Top 8 Best Leather Work Boots [2020] [Waterproof] [Rugged]

You work hard and so should your shoes.

This marketing slogan-like phrase might exist just to sell you on stuff, but there is a kernel of truth hidden inside.

Specifically, if you’re going to be doing hard work, you need the right equipment to stand up to the pressure.

An old pair of sneakers will be absolutely destroyed working on a construction project or felling trees in the woods.

Use a hammer to hammer nails, a screwdriver to drive screws, and leather work boots to work – it’s just that simple.

But what are you going to do if you’ve never owned a good pair of boots before and can’t really figure out what to look for when shopping?

Well, a lot of things could be an option, but you’ve thankfully found your way here.

Our Picks for the Best Leather Work Boots

For that reason, we’ll count down the top eight best leather work boots perfect for various kinds of physically taxing projects, able to stand up to the abuse your feet will undergo during these types of activities.

With so many contenders for the top spot, we shouldn’t waste another second on the buildup. Let’s get things started with our first great pick.

1. KEEN Men’s Detroit XT Mid Steel Toe Work Boots

Steel toes are always a sign of a good work boot, so KEEN’s Detroit XT already has that going for it.

Even putting aside the utility of such a feature, these are an impressive pair of boots overall, too.

KEEN Men’s Detroit XT Mid Steel Toe Work Boots
KEEN Men’s Detroit XT Mid Steel Toe Work Boots

Detroit XT boots are an incredibly versatile shoe, having no less than sixteen sizing options ranging from size 7 all the way up to 17.

There are also the options for regular and wide width, meaning you won’t need to cram your feet into a shoe that’s not roomy enough just for the sake of protecting your feet while on the job.

Speaking of protection, these boots have it in spades.

Aside from the previously mentioned steel-reinforced toe, each Detroit XT boot is waterproof and slip-resistant to keep you safe and comfortable no matter how treacherous the environment might be.

They’re also quite breathable, letting moisture out to cut down on foot odor and the possibility of fungus.

And, just for an added bonus, you’ve even got your choice of three bold colors on top of everything else.

2. Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift Steel Toe Boots

While you wouldn’t normally expect to buy quality shoes from the same people you get your excavator from, Caterpillar is an exception.

Their line of Men’s 2nd Shift steel toe boots is classy, tough, and just as dependable as any machine you might also buy from the company.

Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift Steel Toe Boots
Caterpillar Men’s 2nd Shift Steel Toe Boots

Crafted from rich full grain leather, the 2nd Shift boots are a pleasure to wear as well as look at.

A touch on the more sophisticated side compared to other work boots in terms of appearance, you’d be forgiven in thinking of them more like a nice pair of dress shoes if you just saw them on someone’s feet if not for the large branding label across the ankle area.

Various features like the sturdy steel toe, electrical protection rated up to 600 volts, and textured, slip-resistant soles for a better grip help to make these boots quite safe.

With four colors, seventeen sizing options, and a choice between regular and wide width, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to a comfortable, handsome fit while you protect your feet from havoc.

3. Modoc Waterproof Insulated Work Boots

Modoc’s brand of work boots are all about protection, packing in as many special features as possible to keep you sitting (or standing) pretty no matter the situation. Solidly constructed for total foot and ankle coverage, these boots are definitely worth a look if you want something extra rugged and versatile.

Modoc Waterproof Insulated Work Boots

Equipped with a steel toe and made from tough leather, these boots are able to stand up to all sorts of abuse and keep on going just like you.

Even better, they’re outfitted with a Chip-A-Tex waterproof membrane to allow for breathability without allowing moisture to seep through the material.

This has the added benefit of providing a good amount of insulation, working in tandem with the Thinsulate Ultra impregnated into the material to keep your feet warm in the coldest of winters.

In fifteen size options with both regular and wide widths, you’ll be as comfortable as you are protected wearing these boots.

This, plus the textured sole for maximum gripping power as you walk, means you’ll be able to safely traverse all but the most dangerous areas while you’re out on a job.

You’ll even be able to give the post office a run for their money when it comes to working through bad weather and disasters.

4. Timberland PRO Pit Boss Soft Toe Work Boots

The Timberland PRO line of products typically results in something pretty special, the Pit Boss work boots being no exception to this.

While they might feature a soft toe as opposed to the steel of many other quality work boots, their other assets more than makeup for this absence.

Timberland PRO Pit Boss Soft Toe Work Boots

For starters, these boots feature thick, rubberized soles with texturing, making them resistant to slippage whether it be on uneven pavement, slick liquids, or anything else you might step on.

This also serves to insulate them against shocks in dry environments, meeting several industry standards for safety in working with electrical hazards.

The fabric lining of all fourteen sizing options for these shoes (with both medium and wide widths) and both color options are treated to be antimicrobial, cutting down on foot odor and fungus development.

This also helps their overall cleanliness, not hurt in the slightest by their breathability also helping moisture to evaporate.

There’s also the matter of the nylon shock-diffusion plate running along the length of the boots, dispersing force and making for a more even and less perilous walking experience over the dangerous and damaged ground.

5. Wolverine Nation Durashocks Carbonmax Work Boots

Whether your main association is the animal of the superhero, the Wolverine brand name inspires confidence in anyone looking for a rugged and long-lasting work boot.

Their Nation Durashocks Carbonmax boots live up to that ideal, providing you with plenty of support and the protection you need to get the job done every time.

Wolverine Nation Durashocks Carbonmax Work Boots
Wolverine Nation Durashocks Carbonmax Work Boots

While the prospect of laces that make boots easy to remove probably doesn’t sound that important on the surface, it speaks to the level of “user-friendliness” Wolverine has in their products, making it easy to take off your boots after a hard day’s work.

Both their patented H-Plate supports, and the moisture-wicking property of the boot’s materials coincide with this as well, making for a more comfortable and balanced step while reducing foot fungus and bacteria risks by eliminating sweat.

In terms of the actual materials used, though, these boots are no slouch. In place of a traditional steel toe, the tip of these boots is CarbonMAX, a durable carbon-based material that’s both stronger and lighter than most metals.

The full-grain leather is augmented with a layer of waterproofing to help keep liquids out, combining with the textured rubber soles for slip-resistant grip on any surface.

Available in thirteen sizes plus medium and extra-wide widths, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a pair that fits you.

6. Danner Super Rain Forest Insulated Work Boots

If something’s advertising itself as a great compliment for trudging through the hot, humid rain forest, it’s probably worth at least a bit of consideration.

Even better than that, though, is the Danner Super Rain Forest insulated work boot, which represents both that quality and much more thanks to its great design.

Danner Super Rain Forest Insulated Work Boots

For one thing, these boots cut a pretty intimidating figure with their polished full grain leather exterior and complete foot and ankle coverage, definitely landing it on the shortlist for anyone who’s as much into fashion as they are usability.

Features like the Gore-Tex liner make the boots entirely waterproof from the outside, the Thinsulate liner to better trap warmth without hampering breathability, and the triple-stitch reinforcement on the seem all working to make this one of the most durable pairs of boots you’ll ever wear.

Give the expectation that these boots could stand up to a trek in the rain forest; their exteriors are tested to resist many naturally-occurring caustic materials like lime.

The soles are also particularly sturdy, made from rugged Vibram 132 rubber for a better grip while also protecting you from electric shocks. All of this plus the fourteen sizing options in both medium and wide makes for one badass boot at the end of the day.

7. Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Composite Toe Work Boots

Carhartt supplies a quality leather work boot, the heartiness of their products evident in each stitch on the Rugged Flex Composite Toe model more than almost any other.

Fit for even the toughest jobs, you won’t find yourself in need of a replacement for quite some time thanks to the professional craftsmanship used to create these shoes.

Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Composite Toe Work Boots
Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Composite Toe Work Boots

Each of Carhartt’s boots is made from leather-tanned oil, giving them a rich and supple appearance and feeling without compromising their durable exterior, also helping to increase that natural water-resistance inherent in the material.

The boots are also equipped with FastDry lining to help liquids that do manage to get inside the boot evaporate, cutting down on your risk of developing some kind of fungus and improving comfort.

Both the toe and heel of these boots is made from a special composite material.

Similar to a steel toe, it helps to protect your feet from heavy objects and impacts while you work in hazardous environments.

This is also true of the thick rubber treads on the boot which have the added bonus of insulating the boots against shocks.

There’s also the twelve different sizing options in both medium and wide widths, ensuring you won’t struggle to find what you need when you go to buy.

8. Red Wing Shoes Iron Ranger Work Boots

Red Wing Shoes is well known for just how classy their boots are, made all the more desirable because they don’t sacrifice in quality just to make things look good.

Their Iron Ranger boots blend both looks and functionality in this way, made from high-quality materials that give the wearer a sophisticated look whether they’re hauling rocks or going out for a night on the town.

Red Wing Shoes Iron Ranger Work Boots

Crafted from five different shades of Amber Harness leather, these boots are exquisite to look at but feel even better to wear.

Supple yet sturdy, these boots will hold together under just about any tough condition while adapting to the damage they take, eventually coming out to be even more gorgeous than when you first got them if properly cared for.

There’s also the matter of the patterned rubber sole, helping you to grip on uneven surfaces.

The natural water-resistance of leather also makes for a fairly watertight barrier against liquids splashing your feet. With thirteen sizing options and the ability to choose between medium and extra wide widths, this is the boot for you if you’ve been looking for something to take care of business while looking good at the same time.

In Conclusion

Whether you’re working with heavy equipment, going for a hike, or just trying to prevent yourself from violently kicking a concrete floor to stop yourself from tripping, a good pair of leather work boots will serve you well in protecting your feet from all sorts of tragedy.

If you’re in the market for a new pair, consider any of the eight candidates we’ve previewed on this list to help make the buying process easier.

With their wide range of styles, sizes, and features, there’s sure to be at least one that’s a match for you.