.
These are also only available in a single colour. It seems that brown work boots are in! And we’re not complaining. We also love the vintage effect made by the worn leather on these boots compared to the others.
Another offering from Danner, these are a more modern yet likely hardier boot for manual work outdoors. Although we prefer the Bull Run Christy for its aesthetics, these are functionally superior boots.
A soft toe boot with ASTM approval, these are fully waterproof thanks to Gore-Tex lining and triple-stitching. You’ll also benefit from extra stability with the fibreglass lining while the 90° heel and Vibram outsoles provide traction.
Again, these are only available in – you guessed it – brown! Funnily enough, we had a similar experience with tactical boots but with black.
Speaking of tactical boots, Danner also make this stunning model for law enforcement and security. Furthermore, the soles are recrafting with Danner’s own in-house service thanks to the Stitchdown construction.
A Vibram Kletterlift offers excellent traction while the fibreglass shank ensures full stability for lateral movement. Furthermore, these are fully waterproof thanks to the Gore-Tex lining.
As mentioned above, these are only in black just as we’d expect from tactical boots!
What Are The Benefits Of American-Made Work Boots?
Thanks to a resurgence of appreciation for quality homegrown craftsmanship, we’ve experienced something of a renaissance. In the last few decades, many manufacturers were closing down their production in the USA and outsourcing it overseas.
This wasn’t just an American phenomenon but something also experienced in both the UK and France.
Fortunately, the ensuing uproar has made brands realise that in producing overseas, they lose part of their identity. As such, many have either continued to manufacture in their home countries or have reintroduced production there.
However, American-made boots are indeed much more expensive than those that are imported. Therefore, are they worth the extra price? Why would we buy something made in the US beyond humble patriotism?
It’s not a misconception that American-made shoes or boots are better than those imported from factories overseas. Firstly, the working condition and facilities tend to be superior to those in third-world countries.
This has a positive effect on the personnel crafting the boots and they’ll likely be more invested in making quality shoes. Furthermore, they’ll be better equipped and because the operations are usually on a smaller scale, more investment can be made on quality.
Similarly, these brands have realised that boot enthusiasts and professionals value quality craftsmanship. As such, the level of mechanisation is reduced in order to favour handmade construction.
Therefore, the costs aren’t simply because the labour is generally more expensive but also because the labour is from a skilled workforce.
Danner’s origin story helps illustrate this quite clearly. Founded during the height of The Great Depression, Charles Danner believed the brand would prosper nonetheless. As stated on the Danner website, he held the “stubborn belief that, regardless of the economy, superior craftsmanship mattered.”
You could argue that this is a reflection of the economy today. Although many goods are available cheaply made from across the world, people still pay more for better quality.
Preserving Brands & Supporting Employment
Brands will need the support of their customers in order to continue producing their wares in the USA. If no-one is prepared to buy their pricier, US-made boots, there’s a chance that they will be forced to turn to overseas production.
Therefore, wearing these boots shows you support for American companies so that they can prosper. However, you’re not just preserving the brands but you’re also supporting employment.
In the last few years, we’ve seen the effects on many domestic industries and production due to cheaper labour abroad. From the closing of steel mills to factories shutting up shop, it’s been a painful experience.
Yet, it’s not just the symbolic loss that makes it difficult but also the loss of employment caused by these closures. Nevertheless, supporting these heritage brands will ensure that the institutions stay open and continue to provide jobs for their local population.
As mentioned above, these are often skilled craftsmen who have been making boots for generations. Therefore, it’s important both economically and culturally to preserve these traditions.
On a final related note, only one of the brands listed above is less than a century old. However, even that one was founded in 1932. They’re not just another footwear corporation but institutions with souls that have an important place in our society.
Their multi-generational heritage is deeply woven into our cultural tapestry. Furthermore, they’re not all the same. In fact, each boot has its own colourful identity that has formed strong bonds with its region and state.
For instance, Minnesota is still reeling from the closure of Red Wings. Even though the brand has reopened workshops in the region, many of the local residents still feel the effects.
Therefore, it’s even more important to support them in order to preserve these rich parts of our history.
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