Looking for the best work shoes for men? We may have what you are looking for. Work shoe is often most ignored when it comes to attire for men. However, this is one of the most important parts of your daily life.
Think about this…
You don’t buy new shoes every month as you would do for a shirt or pants. Shoes are often the least bought items for men. If you need still toe shoe then check out this best steel toe boots for men guide.
Wearing proper footwear at your workplace is extremely important, especially if you frequently have to deal with various hazards. Regular shoes won’t suffice – you need something special.
We’ve picked 10 shoe models for our roundup. Not all of them are super-protected – some models are more suitable for light, non-industrial environments. If you are looking for a well-protected shoe though, you should find something interesting as well! If you have standing all day job, you can also check this guide: Best Shoes for Standing All Day Men
Table of Content - 10 Best Work Shoes for Men
Table of Contents
- 1 Table of Content - 10 Best Work Shoes for Men
- 1.1 New Balance Mx608v4
- 1.2 Skechers Afterburn Memory-Foam Sneaker
- 1.3 Skechers Felton Work Shoe
- 1.4 New Balance MW411V2 Walking Shoe
- 1.5 KEEN Utility Flint Low Steel Toe Work Shoe
- 1.6 Timberland PRO Powertrain Shoe
- 1.7 Skechers Synergy Ekron Work Shoe
- 1.8 Timberland Men’s Richmont PT Oxford
- 1.9 Skechers Sport Flex Advantage 2.0 Sneaker
- 1.10 Dunham Cloud Low Oxford
- 2 Things to look for in the best work shoes for men
- 3 Conclusion
Up first on our reviews of the best work shoes for men is Mx608v4 by New Balance. These shoes aren’t the most protective and rugged shoes on our list, but they should be good for light-duty use in non-industrial environments.
The main focus of these shoes is a comfort. Mx608v4 shoes feature a thick and soft EVA footbed, which is soft enough not to hurt your feet but solid enough to provide sufficient support.
The textile upper in the New Balance shoes features perforations for increased breathability. These shoes aren’t the best on this list in terms of breathability, but they are better than the more protected options that we are yet to overview.
These shoes overall are great for light-duty use, and they are comfortable enough to allow you to stay comfortable throughout the day. The one thing you may want to pay attention to though is the heel drop in this shoe – it’s 10mm, which some people may dislike.
- Breathable textile lining
- Soft and comfortable EVA footbed
- Shock absorbing midsole
- Extremely flexible
- Some buyers claim that it lacks cushioning
- You may dislike the heel height
- Not suitable for hazardous environments
The Afterburn sneaker by Skechers is a nice middle-ground model that should work well in not too harsh environments. It’s more rugged than the New Balance’s Mx608v4, but it still isn’t protected enough for heavy industrial work.
These sneakers have a thick midsole and outsole that provide stability, cushioning, and shock absorption under the foot. The Articu-Lyte rubber sole is fairly flexible and delivers good traction, so it should have more than enough support on dry surfaces.
The insole in the Afterburn sneaker features a memory foam design, which is a typical feature in Skechers shoes. This memory foam is going to adapt to your foot’s shape to deliver a personalized wearing experience.
The upper in these shoes is a made from a synthetic material with mesh perforations throughout, which should be able to keep your feet cool and dry on long and hot workdays. Afterburn sneakers also appear to have a good amount of padding in them, so you should feel comfortable in them after long wear.
In the end, if you need a little bit more durable shoe without special protection features, Skechers Afterburn sneakers may be ideal for you.
- Nice middle-ground working shoe
- Mesh ventilation for breathability
- Very decent durability
- Comfortable memory foam insole
- Will wear out quickly from heavy work
Skechers’ work division introduces another advancement in work footwear. Skechers Felton shoes are excellent for industrial settings! They may seem like regular sneakers from outside, but they differ drastically from the Afterburn shoe we’ve just overviewed!
That’s because this pair is made of durable synthetic leather and features a slip-resistant design to keep you stable on a variety of surfaces. Aside from that, these shoes feature electric hazard protection, which will be a welcome feature in some working environments.
This isn’t everything these shoes have to offer for your protection though. They also feature a protective toe bumper, as well as a waterproof build which is going to keep your feet comfy and dry.
These shoes also seem to deliver quite a decent level of comfort. Their most notable feature in this regard is the memory foam insole. This insole is going to take the shape of your foot, ensuring a highly personalized fit, just like it was in Skechers Afterburn.
The Skechers Felton shoes are also shock-absorbent, so you shouldn’t feel pain in your feet even after hours of work.
With that being said, keep in mind that in hot environments, your feet may get sweaty since the waterproof build of this shoe isn’t too breathable.
But all in all, these are excellent workers’ shoes that have many features making them safe and comfy to wear at the job site.
- Slip-resistant and waterproof
- Cushioned removable insole with memory foam
- Protective synthetic toe bumper
- Safety rated for electrical hazards
- Shock absorbing midsole
- Tend to wear out quickly if used daily
- Sometimes make feet sweaty because of the waterproof exterior
Yet another shoe for lighter use on our list of the best work shoes for men! The MW411v2 men’s shoes by New Balance don’t have all the protective features of Skechers Felton shoes, which makes them more suitable for use in hospitals, stores, and other non-construction environments.
The lack of protection doesn’t make these shoes bad for work – on the contrary, these shoes are lighter and more flexible than the Skechers, meaning that they won’t be that fatiguing on you.
This leather shoe features a rubber outsole that is lightweight, flexible, and provides a good grip. Apart from that, the cushioned insole and the IMEVA midsole protect your feet from impacts.
One thing the Skechers Felton shoe lacked is breathability and ventilation. With a perforated upper, New Balance shoes aren’t going to protect your feet from water, but they are going to keep your feet cool on long and hots days.
In the end, while lacking the protection and durability of the Skechers shoes, MW411V2 features better comfort for lighter uses. And given that these shoes are good for lighter use, they should live longer than a shoe used in heavy work would.
- Flexible and lightweight
- Made of shock-absorbing material
- Dual-density padded collar
- Suitable for wide feet
- Not suitable for heavy work.
These shoes by KEEN Utility are similar to the Skechers Felton shoe in their level of protection, but there are some notable differences that set them apart.
Perhaps the biggest differences between these and the Skechers is that they do not have protection from electric hazards. If you deal with electricity often at the job site, the Skechers are going to be better.
In a few areas though, these shoes are noticeably better.
Take breathability, for example. These shoes don’t seem as breathable as lighter-duty shoes, but they are praised for their decent breathability by a good number of people. These shoes aren’t as water-resistant as the Skechers, but they appear to be a better pick for those who are concerned with comfort.
The steel toes in these shoes are also remarkable. In terms of protection from heavy objects, these are going to perform better than the synthetic toes of Skechers Felton shoes.
The dual-density EVA footbed also adds to the protection of these shoes from below. It’s durable, shock-absorbing, and removable, allowing you to put your orthotics. On the bottom of the shoe, we have a non-marking oil- and slip-resistant rubber outsole that should keep you solid on a variety of surfaces.
In the end, lacking the electricity protection of the Skechers shoes, KEEN Utility Men’s Work Shoes are still great for heavy-duty use in construction work.
- Oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole
- Protective steel toes
- Dependable and durable
- Removable soft footbed
- Rather well-ventilated
- Meets ASTM standards
- Tend to wear out quickly if used daily
- Narrow fit
The Pro Men’s Powertrain Sport industrial and construction shoe is another nice option for heavy-duty use. Sharing many features with the Skechers and KEEN shoes, Timberland shoes still have their own things to offer.
These shoes have sturdy construction with alloy safety toes for lightweight protection. The alloy toes may not be as strong as the steel toes of the KEEN shoes, but they should be sufficient for most people.
Not only that, but these shoes have electrical hazard protection, so they are suitable for use by electricians or those often having to deal with electricity.
However, the Pro Powertrain shoes don’t have any resistance to water, while the KEEN shoes had a partially waterproof upper and the Skechers shoes were fully waterproof.
In terms of comfort though, this shoe appears to be quite good. The Timberland shoes are quite breathable, first of all, which should make wearing them for long periods more comfortable.
Aside from this, these shoes feature what Timberland calls “anti-fatigue technology.” The centerpiece of this technology is the proprietary cushioned outsole that has oil and slip resistance.
The insoles, on the other hand, seem not to be the best. They are flimsy and not very supportive in the arch, so you may want to buy better insoles to uncover the full potential of these shoes.
- Electrical hazard protection
- Oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole
- Durable alloy asymmetrical-shaped safety toes
- ASTM certification
- Tend to wear out quickly if used regularly
- Not waterproof
- The insoles of the shoes could have been a bit better
The Synergy Ekron shoes essentially are a lighter variant of the Skechers shoes we overviewed earlier. This model has many of the key features of those shoes, but these are overall less protected.
Namely, these shoes have little to no water protection, so they aren’t suitable for jobs when you come in contact with water frequently. However, they have other benefits to make up for it.
These shoes have a breathable synthetic upper which, albeit not waterproof, is much more breathable than the Skechers Felton shoe. Aside from that, these shoes have a lighter build, so they should be less fatiguing to wear all day long.
The toe box in the Synergy Ekron shoes is also stronger – it’s made from alloy, which is going to be much more protective than the synthetic toe bumper that the Skechers Felton had. This toe box is going to be much more protective against falling or rolling objects.
These shoes also have a resistant nitrile rubber outsole that will help to keep you steady. Aside from that, they feature a memory foam insole similar to the insole of the Felton – this insole is again going to provide a perfect fit for you.
Perhaps the most important feature of the Synergy Ekron shoes is that they also have electrical hazard protection, so they are going to be suitable for workplaces with electrical hazards.
All in all, the Synergy Ekron may not be as protective as the Felton shoes, but it’s a better option if your job allows you to wear moderately comfy shoes.
- Light and breathable
- Alloy toe protection
- Electrical hazard protection
- Rugged and durable
- Memory foam design
- Removable cushioned textile footbed
- Not the best all-around protection
Richmont PT Oxford shoes by Timberland are a good option if you don’t need all those fancy protection features of heavy-duty construction shoes and just want a comfy and durable shoe for your work.
These shoes also have a strict design, which may also attract you in this model, though the appearance obviously will have no effect on the shoes’ performance.
Richmont PT Oxford shoes feature Ortholite insoles that are designed to be breathable, shock-absorbent, and not to retain moisture in them. The outsole in these shoes is also thick and cushioned, which should allow you to avoid joint pain from walking or standing for a long time.
The upper of the Richmont PT Oxford shoes is treated with a water-resistant coating which provides a decent level of water protection from splashes. These shoes won’t protect your feet from submersion, but they will keep you dry in the case of accidental splashes.
On a side note, these shoes are also made from recycled and organic materials, which you may also care about.
In the end, not having electric hazard protection and steel toe boxes, these shoes may be the best work shoes for you in less harsh conditions. And the strict and sleek design of these shows allows you to wear them in more formal environments.
You may need to get some supportive insoles for these shoes though since they seem not to be very supportive in the arch area.
- Formal and strict design
- Water-repellant coating
- Breathable and shock-absorbent footbed
- Durable leather build
- Thick and cushioned outsole
- Some customers say that the shoe is a bit longer than the suggested size
- Little arch support
Skechers Flex Advantage 2.0 sneakers aren’t classical worker shoes, but they are much more suitable for lighter jobs than those bulky and often uncomfortable worker models.
The outsole of these sneakers is made of rubber that is flexible and decently supportive. The amount of grip in these shoes may not be as high as in more rugged models, but the deep treads should make it pretty slip-resistant.
Aside from that, to protect your feet from impact, Skechers shoes employ a FlexSole shock-absorbing midsole. In addition, the midsole retains a thin profile, allowing the shoes to be lighter and less fatiguing during long weekdays.
The insole in the Flex Advantage shoes features air-cooled memory foam to keep your feet cool and comfy, conforming to the shape of your feet. Add to that that the upper is made from breathable trubuck leather and mesh, and you are getting a shoe that should be comfortable on warm days.
With that being said, keep in mind that these shoes aren’t the best in terms of arch protection, so you may want to get your insoles to make these shoes more supportive for you.
Overall, the Flex Advantage shoes certainly aren’t the best in terms of protection, but what they can boast are breathability and lightweight. If your working setting allows you to opt for more comfortable shoes, then Flex Advantage shoes may be great for you.
- Decent for light-duty use
- Flexible and lightweight
- Little arch support
- Not suitable for wide feet
- Not for harsh environments and heavy-duty use
Last but not least, we have the Dunham Men’s Cloud Low Oxford shoes. These shoes are going to be great for those who need water protection but don’t really require protection from electricity and other hazards.
Aside from that, these shoes have extended width options, which may also be excellent for you!
The Dunham shoes have got a waterproof construction, which is going to be excellent if you want to keep your feet warm and dry. In terms of water protection, these shoes should be comparable with the Skechers Felton shoes.
The Cloud Low Oxford shoes also have a removable dual-density EVA and memory foam footbed. Adapting to your foot shape, this footbed should deliver ideal comfort for long wearing. Not only that, but you can remove the footbed to instead place your orthotics if you have the need for it.
These shoes are also made slip-resistant in wet/dry conditions, which again makes this model great for humid environments.
With that being said, the waterproof build of these shoes lets little to no air in, so your feet may get sweaty during long and hot workdays.
- Seam-sealed waterproof construction
- Removable memory foam footbed
- ASTM-rated slip resistance in wet or dry conditions
- Available in extended widths
- Sometimes makes feet sweaty because of its waterproof exterior
Things to look for in the best work shoes for men
Now that we know what each of the overviewed shoes has to offer, let’s try to understand how exactly to pick that best work shoes for men. Below, we’ll focus on features that would specifically increase working performance and protection.
- Light-duty vs heavy-duty shoes
- ASTM standards
- Water protection
- Slip resistance
Light-duty vs heavy-duty shoes
As you could have noticed, we’ve reviewed very different shoes. Some shoes had excellent protection with the tradeoff of decreased comfort, while others were more comfortable than protective.
With that being said, the first thing you need to do is understand what kind of work shoes would be the best for you.
In an office or hospital setting where you do not deal with electricity, slippery surfaces, or water, you can afford to sacrifice some protection for comfort. You may go for any shoe that seems lightweight, flexible, or/and breathable for you while ensuring that your feet stay comfortable and pain-free during the day.
On the other hand, heavy-duty work shoes sacrifice comfort for protection from the hazards that may be waiting for you at the job site.
If you are engaged in construction or industrial activities, then you will have to get a pair of shoes that provides you with protection from the hazards present at your workplace. As mentioned above, you may need to go for less comfort than you’d want to get a sufficient protection level in your shoes.
Consider the hazards that you may encounter at your workplace, such as:
- Poisonous or corrosive materials.
- Electrical hazards.
- Heavy objects that could fall or roll onto your feet.
- Sharp objects that could puncture the shoes.
- Slippery or hot surfaces.
- Molten metal that could splash onto the shoes.
Do not wear light-duty sneakers in harsh environments. Likewise, a protected shoe would be overkill in an office setting where you don’t deal with rough or slippery surfaces or electricity. Understand what the demands of your workplace are and look for a pair that can satisfy them.
If you are dealing with any hazards at your workplace, then the best shoe would be the one that complies with the ASTM international standards. There are also other footwear standards like the US OSHA standards, but ASTM standards appear to be used more frequently.
An ASTM-rated shoe will have a rating designation attached to it. For example, let’s consider the following rating:
A shoe with such a designation:
- Meets the ASTM F2413-17 standard which defines requirements for safety toe cap footwear.
- Is a male shoe (M).
- Has an impact rating of 75 foot-pounds (I/75). This is the capability of the shoe’s toe area to protect the foot against heavy falling objects.
- Has a compression rating of 75 (C/75). The compression rating denotes a shoe’s capacity to protect the wearer’s toe from heavy rolling objects.
- Has metatarsal (mid-foot) drop-hazard protection from 75 feet-pounds of force (Mt/75).
Aside from these, among the designations that an ASTM-rated shoe may have are:
- CD – conductive properties. Shoes with this marking are designed to discharge or facilitate static electricity from your body through the shoes into grounded floors.
- EH – electrical hazard rating. These shoes prevent the wearer from completing a circuit with the ground. EH-rated shoes can protect the wearer from electrocution when stepping on live circuits or other parts. However, in wet conditions, EH protection is severely impaired.
- DI – dielectric rating. Only a few shoes appear to have this rating. Work shoes rated DI may be worn on wet surfaces – made of rubber, they do not leak water and thus are much better protected from electricity in wet environments.
- SD 10/35/100 – static dissipation rating. SD-rated shoes are built to reduce static electricity by conducting the charge into the ground. The number in the rating denotes the electrical resistance provided by the shoe, measured in megaohms.
- PR – puncture resistance rating. PR-rated footwear has increased protection in the outsole to prevent sharp objects like metal, glass, or nails from piercing it.
These are the key ratings that you may want to be looking for in a heavy-duty working shoe. For each shoe that you are researching, look through their ratings. If they do not have the protection required at your workplace, avoid them.
If the shoe is rated by the OHSA, then make sure to consult their standards. Keep in mind that the OHSA may base their standards on ASTM or ANSI (American National Standard for Personal Protection) standards, which they will mention.
In non-industrial settings, you do not need ASTM-rated protection. Aside from that, if you aren’t dealing with any of the aforementioned hazards at the job site, you probably don’t need extra protection.
Water protection perhaps is a thing that you want to have in your work shoes. This might not be applicable to everyone though. Water protection will only come into play heavily in your life if you are living in an area with heavy rainfall, bad drainage or you simply walk a lot on your work shoe when it comes to a daily commute.
If you are someone who wears a shoe, hops on to a car and then lands on the workplace, water protection is probably not going to be the main focus for your buying decision. That is, unless, you are looking for a multi-purpose shoe that will not only cover you during work but also at after work parties. Think about it for a second.
Now, it should be noted that manufacturers refer to the water protection levels of their shoes with the terms “water-resistant” or “waterproof.”
Water-resistance means that a shoe can resist water to a certain degree. Accidental splashes may not be an issue for water-resistant shoes, but if submerged, such shoes will not be able to protect your feet from the water.
Waterproof shoes technically are impermeable to water no matter how much time they spend submerged. Such shoes are going to be perfect if you are frequently dealing with large amounts of water in your workplace.
ASTM has its own standards for water protection, but not all water-protected shoes comply with them specifically. However, a non-ASTM shoe may still have excellent water protection.
Lastly, pay attention to the slip resistance of your shoes. The last thing you want is to slip on a muddy or rainy day with your shoes. Generally, when you are wearing a work shoe, it is safe to assume that you are also wearing work clothes. Therefore, you would end up ruining all your clothes that are important and probably expensive too.
Nobody wants that.
Therefore, picking up a shoe that is slip resistance is absolutely important.
Generally, any shoe is going to have some degree of slip resistance. However, some shoes are rated to be slip-resistant on wet or oily surfaces. If there are any special slip protection needs that your workplace requires, make sure to get footwear than can satisfy them.
Again, ASTM has specific standards on slip resistance in various environments, so consult them if you need your shoes to be slip-resistant.
Your employer is responsible for your protection
Keep in mind that the OHSA, which is an agency of the US Department of Labor, requires employers to ensure a safe workplace for workers, which includes wearing protective equipment. It’s their responsibility to direct workers to wear proper footwear at the job site.
If you are an employer looking to ensure the safety of their workers, make sure to get acquainted with all the relevant ASTM and OHSA standards and requirements on their websites to stay within regulations.
Picking the best work shoes for men may be more difficult than you may have thought initially.
In industrial settings, your shoes need to provide protection as required by law and regulations. Thus, make sure to do in-depth research to find a proper pair.
But if you are working in an office, school, hospital, or other non-industrial environments, you may not need special protective footwear.
In the end, make sure to pick the right footwear, and make sure to stay safe at your workplace!