Please recommend comfortable steel-toe men's work shoes/boots.
March 21, 2014 8:33 AM   Subscribe

My spouse recently got a job where he's on his feet all day, and his feet and knees are starting to hurt. He really needs more support/padding I guess. He also needs steel-toe. Shoes or boots are fine. What should he get?

Money no object (within reason, >$200 or so) as long as they will last. We're in the Portland, OR area and would prefer to go someplace so he can try them on, but I'm also not averse to Zappos.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Shopping (17 answers total)
Best answer: Keens. Keens keens keens keens keens. Available in many styles with & without steel toes. I'm on my feet for much of the day; I own 5 different pairs of them. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned, and I half-seriously joke that I'll never buy another brand.

If he's on his feet in one spot, a padded mat can also be a big help.
posted by jeffjon at 8:39 AM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Redwing.
posted by sanka at 8:40 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My husband loves his Redwings.
posted by Kriesa at 8:44 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wolverine Boots. I've had my pair for over two years now and they are still intact. Large variety and can be purchased via Zappos. Note, if he's a half size (e.g. 10.5), scale down to a 10.
posted by inviolable at 8:47 AM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Ariat Safety Toe Clog might be worth looking at. (Have not worn these, but I have a pair of Ariat boots that has been comfortable from the get-go.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2014

Safety boots are required PPE for all of our jobs. A few of our guys switched to wearing Blundstone safety boots and said they're super comfortable. They are CSA-approved (we're in Canada) so they meet our regulations.

I wear the non-steel toe Blunnies and they're soooo comfortable and still look like a million bucks despite years of use and abuse.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:02 AM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: I love my Keens, but I have hiking and snow boots, not the steel toes.

I went on a business trip last month that required steel toes for one afternoon, so I bought some Red Wings. They are sooooooo comfortable! I wore them the whole trip and have worn them many times since.

I am female, but all of my coworkers that pointed me to Red Wings are male.
posted by jshort at 9:23 AM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: Wolverines worked great for me.
posted by glaucon at 9:25 AM on March 21, 2014

Shoes for Crews! (They have steel toed options now.)
posted by machine at 9:28 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have Red Wings, and will continue to purchase Red Wings.
posted by rocketman at 10:25 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Additionally, he may want to see a podiatrist. When I was in college and walked miles every day, my knees started to hurt so bad I struggled to get out of bed. It turns out I have very high arches and need special orthotic inserts in my footwear for proper support.

Custom orthotics changed my life.
posted by rocketman at 10:27 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm currently wearing Doc Martins steeltoe, and they are actually pretty comfortable.

One thing that helps a lot is replacing the minimally-cushy insoles with Dr Scholls or whatever.
posted by Fig at 10:34 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you're in the Portland area, I'd recommend the Danner factory store. I have a pair of their Workman GTX steel-toe boots and think they're great.
posted by DanielK at 11:22 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wear Red Wings when I am in the field. My company paid for them but I remember the MSRP was just under $200 for my pair.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wear Keens and my boss wears Redwings. We both like our steel toed boots.

From my experience buying Keens, I'd strongly suggest trying some on for size before purchasing. I found the sizes to be off by more than I would have expected.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:36 PM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: I worked on my feet for so long that my adult feet grew from an eight-and-a half to an eleven. Besides the brand of boot the real key to comfort is to buy your footware a half size larger and use bumpy insoles. It's counterintuitive but the gell insoles are absolutely terrible as they are designed to cushion the heel impact for runners - those with stout bumps are better for working on your feet.

I apologize but this really bothers me. Most of the actually helpful products have been taken off the market in favor of "gel" or "High-tech" solutions.

Here is the one I would recommend.
posted by vapidave at 9:38 PM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Went out and got him some Red Wings last Saturday, as there was a Red Wing retail store near us. The jury is still out, as he says they're not totally comfortable at the end of the day but may just need breaking in, so I've also marked other good possibilities as best answers, in case we need to try something else.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2014

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