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Best Insulated Work Boots [2020]

Snow landscape

There is nothing worst than cold, painful feet when your focus is on getting work done.  If the conditions are harsh, it’s easy to put on another sweater, but you can’t put on a second pair of boots. 

When you need all-day protection from the elements, insulated work boots are a necessary part of your cold weather gear.

It’s easy to assume that your general-duty work boots will be good enough year round, but proper insulation requires layers.  Warm socks can help but the extra insulation of insulated work boots give you the edge you need for long days in the cold, ice, and snow.

Best Insulated Work Boots

Timberland PRO Men's Helix HD 8" Composite Toe Wateproof Insulated Industrial Boot, Brown Walnut, 9 W US
Price
$$
Toe Style
Composite Safety
Waterproof
Insulation
Unknown
-
KEEN Utility - CSA Philadelphia+ 8" 600g, Waterproof Safety Toe Construction Boot, Cascade Brown/Black, 14D
Price
$$$
Toe Style
Carbon Fiber Safety
Waterproof
Insulation
600 gram
-
WOLVERINE Men's Marauder Rubber Wellington-M, Brown, 10 XW US
Price
$$
Toe Style
Soft toe
Waterproof
Insulation
400 gram
Timberland PRO mens Direct Attach 6" Soft Toe Industrial Shoe, Brown Oiled Full Grain, 9 US
Price
$
Toe Style
Steel Safety
Waterproof
Insulation
200 gram
Chippewa Men's 9" Waterproof Insulated Steel-Toe EH Logger Boot,BayApache,11.5 E US
Price
$$$$
Toe Style
Steel Safety
Waterproof
Insulation
400 gram
-

Just socks or Darn Tough Socks?

Timberland PRO Men’s Helix 8″ Insulated Composite Toe Work Boot

A warm, insulated work boot that offers shock absorption and a protective toe for working all day.

     Features:

  • Leather
  • Oil-resistant rubber sole
  • Composite safety toe
  • Insulated
  • Waterproof membrane

    Detailed Description:

  • Premium waterproof leather uppers with waterproof membranes to lock out water
  • Mesh linings with antimicrobial treatment for odor control
  • Anti-fatigue comfort technology polyurethane footbeds
  • Lightweight, non-metallic, asymmetrical-shaped toe cap. Meets US and Canadian safety standards including ASTM F2412-11 and ASTM F2413-11 I/75 and C/7
  • Heat-resistant, durable rubber compound offers enhanced slip, oil and abrasion resistance.
  • 400 g insulation for warmth without bulk
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Read our full review of Treadlabs...

KEEN CSA Philadelphia+ 8″ Waterproof Safety Toe Boot

Gear up for your next job with these beasts of boots from Keen.

     Features:

  • Waterproof, breathable membrane
  • 600g insulation
  • Carbon fiber left and right asymmetrical toes
  • Polar traction with micro-glass filaments
  • Comfortable and durable
  • Dual-density insole with pillow-top cushioning

    Detailed Description:

  • Waterproof breathable membrane locks out rain and humidity, but releases the heat and perspiration.
  • Dry-Lex footwear lining with hydrophobic/hydrophilic 2-zone comfort technology.
  • Left and right asymmetrical, non-metallic carbon-fiber toes offer unobtrusive fit and are 15% lighter than steel; 90-degree heel provides stability and reassurance
  • Featuring micro-glass filaments combined with an oil- and low-temp flex resistant rubber outsole for essential traction on wet, oily, or icy surfaces by piercing the surface
  • Electric Shock Resistant (ESR) construction; Meets ASTM 2412 and 2413 standards; Meets CSA Z195-14 Grade 1 Safety Standards
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Find boots, gear, and more at Cabela's

Wolverine Men’s Marauder Insulated Wellington Work Boot

Open at the top, comfortable from inside – These work boots are best for working outdoors in extreme temperatures.

     Features:

  • Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Waterproof
  • Insulated

    Detailed Description:

  • Waterproof full-grain leather upper keeps you dry
  • 200 gram Thinsulate™ Insulation for extra warmth
  • The boot opening has a circumference of 14”, so you slide in easily
  • Wolverine MultiShox® removable full-cushion footbed
  • Athletic shoe feel for all-day comfort
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Timberland PRO Men’s Direct Attach 6″ Boot

Timberland is one of the most trusted brands of men’s work boots. Join the countless other satisfied owners of Timberland Pro with the classic styling of the Direct Attach work boots.

     Features:

  • Full-grain leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Waterproof
  • Thermolite insulation
  • Soft or steel toe
  • Available in 4 colors

    Detailed Description:

  • Premium waterproof leather with seam-sealed direct-inject construction
  • 200 grams of Thermolite insulation
  • Mesh lining with antimicrobial treatment for odor control and comfort
  • Timberland PRO rubber outsole is slip-, oil- and heat-resistant.
  • Provides secondary underfoot protection against live electrical hazards
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The Direct Attach is also available in a soft toe version.

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Find the perfect socks for your boots at Thorlos!

Chippewa Men’s 9″ Waterproof Insulated Steel-Toe EH Logger Boot

Made with pride in the USA and “Hand Crafted by people who care.”

     Features:

  • Leather
  • Steel toe
  • Waterproof with moisture management lining
  • Vibram outsole designed for maximum traction
  • 400 gram insulation
  • ATSM Electrical Hazard rated

     Detailed Description:

  • Chippewa Classics represent the best of class in components and classic styling for everyday wear.
  • Every lug incorporated in this design has been strategically placed for braking, kick off, traction, stability, slip resistance, oil resisting, and good abrasion
  • These Chippewa Loggers contain 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation.
  • Dri-Lex delivers heightened comfort through a moisture management lining system that is totally breathable and quick drying.
  • The Chip-A-Tex waterproof membrane system is breathable. Water is locked out of the boot by the membrane shield but air passes through from the foot for maximum comfort.
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Benefits of Cold Weather Work Boots

insulated work boots

Even when temperatures fall, you need to be protected by your insulated work boots.  Your feet want to stay warm, dry and healthy.

To get the most of our your boots, consider all of the features you may need:

  • Insulation: There are several types of insulation that can be added to give you the extra layer of protection you need in cold weather.  Thinsulate and Thermalite are two of the most popular insulation materials available and they come in different levels from 200 grams to over 1000 grams. Most boots use one of these options.
  • Waterproof: Cold weather often also means wet weather.  Regardless of the temperature, the last thing you want in a long day is wet and uncomfortable feet.  Waterproofing can happen at both the exterior and interior of the boot.  While most people focus on the exterior, moisture-wicking membranes inside of the boot can be just as important to keep the environment around your feet comfortable.
  • Good Grip: Work boots need to have good grip so that you do not fall when you are focused on your work. The rubber sole has to hold on to the ground whether you step in water, ice, oil, or grease.
  • Comfort:  Assuming your feet are warm and dry, comfort depends on cushioning and insoles so that you can work for long hours without suffering any pain.  A good pair of warm socks is also important to your overall comfort.  Heated socks raise your comfort to the highest level in the coldest temperatures.
  • Nylon shanks: The shank in work boots is there to provide support in the sole. While they can be made from different materials, nylon is lightweight and will not transfer cold from outside into the boot while reinforcing the structure.
  • Safety: Your feet also need protection from the work you are doing.  Steel and composite toes keep you safe from bumps or heavy objects falling although composite are better are at preventing cold temperature transfer into the boots.  Electrical hazard (EH) rating is designed to protect you from electrocution.
  • Price: Prices vary across different makes and models of boots, and it is possible to get both quality and value in your next pair of boots.  Remember, however, that you rely on your boots to protect you for long hours of hard work.  The cheapest boots may not offer the best protection or comfort and paying a little more may go a long way to keep you comfortable and protected.

Dangers of Extreme Cold Weather

There are many dangers of working in cold weather and if measures aren’t taken then it may lead to health issues. A few major problems that can happen include:

  • Frostbite is an injury caused by the onset of freezing of the skin and underlying tissue. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common in the extremities such as fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Frostbitten skin can be painful and have a prickling and irritating sensation. Frost nip is the milder form of frostbite and does not cause permanent damage.
  • Trench foot is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to cold and wet conditions. Blisters, blotchy skin, redness, and dead skin are all symptoms of this problem.  Protective boots and dry socks will help to prevent these issues.
  • Toenail fungus is more common in cold weather because nails become more dry and brittle.  If your socks don’t wick away sweat and moisture, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus can breed more quickly.
  • If you have any kind of circulation issues, there are even more problems that can affect feet as blood circulation decreases.

The right foot wear and proper planning can ensure that none of these issues affect you.

Boot Insulation Guide

insulated work boots

With the help of an insulated pair of work boots, you can protect your feet and stay warm all day regardless of how long you work. Insulation adds warmth to keep you comfortable. This feature works with the waterproof outer layers that repel both cold water and cold temperatures to protect your feet.

Insulation is measured on a scale from 200 to 1000 grams. The required amount of insulation depends on the activity you are doing. Very active people who are on the move may require less insulation since there will naturally be more blood flow.  Sedentary activities that force you to stay in one spot without much movement may need higher insulation to keep the feet warm.

Thinsulate is an advanced insulating material that is well-suited to extremely cold weather and is the most common option included in the boots recommended here.  Here is a description of the different levels of Thinsulate insulation:

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation works well at the start of the cold season. This amount of insulation is light weight and thin, taking very little space.  If your activity level is high then you generate plenty of your own heat and will need less insulation.
  • 400 gram Thinsulate insulation is the next level and will keep you warmer as the temperature drops. This level of insulation is very popular and covers most winter situations.
  • 600 gram Thinsulate is recommended for cold conditions or when the activity level is low. If your work requires sitting or standing in the same place more often, you can count on this level of insulation to keep you warm.
  • 800 gram Thinsulate insulation boots are for very cold conditions. Sitting or standing or very cold weather means less blood flow to naturally warm your feet.
  • 1000 gram Thinsulate insulation is the highest level and is usually worn only in extreme cases. The ultra insulation of these work boots will keep you as warm as possible.

Wrap Up

If you need to work in cold conditions and keep your feet protected no matter what, then you need the right pair of insulated work boots.

With good waterproofing, the right amount of insulation, and features that keep you comfortable, your boots will help you to get through any activity without the distraction of cold, wet feet.

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