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work boots?

29 Oct 2017
@ 09:03 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

hi Guys i thought i would ask here
What work boots do you guys use and recommend.

i use to use the basic blundstone boots hi leg that had the reinforced lace holes at the top.
there were great boots you could tie them up tight and nothing would fall down inside.
now they have all gone fancy lining, synthetic this and bamboo lining that doesn't last, they also move it from aus made to philipines and just don't last.

have been using schoen's which are the leather side of the skellerup company, but they don't last to well before they sink inside and stuff.

last pair i tried is bata, bit shorter then i liked as the longer pair has a stupid zip down the side,at some stage if your to lazy to do up some laces you got have a look in the mirror and ask where you went wrong.
they have lasted 3 months and are pretty much a write off.

i would also like to find some without lace locks on them, all they seem to do is chew out laces 5 times as fast.

cheers

Replies

10 Nov 2017
@ 10:08 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: work boots?
Really sorry I missed this earlier Thoma. this issue is plaguing me also.

The Blundstones are really comfortable but as you say, the silly locked eyelets will not allow them to loosen easily and this simply causes wear at the back of the boot until the liner is ripped out, ruining the boot. I also do not know why they insist on putting bits of blue plastic on the boot and sole which merely fall off later. On the other hand, we should replace our boots more often than we do (still no excuse for that eye lock). Your Blundstones are more comfortable than most of the boots on the market, including many high end tramping boots. It is a pit they do not make this in straight black, no eye lock, hiking tread. I am sure their marketing team could put something together and agree on a such a design, maybe sometime towards the year 2350.

I am also finding that the U.S and Euro boots are getting worse. I loathe the petite toe on the modern boots. The makers give an extra wide option but still make the toe petite (I am not in the effing cavalry). At the moment, I have Lowe extra wide boots and my toes are bruised purple from the boot not having enough side clearance for hill work- and I do not have extra wide feet. This annoys me no end, the pain has been building over these past weeks and I cannot think of this company without cursing.

These companies have one job to do- make boots. If they cannot get this one thing right, why bother.

Of the U.S Boots, I find Bates have the widest toe (as long as you buy extra wide), similar to Blundstone and the old John Bull slip ons. As to longevity- well most stuff is made offshore now. The Bates are an option as a work / hunting boot crossover. I thought Danner would be good but no, too small again for our hills, good if you are waiting to be married off to a Japanese noble with a tiny foot fetish.

I am all at sea with this and have been having the same issues as you speak of. Its really starting to piss me off now, the obviousness of it all, the sheer stupidity of these marketing machines. I have a very low tolerance for fools in any industry when I have put so much effort into my own endeavors.

I would be keen to hear from some U.S and Canadian readers if possible, regarding work or hunting boots including cross overs and combat bootswith regards to what you might call every day boots as opposed to dedicated alpine boots (eg Meindl Makalu).
10 Nov 2017
@ 11:25 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: work boots?
Boots are funny, and I guess it is so because no two people have the same foot or the same stride. And then something as seemingly small as regaining muscle mass in the calf after a surgery can cause a boot that was comfortable to become less so. Then, as Nathan points out, there's the infuriating truth that some companies cut corners and take no pride in their product, just the name on it, thus rendering the name worthless.

My last two pairs of hunting boots have been opposite one another. I had a pair of Irish Setter boots that were awesome new. I have a very wide foot and there are brands I won't even bother trying on. The Irish Setters fit well from day one. The downside was they did not get more comfortable after breaking in. I have a pair of Lacrosse boots that were not very comfortable when I bought them, but I talked myself into them because I got a good deal. They have become much more comfortable with use and seem to be holding up very well. My complaint on the Lacrosses is that the sole is stiffer than I like. I do not own a pair but the American brand of upland boot that seems to earn the most dedicated customers is Red Wing. By brother is a big fan and he is pretty particular about is gear. I also have met some who won't buy anything but Danner, but they never fit me quite right.
10 Nov 2017
@ 12:09 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: work boots?
I sidetracked myself there on that last post... Where I meant to go after all that is that the Red Wing brand is really highly regarded as a work boot, and regardless of brand, a lot of American customers ( I sold boots for a while ) want a Vibram sole on a work boot.
10 Nov 2017
@ 02:28 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: work boots?
The last pair of hiking boots I bought were made by Kastinger. Austrian, I believe. Way too expensive at the time. More than I would ever need, they were made for mountaineering or rock climbing. You could place your toes on a street curb with your heels in mid-air, and if your legs were capable, suspend yourself indefinitely, no sag or flex in the sole whatsoever. They had no insulation, a little padding around the top so as not to chafe your shins. The lower portion of the laces were in triangular steel (most likely stainless) eyelets, held onto the leather by a rivot and a swivel set-up. The upper adjustables were lace hooks that were polished so smooth I never wore out a pair of laces. The leather outers were one piece from the sole to the top (excepting the cushioned leather piece). The soles were Vibram, completely replaceable when worn. The only modification I ever made to them was to install sheet metal screws into the arch area of the sole so when climbing on wet wood, you stayed upright. They lasted me well over twenty years, and went missing after a domestic relocation. Have never found another pair that even came close.

Now, I buy what fits at the store. That's all you get. Wear them more than once and you'll find something wrong. It's all just crap.

"If they cannot get this one thing right, why bother. " Hmmmm, I wonder how many companies we can say this about. I would have to think hard to find more than a half dozen, and that would be a generous number.

Sorry, Thomas. I guess that didn't really do you any good. But a good rant is good for the soul, sometimes.
10 Nov 2017
@ 05:22 pm (GMT)

Trace Jacoby

Re: work boots?
As far as work boots in the US, I would recommend Red Wing boots. I have been buying them for several years now, as they seem longer lasting than most other brands and I find them quite comfortable.

However, the best thing about them is going to the redwing store and being helped by a knowledgeable salesman/saleswoman. They make recommendations based on the shape of your foot, how you stand, what type of work you are doing, your weight, etc, etc. I never knew there was so much to footwear, but a knowledgeable salesman can really help get you into the right pair of boots. If you don’t like them you can take them back within 30 days, no matter what shape they are in, and after 30 days they will try to remedy any problems if you find one.

This probably doesn’t help much to those without a store nearby...
10 Nov 2017
@ 08:24 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: work boots?
well guys Im a simple man with simple tastes
its Skellerup Ashleys for hunting
and Steelcap Skellerup Ashleys for work,being a fert sowing truck driver leather boots get eaten /rot quickly so I thought why not givem a go...two years down the track I will never go back. I have a pair a year and as last years pair are still good I simply swap them around week to week or day to day if they are sweaty.... no stinky smelly feet for this kiwi.
11 Nov 2017
@ 02:13 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: work boots?
The boots sold at this site are by far the best hunting boots I have ever had:

https://www.kenetrek.com

I have wide feet and these have been the only ones that work for me that I have found. VERY long lasting to boot!
13 Nov 2017
@ 08:53 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: work boots?
Really nice to see some input here.

One thing to keep in mind Thomas is that most labourers in NZ wear wool socks. If you are like me, the wool Nato is about as thin as you will go. You'll find that foreign boots are often designed for cotton socks which as you know, none of us have traditionally worn with safety boots. This has to to be factored into sizing. In some cases, if you are a size 11 NZ, you'll be a 12 U.S extra wide. But other times you have to go up another half size or more.

AS has been said above, difficult when you cannot get into a store.

Love my Skellerups but had to stop wearing them as I was spending too long in them and the rubber would not breath which became hard on my feet. Rotating is a good trick Mike.
13 Nov 2017
@ 01:29 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: work boots?
I had forgotten what brand my current hunter/hikers are until Trace chimed in. They are Red Wings I picked up in Michigan a few years back. They are good boots. Wide and comfortable, with a 8" upper for ankle support in the bush. I had them broke in the day after I bought them, and they have served well since. And the folks that ran the mom and pop shoe store were just like Trace said, knowledgeable and helpful. I would recommend them anytime.
13 Nov 2017
@ 05:36 pm (GMT)

Chris Raisl

Re: work boots?
I used a variety of boots during my 10 years in the US Army. The two brands that I found to be the best for my tired feet were Oakley (yes, the same company that makes sunglasses) and Belleville.

The Oakley boots were very comfortable and were my go-to boots when I was in Afghanistan. They did have a softer sole than Vibram soles found on most other combat boots and would wear out in about half the time, but they kept my feet going while out on patrol. The Bellevilles had a harder Vibram sole and would last longer, but I seemed to always get a couple extra blisters/hot spots compared to the Oakley boots.

Bates boots were only slightly better than generic Army-issued boots, with the exception of the special "mountain boots" that I was issued before going to Afghanistan. These were Goretex-lined and had a much harder sole. They still see regular rotation as one of my daily work boots.

I always wore wool socks with my combat boots and had some problems with small toe boxes on Army-issued, Bates, and Danner boots. The Belleville boots always had a large enough toe box for me.
14 Nov 2017
@ 01:02 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: work boots?
I use these Safety joggers

https://www.safetyjogger.com/catalog?_escaped_fragment_=/details/215757/906205#!/details/215757/906205
18 Nov 2017
@ 11:51 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: work boots?
Thanks Chris, I have been wondering about the Belleville boots toe box for a while now. This info is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
19 Nov 2017
@ 03:08 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: work boots?
I use a thin pair of Synthetic socks designed to wick and hold moisture under a Merino wool sock. If in summer I have thinner wool for the outer but in colder weather I substitute the light Merino wool sock for a heavier one. Kenetrek also makes several kinds of boots, and I have a warmer weather set that are non-insulated along with a set that have a fair amount of insulation built into them. For my colder weather boots, they are good to -25 degrees Centigrade for longer trips where I also cary a complete set of the thin synthetics as well as a set of the heavy Merinos and keep changing over as one set gets moist from sweating. When I stop and light a fire I dry the most sock.

When a person buys these boots what you get is a boot that will fit your measured dimensions as per the above including the socks. Anyways, it works for me and although I no longer do as much back country long hikes, I still go one trips that are long enough.
19 Nov 2017
@ 05:16 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: work boots?
I tell you the boots I have have been thoroughly mistreated. They have survived sulfuric acid (I used to work for a battery wholesaler), everyday wear and tear and general lack of care. I apply a leather conditioner about once a year and have polished them maybe twice. They are the most comfortable boot I have ever worn. Steel capped too (work requirement).

They are called Hytest by Oliver. Cost me $30AUD. Best pair of boots I've ever had. Just slip on jobs.

For more serious work though I wouldn't loom past ex army stuff from a disposal shop. Calf high and fully laced. A bit more effort and care but we'll worth it.
28 Nov 2017
@ 05:26 pm (GMT)

Greg Quick

Re: work boots?
The tricky part about referring boots is that it's like asking what caliber of rifle works best for hunting. Everybody has different arches, foot dimensions and stride in their walk, all which will dictate what boot works for you. Foot wear has always been number one for me since I'm always on my feet. From infantry solider to construction worker to now general contractor and backpacking hunter. Here's my two cents anyway.

Comfort in my opinion is just as important as quality. You can have bullet proof boots that last for years but if you dread wearing them, who cares? I have a love/hate relationship with Keen. They are by far the most comfortable pair of boots I've ever worn no matter what model. Right now my daily walk around town boots, construction site boots and hiking boots (yes I have 3 pairs) are the Keen Targee 2 mid hiking boot. They just fit me like your old broke in sneakers you never wanted to bin. They have the Vibram soft sole. The hate part is that the sole doesn't last when they get wet then hot. Long story but I had them up backpacking and got them soaked in the river and put them close by the fire to dry them out. The sole started separating while hiking back down. By the end of the hike I was basically hiking in flip flops, same happened to my buddy's keens. Sounds like a dip shit idea to put them by the fire to dry but when you're 13 miles in the back country and need them to dry out that's your option or have cold wet feet and I never had a problem with fire drying method with other brands. My job site pair and town pair are holding up well so that's why it's hard to give them up. I'm currently working at 9000 feet building resort homes in Utah and I'm putting the Keen Summit Country Winter work boots to the test. Like all the other Keen's they are extremely comfortable and rated to -40 degrees and not blocky/clunky at all. Just have to see how well they hold up over the winter on the job site at 9000 feet.

As far as the most durable pair of boots I've ever worn I'm with Chris on the military boots. I'll elaborate on this since Nathan has mentioned his interest in the Bellevilles. The standard issued Belleville boots I got were a tough breed (2003-4 quality era). They were the gortex version. A bit hotter but much more comfortable and durable than the standard Bellevilles in my opinion. Every single day in urban combat training before Iraq and during my time in the sand I used the same two pair, one much more than the other most days and they never split/deteriorated/failed, even the gortex stayed intact which is usually the first thing to fail on gortex lined anything. The hard Vibram sole was tough as nails. Most days when we were dismounted out of the humvees on patrols we were walking the streets in the searing heat and so I know that the soles were taking a beating on the hot asphalt and concrete and they still had plenty of tread at the end of my tour. The one thing I'll tell you is if you get a pair of Bellevilles is to ditch the insole pads from the get go like you would an Xmark Pro on a remmy 700. I bought after market Spenco insoles and they make all the difference. Two or three house framers on my job site are wearing them as we speak. For standard government issued equipment they are surprisingly outstanding. Toe box is roomy and you can get a wide or regular width. They aren't fancy but they'll get the job done and they look good as a work boot. I wouldn't use them as a hunt boot because of how hard the soles are and because of that they're a bit slick on hard wet surfaces like rocks and fallen trees that a lot of us are navigating while hunting. As far as a hunting boot I've been using Irish Setters(made by Red Wing) for the past ten years. several different models but they have all held up exceedingly well. I have pairs that are stiffer and thicker for stationary hunting like laying in blinds goose hunting and other pairs for the backpacking big game hunts. Most important thing I look for in any hunting boot aside from quality/stiffness/ankle support ect, is a very soft Vibram(or equivalent) sole. If they don't have that I immediately put them back on the shelf. I'm fully aware of the fact they don't last as long but I don't really think about that when I'm traversing mountain sides or walking across boulder fields in the rain. Soft Vibram soles are more clingy to wet surfaces than a unstable psycho girlfriend with a stage name like "Sin". Sorry for such a long post.
04 Mar 2018
@ 04:19 pm (GMT)

Sam Ballard

Re: work boots?
From the US the finest work boots available here are Whites Boots. They are very expensive but are well built and the most comfortable I have worn. I have Meindl hiking boots made in Germany also and will give them high praise, but they do not compare to the Whites.
They are Handmade and all leather and very heavy. It takes about 160 hours to break them in but they will fit your feet like a glove and you don't notice the weight. Only down side is that you will want at least two pair so while one pair is being rebuilt you have another because anything else is a letdown.














08 Aug 2018
@ 09:15 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: work boots?
Just bought myself a pair of these:

https://threadandink.com.au/collections/zip-side/products/oliver-55345z-black-lace-up-zip-sided-work-boot
09 Aug 2018
@ 10:16 pm (GMT)

Hamish Gibbs

Re: work boots?
Fairly similar at least in look to what I purchased around two monthes ago
https://www.blundstone.co.nz/mens-or-womens-black-work-and-safety-boots-style-997
Very impressed so far but I'm mostly wearing gumboots these days, ran a stint of John Bulls then Red backs then finally Shcoen's back in my building days.
Must say the zipper on mine is a sucker for anything moist over around an inch deep(grass, mud, puddles etc)
Before buying I tried on some John bulls with the boa system but were a horrible fit then John Bulls in same lace/zip design but obviously this can just be a personal fit preferance.
Always liked lace ups for the ankle support on uneven ground(at least percieved) but the convienience of slip on when you have an outside/inside job going on so lace/zip seemed like the natural progression.
Currently trying laces from Ironlace on my play boots, great so far but not done the hard yards.
10 Aug 2018
@ 09:36 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: work boots?
I had similar fears Hamish. I wanted something that would do both in lieu of having a budget for 2 pairs. The zip was to help quick on/off for jobs around the home but the full length and laces help out bush. I have some cream, a leather conditioner that does a great job a softening and waterproofing. I decided to lay it on thick on the zip to help waterproof.

Ideally I would have had 2 pairs as mentioned. One smaller slip on pair and a full length hiking boot but money and wishes aren't the same haha.
10 Aug 2018
@ 09:37 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: work boots?
I had similar fears Hamish. I wanted something that would do both in lieu of having a budget for 2 pairs. The zip was to help quick on/off for jobs around the home but the full length and laces help out bush. I have some cream, a leather conditioner that does a great job a softening and waterproofing. I decided to lay it on thick on the zip to help waterproof.

Ideally I would have had 2 pairs as mentioned. One smaller slip on pair and a full length hiking boot but money and wishes aren't the same haha.
24 Aug 2018
@ 03:22 am (GMT)

F Cundin

Re: work boots?
With regard to a point of economy…
The discussion here is with a strong preference for things better quality and therefore high price points. While I regard quality, well fitting work/hunting boots to be a paramount purchase decision it is also important to consider issues of economy and value.
The US issue Jungle Boot is a very good design for warm weather and with good value overall. These boots have served me well when I was in infantry (straight leg type) and I recommend them for general field wear in warm weather. They do fit better with a good break in. A better set of insoles is a good idea. They do not dry out especially fast. The traction is very good in mud slop and does not “load” up like lugged Vibram soles. I still use this design for Louisiana, but try for “dry” conditions.
Also the Cabela’s brand of 8 Point boots are OK for lighter field use and some regular hard use. Their price point is attractive compared to higher profile boot brands, but the fit and wear factors are lesser than top shelf examples and brands already mentioned here. These are not rebuildable boots but are overall a good economy option. I suggest adding a heavy bead of Seam Seal or other hard wearing silicone like sealant to the sole to upper welt to extend life and water’s destructive properties.
Either example is very doable for seasonal use and some hard use wear for both field hunting and field work. They are also reasonably priced in the States at under 100 USD, or so as I have last checked.

Best
24 Aug 2018
@ 02:47 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: work boots?
https://www.google.com/search?q=safety+jogger+bestboy+boots+review&client=ms-android-samsung&source=android-browser&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjdifyR1YTdAhUFUd4KHT9wBiUQ_AUICSgB&biw=360&bih=592&dpr=1.5
24 Aug 2018
@ 07:31 pm (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: work boots?
I have wide feet and an issue with one that gives me hell if my foot wear doesn't fit properly last year I bought a pair of Oliver's they are very comfortable and were the first boots I have worn that felt great straight out of the box I spend all day on my feet and are a little hard on boots they have stood up very well and only today I went and bought another pair as this pair is coming to there end of there life
 

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