Workers in a variety of fields require specialty work boots to protect themselves on the job. From factory labourers and tradesmen to construction workers and loggers, quality work boots can mean the difference between a close call and a trip to the emergency room. If you’re in the market for a new pair of work boots and have no idea what to look for, you’re in luck!
We’ve prepared a guide on how to shop for safety boots, so keep reading and take a look at some of the best work boots in Canada.
- Best Overall: Timberland Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe Industrial Work Boot
- Best All-Day: Tiger Men’s Steel Toe Lightweight Leather Safety Work Boots
- Best Protection: KPR Men’s Women’s M-222 Waterproof Leather Wide Fit Safety Boot
1. Timberland Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe Industrial Work Boot
The Timberland men’s steel toe industrial work boot is one of the most protective, most comfortable safety boots on the market. It is available in men’s sizes 7-11.5 with wide-fit options in every size and half-size for a perfect fit. The shaft of the boot is 5.5-6” depending on boot size, and it is made with 100% leather for a long-lasting, flexible shape. The boot has a thick rubber sole and meets ANSI safety standards for your protection. The soles of the boots are a thick rubber with deep slip, oil, and abrasion-resistant treads so that you can walk with confidence over any surface. Each boot weighs approximately 1.58 lbs., so you’ll barely notice them after you’ve taken a few steps.
There are three colour options available: brown, wheat, and black. The makeup of the Timberland work boot is as follows: steel safety toe, breathable PU footbed, contoured shock-diffusion plate, cushioning PU midsole, and thick rubber outsole. You won’t need to add any sole inserts with these boots since they are designed to cushion and support. These boots are made with comfort suspension technology that reduces foot fatigue and soreness by supporting the arch and cushioning every step to ensure your comfort even on rigorous, demanding job sites. The top collars are padded to protect your ankle from rubbing and the fabric linings and inserts have odour control and antimicrobial treatment to stay fresh and clean.
- Colour: Brown, black, wheat
- Sizes: 7-11.5
- Sole Type: Rubber
- Weight: 3.2 lbs. per pair
- Safety Toe Type: Steel toe
- Shaft Height: 5.5-6”
- Material: 100% leather
Performance of the Timberland Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe Industrial Work Boot
The Timberland industrial work boot is designed with a steel toe protective layer to prevent injuries from fallen objects. Though a little heavier than some other two protection options, steel toe boots are the standard at hazardous worksites and are incredibly damage-resistant to protect your feet.
The Timberland work boot is extremely comfortable with comfort suspension technology that includes arch support, padding for the ankles, breathability, and a lightweight design that makes these boots easy to walk in and wear for lengthy periods of time.
Since the Timberland Pit Boss work boots are not puncture-resistant, are not waterproof, and are not insulated for extreme heat and cold, they aren’t ideal for all work zones, but they do have multiple great safety features including shock-diffusion, slip-resistant soles, and a steel toe.
What Sets the Timberland Men’s 6” Pit Boss Steel Toe Industrial Work Boot Apart?
The Timberland industrial work boot is one of the best for durability since it features Goodyear welt construction, cast metal top hooks, abrasion-resistant rubber outsoles, and nubuck leather uppers for durability. The steel toe design helps the boot keep its shape and the footbeds are removable for care to achieve higher product quality and longevity even with rigorous conditions and daily use. The main characteristic that sets the Timberland work boot apart from the competition is its focus on quality construction and a comfortable fit. From top to bottom, front to back, the Timberland shoe is designed with the wearer’s comfort in mind.
- Excellent durability
- Removable footbeds
- Incredibly comfortable for long shifts
What Could Be Improved On?
The performance, fit, and comfort of the Timberland work boot is fantastic, but it isn’t rated for all job sites. The boot is missing puncture resistance, is not waterproof, and does not have all-weather insulation or sophisticated anti-fatigue technology. As a result, they are better suited to factory jobs and the like without the hazards of outdoor weather, fallen nails, and other dangers of more construction-type job sites.
- No puncture resistance
- Not 100% waterproof
- Better for indoor use
2. Tiger Men’s Steel Toe Lightweight Leather Safety Work Boots
The Tiger lightweight safety work boot is a great choice for long 12hr+ shifts since they are lightweight, breathable, and ultra-comfortable. These are steel toe boots and are Canadian Standard Association approved. The boots have a 6” shaft and are made from full-grain leather upper for longevity of shape. The composition of the Tiger work boot includes a mesh lining for moisture-wicking properties as well as a composite LENZI fabric plate that offers more flexibility in the foot when walking for more natural movement. The boots weigh a total of 3.4 lbs. in a size 9, so you won’t feel them on your feet or develop any tiredness from wearing boots all day long.
The outsole is a thick PU/TPU material matched with a Kingpad ultra-comfortable insole for arch support and cushioning with every step. The steel toe can withstand impacts of up to 125 joules and the sole does have puncture protection for nails, screws, and other things that want to stab your feet. The shock-resistant soles can withstand 18,000 volts for your protection as well. The boot is well-made with salt, water, and oil resistance for longer-lasting quality. The Tiger work boots are available in Canada in black, brown, and wheat colours as well as X-wide sizes ranging from 7 to 13.
- Colour: Black, brown, wheat
- Sizes: 7-13
- Sole Type: PU/TPU
- Weight: 3.4 lbs. per pair
- Safety Toe Type: Steel toe
- Shaft Height: 6”
- Material: Leather
Performance of the Tiger Men’s Steel Toe Lightweight Leather Safety Work Boots
The Tiger safety work boot uses steel toe protection to protect your feet from harm. Though it only offers Grade 1 protection of 125 joules, this should be enough at most worksites and is ideal for an everyday wear type boot that shouldn’t be too heavy or too expensive.
The Tiger boot is one of the most comfortable to wear since it is lightweight, thickly padded around the foot and the ankle, including the tongue of the boot and the collar to eliminate chafing at the back of the leg. The boot is also highly breathable to keep you comfortable when working in the heat.
The safety of the Tiger boot is great for most types of job sites. Although it doesn’t reach the top industry standards, it offers toe protection, puncture resistance, and electric shock resistance to keep you safe in 90% of worksite environments and situations.
What Sets the Tiger Men’s Steel Toe Lightweight Leather Safety Work Boots Apart?
The Tiger safety work boots are one of the most lightweight on the market, ensuring your comfort for extremely long workdays. Their LENZI fabric plate is a unique feature that sets these Tiger boots apart since the foot is allowed to move naturally to prevent soreness from a limited range of movement or an inflexible sole. The thick padding around the collar is flexible as well to allow for maximum ankle movement when the foot moves and transitions to various steep angles if walking uphill or standing on an incline.
- Flexible collar for zero chafing
- Fabric plate for natural foot movement
What Could Be Improved On?
The Tiger work boot is extremely comfortable and flexible, but it only fits as an extra-wide boot, which may be great for winter use with thicker socks, but it might sit too loose for some people and not provide as much support as some users need. The sole is also a bit less durable since the plate is fabric rather than metal. While that makes the boot more flexible for natural movement, it won’t last as long as boots that have heavy-duty materials.
- Only available in extra-wide fit – not ideal for smaller feet
- Not puncture resistance
- Less durable than some others
3. KPR Men’s Women’s M-222 Waterproof Leather Wide Fit Safety Boot
The KPR men’s women’s unisex safety boot is one of the best protectors on the market in Canada with top safety features in the industry. Its non-metallic composition is safe for usage in environments requiring ESR protection, the sole of the boot is designed with excellent above-industry-standard anti-slip to reduce tripping and slipping risks, it has CSA-approved sole puncture protection, is heat resistant to 130 degrees C, has high shock absorption for fatigue resistance, and has 3M Thinsulate insulation lining for cold weather resistance. This is everything you could need to be protected from on the job, so these boots are rated for any type of worksite.
For added comfort, the tongue and collar of the boots are padded and the toe box is wide to feel more comfortable for both genders. The boots have full waterproof protection and a reinforced counter for ultimate heel stability on any terrain. The mesh lining helps your feet breathe properly for comfort in hotter weather, which will protect the health of your feet on days where you’re sweating for your entire shift. The arch support is designed to fit a variety of foot types and will keep you both cushioned and stable while you’re on the job. Each pair of boots weighs under 4 lbs. in the size 9 boot, so even those who require larger sizes won’t experience fatigue from a heavy boot. The shaft of the boot is 6” tall and the toe cap is a lightweight composite to keep you moving with a pep in your step even after 10 or 12 hours. These boots are available in wheat or black colours, in sizes 5.5-16.5 for women or 3-13 for men.
- Colour: Wheat, black
- Sizes: 3-13 for men and 5.5-16.5 for women
- Sole Type: Rubber
- Weight: 4 lbs. per pair
- Safety Toe Type: Composite (non-metallic)
- Shaft Height: 6”
- Material: Leather
Performance of the KPR Men’s Women’s M-222 Waterproof Leather Wide Fit Safety Boot
The toe protection on the KPR safety boot is a bit different than many others on the market in that it is an entirely nonmetallic impact-resistant composite. This toe protection type is CSA-approved for your safety.
The comfort level of the KPR boot is average for the industry. It has a padded collar and tongue for your ankle comfort along with a wide toe, heat and cold-resistant insulation, a lightweight design, breathable mesh lining, excellent fatigue resistance, and a bouncy insole texture to keep you energized.
The KPR safety boot is one of the most protective options on the market. It is ideal for use on all job sites and hazardous work environments, including those that work with electrical components or who spend the majority of their days outside.
What Sets the KPR Men’s Women’s M-222 Waterproof Leather Wide Fit Safety Boot Apart?
The KPR safety boot is one of the few rated for unisex comfort, but its true defining quality is the amount of protection it offers. It is rated for all worksites with insulation protection, toe protection, puncture protection, waterproof protection, above-industry-standard anti-slip rubber soles, shock protection, and more. These boots will make even the clumsiest, most accident-prone wearers feel safe and secure on all surfaces and in all environments. Users will also appreciate the amazing value offered by the KPR safety boot considering its protection and comfort to cost ratio.
- Unisex fit
- Puncture protection
- Insulation rated for all environments
What Could Be Improved On?
We have no suggestions for improvement with the KPR safety boot; users will enjoy top comfort and protection on their worksite.
How to Choose Work Boots in Canada
Though many women don’t balk at spending their money on a pair of shoes, even they may wonder what’s so special about work boots and why they cost so much. The reason is that they are designed to be foot-saving in hazardous situations, be that from a nail pointed up on the ground or a rock falling onto your foot from above. A lot of technology goes into making work boots, and they use special materials that cost more. That being said, you can still find affordable work boots if you’re a summer student needing them for a factory job or if you’ll only be on a job site some of the time. If you’re working on a worksite full-time, though, you should be prepared to spend more than $100-$200 on a good pair of work boots. The type of environment you work in will be your largest determining factor when setting a budget since work boots vary in price by how many protective features they have.
Hopefully, this one is obvious, but you must choose a size when buying a pair of work boots. Though they will fit true to size 99% of the time, you may want to consider your working conditions, the type of socks you’ll be wearing in the boots, and how tight you like your shoes to fit. Many of the best work boots in Canada are designed with a wide fit or wide toe box, so that’s something to consider when looking at sizes as well. You should also look at the height of the boot when choosing a size. Most work boots have a 6” shaft from arch to top, but some boots may not fit a larger calf so you’d need a shorter boot in this case. Taller boots offer great protection for the lower leg as well, but they are often heavy and will limit your range of motion. This may not be a personal choice since companies often set specific work boot requirements for their employees, but shorter boots are typically supportive enough for all-around use either way.
The safety of your work boots is incredibly important, but not everyone needs to be protected from the same things at their job. Work boots are commonly a mix of several different safety features including puncture protection, insulation from cold and heat, anti-skid soles, toe protection, shock resistance, and metatarsal protection. Some boots may even have Kevlar fibres to protect your feet from sparks and fire. Though not all boots have all of these features, many have most of them and are ideal for a variety of working environments indoors and outdoors. If you’re unsure about which safety features are important for your specific worksite, be sure to ask your employer for clarification so that you don’t miss out on necessary protection.
The comfort of a work boot is often a very personal, subjective choice, so you shouldn’t rely on others’ opinions of a boot when evaluating how comfortable it is. A few key features to look for that make most boots more comfortable is extra padding around the tongue and collar for ankle protection, multiple layers of insole protection for cushioning and arch support, and a shorter 6” or lower shaft to maximize your natural range of motion. Most work boots are also made of leather since it is a more flexible material, but some boots will feel stiffer than others depending on the kind of support added to the sole and upper structure of the boot. The weight of the boot also plays a big role in how comfortable it is for long-term use, especially for shift work, so you should avoid boots that weigh more than a couple of lbs. in a size 9-10 so that you know the larger size won’t be a burden. If you have small feet, this won’t be too much of a concern.
The most common reason people buy the best work boots in Canada is for their toe protection, whether it’s for a job or for an activity outside of work. Depending on where the shoe is made, it should be certified by either CSA or ASTM (Canadian vs. American certifying bodies) to ensure your protection. There are two options when it comes to toe protection in most work boots: steel toes or composite toes. Steel toes are the most popular choice, with many now being contoured to match the shape of the foot and toes for a better fit. Steel toe boots are often heavier than their composite counterparts and are colder to wear in the winter. However, these boots are not recommended for people who work somewhere where magnets and metal detectors are common, or where your attire should be metal-free for electric shock resistance. Composite toes are made of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and plastic. There are much lighter to wear than steel toes and are better for outdoor use in winter since they remain temperature neutral.
The sole of your boot is one of the most important features it has. Your industry will largely determine what kind of sole you need since some treads are better for traction while others are better for slip resistance. There are two types of soles you’re likely to come across when shopping for a pair of work boots: Thermo Polyurethane outsoles and rubber outsoles. Thermo polyurethane soles are chemical and abrasion resistance and are ideal for use in outdoor environments where you’ll be walking over rough terrain. They are also lighter weight in comparison to rubber soles, so they’re often the preferred choice by those who walk a lot on the job.
Rubber outsoles, on the other hand, are the most common sole type found on work boots and are recommended for indoor use by most companies since they are oil, abrasion, and slip-resistant. If you work in an area where electric shock resistance equipment is mandatory, rubber is also the recommended sole type since it is a great insulator. Though your specific tread can also make a difference in your traction and anti-slip sophistication, the material of the outsole is more important.
If you work outdoors in weather or indoors with any use of water for cleaning equipment or manufacturing goods, waterproof work boots are an excellent idea. Some boots are only water-resistant instead of waterproof, so make sure you read the description carefully before buying as wet toes make for a long, uncomfortable shift. Since most work boots are made of leather, the leather should be treated with a water-resistant spray or conditioner to protect your feet from getting wet. When choosing a level of water resistance, you should keep in mind that a truly waterproof boot will hold heat differently than a boot lined with waterproof materials.
Jack is the senior editor at Photo Life and an avid tester of a wide variety of products. From Tech to Home & Garden, he’s tested and researched it. In his spare time, he loves to read, write, and dabble in photography.