Steel Shank is a rather odd pair of words to be used with reference to boots. So, what is it? Well, simply put a steel shank is a rectangular material piece, made from a variety of durable plastic, carbon fiber, wood, nylon, fiberglass, or steel. The shank is usually placed on the outer sole or beneath the boot sole, particularly in the midsection of the sole. It serves as a support mechanism between the outsole and insole of the boot (usually right under the arch and between the ball of the foot and the heel).
The use of a steel shank in work boots provides additional strength, support, stability, and durability, and serves as a form of protection. The steel shank specifically provides strength and proper support in the middle section of your work footwear. Moreover, it provides excellent arch support. For safety purposes, these boots are made so that they protect your feet from the material scattered on the construction area or so.
Steel shank work boots may not be the most comfortable out of the variety of other material shanks but they do provide some degree of comfort and flexibility. Here is a list of the top 5 steel shank work boots that I have put together to make it easier for you to choose from!
1. Caterpillar Men's Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot
- Highly durable
- Electrical hazard-resistant Steel toe
- Slip resistant rubber sole
- Not completely waterproof
Material:100% Leather | Sole: Synthetic | Status: Imported | Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 0.7 inches
Last Update on 2020-12-28 using Amazon Product Advertising API
Topping this list is incredible, sweep you off your feet, Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe work boots! Before digging into the plethora of specs that they come packed with, I have to mention right away the affordability of these shoes that will last you a really, really long time. Durability coupled with affordability? Of course, they’re number one!
These boots are leather-bound, quality oiled full-grain or Nubuck leather uppers, and come with all the safety characteristics you look for in the top quality work boots. They obviously are incorporated with a steel shank which ensures the luxury of arch support. A steel shank being sturdy serves as a shock buffer and protects the legs and feet from pressure. However, in spite of all these specs, these boots are lightweight! These boots are Electrical Hazard footwear rated ASTM F2413-18 1/75EH which according to the manufacturer’s reassurance means that the Special EH construction safeguards the user from open circuits up to 14,000 volts ( in dry conditions)
These orthopedic work boots have engineered nylon mesh interiors for better breathability and fresh interior coupled with the Climasphere breathable insole keeping the feet dry! Moreover, the PU footbed is removable which allows for replacement of the soles! The Goodyear welt construction keeps the shoe durable and the T3 rubber outsoles provide slip resistance. The leather is water-resistant itself and the boot itself is not too rigid which gives the forefoot more than enough flexibility to move comfortably. The boot shaft measures approximately 6″ from arch, heel approximately 1.25”, and the platform measures approximately 0.75″
The only drawback that I can possibly highlight, but one which can be overlooked, is that they are not too waterproof. However, this can be overcome by using beeswax for waterproofing! To crown it all, I would title them as the best overall shoes as they really are a pleasant surprise to come across.
The runner up on this list, loaded with value for money and incredible specs, are the Tank Men’s Boots by EVER BOOTS. These boots are made of quality full grain 2.0MM Nubuck leather and the sole is made out of rubber. This gives them the promised durability by Ever Boots! The shaft measures approximately 7 from arch and product dimensions are 14 x 5 x 10 inches. Now these are just the basic technical details.
They come instilled with the Goodyear Welt Construction which promises the durability of these boots, given that Goodyear welt construction allows the outsole to be re-stitched, if it wears out i.e. re-soles can be managed! Moreover, the insole is a comfortable cushion insole which comes with a removable slip-resistant rubber outsole! However, the slip resistance is not too extreme, so one ought to be careful! The comfort and durability for the price is what ranks these boots number 2nd!
These boots were a pleasant surprise when I saw the price tag alongside the specs that it carried. The Speedy Hooks make putting them on quicker and easier than most boots that I struggled with. The arch of the boot is supported by a steel shank which, like always, is there to reduce any kind of pressure onto the foot or leg thus exponentially increasing the comfort levels of wearing these boots! These boots come in a true size, so you have to be particular about your shoe size. These boots require no break-in period, they are really the perfect fit if the size is appropriately chosen.
The insulated mesh lining adds to the comfort of the feet and also keeps them warm. Moreover, the signature Tank tread pattern on these shoes offers exceptional traction when confronted with slippery/uneven surfaces. They lasted me a good 8 months before the inside sole started wearing out but the outward appearance remained excellent.
Though not too important on my list of concerns, these boots do not come with any anti-odor treatment! But the drawback that really put these shoes on second rank despite the excellent value for money is the fact that these boots have no standard EH measurements. All in all, incredible quality, convenient use, and great value for money!
3. Men's Diagnostic Work Boot by Caterpillar
- Steel shank and Steel toe
- Electrical hazard-resistant
- 200g Thinsulate insulation
- Weak shoelace eyelet
Material: 100% Leather | Sole: Rubber | Status: Imported | Dimensions:5 x 5 x 0.7 inches
Last Update on 2020-12-28 using Amazon Product Advertising API
Ranking third on this list are Caterpillar’s Diagnostic orthopedic work boots which come, of course, fully packed with the features you look for and more! Their unique feature is insulation which keeps the feet comfortably warm. They are pretty rugged, come with proper arch support and have a removable EVA foam insert with gel technology that is supposed to feel like heaven for the feet.
A stylish dark beige in color with measurements of 2 lbs 3 oz for weight,: 15 1⁄2 in for circumference and 6 1⁄2 for the shaft, these boots have leather uppers that are 6 inches tall from the arch. The leather uppers on the boots are waterproof and the uppers are attached to the soles in a way that it makes them water-tight. The interiors are lined with 200g Thinsulate insulation and as mentioned above, this maintains the temperature of the feet.
These boots have an ASTM-rated steel toe which protects the feet from any unwelcome harm that can potentially occur on the foot. Moreover, the CAT SRX slip-resistant rubber soles are extremely durable and can be used excessively without worrying about wearing them out anytime soon. The traction in these boots is particular to ladders and uneven terrains courtesy of the Ladder grip technology. I use them for long walks, or even hikes because why not?! For increased comfort and safety of the feet, the ankle collar on these boots is padded and the nylon mesh lining keeps the feet dry and fresh. And these boots are also electrical hazard-resistant?! That’s what I call loaded!
These boots only have a tiny little sad drawback which is that they have a weak shoelace eyelet which can definitely be improved but that’s something I’ll be willing to overlook given the specs and features that these boots score all alone! Great value for money, durable, top quality. A sure buy!
Second to the last among the very best, are the Timberland Pro Rigmaster boots! These are orthopedic work boots made out of full-grain leather that come in black and dark-brown. Like all the boots in this list, they are packed with the specs and features you’ll look for and need in your work boots. They are available in a decent range of sizes i.e. 7-15 (in medium as well as extra-wide toe box models).
The steel toe and water-proofing steal the show for their safety purposes and the tread pattern on the outsole of the boots provides an exceptional grip. The synthetic sole is compatible with all surfaces, whether dry or with oil/water spill. You can walk without worry.
My experience with these was such that they were easy on the pocket and packed with these incredible features that seemed irresistible to not buy. Covered with abrasion-resistant leather on the front and heels, these boots consist of an ASTM-rated steel toe. They are also electrical hazard-resistant which further ensures your safety, and that is always excellent in work boots. The steel shank on the boots offers support to the arches which mitigate the discomfort of walking over uncomfortable surfaces. Moreover, the antimicrobial insoles cover the footbed and keep the feet odor-free.
However, as promising as these boots seemed to come off in the beginning, they were not as durable. Sadly, they started wearing out after a few months of use, probably 2-4 months at best. Overall, they are a good catch for the costs associated with it, one can only get so much with so little!
5. Iron Ranger by Red Wing
- Very durable
- Steel shank and bump toe
- Stitch-down welt construction
- Not true size: Sizing down is important
- Little traction
Material: 100% Leather | Sole: Nitrile Cork | Status: Made in USA | Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 15 inches
Last Update on 2021-01-14 using Amazon Product Advertising API
Concluding this excellent selection of work boots are the Men’s Iron Ranger Boots by Red Wing. These boots are made in the USA with genuine tough leather. They come with a Nitrile cork sole which is extremely durable and works fantastically on most surfaces (except ice/snow) to walk on!
These boots are handcrafted with welt construction and feature a bump-toe which allows extra room in the forefoot area and provides extra protection to your feet especially in work areas where there is a risk of kicking or walking on littered material. The shaft of these boots measures approximately 6.5″ from the arch, the heel measures approximately 1″ and the platform measures approximately 0.50″.
They definitely cost me a penny but they were also the most durable out of the lot. The leather is of incredible quality, rough in the beginning but with time softens and makes wearing the boots quite an experience. I had to size down half to get the proper fit for myself. The bump-toe feature really puts one at ease as the feet are protected from potential bumping-in.
Moreover, this tough shoe is stitched so that it remains durable. The sole is non-marking and oil-resistant but has no traction on ice as it is made of Nitrile cork. These boots can be repairable as the sole is attached via the Goodyear welt technique. They are not fully waterproof but they do withstand water to a certain degree as all quality leather does. This can be overcome by using a leather polish!
In short, if you are looking for durability and a high price tag is not your concern, then these are for you!