5 Best Welding Boots for Golden Arms and Greenhorns Alike

5 Best Welding Boots for Golden Arms and Greenhorns Alike

You’re looking for tough, sturdy, and stylish work boots to protect your feet while welding. 

Crafted specifically for welders of all skill levels, we recommend these five welding boots to make every day on the job safer and more comfortable.

Best Quality Welding Boot: JK Ironhide

Lasso: Peerless quality and industry-leading comfort make these a smart (if pricey) investment that will last 10+ years on the job.


  •       Handmade construction, customizable design
  •       Available in a wide range of handsome materials and colors
  •       Sturdy, supportive, and very stable


Best Budget Welding Boot: Timberland PRO 40000 Met Guard

Lasso: Wallet-friendly without being “cheap” quality-wise, these boots are a great backup pair of work boots.


  •       Affordable price tag
  •       All-day comfort
  •       Ample protection against on-the-job hazards

Best Pull On Welding Boot: Ariat Catalyst VX

Lasso: Slide in and out of these pull-on, zip-up, Velcro-tightened boots. Comfort and quality guaranteed.


  •       User-friendly, adjustable fit
  •       Durable and very well-built
  •       Molded heel cradle keeps your feet comfortable and securely in place

Best Insulated Welding Boot: Carolina Elm (with Internal MetGuard)

Lasso: Keep out the winter chill and spring rains with these insulated, waterproof, and fully protective boots.


  •       600g Thinsulate insulation and waterproof lining
  •       Breathable for added comfort
  •       Made from ultra-tough horse leather

Best Traction for a Welding Boot: Georgia Boots Michelin Sledge

Lasso: Never worry about slipping or sliding on mud, ice, or oil again, thanks to the Michelin rubber outsoles used on these tough, comfortable welding boots.  


  •       Michelin rubber outsoles offer peerless traction
  •       Shock-absorbing midsole and PU insole for good cushioning and support
  •       Highly durable full-grain leather



Welding comes with a lot of dangers—not just to your eyes (hence the face shield) or your hands (hence the work gloves), but also your feet.

Metal slag can drip off your work surface, sparks fly anytime you’re grinding, and there’s always the risk of heavy metal components falling onto your toes.

A good pair of protective, resilient welder’s boots is an absolute necessity to keep your feet safe on the job. And, if they’re well-built, they’ll offer the comfort, support, and stability you need to reduce fatigue over long work days.  

I’ve done the research and testing to bring you a list of the five best welding boots based on quality, pricing, style, and reliability.

5 Things Every Welding Boot Should Have

1.    Safety Toe

There are two kinds of safety toes: steel toes and composite toes.

Steel toes aren’t “better” (that’s just a myth). They just last about 30% longer than composite toes and are a bit more resilient.

However, composite toes are lighter, more comfortable to wear, and less likely to freeze your toes in the cold. For welders who work both inside and outside, a composite safety toe may be the better choice.  

2. Flame Resistant Soles

This is an OSHA requirement, but also just a great addition to your boots. After all, you’re working around red-hot metal, so a bit of protection on the bottom of your feet is always a good idea.

Vibram’s “Red X” outsoles are best-in-industry, but any flame and slip-resistant sole should work nicely.

(Note: Wedge soles are a comfortable shape offering good arch support, but they’re more a style preference than they are a requirement like they are for iron workers.)

3. Met-Guards

Met-guards, a.k.a. metatarsal guards, provide an extra layer of protection (internal or external) that, combined with your boots’ safety toe, keeps your feet from being crushed or injured if something heavy falls on them.

Think of met-guards as being a step up from “kilties.” Not only do they protect against sparks, but they’ll also add a sturdy framework for added impact resistance.

4. Flame Resistant Laces

If your boots have a met-guard or kiltie, most of your boot laces will be covered. However, it’s still a good idea to use flame-resistant laces, just in case. The last thing you want is for your non-flame-resistant laces to catch on fire from an errant spark or glob of red-hot metal.

My welder son swears by the IRONLACE Unbreakable Round Bootlaces. He’s used them for over two years on the job and loves that they’re fire-resistant (up to 630 F), unbreakable (1500-pound breaking strength), and are resilient against abrasion, wear, corrosion, and even UV radiation.

5. At Least 6” Height

A six-inch shaft is the minimum recommended boot height in order to provide sufficient protection for your feet under the hem of your welding pants or coveralls.

However, I prefer an eight or ten-inch shaft. Not only is the protection better, but the higher shaft offers more ankle stability. Plus, I like the look of a taller boot.

5 Best Boots for Welding

1. Best Quality Welding Boot: JK Ironhide

Let’s be clear: the JK Ironhides are not the go-to choice for anyone looking to keep costs down (skip to my next pick for a budget-friendly option). No, they are a hefty investment, but the smart choice if you want a pair of boots that’ll last you at least a decade of daily welding.

The boots are handmade and give you a ton of customization options, including leather choice, shaft height, hardware material, sole material and shape, wedge, heel height, and a lining (for insulation against the cold. There’s even an option to add on a side sheath to store tools right on your boot.

They are the most comfortable welding boots I’ve worn to date (and I’ve tried on over 20 types) with a stacked heel and ample cushioning in the footbed to stave off foot fatigue. The duo of an ASTM-rated met-guard and ASTM-rated composite safety toe make them incredibly safe to use for any welding task.

What I Like

  • Incredible build quality. They fit like a glove right out of the box.
  • Many customization options, so you can make them exactly the way you want them.
  • Will last 10+ years with regular care and proper maintenance. Can be rebuilt and resoled to last even longer.
  • A truly gorgeous-looking pair of boots, available in a wide range of colors and material choices.

What I Don't Like

  • JK’s manufacturing time on these boots is 26 weeks. That’s a long time to wait, even for a truly great pair of handmade, custom-order boots.

What Other Reviewers Say

JK is beloved for its superior quality and industry-leading comfort. Though their Superduty boots are the best-known model, the Ironsides are the footwear of choice for welders who want well-built, long-lasting, work-safe boots. More than a few tradies have claimed them to be “more comfortable than any other boots I’ve owned.”

The Verdict

The JK Ironsides may be a steep investment, but one I’ll recommend to any welder willing to pay a bit more for a pair of boots built to their specifications and constructed tough enough to last for years of hard use. 

Between their comfort, stylish good looks, and customizable construction, they're hands-down the best quality welding boots around.

2. Best Budget Welding Boot: Timberland PRO 40000 Met Guard 6”

If you want to keep costs low without skimping on quality, the Timberland PRO 40000 Met Guard 6” boots are my recommendation.

Their price tag is very affordable, but they’re still explicitly built for welders, with the durability and necessary safety features that entails. The Ever-Guard synthetic leather can hold up to sparks and red-hot metal, and the combination of steel toe and met-guard give your feet ample protection from both heat and crush injuries.

The integrated steel shank offers good stability, while the cushioned, contoured footbed provides padding to cradle your feet and stave off fatigue. To ensure your feet are always planted on solid ground and protected from hazards, the boots are finished with an EH-rated, slip-resistant, ridged rubber outsole.

What I Like

  •       Grippy rubber outsole is stable and safe for all work environments.
  •       Good protection for your feet thanks to the steel toe and met-guard.
  •       Inexpensive price tag but good build quality.
  •       Comfortable for all-day use.

What I Don't Like

  •       I’m not a fan of the 6” height. I prefer an eight or ten-inch shaft for more protection and better ankle support. However, that’s definitely a “my preference” thing and not a dealbreaker for everyone.
  •       The synthetic leather won’t last as long as genuine leather.

What Other Reviewers Say

Timberlands (a.k.a. “Timbs”) are one of the most popular boot brands today. Wearers particularly rave about their comfort, support, and cushioning, as well as their stylish good looks. 

The PRO 40000 Met Guards may be more a work boot than a fashion choice, but they still earn high marks among welders looking for the right blend of affordability and reliability.

The Verdict

I recommend the Timberland PRO 40000 Met Guard 6” boots to anyone who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on work boots, or who needs a pair of welder’s boots to keep their feet protected while they wait for a higher-quality, custom-order boots (like the JK Ironsides) to arrive. 

They make a great, inexpensive pair of “backup work boots” to serve you well without breaking the bank.

3. Best Pull On Welding Boot: Ariat Catalyst VX

I’ve been an Ariat guy for years now. The brand has impressed me with their style, solid build quality, affordable prices, and the versatility of their offerings. 

When my welder son needed a new pair of boots, I got him the Catalyst VX to try on—and he hasn’t taken them off since.

These boots have everything I look for in a welding boot: eight-inch shaft height, ASTM-rated composite safety toe and exterior met-guard, a grippy outsole (Duratread, Ariat’s signature material), and a molded heel cradle to keep my feet securely in place.

But they’ve also got a few bonus features my son and I both love, including a medial side zipper to make them easy to pull on/off, waterproof construction that shrugs off sleet and rain, and Cobalt VX™ technology that increases the boots’ stability and adds extra support.

Best of all, they’re not that much pricier than the “budget” pick.  

What I Like

  •       Solid construction and welder-specific design that’ll keep your feet protected and comfortable.
  •       Lighter than I’d expect from such a sturdy-looking boot.
  •       Easy to slide in and out of, thanks to the side zipper.
  •       The Velcro adjustment system makes it easy to adapt the fit specifically to my foot shape.
  •       The Mesh X-Static® pure silver lining does a great job of keeping odors at bay and preventing swamp feet.

What I Don't Like

  •       They don’t come with insulation, so they’re not ideal for wearing in the -20 F winters we get here in western Canada.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reading over reviews for the Ariat Catalyst VXs, it’s pretty clear users love them. They score very high praise for their short break-in time, their impressive slip resistance and traction, and ample protection. One reviewer even called them “the best investment in my life,” claiming “I will never regret this.”

However, a few users have noted that the side zipper is a “weak spot” in the boots’ waterproofing, and sometimes allows water to leak in.

The Verdict

Ariat’s Catalyst VX welding boots are a great choice if you want a pair of boots you can easily pull on and off. 

Not only does the side zipper and ample mouth make sliding your foot in and out a breeze, but the front Velcro adjustment system lets you tighten or loosen it to fit your feet and legs like a glove. Add in the reasonable price tag, solid construction, and Ariat’s signature comfort, and they’re a winner in my books.  

4. Best Insulated Welding Boot: Carolina Elm (with Internal MetGuard)

Winters in British Columbia can be brutal (though not as bad as central Canada), with temperatures dropping as low as -30F on the really bad days. And trust me, for those days, you’re going to want all the insulation you can get to keep out the winter’s bite.

The Carolina Elms impressed me with their insulation. The 600-gram Thinsulate is capable of withstanding even the worst B.C. cold, and I’ve used them for working outdoors even if the snow is up to my calves. 

The addition of a waterproof SCUBALINER ensures they keep out the damp as well as the chill.  

Of course, they’ve got all the safety features needed for a welder: an internal met-guard, steel toe, EH-rating, oil- and slip-resistant outsole with deep rubber lugs, and a “Pillow” footbed that offers great cushioning to keep me comfortable on my feet all day long.

What I Like

  •       The 8” height, waterproof construction, and 600g Thinsulate makes them great for snowy and freezing work conditions.
  •       Well-built and comfortable.
  •       Available in up to 4E width.
  •       Very stable and grippy, even on slick, icy, or uneven terrain.
  •       Horse leather upper is naturally more resilient and water-resistant than cowhide.

What I Don't Like

  •       The break-in time was a bit longer than I’d like. Horse leather is stiffer and takes longer to soften/relax than cowhide.

What Other Reviewers Say

Combing over reviews of these Carolina Elms, I’ve found a lot of praise for the welding boots. Users remark on their durability, comfort, reliability on the job, ample protection, waterproofing, and cold-resistant insulation.

A few wearers did have problems with the fit (sizing runs a bit tight), so it’s recommended that you buy a half-size up.  

The Verdict

Whether you need a light duty or heavy-duty pair of welding boots, the Carolina Elms will serve you well. They’ve got the insulation you need to keep your feet warm in the winter and the waterproofing to keep you dry. 

The all-day comfort and stable, supportive construction earns my recommendation for a great insulated winter welder’s boot.  

5. Best Traction for a Welding Boot: Georgia Boots Michelin Sledge

If you’re working in very slippery, icy, or muddy conditions, I recommend the Georgia Boots Michelin Sledges. Their high-quality outsoles are made using Michelin rubber (yes, the same rubber used for car tires) and offer the best traction of any welding boot I’ve tested.

The boots are also great for work—they come with the necessary protective steel toe (I75/C75) and electrical hazard rating, as well as a met-guard—and their integrated shock-absorbent phylon midsole provides excellent cushioning for your feet.

Though they’re a bit on the heavier side, there’s no doubt that they’re built tough and sturdy enough to withstand years on the job working around flames, sparks, and red-hot metal.

What I Like

  •       Very sturdy construction. The full-grain leather feels extra-thick and tough, and holds up well to daily use.
  •       Shock-absorbent midsole offers excellent arch support and fights foot fatigue.
  •       The PU insole provides good cushioning even for big, heavy guys like me.
  •       The boots are incredibly grippy and will give you solid footing on oily, icy, muddy, or slippery ground.

What I Don't Like

  •       The boots are a bit heavy, around 2.2 pounds per boot. That’s a lot of weight to be carrying around on your feet over a 12-hour work shift.  

What Other Reviewers Say

Users praise the Georgia Boots Michelin Sledges for their protection (one user dropped a 170-pound cylinder on his toe and walked away unscathed), minimal break-in time, and comfortable construction. The addition of the internal met-guard is also popular among users, as it gives the boots a sleeker, slimmer profile than the chunky, clunky external met-guard boots.

However, some users noted the laces that came with the boots were prone to breaking. That’s a problem easily solved by buying heavier-duty fire-resistant laces (like the IRONLACE Unbreakable Round Bootlaces I recommended above).  

The Verdict

The Georgia Boots Michelin Sledges are my go-to if I’m working on uneven or slippery terrain, around oil spills, or when the ground is icy. Their Michelin rubber outsoles offer peerless traction and are grippy enough I can step easily without worrying about slipping or skidding. The fact that they’re comfortable and solidly built is the “cherry” on the sundae.

Weld Safely, Securely, and in Style

Welder’s boots are built to offer ample protection against heat, hot metal, and impact/crushing objects, ensuring your feet are safe as you go about your trade.

A well-constructed pair will also provide the cushioning, stability, arch and ankle support, and traction you need to stay comfortable on the go all day.

For the “best of the best,” the JK Ironsides are the pair I’ll recommend every time. Though they’re a steep investment, their customizable construction, glove-like fit, peerless comfort, and stylish good looks make them a pair of welding boots I’ll gladly wear for years to come.

On the other hand, if I want to keep costs low, the Timberland PRO 40000 Met Guard 6” boots are budget-friendly but don’t short-change me on the protection or reliability.

For convenience as well as comfort, the pull-on design of the Ariat Catalyst VXs are my top pick. But when winter rolls around, no welding boots can keep my feet warm and dry quite like the Carolina Elms.

Finally, if I need traction on slippery, icy, muddy, or oily ground, I’ve yet to find a pair of boots that can outperform the Georgia Boots Michelin Sledges for grippiness.



What boots do pipeline welders wear?

Pipeline welders need boots that offer the standard protective features (met-guard, safety toe, EH-rating, etc.), but also insulation against cold, waterproofing to keep out mud and rain, and extra grippiness to offer traction on muddy or uneven terrain.

For pipeline welders, I’d recommend the Georgia Boots Michelin Sledges for year-round performance, or the Carolina Elms for cold-weather use.

Should you wear steel-toe boots while welding?

OSHA regulations require that you wear safety toe boots while welding to keep your feet safe from sparks, hot metal, and falling objects. However, it’s not mandatory to wear steel toes.

Don’t get me wrong: steel toes are sturdy and offer peerless protection, but they’re also heavy. Composite safety toes are better suited to winter weather, and the fact that they weigh less means less foot fatigue.  

Why do welders wear leather?

Leather is naturally resistant to heat, sparks, and hot metal. It will not catch on fire and will resist the build-up of metal shavings and residue that could damage or ruin other clothing.