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The 10 Best Women’s Safety Boots in 2021 (Reviews)
Reviews for safety boots too often exclude those purpose-built for women’s feet, and today we aim to remedy that problem. Whatever your use-case, we’ve got the recommendations you need to keep your feet protected from every sort of environmental hazard.
Table of Contents
Protect Your Feet on Any Job
Below, we examine the pros and cons of what our research has revealed to be the top ten ladies’ safety boots. You’ll learn about the features that make each stand out, and hopefully be better able to come to a decision of which one to buy. And, if you need a little more food for thought, we offer some general pointers further down the page to make your comparison shopping all the more productive.
There’s no limit to what you can do, so why should you settle for shoes that can’t keep up? There’s never been a better selection of high-quality yet affordable safety footwear for women on the market, so with a little patience and a willingness to shop around, you can achieve exceptional value for money–and protections besides.
The 10 Best Women’s Safety Boots
Below, we present the ten best women’s safety boots according to their protections, fit, style, durability, and overall value for money:
Timberland didn’t need to include “Premium” in the name for you to know this is a superb safety boot. That’s because after nearly 70 years, they’ve helped define what a work boot should be.
Their 6” Premium Boot features their trademark yellow full-grain Nubuck leather uppers. These are triple-stitched and sealed beneath to form a rugged barrier against oil, water, and abrasion. With a bit of care, they’ll withstand hard wear for years to come.
Speaking of durability, the 6” Premium features direct attach to welt construction, which offers the best of two worlds. The injection-moulded outsole forms around a welted ply rib, creating an unbreakable mechanical bond as well as a perfect waterproof seal where the uppers meet the sole.
With every step you take in your sexy-but-tough Timberlands, you can feel good about your carbon footprint as well. The Premium 6” sources its leather from tanneries with Gold environmental responsibility ratings, while the insulation is made from at least 50% recycled PET (the stuff soda bottles are made from). The outsoles also comprise in part of plant-based materials.
Of course, with any high-quality leather safety boot, there’s a bit of a breaking-in period. But once you’re through, you’ll find the gum rubber soles, anti-fatigue midsoles, and padded collars work a treat to keep you comfortably on your feet through long hours.
Overall, it’s hard to recommend a better women’s safety boot–so long as you don’t need a steel toe. The Timberland Premium 6” was designed in 1973 to cope with the harsh New England winters, and are ready to carry you through snow, mud, rain, or any other environmental hazard.
- Classic Timberland style
- Rugged, waterproof construction
- Insulated against wintry weather
- Eco-friendly materials
- A bit of an investment
- No steel toe or midsole
If you’re looking for a boot that’s easy to slip on whilst taking the dogs out on a drizzly day, consider Dunlop’s fantastic Half Wellies. Made from a flexible yet durable PVC, these boots are the epitome of waterproof, yet have rugged utility far surpassing standard rain boots.
Even on ground slicked with mud or ice, you can count on your Dunlop Half Wellies to keep you firmly planted. With outsized treads and a moulded sole, you’ve always got a stable platform upon which to traverse uneven terrain.
You’ll love the ease with which you can throw them on, with extra-wide calf openings. This 30cm-tall design also makes it easy to tuck your jeans in, making it easy to stay clean against the mud. The Half Wellies themselves are also easy to rinse off, and require virtually no care beyond an occasional cleaning.
While the fit is especially generous up top, the Dunlop Wellie fits mostly true to size around the foot. Most people will probably prefer the feel of some thick hiking socks, but it’s always nice to be able to simply kick off your boots when you’re done in the garden.
So it’s clear that the Dunlop Half Wellies are well-suited to daily use. But, you should set your expectations of what these can and can’t do accordingly. They’re safety boots so far as the weather is concerned, but they won’t shield your feet from impacts, crushing, or piercing. What’s more, they’re affordable even on tight budgets, and are thus not meant to be reconstructed once they’re worn out.
Disclaimers aside, the Dunlop Half Wellies are some of the best-selling boots in the world. For a modest price, you get the easiest of easy-wearers which will take you through harsh weather elements with aplomb.
- Fully waterproof
- Comfortable, relaxed fit for calves of all sizes and tucked-in pants alike
- Good traction
- Easy to clean
- Extremely affordable
- No protection against piercing, crushing, or impacts
- No meaningful insulation vs. freezing temperatures
Looking for a Wellington-style boot with a little more oomph? Dr. Martens’ Icon 2295 Rigger boot may be just the ticket.
Here, we have a gorgeous full-grain leather upper with tumbled finish, resistant to both physical and elemental abuse alike. They stand about 30cm tall, and slip on easily thanks to the dual pull loops. It is true that there’s a bit of a break-in period, but with some Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam (or similar conditioning oil), you’ll find they come to fit like a glove.
These are sturdy boots, and as such have some heft to them. However, the famous Dr. Martens PVC sole works wonders to absorb the impact of footfall, greatly reducing foot fatigue. Not only that, but they’re highly resistant to electrical hazards underfoot, as well as oils and alkali chemicals. There’s a good amount of grip as well, allowing stable footing on uneven or slick ground.
Inside, you’ll find a stroke of pure genius: padding around the ankle bone! It’s nothing fancy or high-tech, but it makes a huge difference for stability and comfort (once broken in, of course). Combined with the EVA midsole, and you’ve got a boot which truly moulds to your feet and lets you get on with the length of your day tirelessly.
On the opposite end of the boot is a steel toe cap, which meets with I/75 C/75 standards for protection. With welted construction, you’ll be able to replace the sole as needed. However, the general point of failure for the Rigger is the leather over the toe cap, so you’ll want to really make sure you keep the leather conditioned to extend the life of your safety boots beyond a year or so.
You’ll likely need to size up to get the right fit.
- Stylish safety boots for women or men
- Great ankle support
- Anti-fatigue materials
- Leather rather stiff without conditioning
- No half sizes available
Blackrock sets out to prove that safety boots can look smart while still serving their primary function. The SF12B Dealers succeeds wildly on both fronts; and with a low price point, they are some of the best-selling women’s safety boots on the market.
Being Chelsea-style boots, the Dealers are incredibly easy to throw on and kick off as needed, with elasticated sides and dual pull tags lining the collar. While the leather is substantial enough to keep a sturdy shape and fit, it’s not so thick that you’ll have a miserable break-in period. In fact, you can pretty much enjoy them out the box without giving them a second thought!
Thanks to direct-attached construction, you’ll find the SF12B pliant, lightweight, and flexible. Moulded PU inserts provide plenty of arch support, while the cushioned heel absorbs the energy of each step you take, letting you go long hours with minimal fatigue.
In terms of protection, Blackrock certainly offers a lot. Yes, there’s the standard steel toe cap, but also a steel midsole plate which protects your foot from sharp objects piercing through beneath. The soles are exceptionally resistant to oils, dirt, and chemicals, and provide exceptional SRC traction on slick surfaces.
While they’re not waterproof, the direct-attach construction does work well to keep splashes and moisture out. Plus, you can use a wax-based waterproofing agent on the uppers to create a hydrophobic surface. Combined with generous interior insulation, and you’ve got a pair of boots well-suited to outdoor tasks like landscaping year-round.
Despite their affordable price, the Dealer safety boots can easily survive a year or more of hard wear. Indeed, many people will buy a new pair year after year because they’re just that good. Just be aware that you’ll want to go a full size down–even so, you’ll still have plenty of room for thick socks.
- Excellent physical protection with steel toe and midsole
- Superior slip resistance
- Proper Chelsea boot that looks great worn casually or in uniform
- Costs less than lunch for two
- Sizing is much too large, and no half-sizes available
- Not properly waterproof
- There are much more durable boots out there
Originally designed for FBI training in 1982, the Classic is Magnum’s flagship safety boot. Whether you’re serving in uniform, or just in need of a rugged daily driver, you owe it to yourself to give this one a second look.
Reliability is the keyword from Magnum, and this is immediately apparent in their choice of upper materials. The vamp and counter are made of a waxed full-grain leather, while the shaft is of super-tough 1150 Denier nylon. This combination is resistant to all sorts of physical abuse, and is effective at keeping out moisture, as well. Topped off with rust-proof lacing hardware, and you’ve got a boot upper which doesn’t flinch in the face of honest wear.
The Magnum Classic’s interior is well-designed for service, as well. Ample padding along the tongue and collar offers a snug fit free from pressure points. Additionally, Cambrelle lining works a treat to wick moisture away and regulate temperature about the foot. Underfoot, you’ll find a moulded EVA insole, which pads every step you take and defeats bacteria long before it has a chance to grow with its special treatment.
The outsole is chemically bonded to the uppers, allowing for more flex and less weight. There’s plenty of traction on surfaces slicked with water or oil, ensuring you always put your best foot forward.
While the Magnum Classic has a definite tactical aesthetic, its sleek unisex styling will perfectly complement your uniform, outdoor attire, or even perhaps a LBD with cropped denim jacket! Just make sure to break them in before you need to spend hours in them, as they start off a bit stiff. You’ll probably want to size down, too.
- Technical, unisex style
- Durable waterproof uppers
- Comfortable, moisture-wicking and anti-bac interiors
- No protective toe cap
- Cemented construction limits longevity
Groundwork are a UK-based company with over 30 years’ experience designing great quality safety boots at a reasonable price. Indeed, the GR386 ladies’ safety boot is emblematic of their production philosophy, and offers a tonne of utility for money.
They may not look like your typical steel-toed boots, but that’s precisely the charm. Indeed, they could pass for high-top trainers with their sleek, modern design. But don’t be fooled, that protective toe cap is tested to protect your fragile foot bones against 200 joules of impact energy and 15kN of compression force.
At this price, you won’t be getting full-grain uppers; but the leather used is quite durable, and offers adequate water resistance to keep your feet dry on rainy or muddy days. For improved performance and durability, we recommend you spray a bit of Scotchgard fabric protector.
The fit is comfortably wide within, though the depth is such that there’s not a tonne of room for inserts. You’ll probably find you don’t need them, though–the insole moulds to your feet to provide plenty of stability and support for both ankle and arch. Added up together, these women’s safety boots barely weigh more than a kilogram, offering lightweight protection you wouldn’t mind walking miles a day in.
The Groundwork GR386’s outsoles are built for rugged service, and admirably withstand standing water, oil, petrol, and other chemicals with ease. What’s more, the outsized treads provide exceptional traction on uneven terrain, ladder rungs, and slick surfaces alike.
These are mostly true to size, though you’ll find the best fit comes with thick socks on. Do prepare for a bit of a breaking-in period, as the leather is fairly stiff out of the box.
- Inexpensive steel-toed boot
- Look like trainers
- Good waterproofing
- Excellent traction
- Leather isn’t top-quality and rather stiff
- Stitching could be more robust and will be the first thing to go
Groundwork strikes again with their appropriately named Ladies Work Boot. There’s a lot to love about the GR77, including a smart cut, good safety protections, and an attractive price point.
Whereas our previous recommendation from Groundwork masquerades as a trainer, the GR77s are undoubtedly meant to look like what they are. They bear a rugged aspect, with outsized lacing hardware, suede leather uppers, and leather reinforcement about the vamp to serve as a sort of bumper.
Also apparent from the exterior is the construction of the sole, which features multiple layers of variable-density rubber. The outermost of these is formulated for maximum grip, whilst the interior layers absorb energy and reduce fatigue so you can keep going at it all day. It all joins together with a cemented construction that forms an effective barrier against every type of liquid.
Hidden inside is an I/75 C/75-rated steel toe cap, which is surprisingly roomy and doesn’t dig into your skin. The GR77’s 1” heel is also a thing of beauty, as it adds a bit of rebound to literally put a spring in your step.
Available in honey or black, Groundwork’s GR77 is an appealing boot that works as well for gardening and landscaping as it does hiking. Unfortunately, there are no half-sizes available, otherwise we’d recommend you size down for the perfect fit. As is, go for your regular size, and plan to wear some thick socks.
- Reinforced toe, good heel support
- Rugged hardware
- Sizing may be an issue for some
- Included laces are a bit flimsy
We’d be remiss if we made a list of the best women’s safety boots without paying respects to CAT Footwear. Their Kitson SRX is probably exactly what you picture when imagining a tough pair of work boots, and we’re pleased to report they live up to their image.
For under £100, you get an awful lot of boot. First and foremost are triple-stitched, full-grain suede uppers that shrug off abuse and moisture alike. Beneath the surface is a nylon mesh lining, which regulates both humidity and temperature within the boot for preserving foot health even in sweaty conditions.
The gum rubber outsole absolutely hugs the ground, and there’s even a built-in ladder groove for clinging onto rungs as you climb. It’s also resistant to heat, fuel, and chemical abuse, as well. CAT Footwear also uses an energy-absorbent heel, allowing you to walk miles per day without fatigue. Don’t discount the removable EVA footbed either, which moulds to your feet for maximum stability and fights bacteria build-up.
Really, the only thing truly separating the Kitson SRX from a boot twice the price is the fact of its cement, rather than welted construction. That’s okay though, as CAT Footwear is merely the licensed brand used by legendary boot manufacturer Wolverine. With over a century of experience, you can count on a sturdy build. Overall, the Kitson SRX is ideal for hard jobs like animal management, agriculture, carpentry, or landscaping where durability and endurance are key.
- Reputable manufacturer
- S1 protection including steel toe and oil resistance
- Rugged good looks
- Waterproof and moisture-wicking
- Superior grip
- Lack of welt means the nice uppers are done once the sole’s shot
- Lacing hardware can be a bit fiddly
If you’re looking for an affordable way to shore up the physical defence of your feet, look no further than Amblers Steel. Their FS7 are a cracking good pair of women’s safety boots, with top-quality construction and plenty of armour.
You’ll find robust steel covering both the toe cap and amidst the midsole. Both are rated for heavy duty, and will reliably guard your fragile foot bones from compression, impacts, and penetration. The toe is rated for 200J of energy, while the midsole can withstand 1100N of force.
Outside is exactly what you want to see in a work boot: full-grain leather uppers mechanically bonded via durable Goodyear welt to a robust outsole. The Nubuck suede finish works a treat to keep water out, though you’ll want to brush them occasionally to keep them in good nick. The Nitrile rubber outsoles effectively absorb the energy of your footsteps, resist oil, and grabs onto slick surfaces with SRA-rated grip.
In terms of quality of life, there’s ample padding about the PU collar for a comfortable fit. The collar is flanked by a pull loop, which together with rust-free brass speed lacing hardware, makes for easy donning of your favourite work boots.
Overall, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a genuinely hard-wearing, classically styled safety boot for the price as with the FS7.
- Goodyear welt and triple-stitched uppers
- Steel toe and midsole protection
- Removable PU foot bed
- A bit heavy for long hours on your feet
- Cut may be too big or wide for some feet
The Dryverse women’s safety boots make for a solid investment in the health and comfort of your feet. Indeed, CAT Footwear makes a litany of top-tier protections available at an affordable price, showing once again why they’re one of the best in the business.
As an S3 boot, you get steel protection about your toe and midsole for superior kinetic safety. What’s more, the SRX rubber soles feature antistatic and electrical resistance, resilience vs. fuel oils, and heat resistance up to 300°. Additionally, the treads offer sure footing over surfaces slicked with water or oil for an SRC rating.
Living up to their namesake, the Dryverse work boots feature waterproof, triple-stitched full-grain uppers in a sleek black waxed finish. As they meet the sole with a cemented construction, there’s no need to worry about standing water coming in from below. Inside, you’ll find a Nylex sock liner, which banishes all forms of moisture away from your foot, keeping it healthy and dry at all times.
So it’s clear these things are built like an amphibious tank; they must be hideously uncomfortable, right? Quite the opposite, with a poured PU midsole available to absorb shock, and a PU foam insole to offer cushioning and support. There’s also generous padding about the collar and great ankle support.
Best of all? CAT Footwear endeavours to make their boots true to size, and you won’t have to fiddle with sizing up or down with the Dryverse.
- S3 HRO SRC certified protection
- Quite comfy
- Utterly dry indeed with exceptional waterproofing and moisture wicking
- We’d love to see a version with welted construction for a nearly perfect women’s work boot
How to pick the right safety boot for women
Despite not getting nearly as much coverage as men’s work boots, there’s no shortage of safety shoes for women out there. Like any product category, there are a few really great ones, many more that will do just fine, and a handful you should avoid at all costs if you value keeping your feet (and your pocketbook) intact. Beyond just taking our word for it, how can you be sure you’ve picked the right pair? The answer:
Make sure you really understand safety ratings
Despite Brexit, the UK still generally adheres to European safety standards for safety footwear, namely EN ISO 20345. These are put in place not only to govern what safety features manufacturers can and can’t advertise, but to set and standardise minimum safety expectations in the workplace.
If the thought of crawling through pages of fine-print legalese makes your eyes glaze over, don’t worry. The standards are actually quite easy to understand once broken down.
The minimum to be called a safety shoe
To achieve the minimum SB (safety basic) rating, a safety boot or safety trainer must have toe cap armour capable of withstanding 200J impacts and 15kN of compression force. Steel, aluminium, and various composites (essentially hardened plastics) can all serve in this role admirably.
Specific protection ratings and their abbreviations
Next, we have S1-S5 ratings, which tack on a variety of specific protections. The most common and relevant of these are abbreviated and explained thus:
- A – Antistatic, which prevents static charge from building up in the sole. This stops your shoes from suddenly switching from an insulator, to a dangerous conductor of electricity!
- E – Energy Absorption, usually about the heel. This is the official metric of comfort, as an E heel will absorb the shock of your footsteps, preventing fatigue.
- FO – Fuel Oil, which can not only erode the integrity of your boots, but can pose a serious chemical danger to your foot.
- P – Penetration, which refers to nails, glass, or other sharp objects piercing through the bottom of your sole (and thus, your foot)
- HRO – Heat Resistant Outsole, which can withstand contact with surfaces up to 300°C without melting or burning you.
- I – Electrical Insulation, not to be confused with antistatic. Boots with this rating will protect you even should you step directly onto a live wire. This is in contrast to the more passive threat of static build up.
- WR/WRU – Water Resistant/Water Resistant Uppers. Of the two, WR offers the more complete protection against moisture entering your boots, but WRU is still useful for fending off splashes.
S ratings explained
There are, of course, a few more niche protections, but the important thing to know about these is how they combine to form S ratings. Here’s the breakdown:
- S1 – Take an SB boot, then tack on A,E, FO for S1. You’ll also sometimes see the S1P variant which includes penetration guards about the midsole.
- S2 – All of the protections of S1, plus WRO.
- S3 – All of the protections of S2 (and thus, S1), plus P. (Also think of it as S1P+WRO, half dozen of one, six of the other).
- S4 – A souped-up S1 boot comprised entirely of rubber or a similar compound. We don’t cover these in this article, but you see this rating on a lot of Wellington-style boots.
- S5 – An S4, plus P. Heavy duty Wellies bear this rating.
Slip ratings explained
In addition to the S ratings above, many safety boots (whether waterproof or not) will bear one of three slip ratings: SRA, SRB, and SRC. SRB is not necessarily better than SRA, it just means the boots have been tested under different circumstances. When at all possible, shoot for SRC boots, which encompass both SRA and SRB. Confused? Here’s what it all really means:
- SRA – Means the boot will retain good grip on a ceramic tile floor, which has been slicked with sodium lauryl sulfate (the stuff that creates bubbles in your shampoo).
- SRB – Means the boot will retain good grip on a steel floor, which has been slicked with glycerol. This is an oily liquid commonly found in industrial applications such as lubricants and solvents.
- SRC – Once again, means the boot passed both SRA and SRB testing.
Women’s Safety Boots: CONCLUSION
We’ve covered a lot of ground, but if you’re still reading this far down the page, you can confidently shop around for the best women’s safety boot for your needs.
After much market research, we’ve reviewed what we consider to be the top 10 womens safety boots. Moreover, we’ve demystified the sometimes complicated EN ISO 20345 safety standard, so that you can tell the difference between a boot that will actually protect you, and empty advertising wordplay.
- What sorts of jobs will you be doing in your ladies’ safety boots?
- Do you have any questions about safety ratings or any of the features mentioned in our recommended boots?
Sound off in the comments below!