There are almost 470,000 plumbers in the USA alone. You can guess how many more there must be in the world. Now, these hands-on technicians do a very important job – that of keeping your plumbing system working. However, to do that, they need the best gear for the job and top on their list is the best boots for plumbers.
A plumber can seem like the kind of technician that pops into your house, juggles with his pipe wrenches and other tools for 30 minutes, packs, gets his check and goes. While that is right, some plumbing jobs can involve working long hours. This is why they need a quality pair of work boots for support and comfort.
All plumbing jobs have one thing in common – they involve water! Thus, the boots that a plumber wears must be super protective, waterproof and comfortable.
What footwear do plumbers wear?
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If you plan to become a plumber, you might ask: what footwear do plumbers wear? Or perhaps you have a plumber in the family and you would like to gift them a pair of work boots.
Now, there are so many work boots for plumbing in the market. It can be hard for a first-timer to choose the best one! But don’t sweat it because here, we have done the footwork for you.
We will bring you the top rated plumbing boots that you can buy with confidence and get good value for your money.
1. Iron Ranger 6-Inch: Best red wings for plumbers
The Iron Ranger boots from Red Wing look like the types of boots you would wear when winging a hard job. They are rusty in color and the shaft measures 6 inches from the arch. If you have to climb ladders, get down or up the stairs, these boots will give you good ankle support.
Since these boots cost a substantial amount of money, are they good enough for the money that you will pay? Let’s find out by looking at the features.
They come with a nitrile cork sole
Most people ask: Are cork soles durable? First, nitrile cork is a rubber composite material that offers incredible shock resistance. It also has the durability of rubber.
This material is made by mixing rubber with pieces of cork. Because cork is a buoyant kind of material, it is very light in weight. Thus, when mixed with rubber, it makes the soles even lighter but it does not affect their durability.
If the outsole wears out, it will be easy to resole the boots because they come with a GoodYear welt.
These boots come with leather upper. This is rusty leather, so it does get scratches, but you can wipe them out easily with a damp piece of cloth. When they are new, they will feel a bit stiff, but once you break them in, they are super responsive and flexible.
It is best to use a mink oil or Kiwi conditioner on these boots to nourish the boots and make them supple.
These are water-resistant boots, so they will not allow in water if you are caught in a drench or in the snow. However, do not stand in a lot of water for a long time.
Safety and comfort features
This is not a steel toe boot but all the same, it has some safety features. For instance, it comes with a toe cap that is reinforced with a double layer of leather. To give comfort, the boots soles absorb most of the shock, so the impact of walking never gets to your feet.
For extra comfort, you can just use your custom insoles instead of the stock insoles. The arch support that these boots come with is good, even for people with flat feet.
2. Timberland PRO Boondock – Waterproof boots for plumbers
The Timberland PRO Boondocks are good for just about any kind of work. In another article, we looked at the Timberland PRO Powertrain. These two boots are from the PRO series, which are designed with a special technology that returns the energy back to your feet so that you do not feel too tired.
This is probably the best selling feature of these boots. The anti-fatigue system is a technology that is exclusive to Timberland and they mostly use it in the PRO series of their boots. It returns the energy back to the foot when you are walking so that you can stay on your feet longer. Basically, it is a support system that helps keep you stable, balanced and supported on all types of surfaces.
Slip-resistant TPU outsole
When working as a plumber, there are many accidents involving spills. Thus, you need a boot that has an outsole that is designed to be slip-resistant. They do not come any better than this one.
The boots have polyurethane outsoles, with deep lugs for grip and traction on different types of surfaces. The soles are also thick enough to protect your feet from rocks and hard floors. The heel is elevated so it can help you with heel pain.
Waterproof leather upper
The upper of these shoes is made of waterproof leather. By waterproof, we mean that the manufacturer has added a thin waterproof membrane. Thus, the boots are perfect for standing in a pool of water for long.
Plumbing emergencies might require you to wade in water so you need such boots. The leather is also coated with Everguard, which helps to prevent abrasions and scratches on the boots.
These boots also have some insulation for the cold seasons, about 400 grams of thinsulate. Therefore, you can wear them in the winter and they will help to keep your feet warm. They will be a bit warm in the summer, but considering that plumbing jobs are mostly wet, they will help.
These are lace boots, and you will notice that they come with three pairs of eyelets. They also have two pairs of speed lacing metal hooks at the top.
The shaft measures 6.5 inches from the arch to the opening. You will get enough ankle support for the times when you have to climb stairs and ladders.
Composite safety toe
These boots come with a composite safety toe feature. It helps to keep the toes safe all the time. Since this is not a steel toe, it does not set the alarm off if you have to walk through metal detectors.
It will protect you from falling objects. The only downside is that the toe area looks bulbous, probably because thicker composite is required as compared to steel sheet, which would be thinner.
3. KEEN Utility Men’s Portland
The KEEN brand name is synonymous with quality. While this brand name is mostly associated with hiking boots and shoes, they do have high quality work boots with safety toes, high quality outsoles and many other features.
These work shoes come with a composite toe. It can protect your feet from falling objects. It can also keep your toes safe if you knock your feet against things.
Composite is lighter than steel, but it makes the shoes look swollen at the toe area because the manufacturer has to use more to attain the right protection that steel would give.
Leather upper with Bellows Flex
The upper of these boots is made of a combination of leather and Bellows Flex. The bellows allow your foot to bend and flex when you are walking. The leather parts are brown while the bellow part that is just before the tongue is black.
Non-marking rubber outsole
These shoes are fitted with a rubber outsole. It is oil resistant and slip-resistant. The boots also come with a TPU shank. It might not be as strong as a steel shank, but it does the same job of enhancing stability and balance when you are walking.
Another feature that you get is the air-fused PU midsole that offers extra comfort. Even the stock insole is not bad at all, so you can use it. However, if you would rather use Protalus or Superfeet insoles, you can just use them.
The outsole is also heat-resistant up to 300°C.
These work boots for plumbers come with the KEEN.DRY breathable membrane. This membrane can keep the water from outside from getting in, but it will allow air to flow over your feet, keeping your feet dry, comfortable and cool.
4. Irish Setter Men’s 6″ 83605 Work Boot
Just because you are a plumber, it does not mean that you should get an ugly looking work boot. You should love the Irish Setter boot because of its protective qualities and the good looks. When you are not working, you can wear these boots with jeans and you will look really fly.
Heat resistant rubber outsole
These boots come with a wedge-style outsole. It is a Rubber-EVA sole and it is heat resistant up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit/247°C. The sole is also thick enough to protect your feet from feeling the heat.
It absorbs all impact very well. You can even wear the shoes if you have plantar fasciitis and you will enjoy some relief from pain.
The outsole can also protect you from electrical hazards. If you step on naked wires and open circuits, the boots protect you fully. However, please be careful and avoid working in areas with open circuits.
The upper of these boots is made of full grain leather. It is water-resistant, so it will protect you from snow and rain. The shaft measures 6 inches from the arch and it comes in a lace-up design. To make the leather waterproof, just treat it with a conditioner a few times a year. The opening is wide enough at 13.5 inches diameter. Just loosen the laces enough for your foot to go through without any trouble.
Safety and comfort features
For comfort, these shoes come with a nylon lining. It prevents water from entering but it enables air to circulate over your feet. These boots are easy to break in. Actually, you can wear them to work the same day they arrive and they won’t hurt your feet because they are not too stiff.
The collar has padding as does the tongue. Even if you tighten the boot laces, they are not going to hurt you. The only downside to these stylish and beautiful boots is that they do not come with speed lacing metal hooks.
Best boots for plumbers FAQ
These are just a few of the best boots for plumbers. There are many more as you will see when you check an online marketplace such as amazon.com. If you are a first-time buyer, choosing the right boot can be such a tall order for you.
Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers that might help you:
What is a plumbing vent boot?
Despite the name, this is not a type of work boot that you can wear for plumbing. Rather, another name for it is the roof boot. The main work of the roof boot is to waterproof the area around the vent pipes on the roof. Mostly, it comes in rubber material, so that it can expand and contract with the roof. See below; it is a vent boot that you slide over the vent pipe on the roof.
Do plumbers need steel toe boots?
Plumbers do need steel toe boots, but some type of toe area protection is always welcome because they deal with heavy tools. However, most of the plumber boots also come with a composite toe which makes them super lightweight, with some 6 inch boots weighing as little as 850 grams.
Some boots also come with a double layer of leather on the toe area, but it is better to get a stronger protection for the safety of your metatarsal area.
Do plumbers wear boots?
Plumbers wear high quality boots that are flexible, light in weight, and have a steel or TPU shank. Plumbers should wear boots instead of work shoes because the former have better ankle support and they offer better overall protection.
What shoes are best for plumbers?
Timberland PRO Boondocks take the lead here, followed by Irish Setter Men’s 6-inch boots. Others are KEEN Utility Portland and the list keeps growing. Check the individual features of the boots such as support, comfort, water resistance and electrical hazard protection.
Conclusion for best boots for plumbers
That is it about the best work boots for plumbers. They do a good job and they deserve all the protection they can get for their safety. Luckily, there are hundreds of water-resistant plumber boots in the market.
If you buy your pair of boots, just remember to treat it with a leather conditioner to make it as water resistant as possible.