The best type of protective work shoe depends on the job, but highly rated men's work shoes include the Timberland Pro Men's Pitboss 6 Inch Steel Toe Boot, the Caterpillar Men's Second Shift ST Work Boot and the Keen Utility Men's Atlanta Cool Steel Toe Work Shoe. Features to look for include toe protection, slip resistance, insulation and water proofing. Boots are usually best as protective work shoes.
Highly rated women's work shoes include the Caterpillar Women's Lander Boot, the Timberland Pro Women's Titan Waterproof Boot and the Dr. Martens Women's Luana 7-Tie Boot. Steel-toe boots provide the heaviest toe protection. Aluminum toes are lighter weight but thicker. Composite toe protection is the thickest and is commonly used in metal-free work environments. A rubber outsole on the bottom of a boot helps provide resistance to slipping, oil and abrasions. Outsoles can also be made from thermoplastic polyurethane, which is lighter than rubber and provides similar features. In work environments in which additional protection is needed, a metatarsal guard can protect both the upper foot and the toes. Any type of work shoe should fit properly, meaning the heel should be held in place and the toes must be able to move freely. A fastening should be across the instep to keep the foot secured.