Spending long days on construction sites and concrete can take a toll on your body. Laborers and construction workers often end up suffering from joint problems, back pain, and more due to the intensity of their work, but a pair of high-quality work boots can make a big difference in comfort and protection.

Here are some of the key factors you should consider when choosing the best work boots for walking on concrete all day.

  1. Quality soles
  2. Full-grain leather
  3. Comfortable footbeds or insoles
  4. Safety toe

1. Quality Soles

The sole of your boot is the main barrier between your feet and the concrete you’ll spend your days on. Selecting a work boot that has a thicker sole is like driving a car with good shocks. Nobody wants to feel every bump while they drive, and your body shouldn’t have to absorb the shock of every step because your boots don’t have a well-built sole. Thicker soles also last longer so you won’t have to have your boots re-soled as frequently.

Check whether your boot sole has anti-slip features and good lugs for better traction since you’ll most likely be working rain or shine. Also, consider whether you want a wedge sole or regular heel. Wedge boots are good for spreading out your weight evenly, while heels can give sore feet additional support. Since your heel is the first part of your foot to hit the ground, having a durable, dense heel can help with shock impact and improve foot pain or poor posture. If you really want to get fancy, check out work boots with an anti-fatigue high rebound sole. Once you try these boots, you may just have to treat yourself.

2. Full-grain Leather

Concrete work can really dry out leather. Your boots get covered in dust and dirt, and concrete dust is especially dehydrating to work boots. Leather grade quality can make a big difference to how long your work boots last. Full-grain leather is the most durable and highest quality of leather a work boot can be made from, so be sure you don’t fall for a “genuine leather” marketing ploy that is often used to trick consumers into thinking they’re getting a high-quality product. Full-grain leather is a strong feature of the best work boots for concrete and other hard labor jobs.

Properly caring for your work boots and regular cleaning will help maintain leather suppleness and prevent cracking. Be careful – you can over-oil leather, so it’s best to wash your boots and let them dry overnight instead of oiling every day. Some people even prefer to have two pairs of work boots, to give one pair time to thoroughly dry after cleaning or conditioning the leather.

3. Comfortable Footbeds and Insoles

The footbed of your work boot is a feature that is unique to each individual because it depends on the shape of your foot and size of your arch. Opting for a pair of work boots that have a memory foam footbed that can mold to your foot, while a Poron® insole can help cushion every step. The best insoles for work boots on concrete will typically have heel cups, extra cushioning, and arch support specific for your foot. Good footbeds and insoles aren’t just for foot comfort; they can actually prevent sore feet and conditions like plantar fasciitis.

4. Safety toe

Construction work is filled with hazards, and on a busy job site, you want to be concentrating on the task at hand, not nervously watching out for your extremities. Keeping your toes protected can bring you piece of mind from injury and accidents. Since you’ll be on your feet all day, a lightweight safety toe like a composite toe is one of the best work boots for standing on concrete. Since composite is slightly lighter than steel, you’ll have to put less effort into picking up your feet while you walk. Composite is also a poor conductor of heat, which means you’re less likely to feel extreme weather and have overly hot or frozen toes. Some works boots even feature larger toe boxes that are good for wide feet and for those that don’t want the feeling of cramped toes in their boots. Another composite material found in boots is the boot shank. This is located between the upper and midsole and forms the spine of the boot sole. Some boot shanks can be made of steel, so if you’re opting for a composite toe, make sure your boot shank is also a lightweight composite material.

Asphalt Work Boots

Asphalt paving boots are designed differently than regular work boots for concrete or construction. Since asphalt is composed of small particles that can build up and clog the treads in the bottoms of regular boots, asphalt work boots have flatter soles with minimal to no tread. Asphalt also reaches high temperatures as it’s being installed, and it can wear out regular soles quickly. Although we don’t have asphalt work boots that are heat resistance tested, we have plenty of asphalt workers wearing our wedges every day. If you find your soles wearing down quickly due to the heat, we can recommend re-soling your Thorogood boots with Vibram high heat outsoles, when it comes time to have them resoled. These high-performance soles are designed for ultimate work safety protection, have extreme heat resistance, and are exceptionally durable. If you love your Thorogood boots but want to pair them with the ultimate outsole, talk to your local cobbler or book a virtual cobbler appointment with Vibram about resoling your work boots for asphalt jobs.

Best Work Boots for Standing on Concrete

Here are some of our reported fan favorites and selections for the best work boots for walking on concrete all day.

Still unsure which boots would make the best work boots for concrete and construction work? Check out our article on choosing work boots for the job to see popular options no matter the trade. Feel free to reach out to our customer service team for questions on how Thorogood boots are constructed.