10 Best Work Shoes for Men in 2023, Tested by Gear Editors

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10 Best Work Shoes for Men in 2023, Tested by Gear Editors

YOU KNOW the saying: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That holds true down to your footwear. If your job requires you to be on your feet all day on rough terrains or surrounded by hefty objects, the best work shoes for men are as tough as they’re comfortable for you to wear to the site.

Work shoes are designed to provide comfort, safety, and durability for men in various professions—construction, healthcare, hospitality, or any field that requires extended standing or walking or is in a risky job site. The best work shoes should feature rugged slip-resistant outsoles, safety toes, and a reinforced upper to ensure optimal performance and protection in strenuous workplaces.

Providing orthopedic and arch support, today’s best work shoes for men will not put your feet through a war zone but instead enhance your productivity while reducing the risk of job site injuries. The best work shoes are also nothing like your dad’s shoes for standing, although they should have an impact-absorbing midsole, an extra-protective upper, and cushioning to keep you comfortable throughout the workday.

Below, our gear editors have tested over 30 work shoes in the past years to find the 10 best work shoes for men that’ll help you keep at it all day long in comfort, protection, and style.

When you think of the best lightweight safety shoes, this pair from Sketchers comes to mind. It’s crafted specifically for guys on their feet all the time—servers, drivers, nurses, and so on—and is made with a breathable mesh upper so your feet don’t get too sweaty, and memory foam insole for standing and walking all day.

During testing, we found these to be as easy to put on and off as slip-ons. And we love that even on oily, wet surfaces, they will provide traction to secure our footing. What's more, they protect against accidental contact with electrified objects—something that all kinds of workers will appreciate.

We also loved how the memory foam insole provided more cushioning and support, and the slip-resistant outsole is great for smooth surfaces, which is why these work shoes are great for standing all day and are ideal for restaurant, food service, and hospital workers. That is to say, these work shoes don’t have any safety toe, meaning they’re not meant for hazardous job sites that involve working around or with heavy equipment.

Fit-wise, these are true-to-size and their relaxed fit feels roomy and comfy all day long.

Wolverine's work shoes have changed the game when it comes to combining style with utility. These Rev Vent shoes feature a signature UltraSpring midsole that's wonderfully cushioned and springy, which is great for hustling and being on your feet all day. Up top, the brand outfitted the upper with a breathable mesh and added TPU molded pieces for armored protection, and the composite toe doesn't sore our toes.

My favorite part of these work shoes is their outsole which we've tested on construction sites as well as slippery terrains. Not only does the sole always grip the ground like its life depends on it, but it also absorbs the impact to put less strain on my feet. In our tests for walking and standing, we found that the cushioned and supportive midsole helped reduce our underfoot fatigue, and the moisture-wicking lining plus a breathable upper keep our feet feeling cool and dry. While the cement construction is tough, with an added nylon shank in the outer for extra strength and protection, we did find it easy to break in and wear over time.

However, while the brand says these shoes have a lightweight cement construction, they do lean a bit heavier than you might expect, though very much tolerable.

These are work shoes, we swear. In fact, we picked them up and tested them to be one of the few that combine safety toe and sneaker style together. Firstly, if you’re game to get a little sportier with your work shoes, this pair has a more active look while still keeping you safe. But on the site, they have a widening steel toe cap and a puncture-proof Kevlar sole to keep you going.

In my experience of wearing these, they're seriously heavy-duty, while remaining light with a mesh upper. I love that its anti-smashing steel toe cap meets the ASTM standards and doesn't feel tight or uncomfortable at all. The support feels like a sneaker since its insole provides arch support, ventilation, sweat-wicking, and reduces fatigue, but the Kevlar midsole and steel cap toe make me feel safe wherever I am.

I also appreciate the bon-slip and shock-absorbing outsole of these work shoes, which is great for those working in a warehouse or in construction sites. I did find it a bit heavy, mostly because of the steel safety toe, but its weight is tolerable for walking.

These are basically what outdoor sneakers will look and feel like if you put a safety toe on them. As a pair of work sneakers, Timberland's Radius provides EH protection, anti-fatigue tech, a composite toe, a flexible build, and much more.

What we love the most about these kicks from testing them on the site is their comfort, from the soft mesh upper with sweat-wicking lining down to the footbeds which absorb shock and return energy to make each step of the way more comfortable. Both the midsole and outsole also feel flexible when I'm standing on my toes with these on my feet—really, just like sneakers.

In our testing, we found that the footbed is able to absorb shock as well as return energy, which is great for those who walk a lot on the job site. We were also able to get a full range of feet motion in them with ease and even felt comfortable standing on our toes with these shoes on. Exceeding the basic requirements for both electrical hazard protection as well as ASTM standards for resistance to compression and impact, these work shoes are perfect for dangerous job sites.

Boasting a REVlite midsole and an EVA insert to ensure signature New Balance comfort, these work shoes also feature a composite toe cap for even more protection and a boosted slip-resistant outsole that safeguards you from electrical hazards.

A common qualm for work shoes is the arch support is lacking; but after testing these work shoes out, we found that this is far from the case on these steppers. In my experience of wearing them, I noticed that their midsole helps ground every step and absorbs shock as I walk. And even after standing or walking for hours in them, my feet did not feel any fatigue. The composite safety toe also didn't feel too tight—just need to find the right size and you should be fine. The outsole is also slip-resistant on both smooth floors as well as rough terrains. And, like most New Balance shoes, the upper feels comfortable and has lasted well.

Overall, we love how these work shoes are actually quite versatile for both hardcore work on sites like construction as well as regular outdoor activities that might involve heavy objects.

While these work shoes do look like your old man's or grandpa's orthopedic sneakers (which did repel a few of our testers), our testing showed that they pack more than enough comfort and protection feats to make up for the lack of style.

Firstly, the orthotic insole with anatomical arch support. provides pain relief, arch support, and cushion. Secondly, the shoes meet all sorts of safety ratings you can ask for—impact resistance, anti-compression, and electrical hazard protection. And out of all the work shoes I've put on to the test, these really keep me surefooted with a shank reinforcement.

In our testing, we found that the composite safety toe is wide and roomy and thus hasn’t caused any soreness to our toes. Plus, the footbed stabilizes footing and provides supports for when we’re walking all day. The cushioning at the heel as well as midsole especially comes in clutch for extended hours of standing. Though we did find these work shoes bit heavier compared to other tested options, mobility really hasn’t been an issue for them. The outsole is pretty damn tough too even on slippery surface.

For a timeless all-black work shoe, you can't go wrong with Dr. Scholl's Harrington. These bad boys promise all-day comfort through their cushioning, memory foam, moisture-wicking lining, and pressure-relieving midsole. And since they're mostly made of leather, they will break in nicely but last till the end of time.

Though they have a lightweight construction, our testing shows that these are by no means lightweight. The outsole even provides traction on oily grounds, and we found the midsole to be able to reduce fatigue on our feet. So no matter if you're drawing up plans in your office or traveling to a job site to bid on a project, these under-$100 work shoes always lend a hand.

Made from water-resistant Nor-eastern leather, these L.L. Bean shoes carry just as much style as they do function. The dark cocoa color won't mind scuffs or mud, thus allowing comfortable moving wherever your day takes you.

Overall, these work shoes lean on the casual side, meaning that we've found them not too suitable for heavy-duty jobs or hazardous sites. However, if your work involves standing and walking on hard steel floors like in a warehouse, these actually provide sneaker-like comfort in my experience.

Reebok Work makes some of the best lightweight safety shoes around, combining a solid mesh upper that breathes to keep your feet not smelly, and a rubber outsole that provides traction on slippery surfaces.

While I've dealt with alloy toe work shoes before which keep me protected, I was amazed by how comfortable these shoes felt while standing or walking. Specifically, its memory foam footbed adapts to the shape of my feet while providing cushioning and support. And the entire build is flexible and not heavy at all, which aids my movement.

The best men’s shoes for standing all day on concrete need one big feature: a fat rubber sole. These Ariat work shoes have that upgraded with their oil- and slip-resistant Bantamweight™ sole that's actually lightweight. Lastly, convenience is key in slip-on shoes, and these boast a composite safety toe to protect your feet even more as soon as you slide them in.

During testing, we were meticulous about the protection of these shoes, and they delivered. Both their safety toe and static dissipation meet ASTM standards, and we love how supportive they are as well.

Read more: Best Slip-on Shoes for Men

Durability: You'll want work shoes that will last beyond a few days or months at the job site. A lot of it depends on the material. Uppers made of leather or synthetic textile uppers always withstand tear and wear and will hold well. An outsole made of rubber or PU is often a no-brainer. Additionally, work shoes with strong stitching and reinforced toes will allow you to wear them again and again without issue.

Traction: The outsoles of work shoes should provide a high level of traction to make the bottoms extra slip-resistant, even on wet and oily floors you'll encounter at workplaces. These include special treads at the sole or designs that increase friction to the ground like lugged, grooved, ridged, deep-cut teeth, etc. In industries like healthcare, construction, or food service, a grippy outsole will come in handy to prevent you from slipping, sliding, or falling while working.

Comfort: If you're gonna be on your feet and keep at it for hours on end, especially on concrete floors or rough terrains, work shoes often come with superior insole and midsole that provide cushioning or arch support. The best work shoes often use memory foam and anything with impact-absorbing qualities to ground your feet in comfort. The right arch support, on the other hand, will distribute the weight evenly across the foot to make your feet less tired. Therefore, look for work shoes with anti-fatigue construction.

Fit: The best work shoes should not fit too loose or too tight, which is why many options come in various widths as well in addition to sizes. You'll lose your grounding in a pair that fits too loose, but if it's too tight, no amount of cushioning or arch support will make it comfortable—not when your feet are smooshed. However, if the work shoes are made of leather, a slightly tighter fit is preferable since the leather will mold to your foot. Unless the work shoes have steel toes which will take away a little bit of wiggle room, don't treat them like sneakers and size up. (With steel-toe work shoes, we recommend a half size up.)

Safety toe protection is the main safety standard you'll find in work footwear. It's a hidden “cage” that protects your toes from punctures, compression, crushing, and more. "Typically this protection is provided by steel at the toe, hence the common name, steel-toe boots," says David Nicholas, a professional electrician. But a steel toe can get heavy. "This extra weight becomes really noticeable after a long day on site and boots typically get quite uncomfortable," says Nicholas.

So, if weight is a concern, composite-based safety toes might be more your forte for protection. These composite toes "offer the same level of foot protection as metal but are considerably lighter and much more comfortable to wear all day long," according to Nicholas.

While every pair of work boots has a safety toe, it is not uncommon for work shoes to ditch them for a regular toe cap. Because, unlike work boots that are always meant for the most hazardous and demanding work environments, work shoes for men are more versatile and flexible.

Some work shoes are designed for standing and walking on hard but smooth surfaces of, let's say, hospitals or restaurants; some are primed for working in a modern factory. These kinds of jobs don't necessarily involve a hazardous environment where things might just happen to drop or crush or run over your toes, and therefore work shoes for these jobs can take a break from safety toes. On the other hand, if you want to wear work shoes to where work boots congregate—such as construction sites or warehouses—then please make sure your work shoes have either a steel or composite safety toe.

Getting the right fit, size, and materials is only the start. If you're wearing work shoes to demanding job sites regularly, you'll want their comfort and durability to last, say, forever—and that's definitely possible.

Breaking Them In and Stretching Breaking in work shoes to the extent that they actually fit comfortably is important, which means for the first few wears, you should expect to sacrifice some comfort just to get more of it down. the road. By gradually wearing them more, it helps to force the shoes to conform to the contours of your feet.

In addition, if it's taking too long to break in or you really need to put these work shoes to, well, work in just a few days, feel free to grab some shoe stretchers and just go at them. By the way, we've tested some of these best work shoes by wearing thick socks which do help stretch out the shoes faster.

Upgrading Insoles and Arch Support Many of the top editors-tested work shoes will come with insoles that are already engineered to be more cushioning, comfortable, or more fatigue- and pain-reducing than regular insoles. If the ones you get don't or aren't your cup of tea, consider buying a new insole, one that will cushion better or help relieve pressure. In this case, we'd recommend going for memory foam or gel insoles.

What Are ASTM Ratings? The best work shoes tend to be ASTM-compliant—i.e., they meet the Standard Specification for Performance Requirements set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. This safety rating shows whether the work shoes comply with the minimum requirements for protective footwear in hazardous workplaces. It gauges performance standards such as impact resistance, compression resistance, puncture resistance, chain saw cut resistance, metatarsal protection, electrical hazard, static dissipation, conductive properties, etc.

When searching for a pair of solid work shoes, you should opt for one that at least meets some form of ASTM rating. For instance, the most common ASTM-F2413 standards rate anything from safety toe to electrical hazard resistance to impact and compression; and ASTM F3445-21 rates slip resistance. So be sure to read the product description.

Should You Size Up in Work Shoes? It’s always better to have work shoes that run a little large than running small because the tightness can be much more intolerable. If you have wide feet, definitely size up by at least a half since you’ll get in more comfort that way. And while work shoes are often roomy enough to be worn with socks, if you feel too tight with socks on, we do recommend sizing up by a half just in case.

In addition, if you’re wearing steel-toe work shoes, you’ll definitely want to buy a half-size larger than your normal shoe size since these shoes can be heavy and difficult to slip into. Larger-sized work shoes will also give your toes more wiggle and breathing room. Consider "wide" sizes if need be.

To find the best work shoes for men, our style and gear editors have personally tried on a variety of them and put them to the test on different grounds and job sites, from oily and slippery hard floors in a warehouse to bumpy and rough outdoor terrains like in an outdoor construction site.

Read more: How Men's Health Tests Products

From there, we evaluated these work shoes based on their style, fit, protection from the outsole and upper, comfort from the midsole and insole, and overall performance to make the final top picks. Specifically, we're looking for work shoe styles that are not trendy or trend-chasing; instead, our picks of the best work shoes all fit great even on any kind of worker who's on their feet all day, provide a ton of value at reasonable price points, and come in styles that will look great years from now.

At Men’s Health, we don’t produce product reviews that don’t actually involve testing anything hands-on or in person. For each product, we always use them ourselves first before considering whether to include them. Therefore, rest assured that our product recommendations derive from first-hand experience.

More importantly, at Men’s Health, we have a whole fashion closet dedicated to calling in, trying out, and selecting the best as well as the newest products. We put them on ourselves to see how the items look and feel before making our final decision. And we constantly go into the fashion closet to feel a product’s materials and test it.

Lastly, you can trust our opinions on product recommendations and tips. Not only do we have Fashion Director Ted Stafford and Deputy Editor, Commerce Christian Gollyan, but we also have a panel of experts—including designers at top brands or retailers—whom we regularly seek shopping guides from.

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Maverick Li is a former Style & Commerce Editor of Men’s Health, where he covered clothing, footwear, watches, and grooming. He was previously the Assistant Commerce Editor at Esquire.  

John Thompson is the Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology. He was previously the Style & Gear Editor at, and a commerce writer for His interests include attending concerts, spending time outside, and following his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. 

Christian Gollayan oversees e-commerce content for Men's Health and Women's Health. Previously, he was the Associate Managing Editor at Christian's work has also been featured in Food & Wine, InStyle, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.

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