Last Updated On July 5th, 2020
There are many professions that come with an increased risk of trauma to the feet. Whether you work in construction, on a factory floor, or offshore on an oil rig, wearing a pair of the best safety boots in the UK will help to protect you against accidents and nasty injuries.
Of course, your particular industry will have its own standards when it comes to protective gear, but these ratings are not the only aspect you need to consider. For example, a pair of steel toe cap boots will certainly prevent crushing injuries, but what good will that be if you find them too uncomfortable and cumbersome to wear?
In this article, we aim to help you find the best work boots in the UK for your needs, no matter your industry. By examining a variety of features, we have reviewed ten of the top models available on the market today, so you can find your ideal match.
Our Favourite Work Boots Compared
Best Work Boot Reviews – Top 10 Picks
Do you need a hard-wearing work boot that will keep you safe without weighing you down? Then we recommend the Scruffs Switchback Safety Boots.
This mid-ankle work boot features a steel toe cap and composite midsole to protect you from crush injuries or puncture wounds caused by stray nails on the worksite. Boasting an S3 safety rating, the steel toe is rated to protect against 200 Joules of impact or 1500kN of compression. The midsole is also pierce-resistant to 1100kN so you can be sure this work boot will provide ample foot protection should an accident occur.
If you’re on your feet all day, you’ll appreciate how lightweight yet comfortable this boot is. Unlike other protective boots, the Scruffs Switchback doesn’t feel heavy and cumbersome to wear. The EVA rubber sole and underfoot shock absorbers reduce strain on your feet during long days at work, while the cushioned inner sock and heat-resistant materials keep you cool and comfortable, even on hot days.
This boot also offers anti-static properties, so you’ll be protected against electrostatic build-up and painful shocks. The outer nubuck leather looks stylish and is water-resistant.
However, there are a few downsides to these work boots. The stitching may start to fray within a few months if the boots are subjected to heavy use on a daily basis. Furthermore, the padding behind the heel area is a little thin and the sole can be a little slippery on wet metal surfaces. Therefore, if you regularly work in wet conditions or on ladders and scaffolding, you may be better off with a pair of work boots that are fully waterproof and with a stronger grip.
That said, thanks to its highly-rated protective features, comfortable materials, and lightweight design, it’s clear to see why the Scruffs Switchback work boots are our top choice for those who spend many hours on their feet.
Would you like to bring a little luxury to your workday? Then these highly-rated boots by Grisport should be on top of your list.
Grisport is a well-known manufacturer of best-selling workwear and their Contractor boots are no exception. Employees at some of the world’s biggest companies rely on these industrial boots to keep them safe and comfortable in the workplace, so rest assured that these boots will meet all of your expectations.
Boasting an impressive safety level of S3-HRO-HI, these work boots feature an anti-perforation midsole made from steel, as well as a steel toe cap to defend against crushing injuries should an accident occur. The shock-proof, anti-slip, grease-resistant sole offers great grip on all surfaces and is heat-resistant – making the Contractor a great all-rounder for many working environments. Every pair of work boots in this line offers anti-static properties, which is great if you’re fed up with receiving electrostatic shocks while using electronic equipment or working in precarious areas.
If you often work in hot conditions, the breathable leather upper reduces sweating and keeps you cool. While these boots aren’t fully waterproof, they are designed to resist water ingress for at least one hour in wet conditions.
On the downside, the Contractor has quite a narrow fit, so it may not be suitable for you if you have wide feet. This model is also sized small, so many users recommend buying the next size up. Lastly, at 1518g, this boot is pretty heavy, so if you do a lot of walking, you may wish to opt for a lighter model to prevent fatigue.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a pair of great work boots. These work boots by Black Hammer offer protection without the high price tag – making them our top budget choice.
Crafted from stylish black leather, these industrial shoes are S3 SRC safety rated to prevent injuries in the workplace. The steel toe cap protects against impact and crushing injuries up to a force of 200 joules, while the steel-reinforced midsole provides a strong layer of protection from piercing from sharp objects underfoot.
Anti-static and non-slip, these work boots offer great grip, even on oily surfaces. The breathable mesh inner lining helps to keep you cool on hot days and the lightweight design guards against fatigue on long shifts.
These work boots claim to offer completely waterproof performance; however, some users have complained that the waterproofing wears off after a couple of months of use in tough conditions. Furthermore, the sizing is a little narrow for those with wide feet and the sole is prone to coming away with heavy wear.
All in all, these affordable boots allow for comfort and will keep you protected from injury and slips, but the low cost also comes with some durability issues. That said, Black Hammer does offer a 6-month warranty on all their footwear – so you can expect these boots to last at least this long.
If your industry puts you at high risk for foot crush injury, we recommend Groundwork Steel Toe Cap Combat Boots – our pick for the best steel toe cap boots.
Comfortable to wear for long periods, the high-ankle style of these work boots offer great support, while the padded collar and tongue reduce pressure on the upper foot. Cushioned insole ensures comfort by warding off fatigue in the arches of your feet, while the zip sides and reinforced, double lace-up rings keep the boots securely fastened.
These boots are manufactured to EN 345 1 standards for optimum performance to keep you protected in dangerous industrial environments. The tough steel toe cap will help protect you against impact and crushing should the worst happen, while the oil-resistant and anti-slip sole helps to minimise the risk of falls.
On the downside, the sole is rather prone to wear when worn on rough ground and some customers complained that the high ankle zip/lace design restricted their movements. The zippers used are great for securing the boots, but also weak spots that lack durability with frequent use.
Do you spend most of your time working outdoors? If so, the Amblers Safety Leather Waterproof Boots could be the best work boots in the UK for you.
Our pick for the best waterproof work boots, the Amblers AS995 could easily be the best safety boots for you right now. These work boots are 100% waterproof protection; the composite toe cap and midsole protection to ensure you stay safe on the job. The nubuck leather upper is well-padded with Thinsulate lining for extra warmth while the temperature-resistant outsole stands up to hot surfaces.
Easy to put on and take off, these comfortable work boots feature a combination of side zips, full lace front and pull-on loop for a secure fit. The zip isn’t very durable, though; heavy-handedness may cause it to break. The shock-absorbing heel reduces the pressure on your feet and the high grip sole helps to prevent slips and falls.
In terms of drawbacks, the Amblers Waterproof Safety Boot has few to mention. Some users felt that the sole felt quite thin underfoot on rocky ground and that the ankle support was lacking, but overall, we think this work boot is the one to beat when working in inclement weather.
If you hate the sensation of heavy boots on your feet, then these SAFEYEAR Breathable Safety Shoes could be your ideal match.
Our pick for the best lightweight safety boots, the SAFEYEAR protective shoe, features a comfortable wide fit and a design that resembles a trainer. Despite this, it has a steel toe cap rated to 200 joules and a sole plate to protect against punctures from sharp objects underfoot.
Crafted from leather, these industrial shoes are water-resistant. Thanks to the ‘air cool’ insole, these breathable work boots are also a great choice if you often get hot, sweaty feet. Its anti-static qualities also help to prevent a build-up of charge and reduce painful shocks.
While these work shoes are undoubtedly a fantastic choice if you prefer lightweight options, there are downsides to consider. Firstly, these shoes tend to run small, so getting the right fit can be a challenge. Furthermore, the toe cap can be too narrow for some people and the sole doesn’t stand up to heavy wear.
However, SAFEYEAR does offer a 6-month warranty, so you can be confident they will last at least this long with regular use.
If you’re looking for safety footwear that offers supreme comfort all day long, then we recommend the CAT Premier – our choice for the most comfortable safety boots.
These workman’s boots boast a waterproof outer membrane, breathable foam inner sole and Thinsulate lining that keeps your feet warm, dry and fatigue-free on the job. Securely fastened using a combination of full lace and zip, you can rest assured these comfortable work boots will stay put and provide great ankle support. They’re easy to put on and take off, but the lack of a pull loop may be an issue for some.
Slip and oil resistant, with a 300℃ heat-proof sole, 200-joule composite toe caps, and composite midsole – these anti-static working boots will ensure you’re protected in challenging conditions. Note that the sole may lift away slightly over time, but this doesn’t affect performance. However, these boots are fairly heavy so if you prefer lightweight footwear, these boots may not be the best choice for your needs.
Another contender for the best industrial footwear is the Groundwork Steel Toe Cap Boot. Combining form and function, these boots look great while protecting users from injury.
Every pair of the Groundwork toe cap boots features a stylish suede leather upper design and lace fastening, these work boots are comfortable, effective and look great too. The anti-slip sole is resistant to oil, chemicals, and petrol, so you’ll feel confident walking on greasy surfaces.
The steel toe caps defend against impacts of up to 200 joules and compression of up to 15,000 newtons. However, these boots lack sole protection, so they shouldn’t be used in environments where you’re likely to step on sharp objects. If you work long shifts on your feet, the shock-absorbing insole boosts comfort and ankle support and helps to reduce pain and fatigue during long shifts.
It is worth noting, however, that these workers’ boots have a few drawbacks to keep in mind. They aren’t fully waterproof and some people have complained that the laces fray easily with heavy wear.
Another great choice of work boot is the FURY by Dickies, an excellent option for those looking for affordable yet comfortable protective footwear.
Offering a steel toe cap rated to 200 joules compression and a steel midsole for protection against punctures, these lace-up work boots are a good budget option to keep your feet safe from injury. The EVA inner sole can be removed if required, while the breathable lining and padded collar and tongue increase comfort. These boots are made with a soft and flexible leather outer, but they are not waterproof.
Slip-resistant and anti-static, these boots are worth considering if you work in greasy environments or often find yourself suffering painful static shocks. The cushioned heel helps to absorb impacts from travelling up to your ankles, thus reducing fatigue in your feet and legs.
Unfortunately, these work boots have a few downsides. The top lace hooks aren’t very durable and are prone to snapping off. The sizing is quite large and the supplied insoles are rather thin, but you can always replace these with some thicker ones to improve comfort.
Do you prefer pull-on work boots? If so, the Grafters Grinder Twin Gusset Safety Boots could be just what you’re looking for.
Perfect if you hate fiddling around with laces and zips, the Grafters Grinder boots have two pull loops to help you get them on and off quickly and easily. Boasting a soft leather upper and synthetic sole, these work boots keep your feet protected from injury with a safety toe cap and penetration resistant, steel midsole.
Slippery surfaces are no problem for these boots, either. The slip-resistant sole grips well on wet surfaces, even if you encounter spills of oil, petrol, acids, or alkalis. And as they’re anti-static and heat-proof to 200℃, you can be sure these boots will stand up to the task at hand.
Featuring anti-fatigue properties and an improved ladder grip, these work boots are a good choice for all professions. However, they do have a few drawbacks. The fit is quite tight around the ankles, and depending on the size of your calves, the top may dig into the skin at the back. Furthermore, these boots lack the breathability of other models and the soles are prone to wear with frequent, heavy use.
Are Steel Toe Boots Comfortable?
Contrary to what you may have heard, steel toe boots can be very comfortable to wear – so long as you choose the right fit and features required for your needs.
As with any type of footwear, cushioning, breathability, sizing and flexibility play a huge role in your overall comfort levels, so making an informed choice is key.
How to Choose the Best Safety Boots in the UK
Not sure which safety footwear is best for you? Check out our buying guide to find the answer.
Most work boots are made from either leather, synthetic materials, or a combination of both. The best products for you will depend on your activities at work.
Leather is naturally breathable, hard-wearing, and can be completely waterproof if treated. It usually has a nice flex to it and will mould to your feet and movements with time. It resists heat well and is generally durable if you take care of it.
The biggest disadvantages of products made from leather are the cost and maintenance required to keep them in good condition. You will need protective oils and sprays to keep your leather boots from drying out and cracking.
Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are cheaper but equally popular choices.
They require little to no maintenance and can be easily thrown in the washing machine to keep them clean. These materials can be very hard-wearing and waterproof if they are manufactured to a high quality.
On the downside, synthetic materials are less resilient to high temperatures and are less breathable than natural materials in hot conditions. Thus, they may not provide the level of comfort that exceeds your expectations. They are also more likely to fray and wear out at points of friction over time, especially with heavy use.
Toe and Sole Protection
The best industrial boots are designed to provide protection in potentially dangerous conditions at work. The level of protection you require, however, depends on your profession.
At the very least, you should look for boots that feature a steel or composite toe cap. Steel is a good choice but it also holds cold temperatures; thus, it can be chilly in the winter months if you work outside.
Aside from toe caps, midsole protection is a must if you’re at risk of stepping on sharp objects. Steel or composite sole plates provide adequate protection against puncture wounds and help provide peace of mind.
There are a number of regulations that safety boots must meet to claim certain protective ratings. There are several guides available online so check them out.
If you’re always working indoors, water-resistance is less important to you. However, if you spend much of your day exposed to the elements, choosing a pair of fully waterproof work boot is key to comfort.
Both leather and synthetic boots can be waterproof, but leather options will require more upkeep to maintain their efficiency. It is also important that your boots are classified as waterproof and not merely “water-resistant.” Water-resistant boots will only keep you dry for limited periods before letting moisture in.
If you work at height or in environments that carry the risk of wet surfaces or oily spills, then choosing footwear products with slip-resistance is crucial.
This type of boot features specialised tread designs and materials that offer grip on slippery surfaces. To ensure that you’re making the right choice, look for boots that have the following ratings:
- SRA – Tested on soapy ceramic tiles
- SRB – Tested on steel surfaces coated with glycerol
- SRC – Have been tested under both the above conditions
As we have seen, safety boots are a crucial item of workwear to keep you safe from injuries and discomfort.
While all of the work boots we have reviewed make great choices in their own right, we think the best safety boots in the UK are the Scruffs Switchback Safety Boots, our Editor’s choice.
Comfortable and lightweight to wear, we love that these boots feature a steel toe cap and composite midsole rated to 1500kN and 1100kN respectively to protect against crushing and puncture wounds should the worst happen.
We think these safety features, combined with its cushioned inner socks, anti-static qualities, and heat and water-resistance make the Scruffs Switchback Safety Boots the best work boots in the UK.