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The Best Breathable Summer Work Boots to Keep You Cool in 2021

Posted on February 20, 2021| Work Boots
The Best Breathable Summer Work Boots to Keep You Cool in 2021

Keeping cool during the summer months can be a challenge when you work in construction, but one of the most effective ways to beat heat exhaustion is to put away your winter work boots and swap them for a pair of durable hot weather work boots.

Switching to lighter work boots during the summer months can help you stay cooler, prevent blisters, reduce foot fatigue, and help to prevent conditions like athletes foot.Read on for more information on the best breathable work boots to keep your feet cool and safe this summer.

In a Hurry? See Our Top Picks

Just click on any image below to see price, ratings and reviews on Amazon.

Timberland PRO Boondock 6″ Non-Insulated $Check Price on Amazon
Keen Utility MT Vernon 6″ $Check Price on Amazon
Skechers for Work Men’s Blais Hiking Shoe $Check Price on Amazon
KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh $Check Price on Amazon
Red Wing Men’s Heritage $$Check Price on Amazon
Bates Men’s TerraX3 Coyote $Check Price on Amazon
Dickies Solo Steel-Toe $Check Price on Amazon
Wolverine Men’s W05745 $Check Price on Amazon
Ariat Men’s Terrain $Check Price on Amazon

We will start this guide with a list of some of the best breathable summer work boots you can buy today. If you’re interested in learning what to look for when buying a (new) pair of work boots, make sure to read our buying guide below as well!

Reviews of the Best Breathable Work Boots in 2021

Now, let’s dive into the main part of this guide and look at each of our 9 top picks separately and in more detail.

1. Timberland PRO Men’s Boondock 6″ Waterproof Non-Insulated

Timberland’s PRO boondock boots are one of the more comfortable work boots in our list with a composite toe cap and a rubber toe protector. They have removable insoles and no insolation, ensuring that the boots remain as cool as possible. Big composite toes and a sturdy Goodyear welt construction also makes them an extremely robust boot.

While fairly resilient, it is worth noting that these boots aren’t officially puncture-resistant. The soles also have a reputation for wearing quickly and are more water-resistant than water-tight.

What we like about these work boots:

  • Removable Insoles
  • No insolation
  • Composite toe (won’t set off metal detectors)
  • Extremely sturdy
  • Extra rubber toe protector

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Not puncture resistant
  • Sole wears out quickly
  • Not watertight once broken in

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2. Keen Utility Men’s MT Vernon 6″ Waterproof

The Keen MT Vernon’s are a medium to heavy-duty boot with a focus on comfort. They have a unique membrane designed to remove moisture without allowing water in and an asymmetrical steel toe designed to give a more comfortable fit.

Although the MT Vernon’s tend to be very comfortable, break in quickly, and stand up well to a challenging work environment, they also tend to show significant wear after only 9 months, so they do need to be properly maintained in order to prolong their life.

What we like about these work boots:

  • US built
  • Light for a steel toe boot
  • Shaped steel toe makes them very comfortable
  • Available in wide fits
  • Watertight

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Show significant wear relatively quickly
  • Width runs small

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3. Skechers for Work Men’s Blais Hiking Shoe

Skechers Blais is a hiking shoe rather than a work boot, but it does meet industry standards making, making it a good alternative if you want something a little lighter. This is not a heavy-duty work shoe, but it is more than up to the challenge of lighter-duty work.

While the shoe itself looks like a normal hiking shoe, it has a steel toe which does make it very heavy. This can also cause some rubbing if you have wider feet.

What we like about these work boots:

  • Memory foam removable insole
  • Very comfortable straight out of the box
  • Watertight
  • Fashionable
  • Good air circulation
  • Very Low Cost

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Glued seams can come loose over time
  • Steel toe makes the shoe unusually heavy
  • Padding around the steel toe is a little thin

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4. KEEN Utility Men’s Pittsburgh Steel Toe Work Boot

KEEN Pittsburghs are a medium-duty work boot which look and wear like a hiking boot. The boot is designed with a special membrane which draws moisture away from your feet while remaining waterproof. They are also designed for comfort, with lots of arch support and an asymmetrically shaped steel toe cap.

While practical and comfortable, the KEEN Pittsburghs aren’t the hardiest of boots and do show significant wear after around 6 months of hard use. However, proper care may prolong their life.

What we like about these work boots:

  • Comfortable fit
  • Shaped steel toe
  • Designed to allow moisture to escape
  • Fashionable

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Wear out quickly
  • Are water-resistant rather than waterproof

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5. Red Wing Men’s Heritage Moc Hot Weather and Summer Work Boots

These Red Wing hot weather boots are probably the most stylish on our list. Their dark tan leather uppers contrasts beautifully with bright white rubber outsoles, leaving work boots that look so good you could just as easily wear them to a bar as a construction site.

This versatility does little to compromise their performance too. They’re manufactured with a solid Goodyear welt construction and uppers made from durable full-grain leather. Their smooth leather lining technology also helps to wick away sweat, ensuring your feet stay dry while working in hot or humid conditions.

The leather footbed will also mold to the exact shape of your foot, markedly increasing the comfort and support that you experience throughout the life of these boots.

Red Wing may not have made the most rugged boots around, but the Heritage Mocs certainly get the job done. And they do so in style and comfort.

What we like about these work boots:

  • The most stylish summer work boots we’ve seen
  • Leather footbed which molds to your feet
  • Leather lining technology to wick away moisture

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Not the most robust work boot around
  • Not fully waterproof

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6. Bates Men’s TerraX3 Coyote Hot Weather Boot

Now if you want the perfect match of comfort and durability, this could be the pair for you. Yes, there are sturdier work boots. There are lighter, more breathable ones too. But the TerraX3s from Bates are a superb all-rounder.

The uppers are made from abrasion-resistant, flesh-out cattle hide leather, supplemented with cordura. The vibram sole is constructed from trident rubber. The style is also AR670-1 Compliant – built, we are told, specifically to meet military specifications.

So it’s no wonder that these boots are perfect for warm weather work; they’re built to sustain long marches through the desert, should their intrepid wearer need to. Comfort is enhanced by their moisture-wicking Dri-Lex Lining – in our opinion, better than any mesh lining we have come across – and polyurethane cushioned midsoles. Their insoles are cushioned too and, more importantly, are also removable.

The only real downside is that they have high walls. This is great for ankle support, though it will limit breathability. If keeping your feet cool is your number one priority, these boots probably aren’t the ones for you. (On the other hand, if ankle support is something you crave, these could be perfect. As always, it’s all about priorities.)

Their appearance might also not be to everyone’s taste, but we think the “Desert Storm” look is quite striking. Overall, Bates have produced a great pair of boots which are both unique and functional.

What we like about these work boots:

  • A great all-rounder
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Built to meet military specifications

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • High ankle walls limit breathability
  • Not fully waterproof

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7. Dickies Men’s Solo Steel-Toe Work Shoe

Okay, so they look a little bit like the kind of shoes your teacher would wear on a Geography field trip. But if your aim is to get the best breathable work boots then look no further.

The Solos by Dickies are wonderfully lightweight and possibly the comfiest pair of boots on this list. Their moisture-wicking mesh lining, coupled with a collar that cuts off below the ankle, means these boots offer your feet the most ventilation out of any pair reviewed on this list.

The rubber soles absorb shocks effectively and, to increase your comfort even more, both their collar and their tongue are padded. Oh, and Dickies have thrown in EVA foam insoles and midsoles too!

In spite of their steel toes, they’re also quite lightweight. If you needed them to double up as a pair of walking boots from time to time, you could certainly get away with it (though we would recommend getting a more specialized pair if moderate treks are a regular part of your job).

Finally, the Solos are also exceptional value for money at around $60.There are better-looking pairs of boots. There are more robust pairs of boots. But if you’re looking for something light, functional, versatile and cheap, you won’t go far wrong with these.

What we like about these work boots:

  • The best breathable work boots we have reviewed
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great value for money
  • Solid steel toes

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • Not the best looking pair of boots
  • Not waterproof
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty work

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8. Wolverine Men’s W05745 Wilderness Gunmetal-M

If you like the sound of the Dickies but want something with more ankle support, the Wilderness Gunmetal-Ms could be the boots for you. This pair from Wolverine is also noteworthy for its high levels of ventilation and relatively low weight. In fact, it’s very unlucky to be beaten to the prize of “most breathable work boot” by the Dickies.

Weight is kept down by using nylon, instead of a conventional steel shank. Wolverine have also opted for a 50-50, leather-nylon mix ahead of a full leather upper, again keeping the boots light while also making them more affordable.

A removable cushion insole and mesh lining will help to keep your feet dry. These boots are also waterproof.

As you might guess from the name, the Wilderness Gunmetal-Ms are not actually work boots, but are made for hiking. Be warned that they don’t come with the features like safety toes and protection from electrical hazards that we expect from purpose-built work boots.

However, if you simply want a comfortable pair of boots that will provide you a moderate amount of protection, and that you know you can wear all day, these are a solid option.

What we like about these work boots:

  • Great ventilation
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Also suitable for hiking

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • No safety toes
  • Not fully waterproof

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9. Ariat Men’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boot

Okay, so one more hiking boot. Why? Because the Ariat H20 Hiking Boots offer superb value for money. If you’re looking wistfully at the Wolverines, you should also consider what Ariat has to offer.

These boots come with so many perks for their modest price tag that we could not possibly leave them off this list. An oiled leather upper makes them fully waterproof. A gel-cushioned footbed, complete with heel stabilizer, gives their rubber soles supreme shock absorbing capabilities.

A padded collar and moisture wicking lining keep your feet comfortable, no matter what the conditions or how strenuous your activities. Even their upper lining is made from full-grain leather. (Oh, and they come with a self-cleaning outsole.)

To top it off, the grain leather finish looks great, whether you decide to buy these boots in copper or distressed brown. Again, not a boot for the most arduous of work environments. But for light-duty jobs when the sun is beating down, the Ariats leave little to be desired.

What we like about these work boots:

  • Fully waterproof
  • Self-cleaning outsoles
  • Attractive grain leather finish.
  • Gel-cushioned footbed and heal stabilizer

What we don’t like about these work boots:

  • No safety toes
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty work

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Why do you need hot weather work boots?

Work boots might not be the most obvious article of clothing to change during the summer, but as there are more sweat glands in your feet than anywhere else in your body, swapping your regular boots for a pair of breathable steel toe work boots could help you to stay cool and prevent foot problems.

The Best Breathable Summer Work Boots to Keep You Cool in 2021

What’s special about summer footwear?

Breathable steel toe work boots meet all of the same industry safety standards as regular boots. However, regular work boots are designed to insulate your feet against the cold, while their cooler cousins have been designed to promote airflow to cool your feet, while remaining watertight.

Because of the complexity of creating a strong durable, water-tight boot that is also highly ventilated, many warm weather boots resemble hiking boots or have much shorter ankle protection.

Athletes foot and other issues associated with hot feet

Let’s face it, no one would have sweaty feet by choice. They feel uncomfortable, smell terrible, increase your risk of blisters, and can damage the inside of your shoes. However, they can also have medical implications. Most commonly, athletes’ feet.

Athletes foot is a bacterial infection commonly associated with sweaty feet and can be caused by naturally occurring bacteria multiplying out of control in the warm, moist environment caused by sweaty work boots.

Athletes foot and doctor

Doctor dermatologist examines the foot on the presence of athletes foot

If left untreated this condition can spread to other people and areas of your own body, such as your hands. In severe cases, the damaged skin can contract a further severe bacterial infection called cellulitis which should be of particular concern to anyone with diabetes.

Choosing the Right Summer Work Boot

Choosing the right work boot to keep your feet comfortable and safe can be a complicated business at the best of times, but when you’re looking for work boots for summertime or the best work boots for sweaty feet, there are some additional requirements that you should consider:

Ventilation is important

Is the boot designed with ventilation in mind? Is it made from breathable material? Is it insulated? You will want a boot designed with a different type of material to circulate air around your feet to keep them cool.

Toe cap – What’s it made of

Steel toe caps tend to conduct heat during the summer, meaning that a steel toe cap boot may be warmer than a composite toe cap boot.

types of safety toes

Which is best when it comes to hot weather?

Removable insoles

If you feet do sweat on a particularly hot day, you may find that your shoes are still slightly damp the following day, making them a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. To prevent this, buy boots with a removable insole that you can swap, allowing the damp insoles to dry thoroughly.

The right outsoles

Picking the right outsoles is an essential part of choosing any work boot, and will also depend upon what you need them for. Do you boots need to be oil and slip-resistant? Does your job require boots with electrical hazard protection? How much walking do you do at work? Are you willing to pay more for boots with advanced shock-absorbing features?

These considerations are still important when it comes to summer work boots, though we also recommend you consider weight. Thick, bulky soles are a welcome source of the distance between your feet and the ice-cold ground in the winter. But in summer, when the heat is suffocating and the sun is beating down on you, every extra pound you can shed it a welcome one.

Comfort and fit

While comfort and fit is important in any work boot, it is doubly so in summer weight ones as you will want to wear lighter socks. Ideally, you want a boot that is supple enough straight out of the box to require very little breaking in. If you buy your summer boots early, remember to break them in using a lightweight sock to prevent overstretching.

The Winner

Choosing the best summer work boot for your needs often requires you to balance the boots resilience to wear and the elements, with its ability to keep your feet cool and dry. However, Timberland’s PRO Boondock work boots stand out as the best breathable work boots on this list because they tick both of these boxes.

The boots are sturdy and relatively hard-wearing, have removable insoles that can be swapped to keep the inside of your boot dry and fresh, have no insulation so they will remain relatively cool, and have a composite toe which is unlikely to conduct as much heat. As such, they are the perfect compromise between summer comfort and practicality.


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