Composite Toe VS Steel Toe, Whats The Difference, And Which Is The Right Choice For You?

Published by 
Al Roberts
Last updated: 
March 24, 2024

Tonight's main event fight...

in the red corner, we have the all-veteran favourite: steel toes
In the blue corner, the young up and coming star: composite toes
Sorry to spoil the fun, but the winner will depend on what industry you work in.

if you want to discover which one is the best for you, you must first understand the difference between the two, and why they exist

Composite Toe VS. Steel Toe

Steel Toes

Steel toes have been protecting toes for years and years.

It's simply a super-tough piece of steel covering the toes, which stops anything falling on and crushing them.

Composite Toes

Composite toes are the new kid on the block when it comes to toe protection.

Composite is just a scientific name, which basically means they contain no metal, so they are made from things such as plastics, carbon fibre, and rubbers.

Myth Or Reality? "If The Steel Toe Snaps It Can Cut Off Your Toes"

We’ve all heard the story of the guy who dropped something heavy onto his foot, and the steel-capped toe broke, amputating his toes in the process… ouch!

Well, our good friends at the 'Mythbusters' cleared this one up for us. If you haven't seen the episode, here are the results:

Myth busted!

"Using similar tests to those used to test steel toe boot certification, Adam and Jamie determine that your toes are much safer with steel toe boots than without. There was no toe-cutting curling of the steel toe, and even using a blade attachment didn’t work, only glancing off the steel toe to cut right above where it ended" (

So, what's better?

Both steel and composite toes exist mainly to stop your toes from being crushed -- and they both do a damn good job of this.

Remember that both options are approved by OHSA, so in terms of general protection against impacts and electrical hazards, they will keep you safe. There are some pros and cons to both, listed below

It all boils down to a few questions you must ask yourself:

  • How heavy is the equipment your handling? If it's very heavy, choose steel toes
  • Are there lots of nails (or other things that like to poke) around? Choose steel toes
  • Do you work in freezing climates? Composite toes will insulate better

Composite toe boots are best suited if you have to pass through metal detectors daily, as they won't set off the detectors as steel toes do. All of the other benefits listed above are just a bonus

Steel toes are best for you if you work in environments where there's a good chance something could puncture your work boot, like a nail, glass, rubble, etc. Check out this video, steel toes vs nail gun.

So, make sure you make the right choice of toe protection when you are choosing your work boots, as the right choice will mean a great pair of work boots for you.

So now that you know what type of toe is right for you (and how much pain and trouble the right choice could save you) where do you find the perfect boot? Right here...

>3 Of The Best Rated Steel Toe Boots<

Timberland Pro Pitboss Steel Toe Boot

We love the Timberland Pro Pitboss, in fact, it's our best-rated all-round work boot. Why? Well, it's durable like you wouldn't believe (it's not uncommon for it to last over 3 years) and it has an extra-wide steel toe for protection (among many other safety features). We could spend all day talking about this boot, but the bottom line is: If you're looking for a steel toe, there is a good chance that safety is a high priority for you -- these boots should be your first choice. Safety, durability, and comfort, in one tough-as-nails work boot.

Keen Utility Men's Atlanta Cool Steel Toe Work Shoe

This boot is a customer favourite on and for good reason - it provides you with a safe steel toe while at the same time allowing your feet to breathe and be comfortable with it's low cut design. You may want a steel toe, however, you may not want the other features that are typical with your everyday construction work boot. If that describes you, these work boots are for you - small, compact, comfortable, and safe. Oh and we forgot - a bargain of a price!

Thorogood Men's American Heritage 6-Inch Steel-Toe Boot

Looking for a steel toe boot but don't like the style of the above too? well the AMERICAN MADE Thorogood American heritage boot now comes in a steel toe option - leaving you with one hell of a safety boot! Read our review of the Thorogood American Heritage Boot here, where we cover the ins and outs of the boot and reveal why it's one of the most comfortable work boots on the market. This work boot is a little more pricey than the above two, however, you get style and comfort without sacrificing safety.

>Best Rated Composite Toe Boots<

Carhartt Men's 6 Inch Composite Toe Boot

Carhatt are well known for their long-lasting and comfortable work boots, and these composite toe boots are no exception. Why do we love these boots so much? Well, apart from the solid and positive customer reviews, they represent terrific price and value.

Irish Setter Men's 6" Aluminium Toe Work Boot

Irish Setter is a relatively new brand on the work boot scene, and they have been doing exceptionally well. Why? well their boots are keeping the customers happy, simple as that! These work boots have an aluminum safety toe - which means they are lightweight and safeguard your toes without transferring the heat or cool. On top of all of that, they look great and are very reasonably priced. A solid option.

Timberland PRO Men's 6 Inch Boondock Comp Toe WP Insulated Industrial Work Boot

The Boondocks are one of Timberland Pro's most valued work boot - customers love them and they consistently deliver. So why and how are these work boots different to the above 2 options? For starters, the composite toe is covered by an extra thick rubber protective layer - which means no matter how much you scuff and wear these boots down, chances are that you will not ever expose the safety toe (if you work hard, you will be familiar with this happening. Secondly, these boots come with insulation and a waterproof layer - so that your feet stay dry, warm AND protected, all at the same time. If you're looking for a composite toe boot that will no doubt keep you warm - these are for you.

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