Some work environments can be full of hazards including difficult machinery, falling objects, greasy and slippery floors and changes in temperature. Aside from these dangers, you’re also probably on your feet for hours at a time while you work which can be difficult on the body. So, while wearing a hard hat and gloves are just as important for your protection, a good pair of shoes are essential for keeping you safe as well as comfortable all day long.
At many places of work, steel toe boots are what is required. But if you don’t need to wear boots or don’t want to carry round the weight of a boot on your foot all day but still want the steel toe protection, you’ve come to the right place. Below we have complied a buying guide about the best steel toe sneakers, giving you all the information you need about what to look for when purchasing a pair. We’ve also included some of our top picks so you can do some comparisons.
What Are Steel Toe Sneakers?
Steel toe sneakers are not too dissimilar from steel toe boots, except they are obviously in the form of a sneaker instead of a work boot! The toes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body because they protrude the foot and are very likely to get bumped and tripped no matter what the working environment is. Wearing sneakers that have steel in the toe will offer you protection from any hazards that could cause harm. Although there are other types of common toes in work boots and sneakers, such as composite toes and alloy toes, steel is the most common and the most durable.
Advantages Of Steel Toe Sneakers
Steel toe sneakers have a range of advantages for wearing both at work and for other occasions. Take a look at the most important reasons for wearing steel toe sneakers in hazardous conditions.
One of the main advantages steel toe sneakers have over other steel toe shoes is that they are much lighter. Compared to a boot, sneakers are going to be much more lightweight on your foot. This is especially great for those who spend hours on their feet every day or those that suffer from pain related to bad posture. By wearing a light pair of shoes you will have more energy throughout the day.
The comfort of steel toe sneakers goes hand in hand with how lightweight they are. Sneakers are known for being one of the mot comfortable types of shoe and this is also true for steel toe sneakers. They are going to be much more comfortable and cushioning than a pair of steel toe boots, which again means you will feel less pain throughout the day and will be able to be on your feet for longer without any issues. They also often have extra foam cushioning in the midsole for support, so no extra pressure is put on your knees and ankles.
The main reason you will purchase steel toe sneakers is because of their safety features. They have the steel in the front of the sneaker that protects your toe from any trips or anything falling on your foot. The shoes are sturdy and durable too, so you can be sure you get well-rounded protection from both shock and impact.
If you’re working on a construction site or in another hazardous environment, you are going to need a good grip on the ground to ensure you don’t slip or trip over anything. This is also true for workplaces that may have liquid on the floor such as slippery oils. Steel toe sneakers have great traction on the the bottom of the shoe, ensuring you can grip a number of different surfaces no matter what the conditions are.
What To Look For In Steel Toe Sneakers
Now you know why steel toe sneakers are so advantageous, let’s take a look at the factors you should be considering when purchasing a pair.
Material And Build
Safety sneakers can be made of out a number of different materials. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, such as comfort, breathability and waterproofing. Some of the most common materials are leather, rubber and synthetic materials. You’ll want your shoes to be flexible, so you can move around easily in them and your foot can bend.
The build of the sneakers is important too. You need your shoes to be sturdy so they give you good protection. This is especially true for the outsole of the sneaker, which is normally made out of rubber because it is puncture protected and gives further protection to your foot. Outsoles should also have a great grip. Some outsoles are made from acid and chemical resistant materials, so you do not need to worry about hazardous spills while at work.
We touched on this above, but steel toe sneakers should be comfortable. You are going to be in them for hours at a time and you will most likely be on your feet for most of the day. You should look for a shoe that has a cushioned insole or an EVA foam midsole. These both help to not only comfort your foot, but give arch support too. A shoe with shock absorbing properties is also useful when working manual labor, because then your feet, ankles and knees will be protected when walking on uneven terrain.
The upper and the lining should also be comfortable enough so they don’t give you blisters or rub against your foot, and the shoe needs to fit properly too.
The durability of your sneaker goes hand in hand with the way it is built. If your steel toe shoe is not durable, it is not going to be much use. Not only will it not give you much protection as the material may be thin or the rubber sole not thick enough, but it will break easily and then you will have to buy another pair. Just because a shoe is durable, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not going to be lightweight. You may also want to look for a steel toe sneaker that has electrical hazard protection, to further protect you ensure the shoe’s durability.
If you’re ready to purchase a pair of shoes for your work, take a look at the best steel toe sneakers on Amazon below.
The Best Steel Toe Sneakers Reviewed
These Walkchic shoes look like regular sneakers but have a full safety steel toe for complete protection in the work place. Offering you comfort like a sneaker, these shoes are made with a breathable flyknit upper and soft fabric lining, giving you a great fit that ensures your foot doesn’t get too hot. The EVA cushioned light weight midsole gives you arch support as well as shock absorbing properties to protect both your feet and your ankle.
The rubber sole is non slip, as well as abrasion and oil resistant, while also being non-penetrable by dangerous objects such as nails. These steel toe sneakers also feature an electro-static discharge for extra safety and reflective strips so you are sure to be seen.
These Steel Edge sneakers have a breathable knitted synthetic mesh upper that assures long- lasting durability and helps keep feet cool even when you are wearing them for long hours. With a stylish design, these steel toe work shoes keep you protected from any hazards around the workplace.
These sneakers come with a rubber sole that is great over rough terrain, ensuring you don’t slip or fall on any surface. The sole is also puncture resistant so you don’t have to worry about dropped parts, nails or metal shavings piercing through the shoes and hurting your feet. Even better, these shoes come with electrical hazard protection. These sneakers come in four different sophisticated colorways.
The LARNMERN steel toe safety sneakers have a mesh upper and a rubber outsole. The mesh upper ensures these shoes are breathable, keeping the feet fresh and making the shoes comfortable to wear. A dual density compression molded EVA midsole gives lightweight cushioning and soft support underfoot, as well as an arch support footbed that adapts to the contours of your foot and provides great stability.
The sole of the shoe is slip, oil and abrasion resistant, making them perfect for the workplace as you don’t need to worry about liquids on the floor or losing your footing. The steel toe protects the most vulnerable part of your foot, too. Available in a range of different designs, these sneakers can be worn both at work and at home.
The Cankton steel toe sneakers from Skechers for Work have a suede a mesh upper providing you with support and comfort. The upper design also allows for great breathability, ensuring your feet do not get too hot and sweaty while you work, no matter what the conditions are. The stylish relaxed fit is still durable and the chunky rubber sole gives excellent abrasion resistance.
The sole provides good traction against a number of different surfaces and the multi-lug sole means you will be much less likely to slip. The soles of these shoes also protect you from electrical hazards. Inside the shoe is a memory foam insole that contours to the shape of your feet for maximum comfort and support when you’re on your feet all day long. The sneakers are available in four different colors.
The Reebok Athletic Oxford shoes are a pair of work sneakers that provide you great protection in mechanical and construction environments. Instead of a steel toe they actually have an alloy toe, but this offers the same protection from from falling objects and other debris that is laying around so we though we would include them. The rubber outsole offers exceptional traction and durability against any liquids or uneven ground that may cause you to slip.
The mesh upper offers stability and a locked-in fit as well as being breathable to keep your foot cool, and it works with the moisture wicking lining to ensure there is no build up of odors. There is also a MemoryTech cushioned footbed for superior comfort, while also offering support and shock-absorbing properties as you walk so you get more energy return with every step. These shoes come in three different designs.
This Timberland PRO Mudsill shoe has a 100% leather upper that is both sturdy and abrasion- resistant for maximum safety and durability. Although these look a little more like low-cut boots than sneakers, they are still flexible and breathable. Inside the shoe there is an Ortholite polyurethane footbed with an anti-microbial cover, helping reduce foot fatigue, while also supporting the arch and cushioning every step so you can go about your day pain-free. The anti- microbial cover also helps with the breathability of the shoe and ensures there is no build up of bacteria inside the shoe.
The steel toe gives extra protection around the work place and the rugged rubber outsole is slip, oil and abrasion resistant. The laces ensure a tight fit too, so you feel stable walking around.
Another shoe by Reebok, these Soyay shoes have more of a sneaker style than the Reebok shoes we mention above. In a skate style, these shoes have a soft 100% leather upper that looks great but offers exceptional comfort and flexibility against your foot.
With a steel toe that protects you, these shoes have no exposed metal on the upper and an EVA cushion removable footbed that provides you with support and stability underfoot for long working hours. There is a sponge rubber heel that has shock-absorbing properties to protect your ankles and knees, and the rubber outsole helps grips the ground and is slip-resistant. Even better, the rubber outsole is electrical hazard protected.
Another protective work shoe with alloy toes, these New Balance sneakers still give you the same protection as steel toes do but offer a more lightweight option. Built to provide all day comfort, with an EVA foam midsole you receive exceptional cushioning and support throughout the whole of your foot and the slip resistant rubber outsole provides superior traction under various surface conditions, giving you the stability you need to work. A synthetic upper offers breathable properties too so your foot does not get too hot, no matter what the temperature is. These sneakers come in both a black and a gray color option.
Best for those who want a protective shoe they can wear to work and to the gym, the PUMA Men’s Tazon 6 Fracture FM Cross-Trainer Shoe has a T-toe construction that protects your toes from dangerous hazards. The cushioned midsole gives you great comfort, alongside the EcoOrthoLite® sockliner that is not only breathable but also ensures you get the best fit from the shoe.
The sneaker has a sleek look yet the TPU shank between the insole and the midsole offers maximum stability for being on your feet all day long. The outsole is rubber to give you extra grip and the EVA heel pod gives extra cushioning and helps with shock-absorbance so you can stay most comfortable when your feet hit uneven ground. Best for those with neutral arches and little to no under or over-pronation, these are available in a few different color ways.
These Caterpillar steel toe sneakers are another that you wear both at work and at home. Giving you rugged durability, stylish design and long-lasting support, these sneakers have a full-grain leather and textile upper. With a traditional lace-up design they give a secure fit and a sculpted EASE engineered foam footbed provides added shock absorption for underfoot comfort and support.
There is also a nylon mesh lining for added breathability and a cushioned sock liner that features antimicrobial treatment to help fight odors for a fresher foot environment. While the steel toe protects the most vulnerable part of the foot, the rubber outsole protects from slips and falls and is also oil, heat and abrasion resistant. These sneakers come in a blue and gray color.
Fila shoes are known for being chunkier, which is what makes these steel toe running sneakers perfect for wearing to work. Because of their design they are extremely durable, yet they are still lightweight and not heavy to carry around on your feet. The running shoe style also allows for extreme flexibility in the shoe, which adds to the comfort.
The upper is made from synthetic, mesh and leather, combining both comfort and breathability into one shoe. These are made with Coolmax fiber to keep the interior cool, comfortable and dry and a memory foam sockliner and midsole work in unison to provide optimal comfort in every step. Even better, a solid rubber outsole provides slip resistance on slippery floors.
The Wolverine men’s Amherst shoes feature a composite toe, but still offer you the same protection as a steel toe sneaker. The upper is made from nylon spacer mesh and TPU that is breathable yet durable, and a mesh lining further adds to the breathability, ensuring your foot does not get too hot or sweaty. There is a removable full-cushion insole for extra comfort and a compression molded EVA foam midsole offers support and absorbs the shock of your foot hitting the ground so your knees and ankles don’t suffer.
Made with a cement construction, this sneaker style shoe is very durable yet is still lightweight and flexible. The durable rubber lug outsole helps to grip the ground too, so you are less likely to slip or trip.
Steel toe shoes are important for anyone who works in a hazardous environment where they could be hit by falling objects or trip over dangerous items. The advantage to steel toe sneakers over other steel toe shoes or boots is how lightweight and comfortable they are, while still offering you the same protection. They are breathable and flexible, yet your toes are secure and the shoes are durable. If you work on your feet all day long and want to take some pressure off your arches, heels, ankles and knees, try one of the steel toe sneakers in our list above. We know you’ll love them!