Best Steel Toe Boots vs Composite Toe Boots : Which should you choose?

Steel Toe boots vs. Composite Toe Boots : Which should you choose?

So it’s time to get a pair of trusty, new work boots. You have an idea of what you’d like. Perhaps you want a trendy – looking pair that can go from work to outing. But you can’t seem to decide on one thing … the toes.
Steel toes or composite toes? What’s the difference anyway? Which of the two is going to serve you better?
If you’ve ever found yourself in this dilemma, believe me you’re not alone. Choosing the best steel toe boots or best composite toe boots have become the conundrum of work boot shopping, since the composite toe showed up.


The steel toe

This is the classic toe cap that is used in work boots. Steel safety toes are basically toe caps made from steel, fitted into your work boot. They are meant to protect your toes from getting smashed by falling objects in the work environment.
Steel toes have been around for decades and have been the go – to –choice for most people. That was until the composite toe came around.

The composite toe

These are the new addition to the safety toe family. The word “composite” is used to mean materials formed by combining two or more different materials to form a new material with an improved overall structure.
Composite toes are usually made from materials like Kevlar, carbon fiber, plastic or fiberglass. They are a non – metal alternative to traditional steel toes.

Steel toe or Composite toe?

Now you know the basic difference between steel and composite toes. Ultimately, both safety toes are meant to protect you from getting crushed toes and they are both do an excellent job at it.
So how do you decide which to choose?
Let’s compare the two on three key points. These points are important to anyone who wears a work boot almost everyday.
Here’s a video that explains the differences much clearer.



In terms of weight, the trusty old steel toe weighs more that the composite toe boot. This is because steel is metal and covering an entire toe box with adds a tad more weight to the shoe overall. This can be uncomfortable if you wear your boots for long periods.
Composite toes being made of plastic or rubber are lighter. This makes it a great option if you tend to walk around a lot at work e. g supervising engineer.


You’d definitely want to make sure your work boots are worthwhile investment that lasts long. Some steel toe boots have been touted to last up to three years! You can check out the Timberland Pro Pitboss steel toe.
Another all – time favorite I recommend is the Keen Utility Men’s Atlanta Cool Steel Toe Work Shoe. It’s great because it doesn’t look like your regular work boot. It also provides a lot of comfort and breathability to your feet.
Composite toes might also last long, but not as long as steel toes do. What’s more, some reports say that composite toes become less durable after one impact. They are also likely to crack if exposed to forces greater than they were made to withstand.


Considering the amount of time you’d spend in these shoes, comfort is king. There’s no point going for safety in a shoe you can barely stand in. That said, steel toes mostly fall short in this category.
Due to the weight of the steel, steel toes tend to be quite heavy and uncomfortable over long periods of wear. Composite toes win here because of their lightweight material and construction.
There’s also the issue of composite toes having bulky looking toe-boxes. The bulkiness might be due to extra layering on of the material, so that it can withstand more force or pressure. Having a bulky toe-box doesn’t add to the weight of the boot, but it does make it look a little … clubby.
You’ll find that with steel toes however, this isn’t an issue. Steel is steel and you wouldn’t need extra layers to make it stronger.

The Verdict

So Which Should You Choose?

I’ll say, it depends.
You should consider your working environment. Do you find yourself walking a lot at work? Then you’ll definitely need something lightweight. The weight of a steel toe can wear you out pretty quickly if you have to walk more than stand.
Are falling objects like wood and metal common hazards? Then you’ll definitely need a steel toe.
Do you work in an environment with extreme temperatures? Then composite toes will serve you better as they don’t conduct heat or cold.
Perhaps you have to pass through metal detectors very often. Obviously, the better choice would be composite toes.

To Sum It Up …

Steel toes and composite toes were both made to do one thing, protect your toes. Because they both go through stringent tests to meet both ASTM and OHSA standards, it’s hard to say one withstands more than the other.
Let comfort and the industry you’re in be the major deciding factors. Even though composite toes sometimes carry a hefty price tag, there are offerings available for every budget. (You can check these out!).
Still got a question? Please leave a comment and have a look at our website to find out more information. We’d love to hear from you!

Steve Owen is author of this article, he want to write more information to serve visitors with good and overview about shoes for work: women and men, old and young, he hope everyone enjoy it and if you want to find out more about our author, don’t hesitate!”

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