The best cheap work boots

Daisy Kelly

Knowing how to properly lace up your work boots can improve ankle support and comfort.

A worksite can be a dangerous place, with exposed nails and piping, falling debris and uneven surfaces. If you work in construction, a good set of work boots can be a necessary expense. Even for the hobbyist DIY-er, gardener or mechanic, work boots can help protect feet from rough environments. 

The greatest quality of a pair of work boots is its durability, and boots like the Caterpillar Men's Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot will prove to be quality options without having to spend $100 or more. 

What to know before you buy cheap work boots

Boot height

Work boots are usually offered in two different heights: ankle and high-top styles. Opting for a work boot that reaches higher on the leg can be unnecessary and feel uncomfortable for some; however, a higher work boot offers more leg protection. Wearers can tuck their pant legs into high-top style work boots, which can be especially beneficial if working in messy areas or in the yard where insects or thorns can come into contact with skin. 


Most work boots these days are designed with a rubber sole. This greatly improves water resistance, reducing the chances of water seeping into a boot and causing discomfort and foot irritation. More expensive brands may have boot soles made out of TPU, or thermo-polyurethane, a more lightweight alternative to the rubber sole that’s also durable against chemicals and oils. 


Of course, comfort has to be a key consideration when buying work boots, but buying a cheaper boot may leave you with discomfort after a long day’s wear. Look out for the material used for the insole of a work boot. Quality work boots may specifically call out that they use memory foam for their boot inserts, which can take pressure off your legs and lower back when standing and walking all day. Be mindful of the weight of a work boot, as this can also contribute to fatigue and discomfort throughout the day. 

Cheap work boots features


While some work boots simply have a leather or suede outer shell, other boots put a premium on durability and keeping your feet dry. Waterproof boots may have a membrane layer around the boot to ensure that water won’t get into the shoe. Rubber soles also help considerably with waterproofing a shoe. 


The tread of a shoe refers to the construction and shape of the sole. Just like a pair of good tires, work boots need a decently deep tread in order to grip uneven or slippery surfaces to prevent falls and injuries. Work boots with deeper treads can be described as slip-resistant. 


For added foot protection, some work boots may come with steel toes. This can be an extra layer of defense against falling objects or stubbing your toe. A steel toe is a shell that goes around the front of a work boot. Steel toes are often covered by leather on either side, making steel-toed boots look almost identical to normal work boots. 

Cheap work boots cost 

Work boots can run you anywhere from $50-$200, depending on the brand and the quality of materials used to make the boot. It isn’t a challenge to find a good pair of work boots on a budget. There are many economical options costing $50-$75 that don’t compromise on comfort or durability. 

Cheap work boots FAQ

Can I find cheaper work boots with an electrical hazard protection rating?

A. Yes. Having that protection rating is not exclusive to expensive boots. 

How can I protect my work boots?

A. While waterproof membranes will help to keep your foot dry, water can still impact the durability of your boots’ outer layer. Manufacturers recommend treating your boots with a waterproofing agent. If for any reason your shoes get wet on the inside, or even just dirty from sweaty feet, using a shoe deodorizer can dry your boots from the inside out or give them a little refresh. 

Which cheap work boots should I get?

Best of the best cheap work boots

Caterpillar Men’s Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot: available at Amazon

Our take: Designed by a brand well-known and respected in construction, this work boot fits comfortably in the yard and on a work site. 

What we like: Slip-resistant rubber outer sole with deep tread. Built with a waterproof membrane to keep feet dry in most conditions. Midsole absorbs shock and makes for a lighter-weight shoe. Electrical hazard protection rated. 

What we dislike: Shoes are not very breathable and may need powder to protect against foot sweat.

Best bang for your buck cheap work boots

CARENURSE Men’s Lightweight Ankle Work Boot: available at Amazon

Our take: An extremely economical work boot that takes many by surprise with a no-risk return policy.

What we like: Boots are equipped with a water-resistant outer layer, easy-to-adjust laces and rubber anti-slip soles. Brand will return or replace boots for up to 120 days. Removable insole to improve fit and comfort.

What we dislike: Not fully waterproof, and they can form a very noticeable crease on the toe of the boot. 

Honorable mention cheap work boots

NORTIV 8 Men’s Military Tactical Work Boots: available at Amazon

Our take: These high-ankle work boots can protect ankles and keep feet breathable — and they’re made in the USA.

What we like: Easy to put on even with the high ankle due to a side zipper. High abrasion-resistant leather on the outside protects shoes from snags and rips. Flexible EVA midsole prevents foot fatigue throughout the day. 

What we dislike: Takes a few wears to be comfortable; they can be tight around the toe knuckles, but loosen up. 

Daisy Kelly is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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