Work Boots Material and Durability
Boots are usually made of leather, nylon, or rubber. But work boots are no ordinary shoes that’s why the type of materials used to create these shoes are extra tough, too. There are two main types of materials used to create work boots: full-grain leather and nubuck leather.
Full-grain leather is probably the most popular material used to make work boots uppers. They’re durable, beautiful, and unfortunately, expensive. But there’s a reason behind the hefty price tag of work boots made of full-grain leather.
Full-grain leather is a type of leather that doesn’t go through the usual leather manufacturing process, such as sanding, buffing, and snuffing. The surface of the animal hide, however, is applied with aniline dyes or stains. But because it didn’t go through the usual manufacturing process, the leather looks and feels more natural. Full-grain leather doesn’t just look different — it feels different, too. Work boots made of full grain leather are soft to the touch, and they even become tougher as they age.
Nubuck is a type of durable leather that comes from the top grain of an animal hide. Peel back the outer layer, and you’ll get suede. Nubuck, however, is stronger than suede. The hide goes through sanding, buffing, and dyeing or staining to ensure a more uniform appearance. The process not only hides the flaws but also gives it a luxurious look.
Steel toes are pretty much self-explanatory. Boots reinforced with steel toes protect your feet from falling objects, puncture, impact, or compression. Steel used to be the most popular material used to manufacture these reinforcements, but these days some manufacturers opt to use aluminum to replace steel toes.
Soft toe boots, on the other hand, are the opposite of steel toe boots. These boots do not come with steel reinforcements inside. Instead, they are reinforced with rubber, TPU, thick fabric, or some other durable material. Soft toe work boots are ideal for jobsites that pose little risk to your feet or where steel toe boots are prohibited by employers.
Soft toe boots can protect your feet from chemicals and germs, but you can’t rely on them if you want reliable protection against falling objects or punctures.
If you want to combine the affordability of soft toe boots and the protection offered by steel toe boots, then composite toe boots just might be perfect for you. These boots are reinforced with durable rubber, plastic, or any other tough material that can protect your toes from falling objects or sharp objects.
You’re going to wear them for eight hours or more so always go for the most comfortable pair of work boots you can find. Make sure that the boots’ interior is roomy and wide. This is especially important if you have wider feet or if you want to prevent feet problems, such as bunions or blisters. When it comes to comfort, composite and soft toe boots are the clear winner. Even though they’re the safest, steel toe boots are notoriously uncomfortable, and they do not stretch even after you wear them again and again.
Rain, sewage-flooded basements, and muddy jobsites are the bane of your work boots’ existence. Your chosen pair of work boots might look cool and have protective steel toes, but if they’re not water-resistant or even waterproof, then get ready for smelly, water-logged shoes.
While every pair of boots on this list is designed to endure a long time—and were at least partially chosen for this reason—some modern work boots have longer lifespans than others. This is due not just to the materials and construction techniques used to produce a pair of boots but also to whether or not they can be resoled, which allows them to be mended as needed and worn for a literal lifetime. In theory, these boots can be passed down to future generations, which can have them resoled as needed.
While a regular pair of work boots can be used for a wide range of tasks and applications, for particular jobs, specialty features can be extremely useful. In addition to safety toes, this includes met (i.e., “metatarsal”) protection, crampon-compatible work boots, and even pairs with Aramid linings that can withstand chainsawing operations.
There are several work boots that can accomplish the same basic functions, which is why allowing your aesthetic inclinations to guide your pick is frequently a good idea—as long as it takes a back seat to more crucial functions like primary construction and intended usage. Work boots not only come in a wide range of colors, lengths, and constructions, but there are also plenty of thoroughly modern-looking pairs, & ultra-minimalistic items and work-specific pieces of footwear with an undeniably vintage-inspired appearance. Some of the boots in this category have been modeled directly after boots from over a century ago, albeit using more contemporary materials and construction techniques.