Top 10 Waterproof Work Boots - A Complete Guide

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Waterproof work boots keep the feet dry, warm, and comfortable in wet conditions. They withstand contact with meltwater, steam, snow, a mixture of water with salts, acids, alkalis, and other chemical agents. They are resistant to oil, soap, hydrocarbons, and other organic substances. These slip-resistant boots offer the highest level of protection from various liquids. These boots are ideal for surveyors, farmers, prospectors, linesmen, miners, naturalists, biologists on the field, etc.

You will note from our top picks that the market is dominated by Carhartt Ruggedflex Safety Toe Work Boots. Currently, this waterproof boot has the best and most desirable features such as safety toes, waterproof upper, non-slip outsoles, etc. The prices can vary along the lineup, but the important considerations would be if you prefer a soft toe boot like the Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots to wellingtons with aluminum toes such as the Irish Setter 83900. For that comparison of features, we have drawn up a table. If you would like full reviews, then read on!

Short On Time? Here’s The Line-up!

Based on our research and testing of waterproof work boots, the ones that stand out are the Carhartt Ruggedflex. They are highly durable, ASTM F2413-18 compliant boots. They are also insulated with 400G 3M Thinsulate. Our second pick is the Wolverine Overpass 6-inch Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots. These ASTM F2413-11 compliant boots are ideal for working in all types of wet terrains and working conditions. Number three is Danner Crafter 8-inch 600G NMT Work Boots. These ASTM F213-11 compliant boots have non-slip, oil- and water-proof outsoles with 90 heels.

Top 10 Waterproof Work Boots In 2021

Full Reviews

If you’d like to get acquainted with your new potential faithful companion, here are detailed reviews.

1. Carhartt Ruggedflex Safety Toe Work Boots

Carhartt Ruggedflex Safety Toe Work Boots

Materials & Features

Carhartt Ruggedflex is made of genuine high-quality waterproof leather. The reinforced toe box encloses an ASTM F2413-18 compliant composite toe. It is impact- and compression-resistant. The upper has a lace-up closure that ties the boot snugly about the foot.

There is a FastDry lining that wicks away sweat and moisture, keeping your foot dry and comfortable. The breathable lining also fights the build-up of odors. The boot has a rubber toe and heel bumper that offer additional protection from abrasions. These features also work in tandem to offer stability to the foot.

There is an EVA midsole combined with a cushioned polyurethane insole. These two features work together to offer support while absorbing shock. The sole and heel of the boot offer protection against 18Kv of electric shock in dry conditions. The boot meets and exceeds the ASTM 2413-18 Standards for EH protection.

Uses & Maintenance

Carhartt Ruggedflex has a technology that stretches and moves with you. This material reduces the break-in time. The material stretches and recovers with each flexion of the foot. It is breathable and durable, thus it keeps your foot comfortable and fresh too. Rubber bumpers on the toe, heels to protect from electrical hazards, the leather material, and the composite toe all make these ideal work boots for linemen, electricians, and engineers. The high traction rubber sole and waterproof upper also make these ideal for construction workers, prospectors, surveyors, etc.

As these are leather boots, they are easy to maintain. Use wax polish, balms, and conditioners to renew the leather as often as possible. There are creams and sprays to reinforce the waterproofing. Check with the brand if they offer or recommend any products to care for the boots. As they are work boots, they are covered under PPE, therefore check them before and after use. This practice will inform you when you need replacements.

Size & Colors

Carhartt Ruggedflex is available in brown and oil-tanned brown leather. These are available in two widths – medium and wide and in US sizes 8 – 15.

Additional Information

Carhartt Ruggedflex boots arrive individually wrapped in a cardboard box. The pair carries a one-year warranty.

PROS:

  • RuggedFlex rubber outsole
  • EH Protection
  • Composite toe
  • Toe & heel rubber bumpers

CONS:

  • Ripped leather in 5 months
  • Sole flattened in a week

2. Wolverine Overpass 6-Inch Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots

Wolverine Overpass 6-inch Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots

Materials & Features

The Wolverine Overpass Carbonmax work boots’ uppers are made of premium quality waterproof leather. They have an abrasion-resistant toe. They’re fitted with a composite toe made of carbon fiber. A moisture-wicking lining inside the boot keeps the foot dry and cool. A removable Ortholite footbed absorbs shock and cushions the foot. The midsole is made of polyurethane (PU). The outsole is made of a dual compound outsole made of rubber and PU to grip the ground. The nylon shank in the sole reinforces the three sole layers for extra strength. The upper rises to 6 inches from the arch, offering protection from moisture, dirt, dust, insects, snakes, scorpions, and poisonous plants. The boots meet and exceed the ATSM F2413-18 Standards. They are impact, compression, and electrical hazard rated. They feature Contour Welt technology for flexibility and comfort. They utilize outsoles with rubber lugs that absorb shock. They’re lightweight, but heavy on protection.

Uses & Maintenance

Wolverine Overpass Carbonmax boots are effective in keeping the feet of all workers safe. You may be on a construction site, in a data center, warehouse, etc. They’ll protect you from heavy falling and rolling objects. The insulating heels and soles will protect from electric shock. The heavy lugs will give you better grip and traction on various substratum such as on a boiler room floor and while doing activities such as snow plowing, farming, or fishing. These multipurpose boots will not only assist you at work but through leisure activities too. They are ASTM compliant which means they have met and exceeded the tests prescribed by this international organization. These high-top boots rise to 6 inches around the foot, offering support, comfort, and protection.

Size & Colors

Wolverine Overpass Carbonmax boots are available in two widths – medium and extra wide. They’re available in US sizes 7 – 14. They’re brown with a black toe bumper and collar.

Additional Information

Wolverine Overpass Carbonmax boots arrive in a cardboard box and soft packing. The pair is supported by a 12-month warranty.

PROS:

  • Composite toe
  • ASTM F2413-11
  • Contour Welt construction
  • Ortholite footbed

CONS:

  • Lace eyelets broke in 3 days
  • Sizes not standardized

3. Danner Crafter 8-Inch 600G NMT Work Boots

Danner Crafter 8-inch 600G NMT Work Boots

Materials & Features

Danner Crafter 8-Inch 600G NMT Work Boots have a Nubuck oiled leather upper. Danner picks the best quality velvety nubuck and oils it for waterproofing. As nubuck leather is softer, the break-in time too is shorter. Danner Dry offers a 100% waterproof barrier that keeps water out and your feet dry. They have insulating non-conducting soles and heels that offer protection from electrical hazards. The Non-Metallic Toe (NMT), or composite toe, insulates from heat, cold, and electricity. It is impact, compression, and puncture-resistant. The boots do not set off metal detectors and meet and exceed F2413-18 Standards. The DCS footbed is made of thermoplastic polyurethane. The cup has arch support and a cushioning heel. Their function is to absorb shock as well as offer support and comfort. The footbed has air vents that help the boots breathe with every step. Your foot compresses air with each step and the vents allow it to move through your boot. When the foot lifts, the air gushes back in, setting up a ventilation cycle. A mesh cover on the top dries quickly to control odor and mildew. The 90º heel offers traction on steep terrain, using certain tools, and while climbing in and out of equipment. The Danner Comfort System combines the benefits of a cup sole with a dual-density footbed to bring you comfort in daily chores.

Uses & Maintenance

Danner Crafter 8-Inch 600G NMT Work Boots are designed for maximum comfort. They’ve been built around the DCP1-H last and the ultra-plush footbed. They run true to size with a broad toe box and an athletic, responsive fit. These boots have a composite toe, insulating heels, and a sole. The sole has comfort and anti-fatigue features. The inner lining is moisture-wicking and waterproof. These work boots are meant for work around electric circuits and power supplies. The 90º heel and traction due to the sole make them non-slip and stable. Construction workers, warehouse workers, factory workers, engineers, plumbers, and outdoor personnel can use these boots. They should be brushed clean of dirt, dust, and mud with a brush. Apply wax polishes and conditioners to keep the leather supple and smooth.

Size & Colors

Danner Crafter 8-Inch 600G NMT Work Boots are available in two widths – medium and extra wide. They come in US sizes 8 – 14.

Additional Information

Danner Crafter 8-Inch 600G NMT Work Boots arrive in a cardboard box. They carry a one-year warranty.

PROS:

  • Waterproof lining
  • Oiled nubuck upper
  • Nylon shank
  • Composite toe

CONS:

  • Weak construction
  • Not insulated

4. Timberland PRO Boondock 6-Inch Composite Safety Toe Waterproof Work Boots

Timberland PRO 6-Inch Boondock with Composite Toe

Materials & Features

Timberland PRO Boondocks are of high-quality waterproof leather. A waterproof membrane seals water out, keeping your socks and feet dry. The Ever-Guard leather heel is abrasion-resistant and also works to keep the feet dry feet. The molded rubber toe protector brings durability to the boot and will protect the toes from abrasions as well. The dual-purpose hardware is made of brass and offers an instant lace-up system that is easy to customize. This means you can close the boot to the shin or the ankles. This helps keep the feet cool on hot days. These boots have been designed on the TiTAN last and fitted with a composite toe. This non-metallic toe offers protection from electrical hazards (EH) and facilitates a superior fit. They have a combination welt, 3/4th of which is Goodyear welt and 1/4th is cement heel. This offers waterproofing and EH protection. A rigid external heel cup offers structural heel support. The padded top collar protects from abrasions, impact, and trauma. The 6-inch high-top boots fit snuggly around the foot due to the lace-up assembly. They’re reinforced with fiberglass which keeps dirt, dust, insects, poisonous plants, and animals at bay. They have dual-density anti-fatigue technology that offers comfort and support. The compressive layer returns energy to the foot at key zones like the heel, arch of the foot, and base of the large toe. The thermal plastic urethane (TPU) outsole has dual-density. It has a tough structure with slip-, oil- and abrasion-resistant rubberized deep lugs for traction.

Uses & Maintenance

Timberland PRO Boondocks are ideal for all types of work, as they meet the ASTM F2412-11 and ASTM F2413-11 Standards for composite toe and EH protection. They’re waterproof and therefore can be hosed down to remove mud and muck. Timberland offers products such as Balm Proofer to reinforce the water and stain repellent properties of the boots. They offer Waximum as a leather protector.

Size & Colors

Timberland PRO Boondocks are available in black and brown and in US sizes 7 – 15. There are two widths – medium and wide.

Additional Information

Timberland PRO Boondocks arrive in a cardboard box packed in separate pouches. The boot carries a 12-month warranty.

PROS:

  • All-weather outsole
  • Composite toe
  • EH protection
  • Anti-microbial odor control

CONS:

  • Sole detached from the boot
  • Anti-fatigue sole disintegrated in 3 weeks

5. Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots

Caterpillar Threshold Industrial Boots

Materials & Features

Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots have a slip-resistant outsole that meets and exceeds the ASTM Standards. The boots offer grip and traction on smooth and slippery surfaces. They’re sealed around the edge where the upper and outsole meet. This prevents water from seeping in. The premium quality leather is protective, durable, and abrasion-resistant. The boots meet the ASTM F2413-05 Standards for protection against electrical hazards. The ERGO midsole is 30% lighter than the standard EVA soles. The leather has been sourced from gold-rated tanneries.

Uses & Maintenance

Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots are excellent all-round boots for projects in rugged conditions. These boots are available in soft toe and steel toe versions. This one is the soft toe version. It offers protection from electrical hazards. They have slip-resistant soles and other comfort features. These boots are ideal for plumbers, electricians, electrical engineers, and people who need the above-said protection. The full-grained leather uppers can be maintained using wax polishes, balms, and conditioners. The waterproof feature can be reinforced using various sprays meant for this purpose.

Not ASTM Compliant

Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots have two types of toe boxes – medium and wide. They’re available in US sizes 7 – 15. This one is brown, but they are also available in black.

Additional Information

Caterpillar Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boots arrive in protective packing and carry a 365-day warranty.

PROS:

  • Gold rated leather
  • Sealed waterproofing
  • EH protection
  • Soft toe

CONS:

  • Waterproofing went in 2 weeks
  • No arch support

6. Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2

Thorogood Gen-flex2 Boots with Composite Toe

Materials & Features

The Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 boot is a brown wellington with a side zip. The boot is fitted with a composite toe and Gen-flex2 dual-density outsole. This rubber outsole had multi-directional lugs for traction for a superior grip on all kinds of substratum. They are slip-resistant on oily and slick surfaces, making them ideal for work in wet conditions. The sole has an EVA insole, a removable PU footbed, and a GenFlex outsole. The composite shank and toe cap meet and exceed the ASTM Standards. The upper is sealed to the outsole by the Goodyear Storm Welt Construction. The leather, the outsoles, and the construction make these boots waterproof.

Uses & Maintenance

Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 boots are lightweight, slip-resistant, and comfortable wellingtons. They are 8 inches from the arch of the foot to the top of the boot. The side zipper allows an easy slide into the boots. There is a notch at the back to tuck your toe and pull the boot off. The toe and heel have abrasion-resistant bumpers. There is a pull-on loop at the back of the shaft. The GenFlex outsole makes these boots for wet working conditions. They can be hosed down. The waterproofing can be restored using sprays, wax polishes, and conditioners.

Size & Colors

Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 boots are available in two widths – medium and wide. They are available in US sizes 7 – 15.

Additional Information

Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 boots arrive in protective packing and carry a 12-month warranty.

PROS:

  • Oiled, full-grained leather
  • PU footbed
  • Composite toe & shank
  • GenFlex outsole

CONS:

  • Toe guard fell off during first wear
  • Size issues

7. Wolverine Floorhand 6-Inch Waterproof Soft Toe Work Shoes

Wolverine Floorhand Boots with Soft Toe

Materials & Features

Wolverine Floorhands are waterproof work boots with a soft toe. Also available in steel toe, these boots have a moisture-wicking lining for additional comfort. These boots meet the ASTM F2413-18 Standards for soft-toe work boots. The upper is full-grained leather with a premium feel. The moisture-wicking mesh lining and removable cushion beds keep the feet comfortable. The rubber midsole offers support and balance. The rubber outsole is for traction on all surfaces. The upper is fused with the outsole by a lightweight cement construction. The boots’ shank is 6-inches high and reinforced by nylon. The shank protects from splashes, undergrowth, and poisonous flora and fauna. The sole is EH rated by ASTM F2413-18 standards.

Uses & Maintenance

Wolverine Floorhand work boots are ideal for in-house workers, farmhands, etc. The waterproof upper, lace-up system, and high-traction soles make these boots ideal for work in wet conditions. They can be hosed down to remove muck and mud. Apply balms, waxes, and conditioners to maintain them. Store in a well-ventilated place to prevent mildew and malodor.

Size & Colors

Wolverine Floorhand is available in two widths – medium and extra wide. They are available in US sizes 7 – 14. This pair is dark brown. They are available in wheat and black too.

Additional Information

Wolverine Floorhand boots arrive in protective packaging. They carry a 365-day warranty.

PROS:

  • Rubber mid & out-sole
  • Cement construction
  • Nylon shank
  • Meet ASTM F2413-18 Standards

CONS:

  • Boot developed holes
  • Treads split in 4 months

8. KEEN Anchorage 3

KEEN Anchorage 3 Pull-On Waterproof Boots

Materials & Features

KEEN Anchorage 3 boots’ uppers are made of full-grained, waterproof leather. The leather upper encloses a lightweight ESS shank that offers support. The outsole has 4mm thick multidirectional lugs for grip and traction on various substratum. The Keen Freeze is a rubber grip for traction on ice and snow. These boots have 200G of Keen Warm insulation that keeps you warm up to -25°F/-32°C. A heat-shield footbed captures warmth while the Keen Dry waterproof membrane is breathable and moisture-wicking. It keeps the feet dry and comfortable. The Cleansport NXT feature helps with natural odor control.

Uses & Maintenance

KEEN Anchorage 3 boots are made of full-grained leather fitted with Keen Dry, a proprietary, breathable membrane. It lets water vapor out but does not allow water in. Keen Warm is lightweight insulation made from charcoal bamboo. It also absorbs bad odors in combination with Cleansport NXT. The thermal heat shield and 200G of insulation keep you warm in up to -25°F or -32°C. These features make them ideal for outdoor work in chilly conditions. These boots are made from carefully selected leather, therefore they will be dirt- and scuff-free. The leather can be maintained using leather polishes, cleaners, and conditioners found at most dealers and repair shops.

Size & Colors

KEEN Anchorage 3 boots are available in US sizes 7 – 17 in the regular width.

Additional Information

KEEN Anchorage 3 boots arrive in protective packaging. They carry a 12-month warranty.

PROS:

  • Keen Dry membrane
  • Keen Warm insulation
  • Keen Freeze ice grip
  • Cleansport NXT odor control

CONS:

  • Rubber sole falling apart
  • Too narrow

9. Irish Setter 83900 Wellington Aluminum-Toe Work Boots

Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons with Aluminum Toe

Materials & Features

Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons are waterproof boots with insulation. The upper is made of Trout Brook leather which is tanned using time-proven methods. These boots will meet the demands of a job site or the toughest trail. The Ultra-dry waterproof construction combines waterproofing with moisture management components. The PrimaLoft uses recycled fibers from plastic bottles. The low-bulk waterproof fiber traps heat to keep you dry in wet conditions. “Energ” is strategically placed material that rebounds with every step. This antifatigue technology recharges every step with a burst of energy. Aramtec XT is an abrasion-resistant material in the PU Comfort Trek outsole.

Uses & Maintenance

Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons have an aluminum safety toe, a nubuck waterproof upper, and a rubber outsole. These boots are ASTM F2413-18 compliant. They are enhanced with 600G of insulation and a non-metallic shank that keeps you warm and safe. The upper is fused with the outsole by the Direct Attach Welt. Loggers, farmhands, surveyors, prospectors, biologists, and other professionals with outdoor duty will find these boots useful. They can be maintained like other leather boots using wax polishes, conditioners, etc.

Size & Colors

Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons are 11-inches tall. They are available in two widths – regular and wide. They range from US sizes 6 – 15.

Additional Information

Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons arrive in protective packaging. The pair carry a 1-year warranty.

PROS:

  • Aluminum toe
  • Waterproof
  • 600G insulation
  • EH protection

CONS:

  • Waterproof seal went in 8 months
  • Low-quality construction

10. Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boots

Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boots

Materials & Features

Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukkas have a waterproof sport suede upper with synthetic overlays. There is a lace-up assembly with metal hooks and loops. They are hiking boots because of the aggressive lugs on the rubber outsole. This offers grip and traction. The padded collar and tongue esnure a better fit, stability, and comfort. The boot has a soft fabric lining that wicks away moisture, keeping the feet dry. The seams are sealed, therefore the boots are waterproof. There are safety features such as a shock-absorbing midsole and a rubber bumper on the toes.

Uses & Maintenance

Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukkas are suitable for a rugged lifestyle. They have a relaxed fit and are waterproof. The ankle-high boots’ lace-up assembly offers a comfortable fit. The padded collar, gusset tongue, and high-traction lug pattern on the rubber outsole make these boots suitable for all terrains. These boots can be hosed down to wash off mud and muck from the treads.

Size & Colors

Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukkas are available in two widths – extra wide and medium. They are available in khaki, gray, and black. You will find them in US sizes 7 – 15.

Additional Information

Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukkas arrive in protective packaging and come with a warranty card of one year.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Air-cooled memory foam
  • Relaxed fit
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • No ankle support
  • No ASTM Certification

Top Waterproof Work Boots – Comparison Table

Logger Boot
Upper
Sole
Insulation
ASTM Protection
1. Carhartt Ruggedflex Safety Toe Work Boots
Leather upper, 6-inch shaft, Lace-up closure
RuggedFlex rubber outsole
400G 3M Thinsulate
ASTM F2413-18 Standards, Impact, Compression, EH protection
2. Wolverine Overpass 6-inch Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boots
100% Leather and Textile, Abrasion-resistant toe, 6-inch shaft, Lace-up closure
Rubber sole, Slip, oil, water, abrasion, & chemical-resistant outsole
No Insulation
ASTM F2413-11 Standards, Impact, Compression, EH protection
3. Danner Crafter 8-inch 600G NMT Work Boots
Waterproof Nubuck leather, Waterproof lining, Nylon Shank
Danner Crafter non-conductive soles
Non-insulated
ASTM F2413-11 Standards, Impact, Compression, EH protection
4. Timberland PRO 6-Inch Boondock with Composite Toe
Waterproof leather, Waterproof membrane
Ever-Guard, leather heel, Rubber toe protector
Non-insulated
ASTM F2412-11 & F2413-11, CAN/CSA-Z195-14 Grade 1 Standards, Impact, Compression, EH protection
5. Caterpillar Threshold Industrial Boots
Gold rated leather, Sealed waterproofing
Slip-resistant outsole
Non-insulated
ASTM F2413-05 Standards, Soft toe, EH protection, Slip-resistant
6. Thorogood Gen-flex2 Boots with Composite Toe
Oiled full-grained leather, Composite toe & shank
GenFlex outsole
Non-insulated
ASTM F2413-11, Impact, Compression, EH protection
7. Wolverine Floorhand Boots with Soft Toe
Waterproof full-grain leather, Moisture-wicking mesh lining
Rubber outsole, Lightweight cement construction
Non-insulated
ASTM F2413-18 Standards, Soft toe, Slip resistance, EH protection
8. KEEN Anchorage 3 Pull-On Waterproof Boots
100% Leather, Breathable leather lining, Ankle-high shaft
Rubber sole
200G Keen Warm insulation
ASTM F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards
9. Irish Setter 83900 Wellingtons with Aluminum Toe
Oiled and waxed leather, Waterproof, Non-metallic shank
Rubber-PU Comfort Trek Outsole, Direct Attach to Welt construction
600G PrimaLoft Insulation
ASTM F2413-18 Standards, Aluminum Toe, Impact, Compression, EH protection
10. Skechers Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boots
Waterproof sport suede, Synthetic overlays
Rubber outsole with high traction lugs, 1.5-inch heel
Non-insulated
Not ASTM Compliant

How We Choose Our Products

We selected, researched, and ranked the top waterproof work boots based on features most useful to the user. When picking your work boots, look for these features!

Features of Top-Notch Waterproof Work Boots

To protect your feet from gasoline, oil, water, and other forms of liquids, make sure your boots have the following features.

Materials – Most manufacturers use waterproof leather that is water-, oil-, and chemical-resistant. During the tanning process, lots of wax is worked into the leather to seal all the pores. This can be easy to maintain by brushing an application of wax polish or conditioners.

The upper may be also be constructed of synthetics like nylon such as Denier, Gore-Tex, etc. Waterproof canvas boots are also common. Yet the most common materials used to make waterproof boots are leather and rubber of various kinds like polyurethane, EVA, TPU, etc.

Rubber is thick, flexible, and impenetrable to various chemicals and water. It also offers better traction on many surfaces and EH protection. It is impact-, compression-, and puncture-resistant to an extent. The most desirable feature of rubber is that be it leather or a synthetic upper, rubber can be fused seamlessly, making your boots waterproof.

Waterproof – While shopping, you will come across the terms “Waterproof” and “Water Resistant.”

Waterproof means the boot is completely impervious to water. It can withstand wet conditions for a long time. You can wear the boots and work in a downpour and they will remain dry. There are various features such as a seamless shaft and upper of the boot. A seamless upper will merge with the outsole. This seals the water out of the boot and your feet remain dry.

Waterproof Performance Test – Waterproof performance is tested using the Flexion Footwear Machine for water resistance. The boot is fitted onto a mechanical foot. Then it is lowered into a container of colored water. This is done to define the water depth, which is approximately 20mm above the feather line of the boot.

The boot is flexed at a constant speed and angle, simulating the natural walk of a person. The penetration of the water is reviewed at regular intervals. The simulated ambulation highlights the weak points that are stressed while walking and splashing.

Water-resistant boots can prevent soaking for a limited time. The protective coating may fade away after a few downpours. Or the pores of the material may let the water in after the hydrostatic pressure exceeds a certain value. This means water-resistant boots will keep you dry in light showers. They require spraying with waterproofing materials to retain the property.

Insulation – There are two types of insulation – against cold and electricity. Insulated work boots that defend against cold carry grams of insulation. This layer of insulation offers protection from cold and is waterproof. In case it soaks through, the water drains off and the insulation dries quickly.

The various materials used to insulate the boots are wool, silk, goose and duck down, feathers, Sherpa, fleece, flannel, etc. The most popular material is Thinsulate. This is synthetic material is a polyester fiber that is lightweight and behaves like down clusters. When a label mentions grams of insulation, it is referring to the weight of Thinsulate or a similar insulating material quilted into the boot.

  • 200G of insulation is ideal for mild and cool days with high activity.
  • 400G of insulation is sufficient for moderately cold days with some activity. Usually, work boots with 400 – 600G of insulation are adequate.
  • 800G of insulation is ideal for colder days between 30 – 40°F and light activity.
  • 1200G insulation is for extreme cold weather typical of winter months when the mercury is at 30°F and below.
  • 2000G of insulation is for extreme cold weather at 0°F with low or no activity. These boots are quite thick and difficult to remove.

Waterproof work boots carry Electrical Hazard (EH) protection. These boots insulate from electric shock. They protect from 18000 volts at 60 Hz for a minute without current flow or leakage current over 3mA under dry conditions.

Simply put, the difference between waterproofing and insulation is that the former prevents water from getting into the boot. The latter prevents the loss of body heat. This means waterproofing in insulated boots forms a shield that prevents water from soaking through into the boot.

ASTM and OSHA Compliance – ASTM International released new standards in August 2011. They were the F2412 and F2413 standards and methods for testing. Some changes and the addition of F2892 for soft toe and non-protective or non-safety footwear were made in this version.

  • F2412-11 defines the test methods that measure the resistance of protective footwear to various hazards that may cause a workplace injury.
  • F2413-11 defines the minimum performance requirements of protective footwear. Safety footwear is expected to resist various hazards with the potential to cause injury.

These standards include:

  • Impact resistance (I/75) for the toe area. The Class I/75 footwear retains a minimum clearance of
  • 500 inch (1/2 inch) for men’s footwear
  • 468 inch (15/32 inch) for women’s footwear

after an impact of 75 foot-pounds, i.e., a 50-pound weight dropped from the height of 23.25 inches reaching the velocity of 117.9 ± 2.4 inches per second at impact.

  • Compression resistance (C/75) for the toe area. The Class C/75 footwear should retain a clearance of 0.500 inches (1/2 inch) after compression of 2,500 pounds or greater.
  • Metatarsal resistance (Mt/75) for the upper area of footwear. The Class Mt/75 footwear retains a 1-inch clearance for men’s and 15/32-inch clearance for women’s footwear. They should withstand a nominal impact of 75 foot-pounds, i.e., 50 pounds when a weight is dropped from 23.25 inches. It should reach a velocity of 117.9 ± 2.4 inches per second at impact.
  • Electric Hazard (EH) resistant work boots have shock-resisting soles and heels. They can withstand 18,000 volts at 60 Hz for 1 minute without current flow or leakage current over 3.0 mA under dry conditions.
  • Static Dissipative (SD) footwear provides between 106 – 108 (1 – 100 megohm) resistance when 50 volts are applied to the person wearing the test boots. An electrode is applied to the hand of the person wearing the SD test sample placed on a conductive ground plate.
  • Puncture Resistance (PR) footwear has plates built into the sole that withstands the force of less than 1200N (Newton) or 270 lbf (pound-force).

The F2892-11 standard applies to soft toe or non-safety toe footwear. The labels on or inside the boots conform to the ratings and the standards for which the pair are tested.

Height – These work boots are raised from the ground by an inch or more. This prevents water from soaking into the boot. If your work requires you to wade through water, then high shaft boots will prevent you getting from wet. If you are walking through the rain, splashes won’t get into the boot, wetting the socks. If you are going to wade into deeper waters, then waterproof wellingtons are an excellent choice.

The Build or Construction – For the boots to be waterproof, the insides have to be completely sealed off. Goodyear Welt Construction involves stitching the upper to the insole using a welt. This structure is stitched onto an outsole. This piece of material that runs along the perimeter of the outsole seals off the boot. This strip of material may be made of plastic, leather, or cloth. The plastic and leather ones are waterproof. They work in tandem with the reinforced stitching between the upper and outsole. Heady duty adhesives and cork are used to make a watertight seal. Other constructions involve heat sealing the upper onto a molded rubber or thermoplastic shell while others involve sealed stitching.

Membranes and Liners – Waterproof socks, membranes, and liners are used as a second layer of protection against water. The fabric’s weave gives it a breathable yet waterproof quality. This prevents the foot from becoming overheated or slippery due to locked-in sweat. The completely sealed construction of these liners, membranes, and socks keeps them waterproof. These features are assembled to lie between the upper and lining of the boot. But in some work boots, they may be removable. The fabric also may have undergone anti-microbial treatment to prevent odors.

Traction – As these are waterproof work boots, this means you will be walking on wet, slippery surfaces. Some will be muddy and some will be hot. These boots are subjected to tests on various slip resistance machines such as Mark II, SATRA STM 603, Brunngraber, etc. A wide range of testing conditions are applied such as wet, dry, contaminated with soap, oil, etc. They are awarded various ratings for slip-resistance, such as:

  • SRA soles are tested on a ceramic tile wetted with a dilute soap solution
  • SRB soles are tested on smooth steel with glycerol
  • SRC soles pass both SRA and SRB tests for slip-resistance.

Some work boots have Heat Resistant Outsoles (HRO) that withstand high temperatures of 572°F. These soles are chemical-resistant; they tolerate slats, mineral oils, acids, alkalis, hydrocarbons, animal fats, and oils.

Conclusion & Key Takeaways

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