You cannot face burning hot sparks with basic protection. Having the right pair of welding gloves, a helmet, and an apron should be obvious. What about your feet?
If you are standing up all day you need a pair of boots that are comfortable. You should also come equipped to protect your feet against the daily hazards you will face.
Flimsy and basic boots won’t provide much resistance when you are welding. Not against falling objects, chemical spills, and metal chips. Not when the sparks are flying and the heat becomes unbearable. It can only take one mishap and the results could be traumatic.
At the very least you will need waterproofing and fire resistance, a steel toe cap, and a metatarsal shield too. Protection is a priority yet so is durability and ensuring you can remain mobile.
Don’t leave your feet exposed to the rigors of welding. There are so many safety features to consider and so many ways of offering great protection.
Getting the right pair can provoke a heated debate. Invest in a pair of welding boots that will look out for you so you can concentrate on those joins.
Best Welding Boots Reviews
Best For Style: Timberland PRO Men’s 40000 MetGuard 6″ Steel-Toe Boot
With the sparks flying, you want to look good while remaining safe. The Timberland PRO Men’s 40000 MetGuard Steel-Toe Boot is packed with protection against hazards, they also look great.
That overall protection comes from Ever-Guard leather, which is specially treated and designed for durability.
Even in the harshest of work conditions such as welding. For a welding boot that ticks all the boxes for heat and abrasion resistance, it is even waterproof.
While looking stylish, the Met Shield provides protection for your metatarsal and supports the natural movement of your feet. Bending down, standing up, and strolling around should all feel effortless.
Protection against electric hazards and slipping comes underneath from a slip-resistant outsole. There is even an antimicrobial fabric lining to prevent bacteria from getting to your feet. Oh, and of course there is a steel toe cap.
Best For Tough Durability: Iron Age Men’s Ground Breaker IA5016 Work Boot
The Iron Age Ground Breaker IA5016 Work Boot looks tough. That appearance is not deceptive as these will provide great protection with a durable design. Goodyear Welt Construction and Kevlar stitching will last, and last, and last.
The upper is entirely leather for flexible, reliable foot-guarding. A rubber lug outsole, met-guard, and a steel toe cap are barely noticeable but will show up when you need them.
With all that, you would expect it to meet safety standards and it does. ASTM F2413 standards for safety footwear are all taken care of.
The features even go further, a 6.75-inch shaft will bring great support for your ankle and an EVA cushion footbed for durable stability. If your boots are likely to take a beating then the Iron Age Ground Breaker is up to it.
Best For Water-Resistance: ROCKROOSTER Work Boots For Men
You may need a pair of boots that provide great resistance against the heat yet also show up against the water. If you work in wet surroundings such as a shipyard or in pipeline construction then Rockrooster has the work boots.
A lot of that protection comes from Nubuck leather which will be resistant against water, oil, and slips. There is even static control from an outsole that will release static electricity into the ground to avoid build-up.
These boots are easy to wear too with breathable fabric to keep your feet cool and, most importantly, dry. Even in the cold of winter, fiber structures will insulate your feet.
An anatomically contoured footbed will provide solid and comfortable support. They will even keep you alert with an insole packed with anti-fatigue memory foam.
Best For All-Day Comfort: Dr. Martens Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe Boot
Keeping your feet safe from the various hot and slippery conditions is a must. However, comfort is also a major factor for deciding on a pair of work boots.
The Dr. Martens Ironbridge MG ST Steel-Toe Boot takes all that onboard with supreme protection. A steel toe cap, padded steel metatarsal guard, electric hazard protection, and a wooden reinforced shank take care of that.
A non-skid thread will also provide great traction with a rubber outsole for slip and oil resistance.
As you would expect from Dr. Martens, these are made from full-grain leather. Heat-sealing the upper and lower sole and double stitching means your feet will be safe and secure. Expect durability, flexibility with waterproofing, and fire resistance.
Available in brown or classic black, the fabric lining will wick away moisture and a Smartmask insole for a snug, comfortable feel.
Best For Abrasion Resistance: Timberland PRO Men’s Powerwelt Wellington Boot
For a pull-on boot you can trust, consider the Timberland PRO Men’s Powerwelt Wellington Boot. Timberland is known for its waterproof leather boots and these have an upper made from Ever-Guard leather.
For abrasion resistance, these are ten times stronger than ordinary leather. Heat-resistant too which you would expect and flexible from full-grain, premium leather.
Pull-on boots tend to offer more support and the shaft goes from the mid-calf to the arch which will keep you upright. While still providing protection without a met guard, that ergonomic design is primed for a lightweight, efficient fit.
A dark, matte layer covers the steel toe and wraps around the foot for compression support. A polyurethane foam bed brings reliable cushioning to last through a long day.
They will also keep you dry with Cambrelle lining excelling in breathability and climate control technology to prevent moisture build-up. You should already have peace of mind yet a 30-day comfort guarantee more than seals it.
To find the best welding boots means combining essential safety features with lasting comfort. Protection against heat, oil slicks, and chemicals is paramount yet so is excellent support and a durable design.
There are certain features that are indispensable yet others that could swing a decision.
Your safety is paramount when deciding on welding boots. For optimum safety, think about a range of situations in your worksite where you could face a hazard.
The exceptional heat of molten steel, a chemical or oil spillage, a slip, all these could prove incredibly dangerous. You need traction as well as protection.
A worksite can involve a huge amount of heat yet combined with slippery substances requires great design from your boots. Look at the slip resistance and consider where you weld.
If your worksite is prone to chemical or oil spills, even soapy substances, then a slip resistant outsole is essential. An aggressive tread design can also prevent possibly fatal falls.
The outsole should also provide protection against the substance itself, especially acid or molten steel. Rubber is an ideal material for an outsole due to its slip, shock, and heat resistance.
Shock And Heat Resistance
The best welding boots will be able to handle electrical hazards. As well as sparks, welders must be able to handle highly conductive metal.
Static discharges may also pose a threat and your boots should resist electrical conductivity. This comes in two forms, either the boots will be shock-resistant or dissipate static. Allowing any static buildup is essential to avoid electrocution so consider this as a must.
Working as a welder means getting prepared for heat exposure. In a pair of boots, this means withstanding an almost unfathomable amount of heat.
There are various substances that are created with heat resistance in mind. These include premium leather, specially designed rubber outsoles, and unique neoprene.
You could also opt for a material to provide protection against heat transfer which is particularly important for working in hot environments.
If you are standing in temperatures around 550°F for long periods of time you will need reliable heat resistance, likely from a rubber or double density polyurethane outsole.
Steel Toe Cap
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of welding boots do not have a steel toe cap. Should there be an electrical as well as a risk from heat and falling objects, boots can have composite toe caps. These can be more comfortable and are usually around 30% lighter though do require more material.
If you want less bulk in your toe box then alloy is 30-50% lighter than steel. There is also carbon-fibre which is lightweight, unobtrusive and non-metallic.
In some jobs, a steel toe cap is not just preferable but wholly required for protective cover. Welding is a hazardous business and falling objects could result in losing a toe or even a foot.
The danger to a digit is not worth contemplating and a toe cap is one of those features that you really do not want to think about with hindsight. The cap needs to cover the entire toe section so the odd spark or a chemical spill can be faced without worry.
One of the first decisions to make for welding boots is whether to go for laces or pull-on boots. It’s not a simple decision and a lot of the deliberating is based on safety, as it should be.
Exposed laces can burn or entangle pieces of molten metal. If they come untied they become an instant trip hazard. It is imperative to have laces that are tucked away, ideally under a metatarsal guard.
Understandably, working with sparks and heat, in general, can prove hazardous. Not just to you but your laces too. If you want laces that will last then look at Kevlar. The material is great for laces as it’s very heat-resistant and durable.
One of the advantages that laces have is that they can be customized. You may prefer a tight fit or have larger feet that require a bit of leeway.
You may simply want no laces at and pull-on boots are easier to deal with. Simply pull them on and pull them off, though they may require breaking in for more stretching. However, due to heat exposure, leather boots should conform to your feet during the day.
Pull-on boots will also provide more coverage above your ankles and up your calf. There is a convenience to pull-on boots and a clean design that will protect you from sparks anyway. However, laced boots are usually more comfortable and prevent fatigue.
Welding involves a lot of heat yet the job can also bring you into close proximity with water. If you work in a shipyard or on a pipeline it is expected that you can get wet.
Puddles should not prove a threat to your feet and neither should electrical hazards. Water resistance is pretty much a non-negotiable as you should be able to work with water underfoot and not even consider it.
A lot of boots are already waterproof treated. They are patented technologies for ensuring that water is kept out yet the boot remains flexible and lightweight.
Many manufacturers use hydrophobic oil to ensure water stays out. Even if your favorite pair of boots are not fully waterproof, you should be able to apply a proofing agent as a coating.
Ensuring that your feet are protected is one consideration yet keeping them waterproof and your boots remain in good, durable condition is another.
Clearly, keeping your feet safe is the primary concern with welding boots. Having the right support is also important and goes a long way to preventing puncture.
Find out if you can get a boot that has a shank, this is a piece of hard, unbendable material (such as wood) that runs underneath the arch. As well as stopping any hard material puncturing the sole, the shank also works to evenly distribute pressure.
There is also compression to consider. This is essentially the feeling of the boot wrapping around your foot. Close to squeezing, this should ensure your blood circulation is maintained to stave away fatigue. The boot should match the contour of your foot and provide even more support and a sense of security.
A lot of the durability in the boot will come from how the sole is constructed. Thicker soles obviously mean increased protection from sharp objects you may step on. Punctures can render a sole useless so investing in one that will last is well worth it.
A good-quality sole will also provide better shock absorption and cushioning all throughout the day and for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Really Need A Steel Cap?
You may not wholly need a steel cap though protecting your toes goes without saying. There are other materials which are lighter than steel which still provide adequate protection. Alloy can be 30 or even 50% lighter than steel.
Carbon fibre and composite materials can also be lighter though require more material. You should also be careful with non-metallic materials as these can weaken with every impact.