These 11 Best Shoes for Factory & Construction Work Will Make You Smile [April 2019 Update]

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Who wants big, chunky, heavy work safety boots in the summer? Alternatively, you might not be comfortable at all with the traditional ones- even if it’s fall, winter or spring. In construction jobs, guys turn to more and more flexible shoes. These need to be cushy, sturdy and slip resistant. Factory workers prefer safety over anything else, and there are reasons behind this. Here come the most excellent safety shoes for development and industrial 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 look at only 11 pairs in here. Chosen carefully, suggested with caution.

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

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

Table Of Contents

April 2019 Update:

You know what? We DID NOT go for amazon’s choice in the first place. We went for the omnipotent class, and you see where we ended up! Many of our recommendations now match “amazon’s choice.” Let me tell you something; I did not care for that choice thing up until March 2019 when I saw a fabulous idea in this choice category.

Lucky me! Now the updates:

There’s no significant change. I want to remind you that if durability is your prime concern, try Keen Detroit or Atlanta Cool; their comfort level is okay as well.

On the flip side, go on you crave for unmatched comfort? Are you overweight? Do you have diabetes? If you have specific foot, ankle, knee or back problems, try Timberland Powertrain.

Reebok Work Sublite shoes are still awesome.

If safety toe bothered you by rubbing your toes, Wolverine Falcon Comp Toes are one of the most elegant shoes for you.

Timberland PRO Powertrain Sport

Most comfortable, best selling

You see? Powertrain is the very best work safety shoe which is popular. Period.

Timberland’s official clip:

Comfort rush.

If you compare all the shoes with Powertrains- maybe, some are closer to them. Also, you will find comp/carbon toe shoes lighter than these, but these are lightweight as well. There are 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.

Where would you spot these options to choose from:

Available Variations of Powertrain:

Men’s

Alloy Toe EH (Most Popular)

Excellent user satisfaction (and they’re not meant to be durable as hell).

Soft Toe SD+

Slip-On Alloy Toe SD+

Mid Alloy Toe EH (Amazon’s Choice)

“It’s a game changer!” selling even more in 2019.

Met Guard, Alloy Toe

The legacy continues this year.

Women’s

Alloy Toe SD+ (Amazon’s Vote)

Most popular women’s Powertrain this year.

Soft Toe SD+

Outstanding user ratings.

Slip-On Alloy Toe SD+

Average popularity in 2019.

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 choicest for construction and industrial jobs. Having said that, a teacher can stand them, a medical professional can, and if you are in the food industry, they will make you happy. You can use the soft toe ones for physical exercise and even for a few athletic purposes. You can wear them indifferently with jeans or khaki. That’s why we call them the all-time best work shoes.

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 summon me, waterproof is somewhat needed for construction sites, so, it is an essential feature. You can try them on, wear the new ones for a month or so, then you can apply the best waterproofing oil/spray. If you are in factory work, don’t bother. Waterproofing does not matter in most of the instances.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. These are, in fact, flagship shoes. Yet, super affordable compared to other flagship work boots.
  2. Lightweight compared to most work footwear. They weigh only 2.5 pounds or even less.
  3. Extremely comfortable and smooth. You will be hard-pressed to uncover a more comfortable shoe which is suitable for work.
  4. Cushy, bumpy. You will feel like sinking.
  5. Unexpected fitting.
  6. Constant best sellers, while other premium work boots and shoes rarely hit the top chart.
  7. Immensely praised, popular and recommended by experts.
  8. Very flexible compared to the so-called mainstream work footwear.
  9. Super breathable mesh uppers.
  10. Very stylish compared to old-style work footwear. These will give you a sporty look.
  11. Anti-fatigue technology returns energy as you walk. This results in less fatigue and less sore feet.
  12. Tons of options to accept from, a significant upper hand.
  13. Timberland PRO 30-day comfort assured.
  14. Anti-microbial odor control treatment.
  15. Abrasion-resistant cutting edge screen print.
  16. Good, durable laces.

Limitations:

  • Obviously, you would not expect them to last particularly long. Powertrains don’t have leather; they are not welted, they are not even harder. Want supreme unparalleled comfort? Gotta sacrifice the wear time.
  • Nonetheless, contrasted to tennis shoes or sneakers, they are durable enough. You should expect a 6-10 month all day wear life, all the way comfy. They are perfect for walking all day, and yet you can put them on for less time, less than massive, tank-type work boots.
  • The insole is not that thick or cushy. That’s because you do not call for very cushy ones for the Powertrain. It is self-sufficient. You might wish 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, primarily if you work in muddy or oily environments.

Level of Recommendation:

Very, very high.

Why did we favor?

No dispute on that. Why would we not! If you grew up wearing soft, flexible and comfortable sport shoes- there is no way you can ignore Powertrain. Yes, we adore tennis shoes, sneakers or running shoes. Your feet will sort of sink within them, the material will instantly mold around your feet, and they will bump as soon as you walk. So tame, as though you have a couple of little soft pets with you!

Better or similar shoes:

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

KEEN Utility Detroit Low Work Shoe

Most durable

Can’t rely on the sneaker-like shoes? Want something more sturdy, further professional? Do you love the ‘boot feelings’ in a pair of shoes? These hybrids are the champs. Keen Utility Detroit Low shoes are superb shoes from a great brand and product line. Lots of options, many colors.

Available Variations:

Steel Toe for Men

In style this year, as of April 2019.

Steel Toe for Women

Update: They still rock.

Soft, protective Toe ESD

Met Guard Steel Toe

You’ll be hard-pressed to spot such suitable metatarsal guard shoes.

Better for:

Up and down, in and out jobs- walking and rushing with things on your hands. Better ones for working on the manufacturing floors, building construction sites and more. Going Hiking? Are you doing Something Rough? A pair suitable for multiple purposes is a pair worth 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 prefer full-grain leather over everything else. These are nubuck. Nevertheless, they are heavy and durable.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • Lightweight, fits well, reliable, perfect material.
  • There is no question about comfort. You will discover many comfy footwear, but will not find more comfy ones in this genre.
  • They look, feel and serve as an extra durable pair.  
  • All the toes are extra protective which means they will minimize impacts. They will also protect the toe box from a puncture, wear and tear- excellent. Keen does a fabulous job in protective toes whether or not these are steel toes.
  • Another biggie, their steel toes are anatomical.
  • The leather is of the best quality. They are 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 Suggestion:

Very high.

Better or similar shoes:

Keen Utility has an array of shoes identical to these.

Reebok Work Sublite Cushion Industrial & Construction Shoe

Best all-purpose, most stylish

How close 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 (Amazon’s Choice)

A variety of designs and colors. Selling more this year.

Women’s Alloy Toe

All 5-star ratings in 2019! Insane design.

Men’s Mid SD

These hand-made shoes are one of a kind.

Better for:

Outdoor non-muddy work in warm and blazing sunny days, hot and humid industrial complexes, supervisors. You can get on them casually. You can even attend a conference or give a speech 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. Although, Sublite Cushion will let you stay dry to some extent if rain falls suddenly.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Surprisingly light, just 350 grams per shoe.
  2. Charming, super flexible, glued construction, super breathable
  3. No break-in stage, fitting well, suits out of the package.
  4. “MemoryTech Massage footbed” molding around your anatomy.
  5. Cushy sublite foam midsole
  6. Protective forefoot abrasion resistant padding
  7. It frees your ankles; savvy!
  8. The outsole is made in such a way so you can keep 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:

Extreme high.

Better or similar shoes:

Are you a lightweight freak? Alternatively, you might 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 cool flexy breathy sneakers.

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

Shop now, check price or invent more

Better for:

You‘re fond of tennis shoe type safety shoes, and you think “they better be more like work boots”- these are for you. Metro Rio is presumably more robust than Powertrain, Reebok work or jet stream.

Features Present:

aluminum toe, skid resistant outsole, SD.

Essential Features Absent:

Insert is not comfortable; you will need to buy.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Exceptionally durable compared to other ‘running safety shoes.’
  2. Outstanding consumer reports until April 2019.
  3. You will find much more suede leather that’s rare for a meshy-looking sneaker.
  4. More abrasion resistance than other lightweight work shoes.
  5. Comfortable enough, just consider two insoles.
  6. BreathActive ensures that they remain breathable.
  7. evercushion® pro footbed.
  8. EVA cushioned heel area.
  9. Metro Protect outsole.

Limitations:

  • A bit fatter than other athletic work shoes (and I think this is a plus point, as you get stronger ones). Obviously, they are not as light as Puma running shoes.
  • As the materials are durable and protective, you may need a little time to break in properly.
  • The insole is modest. You may call for better inserts.
  • Sizing is a bit confusing for many users. Just go for your size and if they seem bigger, change the size after a few days.

Level of Recommendation:

High.

Shop now, check price or invent more

Why did we recommend?

More durable and more sturdy. It looks good.

KEEN Utility Atlanta Cool ESD Work Shoe

Best SD shoes

Want a Keen Utility shoe with more mesh? These feel like enclosed slippers.

Available Variations:

Steel Toe Men’s (Amazon’s Choice)

Good ratings, good fitting report.

Steel Toe Women’s (Amazon’s Choice)

Soft Toe ESD Men’s

Soft Toe ESD Women’s

Better for:

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

Features Present:

Steel/soft toe, slip- oil resistant, non-marking rubber outsole, waterproof and 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 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 that’s fantastic 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, spacious, 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 prefer to migrate to the comp or carbon nano toed shoes.

Level of Recommendation:

Certain high.

Why did we advocate?

Durability, exceptionally breathable, brand faith.

Timberland PRO Branston Moc Toe Slip On ESD Industrial Shoe

Best for contractors, best formal-industrial combo

Available Variations:

Alloy Toe ESD- Men’s

Soft Toe- Men’s

There are excellent Branston Oxfords as well; we are not discussing them here.

Better for:

Sky is the limit. You can get on them to work and then use Branston for casual or formal daily life. Multipurpose shoes are always time, money and effort-savers. You can’t use them in electrical 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. They provide lighter weight, grippy and sturdy 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 tendency to stink.
  • The toe box and the overall structure is roomy enough, but you may find them rubby/tighter sometimes.
  • There are dissatisfactions on waterproofing and stitching.
  • These are more on the work boot side, a bit heavier than lighter work shoes.

Level of Recommendation:

High.

Why did we prescribe?

Better shoes from a better class brand. They could be more consistent though.

Better or similar shoes:

Do you like loafer-type 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

Best classic work shoe, Amazon’s Choice

Get it, check the deals or explore

Better for:

they entitle These shoes to work, but people rarely wear them to work; instead they use them as nostalgic, class attire. However, you can get into them at work as a taste changer or to look in control.

Features Present:

Goodyear Welt construction and ComfortForce footbed. The leather is water, stain and sweat resistant.

Essential Features Absent:

No safety toes, no EH, ESD, waterproof or strong slip resistance.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. Good in 2019.
  2. Flexible and lightweight for a wedded pair
  3. Attractive, classic, stylish looks. These feel natural. Looks vibrant with jeans or khakis.
  4. “Solid, heavy duty rustic leather.”
  5. Recraftable, which is rare nowadays.
  6. Comfortable once you break them in.
  7. Extra toe box wiggle room.

Limitations:

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

Level of Recommendation:

Very high, as a taste changer pair. Not recommended as primary daily shoes.

Get it, check the deals or explore

Why did we favor?

Who doesn’t want to change the regular look?

Dr. Martens Gunby Steel Toe Shoe

Best sturdy, heavy-duty, better user ratings

Note: I liked these shoes more this year. They’re now in an upper position.

Here comes the proper old classic stereotype work footwear that satisfies your eternal definition of work shoes and boots. They look and feel like hardworking men’s shoes.

Buy now or check the latest price

Better for:

Jobs where you need to wear steel toe.

Features Present:

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

Essential Features Absent:

Not waterproof.

Special Features & Benefits:

  • They mostly fit as expected. You might sometimes find them larger.
  • Tough Grizzly leather.
  • The 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:

High high.

Why did we uphold?

Dr. Martens is an old, trusted brand. They lost some of their buyer faith though. However, we want to give you something similar to work boots.

Wolverine Falcon Comp Toe EH Safety Shoe

Widest toe box

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

Available Variations:

Slip on for Men

Oxford EH for Men

Better for:

You can wear them instead of any work boot in high-risk workspaces. Superb for airports. Electricians can rely on them.

Features Present:

Full grain durable, well-treated leather, EH, comp toe,  removable cushy insert, flexible nylon shank, compression molded EVA midsole.

Essential Features Absent:

Not waterproof.

Special Features & Benefits:

  1. They fit as predicted, no significant break-in duration, wear them quickly out of the box.
  2. Surprisingly lightweight despite a 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 pre-loaded inserts are perfect. 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 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

Better mid-priced options

Available Variations:

Comp Toe- Men’s

Soft Toe- Men’s

Comp Toe- Women’s

Soft Toe- Women’s

Better for:

Any high-risk work not requiring a 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. Perfect fitting.
  2. Comfortable enough.
  3. Tough, abrasion resistant material.
  4. Superb design with vibrant color options. Damn stylish as a work shoe.
  5. Caterpillar ERGO means:
  6. Dual Density Insole,
  7. Sculpted Midsole,
  8. Shank Stabilizer and more.
  9. SRX non-slip outsole with Heel Clefts.
  10. Flex Grooves and Ergonomic Tread.
  11. The non-metal toe reduces weight

Limitations:

  • They are moderately durable. You might expect more wear time.
  • Not waterproof, can’t use the shoes in wet conditions.
  • They may look worn out after a few months.
  • Some users report holes in the leather. Some even suffer from disconnected leather from the sole in a couple of months.
  • There are slipping issues on oil or evening muddy areas.
  • 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 a few limitations, people love CAT and workers tend to rely on Argon.

Caterpillar Brode Steel Toe Work Shoe for Men & Women

Shop now, check price or discover more

Better for:

Industrial, construction, kitchen and hospital. Easy to drive.

Features Present:

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

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 duration.
  • Not extremely durable. Not fragile either.
  • Small shoes with smaller toe box.

Level of Recommendation:

High, as these are cheaper and popular.

Shop now, check price or discover more

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

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