Workers in different industries.

Boots & Shoes That Work as Hard as You Do

Striving to deliver the greatest value on footwear for the whole family, in this edition we wanted to celebrate the working-class heroes. We know that you need work shoes and boots that work as hard as you, but also that sticking to a budget is non-negotiable. With deals on work footwear and exclusive double Shoe Perks points, the savings are there to be had, but we’ll talk more about that below. First, let’s explore the different styles of work shoes and work boots, and breakdown the design details you want to keep an eye out for when shopping for a new pair of footwear for the workplace.

What Makes a Good Work Shoe?

Depends on the workplace and work conditions! Different work conditions require different needs but the basics of comfort, durability, and style need not be neglected. Here we’ll categorize some common working-class industries along with the best work shoe design features that ensure maximum safety, support, and comfort for each job description. Be sure to ask your employer about industry guidelines, and refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards for any specific requirements that may be unique to your position. Additionally, ASTM International standards provide a guide to ensure that safety footwear meets recognized and accepted criteria for protection in the workplace.

  • Food and Beverage Service Industry includes restaurant workers, cafeteria workers, servers, waitresses/waiters, bartenders, kitchen staff, Chefs, and caterers. On your feet for extended periods of time in fast-paced, often slippery environments, specialized footwear is crucial for a safe and comfortable shift. The best work shoes for the food and beverage industry include slip-resistant shoes, non-slip work clogs, and closed-toe sneakers. Be sure to check health and safety standards because some restaurants or organizations may have specific work shoe requirements, such as solid white or black work shoes. In general, it’s essential to wear shoes that prioritize comfort, safety, and hygiene. The most trusted brands in this arena are Crocs Work, Skechers Work, Nike, Birkenstock, Klogs Footwear, Dr. Scholl’s, and Doc Martens slip-resistant work shoes.
  • For essential workers in Healthcare and Nursing, every step counts when delivering exceptional healthcare. Nursing shoes and other footwear for medical workers should prioritize comfort, safety, support, and hygiene due to the long hours spent on your feet and the demanding nature of the job. These work shoes should be tailored with essential features such as slip-resistant soles, cushioning, arch support, and breathable materials to ensure a secure footing, unparalleled comfort during long shifts, and a fresh feeling throughout the workday. Popular styles for healthcare professionals include nursing shoes, non-slip work clogs, tennis shoes, sneakers, or specific brands that cater to the medical sector. It’s advisable to check with your employer’s dress code policy and any specific requirements they may have, but brands such as Crocs Work clogs, Skechers Work shoes, Nurse Mates, Easy Works by Easy Street, and Birkenstock are highly rated among workers, as each brand is known to aid stability, quickness, comfort, and precision while on your feet.
  • Construction, Property Maintenance, and Heavy Machinery workers have a multitude of sub-sectors, but most common are contractors, developers, builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC experts, cleaners, landscapers, and handy-persons. The right footwear is especially important for safety and comfort in a physically demanding and potentially hazardous work environment, so it’s important to select safety shoes or work boots that standup to the specific hazards and conditions of the job. Be aware of work boot safety guidelines and regulations, but some features to consider when choosing appropriate footwear for construction or property maintenance work include toe protection, ankle support, water and slip resistance, electrical hazard protection, and durability. Quality is key here so a top-shelf pair of work shoes or work boots is a good investment at least every couple of years. Tried-and-true brands worth the money include Carhartt, Wolverine, Timberland Pro, Caterpillar, Doc Martens, and DeWalt.
  • As an often underappreciated sector of the working-class, retail workers and small business owners must demand the most of their footwear. Comfort and style are key, but you can’t sacrifice work shoe necessities such as slip-resistance, durability, and affordability. Tennis shoes, black dress shoes, or sneakers with good traction, proper arch support, maximum cushioning, and lightweight, breathable materials is the way to go. Trending styles from Nike, Freeman, Stacy Adams, Skechers, Puma, Adidas, Dr. Scholl’s, Deer Stags, and Doc Martens are fan favorites.
  • Specialized footwear for the transportation and shipping industry ensures the safety and comfort of workers who may be involved in various jobs such as loading, unloading, driving, handling cargo, and sporadic stretches of walking here and there. Modern work wear styles combine the safety and durability of a work boot with the comfort and traction of a safety shoe, so workers in this industry get the perfect balance of safety and agility. Build features to consider when selecting work shoes for the transportation and shipping industry include steel toe or composite toe, slip-resistance, shock absorption, ankle support, reflectors, and water resistance. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we must reiterate that workers should check with their employers to cover any specific work shoe requirements based on industry standards. Here we recommend Reebok Work, Skechers Work, Rockport Works, Timberland Pro, or Lugz as top brands to consider.

Whether you’re looking for slip-resistant shoes, steel toe boots, waterproof boots, safety shoes, composite toe shoes, or non-slip work clogs, now you can shop confidently to unbox the best pair. Affordability, functionality, and style can go hand-in-hand, so men and women can find work shoes and work boots that are not only comfortable and reliable but also stylish.

Different Types of Work Shoes & Work Boots

  • Slip Resistant Shoes and Non-Slip Work Clogs – This type of footwear has a specific tread pattern designed for superior traction on wet, greasy, or oily floors, and some styles are also oil-resistant. Choosing slip-resistant shoes or non-slip work clogs is important for workplace safety in damp surroundings and fast-paced environments where slipping hazards are present. Check out the extensive variety of women’s slip-resistant shoes and men’s slip-resistant shoes that are available to meet the needs of the workforce.
  • Steel Toe and Alloy Toe Boots – Reinforced toe caps on work boots provide protection against falling objects, impact, and crushing hazards. While both are OSHA approved and the level of protection is comparable, steel toe boots and alloy toe boots each have pros and cons. Toe caps in alloy toe work boots are made of lightweight metal such as aluminum and titanium, so they are lighter than steel toe boots, which translates to a more comfortable footwear that won’t slow you down. However, steel toe boots are more affordable than alloy toe boots and they typically offer stronger puncture resistance as well.
  • Composite Toe Shoes – Composite toe safety shoes feature sturdy, non-metallic toe caps made of carbon fiber, plastic, Kevlar, or fiberglass. They offer similar levels of protection as that of steel toe and alloy toe boots, but they are lighter and more comfortable to wear. Composite toe safety shoes are also non-conductive and non-magnetic, so they are safe to wear in work environments where electrical hazards are prevalent, and they won’t set off metal detectors in airports or security checks. Composite toe shoes are available for men and women in the workforce.
  • Soft Toe Boots – As the name implies, this work boot has a soft, flexible front with a less prominent toe bulge. Commonly made from leather, suede, or mesh materials, soft toe boots are lighter and more flexible than metal or composite toe shoes, which provides better foot support on various landscapes and uneven terrain. They are not only lighter and more comfortable than steel toe and composite toe boots, but soft toe boots are also less expensive. However, given the nature of their design, work boots with soft toes are not nearly as protective, so they should not be worn in workplaces where there is a serious risk of foot injury from falling objects or heavy machinery. Up the game of your soft toe boot with slip-resistant soles and waterproofing if the job demands it.
  • Waterproof Boots – Keeping feet dry and comfortable throughout the workday is essential. If the job description includes spending time in wet or muddy conditions, footwear that keeps water out is priority number one. Built with the best waterproof materials such as leather, rubber, or synthetic fabrics, waterproof work boots can also have additional features such as sealed seams and gusseted tongues to ward off external moisture. The range of waterproof boot styles is vast so workers from all walks of life can unbox the perfect fit. Double down on work boot efficacy by investing in steel toe, alloy toe, or composite toe footwear that’s waterproof.

Shoe Perks Members Earn Double Points on Work Boots & Work Shoes

Shoe Carnival strives to provide maximum value to customers, and right now we are rewarding our hard working patrons with coupon savings and exclusive double Shoe Perks points on work wear purchases. Use coupon code ‘WORKWEAR’ to save $15 on $99.98 or more, and see your Shoe Perks stack up with double the points! Coupon and double Shoe Perks points event ends Feb. 18th, 2024, valid in-store and online at Shoe Carnival. You must be logged in as a Shoe Perks member at checkout to receive 2x points on workwear purchases.

Staff Picks: Work Shoes and Work Boots

Here are top picks for the best work boots and work shoes to help guide your shopping experience! Recommendations are based on safety standards, customer reviews, and footwear expert feedback.

Steel toe work bootDeWalt Lewiston steel toe boots for menDeWalt Lewiston Steel Toe Boots
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $70
Steel toe work bootMen's Caterpillar Second Shift 6 in steel toe bootsCaterpillar Second Shift 6 In Steel Toe Boots
Waterproof steel toe work bootTimberland Pro steel toe waterproof work boots for menTimberland Pro Keele Ridge Waterproof Sustainable Work Boots
– Steel toe
– Also eco-friendly!
Waterproof bootItasca Sonoma Swampwalker XLT Insulated BootsItasca Sonoma SwampWalker XLT Insulated Boots
– Heavy duty and superior insulation
– Fully waterproof
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $60
Slip-resistant shoes for womenSkechers Summit Slip Ins, slip-resistant work shoes for womenSkechers Work 108144 Summits Slip-In Slip-Resistant Shoes
Non-slip work clogs for womenCrocs Work slip-resistant clogs for womenCrocs Work Neria Pro II Graphic Slip-Resistant Clogs
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $50
– Additional colors available!
Non-slip work clogs for menCrocs Work Bistro slip-resistant clogsCrocs Work Bistro Slip-Resistant Clogs
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $50
Solid black slip-resistant work shoe for menNunn Bush Wade Plain Toe Slip Resistant Work OxfordsNunn Bush Wade Plain Toe Slip Resistant Work Oxfords
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $60
Solid black work shoe for womenWomen's Dr. Scholl's slip-resistant shoesDr. Scholl’s Got It Gore Slip-Resistant Shoes
– Provides the best comfort
Big savings for a limited time! Right now under $60
Composite toe work shoe for menReebok work shoes for menReebok Work Nano X1 Adventure Composite Toe Work Shoes
Composite toe work shoe for womenReebok Work shoes for womenReebok Work Sublite Cushion Composite Toe Work Shoes
Slip-resistant steel toe work shoeDoc Martens work shoesDoc Martens 1461 Slip-Resistant Steel Toe Work Shoes
– Tried-and-true, a perpetual working class favorite
Sneaker style steel toe work bootSkechers Work Steel Toe work bootsSkechers Work REBEM 77108 Steel Toe Work Shoes
– Heavy duty construction with a stylish design
Western style waterproof work bootsWolverine waterproof cowboy bootsWolverine 10768 Rancher Soft Toe Waterproof Cowboy Boots
Soft toe work bootCarhartt soft toe work boots for menCarhartt FM5012 Millbrook 5 in MOC Soft Toe Work Boots