Although somewhat over the $100, these steel toe boots are well worth the extra investment. Crafted with a full ASTM rating and a Goodyear welt construction, they’re arguably one of the best purchases you can make for working in construction.
As mentioned above, these boots are crafted with a Goodyear welt construction, which offers some water resistance as well as the option to recraft the soles. Furthermore, they’re made with an open-cell PU footbed and Comfort Suspension technology to ensure all-day comfort.
Available in both black or brown, we have a preference for the Nubuck leather, which is a classic Timberland style.
More affordable than the Pit Boss above and under the $100 threshold, Wolverine’s Caterpillar brand also offers great work boots. Made with the same level of ASTM protection, they’re also full waterproof.
The steel toe offers both impact and compression resistance. Similarly, they’re also made from full-grain leather that really breathes as well as the brand’s proprietary ERGO comfort cushioned footbed.
You can either go for a stealthy jet black design or a more rugged brown leather. Overall, we prefer the brown but we do admire the style of the black boots too.
Arguably more impressive than the Timberland boots, these work boots come from the heritage American brand, Thorogood. Built with a Goodyear storm welt, they offer a solid recraftable yet fully waterproof sole.
As well as a plethora of safety features, these boots include a removable single-density PU footbed for extra comfort. This is enhanced by the rubber midsole and single-density MAXwear PU wedge outsole. Furthermore, the oiled Nubuck leather features a mesh lining for extra breathability.
Only available in brown, these boots are made from oiled Nubuck leather, which can be left to age into a rugged boot or kept clean with a coat of Dubbin.
Merging the contemporary aesthetics with traditional work boot style, the Contender is another great sub-$100 option for safety footwear.
A full ASTM-approved design with compression, impact and electrical resistance is complemented by a four-layer footbed for extra comfort. Furthermore, these feature a slip-resistant Duratread outsole and steel toe box.
Although we’re quite traditional and have a slight preference for the brown leather, we do love the more urban graphite colour too.
Being very fond of Wolverine, we were delighted to find that they also offered work boots for less than $100. Equipped with a protective steel toe and solid ASTM approval, these are a great affordable alternative to the Legends.
Made with a waterproof leather and mesh upper, they’re equipped with a waterproof membrane to ensure that your feet remain dry. There’s also a removable full-cushion moulded EVA footbed as well as a compression moulded EVA midsole. Both provide comfort and shock absorption while the nylon shank adds extra support.
We admit that we’re not huge fans of the black styling. However, some may like how they resemble classic sneakers with their urban design and reflective white streak.
From the renowned urban footwear brand comes these stylish work boots. They’re the only soft toe work boots on this list, which some may prefer if they don’t need the extra protection and weight of safety boots.
The slip-resistant soles are ASTM F1677-05 Mark II approved. They come with smooth leather uppers with Cordura mesh panels for breathability. You also get a shock-absorbing midsole as well as a padded collar and tongue for extra comfort.
Being only available in black, they offer a stylistic alternative to most work boots, which tend to be only in brown.
Do Work Boots Under $100 Offer Value For Money?
Contrary to popular opinion, value for money isn’t a question of how cheap something is but whether the investment is worthwhile in the long term. For instance, you can buy a pair of work boots for peanuts.
Yet, if they fall apart after six months, they don’t offer much value for money as you’ll have to pair another pair.
Similarly, cheaper boots may not offer all the safety features that you require for working on the site. This is important as some professions require a specific level of safety footwear just like hard hats. If you’re in accident with the wrong footwear, you may not be covered by the employer’s insurance.
Therefore, value for money is an even more important factor when choosing work boots.
What Are ASTM Safety Features?
As work boots are often exposed to a wide range of hazards, the American Society For Testing & Materials have outlined a series of tests to ensure that wearers are properly protected.
These rigorous tests not only prevent false advertising but are also used by both insurers and employers for selecting the best quality boots. For people purchasing utility boots, it enables them to shop confidently and know that they’re full protected by all the risks that they may encounter.
Whether they’re $50 or $500 boots, the conditions for the tests are the same. As such, you’ll know whether even the cheapest boots meet the requirements if they’re labelled as ASTM approved.
To check whether your boots are ASTM standard, you need only look inside the boot as the code is normally written on etched somewhere. However, it’s hard to check this when buying boots online.
That is why we researched the boots ourselves to double-check that they are indeed ASTM approved.
As you may have noticed in the list above, most of the boots were actually very close to the $100 price point. In fact, there was only one that was under $80 and it was a soft toe boot.
We haven’t included any boots in this list that we feel won’t last long enough to actually be worthwhile. In fact, one of the boots listed here actually retailers above $100 but is often on sale.
All the boots listed above feature all the necessary safety features and perform very well in terms of comfort. Furthermore, two feature Goodyear welts and one is a storm welt too.
Cheap Work Boot Features & Pitfalls
This advantage of a Goodyear or storm welt is that you’ll benefit from being able to recraft the boot’s soles as they wear down. Not only does this increase the boot’s lifespan by many years but Goodyear welts are much more robust than other techniques with improved water resistance.
Although the above boots do offer exceptional quality with good materials for their price, they aren’t premium boots. Therefore, you may find that you’ll need to replace them every few years or so anyway.
Additionally, the frugal quality may have an affect on the boot’s waterproofing, which is often linked to the lifespan. There is a chance that they won’t offer the same water resistance as premium work boots.