The 5 Best Work Boots For Sweaty Feet: Reviewed to Make Your Life Easy
No matter what the weather or time of year, nobody likes to work with sweaty feet.
But if you’re employed in an industry which requires you to wear protective work boots it may feel like you have no choice.
Well luckily there is. Advances in technology mean there is now a wide range of heavy-duty work boots which can protect your feet and keep perspiration at bay.
And we’ve tested them extensively to find out which ones are best. Here are our reviews of the 5 best work boots for sweaty feet:
How To Choose Work Boots That Won’t Make Your Feet Sweat
But before we run through our list, let’s take a look at some of the essential features you should consider when looking for a pair of boots that will help you beat sweaty feet.
This ingenious piece of technology is essential if you want to avoid moist feet at work. The mesh lining is a special type of fabric which can be used to line work boots. It has moisture-wicking properties which enable it to draw sweat away from your feet and divert it out of the boots. We have no idea how it does it, but it’s brilliant.
The more weight you’re lugging around on your feet, the more work you’re putting them through and the more they’ll want to sweat. Heavier duty materials are also more likely to retain heat, unless they’ve been specially designed to provide ventilation. We’re not saying you have to opt for the lightest pair of boots you can find. Just be mindful of what you need them to do and don’t buy a heavier pair than you require.
These two pieces of advice may sound simple. But they really are the fundamentals when it comes to avoiding sweaty feet on the job.
The Reviews of Our Top Choices
So now you know what to look for in a pair of work boots that will protect your feet while also keeping them free from perspiration, let’s take a look at the best ones on the market today:
Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift 6″ Plain Soft Toe Work Boot
Okay, so if you’re looking for a robust and dependable (if admittedly a tad unremarkable) pair of boots to start off the list, the Second Shifts by Caterpillar are the perfect boot.
This solid pair of work boots comes with full leather uppers, available in both tan and brown, and deeply-treaded, slip-resistant outsoles. There are no protective toes, but the Second Shifts do offer you electrical hazard protection (protecting you from circuits of up to 600 volts). So if your job brings you into contact with potential electric shocks but not the regular risk of falling objects, this could be the ideal compromise for you.
The Caterpillars are also relatively light as a result, and this is a major factor in what makes them so great: they’re very comfy. You could walk around in them all day and barely realise you’re wearing a set of protective footwear. Comfort features include ankle-hugging padded collars and a climasphere sock liner to help your feet stay at the optimum temperature, regardless of the weather outside.
This is where the Second Shifts come into their own if your primary concern is avoiding sweaty feet. A nylon mesh lining increases breathability throughout the boot, giving it the holy trinity of desired characteristics for anybody wanting to keep their feet free from perspiration: the Second Shifts are comfortable, lightweight and breathable.
As a final aside, they also look good. In either tan or brown, this is a pair of boots you could wear out around town if you wanted to.
• Comfortable and breathable
• Climasphere sockliner technology
• A decent looking pair of work boots
• Electrical hazard protection
• No protective toes
Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot
As you might have guessed from the name, the Ultra-Lites Tactical Sport Boot by Bates looks more suited to running through thick undergrowth than being worn on a construction site. But don’t let that put you off. These boots are crammed full of features that make them incredibly comfortable, and great for anybody looking to avoid sweatiness around their feet.
Like the Caterpillars (and as their name suggests) the Ultra-Lites are very light. The uppers are made from a leather and fabric mix in order to keep weight down, and they’re attached to the rubber soles using a cement construction – favoured for producing a less heavy boot than the more commonly used Goodyear welt construction. A fiberglass shank also helps to reduce the weight of these boots while affording the wearer invaluable arch support.
The outsoles are slip and oil-resistant, and the walls are high, affording you lots of ankle protection from the elements. But unlike with many other boots, high walls does not mean a lack of ventilation; naturally, the Ultra-Lites come with a breathable lining. Plus their cushioned footbeds are removable – giving you the option to clean them separately and prevent foot odors if necessary.
On top of this, side zippers and velcro closing mechanisms make it very easy to partially open your boots and re-fasten them quickly. This allows you to take opportune moments on the job to briefly expose your feet to the fresh air. No other pair of boots we reviewed had anything like this – prompting us to give them the honorary title of one of the most breathable work boots we reviewed.
The obvious downside is that Bates have not included any real safety features, but that’s not really the name of the game here. They’ve set out to make an incredibly lightweight boot that can be worn for long periods without becoming uncomfortable. And they’ve succeeded.
They’re not suitable for heavy-duty work. But you could probably take them on a run.
• Seriously light
• Great ventilation
• High walls protect your ankles from the elements
• Velcro and side zipper design lets you air-out your feet while wearing them
• No safety features of note
Timberland PRO Men’s 40008 Mudsill Low Steel-Toe Lace-Up
These ankle-cut boots from Timberland are probably the best safety shoes on the market. As you’d expect from any pair of Timberlands, they’re chock full of keen utility features and provide perhaps the best value for money of any footwear of their type.
When it comes to safety features, the Mudsills have all of the essentials and more. Steel safety toes are coated in a synthetic, abrasion-resistant covering, while their thick, lugged outsoles are slip, abrasion, oil, and even heat-resistant.
On the comfort side of things, they come with molded EVA midsoles and footbeds complete with inbuilt shock diffusion technology in order to ensure each step you take is thoroughly cushioned. The shank has also been made from nylon in order to keep the weight down.
This is supplemented by the boots’ cement construction. In the case of the Timberlands, we found the cement construction to not only help keep the weight low, but also to make the boots very flexible when wearing them. The break-in time was remarkably quick too, which we partially attribute to the cement construction.
In terms of beating perspiration, the Mudsills’ antimicrobial mesh lining encourages good ventilation throughout the boot, helping you to keep your feet dry no matter how long your shift. And of course, the fact that it’s antimicrobial also keeps the boot fresh and free from odors. By virtue of being ankle-cut, these boots already offer more ventilation than almost any others on this list – and this is substantially enhanced by the effort Timberland have put into making these boots breathable.
The Mudsills aren’t the most heavy-duty boots on the list, but they certainly won’t make your feet sweat.
• Lots of safety features
• Antimicrobial mesh lining keeps feet dry and odor-free
• Ankle-cut offers less protection than boots with high walls
Wolverine Men’s W04821 Buccaneer Work Boot
The Buccaneers from Wolverine are another stylish and effective pair of work boots. They look simple, but a lot of work has gone into the design in order to make them incredibly comfortable to wear.
The uppers are 100% full-grain leather and this leather is 100% waterproof. Their rubber outsoles are slip-resistant and have a deep tread in order to provide excellent traction and, interestingly, these boots have been put together using a contour welt construction rather than the Goodyear or cement welts we see in many boots.
One of the best things about the Buccaneers is Wolverine’s trademarked Multishox System, where multi-shock compression pads have been molded into the outsoles in order to really take the blow out of each step. (People have tested this out vigorously and it really works). To add to this we have full-cushion insoles a lightweight PU midsole that really helps to take the load off of your feet during a long shift.
When it comes to alleviating the burden of sweaty feet, Wolverine have provided a moisture-managing sweat-wicking (all-action) mesh lining.
Again, there are limited safety features here. We’re lacking steel toes and electrical hazard protection, but not everybody needs that. And while there are certainly more heavy-duty work boots on this list, the Buccaneers cannot be accused of lacking durability.
In fact, Wolverine are so sure you’ll be impressed once you grab a pair for yourself that they’re even offering a 30-day money back guarantee. The Buccaneers may not be the most remarkable pair of work boots on this list. But they certainly get the job done.
• 100% Waterproof leather uppers
• Wolverine Multishox System cushions each step
• Moisture-managing mesh lining
• 30-Day money back guarantee
• Not the most heavy-duty pair of work boots
• No protective toes
Timberland PRO Men’s Helix 6″ Non-Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boot
And finally, another pair of Timberlands. Unlike the Mudsills, this offering from the boot-making behemoth comes with with high walls and pretty much every safety feature your heart could desire.
Unsurprisingly, we begin with full-grain leather uppers and thick rubber soles. Again Timberland have opted for a cement construction in order to give the boots maximum flexibility and have added their Active Heel Lock Lacing System to ensure a secure fit, even when your feet are flexing, twisting and turning to the max.
Timberland also claim to have incorporated anti-fatigue and shock-absorbing technology in the form of a conical midsole made from polyurethane. And they’ve bulked this up with a nylon diffusion shank.
Elsewhere, the TiTAN alloy safety toe does a great job of protecting your feet without adding too much to the weight. And again we see a mesh lining with antimicrobial treatment – only this time Timberland have gone one further by adding open-cell polyurethane footbeds to further enhance ventilation and suppress odors.
• Great flexibility for such a large boot
• Anti-fatigue technology
• Protective TiTAN alloy toes
Well, after whittling the selection down to five different pairs of boots, we now need to pick a winner. And it is…
The Timberland PRO Men’s Helix 6″ Non-Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boots.
Yes, there are lighter pairs of boots on the list, but there are none that are more durable. And when it came down to it, the Helixes ticked more boxes than any of their competitors. Comfortable, highly flexible and breathable, these work boots are great for anybody concerned about sweaty feet.
Chuck in the TiTAN alloy steel toes and anti-fatigue technology and it seems that these boots have it all. If you want to protect your feet and beat the heat, the Helixes provide a means of doing so. Which is why we’re declaring them the best boots for sweaty feet that you can buy today.
How can I stop my feet from sweating in my work boots?
The first thing to consider here is wearing the right pair of boots for the season. You might have a perfectly good pair of work boots for the winter that prove to be too warm in the summer. If you’re working outdoors or in an environment where the temperature is prone to fluctuate, consider getting more than one pair of boots to account for this.
Secondly, consider a pair of moisture wicking socks. These are by far the best socks for sweaty feet, and use a similar technology to the moisture-wicking lining in boots to keep your feet cool and free of sweat. Think smart and don’t wear sweat socks.
Can sweat damage work boots?
The simple answer is yes. Everybody’s feet sweat a little (in fact, we have more sweat glands on our feet than anywhere else), so don’t panic next time you’re on the job and your feet start to perspire a little. But it’s true that, over time, sweat can damage your boots.
It can contribute considerably towards the rate at which your insoles wear down, and can even cause leather to warp. If you sweat a lot then your boots can even stay wet in between wears, and this will eventually cause them to lose their shape. This is why it’s vital to get a pair of boots you can work in without sweating.