Safety Toe Work Boots- Steel, Composite or Carbon?

This video was sponsored by Ariat

Chop, chop, choppin the Boots!

Anyone with experience in the trade knows how important it is to own a solid set of boots, and toe caps are a huge part of what makes a boot safe to wear out in the field… So let’s cut em’ open!

General break down of Safety toes and their material 

Steel: The most common toe cap, steel-toed boots are classic, tough as nails and very reliable. With today’s manufacturing technology they can use less and less steel to provide the same level of protection as before, with less  material and ease of production, these boots are one of the more affordable options. Ultra- Durable, If you need some extreme protection on a reasonable budget, these are the boots for you. The downsides will be their thermal conductivity (tend to carry heat in the summer and cold in the winter), and that their heavy weight can lead to quicker fatigue.

Sneak peek inside a Steel Toed Boot

Alloys: A mixture of different metals other than steel, aluminum or titanium alloys allow for the strength of metal without the additional weight. These boots are rarer and can be more expensive than the average steel-toed option.

Composite: A toe cap made from a mixture of different, non-metallic materials that can include plastics, rubber, Kevlar, fiberglass, carbon fiber etc. This light-weight material has taken over the industry, popular for its quick production and low material costs. There are multiple benefits to composite toe caps including low thermal conductivity, meaning they won’t heat up in the summertime or carry the winter chill in the colder months. These boots are generally more affordable than your Carbon fibers or alloys, so are a good boot if you don’t have much spending cash but want to avoid the weight of steel. One downside to keep in mind is that composites become weaker after each impact, it is recommended to replace your boots after a major impact or compression event. 

Carbon Fiber: Not to be confused with Carbon Nanofiber, Carbon toe caps are composite toe caps with the majority of the material made of strong, durable carbon fiber. These boots can be a bit more expensive because while the carbon fiber material is exceptionally tough, it is also very light so these toe caps add much less weight to your boot than the metals or other composites. These extremely light toe caps cut down on fatigue, and have the same weather-friendly low thermal conductivity as standard composites. A very good option for the professional electrician/wireman.

Carbon Fiber Toe Cap

Carbon Nanotube: These space age toe caps are coated in Carbon Nanotubes or “CNTs”, which are (in extremely simplified terms) tiny strands of carbon atoms joined together to create a hexagonal “tube”. These tubes are woven into a mesh, creating a Carbon Nano material that is both super strong and versatile. Layer this with other composite material and you’ve got the future right in your shoe! You should give CNT’s a google, it’s fascinating stuff… Anyhoo, these toe caps are super strong, thin,and lightweight but can be pricey. If you’re the type to go for the best of the best, put these on your list.


Thanks to Ariat for supplying some awesome boots to both wear and chop up! 

Link for 10% off Ariat purchases: 

Link to Dustin’s boots: 

Stay safe out there, Love from the ATX

Products Used In This Video

Diablo Carbide Blade 

Makita Reciprocating Saw