A pair of strong, comfortable welding boots is a must-have to protect your feet.
Whenever you’re working in a shop or industrial environment, you need good footwear protection.
Aside from heavy tools and materials, welders also have to worry about burns from welding spatter, grinding debris, and molten blobs.
So we’ve done the hard work and picked out 8 of the best welding shoes to help narrow your selection.
Let’s jump straight in…
A quick comparison
Carolina INT HI
Timberland PRO Boondock
Rubber covered toe
Dr. Martens Icon 2295
Leather and steel
Pull on - no laces
KEEN Milwaukee 6"
Left and right toes
Locking lace hooks
Covered heels and toes
Timberland PRO 8" MetGuard
Thorogood 8" MAXWear
All day comfort
8 Best Welding Boots
Here's a list of the best boots for welders we found on the market:
1. Carolina INT HI Met Guard Leather Welding Boots
- Full grain leather uppers
- Metatarsal guard
- Steel toe
- Integrated lace protector
- Vibram soles
- DRi-LEX inner lining
- Electrical hazard rated
- Radiantex cushioned insole
- Durable Kevlar stitching
- Welt construction
- Slip resistant
- Can be hard on the arches
- Wear fast on steel decking
Carolina Boots is known for its long-lasting, professional quality work boots with design features that are specific to particular industries, including metal workers, mining, drilling and military applications. These welding boots are union made in the United States. The Carolina INT HI Steel Toe Cap Men’s Boot is an 8-inch work boot designed for hazardous work environments. They’re frequently chosen by precision machinists, industrial maintenance pros and welders.
The Carolina INT HI Steel Toe welding boot features a full grain leather upper and also uses steel toe caps. This shoe is also equipped with steel arch shanks to protect from piercing hazards like large metal shards and screws or nails. They also have covered laces to protect from welding spatter and molten metal to minimize fire hazards. Lace covers will also prevent laces from catching on jagged edges, machinery, fixtures or sharp corners.
Kevlar stitching for fire resistance and extra strength with an integrated metatarsal guard is also designed into the footwear. They’re electrical hazard rated and equipped with a moisture-drying liner and a special insole that breathes to fight the hot conditions found in a welding shop. The non-slip Vibram sole and welt construction round out a full set of robust, durable, and work-ready features.
2. Timberland PRO Boondock Safety Toe Welding Boots
- 100 percent leather
- Composite safety toe
- Molded rubber toe cover
- Anti-fatigue technology
- TPU soles
- Known as durable boots
- Comfortable for long shifts
- Oil resistant soles
- Designed for harsh environments
- Replaceable insoles
- Heavy boots
- Exposed lacing
The Timberland PRO Boondock 6 Inch welding boot has always been a favorite of workers in rugged conditions. Pipeliners, construction workers, linemen and others swear by the all-day comfort of these durable waterproof boots. They’re made of 100 percent leather for fireproof quality, long lasting wear and feature a composite safety toe for crush protection.
There’s a rubber cap over the outside of the toe on this design, great for limiting the amount of felt impact when you stub your toe or drop a big wrench on your foot. One issue with this boot as far as welders are concerned is the fact that the laces are exposed, which can become a fire hazard or just be an irritation with the laces taking frequent damage. If you really like the Timberland PRO Boondock 6 Inch, one solution for this is a set of welding spats to cover the top of the boots.
Many owners feel the Timberland PRO Boondock water resistant boots are heavy, but also frequently say the weight is worthwhile because these boots are so comfortable. These boots are known for comfort even for very long shifts and grueling work schedules. Anybody who’s finished the day with screaming feet knows how important the comfort factor really is.
3. Dr. Martens Men's Icon 2295 Steel Toe Pull On Boot
- Steel toe cap
- Leather construction
- PVC soles
- Electrical hazard resistant
- Padded ankle area
- Tall leg protection
- Wellington style
- Insulated boots
- Industrial design
- Toe leather wears quickly
- Not English made
For a good, heavy set of pull on welding boots, Dr. Martens Men’s Icon 2295 Steel Toe Heavy Industry Boots are just the ticket. Doc Martens have always been big favorites in welding shops, automotive and other heavy industrial settings. These welding work boots have genuine steel cap toes and all-leather construction. Thick, heavy lugged soles are made of PVC, designed for traction with an aggressive tread and super wear characteristics.
One of the nicest features of these Dr. Martens welding work boots is the heavy, thick padding strip that covers the ankles. This is a much-loved feature by owners, who often cite cases when this padding saved them some pain or serious injury and missed hours. Some owners didn’t like the short lifespan of the leather covering the steel toe. These aren’t the famous English-cobbled boots that made the legend. They’re imported from China. High-quality boots, but Doc Martens are most famous for impeccable British craftsmanship.
For welders, the best feature of Dr. Martens work boots is that they are ANSI certified resistant to electrical hazards, a nice feature when you’re playing with lightning all day long. They’re also insulated, very comfortable and have no laces to catch fire.
4. Caterpillar Men's Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Pull On Safety Boot
- All leather construction
- Rubber soles
- Steel toe caps
- Nylon liner
- Slip resistant
- Resist 14,000 volts
- Goodyear welt design
- Steel shank
- Long-wearing boots
- Need to buy insoles
- Inconsistent sizing
The Caterpillar Men’s Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Work Boot is a very popular design on construction sites and with electrical workers. The pull-on style is great for welders because there are no laces to catch fire or snag on the metal around the worksite. In addition, they protect from up to 14,000 volts in a dry setting.
These boots have steel toes and full grain leather construction. They use the Goodyear welt system to attach the soles to the uppers and the Caterpillar Revolver Pull-On Steel Toe Work Boot features steel shanks in the arches, though some users report that the shanks are narrow and can be uncomfortable after a lot of hours on a ladder or walking in the sand.
With a lightweight construction, a nylon inner lining and rubber slip resistant soles, these work boots are known for long life and good service. Owners frequently say the insole is pretty hard and recommend buying orthopedic insoles. The main complaint with this boot centers around sizing issues, with many owners saying they run large, others saying they run small and a similar proportion saying they’re sized properly.
5. KEEN Utility Men's Milwaukee 6" Steel Toe Welding Work Boots
- Toes for left and right
- All leather construction
- Steel toes
- Rubber toe cap
- Electrical hazard protection
- Comfortable rubber soles
- Metal lace hooks lock down
- Removable dual density EVA insole
- ToughTec abrasion resistant leather
- Fabric lining
- Soles can squeak
- They’re heavy
One of the notable design features of the KEEN Utility Men’s Milwaukee 6″ Steel Toe Work Boot is that there are specific toe shapes for each side, shaped specifically to fit the left or right foot instead of both toes being straight. This a truly thoughtful design feature and explains why Keen Milwaukees are some of the favorite boots among the construction and building trades.
The KEEN Utility Steel Toe welding work boots have other great features like heavy nylon fabric covering over both the heels and toes on these boots, as well as rubber toe coverings to lessen impact when striking the boots or kicking something into place. Locking metal lace hooks are nice, but boot laces can represent a hazard on the job as a welder.
Laces are a magnet for sparks, spatter and grinding embers. On the plus side of the welding needs, these boots are designed for electrical hazard resistance. You can always add welding spats to cover the laces and add another layer of metatarsal protection.
ToughTec leather uppers have been treated for extra abrasion resistance and are fully lined inside with fabric and have rubber soles for extra comfort.
6. Timberland PRO 53530 8" MetGuard Steel-Toe Boot
- Rubber soles
- 100 percent leather
- Steel safety toes
- Impact resistant toe covering
- Goodyear welt construction
- Thick polyurethane insoles
- Oil and Slip resistant traction
- Kevlar stitching
- Metatarsal guard/lace covering
- Water resistant
- Heavy boots
- Don't breathe well
The Timberland PRO Men’s 53530 8″ MetGuard Steel-Toe Boot comes with a shield to protect your metatarsal arch. An added bonus for welders is that the shield also covers the laces, protecting from hazards like spatter, blobs and sparks. These welding work boots come with thick polyurethane insoles, a real plus when you spend long days on your feet. These are steel-toed boots with rubber soles and Goodyear welt construction.
These are 100 percent leather boots and come with a rubber-like impact covering over the toes and heels, sewn in extra layers. This helps hold off the major issue with most steel-toed boots, where the leather wears off over the steel toes within a short time from kneeling and leaves the steel exposed, which can be a hazard if they come in contact with an electrically hot lead or molten metal.
The Timberland PRO 53530 MetGuard Steel-Toe welding boot drew complaints from some owners for their weight and many thought they just didn’t breathe well enough. Timberland makes the 53530 MetGuard with Kevlar stitching and they’re also waterproof.
7. Ariat Groundbreaker Leather Boot
- Steel toes
- Rubber sole
- 100 percent leather
- Breathable mesh liner
- 10-inch height
- Western styling
- Affordable protection
- Pull on, no laces
- Cushioned insoles
- 4-layer rebound arches
- Run a size too large
- Not durable in heavy use
Ariat is a well-known brand of cowboy boots, popular in the southern US. The Ariat Groundbreaker Welding Work Boot takes a slightly different approach than Ariat boots are usually known for, with a square-shaped steel toe and a low heel. 100-percent leather construction provides good fire resistance.
The Ariat Groundbreaker Welding Work Boot is designed specifically for the welding environment. This shoe design uses a thick, 4-layer, half-inch thick treaded rubber sole, dubbed the 4LR Rebound System. The thick rubber soles offer protection from electrical hazards and penetration by jagged bits of metal. Because this is a pull-on boot, there’s no danger of laces catching fire or snagging on equipment or clutter.
They also offer classic Western styling, so you’re not stuck with a “work boots” look if you frequently deal with the public or wear a company uniform. For some reason, this shoe tends to run a size large, with Ariat even saying to order a size small on its website. Some owners felt these boots weren’t durable in harsh environments, but their price range is significantly less than other choices. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. With these boots, you get more than what you pay for.
8. Thorogood 8" Moc Safety Toe MAXWear Boots
- Steel safety toes
- Fiberglass shanks
- Shock absorbing footbed
- MAXWear rubber soles
- Moccasin toe deflects impact
- Oil-tanned leather construction
- Thick, comfortable Poron insoles
- Breathable design
- Electrically resistant to 18,000 volts
- Long-wearing boots
- Not waterproof
- Exposed laces
These boots use a moccasin toe design. The curved and edged shape of a moccasin toe deflects impact and reduces wear. The Thorogood 8″ Moc Toe MAXWear Wedge Safety Toe Boot is a classic workplace design. MAXWear sole material is a special rubber formulation that’s famous for the length of time they wear.
The Thorogood 8″ Moc Toe MAXWear Wedge Safety Toe Boot is also known for a short or even non-existent breaking in period, a real plus with any tall boot. They’re electrical hazard resistant up to 18,000 volts. They’re not waterproof and the laces are exposed, but these boots are still worth taking a look at because of the two-stage impact resistant footbed and thick insole combination. To mitigate any hazards from the exposed laces, add an affordable set of welding spats to the equipment list. Using welder’s spats to cover the laces will also improve heat resistance and add more impact protection.
Many owners mentioned that these boots breathe well, are very comfortable when you’ve got long days and loved the extra protection around the ankle. Fiberglass shanks protect your arches with more flex than steel, making them easier on your feet, especially when you’re stuck on a ladder for extended periods. The Thorogood MAXWear Wedge Safety Toe Boot is a high quality welding boot that’s always worth taking a look at.
When you’re hard at work for hours with a welding machine, you need a pair of welding boots that is more robust than your average work boot, just to deal with the harsh environments found where welding is done.
What kind of shoes do welders wear?
Just like any other protective gear when you’re welding, this is an important investment. The boots you need for welding have to be rugged, durable, and protect you from hazards like fire, slipping, electrocution, and keep your feet safe.
When there’s welding to be done, you’re frequently standing, moving, and walking for long periods of time. Flying objects are always a possibility to be aware of. Spilled liquids or leaking oil and grease from machinery and sand or dust on metal surfaces outdoors, (especially with automotive applications) create slipping hazards that can result in broken bones.
You’ve also got tripping hazards to deal with, things like ragged pieces of steel that can cause puncture wounds, cuts or scrapes, machinery and floor clutter to snag your feet, and there are always the hot stuff like welding spatter, molten metal and high power electricity to consider. Sprains and bruises are other hazards you have to think about.
When your feet and legs aren’t properly supported or you have to hobble to get through the day, it’s your back that pays the price. Long periods standing can lead to painful feet, disrupting your lifestyle choices. Welders often have to walk long distances on the job site, or frequently change position. Kneeling, bending and standing on your toes, kicking pieces into place and standing on uneven surfaces are all part of the day’s work for a welder’s feet.
These are the factors you have to think about when choosing stout work boots for welding protection. Don’t cut corners on this research or you’ll definitely be sorry in the end.
To be the best welding boots, consider these safety features:
- Toe protection – with steel or composite reinforcement to protect your toe or metatarsal from being broken.
- Arch reinforcement – with composite, fiberglass or steel shanks for long periods standing and for protection from piercing hazards like jagged metal shards.
- Are the welding boots metatarsal guard design? Padding, shields and armor for the top arch of the foot are a good idea in most shop environments. You never know when someone’s going to drop a hammer or you accidentally sweep a box of rods off the welder cart with your welding leads.
- Heel reinforcements – to ward off sharp edges and avoid getting banged by heavy objects.
- Ankle armor or padding – to protect you from impacts to this sensitive and vulnerable area. Few incidents are more painful than a bruising impact or a scrape against the crown of your ankle.
- Does the boot extend up the calf – for additional stability and protection? This is another place where impacts or snagging your pants can cause seriously painful injuries without proper protection.
- Non-slip treads – to prevent a fall from slippery liquid or dust on metallic surfaces.
- Laces have got to be covered. If you prefer a boot with exposed laces, you should cover them with welding spats for secure protection.
Built for Longevity and Durability
With a lot of harsh factors in the welding environment, ruggedness is very important to the longevity and effective protection of your welding boots. They need to be made from durable, rugged, impact-resistant materials.
Electrically resistant materials such as full grain leather, rubber, PVC, Kevlar, Nylon, and heavy fabrics are essential for proper protection. Materials need to be layered, interleaved, and lock-stitched together with fire-resistant, extra-strong stitching like Kevlar.
Your boots need to be comfortable so you will wear them. It doesn’t matter how nice they are if they’re uncomfortable or painful and you can’t wear them. And if you’re not wearing them at the wrong moment, there’s going to be a price to pay, whether it’s a broken foot, a nasty cut, or a burned ankle.
Thick insoles, inner padding to protect and isolate, a moisture-wicking fabric lining and lightweight materials make your welding boots easier to wear. Rubber or flexible synthetic soles make them easier on your feet when you’re standing for long periods and frequently walking over uneven surfaces, construction debris and for long distances.
Reinforced toes of steel or composite material can pinch, rub or irritate your feet at the edges of the reinforcement. Reach in there and check for a smooth transition from the safety toe into the rest of the boot’s upper.
If they have shanks in the arches there’s more support to make it easier to stand on ladders and on soft surfaces.
Look for extra padding around the ankles or on inner metatarsal guards that will keep your welding boots from sliding on your feet and causing blisters. Make sure the inside of the heels don’t slide up and down on your foot while walking, or you’ll be in a world of hurt.
Special Design Features
- Over-layments: Layers on the outside of the boot that help to deflect impact and diminish wear. These might be rubber covering applied to the toe, extra leather over the heel, or padding along the joint between uppers and soles, or around the ankles.
- Shaping and Curves: Certain shapes like moccasin toes naturally deflect impacts by their curved shape and reinforced edges. The shape of the soles and the shafts of the boots matter, too.
- Coverings and Shields: Some boots have a covering for the laces, to prevent them from snagging on tools, debris or machinery. This will also prevent them from being cut, burned or otherwise damaged. In addition, it’s one more layer of metatarsal protection for your feet. Welding spats that cover the calves and boot tops can also give you this protection, and also add to what you already have.
Looking at all of the requirements covered here, and checking actual real-world performance over long periods in tough environments, we’re going with the Carolina INT HI Steel Toe Boots for our selection as the best welding boots overall.
The Carolinas tick all the boxes, with metatarsal guards, steel toe caps, all leather grain uppers, electrical hazard rated, generous padding, moisture-wicking liner, thick insoles and an integrated shield for the laces. In addition, owners cite long wear and easy break-in as primary reasons for years of repeat purchases. All that, plus they’re union-made in the USA.
The Timberland PRO Men's Boondock 6 Inch Composite Safety Toe Waterproof... may be the best combination on this list for folks that just aren’t sold on the Carolina Boots selection. These boots have lots of loyal repeat buyers, who wear them over long periods of time on the job in tough conditions. They’re reasonably lightweight, heavily praised for comfort and these loyal buyers feel they’re well worth the price.
The Dr. Martens Men's Icon 2295 steel toe heavy industry welding boots are favorites on every construction site and so are the Caterpillar Revolver pull-on steel toe welding boots. Both are resistant to electrical hazards, have a pull-on design that eliminates lace hazards, protects calves, shields the ankle from impact, and adds stability.
The Thorogood 8 Moc Toe MAXWear Wedge Safety Toe Boot is a great option if you prefer the moccasin toe design, and they have long-lasting soles with electrical resistance to 18,000 volts. The classic, timeless styling of these professional work boots will always have its own appeal as well.
Don’t compromise with your welding boots. Buy the highest quality, best-suited ones you can afford. Take the time to examine the important features and every aspect of their construction. Nothing matters more than your feet when you’re on a long shift in tough conditions.
Do your homework well. That way, you’ll never regret your buying decision.