Top 11 Best Work Boots For Painters (Residential & Commercial)

Hey there. Welcome to our round-up review of some of the best boots for painting work for 2022.

In A Rush?!

Overall, The Best Boots For Painting Work

We’ve put together a list of top 11 work boots that are great for residential and commercial painters and our #1 recommendation based on what we’ve found in our research is the KEEN Utility San Jose

To bring you this article we’ve researched over 38 websites, looked at 54 different work boot brands and models, and have read dozens of customer reviews and feedback for each make of boot that made the cut, as well as a few that did not.

Overall we’ve spent over 66 hours looking into all of these work boots for painters to bring you the most important information for each boot.

In this article, you’ll learn about which are some of the newest and most rated painter’s work boots.

Also, we’ll have a look at some of the most important features you should look at when buying boots for your painter job and much more.

No matter what type of painting work you’re doing whether you’re an automotive painter or residential there’s a boot for you in this round-up.

So keep reading. There’s a lot of good info in here…

You can jump straight into the painter’s work boots reviews section or go to the Q&A section first (if you want to learn more about this).

Our list of the top 10 most comfortable work boots for painters

Here’s a quick comparison table if you’re curious about which work boots I’ve included in today’s round-up.

1. Keen Utility

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Soft toe

The Most Popular Work Boots For Painting

2. Reebok

  • Side zip
  • Synthetic
  • Soft toe

Painter’s Favorite Tactical Style Work Boots

3. Blundstone

  • Slip-on
  • Leather
  • Steel toe

Steel Toe Work Boots For Exterior Painters

4. Red Back

  • Slip-on
  • Leather
  • Soft toe

Soft Toe Work Boots For Residential Painters

5. Wolverine

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Soft toe

Wedged Moc Toe Work Boots For Painters

6. Thorogood

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Steel toe

Wedged Sole Steel Toe Work Boots For Painters

7. Merrell

  • Lace-up
  • Leather + Synthetic
  • Soft toe

Breathable Work Boots For Painting Contractors

8. Timberland PRO

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Soft toe

Goodyear Welted Painting Work Boots

9. Red Wing

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Soft toe

Crepe Wedged Sole Work Boots For Painters

10. Irish Setter

  • Lace-up
  • Leather
  • Alloy toe

Lightweight Safety Toe Work Boots For Painters

11. Dunlop

  • Lace-up
  • Purofort
  • Steel toe

Safety Toe Rain Boots For Painting Work

What to know about work boots for painting work

Most important features of a work boot for painters

I can’t say I’m 100% sure work boots won’t cause you to develop varicose veins but according to our expert, Dr. Bruce Springer, there is no connection between having or developing varicose veins and wearing work boots.

Work boots can’t protect you against developing varicose veins and they can’t solve the problem either.

1. Weight of the boots

Comfort is paramount in most industries, but with painting work, heavy-duty boots generally aren’t necessary. So if the boots are both comfortable and light, that’s ideal.

There’s a funny quote when it comes to work boots for painters that I discovered while I was talking to painters about their boots. If you ask a painter what are the best work boots for his job, he’ll reply:

The best work boots for painting are sneakers! :))

Painters will usually be on their feet all day. Most will prefer to wear sneakers and will mostly do that, particularly in private homes, but if you do prefer the support, feel, and extra safety that a boot gives, then the lighter the better.

2. Heeled boots

Being a tower crane driver myself, I have to climb ladders every day. Sometimes the ladder rungs can be wet, sometimes covered in ice or snow.

Slips happen often, but what really helps is having boots with heels because the rungs sit nicely in the groove at the arch of the foot against the heel.

So this is very useful for painters who do lots of ladder work. They can lock their feet in place while doing their work without having to worry about losing their footing or slipping off the ladder.

3. Shank

Shanks in a pair of work boots for painters are also very useful, again for those who use ladders a lot.

They give extra arch support. Being on ladders all day every day can eventually take its toll on the feet, causing pains in the arches, and at times even lead to knock-on problems with the legs or lower back.

Feet are very sensitive areas and are seen to be the passageway to how other parts of the body feel.

4. Flexibility

Bending and crouching to paint below that counter or behind that unit can be a nightmare with stiff footwear.

The same with tiptoeing and twisting to reach those high spots. Flexible boots allow freedom of movement to do the job properly and easily without causing discomfort.

Also, stiff boots are prone to give blisters or generally sore feet when worn too long.

5. Anti-slippery outsole

Painting is done with liquids. Either the paint itself or the fluids used to clean it is often spilled.

No anti-slip soles are going to fully prevent you from slipping on these liquids but they will certainly help.

Also, as stated before, ladders can be slippery when covered in rain, ice or snow.

Even more crucially, painters often work in high areas, such as roofs or high scaffold platforms.

The risk of slipping and falling is great in those areas, so you want to make sure all preventative measures are taken.

6. Oil and corrosion-resistant

Many paints can have chemicals. Some of the chemicals can be oily. What you don’t want is your boots deteriorating from being exposed to these elements.

Particularly the rubber outsoles. They can sometimes swell or become weakened with exposure.

Other chemicals in some paints can also corrode areas of the boot, such as the leather, eventually causing discoloration, or even wearing away.

7. Toe protection

For painting around the home you’ll probably just throw some old footwear, right? If you’re doing it for a living, you’ll most likely opt for something more lasting, but still light and casual.

But if you work in highly regulated areas like construction sites, toe protection will be mandatory.

So, it’s important to find the right balance. Comfort, practicality, and protection. A composite toe is advisable because they are lightweight.

And ideally, you’ll need to look for toe-protected boots that still allow flexibility when bending and flexing the toe area.

Boots vs shoes/sneakers for painting jobs? Pros and cons

This depends on certain variables, determined by where they are going to be used. For instance, working in homes won’t demand as much, if any protection or support, compared to working at construction sites.

Also, painting outside has different requirements to inside, like waterproofing.

As the most important need for painters is lightweight and comfortable footwear, rugged heavy-duty boots aren’t necessarily the best option, unless doing industrial work.

Boots offer more ankle support than shoes, and there are more options in the protective footwear category, but they will be slightly heavier.

If you’re not looking for protective footwear, then there are much more sneakers to choose from than boots. That’s if you put sneakers in the shoe category. And they should be more comfortable and flexible.

Work boots for painting work

PROSCONS
– More ankle support
– Better for heavy-duty work
– More suitable for construction sites
– More likely to have heels and shanks for ladder work
– More likely to have waterproofing
– Heavier
– Less flexible
– Not as comfortable as sneakers

Sneakers for painting work

PROSCONS
– Light
– Comfortable
– Flexible
– Can also be used for casual wear easier
– Not suitable for strict-guidelined areas
– No ankle support
– Little or no waterproofing on sneakers
– Fewer options for buying protective shoes

What’s the best place to buy work boots for painters?

You can buy your favorite pair of work boots at your local store but I believe the best place to buy painter boots is at the online stores.

For the simple reason that you can access lots of brands and models from the comfort of your home. Plus the delivery, many times is free.

Here are a few stores you might be familiar with:

  • Amazon
  • Boot barn
  • Zappos
  • Payless
  • Sears
  • Walmart

Reviews of the 10 best-rated work boots for painters

a painter working on a platform painting a high wall

Alright, let’s jump into some detailed reviews of each one of these work boots for painting we’ve included in today’s round-up.

We’ll start with the most rated and probably the most popular amongst painters…

1. KEEN San Jose

The Most Popular Work Boots Amongst Painters

At a mere 18.5oz/525g per boot, these Keen Utility 6” work boots are extremely light, which helps towards extreme comfort, aided by midsoles Keen Luftcell technology that has injected air into the midsoles.

I was expecting to see a bigger number of reviews of these KEEN work boots. Being first manufactured in 2020, they are relatively new, at the time of writing, but I would’ve thought someone there would have something to say about them.

But what I’ve realized is that this model comes with a safety toe cap as well which you can find here.

So the market has been divided between the two boots basically. Many people prefer the soft toe work boot but some others have to go with the safety toe version of this boot.

Even if they don’t necessarily like it. Maybe it’s a must if you work in an industry like mine. Most construction workers must wear safety-toe work boots.

Most were very pleased with the comfort, and that the lightweight is definitely noticeable over others. But a fair amount say they don’t last too long, which is something to think about when paying the money being asked for.

They have a stylish appearance, giving the option of not only wearing them for work but also as casual footwear, helped by wedged soles to give you a little extra height.

The soles are oil-and-slip resistant, which is crucial for painting work, in case of stepping on spilled paint or other liquids.

And, as with many other Keen Utility work boots, they use CleansportNXT, which is natural probiotic-based technology that breaks down odor and sweat. Nobody wants stinky feet, right?

PROS

  • Oil-and-slip resistant
  • Very light and comfortable
  • Sweat and odor removing technology
  • Non-marking rubber outsole
  • Removable insole
  • Soft & Safety toe options

CONS

  • Not as durable as others on this list, especially if you do a lot of outdoor painting.

2. Reebok Sublite

Side Zip Work Boots
For Residential Painters

Sublite Cushion Tactical. The clue is in the name. The lightness and comfort of these 6” boots make them great for painting work.

And they could easily be used for casual wear, running wear, or going to the gym.

Not only that, but these work boots have side zips, which is great for you painters who need to take them off regularly to go into certain areas of certain proud homeowners’ houses.

Additionally, they are a pair of affordable work boots as well. Win, win, win.

What they don’t do is protect your toes if you need to work in strict-guideline sites. They also don’t have a steel shank or any shank for that matter or pronounced heels to give support and grip if you do lots of ladder work.

And if you work outside a lot, they don’t provide waterproofing in the rain.

But chances are you’re not going to be painting out in the rain anyway. If you do want waterproofing and ladder grip, you could look at the Reebok RB8877, but these are nowhere near as light.

What these Sublites do provide is great flexibility; technology in the footbeds that mold to the contours of your feet.

Also good grip on the outsoles, and being a shiny polishable leather, the ability to clean paint off easier than some.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Side zip
  • Good for casual wear
  • Water-resistant

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • No toe protection if needed

3. Blundstone BL990

Steel Toe Slip-On Work Boots For Exterior Painting Contractors


Here we have some rugged slip-on work boots that are made to last. Lots of reviews say these men’s Chelsea Boots really do their time and are comfortable right up until the end.

They are slip-on, with double pull-loops, which is handy if you can’t bend easily to tie laces, and also if you need to whip them on and off regularly.

For instance, you might need to go into houses to price jobs up. Out of courtesy, you might take them off.

Anti-slip soles are really useful for painting work, so these boots are a good choice, especially with the deep lugs for extra traction when painting outdoors on rough terrains.

They also have heels, which are handy for gripping on ladder rungs. When we’ve cut these Blundstone boots in half have a shank but it’s not made out of steel as the company states on their website.

It’s made out of plastic. Having said that, they still provide decent support under your arches.

The beauty of these is that they come with steel toe caps for working in strict-ruled areas, and have toe covering to prevent abrasion, especially when kneeling or accidentally banging the toes against ladder rungs when climbing.

Here’s where you can read our Blundstone 990 steel toe work boot review for a more in-depth dive into this boot.

PROS

  • Anti-slip
  • Steel toe and toe covering
  • Comfortable
  • Hardwearing
  • Heel for ladder grip
  • Slip-on for quick access

CONS

  • Not waterproof

4. Red Back Easy Escape

Soft Toe Work Boots For Painters In Working In Light Industries


Easy Escape. Again, the clue is in the name. Slip on easily to look cool out and about or going to work.

Slip off to easily escape…well…escape work I suppose. Or do the boots grow feet and escape? I’m not sure. Either way, be careful when choosing the sizing for these escaping boots.

Being made in Australia, the sizing is Australian, which is one size less than the US size. This has caused a lot of confusion, according to the reviews.

There are also a lot of comments about the UK sizing for some reason. People, these are AUS-made, not UK. And no, Brits don’t sound Australian.

When I’ve talked with people about what work boots they wear in a warehouse environment, some mentioned these Red Backs and they said they’re probably the most comfortable work boots they’ve had.

So there’s that. They don’t provide toe protection though, but that’s one of the factors that add to the comfort. Also, the anti-slip soles do have a slight heel, which gives a small groove for ladder grip.

The boots are also well made, so should last a while. Many residential contractors loved these boots because they can take them out and put them back on easily when they’re in and out of people’s homes.

So if you’re a residential painting contractor, then these Red Back boots are a good option for you.

PROS

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Anti-slip
  • Slight heel groove for ladder grip

CONS

  • No toe protection (although there are other models that do offer a steel toe cap)

5. Wolverine Loader

Comfortable Work Boots For Painters Working On Concrete Floors


A good thing about these work boots for painters category is that there are some good-looking, casual-looking, work-boot-looking work boots.

These 6” Wolverine boots for example. You won’t need the wedge to put a spring in your step because you’ll already have the feel-good factor.

These fit in with a common theme with this category, in that they don’t have toe protection.

It’s most likely you won’t need it in the painting profession, but there could be instances where you go to certain areas like building sites that demand the full shebang.

They don’t seem to be slip resistant, but these moc-toe boots are deemed to be very comfortable, due to soles that mold to your feet and the Goodyear welt construction soles that should make them last.

Removable inserts also give the option to replace them with the best insoles for your feet.

One thing to consider is that a noticeable amount of people say these do come up quite wide which is good news for those of you looking for wide-fit work boots.

If you never had Wolverine work boots before you can check out this article to see if they’re worth the money or not.

Also if you’re after composite toe work boots from Wolverine I’ll leave you a link here to our Wolverine Overpass boot review to learn more about it.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Welt construction

CONS

  • No toe protection

6. Thorogood Moc Toe American Heritage

Unlined Steel Toe Work Boots For Painters


Another wedge-sole moc-toe boot for you. This time from Thorogood. These American Heritage 6” boots do seem to have the full shebang. Or at least half or three-quarter shebang.

There’s a full review of these Thorogood moc toe work boots here if you want to learn more about these great-looking boots.

American heritage is key here. It’s important for a lot of people to buy boots made in the USA.

Not only do they have steel toe caps, but they also have shanks made of lightweight composite and fiberglass for extra support. Electrical hazard protection meeting ASTM standards.

These work boots come with a Goodyear welt construction to ensure the soles stay in one piece, and give extra comfort; slip-resistant soles to help you not slip on that slippery stuff that makes you slip.

Removable moron, I mean Poron Comfort Cushion Insoles that do all sorts of fancy things, like deal with your sweat and soften the impact. And guess what? You even have three colors to choose from.

There’s Tobacco Oil-tanned, Black, and Crazyhorse. Some boot’s three colors only come in Black, Black, or Black. By the way, on a personal note, I’ve always wanted a crazy horse.

I left you a link to the review above but if you want to know how these boots are built and what goes into them, please visit this page: Thorogood steel toe boots cut in half.

PROS

  • Wedge sole
  • Steel toe
  • Slip resistant
  • Electrical hazard protection
  • Shank support
  • Goodyear welt construction

CONS

  • Narrow fit
  • Not waterproof

7. Merrell Moab

Breathable Hiking Style Work Boots For Painters


We know that GOAT stands for “greatest of all time”, right? Well, Moab is the self-proclaimed “mother of all boots”. A bold statement. Let’s see if it’s anywhere near justified.

Let’s start with the weight. at 15.3 ounces, they are extremely light. I mean walking on air kinda light. Good start. A massive essential for hiking boots. And in this instance, painters will also be pleased, as they’re on their feet all day.

What else does a painter want? A good heel, you say? Yes, these have a decent heel on Vibram slip-resistant soles, to dig in and do some good climbing on that ladder.

This is accompanied by molded nylon shanks to support the arches when you do climb. The insole provides air cushioning at the heel for extra comfort.

The pigskin leather and mesh upper provide a good amount of ventilation. These boots were designed for warm weather.

Nobody wants stinking sweaty feet when they work away. Being summerish boots, they don’t provide waterproofing.

But like I said before, a painter worth their salt isn’t going to be painting outside in the rain. The main liquid they need to avoid is stepping into a pot of paint.

The description states they have a protective toe cap. Where I’m from that means either steel or composite protection. But consumers are saying this is a soft toe boot, so the description must be referring to the covering material over the toe area.

A handy device to stop scuffing. This would make sense regarding the weight of the boot. Toe protection adds that little extra.

And if you think the Thorogoods Heritage having three colors was exciting (probably not. Just me then), are you sitting down? These come in a staggering seven colors.

Yeah, you read it right. Lucky number seven. You get Walnut, Black Night, Beluga, Granite, Castle/Wing, and Black. Talk about spoilt for choice. You’ll be like a kid in a sweet shop.

On an environmental note, Merrell cares about sustainability, so use recycled materials to make these.

So. With a reasonable price and a 4.7-star rating out of no less than 7,691 reviews at the time of making this article, Merrell has a good argument for this boot’s Moab status.

PROS

  • Toe covering
  • Good breathability
  • Uses recycled materials
  • Shank for arch support
  • Comfortable
  • Seven colors to choose from

CONS

  • Not waterproof

8. Timberland PRO Gridworks

Goodyear Welted Work Boots For Painters

Pro Timbs. Need I say more? Yes. That’s why I’m here. Another wedge sole boot for light/medium work, with a nice full-grain leather that is easy to maintain.

Easily polishable, and welcomes mink oil or such like if you wish to use it.

These Timberland PRO work boots are said to be comfortable. The weight is subjective and depends on what you’re used to wearing.

It is by no means heavy compared to some boots, but not as light as others that we have in this listing.

There is no loop to aid pulling the boot on. Some people like the loop, others don’t. But they can be useful in some circumstances.

There is also no toe protection to use for construction site work. If you want a Timbs boot for a building site, check out these Timberland PRO Pit Boss that comes with a steel toe cap.

What it does have is a waterproof membrane inside, accompanied by a steel shank to support your arch, and a shock absorbing (PU) Polyurethane footbed to return the energy up your foot.

The all-important slip-resistant (TPU) Thermo-Polyurethane outsole should help not to slip on paint. And it holds up against heat up to 248°F/120°C.

Not a majorly important factor for painters but worth knowing. The sole is also connected to the upper using Goodyear Welt Construction for long life. This boot comes in Brown, Golden Brown, and Black.

PROS

  • Waterproof membrane
  • Very comfortable/Fit to size
  • Electrical hazard protection
  • Slip-resistant and heat-resistant outsoles
  • Durable for light to mid work

CONS

  • No toe protection

9. Red Wing Heritage

Lightweight Non-Safety Toe Work Boots For Interior Painters

If you like the song Made in the USA, then you’ll probably like these men’s Red Wing boots as all the Heritage boots from Red Wing are US made.

The wedge soles could even give you a little extra height when you stand to The Star-Spangled Banner.

An interesting fact. This style of boot was originally designed for steel workers on high-rise buildings and bridges. To keep the soles clean and maintain the slip resistance, they would carry them over their shoulders to avoid street use.

They don’t have toe protection. Not an overly important factor if you’re not doing work on construction sites. It certainly hasn’t put consumers off. At present, these have 85% five-star ratings out of nearly 2000 Amazon reviews.

The common consensus is that the leather is quite thick, so they come out the box a little stiff, but don’t take too long to break in, and are comfortable thereafter.

Oil treatment usually helps to soften the leather during the break-in period, and will assist with the water resistance. Also, lots of people say to order half to a full size smaller than your own size.

For those who are wondering, this is the 875 range. And it comes in five fantastic colors.

You can choose Oro Legacy, Briar Oil Slick, Copper Rough & Tough, Brown, and interestingly, last but not least, the Oro-legacy, similarly named to the first one, but darker, is the only color to have the Red Wing logo embedded on the outer side.

PROS

  • Waterproof membrane
  • Very comfortable/Fit to size
  • Electrical hazard protection
  • Slip-resistant and heat-resistant outsoles
  • Durable for light to mid work

CONS

  • No toe protection

10. Irish Setter

Good Boots For Painters
Working On Metal Roofs

We have another wedge style boot on the list that was built for comfort. Being first made in 2012, these 6” men’s boots have been around the block a bit, and they seem quite popular.

I can see why. Reading through some of the nearly 7000 Amazon reviews, I see they’ve been bought for all sorts of purposes.

From fashionable casual wear to office attire to carpentry to steelworks to camping, hiking, and working around the house. You name it. Seems they’re quite the all-rounder.

Unfortunately, for those who like extra support doing ladder work, these don’t have the heel or shank.

They also don’t have toe protection for you painters who drop tins of paint on your feet, and they’re not waterproof, for those mad enough to paint external walls in torrential rain.

But they do have electrical hazard protection, and the outsoles withstand heat up to 475°F/246°C in case you need to walk on the planet Mercury.

There’s a safety toe cap version of these boots that comes with an alloy toe cap. You can find it here.

PROS

  • Comfortable
  • Electrical hazard protection
  • Heat-resistant outsole
  • Lightweight
  • EVA midsole

CONS

  • No toe protection

11. Dunlop Expander

Good Boots For Painters
Working On Metal Roofs

So far, we’ve covered boots that are built for comfort, generally stylish, and that you could use for casual wear. These Unisex Dunlop Purofort Expander boots are more for industrial use.

You might see a farmer wading through the fields in these, or a ganger walking through a slab of wet concrete.

You might also see industrial painters spraying in them; mixing up chemicals and paints, and getting covered from head to toe while they spray.

There are many reasons for this. The boots are 100% waterproof, so no paint or rain is going to get inside. The rubber waterproof material makes them much easier to wash clean than others.

They are oil and chemical resistant, so won’t corrode from exposure to the paints and chemicals you use. They are described to be slip-resistant (but some reviews state that this isn’t the case).

The beauty of these boots is that they fully conform to strict health & safety rules.

So you can wear them at highly regulated areas like construction sites, due to the steel toe caps, steel inner sole plates in case you tread on nails, and electrical hazard resistance.

Although stiffer than casual boots, the Purofort rubber used is a flexible material that Dunlop developed many years ago. It has millions of air pockets to help with comfort and is cut-resistant.

Attached to it is thermal insulation, designed to insulate down to -20°C.

This is a specialist type of boot. If the price is above what you are willing to pay, here is another Dunlop boot for a fraction of the price, but with less technology.

PROS

  • Steel-toe and steel-mid protection
  • Cold insulation
  • Oil and chemical resistance
  • Electrical hazard resistance
  • Slip-resistant soles

CONS

  • Not breathable
  • Quite stiff at first

Choosing good work boots for painting: The Takeaway

Whether you’re working in strict areas where you need protective footwear, or in private homes, the key need is comfort.

So light/mid-duty boots are the best option unless working with industrial spraying where you mix up paints and chemicals in big containers.

Other than that, you won’t necessarily need boots that can take a battering.

If you’re keen to keep the boots clean, then easily wipeable or washable boots might be the best option, because if your painting is anything like mine, you will get covered in it.

If you’re going to use chemical-based on the cleaning products on the boots, always test on small areas to prevent ruining the coloring or make-up.

The Most Popular Work Boots For Painters


Team Members Working On This Page

Jimmy Webb – Writer And Researcher

Hey, Jimmy here. I’m one of the researchers and writers here at BestForMyFeet.com.  I’ve been wearing work boots all my life working as a forklift driver, landscaper, groundworker, and now as a tower crane operator so I know a few things about footwear and footcare in general. I’m also working on my first novel. So writing IS my passion. When I’m not writing I love to spend time with my wife, two children, and furball.

Victor Adrian – Editor And Webmaster

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!

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