1 2
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/15/20 8:44 p.m.

I'm sitting on the couch with my foot elevated and iced shopping for new shoes, then it dawned on me that somebody here has probably already had this idea.

Backstory: There I was yesterday morning, pressing the 350Z's wheel hub out of the old bearing, when I dropped it onto my foot from waist height. I'm not sure if I have broken bones or just the worst bruise ever, but either way it was a poor decision. I was wearing a pair of canvas skate shoes.

I know there's an easy way to prevent this, and I already own it. I've read our Shop Safety Article and my heavy leather boots were sitting 50' away from me when I dropped the hub onto my foot.

Why wasn't I wearing them? Here's why: safety glasses, earplugs, respirators and gloves don't bother me (and I feel naked without them), but I've never enjoyed working in leather boots when I'm getting in/out of cars. They're just bulky, and I often skip putting them on before that trip to the shop.

I'm seeing a bunch of options that look like normal sneakers, but feature reinforced soles and steel toes. Has anybody tried them? Do they provide some extra protection without hindering mobility? Any recommendations?

I spend a lot of time in the garage, so price is less important than comfort, but if the $50 shoes I keep seeing Facebook ads for will get the job done, I don't need to spend extra money.

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/15/20 8:51 p.m.

When I'm not wearing flip flops I'm wearing Red Wings.  Company pays for them and I have a choice of several vendors.  I keep coming back to Red Wings.

superfund New Reader
8/15/20 8:54 p.m.

I have a pair of steel toe Reebok's I got from one of those outlet stores, shoe carnival or something like that. They had a bucket of coupons next to the register so they were a bit over $70 I think. The insoles weren't great and wore out fast but the shoe has held up as well as the old boots they replaced and are a good bit lighter which is always nice. 

Mr_Asa Dork
8/15/20 8:55 p.m.

I'm one of the weirdos that was always comfortable in boots that were issued to me, so I keep going back to Belleville boots (with the Vibram soles.)  Never needed to try out anything else.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/15/20 8:56 p.m.

Doc martens industrial has some comfortable steel toe low tops

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/15/20 8:59 p.m.

I really liked the set of Red Wings I had years and years ago.

I've used Terra Ultra Light for many, many years. Very comfortable, and (as the name implies) light.

Currently using Dakota boots from Marks Work Wearhouse.

At work, if I'm in boots, my feet still don't hurt by the end of the day.  If I'm wearing anything else - they hurt.

RossD MegaDork
8/15/20 9:01 p.m.

I have a pair of Ariats cowboy boots with steel toes and a work boot type sole.

NOT A TA SuperDork
8/15/20 9:42 p.m.

I have steel toe New Balance sneakers because I work part time in an automotive machine shop and it's just too hot in the summer (S FL) for my Snap On boots.. A crank, iron head, cast manifold, or other object would crush my toes so I always wear them there. The New Balance aren't as light as say a pair of vans but with the steel toe and leather uppers (Welding) they do the job. I get them here https://www.joesnewbalanceoutlet.com

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/15/20 9:50 p.m.

Love my Docs, especially the canvas-like ones. 

Recon1342 Dork
8/15/20 10:09 p.m.

They're pricey, but Keen makes some lightweight composite toe safety shoes that are berkleying amazing; the low tops feel like a good hiking boot- not too heavy, breathe well, and comfy. They're also oil/chemical resistant, non-slip, and waterproof. 

L5wolvesf Reader
8/15/20 10:11 p.m.

I get the bulky heavy thing about steel toed shoes. I have 1 pair, decades old, that I rarely wear. BUT, I recently got a pair of Carbon fiber toed shoe. Much lighter and not as bulky. The brand is Brahma and the model is "Brock". They seem to be a good middle point option and they passed my "test" - I kicked an old wooden fence post. OK, I didn't kick it super hard and the fence is very old - but my toes are still good. 

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/15/20 10:16 p.m.

I think this is one of those things that you're just going to have to try as many as you can until it clicks. 

Red Wings are a good start.

mainlandboy Reader
8/15/20 11:05 p.m.

I've been wearing a pair of Skechers steel toe shoes every day, all day at work for over a year, and find them very comfortable. Definitely worth checking out:


I used to wear CAT and Dakota steel toe boots, but the sneaker style shoe is so much lighter and more comfortable.


stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
8/15/20 11:06 p.m.
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) said:

I think this is one of those things that you're just going to have to try as many as you can until it clicks. 

Red Wings are a good start.

I agree.  Red Wings work well for me, but it's a matter of what fits your feet and are comfortable.  Note that besides boots, Red Wing also has a variety of other styles with safety toes in steel, aluminum and non-metallic, that include a lot of slip-on and sneaker style shoes.  You can sort through the styles on their website: https://www.redwingshoes.com/work/

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/15/20 11:09 p.m.

I wear Georgia boot composite toe hiking boots for summer. I like them a lot

JesseWolfe Reader
8/16/20 6:44 a.m.

I've been wearing Caterpillar composite toe boots for a few years now, high top because work requires ankle protection.  A little more affordable then Red Wing and more durable in my opinion.

I have an intense love of KEEN footwear, starting with hiking boots that feel great out of the box, and for a year/ hundreds of miles thereafter.

When my job demanded steel toes (composite, really), and paid the $125 they cost, I went KEEN again. They are a bit heavier than my hiking boots, but take it easy on my old feet. I walk a lot of concrete at work.

white_fly HalfDork
8/16/20 7:58 a.m.

I am wearing a pair of New Balance composite toe boots as I type this. They're very comfortable and apparently they're also available in a low top version. They're also very reasonably priced in my opinion.


SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/16/20 8:05 a.m.

I had a pair of composite toed boots at one point (carbon fiber). They were awesome!  Super lightweight and comfy!

But they are a little rare and hard to find. 

Danny Shields (Forum Supporter)
Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/16/20 8:43 a.m.

I have had good luck with Sears steel-toe work shoes that look like regular athletic shoes. 

I hope you heal quickly. And I am not any kind of medical professional, but I have had my share of injuries. If you don't get a lot better in a day or two, I would suggest a visit to a walk-in clinic for X-rays, in case there is a fracture that needs to be immobilized.

Rons GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/16/20 10:14 a.m.

SkinnyG mentioned the Dakota boots, I was wearing Dakota shoes that have soles like boots. I went through a pair every two years, they were super comfortable as in I wore them walking the dog etc. The beauty of them was wearing long pants no one could see they were shoes so  I never got hassled on construction sites.

bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/16/20 10:58 a.m.

Slip on's with no tread and no laces. I come and go from the house quite a bit or I will run out to the shop for a 30 minute session and I don't want to mess with laces. And a lot of steel toes have a heavy hiker tread which picks up everything and makes a mess everywhere you walk. Unless you are on a muddy job site you just need a few shallow ridges on the sole. 

wake74 New Reader
8/16/20 11:56 a.m.

After a trip to Urgent Care early on in the TR6 restoration, I've gone to wearing steel toe sneakers in the shop.  Half a driveshaft slipped from the vice, and was driven straight onto my toes.  Thankfully nothing broken, but very very sore.   When I'm at one of our project locations at work, I wear Timberland titanium hiking style shoes.  Have for years, they just fit my foot shape well. If you are going to spend a day in them, ANSI rated titanium or composite will make a huge difference.  Pick up a conventional steel shoe and a similar composite or titanium one at the store, and you'll see what I mean.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/16/20 2:55 p.m.

I'll be following this with interest.  I have never had a pair of steel toe, composite toe, or any safety toe that I could wear without crippling, bloody blisters at the end of the day.  The way my feet are shaped, they always smash into the back of the safety insert.  I had the opportunity to get really expensive safety shoes for free because I did some work for a Redwing store.  They measured everything about my feet with a 3D scanner and made custom composite toe shoes just for me.

I now have a $600 pair of boots in my closet that I wore once and had to wear slippers for a week while my big toes healed.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/16/20 3:04 p.m.

I had a lovely visit with the urgent care this morning, and confirmed my fear: One broken toe and one toe that's either very slightly broken or just didn't show up that well on the X-ray. Fortunately that's the extent of the damage, so I should be back to normal before too long. 

1 2
Our Preferred Partners