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These 11 Best Shoes for Factory & Construction Work Will Make You Smile

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Who wants big chunky heavy work safety boots in the summer? Or maybe, you are not comfortable at all with the old fashioned ones. In construction jobs, guys try to find more and more flexible shoes or boots which are cushy, sturdy and obviously slip resistant. Factory workers prefer safety over anything else and there are reasons behind this. Here comes the best safety shoes for construction and factory work. 

After going through 1,900 work shoes, we have chosen 900 worth your attention. What then? From 900, we had to pick the best 350. From those 350 pairs, you get only 11 pairs. Chosen carefully, suggested with caution.

(Anyways, you might want to look at the all-category best work boot article.)

We did not merely pick 11 pairs for your construction or factory work. Rather, there are much more, carefully classified…

 

Timberland PRO Powertrain Sport

You know what? This is the very best work safety shoe which is popular. Period.

Timberland’s official clip:

If you compare all other shoes and these Powertrains, maybe, some other shoes are closer to them. And you will definitely find comp/carbon toe shoes lighter than these ones. There are nearly better shoes, yet to be widely accepted. However, if you count on the expert opinions, popularity, user satisfaction and available options- Powertrain is the sovereign monarch of workshoedom. Comfort rush. Where would you find these options to choose from:

Available Variations:

Men’s

Alloy Toe

Soft Toe

Slip On Alloy Toe

Mid Alloy Toe

Met Guard

Women’s

Alloy Toe

Soft Toe

Slip On Alloy Toe

Mid Alloy Toe

Met Guard

Better for: ANY work.

Whether you need safety toe, soft toe, slip on or met guard- everything is there for you. Yes, these are the best for construction and industrial jobs. Having said that, a teacher can wear them, a medical professional can and if you are in the food industry, they will make you happy. You can use them for physical exercise and even for some athletic purposes. You can wear them casually with jeans or khaki. That’s why we call them the best work shoes till date.

Features Present: ESD (static dissipative), EH (electrical hazard), safety/soft/met guard, slip- abrasion- heat- and oil resistant thick synthetic outsole.

Essential Features Absent: You may want leather or comp toe. These are not waterproof. synthetic fabric resists water to some extent. If you ask me, waterproof is somewhat needed for construction sites, so, it is an essential feature. If you are in factory work,don’t bother, WP does not matter.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Super affordable compared to flagship work boots.
  2. Lightweight compared to other work footwear. They weigh only 2.5 pounds or even less.
  3. Extremely comfortable and soft. You will be hard pressed to find more comfy shoe which is suitable for work.
  4. Cushy, bumpy. You will feel like you are sinking.
  5. Unexpected fitting.
  6. Constant best sellers compared to other flagship work boots and shoes.
  7. Immensely praised, popular and recommended by experts.
  8. Very flexible compared to mainstream work footwear.
  9. Super breathable mesh uppers.
  10. Very stylish compared to mainstream work footwear. Will give you a sporty look.
  11. Anti fatigue technology returns energy as you walk.
  12. Tons of options to choose from.
  13. Timberland PRO 30 day comfort guarantee.
  14. Antimicrobial odor control treatment.
  15. Abrasion- resistant cutting edge screen print.
  16. Good, durable laces.

Limitations:

  • Obviously, you would not expect them to last very long. They are not made of leather, they are not welted, they are not even harder. Want supreme unparalleled comfort? Gotta sacrifice the wear time. However, compared to tennis shoes or sneakers, they are durable enough. You should expect a 6-10 month all day wear time, all the way comfy. They are very good for walking all day and yet you can wear them for less time, less than heavy tank type work boots.
  • The insole is not that thick and cushy. That’s because you do not need very cushy ones for Powertrain. It is self sufficient. You might want to get your special insert if there is any.
  • There are no narrow Powertrain Sport shoes, they only come medium and wide.
  • The uppers might catch up grease.
  • The outsoles are unnecessarily bright. They might look a bit dirty over time, especially if you work in muddy or oily environments.

Level of Recommendation: Very, very high.

Why did we recommend? No question on that. Why would we not! If you are like us, raised wearing soft, flexi, easy sport shoes like tennis shoes, sneakers or running shoes- there is no way you can ignore Powertrain. Your feet will kind of sink within them, the material will instantly mold around your feet and they will bump as soon as you start walking. So tame, as though you have a pair of little soft pets with you!

Better or similar shoes: We don’t mean to confuse you, and yet we, the ShoeAskers are option freaks! If you somehow think that comp toes would have been lighter, thus better, go for Timberland PRO Ridgework.

 

KEEN Utility Detroit Low Work Shoe

Can’t rely on the sneaker like shoes? Want something more sturdy, more professional? Do you like the boot feelings of boots but want a pair of shoes? Better ones are these hybrids. Keen Utility Detroit Low are superb shoes from a superb brand and product line. Lots of options,a number of colors.

Available Variations:

Steel Toe for Men

Steel Toe for Women

Soft Toe ESD

Met Guard Steel Toe

Better for: Up and down, in and out jobs- walking and rushing with things on your hands. Better ones for the manufacturing floors, building construction sites and more. Going Hiking? Doing Something Rough? A pair suitable for multiple use is a pair worth the investment.

Features Present: Slip- oil- abrasion resistant solid durable outsole. met guard/steel/soft toe. Steel toes are waterproof. Leather, EH, . Dual density footbed.  

Essential Features Absent:

Some of us like full grain over everything. These are nubuck, however, they are heavy and durable.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • Lightweight, fits well, solid, very good material.
  • There is no question on comfort. You will find a number of comfy footwear,but will not find more comfy ones in this genre.
  • They look,feelandserve like an extra durable pair.  
  • All of the toes are extra protective which means they themselves will minimize some impacts and protect theare a from puncture, wear and tear which is great. Keen does a fabulous job in protective toes whether these are steel toes ornot.
  • Another biggie, their steel toes are anatomical.
  • The leather is of the best quality. Specially treated.
  • Keen.Dry waterproofing meets the premium standards.
  • The footbed is metatomical. This is awesome.
  • Torsional Stability Shank.

Limitations: The soft toes are not waterproof. If you ask me, yes,this can be a real downside. What if you do not need waterproofing? Go for it.

Level of Recommendation: Very high.

Better or similar shoes: Keen Utility has an array of shoes similar to these ones.

 

Reebok Work Sublite Cushion Industrial & Construction Shoe

How do they look? Well, they look exactly like super stylish Reebok athletic shoes with a weird twist of alloy toes. People would not recognize them as safety shoes unless they already know.  

Available Variations:

Men’s Alloy Toe

Women’s Alloy Toe

Men’s Mid SD

Better for: Outdoor non-muddy work in warm and blazing sunny days, hot and humid industrial complexes, supervisors. You can wear them casually anywhere. You can even attend a conference or give a speech on stage wearing them.

Features Present: Metallic non steel lighter yet harder alloy toes, EH, non slip.

Essential Features Absent: Can they be waterproof? Nope,they can’t. You don’t expect WP features from a pair of sporty running shoe. However,Sublite Cushion will let you stay dry to some extent if rainfalls all of a sudden.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Surprisingly light, just 350 grams per shoe.
  2. extremely comfy, super flexible, glued construction, super breathable
  3. No break in time, fittingwell, suits out of the box.
  4. “MemoryTech Massage footbed” molding around your anatomy.
  5. Cushy sublite foam midsole
  6. Protective forefoot abrasion resistant padding
  7. It frees your ankles which is savvy.
  8. The outsole is sort of self cleaning and that is made in such a way so that you can retain unimaginable flex.

Limitations:

  • Can’t pass metal detectors for sure (titanium toes may pass).
  • Can’t get waterproofing.
  • Too flexible to climb.

Level of Recommendation: Very high.

Better or similar shoes: Are you a lightweight freak? Or maybe you like the cutting edge nano carbon toe? Wolverine Jetstream CarbonMAX shoes are there for you.

 

PUMA Safety Metro Rio Aluminum Toe SD

Puma is an adorable brand. How does Metro Rio look? It’s a fusion between classic work boot and modern flexy breathy sneakers.

These will fit as expected or somewhat large. But you know, Puma needs you to wear the size they say, so that you get more room around the toes which is very important.

Better for: You like tennis shoe type safety shoes and you think “they better be a bit more like work boots”- these are for you. Metro Rio are presumably more sturdy than powertrain, reebok work or jetstream.

Features Present: aluminum toe, slip resistant outsole, SD.
<Shop now, check price or discover more
Essential Features Absent: Insert is not comfy, you will need to buy.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • Exceptionally durable compared to other ‘running safety shoes’.
  • You will find much more suede leather which is rare for a meshy-looking sneaker.
  • More abrasion resistance than other lightweight work shoes.
  • Comfortable enough, just consider a pair of insoles
  • BreathActive ensures that they remain breathable.
  • evercushion® pro footbed
  • EVA cushioned heel area
  • Metro Protect outsole

Limitations:

  • A bit heavier than other athletic work shoes. Obviously, they are not as light as Puma running shoes.
  • As the material are durable and protective,you may need to take some time before properly breaking in
  • The insole is modest. You may want better inserts.
  • Sizing is a bit confusing for a number of users. Just go for your size and if they seem.

Level of Recommendation: High.

Why did we recommend? More durable and more sturdy. Looks good.

 

KEEN Utility Atlanta Cool ESD Work Shoe

Want a meshier Keen Utility shoe? These feel like enclosed slippers.

Available Variations:

Steel Toe Men’s

Steel Toe Women’s

Soft Toe Men’s

Soft Toe Women’s

Better for: Those who want more air into their shoes. Do you walk around a lot? Maybe airconditioning can not catch you always. Why wouldn’t you love them as they are fit for street, factory, building sites, rough terrain or even the shores!

Features Present: Steel/soft toe, slip- oil resistant non marking rubber outsole, waterproof, cement construction.

Essential Features Absent: They are not welted. Shoes this sturdy sometimes come with welt construction.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. More mesh than other keen shoes. Too many porous mesh windows here and there.
  2. Exceptionally durable. If you are not too unlucky, count on them for 1 to 2.5 years which is anything but disappointing.
  3. They weigh around 1.5lbs which is very good for a sturdy pair like Atlanta Cool.
  4. Comfortable, nicely fitting, does not need much break in period. You can use Keen Insoles suiting your needs.
  5. Wider, specious, asymmetrical steel toe caps
  6. Keen protective toe.
  7. Dual density EVA midsole
  8. Easy slip on and off features.
  9. Stylish lacing system
  10. Odor protection by Cleansport nxt

Limitations:

The leather is waterproof, but the mesh is not! They can’t be. Here’s the fun part, the mesh is hydrophobic which means they love anything but being soaked into water.

You can never get way too roomy steel toe shoes which happen to be light. This is not logical at all. You might want to migrate to the compor carbon nano toed shoes.

Level of Recommendation: Very high.

Why did we recommend? Durability, exceptional breathability, brand faith.

 

Timberland PRO Branston Moc Toe Slip On ESD Industrial Shoe

Available Variations:

Alloy Toe- Men’s

Soft Toe- Men’s

There are very good oxfords as well, we are not discussing them here.

Better for: Sky is the limit. You can get them for work and then start using Branston for casual or formal daily life. Multipurpose shoes are always time, money and effort savers. You just can’t use them in electric hazard workspaces.

Features Present: Premium full grain leather, waterproof, alloy /soft toe, ESD,  oil- and slip resistant outsole, cushy collar, PU midsole, cement construction, fiberglass shank.

Essential Features Absent: Not really. You may have wanted comp toe and welt construction for lighter weight and grippy sturdy more durable pairs.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • Suitable as dress, casual and work shoe in brown or black.
  • Durable
  • Comfortable,30 day comfort guarantee
  • Moderately stain resistant
  • Fitting well, moderate break in time

Limitations:

  • You may want more breathable shoes especially if your feet sweat a lot or if there is a stink tendency.
  • Toe box and the overall structure is roomy enough, but you may find them a bit rubby/tighter insomecases.
  • There are some dissatisfactions on waterproofing and stitching.
  • These tend to be more on the work boot side, a bit heavier than lighter work shoes.

Level of Recommendation: High.

Why did we recommend? Better shoes froma best class brand. They could be more consistent though.

Better or similar shoes: If you would like to explore more loafer like shoes, Rockport Works Sailing Club RK6737 Slip On Boat Shoes are somewhat similar, not necessarily better.

 

Red Wing Heritage Men’s Weekender Oxford Work Shoe

Better for: These shoes are entitled for work, but people do not usually wear them to work, rather they use them as nostalgic, class attire. However,you can wear them at work as a taste changer or in order to look in control.

Features Present: Goodyear Welt construction and ComfortForce footbed. Leather is water, stain and perspiration resistant.

Get it, check the deals or explore
Essential Features Absent: No safety toes, no EH, ESD, waterproof or strong slip resistance.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. flexible and lightweight fora welted pair
  2. Attractive, classic, stylish,looks and feels natural. Looks vibrant with jeans or khakis.
  3. “solid, heavy duty rustic leather”
  4. Recraftable, which rare now a days.
  5. Comfortable once you break them in.
  6. Extra toe box wiggle room.

Limitations:

  1. Heritage weekender are true to Red Wing size which means you must get 1-2 size down. Have wide feet? Normal size may work for you.
  2. As all RW does, they may take 1-2 week to completely break in.
  3. Comparatively thin leather. They do not say whether it is full grain or suede. It looks suede though.
  4. Not so breathable, you may face sweat problem if wearing them constantly.
  5. Not meant to be formal shoes.

Level of Recommendation: Very high as a taste changer pair. Not recommended as the primary daily wearing shoes.

Why did we recommend? Who does not want to change the regular look?

 

Wolverine Falcon Comp Toe EH Safety Shoe

Yes, they do not look as sweet but they look somewhat decent. We better forget it. Have you ever suffered from big or pinky toe rubbing problem? In these boot like shoes, that’s not gonna happen. An overall roomy, flexible oxford shoe. No metal to stop you through detectors.

Available Variations:

Slip on for Men

Oxford for Men

Better for: You can wear them instead of any work boot in high risk work spaces. Very good for airports. Electricians can rely on them.

Features Present: Full grain durable well treated leather, EH, comp toe,  removable cushy insert, flexible nylon shank, compress molded EVA midsole.

Essential Features Absent: Not waterproof.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. They fit as expected, no significant break in period, get them easy out of the box.
  2. Surprisingly lightweight despite having the chunky look. Non metal protective toe does the magic here.
  3. Flexible enough, comfortable.
  4. Comparatively less pricey.
  5. Antimicrobial mesh sock lining.
  6. Breathable mesh lining keeps your feet dry.
  7. Hand sewn construction.
  8. Abrasion resistant toe tip.

Limitations:

  • No preloaded inserts are very good. These inserts may become less comfortable after a couple of months. If you need arch support or any other specialization, go for your desired pair of inserts. A cheaper yet better insert for them would be Dr. Scholl’s Work.
  • Not very durable which is somewhat disappointing but we have to live with that unless Wolverine thinks about it.
  • You might have wanted waterproofing.  

Level of Recommendation: Very high if you are not that concerned for ultra durability.

Why did we recommend? Check this out:

“I spent years looking for the perfect boot for my foot, i have tried probably 100 different boots up until i found these and i’ve been wearing this style now for about 4 years. I do go through around 2 pair a year and they don’t seem to last like some red wings I’ve tried, but the composite toe is wide and that is my main discomfort area of all other boots. ”

 

Caterpillar Argon Lace-Up Work Shoes

Available Variations:

Comp Toe- Men’s

Soft Toe- Men’s

Comp Toe- Women’s

Soft Toe- Women’s

Better for: Any high risk work that does not require metatarsal guard.

Features Present: Leather and synthetic, comp/soft toe, non slip, EH, cement construction,

Essential Features Absent: Shoes are not waterproof, boots are.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Very good fitting and comfortable
  2. Tough abrasion resistant material
  3. Superb design with vibrant color options. Damn stylish as a work shoe.
  4. Caterpillar ERGO means, Dual Density Insole, Sculpted Midsole, Shank Stabilizer and more.
  5. SRX Slip Resistant Outsole with Heel Clefts, Flex Grooves and Ergonomic Tread.
  6. The non metal toe reduces weight

Limitations:

  1. They are moderately durable. You would probably expect more wear time.
  2. Not waterproof, can’t use the shoes in wet conditions.
  3. They may look worn out after a few months.
  4. A number of users report holes in the leather which is good in no sense. Some even suffer from disconnected leather from the sole after a few days or in a couple of months.
  5. There are some slipping issues on oil or evening muddy areas.
  6. Needs a little break in period.

Level of Recommendation: High if you like CAT and if you are okay with the moderate durability.  

Why did we recommend? Despite some limitations, people love CAT and workers tend to rely on Argon.

 

Dr. Martens Gunby Steel Toe Shoe

Here comes the good old classic stereotype work footwear that satisfy your eternal definition of work shoes and boots. They look like hard working men’s shoes, feel like those things as well.

Better for: Jobs where you need to wear steel toe.

Features Present: Leather, steel toe, slip resistant, water resistant, padded collar, wooden shank (yes, I know, it’s a surprise.)   

Buy now or check the latest price

Essential Features Absent: Not waterproof.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • They mostly fit as expected. You Might find them a bit larger in some cases.
  • Tough Grizzly leather.
  • Moisture wicking lining helps keep your feet dry and smell free.
  • Antimicrobial lining for odor control
  • “shock-absorbing, slip-resistant PVC soles”
  • They look good, feel good.
  • Durable enough, may last 8-15 months.

Limitations:

  • They could have made a thinner sole but Doc Martens has a signature- that’s thick, high outsoles.
  • These are somewhat heavier than mainstream work shoes.
  • Might take a while to break in. That’s a Doc Martens signature.

Level of Recommendation: Very high.

Why did we recommend? Dr. Martens are old trusted brand. They did lose some of their buyer faith though. However, we want to give you something similar to work boots.

 

Caterpillar Brode Steel toe Work Shoe for Men & Women

 

Better for: Industrial, construction, kitchen and hospital. Easy to drive.

Features Present: Leather, steel toe, slip and oil resistant, water resistant, cement construction.  

Shop now, check price or discover more

Essential Features Absent: Not waterproof, not EH rated.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • They fit as expected. If you are unlucky enough, they might run small.
  • Comfortable, flexible, stylish, lightweight.
  • Cheaper than most of the premium ones.
  • Suitable in all seasons, especially every season other than snowy days.

Limitations:

  • Thin outsole compared to other steel toe shoes. Might wear out pretty quickly.
  • Require a moderate break in period.
  • Not extremely durable. Not fragile either.
  • Small shoes with smaller toe box.

Level of Recommendation: High, as these are cheaper and popular.

Why did we recommend? Popular brand and product, significantly lower price, moderately durable and stylish.

 

Additional shoes from other lists

Reebok Work Leelap Safety Shoe

 

Did you love the picks? We had to spend hundreds of hours for this tiny piece of advice. After digging for so long, tired and kind of pissed off- here we are! We loved curating this top pick and we will keep updating it.

What do you think- can we improve it? Is there any shoe on the list not worth? Can there be anything else? Let us know, as we value your thoughts.

Hey! I'm the father of three cute, hyperactive kids- landed straight off the heavens into my heart :) I'm an author in the core. Can't do anything but writing and digging things out. As you already have seen, I'm kind of a footwear fanatic- taking those little things as seriously as possible (which is bad, sometimes I think). Introvert within, extrovert with friends and not pervert by any means. :)

Leave a Reply

2 responses to “These 11 Best Shoes for Factory & Construction Work Will Make You Smile”

  1. Hello. I see that you don’t update your blog too
    often. I know that writing content is boring and time consuming.
    But did you know that there is a tool that allows
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    • ShoeAsk Admin says:

      Hey!
      Thanks for stopping by.
      This article is a newer one. We have a huge pile of work ahead. The site’s regularly updating now.

      Nope, we don’t have such policies- we don’t look at existing contents as we always write unique ones. Thanks for the advice though.

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