Work boot guide

Our Ultimate Construction Worker – Work Boot Guide

Work boots. You need them. As a construction worker, you’re on your feet all day. Whether you are lifting, carrying, walking on planks or just working in one place – you need work boots that both keep your feet safe AND comfortable.

That’s why it’s crucial that you invest in the right work boots. 

But, choosing the perfect work boot to wear at a construction site isn’t as simple as it seems. 

There is a reason why no one chooses to encase their feet in reinforced high carbon steel!

The perfect safety boot for construction sites depends on the right combination of strength, flexibility, weight, material, and general design.

If you’re wondering “what safety boots should I buy,” look no further, you’re in the right place! 

We’ve compiled an ultimate boot guide for construction workers, so you never have to compromise on comfort or safety at work.

Why Are Safety Work Boots Important?

The importance of safety boots is all in their name. 

For construction workers, they’re made to protect your feet on site and so they must be sturdy and durable enough so that you can wear them day-in and day-out for long hours in all sorts of temperatures and work conditions. They also reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Safety boots are one part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) required for construction workers – and anyone who visits construction sites. PPE includes goggles, ear plugs, respirators, safety harnesses, safety shoes, hard hats and sunscreen, and of course, safety boots. All safety boots sold in Australia need to conform to the Australian Standards for safety footwear.

How To Choose The Right Safety Boots?

Here are the elements you should keep in mind when buying work boots for construction work. 

Different Types of Work Boots

Safety boots can be categorized based on their closure style. 

Slip-On Safety Boots

Slip-on safety boots are ideal for construction workers who don’t want to go through the hassle of constantly retying their laces.

However, slip-on boots generally have little ankle support, which is why we wouldn’t recommend wearing them on uneven surfaces such as construction sites. These boots are a better option for warehouse work or for working on flat surfaces.

Lace-Up Safety Boots

Lace-up boots provide much better ankle support and protection along with a customised fit achieved by the lace. Most sites require you to have lace-up work boots since they’re all-rounders, making them safe for most construction work.

Lace-Up with Zipping

Lace-up zip boots pack convenience, protection, and comfort into one shoe. While they fulfill all the protection requirements you’ll need at any site, they also make it much easier for you to get in and out of your boots. 

Most rail workers are required to wear lace-up zip boots. That’s because they need the ability to get out of their boots quickly in case their foot gets trapped. REF

Types Of Protection

The primary purpose of a safety boot is to protect your feet, and it can do so in many different ways.

Safety Cap

Safety caps are most commonly made of steel and ensure that your feet or toes don’t get crushed by falling or rolling objects on site. They are inflexible and typically heavier than other kinds.

Midsole Barrier

A midsole barrier refers to a protective layer of composite material or kevlar fitted within the shoe’s midsole. This barrier is made to prevent nails and other sharp objects from penetrating through to the bottom of the foot.


Most safety boots have basic water resistance. However, if you work in damp environments, work boots with a waterproof barrier are a better option for you.

Non-Slip Sole 

If you work in an environment with lots of mud and dirt, opt for a shoe that has a deeper tread sole to increase grip.

Electrical Protection

An insulating sole is a great way to protect yourself from shock hazards if you work around live electricity.

Anti-Static Protection

Choose boots that don’t let your static energy build up if you work around flammable dust or fuel. 

Thermal Protection

Thermal-protected work boots can be a lifesaver in Australian summers!   

Other Things to Consider


You may think the height of your work boot is a matter of preference, but it depends on your work. For example, taller boots work better for linesmen, while most construction workers prefer shorter boots for versatile use. 


Safety boots are most commonly made from leather, nylon, and rubber, while the soles are made from rubber, TPU, or EVA. If your work requires lightweight shoes, we’d recommend going for nylon. 

On the other hand, rubber work boots are a better option for working in slippery environments. 


For optimal work performance and movement, you should take into consideration the weight of your safety boot. You can easily find boots that are durable and lightweight at the same time.

Extra Features

You should also look for extra features that add to the comfort of your work boots. That includes cushioned soles and padded collars. In addition, if your boots have patented heels and ball guards, you can count on an even more comfortable experience. 

Getting Your Boots To Fit

Once you have decided on your safety requirements, and general materials, you need to make sure they will fit perfectly.

From the time you get them on in the morning till the time you get them off in the evening, you may have been wearing safety boots for over 14 hours – so take the extra time to get the perfect fit.

This is particularly important if your boots are less flexible – such as steel-toed boots. Inflexible boots will not stretch or adjust to your feet over time.

How do I get the right fit for safety boots?

There’s a handy trick to finding the perfect fit when buying work boots. Firstly, slide your foot into the boot till your toes touch the boot’s front. Then, bend your knee. 

If your index finger can fit snugly behind the heel of your foot, that means you’ve found the right fit. 

Another point is to pay attention to the arch of the boot. If you can feel the boot pressing the arch of your foot while walking around, avoid it. 

The boot shape is unlikely to change as you wear them and so any pressure on the arch of your foot will become increasingly uncomfortable as the hours wear on.

Finally, take heat into account. Aussie summers are incredibly hot – so finding a boot that will breathe to some degree can be a real game changer.


Are construction workers expected to buy their own boots?

In NSW, employers are required to provide the appropriate PPE for construction workers, while it is the construction worker’s responsibility to use them appropriately, and notify their employer if they are damaged or unable to be used.

However, for casual employees it is normal for them to own their own basic PPE gear – including Boots, Hi-Vis vests, helmets, safety glasses, gloves and ear protection – as well as masks.

Which is better, a steel toe or a composite toe?

The main difference between a composite toe and a steel toe is strength, weight and flexibility. Steel and alloy-toe boots are generally stronger, meaning they can be thinner and have a lower profile – while still meeting safety standards.

Composite toe boots are typically made from non-ferrous materials like Kevlar, carbon fibre, plastic or fibreglass. They also offer better electrical resistance, making them a popular choice for electricians and engineers.

Another benefit is they do not set off metal detectors – which may be relevant for some work sites

The main criticism of composite toe boots is strength over multiple compressions. Once they’ve been compressed by a heavy weight, they may have less strength. Generally, this means that they may become less effective over time – though this is changing as materials and designs improve.

Steel toe boots are heavier than composite toe work boots, and are less flexible. However, they are generally cheaper and are often available in a wider range of styles, fits, and price points.

Both steel toe and composite toe safety boots meet specific Australia / NZ standards for foot protection from impact and compression. 

So should you buy composite or steel toe safety boots? It really comes down to your personal preference – weight, cost and comfort – as well as the particular conditions of your working environment.

Where can you buy safety boots in Sydney?

If you’re starting out as a construction worker and are looking for quality work boots in Sydney on a budget, there’s no better place to shop than KMart or Bunnings. They both have an excellent range of budget boots.

But if you are looking for an upgrade or have specific needs, there is no shortage of places to go. 

A final bit of advice, If you buy safety boots online, choose a store where you can send them back if the fit is not right. 

Remember, fit and comfort is key!

We don’t endorse any specific work boot or seller. Generally, if it fits well and meets the Australia / NZ safety standards, you are good to go!


Having the right gear as a construction worker is essential if you want to stay safe. That includes your hard hat, safety glasses, and most importantly, your work boots.

Working for long hours on your feet means that finding the right work boot is worth the time and expense.

Dragon Worker

We take site safety seriously. All casual workers need to turn up on site in full PPE.

Learn more about becoming a Dragon Worker.

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