As a welder, you must have easily recognized the need of accessories ensuring safety such as a welding helmet, jacket, and gloves. All of them aim to protect you from sparks, flames, and hot liquid. However, they are mostly for the upper body due to which you may not think about your feet safety. This is particularly applicable to those who are in the lower or recessed areas and welding is overhead. Despite the working area, hot metal liquid or splatter can reach to your feet. So, if a welder lacks the best welding boots, limping for a short while can become inevitable in case of an accident. Thus, this guide is dedicated to reveal the best work boots for welders.
Why Look Specifically for Welding Work Boots
Normal shoes will not work effectively while you are welding. Even the athletic wear will fall short in protecting your feet due to the too thin rubber soles. Such soles are easily pierced if the metal is sharp.
Further, the upper part of the shoe is built using cotton or synthetic material that is likely to burn quickly if it comes into contact with the spark or flame. In case you choose a lace-up Oxford model, do not expect any protection for your ankles. The ankles remain exposed to heat and flame.
Even its build material, leather, is not capable of resisting the impact of heavy metal. Thus, it is best to look for a non-conductive build while buying welding boots.
Made specially for welding, welding shoes aim to defend your feet from molten spills, toxic or corrosive pieces spread on the floor, the impact of falling items, and sparks. Several welding work boots are highly affordable.
However, do not be a victim of buying too cheap shoes that are cheap even in terms of protective functionality. Such a pair of shoes does not last long and usually need to replace in just some months.
Your pair of welding shoes is your asset. So, it is vital to invest in to smartly. Well, this does not mean that having a low budget will give you a too cheap quality. It actually means that regardless of your budget, you need to buy an effective pair of welding boots, which is possible.
Factors to Consider While Buying Welders Work Boots
The best welding boots for welders should have a super-quality stitch, a lasting upper body, and a supportive insole. These are main qualities that do not make a pair to fall apart impulsively. In terms of what makes up for the best welding boots, here are the factors to consider:
Build Material or Construction
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider. Welding is full of toxic or hot substances. Therefore, it is unreliable to choose a synthetic material, as it can quickly burn due to the fumes and prove to be harmful. Even the molten plastic can cling to your skin.
Choose a study material such as artificial leather. At the same time, the material in use should be non-conductive. This is because exposure to electrical dangers is also common while welding.
A pair of non-conductive welding boots decreases the risk of shock when exposed to an open circuit. A heat-resistant material is required if you will be handling hot molten metal, which can splatter onto the feet or ankles.
Even here leather footwear is the heat-resistant solution. You must also look for construction. It should be such that the hot pieces cannot penetrate into crevices, holes, or other parts.
The best welding boots are of a ‘welt’ construction in which a band of leather passes between the sole and upper where they are joined. Many welding shoes are directly attached through a mold and injected via hot rubber that forms the sole. While these boots are comfortable and affordable, they are not mandatorily durable.
It is common for you as a welder to handle sharp metals. These pieces are likely to cut the uppers or ordinary soles of standard boots or shoes. Thus, it is important to have a shoe material resistant to cuts or pierces. The footwear must have flexible, fortified metal soles.
In case of too soft soles, your footwear is likely to melt if exposed to high, welding temperatures. As a fact, melted soles can spoil your day.
Yes, it is important to consider the overall boot height for your welding tasks for obtaining sufficient defense. In case of welding in rare or odd positions, you need to consider an additional level of ankle support.
This is because that is what you will need often. Thus, it is wise to look for a pair that is minimum 9 inches high and ensures a cozy fit.
For welding at various heights, the chosen footwear should be able to adjust with your ups and downs, especially on ladders. Here, the best welding shoe pair features a heel of minimum 0.75 inches and a bevel having an angle of 45 degrees.
In case of too much bevel, you may experience a slippage while proceeding on a step. So, be careful.
Impact and Shock Resistance
Heavy tasks like welding tanks or carts always include the risk of rolling or falling onto your foot. So, it is wise to look for impact-resistant welders boots. A primary and mandatory element of such shoes is a steel toe or steel cap.
The welding boots steel toe usually covers the toe fully right beyond the usual curve of the foot. While having such a feature is not compulsory, it significantly aids in defending your feet from any kind of impact.
There is also an option of composite toes. These models are more comfortable as well as lighter. They also adhere to the OSHA standards, which may be needed for the type of welding you will be performing.
The pair of boots that you choose should also be resistant to shock. Welding involves the use of electricity due to which there can be threats such as statistic discharges and conductive items.
So, your shoes should resist electrical conductivity. Usually, welding boots dispel static or are resistant to shock. Offering both capabilities is rare.
A double-stitching pair perhaps has a rugged build to prove itself on a heavy-duty welding task in almost any work environment. Such a durable pair is what you actually want if you are a professional or frequently work on welding metals for fabrication and other heavy-duty tasks.
Safety with Metatarsal Guard
This feature is like a guard for your welding shoes. It is responsible for delivering a structure to the boots. This structure makes it possible for the boots to withstand the roughest of wear. Apart from that, even the boot laces are protected along with your feet.
The metatarsal guard protects the laces such that they are not burnt due to sparks. It also defends the toes and other parts of the top surface of the feet against wounds or damages caused by falling of heavy items in the work area.
The guard usually is seen on the exterior or interior of the welding boots. However, it is only the outside ones that prevent the laces from burning or melting. So, it is ideal to look for a metatarsal guard.
It is obvious that a pair of best welding work boots is comfortable. After all, who does not want the shoes to be comfortable apart from being protective? Especially for the welders who work all day long, it is critical to choose a comfortable pair of boots.
This is because a pair of comfortable footwear makes your feet feel good, which in turn, makes you feel better and ends up in increasing or retaining your productivity. It also indirectly helps in giving your best welding performance.
Comfort is at its best when there is ample support and sufficient padding included. There are welding boots that come with some padding around insole and ankle for ensuring more comfort than expected.
However, all comfortable versions do have ample of padding to keep your feet safe, flexible, and super comfortable while you are at work.
Yes, this is a factor to consider because many buyers have the dilemma of having laces or not. As a welder, it is important to have a pair of welding boots that are safe, comfy, and easy to put on. Keeping this fact in mind, boots with laces seem to be comfortable for many welders.
This is perhaps because laced models tend to offer more support than the typical pull-on versions. However, laces can be a risk if sparks come in contact with them.
Luckily, this is avoidable or preventable. For instance, you can go for a metatarsal guard on your boots, which will look out for the safety of laces as well as protect your feet from all possible risks. On the other hand, having a pair without laces means you have no laces to worry or take care of it.
A pair of slippery boots at welding workplace is a risk rather than protection cover. Therefore, look for boots that are resistant to slipping. The good news is that almost all pairs come with some level of such resistance with the outsole’s traction.
For choosing the required level of slip resistance, it is best to analyze the welding place and then consider the worst-case scenario possible in that area. Accordingly, you can buy the boots that can withstand the slippery impact and give you peace of mind.
It may be wise to look for boots that have some resistance power against water, especially by the upper layer. If the build material is leather, you actually have a natural resistance level.
A few pairs also provide an extra layer such as of particular coating for withstanding to any worst-case scenario. However, ensure that this kind of resistance does not nullify or reduce the heat-resistance capability.
Safety Issues to Avoid
To prevent all safety issues that are likely to arise, it is wise to consider or analyze your environment first, while looking for the best work boots. You may opt to weld outdoors and/or indoors.
No matter where you weld, the working or weather conditions tend to change without any prior notice. Thus, your welding boots should be able to face them.
Top 5 Welding Boots
Timberland PRO Men’s 53530 Boot
The 8-inch steel-toe option is pretty versatile as both construction and maintenance workers can use it. It usually aims to defend your feet from splatter and heavy objects. Due to high-quality leather, the shoes are waterproof, durable, and non-conductive.
It comes with a hinged and uneven metatarsal guard, ability to conform for a natural fit, and a heavy-duty sole. However, you need to select the right size.
The protection is reliable from fire risks and hot melting metals. The metatarsal guards are both uneven and hinged to defend below the tips of the feet, even while bowing or stooping.
Double Kevlar stitching makes it durable, while sufficient cushioning makes it comfortable. Overall, this pair is worth owning and the price is fine for the features one gets. However, if you are wearing for the first time, it can be a bit heavy.
If you wish to use this pair outdoors, the robust rubber sole prevents slippages on a wet or oily surface. When indoors, it keeps scraping at bay.
- Resistant to slip, oil, heat, impact, and abrasions
- Fireproof stitching
- Exceeding ASTM standards
- Large size available
- Not breathable
Iron Age Men’s Ground Breaker IA5016 Work Boot
- Aramid stitching for long-lasting durability. Traditional lace-up system for a...
- Take command of the work day when you wear the reliably tough construction of...
- Style number: IA5016.
- Full grain leather upper.
Do you have a tighter budget and cannot go for Timberland’s PRO welding footwear? If yes, then you can consider this one with laces to be your best bet.
It comes with all common features that Timberland’s PRO has. Yes, this boot comes with the metal guard, steel toe and leather build. However, the sole is synthetic yet it does not catch fire, as it is non-conductive and non-abrasive.
Just choose the right size and you are ensured of complete protection. With this boot, you can easily stand until 10 hours, as the soles hold up better than the costlier boots.
- Welt build
- Resistant to slip, oil, heat, impact, and abrasions
- Kevlar fireproof stitching
- Exceeding ASTM standards
- More affordable than Timberland
- Heavy for some
- Thin insoles
Dr. Martens Men’s Ironbridge MG ST Boot
- Rich, water resistant tumbled leather uppers
- Steel toe cap, slip resistant sole and rigid steel metatarsal guard
- Welted construction foot bed offers exceptional stability and durability
- Additional insulation to protect against accidental contact with an electrical...
This is another steel toe cap, leather made option but with a synthetic yet a non-conductive sole and water-resistant build with a breathable mesh collar having sufficient padding. The water-resistant leather making up the uppers is tough and safe, while the lining wicks maintain your feet fresh throughout the day.
These boots come with sufficient ankle joint cushioning along with a removable sole due to which it is undeniably comfortable. For beginners, the sole of this boot is hard enough to prevent slipping on damp or slippery surfaces such as alkaline or gasoline.
Further, the footwear has dual sewing, laces, and robust eyelets. Thus, the boot is highly resilient and ready to withstand even the most extreme worsening attack. So, if you are in need of a tall pair of welding boots that can bypass the hardest wear, this footwear can be our best option.
- Resistant to slip, oil, shock, and heat
- Moisture-absorbing lining
- Water resistant
- Little soft sole
- Leg and ankle joint fatigue
Caterpillar Men’s Ergo Flexguard Boot
- Proprietary iTechnology construction for superior durability and comfort
- ASTM 2413-05 I/75 C/75 steel toe
- ASTM 2413-05 I/75 EH Electrical hazard
- Full grain leather upper
Consider this footwear if you weld in a steel fabrication factory or work in a lumber mill for almost 10 hours incessantly. The biggest reason behind this is the full protective upper with a composite toe, leather build, and heavy-duty rubber sole that prevents annoying collisions and dents on feet bones and toes while working with wires or metals.
The good quality leather build has all standard protective features that you would expect from a welding pair. The comfort level is also above satisfactory level due to well-padded sole offering additional support.
The chief feature of this footwear is its leather that makes it flexibly resistant to water and fire. Inside, a powerful lining takes away moisture to make you feel more comfortable with the increase in incessant work hours.
- Resistant to slip, fire, water, and electrical hazards
- Composite toe
- Thin insoles
Stanley Men’s Dredge Steel-Toe Work Boot
- Work shoe with Chelsea-boot styling featuring elastic side gores and pull-on...
- TPU toe cap and heel counters for reinforced protection and durability
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Removable EVA insole with additional EVA cavity for excellent cushioning
This pair is perhaps the best option for the money. Consider it if you need a casual pair for sound protection at a reasonable price. You get all common features right from steel inserts in the tow to non-slip soles. You also enjoy a moisture resistance seal and a strong leather upper build.
For some, this pair can be a bit large. However, it is not a limitation if you become aware of it before buying it. Consider this pair only if you are not going to wear for a prolonged period.
- Most affordable
- Resistant to slippage, fire, heat, and electricity
- Somewhat less comfortable
How to Ensure Your Welding Boots Last Long
Having one of the above boots basically comes with the task of taking care of them. Going for cheap boots will make you spend more in the long run, which will be very uneconomical for you. In order to keep that quality welding boot in good condition, you need to ensure the following:
- Cleaning them daily
Just as you clean your hands after work, ensure you clean your boots daily especially when they are muddy. Having a plastic brush to do the job will do you a great favor. You need to brush gently to avoid scrapping it off. Ensure you use a damp cloth rather than soaking them in water. However, this should be done after very hard use.
- Ensure they are thoroughly dried
If you can invest in a stand-up dryer then it can be a perfect choice for drying your welding boots. A quality one will last for a lifetime and it will cost you not more than 40 bucks.
A dryer will ensure that the boots are clean by morning. You can use it to dry your hats and gloves as well. Comfortable and quality welding boots need to be treated with the care that’s why you should avoid drying with an open fire which may cause cracking on its upper part.
- Use the right oil, cream or polish
This is what maintains the upper part of the welding boot. After you have washed it and it is dry, ensure you give it polish generously. This will make it shiny and presentable for your next welding work. The cream, suede, and oil ensure that the boots are waterproof and moisturize it so that it doesn’t crack or dry out.
- Keep them away from direct sunshine
Excess heat is one thing that destroys welding boots within a short period of time no matter their quality. Let the boots dry naturally on their own whenever they are water-soaked. In case, you acquire a leather welding boot, ensure you store them in a preferably humid dark place that is well-ventilated.
- Test the polish first
When applying your polish, suede, or conditioner, it is advisable to test a small area first. It may change your boot to the color you never wanted. You apply on a small area first and leave it to dry for a day and see the color it turns to. This will help you to know the right polish for your welding boots.
You can consider all these pairs for welding for long hours using equipment of heavy duty style. You can even rely upon them for outdoor welding tasks. However, just choose the right size! That’s the only bet for a safe and comfortable experience via the best welding boots. Now you may also need a welder to choose between – best welder for beginners, best everlast welder or a cheap MIG welder.
Last update on 2020-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API