5 Best Work Boots For Flat Feet in 2020 [Safety Toe Edition]

Short on time? If so, I’d recommend the Timberland PRO Men’s Boondock 6″ Waterproof Non-Insulated Work Boot as the best work boots for flat feet.

Lugging work boots around is no joke. Even if your feet comes with shock absorbing arches, the load is a lot to bear. For flat footed people it’s even worse. Not all boots work well for flat feet. Some are much better at taking off the load than others.

In this article I’ve reviewed the following boots for flat feet:

 

Why Flat Footed People Need Special Footwear:

Higher Impact

You load about 150% of your body weight with each step you take. Having a natural arch would help to dissipate this load by acting like a spring.

Flat feet, or fallen arches, means that this natural rebound is missing. It’s now up to your feet, knees, and hips absorb the full impact.

For office workers, this might not be a big deal. But when you’re livelihood requires you to be on your feet, it’s important to take precautions to protect your legs.

Three side by side images demonstrating pronation, neutral, and supination
Image: Source-Ducky2315 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons | Modification-color adjustment & sizing

Overpronation

Having little to no arch forces your ankle to roll farther inward when taking a step. This forces your body to adjust to this motion, which can strain your legs in an awkward way. Many flat footed problems stem from this over rolling, or overpronation, of your foot.

Some common overpronation symptoms include:

  • Shin splints
  • Heel pain
  • Lower back pain

Overpronation doesn’t always cause pain. It depends on how much you pronate and how well your body adjusts to it. If you’re experiencing mild pain, insoles with arch support can help. They’ll help take the load off and assist with correcting the pronation.

For more serious pains or if arch support isn’t cutting it, you’ll want to see a podiatrist (foot doctor).

Wider Feet

Having flat means you’re likely to have wide feet. It’s not always the case, but for a large majority of the afflicted population it is.

Fortunately work boots generally come with larger footbeds and/or a wide size option.

If I Am Flat Footed Do I Need Arch Support?

Your legs should not be in pain or feeling tuckered out after a normal day.

If your legs feel this way, opting for arch support may help. They’ll absorb some of the impact while correcting the pronation of your foot. This forces a more natural gait which reduces any awkward muscle & joint use.

To further narrow down your case, lets simplify the flat feet world into two categories. Those who have always had flat feet and those who previously had arches but they’ve fallen over time.

Just to clarify, the term “fallen arches” does not refer only to cases where you’ve previously had arches in the past. It’s more general and an interchangeable term for flat feet.

You Always Have Had Flat Feet

There is nothing medically wrong with having flat feet! In fact, 20-30% of the population is born with flat feet. The catch is:

  • there must be little pain; and/or
  • your legs must not feel excessively tired at the end of the day.

If you fall into this category, your legs adjusted to the lack of an arch in a healthy way. If you want to give arch support a shot, you can. If you’re not interested it’s no biggie either.

If you do feel mild pain I would try arch support out. You can either buy aftermarket insoles or opt for custom orthotics. Aftermarket insoles are a lot cheaper but not a perfect fit. Custom orthotics for flat feet are perfectly supportive but run about $400-$600.

Either way, if you have the means I would recommend upgrading to an aftermarket insole. Even if you’re not interested in arch support, the extra padding will help absorb shock.

If the pain is severe or the arch support isn’t helping, it’s time to visit your local podiatrist.

You Used To Have Arches.

This is a more serious matter. Sometimes its age, but often times it’s due to abnormality like:

  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Nerve problems
  • Diabetes
  • Dislocated bones

If you are experiencing any pain or your feet get tired easily, it’s time to see a doctor. Something has changed your foot and it’s important to figure out what it is.

If there is no pain or they’ve fallen with age, you can go with or without arch support.

If you can’t decide, I’d at least try insoles with arch support. The logic being that your legs developed with arches, and that is the more natural state for you. Be sure to take it slow. Your body needs time to to readjust back to your old gait.

bare foot ontop halfway off a platform

Will Foot Stretches Help with My Leg Pains?

Take a look at this article. These are specific stretches you can try to help with flat feet pain. I’d recommend doing these at least 2-3 times a day before drawing any conclusions.

Always see a doctor if the pain gets worse or if they don’t seem to be getting better.

What’s Different About Work Boots For Flat Feet?

Better Midsole & Sole

Managing flat feet is about reducing as much impact as possible. Especially if you’re lugging your boots around for 10-12 hours a day.

Look for boots with better midsoles and soles. You’re looking for heavy duty shock absorption mounted on thicker & stronger sole. When you’re walking on concrete they should feel strong and comfortable. You should not be able to feel the hardness of the ground with each step.

Arch Support

This one is a bit tricky. Most of the arch support comes from the insoles. Unfortunately, many boot manufacturers don’t put a whole lot of effort into the stock insoles.

Proper arch support can reduce the impact and keep your legs feeling springier for longer. But, if you’ve never had any foot, leg, and knee pains I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

If you do have some sort of mild pain, or your legs feel considerably tired at the end of the day, I’d upgrade to aftermarket insoles. Make sure that you’re wearing the correct arch height. Wearing too high of an arch will make your feet hurt.

Avoid Slip on Boots

I know it’s a pain to lace up your boots, but it’s a better choice for flat feet. You just don’t get the same level of unification as you do with slip on boots. The ability to bind your foot & boot in a custom way helps better absorb shock.

Shanks

Not a deal breaker but shanks help to better evenly distribute the load. Whether to use a steel, nylon, or composite shank is a matter of personal preference.

brown work boots from a closeup aerial vantage point

Work Boots for Flat Feet Reviews

I’d consider any one of these as the best boots for flat feet. They all have signs of quality craftsmanship and enhanced shock absorption features. I’ve also made sure these safety boots are lace ups with a wide footbed or a wide size option.

If you have the means, I would upgrade the insole to an aftermarket one. Even if you don’t need arch support, the aftermarket insoles come better padding in place. Think of it as another layer of shock resistance.

Timberland PRO Men’s Boondock 6″ Waterproof Non-Insulated Work Boot

If you have wide feet and wide toes this one’s for you. This boot is wide and it comes with an enlarged toe box region. If you’ve never been able to wiggle your toes you’ll finally be able to set them free.

The Boondock series come with Timberlands anti-fatigue technology. I’m a fan of this technology as the midsole and sole work well together to absorb shock.

The stock insole is nothing to rave home about, but if don’t need arch support, these will work just fine. I also like that boots come with a composite toe and fiberglass shank, helping to make them feel a bit lighter.

Durability wise, I have no qualms. This model comes with an extra layer of rubber molded onto of top of the safety toe. This rubber helps to protect the underlying leather from getting cut up. Your boots will stay intact longer which helps prolong the life of the boots.

My biggest issue with the Boondock’s are that they look like clown feet and they squeak. The enlarged toe region is functionally great but aesthetically hard to pull off. You’ll also need some time to adjust to the wider and roomer feel too.

On polished surfaces these tend to squeak. Also, keep in mind that these insoles do not come with arch support either.

Pros

  • Enlarged toe box – built for wide feet with wide toes
  • Comes with Timberland’s anti-fatigue technology – absorbs shock well
  • Composite safety toe with fiberglass shanks – makes boot feel lighter
  • Durable and comes with extra rubber encased safety toe – helps extend the life of boot

Cons

  • Looks like clown feet
  • Takes getting used to – feels much deeper when stepping in
  • Squeaks on polished floors
  • No arch support

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

Skechers Mens Tarlac Steel Toe Boot

For the budget minded, it’s hard to find a better value than these steel-toe work boots for flat feet. The safety features work well. They’re comfortable. And they have a wider footbed with a roomier toe area. They also come in a wide size if the regular width feels cramped.

Like most Skecher footwear these feel springy. It comes with an enhanced shock absorbing midsole and the sole is relatively thick. Compared to other similarly priced work boots, you’ll get more shock absorption for your buck.

I’m not a huge fan of the insole. The Tarlac series comes with a gel infused memory foam insole, but it doesn’t feel like it. If you need arch support you’ll need to go with aftermarket insoles. The stock ones have little arch to them.

In terms of durability, you get what you pay for. These will stand up to normal jobs but aren’t built tough. They also have a longer break in period before they soften up a bit.

Pros

  • Feels springy – comes with enhanced shock absorbing midsole
  • Lots of room in the toe area
  • Great pick for a budget work boot

Cons

  • Gel infused memory foam insole is flimsy
  • Long break in period
  • No arch support
  • Durability is subpar

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

Caterpillar Men’s Diagnostic Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot

The Diagnostic series is a comfortable work boot that comes with steel toes & steel shanks. They have a wide foot base and come in wide size option if you find yourself too narrow.

Caterpillar’s shock absorption works well even on hard surfaces like concrete. No complaints there. You also have the added bonus of a moderate rigid arch support. For most people’s arch support needs, these will hold up just fine.

My biggest complaint about the Diagnostic series is the durability. I realize it’s hard to make a durable steel-toe work boot that is comfortable at the same time. But, if you’re planning on working in the trenches everyday for hours on end, these are not for you. For anything less, they’ll perform fine.

Pros

  • Foot base is wide and has a wide sizing option too – well suited for wide and flat feet
  • Shock absorbing features work well – makes for a comfortable work boot for flat feet
  • Steel toes and steel shanks
  • Moderate arch support – rigid enough for most arch support needs

Cons

  • Durability is lacking – won’t stand up to tough working conditions

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

Carhartt Men’s CMF6366 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot

These Carhartt boots come with a roomy toe box and a narrower width. For those of you that have flat but narrow feet, you’ll do well with these. Don’t worry, you can always get them in a wide size option if it’s too narrow.

For starters, the composite toe and fiberglass shanks makes this boot light. I also like that it’s durable and holds up even under tough working conditions. No complaints on the shock absorption front. It’s got a thick rubber sole with a well designed EVA midsole.

Be wary that this boot takes time to break in. It also has no arch support and the stock insoles run a bit thin. I’d definitely recommend upgrading to an aftermarket insole on this model.

Pros

  • Roomy toe box
  • Regular width is narrow – good for those who have flat and narrow feet
  • Composite toe & fiberglass shank – feels lightweight
  • Good shock absorption and built tough – comfortable and durable

Cons

  • Takes time to break in boot
  • Insoles thin – I would recommend upgrading to an aftermarket one
  • No arch support

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

Danner Men’s Vicious 4.5 Inch Non Metallic Toe Work Boot

This is a solid boot for anyone that is flat footed. What I like about the Vicious line is how comfortable yet durable they are.

Danner’s done a great job of reducing the brunt of any impact you feel. It’s got a dual density EVA midsole with shock absorbing cushioning on the inside. It also helps that they’ve installed a composite toe with a nylon shank, making it feel lighter.

If I could change something about these boots it’d opt for a larger toe box. If you have wide toes, they’ll feel a bit cramped. The wide sizing option helps, but may not be enough for wider toed individuals.

These boots squeak when you first put them on. After a while it goes away, but it’s still a nuisance. Keep in mind, that the laces tend to break too. You’ll likely need to replace them every so often or opt for sturdier ones.

Pros

  • Built for durability – good craftsmanship
  • Very comfortable – comes with dual density EVA midsole and shock absorbing cushioning on the inside
  • Uses a composite toe & nylon shank – feels lighter

Cons

  • Toe box may not be roomy enough if you have wide toes
  • Boots squeak in the beginning
  • Laces are flimsy and tend to break

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

Bottom Line

It’s tough to pick only one boot as the best work boots for flat feet. The best boot for you will depend on your foot situation. How wide your toes are, how wide or narrow your feet are, and even how much arch support, if any, you need.

But, twist my arm and I’d have to go with the Timberland PRO Men’s Boondock 6″ Waterproof Non-Insulated Work Boot as best work boot for flat feet.

The footbed and toe box is wide enough for any flat & wide footed needs. It’s built well and includes many features to reduce shock. The composite toe and fiberglass shank makes for a tough but lighter boot. I also like that Timberland’s added the extra protective layer of rubber on top of the safety toe.

The insole it comes with is okay, but if you have the budget I’d recommend trading up. The aftermarket ones have more padding and you can add arch support if you need.

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