Concrete is a standard building material used all over the world. Composed of coarse and fine granules mixed with cement or another binder, it is designed to be durable and long-lasting. Civilizations have been using a form of concrete for almost 9,000 years; today, concrete is used in buildings, walking surfaces, highways, and several other mass structures. For those who work in construction, walking or standing on concrete surfaces without a proper pair of work boots can have several detrimental health effects. Plantar fasciitis, lumbar strains, arthritis, stress fractures, and bone and muscle pain in your feet, legs, knees, and back are all common symptoms.
Investing in well-made work boots can save you money in the end: cheaper styles will need to be replaced in a few months, while a pair made with quality materials and artistry can last for years. While each employer has specifications for their workers’ footwear, generally the best work boots for working on concrete surfaces should have a composite toe, foot and ankle support, and shock absorption. Most importantly, they should be comfortable! You will be wearing them all day. Read our picks for the best work boots for walking on concrete!
|Work Boot||Price||Best Feature|
|Timberland PRO Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe||Moderate||Contoured insole absorbs impact at heel and ball of the foot|
|Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6-inch Composite Toe Boot||Inexpensive||Multi-layered polyurethane outsoles with shock absorption|
|King Rocks Men’s 6” Steel Safety Toe Industrial and Construction Water Resistant Work Boot||Inexpensive||Shock-absorbing puncture-resistant soles with extra heel support|
|Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6" Classic Plain Toe, Safety Toe Boot||Expensive||Little to no break-in period|
|Wolverine Men’s Overman NT 6 inch Waterproof Contour Welt Work Boot||Moderate||Little to no break-in period|
|KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot||Expensive||A portion of proceeds donated to charity; EVA foam footbed and midsole|
|Smith and Wesson Footwear Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots||Inexpensive||Side-zip makes them easy to take on and off|
|Wolverine Men’s W02421 Raider Boot||Moderate||Lightweight shoe with no break-in period|
What Should I Look for in Work Boots for Concrete Floors?
|Part of the Shoe||Characteristics|
|Size||Always make sure your shoe fits well. Having your feet measured is the best way to know your correct size. Also, keep in mind that some manufacturers run narrow or wide.|
|Toe||There are several options for toe protection: steel-toe, composite toe, and alloy toe. These vary in strength, but they all pass safety standards. It is up to your preference (and your employer’s standards) which type will be best for you. Shoes without toe reinforcement are called soft-toe.|
|Insoles||The insoles have direct contact with your foot, so always make sure this part is comfortable. Finding a model with removable inserts is ideal because you can replace them with your preferred insole or orthotic insert|
|Sole||Always look for thick soles; EVA Foam provides more support, but leather and polyurethane soles will last longer|
|Heel||Some work boots have a defined heel, which gives more shock absorption against walking against hard surfaces. Look for heels that measure an inch or more.|
|Protection||Always look for slip-resistant soles, especially as concrete can become slippery when it rains. If you work in mechanics or construction, having a shoe that is oil-resistant and puncture-resistant is always a plus.|
The Best Work Boots for Concrete Floors – Our Top Picks!
Timberland PRO Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe
Since the 1950s, Timberland has been making men’s outdoor footwear. Its model of waterproof leather boots, released in 1973, was so popular that the company officially changed its name to Timberland. Since its inception, it has branched out into other areas, such as casual footwear and women’s options.
The Timberland PRO Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe is one of the more comfortable work boots on the market because of its design. It is made for people who work on their feet all day. Its Anti-Fatigue technology provides shock absorption in the parts of the foot that take the most impact, such as the heel and the ball of the foot. It’s odor-control fabric on the inside appeals to some buyers, but they are not water-resistant, which can cause a problem for those who work in wet environments.
- Slip, Oil, and Puncture-Resistant Outsole
- antimicrobial internal fabric lining makes the shoe more breathable and combats odors
- Steel toe boot with large toe bed
- Contoured insole absorbs impact at heel and ball of the foot
- Moderately priced
- Our pick for the best work boots to wear for walking on concrete
- Not waterproof
- Some reports of inferior manufacturing (stitching, sole, and lace loops)
- Reports that they last less than a year
- Some reports that the back seam on the heel causes blisters
Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6-inch Composite Toe Boot
Carhartt is a well-known manufacturer of work boots that has been in business since 1889. Walking on hard surfaces like concrete can stress your heel, causing foot pain. The Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6-inch Composite Toe Boot includes several layers of polyurethane to cushion the impact of frequent walking throughout the day. While the boot provides cushion and protection for your feet, its claims that it is water-resistant and spill-resistant may confuse some buyers. The 100% leather CMF 6366 will protect from minor splashes and spills but not much more than that.
- Wide toe bed
- Padded tongue to protect the top of your feet from blisters
- Multi-layered polyurethane outsoles with shock absorption
- Run large
- Require a breaking-in period
- Some reports of replacing the insole with an insert for more comfort
King Rocks Men’s 6” Steel Safety Toe Industrial and Construction Water resistant Work boot with oil acid resistant outsole
King Rocks is a shoe and work boot retailer that continues to innovate their manufacturing process. As part of the Golden Fox brand, the company prides itself on creating quality work boots that fit a variety of requirements and require less upkeep than other brands. Among their options are safety-toe boots, uniform boots, and industrial footwear. The King Rocks Men’s 6” Steel Safety Toe Industrial and Construction Water Resistant Work Boot has an upper of full-grain leather that protects your feet without a lengthy break-in period.
With a high-traction, puncture-resistant insole, these work boots are ideal for construction sites or mechanical work. They are designed to be a comfortable boot, with a spacious toe box and shock-absorbing soles to relieve pressure off of the heel, arch, and ball of the foot. For those who need specialized footwear because of foot conditions, there is an extra layer of support on the heel to relieve impact when walking on hard surfaces.
- StretchFLEX technology decreases rigidity
- Wide steel-toe box
- Lined interior keeps feet dry by pulling moisture away
- Shock-absorbing puncture-resistant soles with extra heel support
- Run narrow
- Some complaints that the comfort isn’t there for long hours on your feet
Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Classic Plain Toe, Safety Toe Boot
Weinbrenner Shoe Company is an American boot manufacturer in business since the mid-nineteenth century. Creating the Thorogood line of workboots during World War I, the brand had one objective: make quality work boots that cater to specific demands. The company created models for particular types of jobs, such as mining, military service, and railroad construction.
The Thorogood Men’s American Heritage 6″ Classic Plain Toe, Safety Toe Bootincludes Goodyear welting for long-lasting wear. Goodyear welting is a labor-intensive process found in quality, high-end work boots. By adhering a welt (made of plastic, rubber, or leather) along the outside of the shoe, it acts as a barrier between the insole and the outsole. While the welting process keeps extra moisture out of your boots, these shoes are heavier than most workboots.
- Also available in steel toe
- Slip-resistant outsole with 90-degree heel
- Little to no break-in period
- Some reports that the laces come untied
- Narrow toe bed
Wolverine Men’s Overman NT 6 inch Waterproof Contour Welt Work Boot
Wolverine is one of the most popular American brands for work boots. In business since the 1880s, Wolverine World Wide uses quality materials, and they continuously innovate their design to accommodate a variety of work environments. Not only do they market their line, but Wolverine also designs footwear for other shoe manufacturers. The Wolverine Men’s Overman NT 6 inch Waterproof Contour Welt Work Boot, with its CarbonMax technology, keeps your feet safe while making the boot lighter, relieving foot and leg pain.
Although the brand advertises that the Overman has a contour welt to provide extra water resistance, there have been reports that moisture still gets into these boots. If you work in a dry environment, this won’t be an issue. Although it is an American-based company, Wolverine imports a majority of their products from Asia. Those who prefer an American-made work boot will find more success with another brand.
- Moderately priced
- Little to no break-in period
- Slip-resistant, shock-absorbent soles
- Composite Toe
- Large toe bed
- Run narrow
- Some reports that they last less than a year before needing to be replaced
- Even though they are lightweight, they offer little breathability
Keen Utility Pittsburgh Work Boot for Standing and Walking On Concrete
One of the newer shoe manufacturers on the market, KEEN was founded in 2003. Catering to a demographic that enjoy outdoor sports and activities, their shoes are made to withstand a variety of different environments. KEEN is also known for their philanthropy: just one year after going into business, they diverted their advertising funds and donated them to disaster relief. The company continues its conservation and philanthropic work today, partnering with a variety of organizations.
The KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Bootwas designed to tolerate a variety of environments, including walking on hard surfaces such as concrete. With an EVA footbed and midsole, the foam design relieved pressure off of your joints and comforts your foot as you walk. One of the few work boots that are true to its advertising on its waterproof capabilities, the Utility Pittsburgh has double protection against moisture. With external Nubuck leather and an internal waterproof lining, the KEEN Utility Pittsburgh is designed to keep liquid out of your boots while pulling sweat away from your foot.
- Rubber guard over steel toe gives extra toe protection
- Waterproof, oil-resistant, slip-resistant
- EVA foam footbed and midsole
- Additional support for heel and arch
- Reports of poor durability in lace hooks
- Some reports that the soles deteriorate quickly
Smith and Wesson Footwear Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots – 6”
Most recognizable as a firearm manufacturer, Smith and Wesson has released a line of tactical boots The Breach 2.0 Series zips up the side for easy removal, making them a convenient option for those who like a pair of work boots that are easy to take off. Created with both leather and nylon, the Breach protects your foot while increasing flexibility. For those working on hard surfaces, the foam EVA midsole adds extra padding to the ball and heel. The reinforced-steel sole has more durability than other models. The non-slip sole makes it a safe work boot for those who work in damp or wet environments, but there is no toe protection. The Smith and Wesson Footwear Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots are soft-toe, so if your employer requires a steel-or-safety toe boot, this boot isn’t for you.
- EVA foam midsole and steel reinforcement eases impact off of heels and ball of the foot
- Flexible nylon and leather
- High-traction outsole
- no toe support
- not waterproof
- not very breathable
Wolverine Men’s W02421 Raider Boot
Wolverine made our list again, for a good reason. The Wolverine Men’s W02421 Raider Boot is made for those who work long hours on their feet with extra cushioning for comfort. The rubber sole has incredible traction, and the Multishox comfort system includes shock-absorbent pads in the insole to decrease the impact on your feet. The contour welt also makes the shoe durable against several types of terrain.
The Raider boot appeals to some because the insole is removable. If you need extra support, such as an orthotic insole, you can replace the insole with your preferred insert. The leather upper makes the shoe durable, but the mesh lining makes it breathable. While the overall construction of the boot works in its favor, it doesn’t have any toe protection, which can be a deal-breaker for some buyers.
- Slip-resistant, oil-resistant outsole
- Mesh lining for breathability
- Contour welt makes it more durable
- Wide toe bed
- Lightweight shoe with no break-in period
- Moderately priced
- Tight: leather takes some time to stretch
- Only available in brown
- Sizes can run narrow
- Not waterproof, no toe protection
- Metal lace hooks can break
The Bottom Line
Finding comfortable work boots can be a gamble when you have certain limitations: many employers have particular specifications that can limit your options. My husband is a mechanic, and he walks on concrete all day; finding a comfortable work boot is a frequent adventure in our house. He had tried multiple brands and models, but he usually ends up replacing the insole with his orthotic insert (he has bad knees). He has always been a fan of Timberland products, so we spent a little extra money and invested in the Timberland PRO Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe.
To be brief, he loved the boots. He has always had trouble with arch support, and he found that he didn’t have to replace the insoles of this shoe with an insert. He could walk the work grounds all day, and he noticed a difference in his knee and foot pain. Although there were some reports of inferior manufacturing, which made us a little nervous when buying them, we didn’t have that experience. The boots held up well, and they have lasted for years.
When looking for a great pair of work boots, it is always important to keep in mind that, work specifications aside, it is all about preference. Some prefer to use the same brands, while others are more willing to try another brand if it offers more comfort. When walking on concrete all day, you will need an extra cushion for your heel and the ball of your foot, which take the most impact. As long as you find a work boot with enough support for you and that fit well, then you will notice a decrease in your foot pain.
“13 Health Side Effects of Walking on Concrete.” https://drhealthbenefits.com/lifestyle/unhealthy/health-side-effects-of-walking-on-concrete.
“Safety Footwear Should Be Job-Specific.” https://www.ishn.com/articles/98722-safety-footwear-should-be-job-specific.
“The Difference Between Composite Toe Shoes and Steel-Toed Boots.” http://www.safetyshoedistributors.com/blog/11-the-difference-between-composite-toe-shoes-and-steel-toed-boots.aspx.
Jennifer Conerly is a writer and editor with extensive retail experience in athletic shoes and fitness she never thought would come in handy.