As landscapers, we work hard and we need the tools and equipment that will work just as hard and not fall apart on us during a full day’s work. We also need the same from the equipment that keeps us safe and comfortable while on the job. Those is especially crucial for the boots that are on our feet because we are on our feet all day long.
When you are on your feet all day long like you are as a landscaper, it is important to invest in what you put on your feet. Being comfortable when you are moving around is important for your health and productivity. Also knowing that your boot is not going to crumble to a million pieces when you are working is also important to your safety. We figured that we would survey some landscapers in the industry and choose a few of the most popular and reviewed landscaping work boots. Here is what we found were the top three rated boot companies and boots that were recommended.
What we found from that survey is included in this post along with what it means to choose the right pair of boots and how to take care of them. We want to make sure that your feet are set with the right pair of boots for your foot. That being said, every foot is different and this may take purchasing a few different pairs before finding the perfect boot for you.
Best Landscaping Boots
A lot goes in to choosing the right boot for you and your work. As a landscaper, you need a boot that is going to keep you safe from dropping heavy materials on your foot while keeping you supported all day long. You should consider a few things when purchasing your boot.
Does the boot meet safety standards? Does the price point justify the quality of the boot? Is it designed to last? Will it keep your foot protected from water and the elements that you will be exposed to on any given work day? Did the company put thought into their design of the boot? Does the boot actually look good?
It is important to understand the product that you are purchasing so that in a few months time you are not cursing the purchase. Luckily we have taken a survey of several landscapers in the industry that provided their favorite boot and company that they would recommend to someone. It is important to understand that no boot will last if not treated properly on your job site and if you are abusing them far beyond what they are built to withstand. Make sure that you care for your boot by following the company’s instructions and work to keep your boot maintained much like you would with your tools.
Breaking in Work Boots
Trying boots on in the store are not quite indicative of how that boot is going to fit a month down the road when it is broken in. If you have not done your research on whether or not the boot is of quality build, you may not even know if it will be around a month down the road. That is why shopping at a store can really only get you so far. That being said, the advantage of shopping for boots in store is that you can identify those sharp pains and uncomfortable fits that come along with boots that just do not fit your foot shape well. Though in our experience, those are far and few between.
What you are really measuring with the right boot for your foot is how that boot fits a month down the road after wearing it around the job site and really breaking that boot in to your foot. You cannot measure that while you are at the store. Unfortunately this takes time to identify the right boot for you. Even after purchasing the first boot and you think it might be the best boot that you have ever worn, once that boot wears out you do not really know if there is better out there and you still may want to try a couple other pairs of boots to compare it to.
Once the boots have been broken in you can really start to discern whether or not these are the right boots for you. When it comes to breaking in boots, its all about time. There is no quick way about it other than putting the hours in to actually wear them to mold to your feet.
Any time you introduce heat or water to them in order to speed up this process, it is going to hurt them in the long run. This will wear the boot down before you can even enjoy the actual fit. Any heat applied to the leather will dry it out and speed up the cracking process which happens with leather.
Wear the boots as much as you can and this will break them in and mold them to the shape of your foot where you can actually enjoy them. Take the time, wear them around the house, whenever you go out, and definitely around the job site. Give it a few weeks and you should start to feel that these boots are just an extension of your feet.
Leather Work Boot Care
In my lifetime as a landscaper, I have tried so many different brands of boots and styles and I still want to continue trying new brands that are coming on to the market as designs keep changing. That being said, I do feel like I have the pair that is right for me and I always have a pair of those on me when I want them. Still, it never hurts to experiment. Especially with how many pairs of boots you go through in a lifetime.
From my experience as a hardscaper, I can get at least one year of work out of a boot before it gets retired. If the boot lasts just a year, it likely is not getting purchased again. If a boot lasts 1.5 years to 2 years, that is a great boot as long as it is a great fit for your foot. That being said, hardscaping can be really harsh to work boots. Especially when they are not being cared for. And I never care for my boots.
Taking care of work boots will most definitely extend their lifespan and keep them fresh for much longer than they would be without that care. Unfortunately that is not for me, but it is still something we need to explore when it comes to getting the right pair of boots and extending how long you can keep them on your feet before they break down and need to be replaced.
It is recommended that you break in your new work boots before you apply any care products to them. This may mean that you should be just wearing them indoors to keep them from getting extremely dirty before applying some care products. This also means that you need to plan ahead and purchase your new pair of boots before that old pair is completely worn down and falls off your feet.
Waterproofing your boots is a good way to keep your foot dry regardless of what the boot says on the box in terms of weatherproofing. Likely this process includes cleaning your boots with a water-based cleaning agent and a nylon brush, which would be a much more involved process if these are older boots. You would need to make sure that all the dirt is removed from these boots.
The boots would then need to wet and a water-based waterproofing agent would be applied once, then another time a couple weeks later, followed by a third coat a couple weeks after if need be. There are a variety of waterproof agents on the market for various levels of waterproofing and quality.
If you have leather boots, it would be beneficial to apply a leather conditioner to them through the stages of their life. When leather ages, it becomes stiff and dries out. Your boots crack and the leather will flex thus losing its shape. However, if you apply a leather conditioner to them periodically, your boot’s leather will be restored. This does need to be done as a preemptive measure and not a reactionary measure. Once those boots are dried out and cracking, you will lose that forever.
Additionally, you can also opt to clean the inside of your boots with a shampoo and spray the inside with an odor eating spray. This should all be done prior to applying any water-based waterproofing agent to your boots. Like I said, this is not something I pursue with my personal work boots.
What Makes The Best Work Boots for Landscapers
Finding the best landscaping work boots requires having some predetermined specifications that you require for the work you do. We work outside long hours in the elements and we need our work boots to be able to withstand that on an ongoing basis. We want to know that what we invest our money in to is going to be able to keep us safe, keep us comfortable, and protect us from the elements.
We want to know that the boots are comfortable. As we stated before, we just cannot tell that by trying them on in the store, but we may be able to identify some pain points with some pairs of boots and narrow down the selection. However, this is a long term plan to find the right boot for your foot and will require some time unless you are lucky enough to have that perfect boot right off the bat with the most comfortable fit.
We want to make sure that these boots are going to protect us from the elements, that they are weatherproof and able to keep our feet dry from the rain. On the other hand, we also want to know that they are breathable and not going to make our feet sweat profusely during a hard days work. This is a difficult balance to obtain with a work boot.
We also want to know that these boots are going to protect us. This requires the right safety specifications for our boot from the sole to the toe, as well as identifying whether you should go composite toe or steel toe.
Composite Toe vs Steel Toe
According to OSHA, but you should confirm this for yourself, composite and steel toe work boots provide adequate safety in your work boots for a job site. Therefore, this becomes a big debate as to which one is the superior boot to wear.
Composite boots are made using a strong non-metal material. This can be a variety of material from carbon fiber to fiberglass. This means that they are a popular choice among electricians due to their resistance involving no metal material. They are also lightweight and about 33% lighter than steel toe boots. This makes them easier to wear for those that are always on the move. Not to mention that they are typically more breathable than a steel toe boot. The downside to them is that they do not withstand the same level of impact that steel toe boots do and they are more expensive.
With that said, steel toe boots offer more protection and are a slightly less expensive option than the composite boots. Ultimately both are safety rated, but you should check with your employer (unless you are the employer) to inquire which type of boot would be best suited for you while on the job site.
Best Work Boots Reviews
Finding the best work boots for landscapers required asking as many people in our industry as possible to see what they recommend and to get their feedback. So we did just that. We surveyed landscapers to get an idea of the boots that they wear on a regular basis to protect themselves from the work that they do outside in the elements. These are the boots that received the most amount of attention and praise in the industry.
This is not to say that these are the only boots that are great. Ultimately when it comes down to a boot, it is a good idea to try as many as you can until you find the one that fits just right and feels great while you are working. This takes time and lots of it because you need to purchase the boot and wear it through several work days to break it in properly and then you can finally decide whether it is the right one for you.
This is why the boot you try on in stores is not always the perfect boot for you. Sure you can try on several different pairs, but that does not mean that they all break in the same way. You may be able to find a pair that you have the best chance of breaking in and it works out perfectly, but it is best to ask others around you to see what they like the most. That is why we went with a survey of landscapers to discover this list.
Once you have found the right boot for you, you are likely going to buy that boot for the rest of your life. This list is to help you find that boot faster.
KEEN Work Boots Reviews
Timberland Work Boots Reviews
CATerpillar Boots Review
Best Composite Toe Work Boots
KEEN Utility is a company that came up the most amount of times when it came to surveying landscapers. Though on the more expensive end, they hold true to being the most reliable and comfortable shoe on the market for landscapers possibly making them the best steel toe work boots for landscapers.
KEEN specializes in outdoor footwear, but is also dedicated to giving back, taking action, and reducing their impact on the world we live in. With roots in producing outdoor footwear made for comfort and reliability, KEEN creates work boots with the same standards.
Their boots are made with asymmetrical toe protection that is specifically made to fit your left and right foot rather than having a symmetrical toe that cramps your toes. In addition, the toe box of the boots are larger to allow the front end of your boot to flex without pinching your foot. They offer various protection including steel, aluminum, and composite depending on how much flexibility and protection you require. Their boots can handle up to 75 pounds of impact and compression up to 2,500 pounds, exceeding ASTM F2413-11 testing standards.
From the toe to the heel, this boot is created to perform. Designed similar to their hiking boots in terms of functionality and comfortability, the forefoot is built spaciously for a less constriction allowing your toes to move more freely. This makes your foot feel more natural through your strides. The heel cup is fully supported while providing a natural structure which reduces heel abrasion and blisters.
KEEN Utility offers a 12 month warranty from the purchase date on their boots for manufacturing defects, not for normal wear and tear. They provide excellent information on how to care for your boots on their website.
Timberland Pro Boots were the second most mentioned work boots for landscapers that we surveyed. They are also another boot company that is working to reduce their impact on the environment.
Their work boots are made waterproof and built to withstand your job site. The leather exterior and all-weather outsoles, anti-fatigue polyurethane footbeds that reduce shock, thermal plastic urethan outsole that makes the boot slip-resistant and heat resistant, mesh linings with antimicrobial treatment for odor control and comfort, meet ASTM F1671-07 safety standards, puncture-resistant plates, and a steel safety-toe that meets I/75 and C/75 impact compression and ASTM F2412-11 and F2413-11 safety standards. All of this makes for excellent landscaping work boots.
The waterproof leathers that the boot is constructed with are sealed and then seam-sealed or an internal waterproof breathable membrane is used to keep the feet dry and make them some of the most breathable work boots. In addition to this, the tongues are treated with water resistant coatings in order to further prevent water from penetrating through the boot.
Their boots are warrantied for 12 months from the purchase date from manufacturing defects, not from normal use and wear and tear. They have clear contact information on their website to help serve you.
The tractor company turned to footwear for your job site. The third most mentioned and positively reviewed boot for landscapers from our survey. Though if supporting the environment with your purchase is important to you, CAT has nothing on their website regarding the environmental impact of their shoes and how they are trying to lessen their impact. However, they do support a children’s charity if you buy a pair of their boots from a specific line.
The boots themselves are 100% leather, made with a rubber sole, with nylon mesh lining that is breathable and comfortable, a steel shank for support and stability, removable PU sock liner, the out-sole is slip-resistant, and the steel toe meets ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75, EH standards.
Priced on the lower end of the spectrum for steel toe work boots for landscapers, CAT delivers with their quality and dependability that the name is known for. We have also had really good luck with supporting CAT work boots in the past and have returned to them.
CAT provides 45 day returns and exchanges for free with a customer support number and inquiry form available at the bottom of their website for your convenience.
Kujo Yardwear has come out with an incredible product specifically for landscapers. This composite work boot balances protection and comfort perfectly. Water resistance at the base and breathable air vents at the top to keep you cool and protect you from the water where you step keeping your feet dry all day long.
These boots are lightweight thanks to their composite safety toes. These boots meet ASTM F2412-11 I/75 and C/75 Impact Compression Standards that sports an SPU smooth toe cap with a 1/4 inch rubber outsole to protect the bottom of the boot and 6mm lugs for traction.
Antimicrobial protection along the padded collar and flexibility throughout the boot, you can rest assured knowing that you have a comfortable boot that is going to also protect you when you need it most. Not to mention that they look incredible.
All of this and Kujo offers free shipping, returns, and exchanges to make sure that you are completely satisfied with your purchase.
Choosing the right boot is difficult, but once you have found the right one your loyalty will likely never sway from that perfect fit. From comfort to functionality, the right work boot for you is in this list.
We are on our feet a lot as landscapers. We should put more thought into what we are putting on our feet to keep ourselves going all day long. Make sure you are purchasing a boot that will not let you down and take care of it as you would your tools. It never hurts to have an insert in your boots. They help to add comfort to your day while making sure you are not suffering from fatigue while being on your feet all day long. Having the right insoles in your shoes will make a major difference in your work day.
You need an insole that will absorb shock and provides extra cushioning with proper form to keep you moving more each and every day. It is things like this that will make your day move so much smoother while keeping you moving so much smoother. Check out our post on the insoles that we recommend for your work day.
Work socks also play an important role in the comfort of your feet during the work day. Finding the right socks for your feet are much more important than you would think and work socks will provide you with an added level of comfort.
Check out our post on the best work socks for work boots for more information on this subject. Though it may not seem important at the time of purchase, it will really go a long way in the health and well being, not to mention your endurance day in and day out, of your feet.