Thorogood VGS-300 Composite Toe Work and Hiking Gel Shoes (804 Series)


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How useful are these shoes and their “gel outsole” technology? Well, they’re good enough as you’re gonna find below:

“Tough as nails,” said a user about Thorogood VGS-300 shoes. Thorogood tried and succeeded in making them sturdy and supportive, pleasant as echoed by another happy buyer:

“I been wearing this shoes on a daily basis for almost a year. Very comfortable, very well made.”

And the gel always suggests that troubled feet and back can have a bit of relief. Yes, these are more supportive if you have specific foot problems.

Types and Features of Thorogood VGS-300 Shoes


There are four in total:

Three Oxford Shoes (two slip-on shoes)

Sport Oxford ASR Thorogood SD Safety Toe

Note: not highly recommended IF YOU NEED TO BEND FREQUENTLY as the safety toes are likely to hurt your feet.

Two Slip-on Shoes

Slip-on Oxford Thorogood SD Composite Toe

You can work, walk and go here and there wearing these which turns them into multipurpose shoes!

Slip-on Oxford I-MET²™ Thorogood Safety Toe

It’s not ESD, but it has EH, and it’s tested according to ASTM F2413 measures. It also has the same measure for safety toe and metatarsal guard. All ASTM F2413’s a good deal.

One 8” Hiker

8” Hiker Thorogood SD Safety Toe

Here’s something we couldn’t hold about these 8” ones:

“Best work boot I’ve ever worn.

This is my fourth pair in four years, and I will continue to buy them.”


All the 804 series boots and shoes have VGS outsoles which means they have visible gel soles.

The gel is immensely powerful in terms of support, comfort, energy return and stability. It’s kind of our bad luck that remarkably few work and hiking safety footwear have gel in the outsoles.

Common Features

All are SD except the I-Met2 slip-on shoes.

Each of these has a composite toe.

Each of VGS-300 shoes has composite shank.

They make all of brown leather while the outsoles and abrasion resistant areas are black.

Top quality full grain leather.

Cement construction.

Obviously, all have a touch of bright yellow, nearly orange color as a sign of Thorogood.

They categorize all under ‘Work.’ One is not, but the features say this pair is also meant for work. Nothing else.

Alas, none of these are waterproof. That’s not a downside per se!

This series is unlined.

They’re not insulated, but you can easily wear them outside only if there’s no snow or terrible cold out there.

None of these are produced in the USA. It’s not a matter of disappointment, after all, Thorogood won’t be able to provide such quality material at this price point.

Each of these other than the Sport Oxford has a removable polyurethane footbed.

Moreover, all are lightweight.

Solidly built.

In-depth Review and Comparison of Thorogood VGS-300 Shoes and Boots

Remarks & Suggestions:

Medium duty very light yet sturdy boots and shoes.

These are moderately durable and comfortable enough. You might find them comfortable right out of the box, or you might face a short (maybe not so sweet) break-in period.

We can’t really recommend the laced shoes highly to someone who loves flexibility as we said earlier.

Better for:

All four shoes and boots are better for medium duty activity. They’re kind of famous in unexpected workspaces like firefighting stations. Laced shoes and boots are suitable for hiking, but not suggested solely for that purpose. You need them for work? Buy them for employment, and then you’re free to hike wearing those from time to time. People hike wearing them, but they’re made mostly for work. If you require to put them on an off from more often, the slip-ons are for you.

These are appropriate for standing and walking all day on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

Does your foot hurt? Do you have specific problems like knee or back pain? Is it hard to stand and walk for long hours or added work shifts? Or maybe your nerve hurts?

These flexible, lightweight, sturdy shoes and boots are perfect for you.

User, Expert & Trade Recognition:


“These boots are hands down the best I’ve worn and worked in, in my 20+ years of manual labor.”

A seasoned user had said about the laced shoe: “I’m an installation technician, and I wear these year-round, inside and out, on all kinds of surfaces, up and down ladders and stairs for 8-12 hour days, and am very happy with them. They still work shoes, so I’m happy to take them off at the end of a long work day, but that’s once the day is done and I’m relaxing. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t wait to get out of them in the middle of a workday. ”

“These are my 3rd pair, and they continue to impress.”

On the other hand, these are not selling like, and that’s because everything has limitations and currently there are hundreds of options for work footwear.

Price vs. Durability


These are kind of premium feature-packed shoes from a premium brand at a decent price point. You’re likely to use them for like six to twelve months or in some extreme cases, further.

VGS shoes are sturdy and supportive, but would not last for years. For the price and components, we could give it a full 5/5, but 4 is satisfactory.



Let me tell you something in a line:

Comfort won’t bother you (once you break into them and if your pair requires a short period).

And let put those words from a buyer’s satisfied voice besides:

“They’re comfortable, durable, comfortable, look nice, and did I mention comfortable?”

“These are VERY comfortable. Probably the most comfortable work shoe I have worn in 30 years.”

Break-in Time & Fitting:


You will find them comfortable out of the box, and there’s a 70% chance you would not call for any break in periods. If required, it’s hardly a week or so.

As you know, better, classic brand shoes don’t usually come broken in out of the box. As far as we can tell you, the slip-on shoes require break-in time.

As we’ve seen, they fit mostly expected. However, users have found the slip-ons fitting more than the laced shoes and boots.

You can always order half to one size up as safety toe shoes need more room.

Waterproof, Chemical resistance & Spill Resistant:


These are not waterproof at all. You can make them waterproof if you already have fallen in love with these shoes. Otherwise, don’t bother and rather keep an eye on the waterproof ones.

On the contrary, these leather are oiled enough, they’re treated well and of the best quality. So, they would save you from chemicals and spills to some extent. Waterproofing might resist more.

Slip Resistance, Oil Resistance & Non-Marking:


Do I need to say anything further than the following remark:

“The grip of the tread is crazzy good. I work on wet floors A LOT and have not found myself on my butt yet. Not even an OMG slip.”

Toe Box, Safety Cap & Abrasion Resistant:


As you most probably already see, tested composite toes are way better than steel toes, and these are  ASTM F2413 tested while the box is:

“wide enough to not hurt your toes.”

And we’ve seen such comments:

“Since I spend a lot of my day squatting or on my knees running cabling, the composite toe gets uncomfortable when my toes are bent backward in those positions for a long time. If I’d known about the job change, I just would not have gotten the composite toe. That’s not a flaw of the shoe though; they just were designed with protection as a higher priority than squatting comfort.”

Speaking of abrasion, these are moderately resistant in the case of laced shoes and boots. Slip-ons? They might look ugly if there were any thick rubber padding above the forefoot and toe box.

Electrical Hazard & Static Dissipative:


Three of the footwear are ESD while one is EH. You’ve got it covered all around.

Style & Presentable:


They’re not that stylish, especially the laced pairs look somewhat rough. Slip-ons are rather better looking. However, these are presentable, and you can use them for different instances:

“Plus, almost 2 years later they still look good enough that I wear them to church occasionally because they look great with khakis.”

Breathable & Insulation:


Moisture Wicking Comfort Weave, as they say, is of wonderful trait. What about our observations? The mesh lining could be richer.

These are moderately breathable, sometimes you might find them on the warmer side. There’s no insulation, but:

“If you are walking then 20 deg F is fine.”

“Wear the right sox and these boots are great in all seasons.”

Overall, it’s not excellent compared to brand fame.

Leather, Upper, Lace & Heel:


Thorogood can’t just throw any sort of leather on top of their shoe basements. It does not work that way. As we would expect, Thorogood has put some extensive efforts to find high-quality top full grain leather:

“They even still have the original laces in them, and honestly still only look like they’ve been work for a couple of weeks.”

The uppers are solidly built. Good, supportive heels.

Tongue, Collar & Weight:


They’re overall on the lighter side, but don’t expect them to be feather-light, they work safety footwear, and they’re somewhat sturdier which means not as light as imaginable.

The collars are moderately plush. Laced boot and shoe have tongues. Nothing special.

Insole, Midsole, Shank & Arch Support:


“Shoes have the thickest insole I have ever seen come in a shoe” yes, their full-length inserts are not crappy thin sheets opposed to the tradition. You need not buy insoles right away:

“As an added bonus, these boots have a great insole, which is usually the first thing I change when I buy new boots…”

The midsole is fantastic, as there’s where the gel is. They call the midsole this way Compression Molded EVA with Impact 300 Gel Heel.

Engineered composite shank deserves a thumb up.

These don’t come with much arch support. If you have an unusual arch, it’s always better to go for a suitable insert.

The outsole, Construction, Puncture Resistance & Sewing:


A.S.R. Super Slip Resisting Rubber Outsole is of stronger nature, but they’re not immensely strong:

“The soles do not hold up well, and my soles failed within six months of light use.”

Speaking of the sewing, the boot-style ones, the laced models have sturdy multi-thread sewing. Those have white threads. On the contrary, both of the slip-on shoe models have kind of fragile-looking sewing. As you know, strong-looking stitches do not suit to slip-on shoes.

You would not want to try puncture resistance as there’s gel in the midsole and those things are visible.

The upper and sole layers are glued together.

Anti-odor & Cleanable:


No anti-odor treatment whatsoever. It’s not a standard feature either. They’re moderately cleanable. Be gentle with them as rough cleaning might cause weak gluing.

Warranty, Return & Post Purchase Service Policy:


There’s not much support once the initial month is gone:

“Disappointed that they want you to pay a restocking fee when you return them!”

Thorogood should have done better here, but look at the price tag and features. They should not be able to support much at this price tag.

Brand Faith:


Thorogood is Thorogood! One of the top brands out there:

“I’ve worn Thorogood brand boots almost exclusively forever, and have never been disappointed with the comfort and quality, and these boots have been right in line with the quality I’ve come to know from the brand.”

Special & Uncommon Features:


Packed with lots of features and we might like to see some of those onces more:

“No longer do I set off the metal detector at work.” 100% Non-Metallic.

ASTM F2413-11 M I/75/C/75/Mt/75 composite safety toe.

EH or ESD Rated.

Tested for and meets CAN/CSA-Z195 18,000 Volts Electrical Shock Resistance Standard.

Patented I-Met2 Technology and much more.



The number of cons should have been kept low:

If you’re considering the laced shoe, comp toe box might hurt your forefoot which is truly unfortunate and sometimes, it’s a real problem. Bad for Thorogood.

“Warm for Texas.” and they are kind of warm.

“When you step on a stone, you can feel it through the boot. It is very thin on the bottoms.”

Not made in the US. People expect union made homegrown products from Thorogood.

You might demand a shoehorn for the slip-ons, at least in the early few days.

There are dissatisfactions with the slip-on shoe ankles. I perceive why, the forefoot area is wide enough, so, you’re supposed to feel a bit tight in the ankle parts. Go for a half size up as we always recommend.

There’s no specialized arch support as you might already have guessed. You can always solve the problem with premium inserts made for your arch type.

For slip-ons, the tongue-like part might seem a bit higher.

“Sole of the shoe started to lift after 2 months. When we tried to warranty the shoe, they denied the claim because it was more than 30 days from the purchase. I asked that they reconsider and they never responded back.”

Editor’s Boost:


If you end up liking them, a 12-hour shift will not bother much.

“They don’t even feel like boots but more like trail shoes.”

Popular Alternatives:

Thorogood Men’s GEN-flex2 6” Cap Cap Toe Boot

Skechers for Men’s Hartan Slip-On Shoe

Timberland PRO Powertrain

Similar Style:

Timberland PRO Men’s Branston Moc-Toe Slip-On Work Shoe

Different & Uncommon:

Thorogood Men’s Crosstrex Mid Composite Toe

Reebok Work Beamer ESD Athletic Safety Shoe

Georgia Men’s Giant Romeo Steel Toe Shoe-Soggy Brown

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