When you’re working on a roof, there are so many moments where the only contact between you and the roof is the soles of your shoes. This same fact applies to when you are walking around on the ground in your daily life, but you should never wear regular shoes on a roof. The best shoes for roofing combine safety features with comfort, durability, and performance.
Your chances of falling are much higher than normal when you are roofing. The slope of the roof is constantly taxing your body to balance. Wet conditions, gravel, and other debris make the surface slippery. Roofing tools, building materials, and wildlife can all cause dangerous trips. Unstable areas of construction, along with electrical hazards, limit the amount of space you have to move around. Further, the heat, the height, and going from crouching to standing can cause dizziness.
Being high off the ground means that one slip or trip could have serious consequences. including broken bones, brain and spinal cord damage, and even death. For a job with such high risk, you will want to invest in the best shoes for roofing that you can find.
But you can’t just buy any old pair of work boots and think that you’re protected. Some work boots can actually be dangerous options for working on a roof, as their design can increase the risk of rolling your ankle and losing your balance. There are some important characteristics of certain work boots that make them the best shoes for roofing, including traction, flexibility, the shape and material of the boot’s sole, and more.
For this reason, it is very important to do your research when selecting a quality pair of roofing shoes. To save you some time, this article will give you the pros and cons of the six best shoes for roofing, along with a buyers guide, so you know what factors to look for when you shop for roofing boots. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
1. Thorogood Men’s American Heritage Lace-to-Toe Roofer Boots
Thorogood American Heritage is a brand that roofers know and trust. This boot is made specifically for roofers, and it shows in the boot’s design, making it a great go-to option for all the different challenges you are faced with when up on a roof.
The outsole of this roofing boot is constructed of thick, yet flexible, rubber, which is very durable and electric-shockproof. The substantial treads and anti-slip material will grip the surface of roofs made from many different materials, even when the surface is wet.
The wedge design of the boot’s outsole, as well as its’ great flexibility, provide added comfort when working hard all day long on a steeply angled plane. As your foot flexes against the angle of the roof, the shoe follows right along with it. The wedge provides the support you need to easily maintain your balance, helping you to lean forward while keeping a greater area of contact with the roof. A great feature for reducing foot fatigue.
The footbed is cushioned and shock-absorbent for comfortable wear all day long. The inside of the boot is lined with cotton to allow the foot to breath when you start to sweat, which can happen in any weather condition, but especially on brutally hot and sunny days.
Thorogood’s unique lace-to-toe design allows the boot to be tightened all the way from the toes up to the ankle. This feature provides you with a customized fit. It also allows for superior foot and ankle support along the boot’s entire upper, rather than just around the ankle, like many other work boot styles.
The Thorogood American Heritage brand is American-made. The boot’s upper is made of attractive, genuine full-grain leather, that comes in two shades of tobacco. The leather is weatherproof, so it can repel water and will not become faded with continuous exposure to the hot sun.
This style is cut a bit lower, at 5.25 inches, which gives the boot a unique and stylish look, along with the laces coming all the way down to the toes. The top of the boot hits just above the ankle, which may be more comfortable against the leg when crouching. It is also a good cut if you have larger calves, or inflammation from an injury that makes wearing boots with higher shafts uncomfortable.
This boot is a top selection for one of the best shoes for roofing, from a reputable brand, at a reasonable price. If you can’t decide which roofing boot is right for you, this option is a safe bet.
2. Irish Setter 6″ Work Boot
The Irish Setter brand has been around for seventy years, and it is owned by Red Wing, a trusted brand with over one hundred years of experience crafting quality work boots. Irish setter work boots offer a combination of Red Wing quality, comfort, and protection. They are constructed from full-grain Trout Brook leather, which is made in America exclusively for the Irish Setter brand.
Irish Setter work boots are made to contend with all the elements of the great outdoors, which makes them suitable for wear on roofs. For starters, they are waterproof, making them ideal for work in wet conditions that create slippery surfaces.
The soles of the boot are electrical hazard protective. They are also heat resistant to melting at a minimum of 475 degrees Fahrenheit. These boots are perfect for working on hot roofs on sweltering days, because the rubber will not lose its’ shape in high temperatures, giving them excellent traction.
Customers rave about the comfort of this boot, even after being on their feel for twelve hour shifts. A great feature for comfort and safety is the wedge style outsole design, mentioned in the review above. Irish Setter work boots also have a generously cushioned cuff for comfort around the ankle. Further, the boots are lightweight, which helps reduce foot and leg fatigue.
The six inch shaft height lends extra stability to these quality roofing shoes, allowing the laces to be tightened higher up on the ankle. The leather is a rich dark brown color and the toe of the boot is stitched in an attractive and durable moccasin style.
If comfort is a major issue for you when finding the best shoes for roofing, give the Irish Setter 6″ Work Boot a try. You will get the quality and durability of Red Wing work boots with all of the characteristics of a great roofing boot, and the comfort that Irish Setter boots are known for, all at a great price.
3. Wolverine Moc-Toe 6″ Roofing Work Boots for Men
This boot really has “sole,” which is the main reason it ranks as one of the best shoes for roofing. Above all, you cannot lose your footing when you are high up on a roof. Wolverine is another brand that has been around for generations. They are known for their innovative patented technologies for traction and comfort in the soles of their work boots.
The rubber sole of this particular boot is very thick. It is designed with Goodyear welt construction, giving it superior durability and flexibility. The thick treads offer sturdy traction on all surfaces. The sole’s wedged design adds further flexibility, making this boot ideal for working at steep angles on roofs. The outsole is also specially treated to be oil, water, and abrasion resistant.
Inside of the boot, a removable cushioned footbed provides rejuvenating comfort, and is further supported by a rubber midsole that puts a spring in your step. A nylon shank offers shock absorption for even more comfort when you are standing on your feet all day.
A padded collar makes the Wolverine Moc-Toe 6″ Roofing Work Boots comfortable against the leg, too. There are hooks at the top for pulling the boot’s laces tight for a great fit and added ankle support.
This is also a very handsome and tough boot, yet still lightweight. The boot’s upper is made from one hundred percent full-grain leather, and comes in brown, black or russet. The moccasin style toe lends a desirable look this sturdy boot.
If you’re already a fan of Wolverine work boots and need a pair for roofing, you should be very pleased with this style. The traction of the outsole and the comfort of the footbed make this a great selection for roofers.
4. Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift 6″ Plain Soft Toe Work Boot
The Caterpillar, or “CAT,” brand stands by all of their products, meaning that this boot comes with a guarantee to be the most comfortable and durable boot. If you are not satisfied after thirty days of wear, you can return the boots for a full refund. That makes this boot worth a try, considering how many people come back to the brand again and again when they need new boots.
Caterpillar’s Second Shift 6″ Work Boot’s sole does not have a wedged design, making them less flexible. However, they are a good choice if you don’t like a wedged sole for roofing for whatever reason. The outsoles are rubber, with deeps treads to help prevent you from slipping, even on metal roof surfaces.
The collar of the Second Shift boot is heavily padded for comfort against the leg. The shaft of the boot comes up over the ankle, and the laces can be pulled tight for added support, thanks to the hooks at the top of the boot shaft.
The inside of the boot contains a Climasphere sock liner made of nylon mesh. This allows your feet to breath and stay cooler, for all-day comfort. A very desirable feature if your feet tend to sweat.
The leather boot upper is made of genuine leather that is reinforced with heavy stitching, and is resistant to water. The boot comes in tan (which, in this case, is a dark reddish-brown color), or a very appealing deep brown.
If you are having trouble finding the best shoes for roofing, Caterpillar’s Second Shift Work Boots are a pair you can put to the test. If you aren’t satisfied with their quality or performance after thirty days, you can return them.
5. Timberland Pro Men’s Barstow Wedge Work Boot
Timberland is a company that believes in upholding standards. The company makes a point to use sustainable and recyclable materials where ever possible in their shoes and packaging. Timberland practices corporate responsibility, taking part in several civic and social endeavors annually. This is a company that cares about their impact on people. In the case of the Barstow Wedge Work Boot, Timberland cares about roofers.
The wedged, flat sole design provides you with the confidence you need when walking and crouching down on a roof, allowing you to really feel the ground under your feet. The rubber that the soles are made from are heat, oil, abrasion, and slip resistant, and offer electrical hazard protection.
Built with anit-fatigue technology, the footbed of this boot is actually geometrically designed to absorb shock and return the energy back to the foot, to truly keep you light on your feet. The midsole is made from cushioning, lightweight EVA. The steel shank within the midsole provides further comfort and support. Best of all, if you don’t experience the comfort guaranteed by the anti-fatigue technology, you can return the boots within 30 days for a full refund.
The shaft of this boot is a bit shorter, measuring 5.5 inches, but it will still come up over the ankle. The quality lacing systems also adds extra ankle support. The upper is made of genuine leather and comes in brown. The toe box is roomy, and features an attractive moccasin stitched toe. The inside of the boot is treated with antimicrobial odor control to keep your boots from becoming smelly after sweaty days of roofing.
If you want a stylish boot with guaranteed comfort, which also has all the important features a roofer would want in a work boot, the Timberland Pro Men’s Barstow Wedge Work Boot is one of the best shoes for roofing you can find.
6. Danner Men’s Bull Run 6″ Work Boot
Danner Men’s Bull Run 6″ Work Boot is built to last, and can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, but they have to be broken in before they will work for you. The brand is well known for the durable quality of the leather that they use, and for stitching the boots together in the USA.
Wearing the boots can be painful for the first few weeks, but once the boots are broken in and have molded to your foot, they become very comfortable. It is recommended to oil the leather frequently as you are breaking them in to help the process along.
The outsole has a roofer-friendly wedge design, and is oil and slip resistant. providing superior traction. It is also electrical hazard protective. The midsole contains a supportive steel shank. The inner sole of the boot features a cushioning OrthoLite footbed.
The one hundred percent oiled, full-grain leather upper is breathable and molds to fit your foot exactly. After the break-in process, the boots can be comfortably tightened to fit snugly around the ankle to help protect you from painful sprains.
The major advantage that these boots have against other roofing boots is their longevity. These boots can last you years, which saves you money in the long run. The month-long process of breaking these boots in is worth it for the custom fit and outstanding durability, making Danner’s Bull Run Work Boot one of the best shoes for roofing.
Buyer’s Guide: Features of the Best Shoes for Roofing
The features of the best shoes for roofing include traction, flexibility, durability, tight fit, comfort, and electrical hazard protection. If you can find a boot that checks all of these boxes, you’ve found a great roofing shoe.
Traction is one feature that is non-negotiable for roofing boots. Without a really good grip, you might as well not even wear shoes. There are too many obstacles on the roof, from the angles, to the wide variety of tripping and slipping hazards, and the fact that a serious fall could be deadly. The best shoes for roofing will have some of the best traction of any shoes available.
Flexibility plays many roles in the overall function of a roofing boot, because roofers have to bend their feet and ankles constantly, holding awkward positions as they work. The flexibility of the sole allows the foot to bend without getting fatigued so quickly.
A wedged sole will offer more flexibility, and will add support when you are balancing on the balls of your feet on an incline. Wedged soles are generally a safer choice than standard heeled boots.
Flexibility is important in the boot’s upper material, as well, allowing the ankles to bend comfortably, while still being sturdy enough to support the ankle.
Durability is a big area of concern for roofers. The roof surface is a harsh environment. You want work boots that can stand up to the high heat of the sun, the moisture of rain and wet floors, and the impact of constant bending of the boot’s material. Genuine leather is durable, and can usually withstand the elements.
Look for soles that have been treated to resist oil, heat, water, and abrasion, for longer wear. Boots that boast being weatherproof should protect your feet from water and sun, and will generally last longer than non-weatherproof boots.
4. Tight Fit
You don’t want your boots to fit uncomfortably tight, but they should be as tight as possible without sacrificing too much comfort. If your boots are loose, even with the best gripping outsole’s, you are going to fall.
Think about a pair of roller skates. You wouldn’t just throw them on and start skating around without tying them tightly, first. You would lose your balance pretty fast! The boots can only act like an extension of you body if they are securely attached to your feet.
Boots with specialized lacing systems can provide a tighter fit. All-leather boots will mold to your foot over time, so they will fit like a glove.
If your work boots aren’t comfortable, it can make for a miserable day at work. Your whole body will fatigue more quickly if your shoes aren’t comfortable. The best shoes for roofing have shock absorbing footbeds, and shanks within the midsole to further support the foot.
You’ll want a pair of boots that don’t cause sore spots. Some leather boots require a break-in period. After that period has passed, if there is still soreness, wearing the boots will be a burden, effecting your performance and safety at work.
6. Electrical Hazard Protection
Getting electrocuted on the job is a real hazard that roofers face. Low-hanging power lines, opening wiring, and corded power tools all pose a risk of shock. This risk is amplified when working on wet surfaces.
A sole made from rubber is an ideal insulator from electric shock, because it doesn’t conduct electricity. Some synthetic soles also provide electrical hazard protection. Always check the EH rating of the soles of the shoes you are buying if you plan to use them on the roof.
Try to get yourself a pair of roofing shoes that have all the features in this guide, so you can stay safe while doing your best work.