Shown here are Wolverine I-90 DuraShock CarbonMax 6″ Wedge workboots. I’m currently working on testing an Elite soft-toe version of these boots, and that got me wondering about which brands and styles you guys prefer. (Both pairs were provided by Wolverine.)
Coincidentally, I have also been losing favor for my current (previous?) favorite brand of everyday shoes and boots. My shoes hurt my feet by the end of the day, my boots have started feeling narrow and tight, and for the slip-on shoes I use for quick errands and light workshop activities, the sizing can be completely different depending on the color. For the slip-ons, the soles wear pretty fast, and so I have been buying new pairs every couple of months, and the sizing has been very inconsistent.
I’m on more of a winter shoe and everyday footwear research mission this week, but I’m also interested in finding the *perfect* work boot to last me the next couple of years. I have yet to find work boots that I LOVE, although there are a couple of styles on my wishlist to try (such as Red Wing #604 off the top of my head).
What I want to know is about YOUR preferences. What’s the best work boot for YOU?
Soft toe vs. safety toe (and what kind)?
Shoes vs. boots?
What features do you like? What bugs you the most?
The frustrating part, in my opinion, is in determining whether new boots need to be broken in, or if a design just won’t work for me.
Another difficult part is determining when it’s time to replace boots.
The leather hiking-style boots that I’m looking to replace are nearly 4-1/2 years old, and when I put them on these days they feel narrow and tight. They were quite comfortable the first couple of seasons. The rubber toe cap is falling off the right boot, but that’s just cosmetic – I think – as the boot still seems to be fully waterproof. Maybe I can re-stretch them out a bit with more wear, but I have uneven wear in the soles and am inclined to relegate them as an “everything else is wet” backup.
I bought the shoe version of those boots, and they were too tight, so I went with a wider size. It seemed fine, and I still wear them, but if I’m on my feet in these shoes for an entire day, I feel sore and punished for it after. Those shoes are 2-1/2 years old now. I wore them to the Milwaukee media event last June, and I couldn’t walk the day after my flight home – the bones in the ball of my foot were inflamed. This has never happened to me before with any shoes or boots.
Still, while maybe my fit has changed over time, those boots and shoes fit well initially and were fairly painless to break in. So why do leather work boots hurt so much for so long?
I tried my new waterproof hiking shoes that came in today, and they seem to fit well. There’s a work boot based on the design, and I’m pretty optimistic that those would feel just as comfortable.
So why struggle through getting other work boots to break in comfortably?
Maybe you started with a particular brand of work boots and stuck with them over time. But I’m guessing that at least some of you got fed up with your work boots, tried a different brand or style, and have had positive experiences since then. Please tell us all about it! That’s the type of insights I’m looking for here.
Are there any leather work boots that break in and feel like they’re everyday boots? I had a great pair of Timberland 6″ boots in college, and then a field boot, and several other shorter-height leather boots that I wore until they completely broke down. I can’t seem to find work boots like that. Maybe my expectations are too high.
Sometimes you have to try a bunch of different things, and I hope I’m right in guessing that many of you have gone through this.
So, which are the best work boots for you? Are they your favorites compared to other boots you’ve worn in the past?